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Around the Horn

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today's game to watch:

Rays at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

PERSONNEL DEPT.

Angels: Kelvim Escobar suffered his first setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery when the right-hander experienced inflammation and tightness in the front of the shoulder this week, the Los Angeles Times reported. Escobar was scratched from tomorrow's scheduled rehabilitation start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He will not attempt to play catch again until this weekend.

Cardinals: Manager Tony La Russa gave rookie reliever Jason Motte yesterday off after he botched his first chance as the closer. Motte won a three-man competition for the job in spring training. But he allowed four runs, throwing 29 pitches, in the ninth inning of Pittsburgh's 6-4 Opening Day victory Monday. St. Louis won, 9-3, last night and did not need a ninth-inning closer.

Tigers: RHP Joel Zumaya (sore right shoulder) threw 43 pitches in an extended spring training game.

Twins: C Mike Redmond will miss at least one game because of a pulled groin. Redmond was out of last night's lineup after hurting himself while running out a grounder on Monday night, and rookie Jose Morales was behind the plate for the game against Seattle.

FIRST PITCH

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is being treated for a malignant brain tumor, tossed the ceremonial pitch before yesterday's season opener between the Red Sox and Rays at Fenway Park. With fans cheering, Kennedy was driven onto the field by newly elected Hall of Famer Jim Rice in a golf cart. Standing just in front of the pitching rubber, Kennedy bounced the ball in front of Rice, who was standing about five feet in front of the mound. Then Kennedy threw another pitch that the longtime Boston left fielder caught on the fly.

BY THE NUMBERS

4:06 Starting time of the Red Sox' opener yesterday, a nod to Ted Williams's .406 batting average in 1941

QUOTABLE

"No matter how long you've played the game, you still get jittery, you still get that nervous excitement."

Jim Thome, 38, who hit a go-ahead home run for the White Sox in their 4-2 win over the Royals in yesterday's season opener in Chicago

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