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Notes: Sox turn page, don't look back

Notes: Sox turn page, don't look back

BOSTON -- Sure, the Red Sox enjoyed trotting out to a sun-splashed and electric Fenway Park on Monday afternoon and gathering their World Series championship rings. They also enjoyed watching the 2004 championship flag being raised. But what they seemed to enjoy most about the day was the closure of it all.

To get where they need to get in 2005, the Sox know that they must say good-bye to 2004, as special as it was.

"Yeah, it's time to turn the page," said Sox ace Curt Schilling. "It's going to be exciting and fun [the Opening Day festivities], and hopefully exciting for the fans as well. We've been looking forward to it, but not so much that we forget what we're doing right now."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona, as far back as the first day of Spring Training, mentioned how all of the focus needed to be forward, instead of back. But in hindsight, he realizes that some of the reflection was unavoidable.

"Our guys have gotten pulled in some different directions," Francona said. "So if you're not careful, the game can sneak up on you. That's something we're going to try to not let happen. What I really care about today is I want us to win. I want to get back to 2005, playing good baseball."

Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon vowed that this year's team won't get complacent.

"We get Schilling back Wednesday, we get Wade Miller back soon," said Damon. "We're going to be great. Like I always said last year, we'll be just fine."

Rings on display: Red Sox fans who want an up-close look at what the team's World Series rings look like will get that chance on Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. From 4 to 7 p.m., the ring will be available for viewing, along with the American League trophy, the World Series championship trophy and other historic pieces of memorabilia from the collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Boston Public Library.

The Sox are billing it as the "Ring of the Rings" display. The club requests a $5 donation per person for admission, with all proceeds going to the Red Sox Foundation.

"The Ring of the Rings will give families a chance to take a leisurely stroll around the warning track after school and after work to see some incredible pieces of Boston baseball history," said Dr. Charles Steinberg, executive vice president of public affairs for the Sox.

Familiar faces abound: Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe, a member of the Red Sox the last seven seasons, looked right at home as he caught up with some former teammates in the Sox clubhouse before the game.

Lowe, who became the first pitcher in history to win all three clinching games in a single postseason, got perhaps the loudest ovation of any player during the ring presentation.

Dave Roberts, whose stolen base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series was perhaps the biggest single play of the 2004 postseason, also returned for the ceremony. The starting center fielder for the Padres, Roberts is on the disabled list and will begin a minor league rehab assignment this week.

There were also two recent retirees on hand for the festivities -- outfielder Ellis Burks and reliever Curtis Leskanic.

In a nice gesture, the Sox invited several minor league players who made cameos for the '04 team to come and collect their rings. That list included Mark Malaska, Lenny DiNardo, Abe Alvarez, Phil Seibel and Anastacio Martinez.

Bruschi honored: Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, making his first public appearance since suffering a mild stroke in February, participated in the first ball presentation. The crowd erupted when Bruschi was introduced.

Celtics legend Bill Russell, Bruins icon Bobby Orr and Richard Seymour of the Pats also took part.

"This is an extreme honor for me because this is a historic day -- the Red Sox championship solidifying the championships of the Patriots, the Celtics and the Bruins," Bruschi said in a statement. "This solidifies the whole area of New England being a whole region of champions. For them to ask us to throw out the first pitch is an honor for me."

Bruschi was wearing a Francona jersey, only fitting since they are both University of Arizona alums.

"Last year when I came here, [Bruschi] was one of the guys who threw out the first pitch," said Francona. "He kind of made a point of going out of his way to wish us luck. I've always followed his career anyway. So there's a little bit extra there. What he's gone through, I think he's well aware that I've sent my concerns and just let him know I care about what he's going through."

Of his health, Bruschi said, "I am feeling pretty good."

Roster move upcoming: The fact that Schilling needs to be activated before his start on Wednesday means someone will have to be taken off the roster at the same time.

"Those kind of things weigh on all of our minds, because we care about what we're doing and the people we're doing it with," said Francona.

On deck: Following Tuesday's off-day, Schilling makes his highly anticipated 2005 debut on Wednesday night. The Yankees will send right-hander Jaret Wright to the mound.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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