Notes: Delcarmen joins Sox after delay

Notes: Delcarmen joins Sox after delay

ST. PETERSBURG -- Manny Delcarmen's first official 24 hours as a Major Leaguer didn't exactly go according to plan.

It was not a home run that the right-hander gave up. Nor did he lose a game to the New York Yankees.

Rather, his flight to Florida was cancelled -- and then he lost his luggage.

So when the 23-year-old arrived at Tropicana Field on Tuesday several hours later than expected, he was forced to wear shoes from a batting practice coach.

Needless to say, the Hyde Park native's first Major League appearance went a lot more smoothly.

Summoned into action against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Delcarmen struck out the first batter he faced en route to a perfect eighth inning. It kept the Boston deficit at two runs in a game they would go on to win, 10-9, in extra innings.

"I think I threw the ball good," was how Delcarmen assessed his performance.

"It's good to get that one out of the way, but I'll still be nervous [in future outings]."

Delcarmen, who grew up five or six miles from Fenway Park, is likely to walk into the stadium Friday night and find it filled of friends and family from the Boston area.

The Sox called Delcarmen up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and designated left-hander John Halama for assignment. Halama was 1-1 with a 6.18 ERA in 30 games.

Delcarmen had a 2.79 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings through seven appearances for Pawtucket. He came up July 6 after 39 innings at Double-A Portland, where he posted a 3.23 ERA with 49 strikeouts.

Delcarmen's corner locker in the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field attracted an onslaught of reporters, but he sat confidently and slowly took in his first day on the job.

"I feel great and am happy to be here; I'm living my dream right now," he said.

Growing up, Delcarmen's favorite player was Ken Griffey Jr., now of the Cincinnati Reds, but he grew to admire Pedro Martinez after turning his attention to pitching.

"My dad would make me sit down and watch and learn from him," Delcarmen said. From Martinez, he took to throwing offspeed pitches and learning solid gameplans.

Delcarmen pitched two-thirds of an inning in Pawtucket's 7-5 win over the Ottawa Orioles on Monday, allowing one hit and striking out two. His main pitches are a fastball, curveball and changeup, and he said his command has improved.

"I was just happy to be throwing the ball good," Delcarmen said. "I think I'm throwing consistently a little harder."

Delcarmen was selected in the second round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of West Roxbury (Mass.) High school. In five seasons, Delcarmen has averaged 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings, despite missing much of 2003 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The lineup shuffle: With three games coming up at Fenway Park against the Wild Card-leading Minnesota Twins, Francona thought Tuesday would be a good time for David Ortiz to rest up.

Big Pappi, batting .299 with 87 RBIs, has missed just three games this season.

Manager Terry Francona said he talked Monday night with Ortiz , who felt frustrated with not playing a position as often as he'd like.

"I said, 'Tell me how you feel,' and he kind of lowered his head a little bit," Francona said.

Doug Mirabelli, batting .221, started in place of Ortiz on Tuesday, but Francona said it was not an easy decision. Boston simply has a handful of good hitters.

"I'm not going to run to the ballpark to sit David," Francona said. "It was evident this would do him some good."

This and that: Monday's 4-3 loss might be something the Red Sox hope to put behind them, but they still managed to get into the record books. It took Boston 98 games this season before playing an extra-inning game. That streak is 29 games longer than the previous streak, set by the Chicago White Sox in 2002. ... A win Tuesday night would give Boston an identical record (55-45) from a year ago after 100 games. ... After Monday's game, the Red Sox are now 10-10 in games decided at the final at-bat this season. ... Manny Ramirez has 106 career RBIs against the Devil Rays, the most of any player. Carlos Delgado is second with 86.

On deck: The Red Sox and Devil Rays will meet for the finale of this three-game series at 4:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Boston will start right-hander Tim Wakefield (8-9, 4.42 ERA) against Tampa Bay right-hander Seth McClung (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Jared S. Hopkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.