Notes: Bellhorn out at second base

Notes: Postseason hero Bellhorn set free

ANAHEIM -- One day before his Minor League rehab assignment was set to expire, second baseman Mark Bellhorn was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Friday.

Bellhorn, who produced two hits last October that will forever remain a part of Red Sox history, had a rough go of it this season, hitting .216 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 85 games.

That 85th game came on July 17 against the Yankees, when Bellhorn sprained his left thumb while making a terrific play to rob Jason Giambi of a hit.

Three days later, the Red Sox acquired Tony Graffanino from the Royals. Both Graffanino and Alex Cora have greatly solidified second base for the Red Sox, making it hard for the club to fit Bellhorn back into the mix.

By designating Bellhorn for assignment, the Red Sox have 10 days to either trade him or outright him to the Minor Leagues.

Out of respect for Bellhorn, general manager Theo Epstein is working with the second baseman's agent to try to find a Major League team that might have more playing time for the switch-hitter.

"He's a Major League player," said Epstein. "If there's an opportunity with another Major League team, that might be what's best for him. We'll see."

If Epstein can't work out a trade, Bellhorn could possibly wind up back with the Red Sox once the roster is expanded on Sept. 1.

In 2004, Bellhorn emerged into one of the biggest surprises on the Red Sox. He scored 93 runs, drew 88 walks, hit 17 homers and drove in 82 runs.

But Bellhorn saved his most important hits for the postseason. In Game 6 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, he hit a three-run homer to left field, helping the Red Sox to a 4-2 win and forcing Game 7. Then, in Game 1 of the World Series, Bellhorn snapped a 9-9 tie with a two-run homer off the foul pole in right field. Helped by Bellhorn's game-winner, the Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals for their first World Series championship in 86 years.

Wake sore, but optimistic: Veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield takes a lot of pride in never missing a start, despite whatever aches and pains he might be feeling. In other words, Wakefield, who suffered a contusion of his right shin from a Casey Kotchman line drive on Thursday night vs. the Angels, plans on taking the ball on Wednesday against the Royals.

"I'm sore," said Wakefield. "Just get my treatment and see how I feel in another couple days and see if I can make my next start. That's my plan. I want to try to make my next one. I actually told Tito [manager Terry Francona] I'm going to do whatever I can to just try to make my next start."

Recurring woes for Stern: Rule 5 draft pick Adam Stern is experiencing more problems from the right thumb that he fractured during Spring Training. Stern had the thumb bandaged heavily before Friday's game.

"It's not broken, but I've been having a lot of stiffness in it the last couple of weeks," said Stern. "I don't know what happened. It was more swelling. Just jammed it when I was taking some BP off [Keith] Foulke and it just got a little bit more aggravated. They said, 'Let's put some ice on it and let it go down.' "

Olerud-Millar: John Olerud started at first base on Friday night, while Kevin Millar, who hasn't homered since June 4, sat out.

Francona wouldn't say whether Millar's playing time is going to decrease down the stretch.

"I haven't even spoken to Millar. I would never feel comfortable sending a message to a player through the media," Francona said. "If I have something to say to a player, I have to tell them before I ever do something with the media. That's just in fairness to everybody. I think Olerud's a good hitter. I guess my point is, we're trying to win the game tonight. This is the best lineup I thought for tonight."

On deck: Right-hander Bronson Arroyo (10-7, 4.28 ERA) will make his second start of this road trip on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Angels will counter with right-hander Ervin Santana, who is 6-5 with a 4.62 ERA.

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