Notes: Delcarmen no stranger to Sox

Notes: Delcarmen no stranger to Sox

TORONTO -- Their bullpen a bit taxed after a Friday marathon and a Saturday blowout, the Red Sox got a fresh arm Sunday with the arrival of hard-throwing Manny Delcarmen, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Of course, Delcarmen is no stranger to the Red Sox after spending 49 days on the roster last season, and, because of his local roots (Hyde Park, Mass.), he's already popular among the fans. Delcarmen also spent most of Spring Training in big-league camp.

Though Delcarmen might only be with the Sox on a short term basis, he could pitch himself into a longer stay.

"We got forced into bringing him here today because of extra innings and an early exit [by Lenny DiNardo] yesterday, and hopefully he'll be pounding the strike zone, because if he is, he can really help us," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The right-hander had flight problems getting in from Boston, arrived a little late at Rogers Centre and got out to the bullpen by the sixth inning.

When Delcarmen was with the Red Sox last season, he lost command of his breaking pitch, which lessened the impact of his 95-mph fastball. In Spring Training, some faulty mechanics led to his fastball being left up, which again took away his ability to use his secondary pitches.

But Delcarmen used his time at Triple-A to find himself again.

"Definitely, my first-pitch strikes were there, my curveball was right where I wanted it, my changeup has been there since last year, so I feel like everything came together," said Delcarmen.

The numbers certainly prove it, as Delcarmen didn't yield a run in his first 10 innings for the PawSox.

According to Delcarmen, mastering the art of getting the first pitch over for a strike has meant everything to his improvement.

"I'm able to throw my curveball and changeup in different counts," Delcarmen said. "When I throw first-pitch fastballs for strikes, they really don't know what's coming after that."

Coco's timetable: Center fielder Coco Crisp will miss out on a reunion with his former teammates when the Red Sox travel to Cleveland for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night. Crisp is back in Boston rehabbing his fractured left index finger.

Francona doesn't think it's unrealistic to think Crisp will be back in the lineup by the middle of May.

Though Kevin Youkilis has done a solid job in the leadoff hole, Boston's lineup is deeper when Crisp is at the top.

"That's why you try to get good players and try to keep them healthy and play them," said Francona. "Over the long haul, things usually work out. Certainly we're a better lineup with him leading off and having Youk hitting somewhere [else], because that just makes our order that much thicker. It will be nice to have him back."

Ortiz drops one down: Those who remember David Ortiz dropping down a perfect bunt single to a vacated third-base line and setting up Manny Ramirez for a two-run homer last August in Anaheim couldn't have been too surprised when he again dropped one down in the sixth inning of Sunday's win over the Jays.

His second career bunt single didn't have the same impact as his first, as Ramirez wound up getting walked intentionally and Trot Nixon grounded out to end the inning.

"He did that on his own," said Francona. "I would never tell a big boy to go ahead and bunt. At the same time, you have a lefty and you have Manny hitting, I understand it, I don't have a problem with it. He's actually a pretty good bunter. If he chooses, he sort of has the green light to do that."

Catcher Jason Varitek, noting how far back third baseman Troy Glaus was playing, also tried to get a bunt single in the fifth, but he didn't push it far enough and wound up with a sacrifice that ended up being unproductive.

"He was playing back, I took some terrible swings and I knew Mike [Lowell] behind me was swinging the bat good and I didn't push the ball as far as I needed to," said Varitek. "Sometimes you have to change things to try and help out."

On the defensive: Without question, the most improved area of the Red Sox this season has been the defense. Entering Sunday, the Sox had committed just three errors in 476 total chances over a span of 12 games. They headed into the day tied with the Twins and Mariners with the fewest errors (six) in the American League.

Lowell made a throwing error that helped contribute to a three-run homer by Greg Zaun in Sunday's game, but the impact was lessened with the Red Sox hanging on for a 6-3 win.

Coming up: The Red Sox will have an off-day in Cleveland on Monday before opening up at Jacobs Field Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET with ace Curt Schilling (4-0, 1.61 ERA) on the mound. The Indians counter with righty Jake Westbrook, who is 2-2 with a 5.92 ERA.

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