Notes: Snow designated for assignment

Notes: Snow designated for assignment

BOSTON -- J.T. Snow's career with the Red Sox has become a casualty of Boston's pitching woes.

The veteran first baseman was designated for assignment Monday so 28-year-old right-hander Kyle Snyder could make the start for the Red Sox against the Nationals in the opener of a three-game Interleague series at Fenway Park.

"We had to make a roster move to get our spot starter for today, Kyle Snyder, on the roster," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said in making the announcement. "And given the bullpen's been taxed heavily the last few days, we weren't real comfortable doing a pitcher."

Snyder, 28, was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox from the Kansas City Royals on June 16 and was added to the 40-man roster at that time. The righthander was promoted from Triple-A Omaha to the Royals on June 8 and started that night without a decision versus Texas, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (five earned) over just two innings. He was designated for assignment by Kansas City on June 11.

Snyder had spent the majority of the 2006 season at Omaha, going 0-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). He has a career Major League record of 2-9 with a 5.91 ERA in 29 games (19 starts) with the Royals in 2003 and 2005-06.

Snow, 38, batted .205 with four RBIs in 38 games with the Red Sox this season. Snow, who had just 44 at-bats with Boston, was signed by the club as a free agent in January 2006.

Epstein hinted Snow could be part of another transaction, including a trade, within the 10-day transition period.

"We have some things working with J.T. and we thought it would be best to designate him and make a further assignment with him later on," he said

Epstein indicated there would be more roster moves to come in the next day. Because the team arrived back in Boston so late (approximately 4 a.m. ET), Francona didn't get a chance to speak to Snow face-to-face.

"Theo called him first because of the late [arrival] time [in Boston]," Sox manager Terry Francona said. "You want to do it as professionally as you can. Theo talked to him and then I gave him a call. I think you get mixed emotions."

Concerns over the depth of the pitching staff were not the only factor. The emergence of Kevin Youkilis -- as not only a productive leadoff hitter but a very dependable first baseman -- made Snow expendable.

"Because of the way [Youkilis] has taken his job and made it his job," Francona said. "I think J.T. was certainly hoping for more at-bats when he was coming in here. But that's not the case and won't be. He was really professional about it. He's a good kid."

Kapler back: After making his first appearance back from a ruptured left Achilles on Saturday, Gabe Kapler took the next step Monday, making his first start of the season for the Red Sox, batting eighth and starting in right fielder for Trot Nixon. Kapler was rewarded with a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat in the bottom of the second from the sellout crowd of 36,252. He stepped out of the box and tipped his helmet to the crowd.

"My opinion and feeling has been from the time I got here is that we have the best and, to be more specific, the classiest fans in all sports," Kapler said of his 2006 debut before the Fenway faithful.

"The reason I say that is they recognize and care about hard work as people and contributions other than superstars," he added. "They recognize every player on the roster, they recognize contributions from guys like Alex Cora, or in the past a pitcher that would come in and get one out and a guy who could get a bunt down. They always seem to recognize effort. So I'm just blown away by their consistency and knowledge of the game."

Kapler singled in his only at-bat as a pinch-hitter Saturday in Atlanta, his first appearance since his left Achilles injury last September 14 in Toronto. He bettered that Monday, going 2-for-4 with a game-tying RBI double in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run on Youkilis' groundout.

"I have great people who believe in me and that's from our front office to our manager to our coaches to my teammates. The significance is that they believe I can get the job done and that means a great deal to me," Kapler said.

Nixon is expected to return to the starting lineup Tuesday while Jason Varitek sits with Tim Wakefield getting the starting nod.

Shuttle connection: After throwing a scoreless sixth inning, reliever Jermaine Van Buren was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket following Monday's game. Craig Hansen was recalled and will be available for Tuesday's contest against Washington.

"Unfortunately for him, we had to send him back to Pawtucket," Francona said of the move on Van Buren. "I told Jermaine, 'You pitched in the game tonight. We have confidence you can pitch here.' He's kind of on that shuttle that Youkilis was on last year."

Medical update: Francona said lefty starter David Wells remains in San Diego undergoing treatment for his bruised right knee at the Scripps Center.

"He's not progressed to the point where he needs to be here with us working out," the Sox skipper said.

"It's not to the point yet where he can throw in weight-bearing activities on the knee," Epstein added. "Until it gets to that point, you don't want him going through his delivery because he could end up hurting his arm. Once he gets to that point, we'll get him back here and build his arm strength. He should be okay, we just can't pinpoint a date, yet."

As for Matt Clement, who has an injured right shoulder, the news was promising Monday. But the club indicated that he would likely need longer than the three weeks Mike Timlin required to return from a similar problem.

"He went and saw another specialist today and got a real good report," Francona said. "Structurally, everything came back really, really well. That's good. We've just got to get him strong now.

"A little bit like Timlin but I would think not quite as quick, same type of [rehab] program but I would think it would be a little slower," Francona added.

Epstein, asked about the number of pitchers making their way through the roster this season, tried to keep perspective.

"It always takes more than 11 pitchers to get through a season. We're just getting that out of the way early this year," Epstein said.

Sox and BTF: Cathy Bradley, executive director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and the Red Sox presented a check for $5,000 to representatives from the Kids Gear for Baseball, during a pregame ceremony prior to Monday's game.

A two-part initiative, BTF gives a grant to a local youth baseball/softball organization of the club's choosing, and then the club also collects equipment to donate to the local youth baseball/softball organization. The Red Sox collected new and used equipment at Fenway Park on the weekend of June 10-11. All collected equipment is being donated to Kids Gear for Baseball.

The equipment drive will give much needed baseball and softball equipment to Boston area organizations such as: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lower Merrimack Valley, Worcester and Lawrence; Special Olympics Massachusetts; the Murphy School in Dorchester; Kids with Disabilities in Sports; Cross Roads for Kids, Girls Inc. and Sandra's Lodge and Pacific Rim Charter School in Hyde Park.

Coming up: Tim Wakefield (4-8, 3.97 ERA) looks to rebound from a loss in Minnesota last Thursday when he takes the hill against Washington right-hander Livan Hernandez (5-7, 5.18 ERA) in the middle game of the three-game Interleague Series at Fenway Park.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.