David Ortiz's comment that Alfredo Aceves should be in the rotation could be taken as subversive, while Curt Schilling said on a WEEI radio show that he didn't think this team would make the playoffs.
"I don't give a [expletive]," manager Terry Francona said when asked about Schilling's comments Tuesday. "I didn't even know what the [heck] you were talking about."
Francona's stance was similar when asked about Ortiz later in his pregame session with the media.
"Believe it or not, I haven't read a paper," he said. "No disrespect to you or the Internet, I just got my hands full. ... There's so many of you here, that if you ask questions and someone gives an answer, I'll be answering them all day. For Schill and for David, I'd rather just do the game."
Tense as things have become around the Red Sox, there was some levity on Tuesday afternoon in their own sanctuary. Sitting at his locker doing an interview, Dustin Pedroia turned around to find Ric Flair -- the professional wrestler better known as the "Nature Boy" -- standing behind him.
Pedroia and Josh Reddick, who are huge wrestling fans, were glowing while the whole clubhouse turned and watched.
"Amazing. I was laying there on the couch and I saw one of our guys with the camera holding up and I didn't know what was going on," said Reddick. "As soon as I stood up and I saw who it was, I was in shock and I couldn't move. My knees locked up."
A jacket with Flair's signature that Reddick bought on eBay for about $400 hangs in front of Reddick and Pedroia's adjacent lockers, and Pedroia all season has said "Woo!" -- in homage to Flair -- at most any occasion he can.
Whether jokingly or not, there was talk in the clubhouse that Flair could end up as a good luck charm if the Red Sox turn their season around. Either way, the visit took an edge off.
"We all know we've had a rough month," Reddick said. "Anything to take that weight off our shoulders is going to help us out a lot. I think that did a lot of good for the whole team, not just me and Pedey."