Boston Red Sox defeat Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When Red Sox manager Terry Francona said new catcher Javy Lopez would have a short learning curve because the club could not afford otherwise, little did he know.

Lopez's role as neutral observer ended in the top of the third inning last night, when he was summoned to hit for Doug Mirabelli after Mirabelli twisted his left ankle and was forced to depart, a common occurrence in this week of living dangerously for the Sox. Instead of having the lux...

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The history of bad blood between the Red Sox and Devil Rays, replete with beanballs, brawls, and suspensions, is not limited to the field. It has spilled over into the front offices as well, and could have an impact on the trade Boston made yesterday for catcher Javy Lopez.

According to multiple major league sources, the Devil Rays are incensed at the Red Sox for what Tampa Bay officials are convinced was illegal contact between the Sox and the a...

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The (old) joke making its way around the Red Sox clubhouse has something to do with ice. It has something to do with David Ortiz's back. Or, as Coco Crisp suggested to a reporter after last night's 3-2 win over the Devil Rays, ``Ask him if his back hurts."

Followed quickly by the obvious punchline: ``His back's hurting from carrying this team."

Which might not be so funny if it weren't so patently true. (Especially with the injury list on this...