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Fassero upset about leaving games early

By BRUCE LOWITT and Times Wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000


Jeff Fassero and manager Jimy Williams don't see eye-to-eye these days after the pitcher's quick removal from Friday's game at Kansas City.

Williams yanked Fassero with one out in the sixth inning. After allowing one run on six hits in his first five innings, Fassero gave up a leadoff double, a run-scoring single and a one-out, ground-rule double. Williams had Fassero issue a walk to load the bases, then brought Bryce Florie out of the bullpen.

Florie pitched out of that jam but the two-run homer he allowed in the seventh led to the Royals' 6-2 victory.

Fassero said Williams' hook is too quick. "He doesn't give you a chance to talk him out of it," Fassero told the Boston Herald. "He's pointing to the bullpen before he's out of the dugout.

"Look at it -- who gets any innings these days other than Pedro (Martinez) and the bullpen? No starter other than Pedro gets a chance to work out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings.

"I'm not the only one who feels this way. As a starter, you start losing confidence in yourself when you lose the opportunity to get out of jams -- "What am I supposed to do here? How can I get guys out?' "

Williams said the hot weather entered into his thinking. Fassero said he kept cool between innings by sitting in the tunnel behind the dugout. He threw 86 pitches before departing.

"Guess that's my limit," Fassero said sarcastically.

Asked if anything positive had come out of his evening, Fassero said, "I didn't get a loss."

HERE'S THE PITCH: Position players Brent Mayne of Colorado (successfully) and Derek Bell of the Mets (unsuccessfully) pitched last week. Williams once used a position player, Mike Benjamin, as a pitcher, but he hates the idea. He says it makes a mockery of the game.

Still, several Red Sox were asked how they'd feel about it, or who thought which teammate would make the best pitcher.

"I think Nomar (Garciaparra) would," catcher Jason Varitek said. "He pitched a little bit when he was young. I actually caught him once before, at Georgia Tech. Not in a game, in an intrasquad game. He had a sinker and a changeup."

Garciaparra said he would love to give it a try. "I'd do anything they asked me to do in a game. I'd even catch, though I probably wouldn't be able to walk for a week afterward."

Varitek said pitching coach Joe Kerrigan wants him to try. " "Just one inning,' he tells me," Varitek said. "I throw mainly a four-seamer. I don't know how to throw the ball curved. I'd rather keep my stuff straight."

Carl Everett pitched at Hillsborough High in Tampa.

"I wouldn't want to see Carl on the mound," Varitek said. "Nothing personal. I just wouldn't. He's a good enough athlete, but he'd probably get too competitive out there and blow his arm out."

TRAVELIN' MAN: Martinez has had a physical problem in his past two starts, each after a long flight. He was either coming from a hot climate or pitching in one.

"It's bothered me my whole career; I don't know what it is," he said. "I drink a lot of water and do what I'm supposed to to avoid jet lag, but it still gets to me. Maybe it's just in my mind, I don't know. That game against Tampa Bay (when he left after four innings), that was the first time in my career I ever had to do that."

His next start, Tuesday, is in the middle of Boston's three-game series against the Rays. Martinez said he expects no problems.

TAKING IT EASY: Garciaparra has been running the basepaths and fielding grounders in practice and says his strained left hamstring still is tender.

"It's getting there, but it's going to be a couple more days," Garciaparra said. "I'm being more cautious than anything. I don't want to make it worse."

ALSO HURT: Bret Saberhagen, recovering from a groin injury, is scheduled to make a rehab start for Lowell on Tuesday.

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