According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he expects catcher Victor Martinez (thumb) to be ready to return from the disabled list on Monday. Like, this Monday. Tomorrow.
Martinez caught a Clay Buchholz bullpen session on Saturday and reported no abnormal pain or discomfort in his once-fractured left thumb. His return to the everyday lineup will be big, as Francona told the Globe.
“You’ve got your switch-hitter right smack in the middle, that would be good,” said the manager.
V-Mart was batting .289/.344/.480 with nine homers and 38 RBI in 246 at-bats at the time that he was placed on the disabled list. The Red Sox have entrusted starting catching duties to Kevin Cash and Dusty Brown while he has been out because veteran backup Jason Varitek is sidelined with an injury of his own. It’s safe to say they’re about to get an upgrade.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.