|Red Sox pregame notes: News on Andrew Miller, Steve Prefontaine, Bobby Jenks, J.D. Drew, Mark Cuban and Mother Nature||08.24.11 at 7:00 pm ET|
ARLINGTON, Texas – The hair is there, and so was the t-shirt. But there is only one reason Andrew Miller is being called “Prefontaine” in the Red Sox clubhouse.
“Pedey started calling me it,” said Miller, referencing Dustin Pedroia. “So [Daniel] Bard bought me a shirt. But I don’t really know anything about him other than that.”
With his new nickname in hand – thanks to hair resembling running legend Steve Prefontaine – Miller is heading into his start Thursday without the doubt that lingered prior to returning to the starting rotation Friday in Kansas City.
“Yeah, I obviously had a little bit of doubt going into that last one because it had been so long,” said Miller, who turned in a 5 1/3-inning, one run outing against KC after not having started in the previous 20 days. “I obviously got over that pretty quick, and I guess that’s certainly not an aspect I have going in. I’m not worried about knocking off any rust in this one.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona also exhibited some optimism based on the effort Miller turned in against the Royals.
“We’ve tried to make some adjustments with his stride and things like that so the ball can come out of his arm, crisp,” Francona said. “Taking that into a game is not the easiest thing.”
In other pregame news …
- Bobby Jenks will pitch “somewhere” (depending on weather), making his first rehab start since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury. Jenks came through another side session in Fort Myers Wednesday in good shape and will get a few days off before hurling an inning in an minor league game. The reliever will most likely rejoin the Red Sox just after Sept. 1.
- J.D. Drew returned to Boston and will taking batting practice at Fenway Park with BP pitcher Matt Noone Thursday. Drew is scheduled to play two rehab games in Lowell, Friday and Saturday, but that may be in doubt due to Hurricane Irene/.
- Speaking of the weather, Francona said the team is planning on various contingency plans in case it is determined the hurricane will make any of the weekend’s games against Oakland unplayable. There are no options to make up any games with the A’s, which could potentially result in a preemptive strike doubleheader. “I think they’re throwing around a lot of ideas that are just ideas,” the manager noted. “It sounds like it could be anything from us having trouble getting home to, who knows. It sounds like it’s going to be iffy. That stuff changes so fast. I don’t know. I know they’re trying to brainstorm.”
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was a visitor to the Red Sox clubhouse thanks to mental performance coach Don Kalkstein, who works for both the Sox and Mavericks. “What a treat,” Francona said. “A bunch of guys came in. I think they were all excited to see him. Pedey came in and embarrassed himself. A lot of guys came in.” When asked if Cuban knew who he was, Pedroia said, “Of course. This [stuff] is worldwide.” Kalkstein later quipped, “I reminded him he was strictly local.”
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