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Reeling Red Sox to face fans, Yanks

BOSTON — Fenway Park, the historic home of the Red Sox, is ready for its 100th opener today.

The team, however, needs plenty of work. The high-priced Red Sox, a popular pick to win the World Series, are 0-6, their worst start since 1945, when they lost a team-record eight straight. The team batting average is .181. The ERA is 7.13.

The Yankees will be waiting, along with the home fans.

"The slate's not really clean," manager Terry Francona said. "The record is what it is, but I don't want us to have a hangover. We need to pick it up. We're going to play a good team now. We haven't done a very good job to this point."

There were no signs of panic from the players.

"We're going to score a lot of runs," said Jon Lester, who pitched seven shutout innings in Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Indians. "It's just a matter of time."

"There's not two Red Sox teams. There's only one," DH David Ortiz said. "You gotta cheer for this one if you are a Red Sox fan, right?"

"It can't get any worse than this, and there's only one way to go," 3B Kevin Youkilis said. "That's up."

Asked what type of reception he anticipates today, Francona said: "I don't know. I've got more important things to worry about than how the hell they're going to clap."

Jury to begin deliberation on Bonds

SAN FRANCISCO — The federal case against Barry Bonds is now in the hands of a jury.

Closing arguments in the former Giants star's 12-day trial wrapped up Thursday afternoon, and the eight-woman, four-man jury went home a few minutes later. They'll pick up with deliberations this morning.

"There's a real irony to this case," Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella said in his closing statement. "These substances that the defendant took to make himself strong — he wasn't strong. He was weak. He was too weak to tell the truth despite all the anabolic steroids."

The major leagues' all-time home run leader is charged with three counts of lying to a grand jury in 2003 and a count of obstruction for denying that he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs and for saying no one other than his doctors gave him an injection.

Cristina Arguedas, an attorney on Bonds' defense team, pointed contemptuously at Jeff Novitzky, the federal investigator at the prosecution table.

"They have the power to end careers and to ruin lives," she said to the jury. "And nobody gets to test that evidence unless they have the wherewithal and internal strength to come to a jury trial — to you."

If convicted on any of the charges, federal sentencing guidelines recommend a prison sentence of between 15 and 21 months, though the punishment for Bonds, 46, could be far less severe.

Twins player breaks leg: The Twins lost heralded Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a broken left leg when the Yankees' Nick Swisher slid into the second baseman at the bag while breaking up a double play. The Twins said the play was clean, and Swisher apologized. Nishioka was put on the 15-day DL.

Dodgers security: Police will heighten security at Dodgers home games after a severe beating left a Giants fan with brain damage. "You're going to see a sea of blue, but it's not going to be Dodgers blue. It's going to be LAPD blue," police Chief Charlie Beck said. "This is going to be a game-changer." Bryan Stow, 42, remained in critical condition after he was attacked last week by two men because Stow was wearing a Giants jersey.

Phillies: Closer Brad Lidge (strained right rotator cuff) reiterated that he still hopes to return by the All-Star break.

Yankees: SS Derek Jeter went 2-for-3 to reach 2,931 hits, passing Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Jake Beckley for 33rd on baseball's all-time list.

Reeling Red Sox to face fans, Yanks 04/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2011 10:43pm]

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