Suddenly, CF B.J. Upton is ready to play.
Upton said Saturday that his sore left ankle "felt a lot better," and he is planning on playing in at least one game in today's doubleheader.
But manager Joe Maddon - who on Friday ruled Upton out for the weekend - is being the cautious one, saying he wants more evidence today that Upton is fully ready to return and to be able to play at full speed.
"I'm going to wait until he comes out and has a chance to fully run on it," Maddon said. "If he can tell me he's 100 percent, then I'm in. And if he can't, then I'm not in. I would rather piece it together in another way until he's fully there."
Maddon said that as soon as he walked into the clubhouse Saturday afternoon, Upton followed him into his office to tell him he was feeling better.
"He came in and told me that and I said, 'That's great, but let's wait until (today), go through your treatments and do everything you've been doing and come out here and run hard, and tell me that you can run hard before we do it.'"
Upton sprained his ankle Sept. 3, returned in the second game of Monday's doubleheader, sat out Tuesday and started again Wednesday but was removed from the game when he didn't go hard after several balls.
Deja VU ALL OVER AGAIN: RHP James Shields was fired up and warmed up to start when Friday's game got postponed, and he'll do so - weather permitting - again today.
"It's unusual, that's for sure," Shields said. "You get all amped up for the game, and I went home (Friday) night thinking to myself I threw a pretty good no-hitter in the bullpen. I couldn't sleep (Friday) night just because I didn't expend any energy after getting all amped up and getting my mind right.
"I'm glad I'm pitching (today), and the good news is I'm healthy and I can do that."
It will be even weirder for Sox counterpart Jon Lester, who threw 23 pitches Friday - having loaded the bases with one out - and will come back today.
Shields and Matt Garza, the first-game starter, have been joking about how their hitters will respond today, since Garza has had the lowest run support in the AL (3.75 per 9 IP) and Shields the fifth lowest (4.30 per 9 IP).
"Hopefully we both get a bunch of runs," Shields said.
DOUBLE-DIPPING: With a second doubleheader in seven days, Maddon is planning to use basically two teams, with 3B Evan Longoria and DH Pat Burrell the only ones targeted for double duty. Otherwise, SS Jason Bartlett and Reid Brignac will each play one game, 1B Willy Aybar and Chris Richard, etc.
TRIVIAL PEnA PURSUITS:If Carlos Pena's 39 homers hold up as most in the AL - Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira has 35 - Pena would be the first player since the dead ball era (1920) to lead his league despite missing the final 25 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. SI.com's Tom Verducci points out that Pena - out for the season with two broken fingers - has already smashed two odd records: fewest hits in a 100-RBI season (107, Phil Plantier had 111 for the '93 Padres) and fewest singles (41, Barry Bonds had 49 for the '01 Giants).
MINOR MATTERS: Class A Charlotte lost to Tampa (Yankees) 5-2 in the opener of the best-of-five Florida State League finals at Steinbrenner Field. Game 2 is tonight in Tampa; then the series shifts to Port Charlotte on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7. For ticket info and to follow the games, see stonecrabsbaseball.com. ... Triple-A Durham plays a fifth and deciding game at 5:05 today against Louisville (Reds) in the first round of the International League playoffs after losing 10-7 on Saturday.
MISCELLANY: RHP Andy Sonnanstine passed on the Kent State-Boston College football game due to the heavy rains but did get his Golden Flashes jersey. ... The 46 starts made by Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis are the sixth most by rookies of all teams; Oakland has had 98.