Red Sox Repeat As Mayor's Cup Champs

The regular season hasn't begun yet, but the Red Sox have already accomplished something they couldn't do in the aftermath of their 2004 world championship.

The Sox beat the Twins, 12-7, at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, FL Wednesday to win the best-of-five Mayor's Cup series, three games to two. The Mayor's Cup has been contested every year since 1993 between the Ft. Myers neighbors.

The Twins still lead the all-time series, 10-6. The Sox also won it in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2007.

The Sox jumped out to a quick two games to none lead in the series by beating the Twins, 8-3 and 7-6, Feb. 29 and Mar. 1. But the Twins forced the decisive fifth game with lopsided victories Mar. 2 (8-2) and Mar. 7 (7-2).


Colon to debut: Bartolo Colon will make his first Grapefruit League start of the season Thursday, when he opposes the Rays at 1:05 p.m. at City of Palms Park.

Colon, whom the Sox signed to a minor league deal Feb. 25, was initially viewed as rotation insurance. But Colon, who was hampered the last two seasons by arm woes, has impressed the Sox during his bullpen sessions and could assume a more important role sooner than expected if Josh Beckett's back injury lingers and/or the Sox decide presumed fifth starter Clay Buchholz needs some more minor league seasoning. Colon can reportedly opt out of his contract if he is not promoted to the majors by May 1.

"I'm looking forward to this," Terry Francona told reporters Wednesday. "Just the fact that we're getting him on the mound is exciting. We've talked about it all along, how compliant he's been. You're talking about a guy who, with his track record, ahs been coming in at 6:30 [a.m.] and doing his work. We're just excited to get him on the mound and get him going in that direction."

Colon is expected to throw two innings. Among the relievers scheduled to follow Colon are Julian Tavarez and Kyle Snyder, each of whom are vying for the fifth starter's job, as well as left-hander Hideki Okajima.


Greenwell pulls no punches: Mike Greenwell fashioned a reputation for telling it like it is during his 10 seasons with the Sox. He proved Tuesday he hasn't changed even a decade after his last game in Boston.

Greenwell, who threw out the first pitch prior to the game against the Mets, said he was disappointed to know he may have lost out on individual hardware during the two best years of his career to peers such as Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.

Greenwell hit .328 with 19 homers and 89 RBI in 1987, when he finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and hit .325 with career highs in homers (22) and RBI (119) in 1988, when he finished second in the AL Most Valuable Player balloting. McGwire won the Rookie of the Year in 1987, when he hit 49 homers, while Canseco won the MVP the following year after the first 40 homer-40 steals season in baseball history.

"All at once the numbers got crazy," Greenwell told reporters. "Well, why? We all know why and I knew why. I did lose the MVP to Jose Canseco and also lost Rookie of the Year. If you look back, the guys that finished in front of me, we would all have doubt."

Canseco, of course, has admitted to rampant steroid use. McGwire, Canseco's fellow Bash Brother, was pegged as a steroid user by Canseco in the latter's book but clammed up in front of Congress three years ago.

"[If] I could have won Rookie of the Year and MVP in back-to-back years, you're looking at a different person sitting here, aren't you?" Greenwell said. "You really are. You're looking at a guy who did something unbelievable. But the guys that finished ahead of me, I wonder."

Greenwell did enough to earn induction into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. He is one of eight members of the Class of '08 who will be inducted in November.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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