BOSTON: Now that Carlos Santana is on the disabled list for an extended period and Travis Hafner's injury will keep him out of the lineup for at least another week, who is supposed to drive in runs in the middle of the Indians' lineup?
At first manager Manny Acta smiled when asked that question this afternoon, knowing that there is no good answer. ""We still have to show up and play hard,'' he said. ""Even when those guys were here, we were at the bottom of the league in runs.''
In other words, how much worse can it get?
Tuesday night against Josh Beckett, Shelley Duncan batted in the cleanup spot and Jordan Brown batted fifth. Between them, they were 0-for-7. Brown was playing in his third major-league game. Duncan is batting fourth again tonight with Matt LaPorta fifth. In both games, Shin-Soo Choo was at his regular No. 3 spot in the order.
In the aftermath of hostilities that broke out in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's game, Acta was asked if the umpires dealt with the incident properly.
""I think they handled it well,'' the manager said. ""You see those things every night. If you watch highlights on ESPN, I think there were a couple of those last night.''
After Beckett hit Duncan and Choo in the first three innings, Jensen Lewis threw high and behind Adrian Beltre in the eighth. Beltre had homered twice Monday night.
When Beltre took a few steps toward the mound, benches cleared and and several shouting matches broke out, one between third base coach Steve Smith and Boston manager Terry Francona. Smith, Beckett and Lewis were ejected.
""I don't know what the deal was with Smitty,'' Acta said of his ejection. ""He was just trying to restore order. It was not a big deal. Nobody got hurt. ''