Our second base conundrum was solved today.
Loretta, a career .301/.365/.408 hitter, should fit in nicely in the two-spot, allowing Renteria to move to the sixth spot. He has decent speed, and should be able to work some walks. If Damon does not return, Loretta could end up our leadoff hitter. His best season was 2004, when he hit .335/.391/.495. I expect his power to jump up a bit now that he’s in Fenway Park and he’s rehabilitated from an injury that plagued him last year.
Doug Mirabelli goes to San Diego, and we wish him a fond farewell. For his four-and-a-half years in Boston, he was a fan favorite, and I hope he finds great success in San Diego. If he’s a starter, I think the Padres will be pleasantly surprised with what Belli brings to the table. This also means that Kelly Shoppach is now our backup catcher in Boston, and I expect him to work extensively with Tim Wakefield in spring training.
[[UPDATE Apparently, Shoppach still may be moved. The Herald reports that
To replace Mirabelli, the Sox likely would venture onto the free agent market in pursuit of someone like John Flaherty or Ken Huckaby, veterans whom they believe could handle Wakefield.
Catching prospect Kelly Shoppach does not seem like an option to replace Mirabelli as Wakefield