NEW YORK — There have been only two major league players in history with the nickname of Mookie. The original was rooting for the latest version when the Red Sox played the Yankees on Sunday night.
Mookie Wilson, reached at his home in South Carolina, admitted he had never heard of Red Sox rookie Mookie Betts.
“I’m out of the loop as far as the minor league players go,” Wilson said. “But a player named Mookie with the Red Sox? That’s funny. That’s great.”
Wilson is a notable figure in Red Sox history. The New York Mets left fielder hit the now-infamous slow roller to first base that got by Bill Buckner in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The error completed a dramatic three-run comeback for the Mets in the inning as they denied the Red Sox a championship. The Sox lost Game 7 two days later and until this season, Mookie was a name that made Red Sox fans cringe.
Now there is Betts, a much-anticipated prospect who made his debut in right field on Sunday batting eighth.
Wilson, 58, said he was eager to see the 21-year-old Betts play, especially with the game being in New York. Betts went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run in the Red Sox’ 8-5 win.
“Tell that young man I’ll be rooting for him,” he said. “I really hope he plays well. He must be a good player if the Red Sox are bringing him up to play against the Yankees.”
Markus Lynn Betts got his nickname because his parents were fans of former NBA guard Mookie Blaylock. William Hayward Wilson has no idea how he came to be called Mookie.
“It doesn’t mean anything. I’ve just always had that nickname,” Wilson said. “Been a part of me my whole life.”
Wilson also revealed that he was actually in Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and ended their 86-year drought.
“I’ve never had an issue with any fans from Boston,” he said. “I was there in 2004 doing a charity event with some of the guys. Luis Tiant and Oil Can Boyd were there. I was walking and everybody was nice to me. I enjoy it when I go to Boston.”
Betts smiled when he heard that Wilson wished him well.
“That’s nice of him to say,” he said. “Hope I meet him sometime.”
Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, who had a brain aneurysm on June 4, returned to Boston on Sunday and will rejoin the team Monday.
The 44-year-old Colbrunn took ill in Cleveland before a game against the Indians and spent more than a week at the Cleveland Clinic before further recuperating at his home in South Carolina.
“The one thing we’re trying to get a better gauge on is the endurance inside of a given day, how many hours on his feet,” manager John Farrell said. “There’s going to be a gradual buildup back to that.”
The Red Sox did not expect Colbrunn to return so soon.
“He’s made steady and quick progress over the last 7-10 days and looking forward to getting back to us,” Farrell said.
Assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez has filled in for Colbrunn with the help of minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers, who will remain with the team for at least a few more days.
Bogaerts sits again
For the second time in a span of eight games, Xander Bogaerts was on the bench as BrockHolt started at third base for the first time since June 15.
With Betts now on the roster, Farrell said there would be a rotation of five players [Bogaerts, Betts, Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., Stephen Drew] for four spots.
That aside, Bogaerts also is in a horrendous slump. The 21-year-old was 2 for 31 on the road trip and hitting .091 (6 of 66) in his last 18 games with a .265 OPS. Bogaerts had one extra-base hit and two RBIs in that stretch and walked only three times.
Farrell acknowledged the problem and said “adjustments were in the works” with Bogaerts, whose OPS has fallen from .840 on June 7 to .711.
“His timing is off. We recognize that. There’s some things that are tangibly different right now than when he was in a stretch where he was impacting the baseball with regularity,” the manager said.
“That is being addressed in early work, it’s being addressed in regular [batting practice], and while it’s being accomplished more readily at that speed, game speed is where some of that reverting back is taking place.
“It’s not a matter of talent or commitment to work, it’s the execution during the game-at-game speed. We’ve got to remain patient, we’ve got to keep working at it and that’s what we’re doing.”
Farrell said the Sox have identified problems with Bogaerts’s swing. But he dismissed the idea that Bogaerts is slumping because he was moved off shortstop against his wishes.
Peavy takes his turn
Jake Peavy takes a 1-6 record and 4.93 earned run average into his start against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park on Monday night.
Peavy is 0-6 with a 5.88 ERA in 11 starts since his one win on April 25. The Red Sox, major league sources said, are open to the idea of trading Peavy and creating a rotation spot for RubbyDe La Rosa, who was optioned on Saturday.
“I’m feeling better than I have in a while,” said Peavy, who dealt with groin and elbow problems for much of May and early June. “I feel like I’m close to pitching the way I can pitch.
“As for the rest, I don’t have much to say. I want to be here and I want to help this team.”
Lester: no talks
ESPN reported during the game that the Red Sox had restarted contract talks with pending free agent Jon Lester. The sides suspended negotiations at the end of spring training.
Team sources reported that was not true, and it was news to Lester.
“I don’t think they’ve started anything. I know the conversation has been there throughout the season with different topics,” Lester said. “Like I said from the beginning of the season, the conversations were amicable and conversations continued. Nothing as far as contract or numbers or anything like that.”
Lester did not appreciate the report deflecting attention from the team winning the series.
“It’s an added distraction we don’t need right now. We just need to focus on playing baseball and get back to competing in the East,” he said. “We don’t need to worry about my contract stuff. That’s the last thing I want these guys to worry about.”
By the usual standards of the Red Sox and Yankees, the first two games of the series were over in a hurry. Friday’s game lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes and Saturday’s 2:47. It was the first time the teams played consecutive games in 2:47 or less since 2001. It has not happened within the same series since 1997 in a doubleheader at the old Yankee Stadium. Sunday’s game was played in, unfortunately, 3:38 . . . Farrell, who will manage the American League in the All-Star Game on July 15, met with MLB officials Saturday to discuss the roster. With the fans and players voting, managers have limited influence on the makeup of the team, but do help pick the five candidates for the “Final Vote” on line . . . MikeCarp is 1 for 5 in two rehabilitation games with Triple A Pawtucket. Carp, who is on the disabled list with a broken right foot, was off on Sunday and is scheduled to play in the field for Pawtucket on Monday . . . Holt has reached base safely in 33 of his 37 starts when hitting leadoff.