Red Sox players woke up Friday to a request from the team that they stay away from Fenway Park while law enforcement officials were hunting for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“They told us to stay home,” third baseman Will Middlebrooks said. “I think everybody figured there wouldn’t be a game with everything that was going on in the city.”
By 3 p.m., the game against the Kansas City Royals was postponed. It has not yet been rescheduled.
“This is unprecedented territory for us,” Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the Red Sox worked closely with officials from the office of Mayor Thomas Menino during the day. The team also consulted with the Bruins, who postponed their game at TD Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We’ve been in communication since [Thursday] with various public officials — federal, state, and city — and have been following their lead,” Kennedy said. “We were also in contact with the Bruins and we wanted to make sure we followed their lead and vice versa.
“We made the decision that the game needed to be postponed with everything that has been going on.”
The Red Sox told all team employees to stay home. The gates were locked at Fenway Park and security officers turned away visitors.
A handful of players — Mike Carp, Pedro Ciriaco, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester, Franklin Morales, and Shane Victorino — were seen going into the park. But most stayed home.
“I was following the story on television and on Twitter,” said Middlebrooks. “It’s all pretty hard to believe. Obviously, baseball is not very important on a day like this.”
The Red Sox also coordinated with Major League Baseball. Team president Larry Lucchino spoke with commissioner Bud Selig about the situation, Kennedy said.
“Everybody was in synch,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to make sure we were following the lead of the various public officials and taking our direction from them.
“We had plenty of time to get the word out to our fans and staff. We knew we would be able to get the word out quickly.”
Kennedy said the team will play Saturday’s scheduled 1:10 p.m. game.
There are two options to make up the postponed game: a doubleheader on Sunday, or a game on July 1 when the teams have a mutual day off. The teams would prefer to play two Sunday, but need clearance from Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Clay Buchholz, who was scheduled to start Friday night, would pitch Saturday.
Kennedy revealed that the Red Sox hired a private security firm to sweep Fenway Park after the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, which is only a mile away.
“The park is safe,” Kennedy said.
The Royals arrived in Boston Thursday and were told to stay in their hotel.
“We’re just planning on it until we hear different, that’s all we can do,” Royals manager Ned Yost said on the team’s website. “We’re going to do like everybody else,’’ Royals manager Ned Yost said on the team’s website. “We’re just waiting it out and seeing what happens.’’ They’re not opening the ballpark right now until the situation is resolved.”
Royals reliever Tim Collins, a Worcester native, said it was eerie being in Boston during the emergency.
“We’re anxious to get out of the hotel,” he told Fox Sports. “We want this to be over. I’m sure everybody does.”
The Red Sox, who are off to an 11-4 start, have won six straight. The team was eager to get back to Fenway Park and play in front of the home fans for the first time since Monday’s attack.
“We just want to play, and I’m sure people would like to watch us play,” Middlebrooks said. “Everybody wants to get back to normal. This is a situation none of us expected to be in.”