Monday, July 18

7/18/05 – Jose returns from DL

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. After an unprecedented 20 days on the disabled list, Jose returns to action today. He rejoins a Red Sox team that has lost five out of six against division rivals and badly needs his assistance. But will he be the same Jose as before his injury? The early results are discouraging.

While Jose professes to feel better than ever, he has not looked sharp in side sessions or simulated games thus far. His grammar has been a little shaky, his quips lackluster and his spelling, never one of his strong suits, has been abysmal. Since he has not yet looked like his old self, there has been some discussion that management, rather than asking Jose to write full KEYS, will have him write relief KEYS for a while, in other words, letting someone else write the first KEY or two and then coming in to write the third KEY if the game looks close coming down the stretch. There are even some rumors that Jose was the first to suggest this approach.
While Jose has offered to do anything that will help the team, some Red Sox have suggested that the idea is foolish at best.

When asked to comment on the situation (note: or even when not asked to comment on the situation) centerfielder Johnny Damon said, “You’ve got a lot of upset people in here. I don’t think he’s ready to be our closer. I think SoSHers like kevlog or Nuf Ced are the choice as the closer. I mean, not only does Jose not have long luxurious hair like me, he’s also not even really Mexican. By the way, did I mention that I love seeing my name in the paper. Not that I can read or anything, but I just like people telling me it’s there.”

Added first baseman Kevin Millar, “If you try to take my starting job away from me, I’ll cut you.”

Also at issue, is Jose’s rehabilitation routine. Rather than go to team physicians, Jose is rumored to have sought care in the Balkans, undertaking a course of treatment that was said to include drinking no fewer that 15 tiny cups of macchiato every day, while fending off questions as to why he did not know that former Albanian Prime Minister Fan Noli is buried in Boston.

Jose would like to address these rumors directly. Yes, he was in the Balkans, but not for himself, for the good of the team. How is it for the good of the team? Well, if studying strategies for bringing a lasting peace to one of the world’s most unstable regions isn’t important to the Red Sox, Jose doesn’t know what is. Do you really think the Red Sox can be successful without successful final status negotiations in Kosovo, a complete implementation of the Ohrid Framework agreement in Macedonia and a dramatic decrease in corruption in Albania? Let us not forget that Ted Williams missed what would have been some of his best seasons fighting in World War II, which was a direct consequence of World War I which started in, you guessed it, the Balkans. So unless you want John Papelbon to end up in the U.S. Air Force right when he’s coming into his prime, cut Jose some slack.

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