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Cooperstown Confidential

Hot Stove Edition

By Bruce Markusen
February 12, 2004

Beantown Bunts
Theo Epstein has rightly received credit for completing two master strokes of pitching makeover with the acquisitions of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, but he deserves just as much acclaim for the subtle moves heís made in fortifying Bostonís bench and platoon options. The recent signing of solid citizen Ellis Burks makes so much sense that thereís virtually no downside. Heís the perfect man to platoon at DH with David Ortiz; over the last three seasons, Burks has thumped left-handers to the tune of a .384 on-base percentage and a .564 slugging percentage, all coming in a decent sampling of 305 at-bats. And even though Burks has played only 28 games in the outfield over the past three years, he still might be able to spell Manny Ramirez in left from time to time. Letís face it, the more that Ramirez serves as a designated hitter, the better off the Red Sox will find themselves in cutting down the risk of injury and bonehead plays in the field

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