Red Sox hope to bring some healing for Boston

Jon Lester has felt pride when slipping on his Boston jersey and

cap. Never more than now.

Away from home and family members they worried about during some

anxious moments on Monday, the Red Sox are hoping their return to

the field Tuesday night will help their wounded city heal after the

marathon bombings.

As always, the Red Sox will play for themselves – and all of

Boston.

”It really hits home,” Lester said. ”Boston’s my home, just

like everyone else in this clubhouse. It’s obviously not a good

situation, but hopefully like 9/11 we come together as a city again

and as a nation and whoever did this make them realize we don’t

take kindly to things like this. It really hits home.”

The Red Sox and Indians will wear black armbands to honor the

victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon’s finish line. Three

people were killed and more than 170 were injured in the

attacks.

The giant American flag flew at half-staff before the series

opener with a moment of silence before Tuesday’s first pitch.

Lester said there was never any discussion about not playing

Tuesday’s game.

”I think everybody just assumed we would take the field tonight

and be proud to put on that Boston uniform, like we are every day –

but especially with everything going on,” he said.

On Monday, the Red Sox had just beaten Tampa 3-2 on an RBI

double by Mike Napoli in the ninth inning in the annual Patriots’

Day morning game and were in a bus headed to the airport when they

received the first reports of explosions near the finish line.

”We usually have a police escort and they took off without

us,” Lester said. ”We started asking questions and it started

from the front and went to the back.”

Lester said players frantically called family members to check

on their safety. Later, on the flight to Cleveland, players who

normally pass the time by watching a movie or playing a game on

their laptops, were glued to TVs showing the latest events in

Boston.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was subdued and solemn as

he discussed all that transpired in the past 24 hours.

”It’s the worst thing,” he said. ”It’s awful. I was there the

day before. You can’t even describe how you feel. All of us, that

bus ride, it was silent. It’s still hard to put together.”

Pedroia, though, was sure Boston would rally.

”You take pride in the city you play in,” he said. ”This is

all some of us know. I’ve only played for the Red Sox. This city,

what they demand of their team, the way everybody – it’s the

toughest city out there. We put our uniform on, and it’ll be that

much more special every day.”

Indians manager Terry Francona, who won two World Series titles

during eight seasons in Boston, said he got word while he was

Progressive Field filming a commercial. As he caught up on the

tragedy, Francona was struck the familiar images appearing on the

screen.

”It’s personal for just about everybody,” he said. ”Some of

those views, you could see the church where my daughter got

married. It’s very unsettling for everybody.”

With the Bruins and Celtics having their homes games scratched

because of the attacks, the Red Sox can bring some comfort to a

region needing a break.

”When it comes down to anything in life, I know going back to

my experiences with cancer,” said Lester, who survived the

disease. ”The further you can get away from that and not think

about it, it eases your mind and maybe we can do that by taking the

field and easing some minds back in Boston. We can give them

something other than news to watch for a couple hours and hopefully

make people forget for a couple hours.

”Hopefully, we can bust our butts and keep playing hard.”

One TV in Boston’s clubhouse continued to show images of the

bombings, which occurred on sidewalks many of the players have

walked with their families.

Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes said he and his teammates have

”heavy hearts” as they move forward. However, Gomes said it’s not

like anyone from that area of the country to quit at anything, and

it’s up to the Red Sox to do their part to make Boston whole

again.

”We’re trying to say the Boston Red Sox are not laying down for

this,” he said. ”We’re going to keep on trucking.”