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TON -- The Red Sox clubhouse underwent a significant transformation between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Four players were nowhere to be found, all on their way to the West Coast to join the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Josh Beckett's locker was cleaned out. In his place, Clay Buchholz had moved in.
Adrian Gonzalez's locker had its fourth inhabitant of the season: Mauro Gomez. Kevin Youkilis and then Brent Lillibridge occupied that same space earlier this year.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia moved his gear two doors down to fill Carl Crawford's spot.
Nick Punto's locker remained empty next to Dustin Pedroia's.
"'Weird' I guess is a good word," said outfielder Cody Ross. "I come in and I expect to see Punto over here, he's gone, Gonzalez walking around and Josh and obviously Carl is recovering from surgery, but you're used to seeing these guys' faces throughout the year and all of a sudden they're gone. It kind of gives you a weird feeling but you get over it."
Buchholz described the ordeal as "shocking."
"Just about all those guys are big pieces to the puzzle for us over the last couple of years," the right-hander said. "For them to be gone, like I said, shocking."
But the clubhouse version of musical chairs is not yet done. John Lackey will soon occupy Beckett's former locker, the one that sits closest to the manager's office.
"I told [Josh] last night, 'If this happens, I'm taking your locker.' Then I got in trouble with Lackey because he pulled the card that he had 10 years in the league and I don't," Buchholz said. "So we've got to switch now."
But aside from figuring out which locker belongs to whom, the Red Sox were still digesting the club's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers before Saturday's game against the Royals.
"Obviously mixed feelings," Ross said. "They're going to be missed, those guys. But at the same time you wish them well and wish them the best of luck, and I know that they would say the same about us."
Buchholz and Beckett were close friends, so Saturday morning meant it was time to say goodbye.
"I called Josh whenever I got up, and they were obviously packed up and headed out west," Buchholz said. "Hopefully it'll present them with a good opportunity. It sort of leaves us in a little hole here. This organization has been through a lot over the last 20 years. I think they'll be able to work something out and get us back to where we need to be."
David Ortiz remains the club's longest tenured player, playing his 10th season in Boston. The slugger thinks the full impact of the trade won't be felt until 2013.
"It all depends what the situation of the team is," Ortiz said Friday night. "I'm pretty sure, right now the trade situations we are seeing in today's game, it seems like it works 50-50. The following year you will see the result if you were 50-50 or 75-25, but right now there's a lot of money involved in that and we've got our front office that makes the decision and try to do what is best for the ballclub.
"I think they're looking to put the ballclub in a better situation this year. I'm not saying we're going to be in a better situation without those players, but we're about to find out."