Something of a homecoming for a couple people associated with the Red Sox tonight in Pittsburgh. Bob Hohler tells us about Larry Lucchino returning to his hometown, how his back hurting these days because of the Sox ERA, and how he has the bridge picked that he will jump from if the Sox don’t take two out of three from the Pirates. Way to feed the paranoia, Larry. David Heuschkel looks at Tim Wakefield returning to where his career began with a bang over a decade ago. Jeff Horrigan touches on Lucchino’s Pittsburgh roots, looks at the pitching issues, and looks way back to the last time these two teams played a meaningful series…100 years ago. Steven Krasner looks at the pitching woes of the Red Sox, and also does some second guessing of Grady Little’s use of the bullpen and pitchers that he does have. Tony Massarotti defends Grady, and attempts to calm the panicked masses. Horrigan also reports that Derek Lowe’s latest growth on his nose turned out to be noncancerous. Krasner also looks at the Sox recent struggles in interleague play against the National League. Bill Reynolds, employing the “open letter” concept of column writing, has a heart to heart with Theo, letting him know the honeymoon is over, and that the Sox GM better be making moves to improve his team’s pitching staff, so that they can “eradicate the curse”. Gerry Callahan, on the other hand, steps to Theo’s defense over the barbs being lobbed back here by Shea Hillenbrand. He also makes a not-so-veiled reference to possible steroid use by Hillenbrand:

Maybe someone should remind Hillenbrand that the guys on the Red Sox beat were decent enough not to ask him how he managed to build muscles on top of his muscles. Let's hope the D'backs provide him with a helmet that fits. He could use one.

The baseball draft begins today, and Gordon Edes looks at some of the college prospects the Red Sox might be looking at with their early selections. Alex Speier notes that the shift away from high school players will be a change of practice for the Red Sox scouting director, David Chadd. A good look at the new practices being employed by the Sox and around baseball in this area. Chris Forsberg looks at Peabody’s Jeff Allison who is a high school pitcher projected to go high in the draft today. In another “open letter” Jon Wallach welcomes Byung-Hyun Kim and gives him a few pointers about the city and fans of Boston. Hohler’s notebook looks at the prospect of more at bats for David Ortiz.

ACC officials paid a visit to the BC campus yesterday. By all accounts the visit went well. Rich Thompson looks at the mutual admiration between the two parties. Ken Davis also reports on the visit, and speculates how competitive BC’s football and basketball program can be in the ACC. Mark Blaudschun notes that Syracuse is the only remaining possible stumbling block, as some there have reservations as to whether this is the right move for the school.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on the Ducks tying up the Stanley Cup finals at two with a 1-0 OT win last night. Steve Conroy indicates that this game was a bit more entertaining than the score might indicate. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at a minor controversy brewing in the faceoff circles. Conroy’s notebook looks at Steve Thomas, who joined the Ducks at the trade deadline and who got the winning goal last night.

Steve Bulpett gets a Vin Baker update from Danny Ainge. The master of hindsight, Peter May, tells us that San Antonio has been a perfect fit for Tim Duncan, and that if the Celtics had won his rights in the lottery, he would’ve left after three years anyway.

Christopher Price looks at the development and adjustments that Patriots first round pick Ty Warren is making. Michael Felger reports on the progress of backup QB Rohan Davey, who has been one of the stars of the offseason.

A couple items in the Inside Track. First they give the Globe’s young phenom Michael Smith grief about his refusal to cover the Sox in Toronto last weekend:

Boring Broadsheet sports scribe Michael Smith balked at covering the Boston Red Sox beat this past weekend and word on the Boulevard is Smith took a pass on the Toronto series because he was afraid of SARS. What a wuss!

``Unbelievable,'' said Someone in the Press Box. ``Every other reporter made it.'' Including, we hear, Smith's Boston Globe co-worker, Gordon Edes, who had hoped to have a couple days off but couldn't when Smith staged his SARS strike.

Well, good thing Michael never had to cover real news like the many brave journalists who risked life and limb to cover the war in Iraq - including Smith's colleague, Elizabeth Neuffer, who died there!

The DirtDogs website takes Smith to task on this matter. The Track also notes a gay sports website’s outrage to Hillenbrand using “a not-very-nice word for a gay man” in reference to Theo on the air recently. They plan on filing a complaint. The spokesperson adds: “And the fact that Theo’s not gay makes no difference whatsoever. It’s Hillenbrand’s willingness to use a very derogatory term that’s offensive to gay men that’s the issue.” Shea’s left town guns ‘ablazin, it appears.

Bill Griffith reports that the WEEI Big Show paycuts have been rescinded, but that those cuts will be applied to other programs at the station. (Sorrry, Ted) Jim Baker previews the NBA Finals with Bill Walton. Nothing you haven’t heard a million times before. Yesterday, John Molori looked at Sean McDonough’s tenure at WWZN. He concluded by calling McDonough “the Manny Ramirez of Boston sports radio: full of amazing talent and fantastic potential, but clearly lacking in total commitment and a dogged dedication to his craft.” Don’t worry, I won’t go there.

My friends, who are avid fishermen, tell me that Charlie Moore’s show on NESN is a joke. Just thought that I’d mention that.

NESN has Sox/Pirates at 7:00. TBS has Rangers/Braves at 7:30.