BOSTON - JULY 6: Nomar Garciaparra #1 of the Oakland Athletics signs autographs for fans at Fenway Park prior to their game against the Boston Red Sox on July 6, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It turned out to be a very emotional night at Fenway Park on Monday as Nomar Garciaparra made his first trip back since being traded back in 2004 at the trade deadline.

The Boston Red Sox happened to be on the road in Minnesota when Garciaparra found out he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He never got a chance to thank the fans and the fans didn’t get the chance to thank him.

That opportunity came last night as the fans gave Nomar a 1 minute and 14 second standing ovation to thank him for his time in Boston. Nomar had passed on his thoughts about the fans of Boston before the game. Nomar finished the game last night 2-for-4 with an RBI before he was lifted for a pinch-runner.

It really was strange seeing Nomar back at the Fens in another uniform but that close to the norm in baseball these days with free agency. You can’t fault Theo for trading him as it ultimately helped the Red Sox capture their World Series ring in 86 years.

John Smoltz struggled in his Fenway debut and they really needed him to be at the top of his game as they ran into the buzzsaw that was Oakland A’s starter Brett Anderson. While Smoltz was giving up runs, Anderson was baffling Red Sox hitters. It definitely wasn’t the Fenway debut that Smoltz had hoped for.

Smoltz struggled with his command and you have to wonder if nerves played a part like they did his season debut against the Nationals. The telling tale will be determined when Smoltz makes his next start this weekend against the Royals. I do wonder if he continues to struggle if the Sox will callup Clay Buchholz from Pawtucket.

The Red Sox did play shorthanded last night as reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia was a late scratch with some family issues. His wife Kelli is pregnant with a little Pedroia and had to go the hospital. Nick Green moved over to second base and Julio Lugo stepped in at shortstop and surprise surprise, made a throwing error.

The local nine also lost Jeff Bailey to the disabled list before the game as he is out with a sprained ankle. Taking his place on the 25-man roster was Aaron Bates, who was called up from Pawtucket.

Sign of the times [Boston Globe]

A’s Rookie Shuts Out Red Sox [Hartford Courant]

John Smoltz, Red Sox out at first [Boston Herald]

Young lefty stifles Boston bats [Providence Journal]

Systematic ascension [Boston Globe]

Nomar Dreams Of Finishing Career With Red Sox [Hartford Courant]

Nomar Garciaparra: Man of the hour [Boston Herald]

Pedroia misses game to be with pregnant wife [Providence Journal]

A waiting game with Smoltz [Boston Globe]

Split decision for John Smoltz [Boston Herald]

Garciaparra says recovery from injury is hampered by genetic condition [Providence Journal]

Garciaparra was heart and soul, and Fenway Faithful remember [Boston Globe]

Dustin Pedroia out of action [Boston Herald]

Garciaparra, Red Sox fans express mutual admiration [Providence Journal]

Five Things We Learned: The Sox’ Need for a Bat Is Growing [Full Count]

Rookie Brett Anderson steals spotlight [Boston Herald]

Red Sox journal: Up from Pawtucket, Bates starts at first [Providence Journal]

Aaron Bates rides swing with Red Sox [Boston Herald]

No spark from the Sox lately [Tony Massarotti – Boston Globe]

Seven Red Sox International Free Agent Pitchers You Should Get to Know [Wicked Good Sports]

Nomar [Hit and Run With Dan Roche]

Tony’s Top 5: Highlights of the Garciaparra years [Tony Massarotti – Boston Globe]

Tuesday Quickie: Two Hits, Two Nuggets [Nuggetpalooza]

For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Providence Journal websites.

And if you want to see what the enemy papers are saying, head over to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times websites.