Red Sox, A's to play split DH

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Irene to Southern New England this weekend, the Boston Red Sox have announced that Sunday's game has been moved to Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Red Sox and Oakland Athletics will play a split doubleheader, beginning at noon on Saturday at Fenway Park. The second game will begin at 5 p.m. and there will be no game on Sunday.

"With a forecast that calls for potentially heavy rains and high winds on Sunday, we felt it was necessary and prudent to move the Sunday game to Saturday, also," said Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino. "This will not only give us the best opportunity to play the scheduled games, but also help to ensure that traveling conditions are safer for our fans.

"We apologize for the inconvenience these changes will cause our fans this weekend, both those coming to the ballpark and those tuning in to the game on radio or television."

The Red Sox, A's, Major League Baseball and the players' association were all involved in the decision to move Sunday's game to Saturday.

"It made the most sense to everybody," said Red Sox player rep Daniel Bard. "Obviously, travel is going to be pretty rough leading up to it, so we were trying to get creative and find another way to do it, but this is how it worked out."

Bard admitted the commissioner's office was involved in the decision and was the main reason there's a separate admission doubleheader on Saturday.

"Even if we refused the split, which through the union we could have done, but they could have made it a back-to-back doubleheader and it wasn't worth taking the money out of our front office's pocket, so we decided to agree to it."

Red Sox ownership wanted to play a doubleheader on Friday, but the players refused because the team won't get back to Boston until 5 in the morning.

"We can't do that. You can't ask guys to play 18 innings after getting in at 5 a.m.," Bard said. "That was quickly shot down."

Fans holding tickets for Saturday's regularly scheduled game may use them for Game 1 of the doubleheader, which is scheduled to begin at the new start time of noon. All gates for that game will open at 10:30 a.m.

Fans holding tickets for the Sunday game may use those tickets for Game 2 on Saturday, which is now scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. All gates for will open 45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.