Category Archives: Baseball
by PATRICK CAVANAUGH
(MANCHESTER, N.H.)—It may not be the ideal night for baseball, but nonetheless, two rivals will face off in the Queen City tonight. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats take on the Portland Sea Dogs in game two of the three game series. The Fisher Cats will throw RHP Deck McGuire. The SeaDogs give righty Charlie Haegar the nod.
Haegar, 29, was drafted in 2001 by the Chicago White Sox when he was only 17! Another unique thing about Haegar is he throws a flawless knuckleball. He hurls it in at about 70 mph, and it is fairly accurate. The Eastern League has certainly seen it’s fair share of talent before, and this guy is another name to add to the list. Charlie Haegar may be a little too old to see time in The Show, but he certainly shows the big-league caliber talent that the Sea Dogs need.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats will go on to play the Portland Sea Dogs tomorrow (5/15) before they head on a seven-game roadtrip. For live updates throughout tonight’s game, you can follow Patrick on Twitter (@pcava12).
Welcome guest columnist Brian Danuff as he brings us this great commentary on the Boston/New York rivalry, also remembering the Boston Marathon tragedy one month to the day:
December 26, 1919 is a date not too many people remember. That day, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the team’s slugging star pitcher George Herman “Babe” Ruth to the New York Yankees.
Few knew it at the time, but the moment Frazee received $125,000 and New York received the face of Major League Baseball, a rivalry was born.
At first not really transitioning to the field, the Yankees and Red Sox quietly had a battle going on in seeing which team did better after the big “selling” of Babe Ruth. While each club had its share of glory during the remainder of the 20th century, there was a pretty clear winner of this deal.
With the trade of Ruth, the Red Sox still remained an admirable franchise however. Legends like Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, and Roger Clemens all called Fenway Park home and guided the team to five division titles and four A.L. pennants.
Yet, bad luck, inconsistent play, or something called the “Curse of the Bambino” prevented the Sox from winning any World Series titles for 86 consecutive years, dating back to Ruth’s second-to-last season in Boston – 1918.
Meanwhile, things couldn’t have gone better for the Yankees.
After the Babe’s arrival, the team would become the dominant force we know today, winning four World Series and opening a grand new stadium during Ruth’s tenure in New York. Once he was gone, players such as Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle emerged, leading the Yanks to 16 more championships through 1962.
Following a 21st world title in 1977, the Red Sox had a golden chance to dethrone the Yankees in 1978. At one point they led the division by 14 1/2 games in the middle of July. But struggles for Boston and great play by interim manager Bob Lemon’s Yankees ensued, and it resulted in a tie for the division at the end of the season.
A one-game playoff (also known as game 163) at Fenway Park was played for the A.L. East title, and the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead in the 7th inning. With two runners on, Bucky Dent came up and forever embedded his name into the heads of fans and both teams alike. He cranked a three-run home run over the Green Monster and gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish.
“The Curse” had gotten the Bo-Sox once again. The Yanks indeed repeated as world champions in 1978, and when the Red Sox finally had an opportunity to win it all with the Bombers out of the picture in 1986, their efforts were squandered by the other New York team – the Mets.
A ground ball through Bill Buckner’s legs cost the Red Sox what would have been a World Series clinching Game 6 victory, and they then lost Game 7 the following night. Saying it was a nightmare for the franchise and its fans was a huge understatement.
To make matters worse, being good, but not good enough during the 80’s and early 90’s caught up to Boston when the Yankees returned to relevance. A mix of battle-tested veterans and solid youngsters would help New York win four of five World Series in the late 90’s. The Sox had a chance to put an end to the dynasty in the two teams’ first ever playoff meet of the 1999 ALCS, but they rolled over and lost in five games.
Two years later, the Red Sox were far off from playoff contention finishing just one game over .500 (82-79). The Yankees on the other hand were steamrolling towards another division title in early September of 2001 when the world stood still.
New York City’s World Trade Center and 3,000 lives were lost on September 11th in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Two hijacked airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers, and two others crashed into the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Suddenly, baseball meant nothing. Everyone’s attention turned to the affected areas, as MLB cancelled all games for a whole week. Players all around professional sports admitted to questioning whether or not to go back to playing at all, as it was displayed on TV stations all across America that there was way more important things in life than children’s’ sports being played by men.
However, sports did go on, and when baseball started back up every team kept New York in their thoughts, even the Red Sox. As a classy way of pushing aside the rivalry and paying tribute to the city, Fenway Park played Frank Sinatra’s “Theme from New York, New York” during a game following 9/11.
That’s right. The Yankees’ anthem, known to play whenever the team wins, was being heard echoing through their rival’s ballpark. It wasn’t so much about the song, but the idea that Boston was able to put away their differences with New York and send out their support truly meant a lot to the recovery effort of the city. If the Red Sox were backing New York City, everyone must be.
But as we all know, life went on. Eventually, the Yankees and Red Sox were able to focus on baseball again, and it was the perfect time for it. Fresh off a stinging loss in the 2001 World Series that ended the team’s championship dynasty, the Yanks saw many old faces leave and new ones come in. Meanwhile, the Bo-Sox hired the youngest general manager in baseball history Theo Epstein, and he began building a dominant team.
New York had finally fallen back to Earth, and Boston had taken a step up. It was only a matter of time before the rivalry intensified once again.
The ability to “Cowboy Up” allowed the Red Sox to return the playoffs in 2003 with a 95 win campaign, good enough for the A.L. Wild Card. Boston would then defeat the A’s in the ALDS and advance. The Yankees, at 101 wins, won the division and breezed past the Minnesota Twins in the first round. Therefore, the stage was set – Yankees and Red Sox, the winner going to the World Series.
Everything from that ALCS is mostly a blur, however, except for the final pitch – or should I say “swing”. Aaron Boone launched a home run into the left field seats at the old Yankee Stadium to give New York the pennant and send Boston golfing.
The following year once again looked promising for the Red Sox – until, once again, they met up with the Yankees in the ALCS. This time, 2003 seemed like a distant memory, as the Bo-Sox didn’t even put up a fight in the beginning. Three straight dominating wins by the Yankees seemed to have prove two points – that New York was once again the better team in 2004, and that the Curse of the Bambino would never end.
Keeping the faith, Red Sox outfielder Kevin Millar entered Game 4 with the mindset that New York can’t let Boston win tonight, or they’d be in a heap of trouble.
He wasn’t far from the truth at all.
A 6-4 win in 12 innings, followed by a 5-4 win in 14 innings, led to a 4-2 win in just 9 innings in Game 6. The Red Sox had won three straight, and the Yankees had lost three straight. While some call it a “choke”, New York did lose those three games by very small margins. It was only Game 7 where they really embarrassed themselves.
Losing 6-0 after just 2 innings at home was the kiss of death. The Yankee Stadium crowd fell silent and then ferociously cheered – for the Red Sox, that is, when Pokey Reese threw to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out of a 10-3 victory. The Red Sox had won the pennant in historic fashion over their arch rivals, and even though the World Series was yet to be played, it was safe to say the Curse had ended right then and there.
A sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals followed and the Red Sox had won it all. As anti-climactic it was, it ended generations of suffering and doubt from sports fans around the world. Three years later, Boston would win the division over the Yankees, and the World Series again in 2007. One championship in 86 years was plenty. But two rings in four seasons? Unfathomable.
Even Boston’s other sports teams joined in on the fun in the 2000s. The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years, the Celtics won the 2008 NBA Finals, and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2010. It was an unprecedented run, for a city so deprived of national recognition, to suddenly crank out championships faster than Apple releases iPhones.
New York has had two “Giant” Super Bowls and another Yankees’ World Series in 2009, but the past decade without a doubt belongs to Boston when comparing success in sports.
But at the end of the day, as we all know sports can often be just a distraction from the hardships of life. The events at the Boston Marathon last month shook the nation, Red Sox and Yankee fans alike. Yet, in the days following the attack, the most bitter of rivals easily put aside their differences to help cope and mourn with the victims.
As detailed, after 9/11 the Red Sox played “New York, New York” to honor the city in which the Yankees play. So, the Bombers returned the favor on the day after the bombings.
During their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks (the team the Yankees lost to in the 2001 World Series), the first few bars of “Sweet Caroline”, rang through the speakers at the new Yankee Stadium. Neil Diamond’s Red Sox anthem was being played and sung to by the Yankees and their fans. This wasn’t opposite day, nor was it a mockery. This was a true, genuinely kind tribute to a city so strong, and so rooted in its sports traditions.
Yet, as we all know, life moves on. The city of Boston has recovered admirably since the tragedy, and in a few weeks the Red Sox will make the trip back down to the Bronx to play the Yankees. Already defying the odds and putting away the troubles of last season, the Bo-Sox have symbolized the strength of their home town throughout their history. And it will be no different when the rivalry heats up again later this May.
So without further ado, “Play ball!”, as they say. Surely, the Yankees and Red Sox will focus on doing just that. But it can not be ignored, that sometimes, that is the last thing these teams need to do in order to lift the spirits of their fans, and suffering citizens around the country.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — When the PawSox got off to a 9-1 start, the best start in franchise history, it was to be expected that a drop-off would happen at some point. That is what has happened in recent days, however, the team still is looking good. Pawtucket’s record sits at 17-12 after going 5-5 in their last 10 games. As the Boston roster has gotten more and more healthy over the course of 2013, Pawtucket’s roster has received more talent. This starts with the young OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
After a great spring training, Boston gave Bradley a chance to be the starting left fielder for the club. He showed some of his strengths early on such as his patience and plate discipline, but also struggled mightily after the opening series versus the Yankees. He was only 3-31 at the plate, striking out 12 times. It was clear that he needed time in Pawtucket and with the way Boston’s injury situation played out, he was able to be sent down once David Ortiz returned. With Pawtucket so far he is performing well, batting .302 with 7 walks, 4 RBIs, and 13 hits in 11 games. His strikeout rate is still a little high, as he has 13 in Triple-A, but the 22 year old looks to improve on that as the season continues.
When Stephen Drew came off the disabled list, Boston was forced to send SS Jose Iglesias down to Pawtucket. Fans know of his elite defense, but Iglesias was very impressive at the plate. His .450 average was unexpected for someone who has been labeled a “weak hitting shortstop,” but this is due in large part to something he worked very hard on in spring training: bunting. He had several well placed bunts and timely ones as well, moving runners along and getting on base from the 9 spot in the lineup. His average is only .235 so far in Pawtucket, but has shown more pop with 3 home runs. This equals his output at any level combined over the last 3 seasons. Whether this is something he is specifically working on or not, it is nice to see the long ball and small aspects of his game improving.
It’s not just one or two players carrying the PawSox offense. Everyone is contributing and opposing pitchers seem to never have an easy at bat against this team. C Ryan Lavarnway is batting .328 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs. With Boston rumored to be unhappy with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway would be the likely replacement for him should he be moved. Bryce Brentz leads the team with 20 RBIs, but his plate discipline remains a question as he has 25 strikeouts. He is batting .248 with 5 home runs and 7 doubles, so it is nice to see him able to get extra base hits and drive in runs. Justin Henry leads all PawSox with a .350 average, and he has been able to bat all around the order as well as play several different positions in the field. Brandon Snyder has arguably been Pawtucket’s best offensive threat early in 2013, batting .329 with a team leading 6 homers and 19 RBIs. His 15 extra base hits also lead the team.
The pitching hasn’t been dominant, but it has still been good. Allen Webster, who earned a recall to Boston earlier this season, has been the best starter for the team. The young Webster is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and averages over a strikeout per inning. Known as more of a sinker ball pitcher, he has increased his velocity to the mid 90s resulting in more strikeouts. Ruby De La Rosa is another young pitcher the team is high on, but is still being gradually worked into action after Tommy John Surgery. He averages less than 3 innings per start, with an ERA over 7. Expect him to get stronger stamina and better statistics as the season goes on. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has also been solid in the early going, posting a 1-0 record with an ERA of 1.93 and a recall to Boston mixed in with his minor league success. Alfredo Aceves had wanted to be a starter in Boston, but unfortunately for him he will only be one for the PawSox. In his first start for the team, he pitched 6 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts.
Pawtucket starts a week long road trip before returning home on May 14th.
BY TIM SCOTT
A far cry from the dread and weariness of the 2012 season, the Boston Red Sox have come
together as a team, and have produced at a higher level throughout their first 23 games. Entering Saturday’s game with the Astros with a 16-7 record, the Red Sox find themselves at the top of the AL East standings (2 games above the Yankees).
With offensive numbers that rank in the top five across the league, and pitching numbers that rank in the top half of the MLB, the Red Sox have emerged as a team that has skill on the mound and in the batter’s box. As a team, the Red Sox are hitting .266 (5th in the MLB), and slugging .438 (2nd). With a team ERA of 3.47 (10th) and a .225 opponent’s batting average (2nd in MLB), the Red Sox have done a skilled job of holding opposing offenses to low-scoring games. In fact, the only time the Red Sox allowed 10 or more runs came on April 23, when they allowed 13 runs to the Oakland Athletics.
A collaborative approach, instituted by new manager John Farrell, has been especially instrumental to the team’s success. Sparked by the strong starts of Dustin Pedroia (.318), Shane Victorino (.292), Daniel Nava (.290), and Jacoby Ellsbury (.287), the Red Sox have been able to get on base more efficiently, and get productive hits at key moments during games. The power behind the run-scoring schemes the Red Sox induce is ignited by Mike Napoli (26 RBI’s) and Will Middlebrooks (6 home runs), along with David Ortiz (homered in two consecutive games entering Saturday).
The Red Sox also have the pitching that could carry the team far into the postseason. Jon Lester (4-0, 2.27 ERA, 28 K’s) and Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA, 39 K’s) have been the spearheads of the pitching staff, combining to win 9 of the Sox’s 16 victories. Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront have also held their own in the rotation, combining for 64 strikeouts. The bullpen, led by Andrew Bailey (5 saves), has stepped up in the absence of closer Joel Hanrahan. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have been two major contributors to the bullpen’s success, while Alex Wilson and Daniel Bard provide depth in the middle-relief game.
In sum, the Red Sox have proven that they have the pieces to carry the team far into postseason play. Barring injuries or major transactions, if everyone continues at their same rate, the Red Sox have the potential to be a contender in the American League East, in contrast to the early season predictions.
by PATRICK CAVANAUGH
(MANCHESTER, NH)—The Fisher Cats got on the scoreboard first, but in this case, one run isn’t good enough to win the game.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx, the Fisher Cats starter, glided quickly through the first couple of innings. He gave up one run in the fifth, but things fell apart in the seventh after he gave up a single to former Fisher Cat Mark Sobolewski, and the defense behind Bibens-Dirkx committed a throwing error, which resulted in two New Britain runs crossing the plate.
“He did a great job but he gave up some hits,” said Fisher Cats skipper Gary Allenson in a postgame interview. “Overall he kept it to a minimum.”
Evan Crawford came in and pitched the completion of the 7th, as well as the entire 8th inning. He gave up one earned run, walked a batter, and struck out one batter as well. After eight, the score stood 4-1 in favor of the Rock Cats.
There were a few close calls on the diamond, including a balk call in the top of the 8th, which resulted in a New Britain runner moving from first to second base. The runner went on to score what was the Rock Cats fourth run.
“We were still down by two runs and its hard to tell if the guy really balked or not from my point of view.” said Allenson.
The Fisher Cats now go on a seven game road-trip, playing three games in Reading against the Phillies, and four against the Thunder in Trenton. The team will return home next Friday (5/3) to open up a six-game homestand.
by Patrick Cavanaugh
(MANCHESTER, N.H.)–The New Hampshire Fisher Cats won their home opener 9-0 against the Reading Fightin’ Phils on Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. It was a solid team effort that won the game for the Fisher Cats, and the 6, 224 fans in attendance seemed pleased by the outcome.
Kenny Wilson, John Tolisano, and Brad Glenn were some of top contributors for the Fishers. Wilson had three hits, Glenn had two hits, and John Tolisano had a two run homer that got the momentum going for the Fisher Cats. You do however, have to give credit to the hometown hero Kevin Nolan who had an RBI single to plate the first Fisher Cats runs of the season.
In the end, the Fisher Cats blew out the Reading Fightin’ Phils 9-0 and look ahead to tomorrow’s matchup where RHP Marcus Walden gets the nod for the Fisher Cats.
by Patrick Cavanaugh
(MANCHESTER, N.H.)–It is opening night in Manchester, NH, as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats are set to take on the Reading Fightin’ Phils (formerly the Reading Phillies) at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Upon glancing at the Fisher Cats roster, you will notice one name that sticks out like a sore thumb. Kevin Nolan, a New Hampshire native, is listed as an infielder on the Fishers roster, his stats show that he has the Double-A caliber that the Fisher Cats are going to need this season.
Nolan, 25, shined bright in Spring Training, and started at shortstop in the season opener. He got right to work and showcased his skills early in the season opener Thursday night, as he had an RBI single to score the Fisher Cat’s first run of the season. The crowd immediately erupted with cheers and applause. What a homecoming for the “granite stater!”
by Patrick Cavanaugh
New Hampshire Fisher Cats is back for the 10th season! It seems like just yesterday we were back at historic Gill Stadium in the championship inaugural season back in 2004. Since then, Manchester has seen the faces that shape today’s baseball world pass right before their eyes. Oh my, time has flew by!
Tomorrow, April 2, the Fisher Cats will host their annual Media Day from 12-2PM. Players and coaches will be available for pictures and interviews with the local media. I will be running a live blog, giving insight to the festivities at the ballpark. The live blog will start at 11 AM and can be found by clicking here.
See you at the ballpark!
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Coming off their 2012 Governors’ Cup Championship season, the Pawtucket Red Sox are ready to get 2013 underway. Last year was not only successful because they won the Cup, but because they were able to send players up to the big league club like Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, and Daniel Nava just to name a few. This year’s club features several up and coming prospects that will no doubt be big leaguers and likely could spend time in Boston this year.
While fans expected to see Jackie Bradley Jr. as the Opening Day center fielder at McCoy, his great spring has led him to start the year in Boston. That doesn’t mean he won’t see time in Pawtucket, however. If he struggles in his first week or two of Major League action, the team will likely send him down to the PawSox once the injured David Ortiz comes back from his heel injury.
Even if he doesn’t come down this year, there is still young talent in the PawSox outfield in the person of Bryce Brentz. Brentz spent most of 2012 in Portland, but came up for the PawSox playoff run and was a key piece to their success. Brentz is a very aggressive hitter with good power to all fields. Being an aggressive hitter he tends to swing at a lot of breaking balls out of the zone, something he will need to work on this season. As he got more and more triple-A at bats last year his patience slowly began to improve, so he will look to continue that trend in 2013. He will be in the middle of the PawSox order this year, and unless injuries happen in Boston he will likely spend most of this year in the minors. His year will probably be 2014 if the team doesn’t resign Jacoby Ellsbury. Bradley Jr. would move to centerfield while Brentz takes over in left. Expect a big year for him with the PawSox.
Other young offensive guns to keep an eye out for are Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias. Lavarnway ended last year with Boston, though did not have great success. Lavarnway is a solid hitter, but many still question his catching skills. While he has made good strides in this area, he will have to continue to show improvement in triple-A in order to make the Boston roster at some point this year. Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn’t the greatest defensive catcher either, so if he struggles or Boston parts ways with him at some point this year, Lavarnway could see plenty of time in Boston in 2013. Iglesias will start the year in Boston with Stephen Drew on the DL, but once he returns Iglesias will be sent down to Pawtucket. Fans know of his elite defensive skills, but his question mark has always been his bat. This spring, he has looked much improved in this category, putting together good at bats and hovering around .300. If the injury ridden Drew continues to have injury problems, Iglesias will spend many games in Boston and could take over the Major League starting shortstop role.
In terms of young pitching, Pawtucket will show off plenty of talent in Ruby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. Both acquired in the Dodgers mega trade last season, they will start the year in Pawtucket but could easily see time in Boston at some point this season whether it’s in the rotation or the bullpen. De La Rosa has a good fastball that sits in the high 90s and has good movement. His changeup is exceptional and his slider is also good, and all three of these pitches are able to punch batters out. He will focus on sharpening his command in Pawtucket, and is likely going to be the first man called up to Boston should a starter go down. Webster has been described as a Derek Lowe type pitcher, meaning that he gets a lot of ground ball outs. His fastball has great sinking action and sits in the mid-90s, though he has registered in the high-90s this spring. His changeup and slider also are solid pitches that can get hitters to swing and miss. He has had a good spring and will be making his triple-A debut this season after spending last year with Portland.
Except for Brentz none of these players were on the PawSox roster in September during the Governors’ Cup run, and that is a theme that seems to be present up and down the PawSox lineup. More than half the Championship team will not be on the 2013 Opening Day roster, including many key contributors. Offensively, the team lost Danny Valencia, Andy LaRoche, Che-Hsuan Lin, Nate Spears, and Jason Repko. Pitching wise, they lost their three best starters in Nelson Figueroa, Billy Buckner, and Zach Stewart, while closer Josh Fields was claimed by the Astros in the Rule 5 draft. That is the world of minor league baseball, as veteran players are constantly on the move.
However, the team will return many good players that were on the Cup team and players who have spent time in the big leagues. International League MVP Mauro Gomez will return as the team’s first baseman and will continue to be a source of power and run production in the middle of the order. He will likely get multiple call-ups to Boston as he did last year, but he will put up big numbers in his time with Pawtucket. In the outfield, the combination of JC Linares, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and Alex Hassan all will get playing time and the odd man out in the outfield likely will get time at DH. Linares and Hazelbaker were big contributors to the team’s Championship run, while Hassan ended 2012 on the DL. Mitch Maier will also see at bats in the PawSox outfield. Dan Butler will back up Lavarnway behind the plate after catching the majority of games in the playoffs. Infielders Tony Thomas, Ryan Dent, and Jon Hee will compete for time in the infield with new acquisitions Justin Henry, Mark Hamilton, Drew Sutton, Brock Holt, and Jonathan Diaz. Of all these players, Holt is likely to get the most amount of playing time because of his young age and his ability to make good contact.
In the rotation the team returns pitcher Chris Hernandez and knuckleballer Stephen Wright, both of whom started playoff games last year. Hernandez projects as more of a situational lefty at the big league level, but is a solid minor league starter. Wright can be a little inconsistent as a knuckleballer, but has impressed the Red Sox in his short time with the organization. The bullpen should be very strong for Pawtucket, as it will include many of the same guys as last year as well as players with big league time. Jose De La Torre will likely get most of the save opportunities after splitting closer duties with Fields in the playoffs a season ago. He pitched in the World Baseball classic, and is the only player remaining that was acquired via the Kevin Youkilis trade. Alex Wilson also returns after a solid 2012 campaign, and he is capable of pitching in any kind of situation. He has yet to make his big league debut, but that could very well happen in 2013. Pedro Beato and Chris Carpenter also return to the bullpen to along with the newly added Oscar Villarreal, Anthony Carter, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Graham Godfrey.
While these will be the guys playing at McCoy in the early part of 2013, many other prospects could be making their way to triple-A at some point this year. Top prospect Xander Bogaerts is starting in Portland, but is likely going to play for the PawSox once he proves he can hit double-A pitching. Whether it comes at mid-season or near the end of the year like Brentz last season, expect to see the 20 year old wearing a PawSox uniform in 2013. Pitchers Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo also could see time in Pawtucket at some point this year as these top prospects take the next step towards Fenway Park. Daniel Bard was expected to start in Pawtucket’s bullpen this season, but surprisingly he will start the year in Portland. He will pitch for Pawtucket at some point, but that time is unknown to everyone. He needs to work on his mechanics and his control, and the improvement of these things will be the basis of his promotion.
New manager Gary DiSarcina and the PawSox will take the field for the first time on April 4th on the road against Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Their home opener will be on April 11th against Rochester and aside from other Opening Day Ceremonies, the team will receive their Governor’s Cup rings. This team once again combines good, young talent with experienced veteran players, and this should lead to another exciting year in Pawtucket.
by DANNY JAILLET
BOSTON– As spring training unfolds, we have seen many former Red Sox players come to Fort Myers and assist in training the current roster. Just this year, many familiar faces who called Yawkey Way home at one time or another have re-involved themselves with the team. On January 24, former Red Sox star ace Pedro Martinez was announced as the Red Sox “Special Assistant to the General Manager.” Last week it was announced that Tim Wakefield, the retired veteran knuckleballer and staple of the Red Sox pitching staff for many years, would be helping newcomer Steven Wright perfect his own knuckleball. Today, another familiar face came to town as Mike Lowell made his return to the Red Sox, just in a different capacity.
According to a report from CBSBoston.com, the Boston Globe reported that Lowell came to spring training with the goal of helping current third baseman Will Middlebrooks at the hot corner. The four-time All-Star and Gold Glove award winner in 2005 played with the Local Nine from 2006-10 and won World Series MVP honors in 2007 when the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies. As the article notes, Lowell’s .974 fielding percentage is the best all time among players who have started at least 600 games at third base.
When asked about the assistance of Lowell, Middlebrooks had nothing but positive things to say about his tutor and seemed to like the move when he spoke to the Boston Globe:
“Any time you can work with someone who has won World Series and won Gold Gloves, I’m all for it. It’s great to have that at your disposal.”
It is refreshing to see players who meant so much to the Red Sox organization like Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek,, Tim Wakefield, and now Mike Lowell come back and take part in trying to produce a winning ballclub for the 2013 season. It can only mean positive things, as the club tries to get themselves back to the playoffs and in the right direction.