August 2009

The First September Call-Ups

A quick post following the PawSox 4-1 loss at Lehigh Valley on Monday night.

 

The initial September call-ups to Boston are Brian Anderson, Joey Gathright, and Chris Woodward (plus George Kottaras who was still on Pawtucket’s roster, but hasn’t been with the team for several days).  There are likely to be a few more promotions in the days to come.

 

It’s also been confirmed that Daisuke Matsuzaka will start for the PawSox on Friday night at McCoy Stadium.

Pal Joey

In Joey Gathright’s first at-bat for the PawSox, he hit a ground ball toward the shortstop/third base hole and beat it out for an infield single.

 

With one of baseball’s fastest runners aboard at first, Scranton/WB pitcher Ivan Nova promptly walked Jed Lowrie on four pitches.

 

Chris Carter, Jeff Bailey, and Mark Wagner followed with consecutive hits, and Pawtucket had a 3-0 lead in the first inning, en route to a 5-3 win in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader.

 

Do you know how many times the 2009 PawSox had scored three first inning runs prior to Gathright’s arrival?

 

Zero.

 

In 131 games.

 


Gathright 2 re.jpg 

(photo courtesy of Tom Perreira)

 

The 28-year old outfielder isn’t likely to be with Pawtucket for very long.  Major league rosters expand on Tuesday, and the Red Sox didn’t trade for Gathright just before the deadline to have him spend a week with Pawtucket.  Chances are, Joey will spend two days in a PawSox uniform before joining Boston at Tampa Bay.

 

But now that he’s in the Red Sox organization, there’s certainly a chance that Gathright could play for Pawtucket next season.  Manager Ron Johnson would welcome it.

 

“Joey’s got ridiculous speed,” RJ said.  “When he gets on base it’s straight chaos.  He completely controls the momentum of the game when he gets on.  I was sitting in the dugout with (Red Sox special assistant) Allard Baird when I got the call that we traded for Joey, and we both looked at each other and thought, ‘What a great acquisition.’  You’re not just talking about somebody that’s fast – you’re talking about an Ellsbury-plus type runner.  As a manager, you look at that and there’s a lot of different ways that he can impact the game.”

 

Gathright probably won’t get much playing time for the Red Sox in September, but you never know when one pinch-running appearance can help win a key game.

 

Does the name Dave Roberts ring a bell?

 

* * * * *

 

It’s been a rough year for Pawtucket offensively.  The team batting average is .230 and the ’09 PawSox appear to be a lock to break the franchise record for lowest batting average in a season (.237 in 1975).

 

Perhaps they should steal an idea from the Single-A Dayton Dragons.

 

Heading into Saturday’s game against the Lansing Lugnuts, the Dragons had scored a total of 10 runs in their previous six games.

 

So clubhouse manager Corey Brinn made a suggestion.  Corey told manager Todd Benzinger (who played for the PawSox from 1985-1987) and hitting coach Tony Jaramillo that it was the 10th anniversary of an idea that Rod Carew used when he was the hitting coach for the slumping Angels – have everybody on the team use the same bat.

 

Dayton decided to try it for the first time through the batting order.  When the first nine hitters got five hits, the Dragons elected to keep using the same bat and wound up with 17 hits before somebody broke the bat on a ground out.  They won their game 10-6.

 

(Corey Brinn, by the way, is a friend of mine.  He was the head manager of the University of Cincinnati basketball team for several years while I was broadcasting their games.)

 

Here’s the full story from the Dayton Daily News.

 

* * * * *

 

The PawSox open a brief 2-game series at Lehigh Valley on Monday night before returning to McCoy Stadium for the final homestand of 2009.

 

Michael Bowden starts the opener in what could be his final minor league outing of the year before a September call-up.

 

I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

The $65,000 Question

On Tuesday, active major league rosters expand from 25 players to 40 players.  As a result, it’s one of the most stressful times to be around a Triple-A team.

 

Think about it.  The minimum major league salary is $390,000.  As a result, a September call-up for the lowest paid guy on the totem pole is worth $65,000 (plus roughly $3000 in “meal money” for road trips).

 

Hyder brought that up last night when we were talking about Chris Carter’s lame duck status with the PawSox.  When the Yankees put in a waiver claim on Chris to delay his eventual trade to the Mets (forcing the Red Sox to keep Chris on their 40-man roster), they not only prevented him from getting valuable major league playing time in September with his new team, but they probably cost him a ton of money. 

 


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(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

On Saturday night, Chris started for the first time in nine games for Pawtucket and went 2-for-4 in a 3-0 loss to Scranton/WB.  In other words, a guy who has to be consumed by his own misfortune and who’s been on the bench for more than a week was still Pawtucket’s best hitter. 

 

The Mets are eventually going to get a guy who can flat-out hit.  For Carter’s sake, I hope that leads to a long major league career, which is obviously worth a lot more than $65,000. 

 

* * * * *

 

Paul Byrd’s promotion to Boston on Sunday means the Red Sox currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.  Daisuke Matsuzaka is on the 60-day disabled list (which doesn’t count toward the 40-man), so the Red Sox have to save a spot for him.

 

If you play the “who will get called-up” guessing game, it’s helpful to know which Pawtucket players are on the 40-man roster and which players aren’t.  If a player is not on the 40-man and the Red Sox want to call him up, then somebody has to be designated for assignment to make room.

 

Here is a list of Pawtucket players who are currently on the Red Sox 40-man roster, who could be called-up next week with no roster juggling required.

 

Pitchers:  Michael Bowden, Hunter Jones, Marcus McBeth

Catchers:  George Kottaras, Dusty Brown, Mark Wagner

Infielders:  Jeff Bailey, Aaron Bates, Jed Lowrie

Outfielders:  Brian Anderson, Chris Carter, Josh Reddick

 

Here is a list of current Pawtucket players who have appeared for Boston this year but are no longer on the 40-man roster.  To make room for one of these players, someone from the above list (other than Carter) will have to be designated.

 

Pitchers:  Fernando Cabrera, Javier Lopez, Enrique Gonzalez, Billy Traber

Infielders:  Chris Woodward, Gil Velazquez

 

Additionally, the Red Sox just traded for outfielder Joey Gathright who will immediately join Pawtucket.  It appears that he was obtained to give Boston a speedy pinch-runner to have on the bench in September, so if/when he gets called-up, a player that is currently on the 40-man roster will have to go.  

 

So who will get called-up next week?  George Kottaras and Jed Lowrie appear to be locks.  I would guess that Jeff Bailey, Marcus McBeth, and Joey Gathright are likely call-ups.  After that, your guess is as good as mine. 

 


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By the way, I’m looking forward to asking Gathright about his famous jump over the roof of a parked car.  It’s been viewed nearly 700,000 times on YouTube.  You can add to the total by watching here.

 

* * * * *

 

If the Red Sox had not just traded for LHP Billy Wagner, I might have put Dustin Richardson on the list.  Perhaps I still should.

 


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The 25-year-old lefty has simply been phenomenal since his promotion from Portland on August 21st.

 

On Saturday night he tossed two perfect innings against Scranton/WB and struck out three of the six batters he faced.

 

Here are Dustin’s numbers in his first four Triple-A outings:  5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K.

 

Right-handed batters are 1-for-12 vs. Richardson and lefties are 0-for-3.

 

Richardson will be pitching when the PawSox season is over, but it will be for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, beginning on October 13th.

 

* * * * *

 

I don’t mean to be overly critical of the Scranton/WB Yankees management, but last night’s decision to delay the opening game of a doubleheader in anticipation of rain was absurd.

 

The two teams waited around under perfect weather conditions for more than an hour before the first drop of rain arrived.  When the storm finally hit, it lasted for about 20 minutes, but the overall rain delay turned out to be 2:13. 

 

As a result, I’m adding another thing to the list of rule changes for when I become commissioner.

 

New Rule:  No rain delays until there is actually rain.

 

I don’t care what the local meteorologist says or how ominous the storm appears on radar, if it’s not raining when the game is scheduled to begin, start playing until it arrives.

 

Makes sense doesn’t it?

 

* * * * *

 

Because of the lengthy delay on Saturday, the scheduled doubleheader was pushed back to Sunday (on getaway day for the PawSox before a bus ride to Allentown).

 

Randor Bierd and Charlie Zink will be the starting pitchers in a pair of 7-inning games.  I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 4:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

An Interesting Theory For Why The Yanks Claimed Carter

 

Joel Sherman of the New York Post had an interesting blog entry on Saturday titled, “HOW BYRD LED YANKS TO CLAIM CARTER”

 

Here’s what he wrote:

 

By JOEL SHERMAN

 

One reason the Yankees put in a claim for Chris Carter was because of Paul Byrd. Stick with us here.

 

Byrd spent most of this season as a free agent and the Yankees were negotiating with him around midseason to bring him in as rotation insurance, a source told The Post. The Yanks were told by Byrd that they were his first choice, the source said. However, the Yanks refused Byrd’s request to be assured of a Sept. 1 promotion.

 

So Byrd signed earlier this month with the Red Sox.

 

When the Yanks learned that Carter was one of the players that was going to the Mets in the Billy Wagner deal, they claimed Carter him on waivers and forced Boston to pull the outfielder/first baseman back. One reason was they assumed Boston had to make the same deal with Byrd — to bring him up on Sept. 1 — that the Yanks refused. So that meant Byrd has to be put on the 40-man roster. So the Yanks figured they could cause some 40-man roster havoc for their main nemesis by forcing Carter back on the 40-man, as well, at a time when Wagner, too, had to be added and Daisuke Matsuzaka is close to coming back from the 60-day DL.

 

Interesting stuff.

 

Speaking of Byrd, he’s in Scranton but has been pulled from Saturday’s scheduled start in a doubleheader against the Triple-A Yankees.  Nobody is saying much, but it leads to speculation that Paul is being held back just in case he is needed in Boston.

 

Charlie Zink will take Byrd’s place and start in Game 1.  Billy Traber will start Game 2.

 

I hope you’ll join us for the radio call, beginning with the pre-game show at 5:20 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

 

Carter Gets Caught In The Crossfire

Just what you needed – another reason to hate the Yankees.

 

In the latest chess move in the most heated rivalry in sports, Chris Carter is the unfortunate pawn.

 

As you’ve probably read or heard by now, the Yankees put in a waiver claim on Carter that temporarily prevents him from going to the New York Mets as part of the Billy Wagner trade.  The trade can be completed when the non-waiver deadline expires after the season.

 

In fairness to the Yankees, there is a competitive reason for claiming Carter.  It forces the Red Sox to keep Chris on their 40-man roster until the end of the season, giving Boston one fewer spot to work with.  That probably won’t have much of an impact, but I suppose you never know.

 

Still, the person who suffers most is Carter.  Instead of getting the opportunity to join the Mets while they are ravaged by injuries and get a bunch of major league playing time in September, Chris is stuck in a lame duck situation with Pawtucket.  Should he play for the PawSox and risk injury?  If he’s on the 40-man roster, should Boston consider calling him up in September?

 

Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal had an interesting line in his story about the situation today when he wrote the following:

 

“The Sox and Mets are now trying to develop their own strategies to find their way out of the mess, and get Carter to the Mets by Sept. 1.”

 

I have no idea what that could mean.  Is it legal to release Chris with the understanding that he’ll sign with the Mets? 

 

I feel awful for Chris Carter.

 

Leave it to the Evil Empire.

 

* * * * *

 

Just before the PawSox busses left for Scranton on Friday morning, Brian Anderson made an interesting announcement in the clubhouse.

 

“Hey, I don’t want to hear any of you pitchers complaining about how hard your job is after watching Nick Green last night,” Anderson said with a huge grin.

 

The Red Sox shortstop was forced to pitch in Thursday’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox and tossed 2 hitless and scoreless innings.  Green threw nothing but fastballs and was consistently clocked in the high 80′s and low 90′s.

 

There’s no denying it was an impressive feat, but as one PawSox pitcher pointed out, “Let’s see him do it against the Yankees.”

 

* * * * *

 

Jed Lowrie did not accompany the team to Scranton for the start of the road trip, but we’re told that he could be back in action as soon as Saturday.  Lowrie felt some pain in his surgically-repaired wrist on a check swing on Wednesday and immediately came out of the game.

 

In light of his numerous setbacks this year, Lowrie and the Red Sox are being cautious.  But the latest incident does not appear to be too serious.

 

* * * * *

 

Congrats to 24-year-old Adam Mills who picked up his first Triple-A win on Thursday in the PawSox 7-1 victory over Buffalo.

 

Mills allowed 1 ER in 7 IP to pick up the victory.  In his last 3 starts, Adam is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA (20 IP, 14 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K).

 

He’s doing a nice job of staking a claim for a spot in the PawSox rotation to begin next season.

 

* * * * *

 

On Friday night, Pawtucket opens a 3-game series at Scranton/WB where the PawSox are 0-5 this season.

 

Billy Traber takes the ball for the PawSox who are looking for their 3rd straight win.  I hope you’ll join us for the radio call, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

Memory Lane With PawSox Manager Ron Johnson

One of the joys of being a broadcaster for the PawSox is spending time every day with manager Ron Johnson.

 


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(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

He’s hysterically funny, extremely generous with his time, and about as close to universallly well-liked by his players as a Triple-A manager can be.

 

And don’t let the PawSox lousy record in 2009 fool you – he’s an outstanding manager.  Since the Red Sox emphasize player development over winning in the minor leagues, RJ’s hands are tied when it comes to lineups and game strategy.  I hope he eventually gets the opportunity to manage in the big leagues where every decision is geared toward winning that night’s game.

 

This is RJ’s 31st year in professional baseball and 18th as a minor league manager.  Along the way he’s played with Hall of Famers, and managed some of the biggest stars in the game.

 

Recently, I reeled off a series of names from his past and asked RJ to say the first thing that came to mind.

 

George Brett (a teammate in Kansas City in 1982-83)

 

“Gamer.  The biggest gamer I ever saw – every inning and every at-bat.  He got after it on the field . . . he got after it off the field (laughs).  He was the best pure hitter I ever saw.”

 

Gaylord Perry (a teammate in Kansas City in 1983)

 

“Scary.  He scared the heck out of me one night when I was playing first base.  There was a throw to me for the final out of the inning.  Nowadays, guys flip the ball into the stands when the inning is over, but back then, when you caught the third out you would flip the ball to the umpire.  By the time I got to the dugout, Gaylord was airing me out.  I think it had something to do with the substance on the ball.  I could barely get it to the ump because it was so sticky.”

 

Pete Rose (a teammate in Montreal in 1984)

 

“Tenacious.  I never saw a guy who was so consumed by baseball.  He was 44-years-old and diving for the balls on the turf in Montreal at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon during batting practice.  Unbelievable.”

 

Hanley Ramirez (played for RJ in 2004)

 

“Physical phenom.  I had him for 30 games in Portland and he’s gotta be up there for the best player I’ve ever coached.”

 

Johnny Damon (first played for RJ as an 18-year-old minor league rookie)

“Nicest kid I’ve ever been around for a player that’s great.  And he’s always been that way.  I guess ‘winner’ would be an even better thing to say because Johnny’s a winner.  Every team he was on in the minor leagues with Kansas City we won.  He went to the big leagues, came to Boston, and they won a championship.  Johnny’s a winner.”

 

Dustin Pedroia (played for RJ in Pawtucket)

 

“He’s going to really get upset with this but ‘delusion gamer’ because he sees himself as Brad Pitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  God bless you kid, because you are.”

 

Jon Lester (pitched for RJ in Pawtucket)

 

“My hero – no doubt.  When things go bad on the baseball field, I think of Jon Lester.  To overcome the things he had to deal with and do what he’s doing now . . . feel-good story Jon Lester – my hero.”

 

Curt Schilling (pitched for RJ in Pawtucket on rehab)

 

“Like watching a professor pitch.  Even down here on rehab, this guy had every hitter on the Triple-A rosters dissected prior to his rehab starts.  Phenomenal.”

 

Bo Jackson (saw him in spring training with Kansas City)

 

“The greatest athlete I ever saw.  The most impressive man I ever saw.  The first time I ever saw him, he was walking through a hotel lobby in jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat.  That’s why I go with that look – I’m trying to look like Bo.” 

 

* * * * *

 

I’m actually kind of proud of this, but I apparently don’t know my boy bands.  I recently blogged about Sunday night’s karaoke outing to celebrate Jeff Natale’s birthday, and wrote that the boy band of Natale, Travis Denker, Bubba Bell, Brian Anderson, and Sean Danielson got on stage together to sing “Bye, Bye, Bye” by the Backstreet Boys.

 

Whoops.  That pop classic was actually performed by *NSYNC.  Here’s a link to Justin, JC, Lance, Joey, and Chris singing it.  Unfortunately, I do not have video of the PawSox version.

 

Speaking of Brian Anderson, his experiment with contact lenses ended after 2 games (and 2 “o-fers”).  They were too difficult to adjust to this late in the season.  Brian will consider having lasik surgery in the off-season.

 

* * * * *

 

The PawSox conclude their 11-game homestand on Thursday night as Adam Mills faces former Boston and Pawtucket pitcher Kyle Snyder.  I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

Chris Carter Is Still Here — For Now

As of 5:55 pm on Wednesday night, Chris Carter is still a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

 


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(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

He took batting practice before tonight’s game, but is out of the starting lineup for the 7th consecutive game.  All signs point toward Chris being in the middle of the waiver process before being officially traded to the New York Mets.

 

If and when the deal goes down, Chris should get plenty of opportunities to play in September in New York.

 

Have you looked at the Mets outfield and first base situations lately?

 

With Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Francoeur, and Fernando Martinez out with injuries, the Mets are trotting out the likes of Angel Pagan, Daniel Murphy, Cory Sullivan, Fernando Tatis, and Nick Evans.

 

Not exactly the ’27 Yankees.

 

When I arrived at the ballpark today, I expected Carter to be taking some serious verbal abuse from his teammates (along the lines of, “What are you doing here?” or “Aren’t you supposed to be in the visiting clubhouse?”) but it has been minimal so far.  Gil Velazquez did hit him with a “Do you think you can hit the ball out of Citi Field?”

 

I suspect we’re all going to find out soon.

Signs Point Toward Carter Heading To New York

Prior to Tuesday’s game against Lehigh Valley, PawSox manager Ron Johnson was asked when Chris Carter was expected to be back in the starting lineup.

 

RJ answered, “Tomorrow night.”

 

He didn’t say if Carter would be getting dressed in the home or visiting clubhouse at McCoy Stadium.

 


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(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

By now you’ve probably seen published reports that Carter is one of two players-to-be-named-later that will go to the New York Mets in exchange for 6-time All-Star relief pitcher Billy Wagner.

 

There’s no confirmation that Carter is part of the deal from the Red Sox or Mets, but there’s plenty of circumstantial evidence.

 

Carter has been out of Pawtucket’s starting lineup with what was originally described as fatigue (he also cited a sore back) for six straight games, but Chris says he’s been ready to play since Sunday.  He took batting practice on Tuesday and was in uniform during the game – even as rumors swirled that he’s headed to New York.

 

Ironically, the Buffalo Bisons (top farm club for the Mets) are at McCoy Stadium on Wednesday, so it’s conceivable that Carter could be playing against Pawtucket.  If he is part of the deal, he would probably have to clear waivers first (which is often the case with players-to-be-named later) so that could delay the process until the two game series against Buffalo is over.

 

If Carter is part of the trade, we wish him nothing but the best with the Mets.  Chris is an outstanding hitter with a burning desire to improve his all-around game in order to have a long and productive major league career.  He’s been fantastic to Steve and me in his two years with the PawSox, and we’ve enjoyed getting to know his father and grandfather as well.

 

And if the rumors are wrong . . . it will be nice to have him back in Pawtucket’s lineup on Wednesday night.

 

* * * * *    

 

When the Red Sox traded for Alex Gonzalez, I think it was widely assumed that Boston had found its primary shortstop for the rest of the 2009 season.

 

After seeing Jed Lowrie in action for the last two nights, I’m not so sure.

 


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Admittedly, it’s only two games, but Lowrie looks like the guy who was Boston’s Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2007 when he hit .298 with 47 doubles, 8 triples, and 13 HR in 133 games between Portland and Pawtucket.

 

In the first two games of his current rehab stint, Lowrie has belted 3 long home runs and just missed a fourth tater that went foul by a few feet.

 

One possible reason for Lowrie’s power surge is that he’s lifting weights again.  After having wrist surgery in late April, he was reluctant to do strength training that put strain on his wrist, but he’s starting lifting again and told me he feels much stronger.  

 

Alex Gonzalez is a dependable shortstop defensively, but a healthy Jed Lowrie is an infinitely better offensive player and could provide a significant boost to Boston’s playoff push in September.

 

* * * * *

 

George Kottaras is also expected to return to the Red Sox when rosters expand in September, and he’s hitting .368 in his current rehab assignment for the PawSox.

 


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George went on the disabled list with a lower back strain on August 1st . . .  which just-so-happened to be the same day that Boston added Victor Martinez to the roster.

 

Martinez obviously took his spot (at least in the short term) as Boston’s second catcher, and I asked George if that was a bitter pill to swallow.

 

“Yes and no,” George told me.  “You understand the business and it was a great thing for the team.  The whole object is for the team to win and he’s a big piece to the puzzle to help us succeed.  Those kinds of things happen and you can’t let it affect your game or your day-to-day activities.”

 

Kottaras expects to resume his role as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher in early September and says his rookie year with the Red Sox has been all he had hoped it would be.

 

“It’s been all that and more,” Kottaras said.  “It’s been an honor playing for the Boston Red Sox.  It’s a great organization with great fans and I’m having a good time with it.”

 

* * * * *

 

On Wednesday afternoon, I’ll have the privilege of serving as emcee of the BoSox Club luncheon at Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston with representatives of the Red Sox and White Sox in attendance.  If by any chance you’re planning to attend, please say hello – it’s always nice to know blog readers are out there!

 

And I hope you’ll join us for the radio call on Wednesday night as the PawSox open a 2-game series against Buffalo.  The pre-game show begins at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

Making Our Job Easy

It makes our job much easier when the events of the game follow all of the convenient storylines.

 


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(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

For example, Jed Lowrie’s best friend in the world is Lehigh Valley outfielder John Mayberry Jr.

 

They were roommates for three years at Stanford and lived together in Arizona during the winter a couple of years ago.

 

On Monday night, Jed and John faced each other for the first time as pros so what do you suppose happened?  Mayberry homered in the 5th inning to give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead, and Lowrie matched his roomie with a HR of his own to tie the game in the 6th inning.

 

Then you have the Mark Wagner storyline.

 


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On Monday night, Wagner’s mom Moya, uncle Pete, and cousin Josh were in attendance at McCoy Stadium after traveling all the way from California.

 

Wags had a huge 2-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning to give Pawtucket a 2-1 lead.

 

In the movie version of Monday’s game, that would have been the winning run.  Unfortunately, the game wasn’t scripted and Hunter Jones surrendered a home run in the 9th to Mike Cervenak that tied it a 2.

 

But the game did have a happy ending.  Jeff Bailey’s sac fly in the bottom of the 9th scored Gil Velazquez with the winning run in a 3-2 PawSox victory.

 

* * * * *   

 

Hyder and I both loved seeing Bruce Springsteen at the Comcast Center in Mansfield on Sunday night, but apparently we missed the real concert.

 

Karaoke to celebrate Jeff Natale’s 27th birthday.

 


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Natale provided the scoop and gave me the green light to share the details publically.

 

The boy band of Natale, Travis Denker, Bubba Bell, Brian Anderson, and Sean Danielson got on stage together to sing “Bye, Bye, Bye” by the Backstreet Boys.

 

That has to be a fine in Kangaroo Court.

 

Danielson is a fanatic of the group Incubus so he and his roommate Natale did a duet of the song “Dig.”

 

The solo performers were Denker and Bell.

Travis sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.

 

Bell belted out a Sublime tune, although Natale didn’t remember which one.

 

It sounded like a great birthday – no matter how the PawSox sounded.

 

* * * * *

 

Paul Byrd looked great on Monday, as he allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings vs. Lehigh Valley.  In short, he looked just like the guy who beat the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS two years ago to give the Indians a 3-games-to-1 lead in that series.

 


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I happened to be in the dugout just before Byrd went out to the bullpen to warm-up on Monday, and watched him sign a bunch of autographs before pitching coach Rich Sauveur arrived to accompany him to the bullpen.

 

Byrd is no dummy.  At that point he told the autograph seekers, “I wish I could keep signing but this guy won’t let me,” as he pointed toward Sauveur.

 

A crafty veteran move.

 

* * * * *

 

I know some Red Sox fans were ticked off, but I was thrilled to see John Smoltz pitch a gem in his first start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.  He tossed 5 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts and at one point whiffed 7 batters in a row – a feat he had never accomplished in his 20+ years with the Atlanta Braves.

 

I heard Smoltz on the Dan Patrick radio show on Monday and he said the Cardinals told him he was tipping his pitches with the way he was holding his glove.  It’s hard to say if that’s why he was so lousy for the Red Sox, but it’s too bad the folks in Boston didn’t spot it first.

 

I was incredibly impressed by Smoltz during his rehab stint with Pawtucket and will be rooting for him for the rest of the year.

 

Unless, of course, he pitching against Boston in October.

 

* * * * *

 

The PawSox conclude their 4-game series against Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night.  I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.

Who Needs A Press Box?

Here’s a look at our vantage point on Sunday as we broadcast the game from the stands behind home plate at McCoy Stadium..

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(photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat)

Thanks to VP of stadium operations Mick Tedesco and everyone who helped us set up our equipment in the concourse.

Thanks to VP and General Manager Lou Schwechheimer for bringing a feast in the first inning — hot dogs, nachos, french fries, popcorn, and Pepsis.

Thanks to Kelsey Albair and Director of Merchandising Eric Pettterson for the hats from the souvenir shop.

Thanks to official scorer Bruce Guindon for bringing down cake from the press box.

Yes, we ate well.

Most of all, special thanks to all of the loyal listeners who came by to say hello or introduce themselves.  It’s great to put names with e-mail addresses.

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