Anderson Is Ready If Needed
So all of a sudden the Red Sox are dropping like flies.
Rocco Baldelli is on the disabled list with a bruised ankle. Jason Bay is nursing a sore hamstring that could force him to miss the Yankees series. And now Jed Lowrie is experiencing numbness that runs from his left forearm to the end of his hand that could be related to the wrist surgery he had earlier this season.
If Boston needs a shortstop, Ivan Ochoa is the only available option in Pawtucket. Gil Velazquez – who would have been the obvious choice – was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room on the 40-man roster for Billy Traber and hasn’t cleared waivers yet. Ochoa did play in 47 games with San Francisco last year, but is only hitting .220 for the PawSox this season and missed 2 months with a hamstring injury.
As for outfielders, Josh Reddick is already back with Boston after spending less than 24 hours in Pawtucket. He arrived after midnight on Wednesday and was driving to New York at 2:00 pm on Thursday. I blogged yesterday about how eager I was to see him play . . . I got a quick handshake instead. His Triple-A debut will have to wait.
Jeff Bailey had 3 hits on Thursday night but his injured ankle still isn’t 100%, and he has not played a full game yet on his current rehab assignment.
Then there’s Brian Anderson.
Because of many current crises in Boston (Big Papi’s positive drug test in 2003, John Smoltz’s 8.33 ERA, etc.), Anderson is totally off the radar, but he’s looked great for the PawSox since coming over in a trade for the White Sox for Mark Kotsay.
In 10 games with Pawtucket, Anderson is hitting .303 with 3 doubles, 3 HR, and 6 RBI.
“I’m really excited that I got to come down here and work on my game,” Brian told me on Thursday. “Obviously you want to put the ball in play with authority, but I’ve tried to stop thinking so much about mechanics and I’m just trying to get a good pitch to hit and do the best I can with that particular pitch. It’s tough to put a good swing on a bad pitch, so if you can get a strike you try to do some damage with it.
“When he hits a ball it’s a little different than a lot of guys – the ball stays hit,” manager Ron Johnson said. “That’s the difference between major league players and guys who will battle in the minor leagues to try to get there.”
Anderson was 24-years-old when he won the starting centerfield job with the White Sox in 2006. He batted .225 that year in 134 games and struggled to live up to the potential he displayed in being the 15th overall pick of the 2003 draft.
“I was ready as a player but maturity-wise I might have been a little underprepared,” Brian admitted. “I definitely wanted to play the game but I was not expecting the emotion from the fans and how much was riding on my performance on a daily basis. But that’s not an excuse, I should have been able to go out there and perform better than I did, but it was a learning experience, that’s for sure.”
He’s a seasoned 27-year-old now, and hoping to play a role in Boston this year after being traded for the first time in his career.
“Some of my buddies who have been traded in the past told me that it’s a nice change but that it’s definitely going to be weird. When all you’ve ever known is one organization it’s a big difference,” Anderson said. “It’s great over here. I have a lot of respect for my past organization, but the Red Sox have a great tradition and it’s a lot of fun playing over here.”
With injuries mounting in Boston, he could be needed soon.
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Friday is PawSox Replica Jersey Night at McCoy Stadium as the first 5,000 fans will receive a #15 red jersey. If you can’t make it out to the yard, 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.