A Big Leaguer In Every Way
Since I’ve been broadcasting PawSox games, the list of prominent players who have joined the team on rehab stints includes David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Varitek, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mike Lowell, Tim Wakefield, Sean Casey, and Trot Nixon.
Mike Cameron is making an impressive bid to be known as the most generous with his minor league teammates.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
All of the above have treated the guys to lavish post-game spreads and Cameron is no exception. After his second game in a Pawtucket uniform, he dropped nearly $1300 on a lobster and chicken marsala feast. After game three, steaks were on the clubhouse menu.
But Cameron took the notion of being a “big leaguer” to new heights on Thursday when he purchased a luxury box for Game 6 of the Celtics/Cavs playoff series and invited the PawSox players and coaches to join him.
“That was the first time I attended an NBA game,” Jorge Jimenez told me with a huge grin. “I was rooting for LeBron James – he’s my guy. I love basketball and I was so excited that I was like a baby.”
I told Cameron on Friday that the Pawtucket guys have been so spoiled that they’ll probably handcuff him to his locker to prevent him from returning to Boston.
The 37-year-old outfielder appears ready to rejoin the Red Sox and that is expected to happen on Monday when Boston opens a 2-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Cameron starred in Friday’s 4-2 win over Syracuse, belting a towering 2-run HR and making two great catches in left field.
The defensive plays were vintage Cameron and his ability to patrol center field was the primary reason why the Red Sox signed him to a 2-year, $15.5 million dollar deal in December.
The 3-time Gold Glove Award winner is in his 16th major league season, and recently I asked him to name the best outfielders he’s seen during his big league career.
“In my generation? I guess it would be Jim Edmonds and Ken Griffey Jr. and Junior probably tops the list,” Cameron told me. “The next-tier guys are Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, and I guess I’d have to throw myself on the list a little bit. And Ichiro too. There are a lot of good outfielders that are playing today. One of my favorite guys – believe it or not – is Jacoby Ellsbury. Not just because I play with him, but I’ve admired the way he plays from afar. He’s one of my favorite guys. There are some other guys that are really good – I cannot leave out Carlos Beltran. I switched positions with him so I guess I had better give him the nod.”
His list of great outfielders is longer than my list of most-generous rehabbers.
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I wonder if Daniel Nava looked familiar to Syracuse infielder Eric Bruntlett.
Bruntlett played at Stanford from 1997 to 2000, and Nava was one of the Cardinal’s bat boys in 1999.
That Stanford team also included pitcher Mike Gosling who has a link to the PawSox. He surrendered Dusty Brown’s first major league hit – a home run – on October 3, 2009.
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Special thanks to e-mailer Melissa LeTellier for pointing out that former Pawtucket outfielder Adam Stern has been called-up by the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s Adam’s first taste of the big leagues since 2007 when he appeared in two games for the Baltimore Orioles.
Stern earned the promotion by hitting .349 with a .429 OBP for the Milwaukee’s Triple-A team in Nashville. Adam struck out as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat for the Brewers on Friday night.
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The PawSox will look to extend their season-high 4-game winning streak to five as they host Syracuse on Saturday at 6:05. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning at 5:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.
And don’t forget “PawSox Insider” on Saturday from 2:00 to 3:00.
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