May 2011

Josh Reddick Delivers…On and Off The Field

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a major league baseball player deliver me a pizza.

But some residents of Effingham County, GA who placed an order with Pizza Hut in the last few months of 2009, had Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick show up at their door.

 

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

“I usually get a job back home in the off-season just to keep myself busy and not spend all of my money,” Reddick said.  “Last year I didn’t do a whole lot, but the year before that I actually worked two jobs.  I put-together and delivered furniture for a furniture store from 10 to 5, and then from 6 to 10 at night, I would deliver pizza.  Not because I needed the money, but to keep myself busy and not spend my money.  My furniture store paycheck went into my bank account, and I had cash around just from my tips for delivering pizzas.  Believe it or not, it was actually quite enjoyable.”

Earlier that year, Reddick made big news in his small hometown when he jumped directly from Double-A Portland to the big leagues.  So did the folks back home recognize their pizza guy?

“The only time I really got recognized was when I delivered to people that I already knew,” Josh said.  “That was pretty interesting when they said, ‘What are you doing?  I just saw you on TV a month ago.’  That’s just the way I was brought up – I’ve got to be doing something.  It’s just like my dad – he’s always got to be doing something.  He can’t sit around or he’ll get bored and go crazy.”

 

The 24-year-old outfielder is off to an excellent start this season, batting .252/.341/.555 after 31 games with 7 doubles, 1 triple, and 9 home runs.  Reddick ranks third in the I.L. in HR and 19th in OPS.

“The only thing that is a little bit down in my batting average, but I’m seeing a lot of pitches this year and that’s a big step for me,” Reddick said.  “The walks are up and the power numbers are up there.  I’m hitting the ball well to left field and when they try to come inside, I’m turning on it pretty good.  That’s when I’m good – when I don’t try to pull everything.  As long as I’m staying in the middle of the field, that’s when I’m at my best.”

Reddick is on a pace to walk 77 times in a 144-game season.  That would double his career high for walks in a season (38 in 2009).

“I’m seeing the ball really well this year,” Reddick said.  “I don’t know if it’s my stance or what, but I’m taking pitches that are close and if they are called strikes, I tip my hat to the pitcher.  It’s all about looking for that one pitch you can drive and that’s really working out for me.  I think teams are trying to pitch me away and get me to chase, and I’m just laying off the bad pitches.  The next thing you know, I’m ahead in the count 2-0 or 3-1 and I get a fastball that I can hammer.  It seems like I’m not missing those pitches a whole lot.”

In short, Reddick is delivering.

* * * * *

Pawtucket’s 8-game homestand continues on Wednesday at 6:15 with Game 3 of a 4-game series against Gwinnett.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:00 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

No Shortage Of Shortstops

With Jose Iglesias up in the big leagues and Yamaico Navarro on the disabled list, the PawSox are missing their top two shortstops.  Fortunately, Drew Sutton, Nate Spears, and Hector Luna are all capable of playing the position.

And in an emergency, there’s always Tony Pena, Jr.

 

(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

The 30-year-old relief pitcher spent the first 9 ½ years of his pro baseball career playing shortstop and appeared in 150 games at that position for the Kansas City Royals in 2007.  But a .228 career batting average (.248 OBP/.300 SLG) led to a conversion to the mound in the middle of the 2009 season.

“Growing up I pitched more than I played shortstop, but I always liked playing shortstop more,” Pena told me.  “I got signed as a shortstop and made it to the big leagues, but I had hitting issues.  Then I broke my hamate bone and things didn’t go as planned.  So they asked me if I wanted to try pitching.  I wasn’t happy at the time, but I decided to give it a try and see how it goes.  Everything went fine and here I am.”

Pena is tall and thin at 6’2”, 180 pounds, and throws with a whip-like delivery.

“We changed his arm slot a bit,” said PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur.  “He was a little too low early in the season and we’ve brought him back up.  His fastball has good run from this slot and his breaking ball is much better.  His slider has a lot of break to it from this arm level.”

“My motion is considered low three-quarter sidearm,” Pena said.  “That’s always been my natural arm angle.  At shortstop you throw from every arm angle, and this is where I feel most comfortable and have better command of my pitches.”

Last year in his first full season as a pitcher, Pena went 3-2 with 6 saves and a 4.13 ERA for Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Fresno in the San Francisco Giants organization.  This season with Pawtucket, he’s 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in 6 relief appearances.

“I had him in winter ball this year down in the Dominican and that’s where I got my first look at him and I was very impressed,” Sauveur said.  “I like his stuff and I think the kid could pitch in the big leagues one day – I really do.  I’m not saying I’m a scout, but I like him.  His personality shines and I think he’s got some pitching ability.  It’s just a matter of him learning how to pitch.” 

Pena’s father, Tony Sr., was a major league catcher for 18 years who made 5 All-Star appearances and won 4 Gold Glove Awards.  When Tony Jr. was between the ages of 9 and 12, his father played for the Boston Red Sox.

“I remember running around in the clubhouse at Fenway,” Pena said.  “They had Clemens, Mo Vaughn, Boggs, Greenwell – it was fun being in there.  They used to let us play in the clubhouse during the game so I have a lot of good memories.”

One of Tony’s most memorable games in the big leagues came against the Red Sox as he had a pair of triples (off Curt Schilling and Joel Pineiro) as Kansas City’s Opening Day shortstop in 2007. 

Does he miss being an infielder?

“I miss it sometimes,” Pena said.  “I’ll see plays where I think, ‘Man, I could have made that play.’  Last year I ended up playing some shortstop during the season.  I started out pitching for the first four months of the season and I ended up playing some short because they had a couple of guys that got hurt.”

Hmm, sounds familiar.  He should probably have his infielder’s mitt ready just in case.

(FYI…If you want to know more about Tony Pena Sr., read this 2003 story by Joe Posnanski.  In a word…phenomenal.)

* * * * *

The PawSox are missing three of their best offensive players due to injury (Ryan Kalish, Yamaico Navarro, J.C. Linares) and their best defensive player is up in Boston (Jose Iglesias).  Despite the talent drain, Pawtucket has won 3 straight games after beating Gwinnett on Monday 9-2.

 

Shortstop Drew Sutton was the star as 27-year-old switch-hitter homered from both sides of the plate for the second time in his professional career (also 2008 in Double-A).  After a slow start, Sutton is putting up monster numbers for Pawtucket as he’s batting .333/.410/.574 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, and 4 HR in 28 games.  Sutton is batting .408 (31-for-76) in his last 19 games.

* * * * *     

Former PawSox 1B/OF Aaron Bates was officially activated by the Rochester Red Wings yesterday.

His first game since spring training lasted 18 innings and 5:05 as Rochester beat Louisville 7-6 in the longest game in the history of Frontier Field.

How did Bates do?  Believe it or not, he didn’t get in.

I guess after waiting 6 weeks for a chance, what’s another 5 hours right?

* * * * *

After 30 games, Lars Anderson ranks 2nd in the International League in walks and has an excellent OBP at .406.

But he still has not hit a home run after 103 at-bats.

 

“It’s been peaks and valleys for me personally,” Anderson told me.  “I think the team has been doing pretty well so that’s good.  It’s tough man – it’s a tough game.  I’m think I’m pretty hard on myself sometimes.  I’m just trying to have a consistent approach both mentally and physically.”

That means trying to make consistent hard contact and not trying to hit the ball out of the park.  Or does it?

“You know what’s funny?” Anderson said.  “The two times that I remember trying to hit a home run this year I’ve crushed it, but they’ve been foul balls.  So maybe I should try more often.”

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

It Would Have Been Navarro

As the PawSox boarded the two team buses to take them from Scranton back to Pawtucket on Sunday, the final inning of the Red Sox/Twins game was playing on the bus (DirectTV rocks!).

 

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

When NESN showed #68 Jose Iglesias making his major league debut in the 9th inning as a defensive replacement, a roar went up on the bus.  That was quickly followed by, “Hey Reddick, he stole your number.” (Josh debuted in #68 in 2009 before switching to #46 last year).  And when the 21-year-old shortstop flawlessly handled a routine grounder for the final out of the game, he got a long-distance cheer from the guys on the bus as he exchanged handshakes with his big league teammates at Fenway Park.

(Those are the moments that I’ll miss next summer).

I’m excited for Iglesias who has the fastest throwing release of any infielder I’ve ever seen and an uncanny ability to make accurate throws no matter how his body is contorted.  Jose probably won’t get to play much while he’s with Boston, but I’m sure he’ll make a few defensive gems while he’s on the big league roster.

But at the same time, I feel badly for Yamaico Navarro who undoubtedly would have earned the promotion if he hadn’t gone on the disabled list on Saturday with a strained oblique.

 

Navarro has been one of the International League’s best offensive players this year batting .329./.436/.612 in 23 games with 8 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 home runs.  Never known in the past for having good plate discipline, Yamaico has as many walks (13) as strikeouts (13) and ranks third in the league in OPS at 1.047.    

“He just gets better and better with experience,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.  “We know that he’s a dangerous hitter with a lot of life in his bat, but his plan at the plate has improved.  Everybody that has worked with him has hammered home the idea of getting a good pitch to hit every time that he goes to the plate.  He still gets overaggressive at times when he gets into a hitter’s count and starts hacking, but when he stays with a good approach; he’s a pretty dangerous guy.”

Navarro’s booming bat is not the only reason why is value is skyrocketing.  After playing strictly in the infield in his first five professional seasons, the 23-year-old is getting on-the-job training as an outfielder as has already appeared in left, center, and right for the PawSox.     

“He’s a good athlete and we’re just trying to throw him out there and see what he can do,” Beyeler said.  “Some days, he spends more time out in the outfield than the infield during batting practice because he enjoys it.  He’s like a pitcher – he likes to go out there during B.P. and run balls down and have a good time.  I think catching the ball is going to be easy for him because he’s athletic and he’s done it.  But you can’t simulate the other stuff.  You just can’t simulate throwing to bases and game speed and things like that.  But as far as catching the ball, he’s pretty good with that because he does it all of the time during batting practice.”

Jose Iglesias is a tremendous prospect with a promising future, but he’s not ready to contribute offensively at the major league level.

Yamaico Navarro is, and he can provide adequate defense at six positions (and CF in an emergency). 

Here’s hoping that he’s off of the disabled list soon.

* * * * *

The PawSox pulled within a half game of first place Scranton/WB with a 5-4 win over the Yankees on Sunday and one of the unlikely heroes was RHP Dennis Neuman.

The 21-year-old relief pitcher was promoted from Single-A Greenville on Sunday because the PawSox desperately needed a fresh arm in the bullpen until Scott Atchison clears waivers and returns to Pawtucket.

Neuman wasn’t exactly dominating the South Atlantic League with a 6.59 ERA in 10 outings for Greenville, but he calmly took the ball with a 1-run lead in the 8th inning and got the final six outs against one of the best hitting teams in the International League.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, because Neuman has shown a knack for coming through under a white-hot spotlight.

As a 12-year-old, he starred for Curacao in the Little League World Series, pitching his team to a 9-1 win over Worcester, MA in the consolation game.

As a 19-year-old, he pitched for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and tossed a scoreless 8th inning in a shocking 3-2 win over the star-studded Dominican Republic.

There were no signs of jitters in his Triple-A debut as Dennis earned a 6-out save.

His stay with Pawtucket could be brief, but Neuman had us at “hello.”

* * * * *

 

Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez turned 29 on Sunday and homered on his birthday.  After 34 games he’s batting .314/.389/.504 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HR, and 24 RBI.

But I don’t think the San Diego Padres are regretting the trade that sent Gonzalez to Boston.

Have you noticed the minor league stats of the three players that Boston sent to San Diego?

1B Anthony Rizzo (Triple-A):  .397/.466/.759 with 10 HR and 42 RBI in 29 games.

RHP Casey Kelly (Double-A):  2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 6 starts (33.1 IP, 38 H, 23 K).

OF Reymond Fuentes (Single-A):  .313 with 9 stolen bases.

Yikes.

* * * * *

The PawSox open an 8-game homestand on Monday night at 6:15 with the start of a 4-game series against the Gwinnett Braves.

I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:00 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

Get Ready For The Runnin’ Reliever

“He looks like a giant yak being chased by a lion across the Serengeti” – Steve Hyder.

For the past two years, the fans in Portland have been able to enjoy it.  Now it’s our turn in Pawtucket.

I’m referring to Blake Maxwell’s legendary mad dash from the bullpen.

 

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

Whenever the 6’5”, 255 pound pitcher enters a game, he sprints as fast as he can from the bullpen to the mound.  It became a big crowd pleaser at Hadlock Field in Portland.

“It started out about two years ago,” Maxwell told me.  “I wasn’t pitching too well and I wasn’t having fun coming to the ballpark, so I kinda wanted to change things up and I started sprinting in from the bullpen.  I actually started pitching better, so I’ve kept it going.  The fans really got into it there whenever I would come in.”

There are several video clips of Maxwell doing his thing on youtube.com, including my personal favorite that shows him and catcher Juan Apodaca both sprinting in from the bullpen.

“We did that on the last day of the season in 2009,” Maxwell said.  “The catcher wanted to run in with me the whole year and I told him on the last day that we could.  Then last year on the final day of the season in Portland, Alex Wilson started the game and he and the catcher sprinted in, so it’s become a tradition on the final day of the year in Portland.” 

Maxwell even did his trademark sprint before pitching a scoreless 9th inning in the Boston Red Sox final exhibition game on March 30th at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

“The night before the game we all went out to dinner and I was telling the guys that they had better hope that I get in tomorrow so that they could see my entrance,” Maxwell said.  “Then I showed it to them on youtube and they said, ‘You’re definitely getting in.’ They started chirping at Tito to put me in and I think that helped me get into the game.  The guys loved it.  I could hear John Lackey yelling from the dugout when I was on the mound.  He was going crazy.”

Of course, Blake’s race to the mound would be frowned upon if his performance suffered, but he’s off to an excellent start in 2011.  After pitching 5 scoreless innings for Boston in 5 spring training games, Maxwell began the year at Double-A Portland where he posted a 1.38 ERA in his first 8 relief outings for the Sea Dogs.  That led to Thursday’s promotion to Pawtucket where Blake has tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in his first 2 appearances.  He was the winning pitcher on Saturday in Pawtucket’s 7-6 win at Scranton/WB.

So if you make it out to McCoy Stadium next week during the PawSox’ 8-game homestand, keep an eye on the home bullpen in left field.

You’ll get a kick out of the runnin’ reliever Blake Maxwell.

* * * * *

 

It’s good to hear that former PawSox OF/1B Aaron Bates has signed with the Minnesota Twins and will join the Rochester Red Wings.  Aaron was released by the Red Sox in late March despite having an excellent spring.  Rochester’s next visit to McCoy Stadium is for a 4-game series beginning on June 28th.

 

And it was nice to chat on Friday with former PawSox catcher Gustavo Molina who opened the season with the New York Yankees and is currently playing for Scranton/WB.  I always found it amusing that Gustavo is a catcher named Molina, but is not related to Bengie, Jose, or Yadier.  It’s like being a politician named Kennedy and not being related to John, Bobby, Ted, Joe, Patrick, or Kathleen.

The PawSox will look to pull within a half game of first place as they conclude their 4-game series at Scranton/WB on Sunday at 1:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 12:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

Living On The Air In Cincinnati…Again

There’s a great line in the movie Broadcast News where the handsome but shallow anchor man played by William Hurt is reflecting on his good fortune and says, “What do you do when real life exceeds your dreams?”

And the smart but schlubby reporter played by Albert Brooks responds with, “Keep it to yourself.”

I’m sorry, but I can’t follow that advice.

 

As you may have heard, I have been hired as the new radio voice of the Cincinnati Bengals beginning this fall.  I will finish this season with the PawSox before returning to Cincinnati where I lived from 1996 to 2006.

It’s an unbelievable privilege to be the radio voice of an NFL team and I’m extremely grateful to Mike Brown and the Bengals organization for giving me this opportunity.  I follow in a long line of talented play-by-play men who have called Bengals games in their history and I will do my very best to uphold the tradition.  I look forward to working with the great Dave Lapham who combines knowledge, humor, and love for the game as well as any analyst in any sport.

(If this news motivates Carson Palmer to return to Cincinnati, I will happily take the credit.)

I can’t adequately express my gratitude to Team President Mike Tamburro and every member of the Pawtucket Red Sox organization for how they’ve treated me and my family for the last six seasons.  It is a special place to work and it’s been a privilege to broadcast games to the best fans in minor league baseball.  I cherish the fact that I got to work for the late Ben Mondor who is one of kindest, funniest, and most generous people that I have ever known. 

One of the best things about coming to Pawtucket was being reunited with my partner and pal Steve Hyder.  PawSox General Manager Lou Schwechheimer often says that he wishes he could bottle our on-air chemistry (perhaps the same company that makes “Hyder For Everyone” cologne could do that), and Pawtucket fans are incredibly fortunate to have had Hydes behind the mic for eight seasons.  He’s a great broadcaster and a better friend, and I’m looking forward to four more months together in the booth, on the buses, and in every restaurant on the International League circuit that serves unhealthy food after 10 pm.  I’m also happy that – unlike Dustin Pedroia – I was fully clothed when I shared my good news with Steve.    

Most of all I want to thank my wife Peg.  Between PawSox baseball and University of Cincinnati football and basketball, I’ve been broadcasting about 200 live sporting events a year since 2006 and most of them have been on the road.  Somehow she’s managed to work full-time, raise a delightful kid, run marathons, and maintain her sanity.  I look forward to our newest adventure together…and actually being home for dinner most of the time. 

It’s been a hectic week and I apologize for the lack of blog entries.  I’ll return to writing about the PawSox on a daily basis following this afternoon’s game at Scranton/WB.  Andrew Miller is on the hill for Pawtucket and the first pitch is scheduled for 1:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 12:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

Victor Martinez on the Red Sox: “When They Wake Up — Watch Out”

Victor Martinez was not looking to leave the Boston Red Sox, but the Tigers gave him eight million reasons to move to Detroit.

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor

According to published reports, that was the difference between the 4-year offers he received from each team – the Red Sox offered $42 million while the Tigers countered with $50 million.

“I was doing all that I could do to come back to Boston, but it didn’t work out,” Martinez said.  “That’s the business part of the game and there’s nothing you can do about it.  They went out and definitely got way better with Gonzalez and Crawford.  It is what it is.  What can I tell you?  I had a blast playing in Boston.”

Martinez is back in New England for a 2-game rehab stint for the Toledo Mud Hens as they face the PawSox at McCoy Stadium.  He’s been out of action since April 19th with a strained groin.

“I’m doing great.  I feel a lot better and I’m going to test it today,”Martinez said.  “I just love to play the game.  It’s not fun to be watching from the bench or in the training room.  It doesn’t matter what team I’m with, I just want to go out there and play every day.  It’s been a little frustrating watching my teammates play and I just want to be part of it.”

Martinez says he remains in frequent contract with several of his former Boston teammates and he’s confident that their early-seasons struggles won’t last.

“It happens to everybody,” Martinez said.  “That shows you that this is baseball and anything can happen.  They have the talent – there’s no doubt about it.  It won’t be like that the whole season.  They’re going to wake up and when they wake up – watch out.  They’re too good of a team to play like they’re playing right now for the whole season.”

Considering the slow starts of Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.204/.259/.259 in 17 games) and Jason Varitek (.111/.200/.139 in 13 games), it’s easy to second guess Boston’s decision to let Martinez go, but Victor was not about to.

“They’re two great ballplayers,” Martinez said.  “You can’t take anything away from Jason Varitek for all he has done for that organization.  That’s a man who has given everything that he’s got for the organization.  I really had a great time being Jason Varitek’s teammate.  He’s one of the best teammates that I’ve ever had playing baseball.  And Saltalamacchia is another great guy.  He’s going to turn it around.  He’s got great talent and he just needs to get comfortable.  That’s the key part.  When he gets comfortable, his talent is going to come out.”

Martinez is expected to be Toledo’s designated hitter on Monday at 6:15 and Tuesday at 12:05 before rejoining the Tigers on Wednesday.

Arnie’s April Appraisal

Arnie Beyeler’s first season as Pawtucket’s manager is off to a good start.

Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor

The PawSox finished the month of April with a 13-10 record — despite playing 14 of their 23 games on the road.  Pawtucket ranked third in the International League in runs scored (5.2 per game) and second in the league in ERA at 3.25.

On Sunday, I asked Arnie to critique the April performances of some of the Red Sox highest-rated prospects:

Josh Reddick who batted  .273/.356/.636 with 8 HR and 16 RBI

“Josh is having some pretty good at-bats and it kind of looks like, ‘As he goes, we go,’ from an offensive standpoint.  He’s off to a really good start.  His swing looks good and he’s been a lot more disciplined at the plate.  He’s taken what pitchers have given him instead of trying to create things, and I think the results show that.”

Yamaico Navarro who batted .320/.440/.557 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HR

“He’s a kid that’s just scratching the surface as far as his talent goes.  He shows up every day and continues to work hard and have good at-bats.  He’s a valuable guy because he can play all over the field.”

Navarro got hit by 3 pitches in a 3-game span.  Are teams starting to throw at him?

“No — it’s just the way he approaches the ball at the plate.  I don’t know why they would throw at him and not Reddick.  He just dives toward the plate a little bit, so when guys come inside sometimes he can’t get out of the way.”

Lars Anderson who batted .284 with a .412 OBP, but no HR and his last 10 hits were singles.

“For most young hitters, the power is the last thing to come.  For a lot of these guys, if they’re good hitters, they are going to play in the big leagues.  You have to show that you can hit left-handers and right-handers, and be consistent at the plate every day.  The power numbers will come down the road when Lars learns how to turn on a ball and gets a little more familiar with his swing, but the goal is to continue to square the ball up and have good at-bats.”

Jose Iglesias who batted .227 with no extra-base hits.

“He’s very young for this league and he’s going to get over-matched sometimes by some of these older pitchers.  They’re going to take advantage of his youthfulness and his aggressiveness.  But he can run a little bit and gets his hits, and as long as he has good at-bats and stays in the middle of the field, his approach is just going to keep improving.”

Andrew Miller who had a 1.40 ERA in four April starts.  Opponents batted a league-low .138 against him, but Miller walked 12 batters in 19.1 IP.

“What we’re looking for is consistency from him and being able to repeat his delivery.  Every time out he’s getting better and better and I think most of his walks were in his early games.  We see him improving and he’s done a really nice job.”

(That comment was made before Sunday’s start against Toledo in which Miller struggled with his control walking 5 batters in 3-plus innings.  He allowed 3 ER on 4 hits as his ERA rose to 2.42.)

Kyle Weiland who had a 3.43 ERA in five April starts with 24 K in 23.2 IP.

“He’s a young kid with good stuff.  He’s going to come up here and compete and his stuff is going to get him a lot of ground balls.  He’s learning to pitch at this level day-in and day-out, and it’s going to be fun watching him develop.”

* * * * *

The PawSox dropped their third game in a row on Sunday, losing to Toledo 4-3.  It wasn’t Michael McKenry’s fault, as the Pawtucket catcher belted 2 HR and added a double.

Brandon Duckworth will take the mound tonight in Game 3 of the 4-game series at 6:15.  I hope you’ll join us  for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:00 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I’ve finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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