Angel in the Infield
It’s too bad they don’t award Gold Gloves in the minor leagues because Angel Chavez would be a shoo-in at third base.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
“It’s been unbelievable,” Clay Buchholz told me. “I’ve told a lot of people that he’s the best I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been in the big leagues for that long, but during the time that I’ve spent up there nobody has surpassed the way he’s played in my eyes.”
In Thursday’s 4-3 win over Scranton/WB, Angel made four outstanding plays beginning with a sliding stop to rob the first batter of the game.
“Every time there’s a ball hit within 10 feet of him we expect him to make a great play,” Jeff Natale said. “I’ve never seen a guy who makes two or three diving plays a night, so it’s fun to watch.”
How does PawSox Manager Ron Johnson describe Chavez’s defense at third base?
“Cartoon-characterish,” RJ said with a laugh. “He makes web gems every single night so it becomes the norm. He’s as good as I’ve ever had – he’s saved us.”
Shortstop Gil Velazquez has enjoyed the best view of all, as he’s lined up next to Chavez in 45 games this season.
“He’s been a big reason why we’ve been winning even though we’re not hitting the way we should be hitting,” Velazquez told me. “The play that I love watching him make is the diving play where he throws off of his knees from third base. I don’t think I’ve even seen a third baseman do that as consistently as he does – he has an awesome arm.”
Brooks Robinson won 16 consecutive gold gloves and is generally considered the greatest defensive third baseman in baseball history. I’m not about to suggest that Angel Chavez is that good – but he’s the best I’ve even seen in the minor leagues.
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I haven’t seen Saturday’s weather forecast for Moosic, PA but it appears that Pawtucket’s game at Scranton/WB could be postponed regardless of the conditions.
Scranton/WB replaced an artificial turf field with natural grass a few years ago and the drainage is awful at PNC Field. I’m told that they’ve had rain in that area on 18 of the last 20 days and that the outfield is in terrible shape.
The Yankees had 6 home games rained out in June and it looks like their first home game in July could be in jeopardy.
Thank heavens there’s a movie theater close to the team hotel in downtown Scranton.
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No opposing hitter in the International League scares me as much as slugger Shelly Duncan of Scranton/WB. Duncan belted 4 home runs in 4 games the last time the Yankees were in town, and ended Pawtucket’s season last year with a 10th inning walk-off HR in the clinching game of their playoff series.
So, do his eyes light up when he sees “Red Sox” on the opposing uniform or is it just a coincidence that he posts huge numbers against Pawtucket?
“I’ve gotta believe it’s just a coincidence,” Duncan told me. “McCoy Stadium is a fun place to play. It’s a unique stadium and city and I think I can speak for everybody on the team when I say that it’s a lot of fun to come here. The fans are into it, the atmosphere is great, and I think it gives us a boost of energy when we come here.”
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Pawtucket could pull within 1 ˝ games of first place with another win over the Yankees on Friday night. I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:00 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.
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