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.
(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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.”
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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.