Today is February 5th. The birth date of Hank Aaron . . . Roberto Alomar . . . and Devern Hansack.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
I don’t know the first two baseball greats, but I would certainly like to wish a Happy 32nd Birthday to the right-handed pitcher who answers to two nicknames – “Señor Slider” and “The Snake.”
In case you missed it, Hansack re-signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent a couple of weeks ago and is a strong candidate to pitch for Pawtucket for the fourth straight season if his shoulder is healthy. Devern dislocated it in his first outing of 2009 (April 13th in Buffalo) and missed the rest of the year.
But PawSox fans certainly know what Hansack is capable of when healthy. He led the team in strikeouts in 2007 and 2008, and the last time he pitched at McCoy Stadium, “The Snake” threw six hitless innings in a playoff win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on September 4, 2008.
Devern has also pitched in 9 games for Boston between 2006 and 2008, going 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA.
While I’m happy to hear that Hansack could be in Pawtucket this season, I was disappointed to learn that pitcher Billy Traber is still looking for an opportunity to pitch in 2010.
I exchanged e-mails with the 30-year-old lefty this week, and Billy wrote that several teams have expressed interest but none have offered a contract yet.
Traber was 7-8 with a 3.52 ERA for the PawSox last year, but he excelled as a reliever posting a 2.32 ERA. He earned a brief promotion to Boston in August, where he “saved the bullpen” in a lopsided loss at Yankee Stadium by pitching 3.2 innings after John Smoltz had allowed eight earned runs in the first four innings. It was the last time Smoltz pitched for Boston.
Here’s hoping that a team gives Traber an opportunity to pitch this season. In the meantime, the mere mention of his name gives me another opportunity to show this great photo by my friend Kelly O’Connor. It shows Billy going to great lengths to give a fan an autographed ball at McCoy Stadium last season.