This year, former PawSox outfielders Jonathan Van Every and Brandon Moss were reunited as teammates with the Indianapolis Indians. At least until last Saturday when Van Every was traded back to the Red Sox organization.
“We had been talking about it for like two or three days prior,” Moss told me. “We were like, ‘Dude, how nice would it be to get traded back to Boston.’ Sure enough it happened. If I had his phone number I swear I would call him and do nothing but cuss at him for about an hour. But that’s how it goes and I was very happy for him because he went to a great situation and he’s playing for a great team and manager.”
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
On Tuesday, Moss returned to McCoy Stadium for the first time since July 31, 2008 when he was traded to Pittsburgh in the 3-team blockbuster deal that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles and Jason Bay to Boston.
“I knew I was going to get a good opportunity and I was excited,” Moss said. “But at the same time, it was kind of bittersweet because I was leaving the organization that I had come up with. Boston is a first-class organization from rookie ball all the way to the big leagues. They do everything the right way. They teach everything the right way. I was sad to leave and I miss it. Truth be told – you won’t find a better-run organization.”
The trade to Pittsburgh gave Brandon the opportunity to spend all of last year in the big leagues and he was the Pirates starting right fielder on opening day. But when his batting average dropped to .174 on May 10th, Moss was removed from the every day lineup and finished the season batting .236/.304/.364 7 HR in 385 at-bats.
“I’ve always played every day and I kind of let that get to me mentally,” Moss said. “I also had a hard time with it physically because I wasn’t used to it. It’s just one of those things you have to learn as a young player. Last year it seemed that when I got off to a rough start – and this is nothing against them up there – but they kind of hit the panic button. I tried to tell people that I’m a slow starter – you can look at any year I’ve ever had in the minor leagues, I’ve always started slow. But they kind of hit the panic button a little bit and every day I would come in to the cage and it would be something new that we were working on. So I got really frustrated and lost confidence. My whole goal this year was to find my swing and just be myself. I’ve got a great hitting coach and coaching staff here at Indianapolis and they realize what the goal is and throughout the past couple of weeks it’s really been coming together. I’ve been feeling like me again and it’s a lot of fun. Just playing every day is how you get that and it’s enjoyable. Whether you’re in A-ball or the big leagues you want to play – you don’t want to sit there. And that’s one thing I had a hard time with. But if I get back up there with Pittsburgh or anybody else and I’m a role player that will be fine. I’ll be able to accept it a little better next time because I will have done it before. Right now I’m enjoying where I’m at and I’m playing really hard trying to reestablish myself.”
So far this season, Moss is batting .250/.311/.393 with 2 HR and 7 RBI in 14 games with Indianapolis. He was 1-for-4 and scored a pair of run in the Indians 7-2 win over the PawSox on Monday night.
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When Josh Reddick and Mark Wagner got off to slow starts this season, they attempted to change their luck by shaving each other’s heads.
In their first games with buzz cuts, Reddick went 3-for-5 and Wagner belted a 2-run home run.
But since that game, Josh is 5-for-34 (.147) with Pawtucket and the 23-year-old outfielder went 1-for-6 in his brief promotion to Boston.
As a result, the electric trimmer has surfaced again.
On Wednesday morning, Reddick had teammate Matt Sheely give him a Mohawk.
(photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat)
“He did the same thing for me last year in Portland and I got called-up by Boston that week,” Reddick told me.
“If he gets called-up that quickly again, you’ll see me sporting a Mohawk too,” Wagner quipped.
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Chuck the Knuck is back . . . at least in the International League.
The Rochester Red Wings signed former PawSox All-Star Charlie Zink on Tuesday and the 30-year-old knuckleballer will take the mound on Wednesday at 11:35 am against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
Zink signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the off-season (I talked to him about it here), but was released near the end of spring training. Rochester is in dire need of starting pitchers due to a broken foot suffered by Anthony Swarzak and elbow inflammation for Mike Maroth, so they’re giving Charlie a shot.
Zink was the International League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2008 for Pawtucket when he went 14-6 with a 2.84 ERA. He struggled last year, going 6-15 for the PawSox with a 5.59 ERA.
Let’s hope he sticks with the Red Wings. It would be great to see him back at McCoy Stadium when the Rochester returns on July 8th.
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All signs point toward stud prospect Stephen Strasburg pitching at McCoy Stadium on the PawSox next homestand.
The Washington Nationals’ prospect pitched five hitless and scoreless innings last night for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, hitting 97 mph on the radar gun. He’s 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA. Published reports indicate that he’s likely to be promoted to Triple-A Syracuse soon.
Strasburg is scheduled to make his next start on Sunday. If he moves to Triple-A and continues to pitch every fifth day, he would take the mound at McCoy Stadium on Monday, May 17th. Syracuse comes to Pawtucket for a 4-game series May 14-17.
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The PawSox host Indianapolis on Wednesday at 12:05. I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 11:50 am on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard