This year the Pawtucket Red Sox were scheduled to play 144 games in 152 days. For those of you that share my limited math skills, that’s 8 days off in 5 months.
Three of those coveted eight off-days occur during the All-Star break, but PawSox pitcher Matt Fox says he’ll happily give up the mini-vacation after being selected to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 13th.
(Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
“The time off would be nice, but it’s an honor to be going and I’m going to try to make the best of it and have fun with it,” Fox said. “Being a starting pitcher, I guess you have more off-days than others. It’s not the day-to-day grind of a position player or a relief pitcher. I’m feeling good and looking forward to it.”
The International League All-Star roster was announced on Thursday, and Fox learned that he had been selected from a former teammate.
“I was out to lunch at Subway and I got a text message from Kyle Waldrop who is with Rochester saying, ‘Congratulations,’” Weiland said. “I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘You made the All-Star team.’ I looked it up and then I texted some family members. It’s a great honor and I’m happy to be going.”
Fox is 4-2 with a 3.73 ERA, but would rank among the league leaders in wins if he had not been the victim of blown saves in 4 of his last 8 outings. Because of major league call-ups and injuries, there are always changes to the Triple-A All-Star rosters, and Matt hopes that he’ll be joined in Salt Lake City by some of his PawSox teammates.
“There are so many guys on our team that deserve to be there,” Fox said. “One is my roommate Kyle Weiland (7-6, 3.02 ERA). What he’s doing is impressive – I haven’t seen many guys with his stuff out there, so I’d like to see him get a chance to go. Scott Atchison (3-1, 2 saves, 1.31 ERA) has been up-and-down to Boston several times this year, but what he does is pretty impressive when he comes into the game. Tony Pena (6-3, 2 saves, 3.04 ERA) is throwing the ball as well as anybody too. That’s just the pitchers – I haven’t thought a lot about the hitters. We have a leader in Hector Luna at third base and he’s having a solid year offensively and defensively (.288, 9 HR, 31 RBI). Personally, I hope that somebody else from our team gets named.”
This will be Fox’s second All-Star game appearance in the last three years.
“I threw the second inning in the Eastern League All-Star game in 2009 at Trenton. I had family there from DC and New York that took the train over. My mom and dad flew in along with my brother and grandma. It was my first one, and being around all of that talent was a lot of fun. I’m not sure if anyone will be able to make it to Salt Lake City. It’s a long trip for my family members in Ohio and Florida, but we’ll see.”
If his family members in Ohio aren’t able to make the trip, at least Fox knows that he’ll see them in a few months. Shortly after every baseball season, Matt makes a pilgrimage to Columbus to see his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes play football.
So what was his reaction to the recent resignation of head football coach Jim Tressel?
“I was shocked,” Fox said. “He’s such an iconic figure in Columbus and the whole state of Ohio, but I think it was the right decision. Hopefully, the NCAA doesn’t come down with too harsh of penalties and Ohio State can move forward with whoever they decide to hire next year. Jim Tressel is a great coach and I’ll always be a fan of his, but I guess it’s time to move on.”
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The PawSox open a 3-game series against the Scranton/WB Yankees with a 4:05 doubleheader on Saturday. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 3:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
And we also invite you to tune in to “PawSox Insider” from 2:00 to 3:00 on the PawSox radio network and 920WHJJ.com. This week’s guests include Boston Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen.
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