Results tagged ‘ Alfredo Aceves ’
Forget Opening Day, my first PawSox game of 2012 is in the books. So maybe a Spring Training minor league game isn’t quite the same as a regular season affair, but it was still a blast to see live baseball again and get my first taste of Fenway South.
The most obvious storyline about today’s PawSox game was that Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves got the start for Pawtucket. Having an established big leaguer who can really pitch start a minor league game played on a nondescript backfield is definitely a contrast, but one that’s fun to watch. Aceves picked up the win despite getting knocked around: seven hits including four doubles. Overall he gave up three runs and left some pitches up, but he was still a pleasure to see live.
(Above) Aceves warming up prior to the fifth inning. He worked with catcher Matt Spring who appeared in three games with the PawSox last year. While in the dugout following the sixth inning, Spring complimented Aceves on his communication.
Kevin Bloes, the manager of the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, is doing the managing for the PawSox games while Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler is assisting the Red Sox coaching staff in big league camp. I talked with Boles after the game this afternoon and when I asked about Aceves he described him as a pitcher with “plus commanded who has life to his fastball and who can change speeds well.”
Offensively, the biggest eye-opener for me was the bat of Mauro Gomez. The former Gwinnett Brave connected on the first pitch see saw today and blasted a no-doubter over the left field fence. Now the new PawSox’ first baseman, Gomez was a force last year with Gwinnett, finishing the year batting for average and power (.304/24 HR/90 RBI).
While it was Gomez’ bat that initially opened eyes today, he made an outstanding play at first in the early innings. The Durham batter hit the ball sharply to Will Middlebrooks at third base and, as a result, Middlebrooks’ throw to Gomez at first was high and slightly down the line. Gomez – wh0 has a thick, stocky build – sprung into the air, stretched his arm above his head to make the catch, and then slapped the tag on the runner a split-step before his foot hit the bag. I asked Boles about the play and, as impressed as he was with it, he said he hasn’t seen enough of Gomez to know if that type of play was out of the ordinary for him. Nevertheless, in the nine innings I’ve seen him play, he’s better defensively than I initially thought.
(Above) Will Middlebrooks at bat in the first inning. The Red Sox No. 1 Prospect (Baseball America) finished the day 1-for-3 with a single.
- Che-Hsuan Lin, the track star from Taiwan and current Red Sox outfield prospect, is pretty impressive up close. I had never seen him in person and was surprised to see that he’s well built and doesn’t have the slim build we imagine most speedsters having.
- I had a chance to speak with newly acquired right-hander John Maine during today’s game (he was in the stands). He’s very well-spoken and describes himself as an “East Coast guy.” John and his wife make their off-season him in Charlotte and one month ago they welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Reese.
One of the highlights for me today was speaking with Red Sox base-stelaing legend, Tommy Harper. Now in his 10th season as a player development consultant with the Sox, Harper held the Red Sox’ single-season record for stolen bases in a season (54 in 1973) until 2009 when former PawSox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury set the new club mark with 70. Mr. Harper gave me a 20 minute crash course in the art of base stealing which was a really fun moment for me. He left me with this piece of knowledge: “a good base stealer reads [the pitcher] – he doesn’t guess.”
- While I was writing my first blog around noon today from the press box at JetBlue Park, I looked to my left and spotted Jonathan Mayo, the (great) minor league writer for MLB.com. He was kind enough to let me interview him for about 10 minutes after the PawSox game and I plan on posting that audio interview here later this evening/early tomorrow. He was very kind and humble to talk with and had some terrific insights on the Red Sox minor league system.
Time to grab some dinner and prepare for my “road trip” to Port Charlotte tomorrow where I’ll watch the PawSox play Durham at their place. We’ll chat again soon.
Now that I’ve gone 48 hours without meeting another member of Pawtucket’s finest, I can begin to set my sights on some upcoming events surrounding the PawSox that I’m looking forward to.
This will be a first for me and I can’t wait to take it all in. The Baseball Writers Association of America, which has chapters in each Major League city, was formed in 1908 to work with baseball officials to improve working conditions for writers at the nation’s big league ballparks.
On January 19, the 73rd annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner will be held at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston. The Red Sox award recipients include:
- Jacoby Ellsbury — Thomas A. Yawkey Memorial Award (Red Sox MVP)
- Alfredo Aceves — Red Sox Pitcher of the Year, Unsung Hero Award
- Jonathan Papelbon — Red Sox Fireman of the Year
- Dustin Pedroia — Jackie Jenson Award (Spirit and determination)
- Josh Reddick — Harry Agganis Memorial Award (Red Sox Rookie of the Year)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia — Tommy McCarthy Memorial Good Guy Award
- Ryan Lavarnway — Greg Montalbano Memorial Minor League Award
- Ken Ryan — Former Boston Red Sox Player Award
- Tommy Hottovy — Lou Gorman Award (Passion and Persistence)
Others being honored that I have interest in include Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels and former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos and dedicate a blog post following the event.
2. Hot Stove League Party at McCoy Stadium
On Friday, January 13th from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. the PawSox will hold the 35th Annual Pawtucket Red Sox Hot Stove League Party at McCoy Stadium. I’ll be in attendance and hope to see you there as well. This event is FREE to the public and will be held inside the hallowed confines of the McCoy clubhouse and batting tunnels. No RSVP is necessary.
PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler will give fans a preview of what the 2012 club will look like. Several PawSox players and top Red Sox prospects like RHP Alex Wilson, C Luis Exposito, OF Alex Hassan, and RHP Brandon Duckworth are expected to attend the party and will be available for photos and autographs.
Food and drinks will be served.
3. Media Day at McCoy Stadium
Unlike the Hot Stove Party, this event in early April is not open to the public. Local Rhode Island and Boston media will descend on McCoy Stadium and will have their first chance to meet the 2012 PawSox players and staff.
If the weather is nice all the players will be dressed in their home whites and will be interviewed on the field. If we get rain, the event will move inside the clubhouse. No matter the weather, I’ll get plenty of pictures and post them here on the blog.
4. PawSox Welcome Home Luncheon
Now an annual tradition created by team president Mike Tamburro, the Welcome Home Luncheon is open to the public and will be held the day before Opening Day on April 4. The site will be announced soon.
The event, which is largely put together by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, will run from approximately noon – 1:30 p.m. and will feature all of the PawSox players, manager Arnie Beyeler, and a featured speaker that has not yet been announced.
Information about the event can be found on our website next month, but tickets can only be purchased through the Chamber.
5. Spring Training
Two instantly recognizable features at the new ballpark are the Green Monster and manual scoreboard – the exact one that was once at Fenway Park. It was replaced before the 2001 season and held in storage in South Dakota (where else?).
I’ll be in Fort Myers for a week near the middle or end of March and promise to not spend all my time at the beach. I’ll be outfitted with a digital audio recorder and a Flip video camera to gather plenty of interviews to share both on here and at pawsox.com.
Mark your calendars, Opening Day is exactly three months (91 days) away.