Results tagged ‘ Nate Spears ’

PawSox Players on the Move

Since it’s hard keeping track of minor league free agency each off-season, here is a list of 2012 PawSox players who have moved on since the end of the season.

(Photos: Kelly O’Connor)

And we can’t leave manager Arnie Beyeler off the list. The former PawSox skipper is now the Red Sox new first base coach.

Enjoy your weekend,

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

The Governors’ Cup Returns to Rhode Island

After waiting 28 years, PawSox fans have been rewarded. With a 4-1 win over the Charlotte Knights Thursday evening, the Pawtucket Red Sox proved they were the best team in the International League in 2012 and won their first Governors’ Cup in nearly three decades.

Not only was the win over Charlotte the club’s first championship since defeating the now defunct Maine Guides in 1984, it was also the first post-season series sweep in franchise history. You could make a strong argument that the PawSox played some of their best baseball of the entire season during the playoffs. Here’s the proof:

  • Pawtucket finished the post-season with a 6-1 record.
  • The pitching staff combined for a sparkling 2.01 ERA (14 ER/62.2 IP).
  • In the last six games, Pawtucket starters combined to go 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER/39.1 IP).
  • In seven playoff games, PawSox batters combined for 10 home runs, 10 doubles, and three triples.
  • The PawSox outscored the Knights 13-3 in three games.

Here’s what it looked like on the field Thursday night following the final out.

Enough can’t be said about the work of manager Arnie Beyeler. The second-year PawSox skipper constantly dealt with a changing roster that, in total, featured 69 players — one shy of the franchise record.

In two years in Pawtucket, Arnie has won a North Division title and now a Governors’ Cup. From my time spent around Arnie and our 1-on-1 conversations (both on-air and off), I can tell you that he is the perfect example of how hard work pays off.

After more than five months and 150 games, it’s awfully difficult sum up a season and fully appreciate all that happened. Let’s face it, there has been plenty to celebrate in 2012 in addition to a Governors’ Cup championship:

  • Mauro Gomez was named International League MVP.
  • Jose Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway were named post-season All-Stars.
  • We were able to watch Will Middlebrooks crush it for all of April.
  • People in Pawtucket fell in love with Pedro Ciriaco before anyone else.
  • PawSox team president Mike Tamburro was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.
  • Lars Anderson and Jason Repko each made SportsCenters’ Top-10 Plays.
  • The beautiful statue Ben Mondor was unveiled inside Mondor Gardens.
  • Big Leaguers like Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford, and Cody Ross all wore a PawSox jersey.

The remaining members from the PawSox Opening Day roster (left to right): Tony Thomas, Che-Hsuan Lin, Alex Wilson, Will Inman, Alex Hassan, Jason Repko, Nate Spears, Tony Pena, Jr.

The PawSox have a chance to add another highlight to the list with a win Tuesday night in Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game against either Reno or Omaha.

Both on-air and in this blog, it has been a pleasure bringing PawSox baseball to you in 2012. Your loyal readership always gives me a reason to type and constantly reminds me how fortunate I am to be in this position.

Over the years you’ve listened to some of the most talented broadcasters in baseball come through Pawtucket, and living up to the standards they set has been the greatest — and most fulfilling — challenge of my career.

Thank you for making PawSox baseball on the radio part of your summer and for bringing me with you in the car, in your home, and everywhere else in between.

What a way to start my stay in Pawtucket.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Arnie Beyeler, Mike Tamburro, and PawSox general manager Lou Schwechheimer getting drenched during the trophy celebration on the field.

Top-10 PawSox Moments in May

Between the late nights, early morning flights, bumpy bus rides, and countless other factors, a minor league baseball season can quickly become a blur. Today, as we flip the calendar to the start of June, we’ll begin by rewinding to the beginning of May to rank the Top-10 moments from the month that was.

#10 – Nava Gets Second Call-Up to Boston (May 10)

Even though there wasn’t a grand slam this time, Daniel Nava’s return to the Major Leagues was, to some, maybe as unthinkable as his historic slam in his big league debut in 2010.

Never mind the fact that Nava wasn’t invited to Major League camp, he wasn’t even in the PawSox Opening Day lineup. After a slow start to the year, Nava caught fire and has continued to produce with Boston.

#9 – Gomez Delivers in the Eighth Inning (May 10)

The PawSox trailed the Rochester Red Wings at McCoy Stadium by a run going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, Jose Iglesias singled, then Lars Anderson reached on an error by former PawSox second baseman, Joe Thurston. That’s when Mauro Gomez ripped a two-run double that bounced off the right-field wall to plate two runs and give the PawSox the lead and the eventual win, 7-6.

Gomez has had plenty to smile about this season. Not only has he received his first Major League call-up, but he leads the PawSox in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, and hits. (Kelly O’Connor).

#8 – Mathis Nearly Perfect, Youkilis Rehabs (May 21)

After struggling in April, Doug Mathis flipped the switch in May and dominated the Norfolk Tides in his ninth start of the year.

The former Texas Ranger had maybe the best outing of any Pawtucket starter this year by tossing seven-innings scoreless, allowing just one hit – a fifth-inning triple that was almost caught with two outs.

The PawSox blanked the Tides 4-0 and were aided by rehabbing Kevin Youkilis who finished 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a pair of walks.

#7 – Middlebrooks Gets the Call (May 2)

After thrashing International League pitching throughout April, PawSox third baseman, and Red Sox No. 1 prospect, Will Middlebrooks received his first-ever call-up to Boston.

Since joining the Red Sox, Middlebrooks is batting .316 (30-for-95) in 24 games with six homers and 21 runs batted in. Safe to say it’s looking less likely he’ll see Pawtucket again this season.

In 24 games with the PawSox, Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine homers and 27 runs batted in. Five of is home runs came with two men on base. (Kelly O’Connor)

#6 – Hassan Delivers on Mother’s Day (May 13)

On a beautiful Mother’s Day at McCoy, the PawSox and Columbus Clippers were tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning. With his mom in the stands, Alex Hassan homered to left-field with one out to give Pawtucket a 5-4 lead and the eventual win.

Hassan finished the day 3-for-3 with two runs batted in, three runs scored, and was a triple shy of the cycle.

#5 – PawSox and Bulls Take Center Stage in Japan (May 17)

In front of over 10,000 fans, plus thousands more watching on Japanese sports cable channel J SPORTS, two of the Pacific Rim’s biggest  baseball stars squared off at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Rehabbing Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for the PawSox as Hideki Matsui played his third-career game in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system. Although Pawtucket lost 5-0 and never moved a runner past second base, the media hype and overall buzz within the ballpark made it one of the more memorable games this season.

There were over 35 Japanese media members in Durham to report on Matsuzaka vs. Matsui. (Kelly O’Connor).

#4 – PawSox Homer Five Times (May 27)

Not only did the PawSox club five home runs, but three of the first four batters in the bottom of the first inning went deep.

Pedro Ciriaco hit a lead-off homer to left, followed by Nate Spears’ home run to right. After Darnell McDonald smoked a line drive to third base, Lars Anderson went deep to right field.

Anderson homered again to begin the sixth inning, followed by Alex Hassan’s 2-run shot in the eighth. For Anderson, it was his third-career two-homer game, his first since 2009.

#3 – PawSox Take Down Andy Pettitte (May 6)  

Originally scheduled to be played at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, Ny., the PawsSox and Yankees dueled in front of a record crowd at Frontier Field in Rochester. Because of the media and fan interest, the Yankees, PawSox, and Red Wings all agreed to move the contest to Rochester where, in a matter of days, the Wings sold 13,584 tickets to watch Andy Pettitte.

With the Triple-A Yankees’ ballpark under season-long construction, the PawSox dealt the five-time World Series champion a loss. In fact, the first four PawSox batters recorded hits off Pettitte: Pedro Ciriaco (double), Jose Iglesias (infield single), Ryan Lavarnway (RBI double), and Lars Anderson (RBI single).

Iglesias went 2-for-3 with an RBI against Pettitte and the Yankees. Even more impressive, the PawSox shortstop hit .341 in May with his second-career homer and nine runs batted in. (Kelly O’Connor)

#2 – Lavarnway’s Bomb Caps Seven-Run Inning, and the Win (May 26)

The PawSox went into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing Toledo 5-1. When the inning was over, they lead 8-5. Ryan Lavarnway’s 3-run homer was the bow on top of  a 7-run, 7-hit inning – the most runs scored in a single frame this season by Pawtucket.

Not only was Lavarnway’s home run a first pitch no-doubter, it was his first home run since April 17 (99 at-bats).

#1 – Lars Anderson Makes SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays (May 29)

For the first time in the history of McCoy Stadium, a home run was hit of the HD video board in right-center field. As part of his third-career, five-RBI night, Anderson pounded a two-run shot in the fourth inning that blew out a small portion of the two-year old board.

Photo taken of the video board at McCoy Stadium seconds after Anderson’s blast. (Jillian Souza)

For his efforts, Anderson was among the Top-10 plays that night (and the next morning) on SportsCenter.

There were plenty of noteworthy moments throughout May for the PawSox, who ended the month 18-12. Tonight June begins with Game 1 of a brief four-game road trip to Lehigh Valley to face the Iron Pigs. Brandon Duckworth (5-1, 4.22) will be opposed by righty Scott Elarton (5-2, 3.44).

First pitch tonight from Coca-Cola Park is scheduled for 7:05, we hit the air with the pre-game show at 6:50.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Nate Spears Heating Up

In his second year in Pawtucket, utility-man Nate Spears has settled into the role of everyday third baseman for the PawSox since Will Middlebrooks was promoted to Boston on May 2.

“Most of the games in my career are at second base, but I’ve familiarized myself with a number of other positions to become more versatile and valuable to a ball team,” said Spears from the PawSox dugout.

In 2011, Spears appeared at six different defensive positions: second base (37 games), right field (23), third base (16), left field (13), shortstop (four), first base (one).

Spears made his Major League debut last season on September 6 at Toronto. He totaled three games with the Red Sox in 2011. (Kelly O’Connor)

While he has helped the PawSox all year with his versatility, Spears is in the midst of his best offensive stretch of the season. He’s batting .400 (8-for-20) over his last eight games and is currently riding a season-best seven-game hitting streak (his previous best as a PawSox was six games last year,  Aug. 17 -22).

Of his recent offensive success, what stands out the most is that three of his four home runs this season have come in his last five games.

“I really haven’t changed a whole lot,” Spears remarked about his approach. “I’ve been working on using my hands a little bit more and seeing the ball, letting it travel, and getting a good pitch.”

Spears is already halfway to his home run total from a year ago with the PawSox where in 96 games he hit eight out of the yard (his second-highest total outside his 20 home run season with Double-A Portland in 2010).

Originally drafted by Baltimore in the 5th Round in 2003, Spears played in his 1,000th career professional game yesterday where he went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.

The PawSox play Game 2 against Norfolk tonight from McCoy where righty Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 4.07) will be opposed by Tides’ right-hander Eddie Gamboa (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is slated for 7:05, pre-game coverage starts at 6:50.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Spears received his second-career call-up to Boston this year on April 15 and appeared in four games. (Kelly O’Connor)

Jon Hee Makes His Triple-A Debut

With Nate Spears getting called up to Boston and Pedro Ciriaco on the DL with an oblique injury, Jon Hee received his first call-up to Triple-A. The Honolulu native took some time after batting practice here in Syracuse to chat with me about joining the PawSox and how he became such a versatile infielder.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Hee has played at third base and at shortstop in his first two starts with the PawSox. (PHOTO: daylife.com)

Homestand Photos

The PawSox first homestand of 2012 wraps up this afternoon with a 12:05 first pitch against Lehigh Valley. Here are some photos from the first five games of the season at McCoy Stadium thanks to photographer Kelly O’Connor.

PawSox manager Arnie Beyler and hitting coach Gerald Perry share a laugh during the player introductions on Opening Night.

Pawtucket outfielder Daniel Nava being introduced on Opening Night.

Pre-Game ceremonies on the field prior to Opening Night at McCoy on Thursday.

Easter Candy Hunt! Thousands of pieces of candy were picked up in minutes in-between Saturday’s doubleheader.

Smores, anyone? Nate Spears stays warm during Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Alex Hassan, in his first Triple-A start in right field, gunned down speedy Dominic Brown at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly attempt.

PawSox first baseman Lars Anderson showing off some pre-game ball skills.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias has already dazzled defensively this season.

It seems as if center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin makes a catch like this every night.

Nate Spears signing autographs for some kids above.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway makes time to sign for some young fans in a sutie.

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is in his second season managing Lehigh Valley.

Second baseman Nate Spears makes a diving stop on a ball in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Thanks again to Kelly O’Connor for bundling up and taking these great pics. Steve and I hit the air at 11:50 this morning for the series finale versus the IronPigs.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

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