Results tagged ‘ PawSox ’

Friday News and Notes From The Fort

The weather in Florida on Friday featured rain throughout the majority of state.  That forced the cancellation of many spring training games today, including a scheduled PawSox home game against Norfolk at JetBlue Park.  Before the rains hit, however, the Red Sox held several intrasquad scrimmages on the minor league fields in the morning.

In one of those, the Pawtucket and Portland groups faced off in a six-inning contest that featured several big names.  In the PawSox lineup this morning were Shane Victorino, Christian Vazquez and Xander Bogaerts, with starting pitcher Joe Kelly working the first three frames on the mound.

Kelly pitching

Joe Kelly working on the back fields at JetBlue Park on Friday morning

Kelly, working his way back from a biceps injury, allowed one run and struck out five in his three innings. Bogaerts and Victorino each played the entire game, while Vazquez left after catching four innings.  Garin Cecchini and Bryce Brentz, each optioned from major league camp on Thursday, were each in the lineup for the PawSox in the short affair.

Victorino AB

Shane Victorino took several at-bats for the PawSox team in the intrasquad game Friday morning

I ran into former PawSox utilityman Justin Henry this afternoon at the complex.  Henry, a very popular member of the squad for the past few seasons, retired from playing after Pawtucket won the Governor’s Cup last September.

The good news is Henry has accepted a coaching job with the organization and will be working with the Red Sox South Atlantic League affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina this season.  He will make a terrific coach and I wish Justin nothing but the best in his new career.

justin henry

Justin Henry will now be coaching in the South Atlantic League for the Greenville Drive

Not much else to report on a quiet day in Fort Myers.  On Saturday the PawSox head to Port Charlotte to take on Durham at 1pm.  I’ll have a recap here shortly after the contest concludes.

Also, don’t miss PawSox Insider on Saturday from 1-2pm on WHJJ (920 AM) for interviews with Kevin Boles, Travis Shaw, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe and Portland Sea Dogs broadcaster Mike Antonellis.

Have a great Friday night!

Josh M

Thursday at JetBlue: PawSox Roster Taking Shape

Hi all, Josh Maurer here again.  In case you missed the news yesterday Will Flemming and I will be co-authoring “45 Miles From Fenway” this season.  Today I spent a full day at the JetBlue complex and have plenty to report.

Thursday morning began with the news that the Red Sox had optioned Garin Cecchini and Bryce Brentz along with relievers Heath Hembree and Zeke Spruill to the Pawtucket roster. Super-prospect starting pitcher Henry Owens was also reassigned to minor league camp and is expected to work with the PawSox group.


Garin Cecchini was optioned back to the PawSox on Thursday morning. John Farrell says he will play some third base, first base and left field this season.

None of these moves come as a big surprise, as it has been widely anticipated that all five of these men would open the season in Pawtucket.  They join catcher Blake Swihart, first baseman Travis Shaw, infielder Sean Coyle and starter Eduardo Rodriguez as players recently optioned from big league camp.

This afternoon the PawSox hosted Rochester at the minor league fields, a game that ended in a 3-3 tie after a very exciting finish.  With Pawtucket trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, infielder Carlos Asuaje lined a game-tying solo home run against former PawSox reliever Ryan Pressly.

Shannon Wilkerson’s solo blast in the bottom of the eighth against Rochester’s Michael Tonkin snapped a 1-1 tie, but the Red Wings rallied to take the lead with two outs in the top of the ninth on James Beresford’s two-run single against Deryk Hooker.

All three of Pawtucket’s runs came via a solo blast, with Keury De La Cruz hitting the first in the bottom of the fifth.  Craig Breslow started for the PawSox and allowed a run on two hits in the first inning.

Dana Eveland throw the second and pitched around two singles to record a scoreless frame, getting a double play to end a Rochester threat when right-fielder Henry Ramos throw out a tagging runner at the plate.

Breslow pitching

Craig Breslow started today’s PawSox game against Rochester

Keith Couch, fighting to make the PawSox roster when camp breaks, fired four scoreless relief innings.  He allowed three hits and walked a pair but struck out three.  Miguel Celestino did not allow a hit or a run in two scoreless frames behind Couch, picking up three strikeouts in the process.

Asuaje, who spent the majority of 2014 in Low-A Greenville, went 3-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.  He played both second and third base during the contest.

Here are some notes and observations from a full day at the JetBlue complex:

-I had a chance to speak with Manager Kevin Boles this morning.  He has been assisting John Farrell and his staff in major league camp all spring and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The skipper said he may not join the Triple-A group until only a few days before camp breaks.

Boles says he feels reinvigorated after taking off from working in winter ball this offseason.  You’ll be able to hear the full interview with him this Saturday at 1pm on PawSox Insider.

nice crowd at JetBlue

There was a big crowd on hand for the Major League game at JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon

-Late this morning Farrell and Torey Lovullo presided over a unique batting practice session at one of the minor league fields, with the participants being the majority of the anticipated major league starting rotation.  It was nice to see knuckleballer Steven Wright included in the group, which also had Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and a few others.  Jason Varitek throw the big league pitchers several rounds of BP.

pitchers BP in spring

The Red Sox starting pitchers took some BP this morning with Jason Varitek throwing

-Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez did some light throwing over at the minor league fields late this morning with Farrell and members of the training staff watching.  Vazquez is trying to work his way back from a sore elbow.  Farrell said this morning that the team isn’t quite sure if the backstop will be ready for opening day.

Vazquez throwing in spring

Christian Vazquez did some light throwing late this morning

That’s all for today.  The PawSox play Norfolk on Friday at JetBlue at 1pm.  It will be interesting to see if some of the guys recently optioned from major league camp like Cecchini and Brentz are ready to join the squad.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the Sweet 16 NCAA action tonight!

Josh M

Ryan Lavarnway Talks Catching and Home Runs

After not hitting a home run since his first at bat in Spring Training, Ryan Lavarnway has gone deep in back-to-back nights, one of wich went to the opposite field. With last night’s game locked at 0-0, if it wasn’t for his ninth inning bomb to left, the PawSox and Chiefs might still be playing.

Prior to yesterday’s game I spoke with Ryan on the PawSox pre-game show about his first home run and how he felt he was progressing defensively.

Although it’s always fun to talk about the long ball, I was most interested in asking Ryan about his work behind the plate. Thanks to his system-leading 32 home runs last year, no one doubts what he can do with a bat in his hands.

“Catching is something that I take a lot of pride in and that I’ve put a lot of work in to the last couple years,” Ryan told me. “Being known as a complete player is something that I’m striving towards and that I think I’m getting close to people recognizing.”

In 10 games behind the plate, Lavarnway has allowed one passed ball and has thrown out an impressive 4-of-7 base stealers (57%). On Monday night, Syracuse had the tying run at second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth. When Lavarnway had to smother a Junichi Tazawa pitch in the dirt, the runner at second bolted to third. Ryan threw a dart to Will Middlebrooks who tagged the runner out two feet shy of the bag.

I hope you enjoy listening to Lavarnway talk about hitting and catching. Tonight is Game 3 in Syracuse with first pitch scheduled for 6:00. We’ll be on-air with the pre-game show at 5:45.

Talk with you then,



With home runs in back-to-back nights, Lavarnway is now hitting .231 with 4 RBIs. He leads the PawSox with 10 walks and has already been intentionally walked three times. (Kelly O'Connor)

Goodbye, Ft. Myers

My first Spring Training was a blast.  I saw nine different games, met some terrific people, and learned a lot. I’m timing things right because this morning it’s raining for the first time all week.

Yesterday I went to the PawSox game at the Twins’ facility with my friend Mike Antonellis, the “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs.” Here are some pics from yesterday’s game.

Former PawSox and Red Sox player, Aaron Bates. Now with the Twins, Aaron was the first player I ever covered to get called up to the big leagues.

Aaron talking with Mike after the game.

Red Sox outfield prospect Alex Hassan playing in his first minor league game since being sent down from big league camp.

Billy Buckner, no relation to Bill Buckner, pitched yesterday for the PawSox. The 28-year-old has appeared in 36 major league games (21 starts) since 2007 with Kansas City and Arizona.

Jeremy Kehrt appeared in seven games (two starts) for the PawSox last year.  The righty pitched for Scottsdale in the prospect-driven Arizona Fall League this past off-season.

The PawSox fell to Rochester 6-2 yesterday with Kehrt getting the start, pitching two innings, and suffering the loss. Both of Pawtucket’s runs came on RBI groundouts in the fifth inning. The only real offensive highlight was a sixth-inning triple by J.C. Linares to right-center. The ground shook when he slid into third base.

This will do it for me from beautiful Ft. Myers.  Today is a camp day for the PawSox (no games), but tomorrow they’ll host Rochester at 1:00 p.m. EST. My broadcast partner Steve Hyder will be down here for a week starting  tomorrow and will have lots of coverage on his blog which can be read here.

Thanks for your terrific readership this week – it’s been a privilege writing for you each day. I’m sure Spring Training 2013 will be even better, but before then, I’m counting down the 11 days until Opening Day 2012 on April 5th at McCoy Stadium.

Hope to see you there.



PawSox Fans Interview Manager Arnie Beyeler

A short while ago, PawSox fans on Facebook and Twitter submitted questions to our very own Pete Sachs in an off-season edition of “Ask Arnie.”  Because of his question, Gregory Levinsky won four tickets to the double-header on April 7 thanks to our 125 Tickets in 125 Days promotion. We’ll make sure to keep the Ask Arnie feature going throughout the season.  Thank you to all of the fans who submitted questions.

PawSox Fans: Do you evaluate yourself as a manager by the success of your teams? Or by the success of individual players making it to the major leagues?

Arnie Beyeler: I like to measure success with both. The priority is getting players to the next level – no matter which level that may be. That’s what it’s all about in the big picture, but I think winning is also a big part of a player’s development.  Players learn how to win by playing the game the right way.

PSF:    How much notice does a Triple-A team get when a player is called up?

AB:     If the player is a starting pitcher or a young position player, sometimes they get a few days notice.  However, the majority of the time they get told after a game and immediately leave to meet their new team whether in Boston or on the road the next day.

PSF:    Which PawSox player(s) have the best chance to make the leap this season from good to great? Who is a dark horse this season to shine in Pawtucket that fans may not know about?

AB:     That’s not a fair question for me to answer because we think all our guys have the opportunity to play in Boston in the future.  With their help, it’s our job as development guys to make them better.  Sure, some are closer than others, or may fill a need at the next level better, but we have a very talented group that we feel are just waiting their turn to get the opportunity to succeed up there.

Beyler returns to Pawtucket in 2012 for his second season as the PawSox manager. (Kelly O'Connor)

PSF:    How much different is the process of strength and conditioning for your players now compared to 10 or 15 years ago?

AB:     Keeping fit has turned into a year round job due to all the money available at the major league level.  Players can’t sit home and expect to keep their jobs anymore without getting stronger and better in the off-season. It’s very competitive at every level and as a result we ask a lot out of these guys. 

For example, players lift weights throughout the season on a consistent basis depending on our travel schedule and their roles on the team.  Pitchers lift the day after they throw and starters have a strict four-day workout routine between starts. It’s a little tougher with relievers since they could pitch any night.  Position players do the organizational shoulder strengthening program at least twice a week and are expected to do an upper and lower body workout at least once per week. With our travel schedule that can be tough to accomplish. Keep in mind, all of this is on top of their daily work on the field (fielding, batting practice, etc.).

PSF:    What are your impressions of the brand new JetBlue Park?

AB:     The sight of the complex is very impressive.  One of the differences between JetBlue and Fenway are the seats in the middle of the green monster with a net in front of them. The dimensions are the same: Pesky’s pole and how the wall jets straight back behind it, the deep triangle in center field, the bullpen nook in right-center and the angles down third base line. 

PSF:    Were you very familiar with Bobby Valentine before he took the Red Sox managerial job? How much are you looking forward to working with him this spring?

AB:     Bobby Valentine has been a much respected figure in baseball for quite a while so I am familiar with that aspect of him.  Prior to Spring Training, I had never met him or worked with him.  His enthusiasm is contagious and he’s proving to be a great teacher of the game.  He’s been extremely energetic and detailed oriented in his first couple of weeks down here and is very hands on in everything we do on each field with all the players.

So there you have it, the first “Ask Arnie” of 2012.  Feel free to email or tweet me anytime with a question you’d like us to ask him while I’m in Ft. Myers March 18-25.  Thank you again to Pete Sachs with the PawSox for coordinating all of the questions.  

I’m off to record PawSox Insider with Steve Hyder.  On this week’s show we’ll have International League President Randy Mobley, New York Yankees’ Beat Writer for the Wall Street Journal, Dan Barbarisi, and Chris Mellen of  You can listen to the show on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on 920 WHJJ.



New Jersey’s Green Monster

Ahhh, Saturday.  My clever wife buttered me up this morning by cooking me a pancake breakfast, only to then summon me to curtain-hanging-duty.  So, yes, by taking a blog-break, I’m risking my marriage for you, my loyal reader.

You might remember my video interview with Red Sox prospect Alex Hassan earlier this winter. Among other things, he talked about how he built a replica Fenway Park in his backyard.  The image below might not be an exact replica, but one New Jersey resident sure is a Sox fan.

Ever wonder how a baseball is made?  Here’s a great video my parents found and shared with me.  It’s a little surprising to me that despite modern technology, every major league baseball is still hand-stitched.


Thank you to my three latest subscribers: vteyes, carlosoli, and marlyneg. You can subscribe by by typing in your email address in the top-right hand corner of this page and clicking “subscribe.”

Back to the curtains.  Hopefully I’ll be rewarded for my work with a Chipotle burrito for lunch.



Former PaxSox Manager Introduced in Norfolk

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Massachusetts, but I’m guessing thousands of Red Sox fans will be locked up inside staring into their computer screens today.  Why?  2012 single game Red Sox tickets go on sale today at 10:00 a.m. ET, and from what my father-in-law tells me, this can be an all day adventure that takes place in an “online waiting room.”

On Friday, former PawSox manager Ron Johnson was formally introduced as the new skipper for the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A, Baltimore).  Johnson, 55, will be in his first year in the Orioles’ organization after spending the previous 12 seasons in the Red Sox system.

He served as Boston’s first base coach the previous two seasons after managing the PawSox in 2005-2009. Johnson has served as a minor league manager for 18 seasons in the Royals (1992-99) and Red Sox systems (2000-09), posting a career record of 1,261-1,262.

Johnson’s contract was not renewed by Boston following the 2011 season.

Johnson takes over for Gary Allenson who is being reassigned to another part of the organization after managing the Tides for parts of five seasons. If you’re one of thousands with time to kill today while waiting on Red Sox tickets, I highly recommend investing a few minutes in the video below.  It features Johnson’s predecessor, Allenson, and you may never see a manger ejected in such dramatic style.

Believe me, it’s worth your time.

All the best to RJ in Norfolk.  Although I’ve never met him, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him as a manager and as a person.  I’m sure we’ll get him on-air for a pre-game show interview when the PawSox and Tides meet up during the season.



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