Results tagged ‘ PawSox ’

Where Are They Now; Catching Up On Some 2014 PawSox

by Josh Maurer

As the PawSox get ready to begin their four-game series at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre one day later than expected because of a “snow out” on Thursday night, I thought we would take a look at where some of the members of the 2014 Governors Cup championship team have moved to since the title was clinched last September.

There was a large amount of turnover at the upper levels of the Red Sox minor league system last off-season.  Some of that can be attributed to the normal course of veteran Triple-A players looking for better opportunities with different organizations, but a lot of the turnover came in the form of trades made to provide immediate help to the big league club.

So without further ado – here’s a glimpse at the new surroundings for a good number of 2014 PawSox players.  Let’s start with those who were either traded or claimed off of waivers by a different organization.  These are listed in no particular order.

Alex Hassan: Round Rock Express (Triple-A, Texas Rangers) (waviers)

Alex Hassan

Hassan had quite the eventful off-season.  He was originally claimed off of waivers by Oakland on November 11, 2014.  One month later the Orioles claimed him, but then the As claimed him back at the beginning of spring training.  Finally it was the Rangers who claimed Hassan off of waivers at the end of March.  He is still on their 40-man, but has played the season in Triple A (in 12 games Hassan is batting .233/0/7).

Ryan Lavarnway: Baltimore Orioles (waviers)

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Lavarnway had a similar off-season path to that of Hassan.  He was claimed off waivers three times in December; first by the Dodgers, then by the Cubs and finally by the Orioles where he has found a home.  He made the Baltimore opening-day roster as the back-up catcher and in four games played is 1-for-13.

Carlos Rivero: Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A, Seattle Mariners) (waviers)

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Rivero was claimed by Seattle off waivers in November 2014.  He was waived again a month later, cleared, and signed back with the Mariners on a minor league deal in December.  In 14 games with Tacoma thus far he is is off to a hot start, batting .319/2/8.

Dan Butler: Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals) (trade)

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Butler was traded to Washington in January for LHP Danny Rosenbaum (who is currently on the PawSox DL).  He had been designated for assignment one week earlier, so the Red Sox worked out a deal to get something in return for the popular catcher.  While still on the Nationals 40-man, Butler is back in the IL currently playing with Syracuse (8 games played, .214/0/5).  We should see him in Pawtucket next week.

Drake Britton: Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) (waviers)

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Britton was claimed off waivers by the Cubs in February, then outrighted to Triple-A Iowa at the end of spring training.  The lefty has appeared in four MiLB games so far and gone 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA.

Rubby De La Rosa: Arizona Diamondbacks (trade)

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Rubby was traded (with Allen Webster) back in November in the deal that brought the Red Sox Wade Miley.  De La Rosa made the starting rotation for Arizona to begin the season, and in three starts has gone 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA (18 IP, 23 H, 13 R).

Allen Webster: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks) (trade)

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Webster was also part of the November deal that brought the Red Sox Wade Miley (with De La Rosa).   Unfortunately, Allen did not make the big league rotation coming out of spring training and then struggled through his first two starts at Triple-A (0-1, 7.0 IP, 17 H, 15 R).  He was recently placed on the Reno disabled list.

Anthony Ranaudo: Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers) (trade)

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Ranaudo, the IL’s Pitcher of the Year last season, was traded to the Rangers in January for lefty reliever Robbie Ross.  The big right-hander did not make the Texas season-opening starting rotation, but he has been called up to make one start for the big league team on April 14th against the Angels.  Unfortunately he gave up six runs in 1.2 innings pitched and was optioned right back to Triple-A.  With Round Rock he has only allowed one run in 10.0 innings over two starts.

Alex Wilson: Detroit Tigers (trade)

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Wilson was included in the Red Sox December deal with Detroit that netted Boston Rick Porcello.  After starting the season in Triple-A Toledo, the righty has just been called up to Detroit.  In four relief appearances with the Mud Hens, Wilson went 1-0 with three saves and did not allow a run in 5.1 innings pitched.

Now let’s look at some other key members of last season’s Governors Cup championship team who left the Red Sox organization as free agents.  Again, no particular order here.

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Corey Brown (right), Justin Henry (center) and Mike McCoy (left) have all moved on from Pawtucket this season

Corey Brown: Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays)

Brown led the PawSox with 17 home runs last season.  He signed as a free agent with the Rays this off-season and has been playing in the IL again with Durham.  In eight games thus far Brown is 5-for-32 with one home run.

Derrik Gibson: Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)

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Gibson played the final two months of the season last year as a super utilityman for the PawSox.  He signed with the Orioles in the off-season and is playing in Double-A Bowie.  Thus far in 13 games played, Gibson is batting .250/0/5.

Mike McCoy: El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres)

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McCoy was the veritable “swiss army knife” player for the PawSox last season, playing all over the diamond defensively and providing leadership in the clubhouse.  He signed with the Padres in the off-season and is hitting .171 thus far in 11 games with Triple-A El Paso.

John Ely: Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Milwaukee Brewers)

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Ely was a valuable member of the PawSox bullpen in 2014.  He signed as a free agent with Milwaukee in the off-season and has been pitching in Triple-A Colorado Springs as a starting pitcher.  After making two starts and allowing eight runs in 7.2 innings pitched, Ely went on the disabled list.

Ryan Verdugo: Nashville Sounds (Oakland As)

Verdugo helped the PawSox pitching staff as a long reliever and fill-in starter during the final two months of last season.  He signed with Oakland in the off-season and has been pitching in a similar role with Triple-A Nashville thus far in 2015.  In three outings (one start), Verdugo is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA.

Brandon Snyder: Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Independent)

Snyder, a big power-hitting infielder, was injured and played only two months at the beginning of the 2014 season.  He has caught on with Southern Maryland in the Atlantic League.

Rich Hill: Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals)

The Massachusetts native Hill pitched the first three months of last season in the bullpen for the PawSox, then opted out of his contract for a big league deal with the Angels in July.  He has bounced around since, but has landed in the Nationals organization to begin 2015 and is back in the IL pitching for Syracuse.  He has only allowed one earned run in six innings over his first five appearances this season.

Finally, here are some 2014 PawSox players who are no longer active in the game at the beginning of this season.

Justin Henry, Coach (Greenville Drive, Red Sox Single-A)

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Henry was a popular member of the PawSox for the past two seasons.  He has retired from playing and is now a coach in the Red Sox organization at Low-A Greenville.  I am confident he will move up the ladder in the coaching ranks quickly.

Ryan Roberts: not playing

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Roberts was the regular second-baseman for the PawSox for most of last season.  The Tatman was in spring training with the Royals but was released in late March.  He does not appear to have caught on with another organization as yet.

Jose Valdez: not playing

The veteran Valdez was on the mound for many key outs during the Governors Cup playoffs last season, including the final out in the 13th inning of Game 4 in Durham.  From what I can tell, Valdez is not playing in 2015.

Chris Hernandez: not playing

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The southpaw Hernandez pitched for the PawSox in various roles for most of the last three seasons.  He was released by the Red Sox at the end of spring training and does not appear to have caught on with any other organization as yet.

So there you have it.  Pretty interesting to see where these guys have landed, no?

Will Flemming and I will talk to you from PNC Field in Moosic, PA tonight at 6:50 for pregame coverage.  Henry Owens is on the mound for the PawSox with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm. Happy Friday!

Josh M

PawSox Home Schedule Opens With Sweeping Success

by Josh Maurer

Happy Patriots Day everyone! The PawSox will have to wait another day to continue their seven-game opening homestand, as Monday’s scheduled opener of a three-game series against Buffalo has been postponed due to rain.  There will now be a doubleheader on Tuesday at McCoy beginning at 5:05pm.

Each team is red-hot coming into the set, with the PawSox having just completed a four-game sweep of Rochester while Buffalo swept four from Lehigh Valley and has won six straight overall.

Pawtucket holds the best record in the IL at 8-3 through the first three series of the year (Buffalo and Charlotte are 0.5 games behind at 7-3).  After dropping a doubleheader in Buffalo last Wednesday and not having scored in 19 consecutive innings to end that series, the PawSox came home last Thursday to face a Rochester squad that had opened the season 5-1.

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The home opener at McCoy on April 16th featured lots of pregame ceremonies

Thursday’s home opener began with a championship ring presentation ceremony, as approximately 20 players, coaches and support staff members received some jewelry for winning a Governors Cup title last September.  The ring has drawn rave reviews from everybody.

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The 2014 PawSox championship ring is an incredible piece of jewelry

After falling behind by scores of 3-0 and then 7-3 on Thursday, Pawtucket’s offense roared to life and scored the final five runs of the contest.  Deven Marrero and Sean Coyle hit back-to-back homers to begin the rally, while Blake Swihart’s two-out, two-run double in the seventh tied the score at 7.

Then in the ninth, Bryce Brentz stepped front and center with one out and the score still tied. Facing former Red Sox farmhand Ryan Pressly, Brentz fell behind in the count 1-2, but struck a no-doubt-about-it shot over the bullpen in left field to end a memorable opening night.

Friday’s game two saw more of the same, as again Pawtucket was forced to play from behind after Rochester’s Eddie Rosario drove a grand slam home run against Henry Owens in the fifth inning to put the Red Wings in front 4-2.  But Quintin Berry’s RBI single scored Marrero on a beautiful slide in the sixth cut the deficit in half.

Then it was Brentz again striking with a longball to give the PawSox the lead, this time in the seventh against tough reliever A.J. Achter. It was his second game-winner in as many nights and third on the young season. It’s been fun to watch Bryce get off to such a hot start.

Coyle would homer again the eighth, his third of the season, and recently-optioned Tommy Layne tossed a scoreless ninth to earn a save in his season debut with the club. Pawtucket won the contest 6-4.

On Saturday afternoon Pawtucket scored early and often against a tiring Rochester pitching staff. Veteran catcher Humberto Quintero gave the Sox the lead for good with a two-run homer in the second against starter Mark Hamburger. Quintero later drilled his second of the day in the fifth against Stephen Pryor to make the score 6-2.

The PawSox were far from finished mashing home runs against Pryor. In the sixth Berry smacked his first of the season, a two-run shot to right. Four batters later Matt Spring, activated from the DL right before the game began, hit a moonshot inside the pole in left to make the score 11-2 and chase Pryor after he allowed three blasts.

Pawtucket would win the game 13-3 and collect a season-high 17 hits. Starter Eddie Rodriguez was strong in earning his first Triple-A victory, striking out five batters in six innings of work.  Swihart led the charge with four hits including a pair of doubles.

The PawSox completed the four-game sweep on Sunday afternoon, plating a pair of of runs in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch and an error to earn a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. With two outs and the go-ahead run at third base, Quintero hit this ground ball to shortstop that former Red Sox farmhand Argenis Diaz booted to allow the winning run to score.

Pawtucket did not sweep a single series last season until after the All-Star break (July 17th-20th). The squad only swept two four-game series throughout the entire 2014 regular season. It didn’t take long to get one in 2015.

In the Rochester series the PawSox offense totaled 31 runs, 44 hits and nine home runs. The Red Wings bullpen, which had allowed only one run in 21 innings over the team’s six games before heading to McCoy, was tagged for 19 runs in 11.1 innings this series. Pressly took two losses and two blown saves in his two appearances.

Blake Swihart has hit safely in all 8 games he has played in this season

Blake Swihart has hit safely in all 8 games he has played in this season

Swihart, Brentz and Coyle led the way for Pawtucket in the four games against Rochester. Blake especially had an unbelievable series, playing all four contests (one as the DH) and hitting 10-for-17 with three doubles and seven RBI. Brentz went 6-for-12 with two walks, two game-winning homers, two doubles and four RBI in three games played. Coyle also homered twice and went 5-for-14 (.357) with three walks and six runs scored in four games.

Here are a few other notes for you to before the Buffalo series begins:

-There have already been three birthdays celebrated in the PawSox clubhouse during this homestand: Travis Shaw’s 25th on Thursday (4/16), Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s 25th on Sunday (4/19) and Garin Cecchini’s 24th on Monday (4/20).  It looks as though the team has decided to do some princess-themed decorating in the clubhouse for the birthday boys this season.

Pretty creative, huh?

-I loved this quote from an unnamed scout talking about Mookie Betts‘ unlimited potential from Michael Silverman’s article in Sunday’s Boston Herald.  The scout was comparing Betts’ future to that of Xander Bogaerts:

“I’d bet on Betts without hesitation, for sure, to have the All-Star type of career you’re talking about over Bogaerts. And I’d still give Bogaerts a better than 50-50 chance of doing the same thing. I think Bogaerts has a good shot to be above the norm in his career, but Mookie — Mookie Betts makes quicker adjustments to his game than anybody I’ve seen in the last 20 years. I couldn’t sit here and tell you what he’s not capable of doing.”

-This is somewhat old now, but here is an interview with PawSox utilityman Jeff Bianchi from last week in which he describes the crazy circumstances surrounding his three-inning pitching outing at Lehigh Valley on April 12th.  Noteworthy from the conversation: he really wanted to pitch and also seemed to love every minute of it!

-The PawSox roster has already lost two opening-night starters to the DL with shoulder injuries.  Rusney Castillo has missed the last eight games with right shoulder inflammation, while Cecchini has been out since last Friday (4/17) with a left shoulder problem.  Hopefully each will return shortly.

That’s all for now.  Check back to “45 Miles” later this week for a “Where Are They Now” on several members of last season’s Governors’ Cup championship squad.  Talk to you Tuesday late afternoon for some doubleheader baseball!

Josh M

Wild Opening Series In The Books With Lots of Free Baseball

by Josh Maurer

The PawSox took three out of four from Lehigh Valley to begin the 2015 season this weekend.  It was a good start for Kevin Boles’ prospect-laden team by getting a shutout on Thursday and then pounding out 16 hits on Friday night, but it was the final two contests against the IronPigs that made the opening series fairly epic.

Those games featured 29 innings of baseball, three position players pitching (two for the PawSox) and one win for each side.  Saturday’s affair lasted 13 frames, and Blake Swihart’s single past a drawn-in infield provided the game-winning tally for Pawtucket.

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Top prospect Blake Swihart collected the game-winning hit in the 13th inning on Saturday

On Sunday as they looked for a four-game sweep, the PawSox held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh thanks to a strong starting pitching effort from Eddie Rodriguez in his regular-season Triple-A debut (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K).

Lehigh Valley then rallied for three runs against reliever Dalier Hinojosa to take a 4-3 lead into the ninth.  Down to their final two outs, the PawSox sent up newcomer Luke Montz, who had missed most of the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to shoulder injuries and has been working to regain his timing at the plate.  Here is how he picked up his first hit in a Pawtucket uniform:

The game continued into extra innings for the second consecutive day, and as we pushed into the 13th once again Montz would draw a bases-loaded walk to score Jeff Bianchi and give the PawSox a 5-4 lead.  But little did we know that Pawtucket pitching coach Bob Kipper was out of available options in the bullpen.

Bianchi, a utility infielder signed this offseason from the Brewers organization with 162 MLB games on his resume, entered the game as an emergency pitcher in the bottom of the 13th to try and earn a save.  He couldn’t hold the lead as Tommy Joseph’s RBI double tied the score, but Bianchi did strand a runner at third base to send the game to the 14th.

Bianchi spring

Jeff Bianchi pitched three innings for the PawSox on Sunday after playing shortstop for the first 12 innings.

Bianchi, throwing tosses that registered around 60-65 MPH on the radar gun, somehow managed to pitch scoreless ball in the 14th and 15th innings to keep the game knotted at 5.  Not a bad effort for a guy who had never pitched in a professional game before Sunday.

In the 16th, Lehigh Valley had also exhausted its pitching options and turned to DH Russ Canzler on the mound.  Canzler had already had quite an opening week of the season, missing the opener because of the birth of his daughter and then celebrating his 29th birthday on Saturday.

Pawtucket scratched together a run against Canzler when Quintin Berry singled home Deven Marrero to put the visitors ahead 6-5.  But in the bottom of the 16th, Bianchi was no longer allowed to pitch (why risk injury right?) and the centerfielder Berry was called upon to try and save the game.

Unfortunately for the PawSox, Berry’s foray into pitching did not go as well as Bianchi’s.  After receving back-to-back walks from the lefty-throwing Berry, Lehigh Valley sacrificed runners to second and third base and then hit a sac fly to tie the score at 6.  That left a runner at 2nd base with two outs.

Quintin Berry

Quintin Berry played centerfield for 15 innings on Sunday, then was called in to pitch and try to save a win

Then the wheels fell off for Berry (could you blame him?) – he walked the next three batters on 12 total pitches, including a bases-loaded walkoff walk to (who else) Canzler, winning the game for the IronPigs 7-6.

So to recap Sunday’s craziness: Jeff Bianchi scores the go-ahead run, then blows a save but pitches three total innings.  Quintin Berry collects a go-ahead RBI single but then blows a save in the bottom of the inning.  Russ Canzler gives up a go-ahead run but then drives in the game-winner in the bottom of the frame to give himself the victory.

Said Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage: “I don’t believe I’ve ever been a part of a game like that. It’s tough to wrap your head around it.”  Check out more quotes here in the recap from Lehigh Valley Live.

This tweet from the great baseball writer Jayson Stark I think sums up the absurdity of Sunday’s contest:

One more note to put the past two days in perspective.  Pawtucket did not play a single game that lasted longer than 12 innings the entire regular season in 2014.  So of course game three and game four in 2015 would each go into the 13th.  How great is baseball?!?

Here’s a few links for your reading pleasure to get the work week started:

-Want to get to know my new broadcast partner Will FlemmingRead this, courtesy of Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times.  If you’ve had an opportunity to tune in to any of the first four broadcasts, I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to us.

-Here is an interview from this past week’s PawSox Insider show with second-year manager Kevin Boles.  He talks about the early-season plans for many of his high-prized talents:

In case you haven’t heard, the Insider shows this season air one hour prior to game time each Saturday.  So make note of the time change from previous years to listen to our weekly magazine-style program.

-I love this quote from Garin Cecchini in this blog post from weei.com’s Ryan Hannable:
“I like to have fun,” Cecchini said. “There is a place and time to have fun, like right now you can have fun. After a loss you can’t have fun. I like to have fun because you’re going to die one day and what are you going to look back on? Are you going to have fun in your life or are you just going to sit back and mope around?”

Now if that doesn’t epitomize Cecchini in a nutshell, I don’t know what would.  By the way, Garin played first base Sunday for the first time in his career in Allentown.  I joked on the broadcast that he will enjoy that position because he’ll have more people to chat with!

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Garin Cecchini is one of the great in-game talkers you’ll find!

-Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes about potential breakout stars from the Red Sox farm system in 2015.  He suggests a couple of current PawSox players.  It’s a good look at the Sox minors leagues from top to bottom.

Monday night the PawSox seven-game trip continues in Buffalo with the opener of a three-game series against the Bisons.  Matt Barnes makes his season debut on the mound for Pawtucket, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05pm.  Let’s hope for no extra innings, otherwise who knows who might have to pitch!

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Matt Barnes will start in Buffalo Monday night.

Talk to you on the radio tonight.  Thanks for reading!

Josh M

Final Interviews From Fort Myers; PawSox Rotation Looks Epic

By Josh Maurer

We are four days away from opening night at Lehigh Valley and the PawSox players and coaches are making their way north from Florida.  Before they left the JetBlue complex, Will Flemming and I caught up with several men who should play prominent roles with Pawtucket for the next few months.

Will sat down with two projected members of the team’s starting infield for this weekend’s PawSox Insider show – Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle.  In case you missed them, here are those interviews:


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Sean Coyle figures to open the season on the PawSox infield this week

For the previous week’s edition of Insider I chatted with skipper Kevin Boles, who spent almost the entire spring assisting John Farrell and his staff in big league camp.  I also interviewed Travis Shaw, who should open the season as the PawSox everyday first baseman.  Those conversations are available below:


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Travis Shaw should be back in Pawtucket manning first base for a second season

The big news on Friday was the Red Sox optioning both Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman to Pawtucket to begin the season, with Barnes expected to start and Workman anticipated to work out of the PawSox bullpen.

Barnes not making the big league club was somewhat surprising considering his dominant relief work this spring, but Farrell said he wanted to carry three southpaws in the pen to begin the campaign.

Moving forward it will be very interesting to see how long the big right-hander stays in a starting role.  Considering the recent history of Red Sox pitchers hitting bumps in the road when being shifted back and forth from the rotation to the pen (Daniel Bard, Drake Britton and Workman come to mind), it could be somewhat perilous to leave Barnes’ future role undefined for an extended period of time.

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Matt Barnes will begin the season in the Pawtucket starting rotation

That said, what a rotation we should have in Pawtucket to begin the season.  One would suspect a five-man unit of Barnes, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Edwin Escobar will open the year as starters, perhaps with Keith Couch as a sixth man.  Yikes – IL lineups beware!

How does that compare to last year’s early season starting unit of Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa, Barnes and Workman (with Steven Wright then coming mid-season)?  What do you think?

Reports have the Red Sox releasing several players right before camp broke.  One of those was lefty pitcher Chris Hernandez, who has served in a variety of important roles with the PawSox for the past three seasons.

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Chris Hernandez helped the PawSox win the Governor’s Cup last season

Seems like he got caught up in a numbers game while trying to earn a spot on a Triple-A pitching staff that is loaded with high prospects.  I wish all the best to Chris, who will certainly be a great addition to whatever organization he catches on with next.

Don’t forget the PawSox Welcome Home Luncheon is this Wednesday beginning at noon at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, RI.  The entire team will be on hand before heading to Allentown to begin the season on Thursday night.

We’ll have more here at “45 Miles” once the roster is officially announced in the next few days.  Happy holiday to all, can’t wait to get the season going this week!

Josh M

Archer Stymies PawSox; Catching Situation Murky

Saturday afternoon the PawSox followed the big league club about 40 miles north to Port Charlotte and played a spring contest against Durham. It was a terrific starting pitching matchup with Eduardo Rodriguez throwing for Pawtucket against Tampa Bay’s scheduled opening day starter Chris Archer.

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The back side of Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL

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The PawSox and Bulls played at the back fields on Saturday

The southpaw Rodriguez did not have his best stuff early.  He allowed a run on two singles and two walks in the first, then did not get an out in the second inning and allowed a pair of tallies.  Durham collected four straight hits to start the frame, then Rodriguez walked a batter and reached his inning pitch limit to stop the threat.  The lefty then settled down and tossed scoreless ball in the third and fourth.

Overall, Rodriguez lasted 3.0 innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits and four walks.  He struck out three Durham hitters.  Mike Aguilera followed and allowed three runs and four hits in 3.2 innings.

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The PawSox lineup at Durham on Saturday

Pawtucket’s lineup featured Bryce Brentz and Garin Cecchini for the first time this spring.  Cecchini played the entire game at third base and went 1-for-3 with a single, while Brentz was 0-for-4 with four punchouts.

Archer was dominant in what may be his final spring tuneup.  He shutout the PawSox for 6.2 innings while allowing just four hits (all singles) and two walks.  He fanned eight and earned the win in Durham’s 7-1 victory.

Here is the Pawtucket box score from the contest:
Sean Coyle, 2B: 0-for-4, K
Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-for-1 (played 1 inning)
Henry Rodriguez, SS: 1-for-3, double
Travis Shaw, 1B: 0-for-0, 2 walks (played 5 innings)
David Chester, 1B: 1-for-2
Bryce Brentz, DH: 0-for-4, 4 Ks
Garin Cecchini, 3B: 1-for-3, K
Blake Swihart, DH: 0-for-2, HBP, R, GIDP
Henry Ramos, RF: 0-for-3, K
Keury De La Cruz, LF: 1-for-2, BB
Shannon Wilkerson, CF: 0-for-3, GIDP, K
Mike Brenly, C: 1-for-3

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Chris Archer pitched 6.2 shutout innings against the PawSox on Saturday

The big news of the day came in the morning when Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez informed the media that an MRI on his ailing elbow “found something” but he has yet to be firmly diagnosedRyan Hanigan is now slated to open the season as the #1 catcher in Boston.

There has been some speculation that Blake Swihart could be an option to open the season as Hanigan’s backup if Vazquez lands on the DL.  I wonder about that; it seems to me the Red Sox would rather Swihart stay in the minor leagues for at least a few months to get more seasoning.

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Blake Swihart was the DH on Saturday against Durham/Chris Archer

UPDATE: Alex Speier of the Boston Globe lays out the catching options for the Red Sox here.  I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of the situation.

Sunday is a camp day for the minor league side, so the PawSox will not have a game until Monday afternoon.  We’ll continue to have updates from the Fort on “45 Miles” through the end of next week.  Have a great rest of your weekend!

Josh M

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.

Cecchini

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

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