In a performance that will no doubt solidify Bartolo Colon’s return to the Red Sox’s roster, Triple-A Pawtucket could not quite find the offensive strength needed to extend its own season. On Sunday, Colon threw 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball for the PawSox, but a Shelley Duncan two-run homer off Edgar Martinez in the bottom of the 10th gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 2-0 victory and a series-clinching win.
The Yankees took the series three games to one, moving to the International League Governors’ Cup finals against Durham. The two will square off Tuesday night.
As for the PawSox, the loss also means members of the PawSox roster will now be recalled to Boston for its own postseason run. Among those on Tuesday are outfielder Chris Carter and catcher George Kottaras. Carter batted .300 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs for Pawtucket this season, and was 2-for-3 in his Major League debut with the Red Sox on June 5.
Kottaras will be making his Major League debut after batting .243 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs in 107 games for the PawSox this year.
Colon is slated to pitch Saturday for the Red Sox as part of the team’s doubleheader with Toronto.
Portland’s season ends
Much like Pawtucket, Double-A Portland had its own season come to a close over the weekend with a 5-4 defeat to another Yankees affiliate, Trenton. Sea Dogs reliever Miguel Asencio walked Colin Curtis in the top of the ninth inning to break the 4-4 tie, allowing Trenton to take the series in a three-game sweep.
The Thunder will now face Akron, who defeated Bowie in their own semifinal matchup. Trenton will be searching for its second straight Eastern League title.
Bartolo Colon put together a promising start on Monday for Triple-A Pawtucket against Lehigh Valley. Colon, the 2005 Cy Young Award winner rehabbing a lower back injury, pitched six innings for the PawSox and allowed just one run in a 9-2 victory. Colon scattered four hits while walking one and striking out one.
He’s 3-1 this season for Pawtucket, which includes nine appearances over two stints since April 3. He’s 1-1 in his latest stint since Aug. 5. In this particular outing, Colon tossed 66 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona hasn’t committed to anything set in stone about September callups, but he did allude to the possibility of Colon arriving for one of Boston’s Sept. 13 games during a doubleheader against Toronto. Francona said he’d like to see Colon pitch once more with Pawtucket before he makes any return, but nothing is definite at this stage.
— Double-A Portland clinched a spot in the Eastern League playoffs with Birmingham’s 9-6 loss to New Britain on Sunday. It is the fourth consecutive seaosn the Sea Dogs will be in the playoffs.
In a slew of roster moves by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, the team purchased the contract of Triple-A Pawtucket infielder/outfielder Joe Thurston. The move is linked to right fielder J.D. Drew’s placement on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.
To make room for Thurston on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox moved starter Bartolo Colon — who is currently making rehab starts for the PawSox — on the 60-day disabled list.
Meanwhile, with Tim Wakefield coming off the DL for a Tuesday start against New York, reliever Chris Smith is being optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for the veteran knuckleballer on the roster.
Thurston is batting .314 with 10 homers and 62 RBIs in 123 games this season for the PawSox. He leads the International League with 155 hits, is third with 81 runs and has the fifth best batting average.
He was 0-for-8 in four games with the Red Sox in April, owning a career .227 Major League average in 59 games with the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox.
Smith was 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in six relief appearances for Boston this season.
Fresh off a 17-pitch performance in his last outing, Bartolo Colon dominated Syracuse in a 8-3 Pawtucket victory on Thursday night. Colon didn’t allow a run or a hit in four innings of work, walking two and striking out two while tossing 40 pitches.
Getting such a productive evening out of the 2005 Cy Young Award winner is a promising step for the Red Sox. Improving his pitch count to 40 en route to potentially plugging him back into the starting rotation for a September push at the pennant is what the team needed out of Colon in this Triple-A rehab start.
Bartolo Colon didn’t have the outing he or the Red Sox organization hoped for the last time he took the mound for Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 15. Sure, he allowed just two hits in his last start against Syracuse, but it came in just one inning of work. Colon hurled just 17 pitches on a night he was supposed to throw approximately 50 before becoming sick and having to leave the game.
Thursday in Pawtucket is slated to be his first outing since — a tilt with those same Chiefs. Given the questionable status of the Red Sox’s starting rotation up at the Major League level, this could be a pivotal night toward getting Colon in shape for a late-season pennant run.
The Sox optioned the struggling Clay Buchholz to Double-A Portland after a loss in Baltimore on Wednesday dropped his record to 2-9 on the year. Meanwhile, Tim Wakefield is working toward returning to the rotation while on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his throwing shoulder, and questions continue to loom about Josh Beckett’s health after his last outing against Toronto, a 15-4 loss on Sunday.
The Sox are at a point where they need to find a steady starting rotation, and Colon could add a veteran presence if he can make his way back to the Majors. But it starts with progress at the Triple-A level, and Colon needs a sharp outing or two to regain his form from earlier in the season. He was 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA with Boston prior to hitting the DL in mid-June with stiffness in his back. Colon is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA this season with the PawSox.
Bartolo Colon made his third rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, lasting just one inning and 17 pitches before being relieved by Jose Vaquedano. Colon pitched a scoreless first, allowing just two hits before being taken out of the contest.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said prior to Boston’s matchup with Toronto that Colon was expected to throw 45-50 pitches in the outing.
Colon’s last start with Pawtucket was equally effective, allowing just three hits over three innings on Aug. 10. Colon is slowly working his way back toward rejoining Boston after a back injury forced him on the disabled list in mid-June.
Pawtucket is currently winning the contest, 4-0. They’re in the midst of chasing Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North standings, currently trailing the Yankees by 2 1/2 games.
— Mark Remme