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.
Michael Bowden will make his Major League debut on Saturday against the White Sox, as Boston looks to take the first two games of its weekend series against Chicago at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox officially purchased Bowden’s contract from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday afternoon, and the 21-year-old right-hander will wear No. 64 against the White Sox. Bowden was 0-3 in seven games for the PawSox since being called up from Double-A Portland in July. He was 9-4 with a 2.33 ERA with the Sea Dogs.
To make room for Bowden on Boston’s 40-man roster, the Sox designated right-handed pitcher Eric Hull for assignment. Hull, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in April, is 2-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 40 games for Pawtucket.
The Red Sox also assigned infielder Joe Thurston outright to Pawtucket. Thurston had been designated for assignment by Boston on Aug. 27.
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.
If there’s any one word you could use to describe the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox this season, it’s got to be resilient. After all, this club stood tough all season while losing player after player to the big league Red Sox. They stressed their bullpen while helping rehabbing Red Sox starters like Bartolo Colon regain strength on the mound. And then, of course, they saw top hitting prospect Brandon Moss leave the organization as part of the Manny Ramirez trade on July 31.
But that just hasn’t stopped this crop of talented young players from achieving all season long. And for its efforts, Pawtucket earned its first playoff berth since 2003 after Toledo lost 6-1 to Richmond on Saturday. At 81-56, the PawSox stand 3.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North with seven games to play.
Louisville already clinched the IL West title, while the Yankees and PawSox have already clinched playoff berths and will duke it out in the remaining week to see who earns the division title. Pawtucket takes on Lehigh Valley tonight for the third tilt of a four-game set. The PawSox took the first two contests, 8-5 and 4-2.
Portland Struggling; Buchholz solid in start
The same can’t be said for Double-A Portland, who is 2-5 in its last seven games following a six-game winning streak in the middle of the month.
Still, at 11.5 games behind Trenton in the Eastern League North, the Sea Dogs are fighting for their playoff lives. They have seven games remaining to lock up a spot in postseason play.
Clay Buchholz made his first start of the season for the Sea Dogs on Monday against New Britain, earning a no decision in Portland’s 6-5 loss. Buchholz, whom the Red Sox sent to Double-A on Aug. 20 after going 2-9 on the season with a 6.75 ERA, went seven innings for the Sea Dogs while allowing five hits and four runs (three earned). He struck out eight.
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