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
Triple-A Pawtucket lost its second consecutive game Sunday to the Charlotte Knights, a 5-4 home decision. The defeat put the PawSox 1.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North standings. But perhaps the bigger loss for manager Ron Johnson’s crew came with news that starter Charlie Zink will replace Tim Wakefield in the Red Sox’s starting rotation as the veteran knuckleballer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his throwing shoulder.
Zink is proving to be rather valuable to Pawtucket this season, and his 13-4 record matches teammate David Pauley for the league lead in wins. Match that with his 2.89 ERA and his 5-2 mark over his last 10 starts, and he’s been more than a formidable asset in the PawSox’s rotation. That presence will likely be missed over the next two weeks, as Zink is inked to make two starts for Wakefield during this stint on the DL.
The catch? Though it might not matter to the young knuckleballer, he’ll be making this first start with Boston on four days rest.
— Mark Remme
Less than four days after being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket from the Red Sox to make room for David Aardsma coming off the 15-day disabled list, Chris Smith was back in the Fens participating in a PawSox game against the Charlotte Knights at Fenway Park.
Smith, along with Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey, are among several PawSox players this season that have taken the trip back and forth between the two squads. Newly traded Brandon Moss as well as Red Sox current shortstop Jed Lowrie come to mind as others who are/were in the same boat.
Prior to the International League tilt on Saturday afternoon, Smith talked about the transition between the two squads. It’s certainly different, he says, but the camaraderie between the teammates is very consistent.
“It’s different but still fun,” Smith said. “These guys are just as fun as the [the Red Sox clubhouse], it’s just a different crew.”
Smith is 1-3 with a 2.24 ERA this season with Pawtucket, including 13 saves. But he hasn’t pitched for the team since being recalled to the Red Sox on Aug. 1.
He said it’s tough moving between squads because with both teams playing at once, it’s hard to keep track of teammates in the other clubhouse.
“It’s hard to keep in touch,” he said. “That’s the one things that sucks is that when we’re playing, they’re playing. We’re in different time zones, too. Like now, they’re in the Central (playing the White Sox in Chicago) and we’re in the Eastern.
“It’s a roller coaster. You just need to put your hands up and enjoy the ride.”
Lowell shows poise in win
There’s something to be said about the way the Spinners earned a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Hudson Valley on Saturday at Fenway in the first of two Futures at Fenway contests. The Spinners looked more than ready to win in nine, but a late-inning rally sent the game into extras.
That’s where Lowell really took charge. Despite taking till the 12th to get the ‘W’, the Spinners threatened in three consecutive innings and, had it not been for stellar play by center fiedler Anthony Scelfo, Lowell likely would have won even earlier.
The two strongest peformances on the night were Will Middlebrooks and Mitch Dening — both went 3-for-6 while Middlebrooks earned three RBIs.
And while both did their parts — Dening scored the winning run — each did it in separate ways. Middlebrooks worked the count and came up with a big, game-winning hit. Dening, well, he was short and sweet in his plate appearances — much like his reasoning for it.
“I don’t take a lot of pitches,” he said. “I like to get that first pitch fastball and do something with it. A good way to hit the curveball is to hit the fastball. I don’t want to go deep into counts. I just like to take that fastball early in the count and drive it.”
— Mark Remme
Anyone who spends time around Fenway Park can see what the old ballpark means to those surrounding the game of baseball. Kids’ eyes light up when they reach Yawkey Way. Fans flock in such packs that there hasn’t not been a sold out game at the ballpark since 2003. Part of that is the success the Red Sox have attained during that stretch, but some can directly be attributed to how deeply connected these fans are with not only the Major League squad, but also those in the Minor League systems.
So on Saturday, when the third annual Futures at Fenway is taking place, this organization will have another opportunity to show off the players on the farm today that will be part of the Sox big league family tomorrow. And fans, young and old, will be invited to take part in it. Discounted seats all over the park will complement low-priced concessions and time to take part in the Fenway experience.
Gates open around 10:30 a.m., with the first of two games slated to begin at noon. First up is Short-Season Single-A affiliate Lowell taking on Hudson Valley. The Spinners are a regular at Futures, and they’re certainly playing sound baseball at the moment. Lowell is 8-2 in its last 10 games and riding a six-game winning streak. They’re in first place in the New York-Penn League Stedler division.
Shortly after will be Game 2 of the twinbill between Triple-A Pawtucket and Charlotte. This contest will feature some familiar names to those more familiar with the Red Sox rosters as guys like Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey will be heading back to Fenway. Both have had stints with the Sox so far this season. In fact, had trades and injuries not taken effect, the likes of Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and Chris Smith would be there, too.
It’s a day that gives fans a chance to see players that might shortly be coming to the ballpark on Yawkey Way on a regular basis. With the relationship Boston has with its Minor League affiliates, that’s not a far-fetched statement. So when Lowell and Pawtucket come to town on Saturday, the seats will again be filled. It’s just the way this organization and its fans work together.
Unique to most, this opportunity gives fans the chance to see just who might fill up the 2009 Red Sox roster.