Diehard Blog: 4/13/06

Diehard's Chris Paddock takes another look around the Net in search of the most interesting Red Sox links.

Who Says Theo Can't Commit?

The news just keeps getting better for Sox Fans. General manager Theo Epstein locked up a couple of key pieces this week, starting with "Mr. Clutch," David Ortiz. Sox fans can rest assured that Big Papi will be hanging around Boston until 2010. In his subscription-only "Prospectus Today" column for Baseball Prospectus, Joe Sheehan says it's a bad contract, arguing that a handful of designated hitters—a list that includes guys like Reggie Jefferson, Bob Hamelin, and Otto Velez—broke down physically at approximately the same age. As you might imagine, Sheehan received a passionate response from BP readers. King Kaufman of Salon.com takes the occassion of Papi's extension to debunk the myth that high player salaries are responsible for high ticket prices . . .

Apparently, all
Coco Crisp had to do to earn his extension was to break his finger. Yesterday, the Sox announced that they signed the injured centerfielder to a three-year contract extension. Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald says the Crisp and Ortiz signings indicate that both players are officially part of the core the Sox will build upon going forward . . .

Dustan Mohr, who told Steve Krasner of the Providence Journal that
he wasn't happy about being assigned to Pawtucket, will fill Crisp's spot on the roster. Thanks to a hot start by Canadian Idol Adam Stern, it appeared that Mohr would be sitting on the bench in Boston. But Trot Nixon strained his groin in the season Opener, so Mohr grabbed some playing time last night, and made the most of it. Trot told the AP that the Sox lineup will be just fine without him . . .

If you're wondering why you saw Lenny Dinardo last night, it's because
David Riske landed on the disabled list. Riske apparently has a lower back strain, an injury that has bothered him in the past. Dinardo was expected to be sent down once the team activated starter David Wells, but instead Dinardo was stuck trying to clean up the mess Boomer made last night. Wells said his problem was pure and simple, that he simply left too many pitches over the plate . . .

Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald reports that Papi
hit his Opening Day home run in honor of his father, Enrique. Mike Lowell tells David Borges of the Pawtucket Times that he believes he quieted his critics after going 4 for 4 in his first game in front of the Fenway Faithful. Kevin Youkilis led off on Opening Day, and Steve Krasner says Youk looks much better at the top of the order. Youkilis tells Alex Speier of New Hampshire's Union Leader that if you were surprised by his power display in spring training, you haven't been paying attention to him the past couple of years…

Stern, Youkilis, and
Gabe Kapler are celebrity jews. Rosen of the Jewish Ledger goes all mashugana on the Jewish boys of summer . . .

Read the quotes in this Herald story about Jonathan Papelbon's Opening Day performance, then try to tell me you don't love this guy. The USA Today spoke to the Boston clubhouse about Papelbon. His teammates' take? The kid has filthy stuff. In his "Ask Edes" feature, Gordon Edes examines one reader's comparison of Papelbon to former Cy Young award winner, Bob Welch . . .

Howard Ulman of the Associated Press has the complete rundown of the
Fenway renovations. Andrew Lipsett of Firebrand of the American League reviews the ballparks he's been to, and, although he loves all the new improvements at the Fens, he says it's still second best to Baltimore's Camden Yards, which was team president Larry Lucchino's first major construction project. Fans tell Kevin Gray of New Hamphire's Union Leader that it's still the same magical Fenway . . .

Jon Lester's Triple A debut was fairly forgettable, but at least that's all it was. For those who panicked when they saw that he pitched less than three innings, fear not: he simply reached his scheduled pitch limit. At one point in the game, Catcher Ken Huckaby had a lengthy discussion with Lester in an attempt to get him to think less. Lester told Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal that he thinks he actually felt too good. Pitching coach Mike Griffin said before the game that Lester and Jonathan Papelbon are the most impressive prospects he's seen in 30 years in the game. Eric Benevides of the Pawtucket Times reports that manager Ron Johnson is going to keep Lester on a strict pitch count . . .

At the bottom of this ProJo notebook, McDonald reports that
Manny Delcarmen dodged a bullet. In this notebook, new director of player development, Mike Hazen, comments on the injuries of Dustin Pedroia and Hee-Seop Choi. Hazen tells the Pawtucket Times that he's impressed with Lester and Abe Alvarez, who also pitched this week…

Do you remember when Alvarez was considered the Sox' best pitching prospect? He turned out to be the ultimate
antidote for the PawSox anemic offense Tuesday night, throwing seven shutout innings. Despite the fact that he didn't strike out a single batter, Alvarez said the key to his performance was his aggressiveness. Able Abe battled Twins' prospect Boof Bonser to win the Battle of Alliteration…

Uberprospect
Craig Hansen tells Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald that he sees the wisdom of being assigned to Double A. After Tuesday night's game, it should be plain that he still has a couple things he needs to fine tune. Hansen had to work out of two bases-loaded jams, though he did pick up his first win of the season. Big Edgar Martinez dominated after relieving Hansen, and the Sea Dogs' "other" outfielder, Chris Durbin, went 4 for 5 as the designated hitter to spark the offense. Brandon Magee of Sox on Deck has a detailed report of Tuesday's game

David Murphy looks like he's busting out early this season for the Sea Dogs. Portland's centerfielder had three more hits in a tough-luck loss yesterday. David Pauley made up for a poor opening day start, but the Sea Dogs couldn't come up with enough runs to help him…There was a Charlie Zink sighting in Portland last week…Joe's SeaBlog has the lowdown of the renovations to Hadlock Field in Portland…

Cleveland Indians' prospect Chuck Lofgren cooled down
the Blue Rocks' hot bats on Monday night, besting the big Australian lefty, Adam Blackley, who pitched well after the first inning. Luis Mendoza was back to his wild ways on Tuesday night. The Blue Rocks lost a close one despite a late-inning comeback. In the same game, slugger Claudio Arias began his 2006 assault on minor league fences everywhere.

The Greenville Drive lost on Wednesday, despite
another strong performance by Hunter Jones, an undrafted free agent signed this past year. Jeff Natale stayed hot, and Chris Turner and Luis Segovia added some drama with late-inning homers, but it was not enough to pull out the victory.

I'll leave you with this bit coming out of San Diego, which may sound nice on the surface, but you may want to brace yourself. Conor of the San Diego Serenade blog
used Nintendo's RBI Baseball to reproduced the dreaded Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Thanks so much for all your hard work, Conor. So many of us forgot how painful that was. Now we can all relive one of the saddest moments of our lives through the medium of animation.

Chris Paddock is a columnist for Diehard Magazine. He can be reached at paddock@gmail.com.

Diehard Magazine Top Stories