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
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
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 . . .
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diehard Blog: 4/13/06
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