As PawSox fans poured into McCoy Stadium on Thursday night for the home opener, those who got to the game early were able to see a notable list of players receive their Governor’s Cup Championship rings for last seasons feat. A long list of PawSox players received rings as the roster this year is remarkably similar to the one that won the Governor’s Cup in Durham last September.
With all the of turnover with the Boston roster, not many changes have gone through the AAA club as nearly the whole starting rotation is back as well as infield. The most notable missing player from the lineup was Rusney Castillo, who is nursing a shoulder injury after running into a wall in Buffalo this past weekend. Castillo was sent back to Boston to be reevaluated and placed on the disabled list. The extent of the injury is unknown, but this is the third separate injury for Castillo in the past six months.
Also celebrated pregame were local heroes of the police and fire departments, as well as the Cumberland Little League Team that went to the Little League World Series last August. Dave Belisle, Cumberland’s manager, threw out the first pitch.
Steven Wright took the mound for the PawSox, in his first appearance with the minor league club this season after opening the season in what many thought was the starting rotation for the Red Sox. Joe Kelly had a good side session enabling him to pitch last Saturday afternoon, but Steven Wright would contribute the night before in a big way. Wright was the winning pitcher in the 19 inning win against the Yankees, going five innings out of the bullpen. Wright is the most likely pitcher to get the call should a starter go down. John Farrell may need an extra starter soon, with the Sox having to dip into his bullpen early on in games quite a bit lately.
Unfortunately for Wright, his performance did not go as he would have liked. Wright threw two wild pitches, a testament to him and Swihart not being comfortable together as battery mates just yet. In only five innings of work Wright gave up 8 hits (all singles), 7 runs, 3 of them earned and walked 4. Obviously not the way he would have liked to start his latest stint with the PawSox, but he will look to turn it around next time out against Buffalo next week.
Luckily for Wright his offense picked him up, much like the big league club, matching the Red Wings with 7 runs until the bottom of the ninth. Bryce Brentz, who made an error, as well as threw out a runner at third that night, hit a walk off home run to seal the win for the PawSox 8-7.
The PawSox will be home for seven games on their first home stand of the season. If fans can brave the mid-April temperatures with Massachusetts schools on vacation this upcoming week, it would be a good time to start looking at the next wave of young up and coming talent.