Rutledge Homers in PawSox Series Opener

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On a star-studded night at BB&T Ballpark, the Pawtucket Red PawSox Series OpenerSox fell to the Charlotte Knights in the series opener, 3-1, on Tuesday.

In a game that featured a pair of big leaguers on rehab assignments (including a 2016 All-Star), a consensus top-5 prospect and a former first-round pick, the Knights (5-7) used a pair of first-inning home runs to coast by the PawSox (6-6) to kick off the three-game set. Pawtucket has now lost three in a row.

Before Tuesday’s series opener, the PawSox added a pair of players on MLB rehab assignments. Jackie Bradley Jr., who suffered a right knee sprain with the Red Sox in Detroit on April 8, batted second and played center field before leaving after his five scheduled innings. In the first inning, he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Two innings later, Bradley struck out looking against Charlotte starter and 2015 first-round pick Carson Fulmer. Bradley tracked down two fly balls in center — one moving back and one jogging in during the third inning.

Rutledge, meanwhile, batted third as the designated hitter. The 27-year old, who suffered a left hamstring strain in late March during spring training, clocked a solo home run in the first inning. He later struck out swinging and grounded out to short.

Fulmer (W, 2-1) allowed just one run on five hits and a walk in six innings and outdueled PawSox starter Shawn Haviland (L, 2-1), who settled in after the first frame and logged seven innings. Haviland ceded just the three runs on nine hits and a walk to go along with eight punchouts.

Pawtucket, however, only mustered three singles after the second inning and hit into a pair of double plays. Flame-throwing Knights righty Zack Burdi (S, 2) secured the save in the ninth by striking out three consecutive PawSox hitters after allowing back-to-back singles to start the stanza.

PawSox center fielder Rusney Castillo (2-for-4) and left fielder Junior Lake (2-for-2, BB) each posted multi-hit nights.

In the top of the first inning, Rutledge lifted an opposite-field home run to right to crack open a 1-0 lead.

But, the Knights countered in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man and former Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada mashed a home run to right field. Two batters later, center fielder Willy Garcia pulled a two-run shot to left to vault Charlotte in front, 3-1.

The PawSox continue their three-game series in Charlotte against the Knights on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Pawtucket right-hander Héctor Velázquez (0-0, 5.79) is scheduled to oppose Charlotte righty Lucas Giolito (0-1, 7.56). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 6:35 p.m.

The PawSox return home to McCoy Stadium April 25-30. Good seats are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.

PawSox Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced

Former Pawtucket Red Sox and Boston Red Sox players Carlton Fisk and Mo Vaughn, along with former PawSox and Red Sox manager Joe Morgan, have been selected asPawSox Hall of Fame 2017 PawSox Hall of Fame inductees.

The second-ever PawSox Hall of Fame class was once again chosen by a 15-person panel, which includes club executives, print and broadcast media members, long-time fans, and historians.

Ben Mondor, the late long-time PawSox owner, along with former Pawtucket Red Sox and Boston Red Sox legends Wade Boggs and Jim Rice, both National Baseball Hall of Fame players, comprised the inaugural 2016 PawSox Hall of Fame inductees.

Details on events surrounding this season’s PawSox Hall of Fame ceremonies will be announced early in the 2017 season.

“The PawSox Hall of Fame recognizes the most impactful figures in club history,” said PawSox Executive Vice President/General Manager Dan Rea.  “We are especially pleased that our fans have the opportunity to celebrate some of our franchise’s greatest names, and we look forward to another special event this season.”

Carlton Fisk played just one season with the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1970 when the club was the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the Red Sox.  However, once Fisk arrived in Boston for his first full season in 1972 he earned American League Rookie of the Year honors and went on to play 24 seasons in the majors with the Red Sox (1969, 1971-80) and the White Sox (1981-93).  He retired with the most games caught (2,226) and most HR (351 of career 376) of any catcher in MLB history and he is one of only three catchers with more than 300 HR, 1,000 runs scored, and 1,000 RBI.

Fisk became the 13th catcher to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and was selected for the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.  He was the all-time Red Sox leader in games caught (990), until that mark was broken by Jason Varitek in 2006. A 7-time All-Star for Boston (1972-74, 76-78, 80), he appeared in 11 All-Star Games overall including his last in 1991 with the White Sox at the age of 43.  His 12th-inning, game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway Park is remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history.

Fisk, who will turn 70 this December, was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont and went to the University of New Hampshire on a basketball scholarship.  He committed to baseball after being selected in the 1st round of the 1967 draft by the Red Sox.

Mo Vaughn was a popular player for the PawSox for parts of three seasons (1990-92) and went on to a stellar 12-year Major League career with Boston (1991-98), Anaheim (1999-2000), and the New York Mets (2002-03).  He finished his big league career with a .293 average along with 328 HR & 1064 RBI in 1512 games.  Mo was a three-time American League All-Star with the Red Sox (1995, ’96 and ’98) and the American League MVP in 1995 when he hit .300 with 39 HR & 126 RBI.  The “Hit Dog” followed that up with a sensational 1996 campaign for Boston batting .326 with career-highs of 44 HR & 143 RBI.

Vaughn, who will turn 50 this December, was born in Norwalk, CT and starred at Seton Hall University.  He was chosen by the Red Sox in the 1st round of the 1989 draft and began his pro career with Double-A Portland that year.  He spent all of 1990, at the age of 22, with the PawSox posting a .295 average with 22 HR & 72 RBI in 108 games.  He would split the 1991 season between Pawtucket and Boston, returned briefly to Pawtucket in 1992 for 39 games, but then spent the rest of his career in the majors.

From 1996-98 with the Red Sox he hit .315 or higher and averaged 40 homers and 118 RBI.  After the ’98 season he signed a free agent contract with the Anaheim Angels where he hit 30-plus homers and knocked in over 100 runs in both 1999 & 2000.  He missed the entire 2001 season due to injury and was traded to the New York Mets that off-season.  A knee injury ended his career just 27 games into the 2003 season.

Since he left baseball, Vaughn has found a niche in business across a variety of platforms.  In 2004 he founded a real estate company (OMNI New York LLC) that, among other things, rehabilitates distressed housing in the New York City boroughs.  In 2010 he launched a trucking company called Mo Vaughn Transport in Ohio.  Mo most recently became the face of a big-and-tall clothing company called MVP Collections.

Joe Morgan is the dean of PawSox managers spending nine years as PawSox skipper from 1974-1982 while compiling a franchise-most 601 career managerial victories.  He is the only man to win the International League’s Most Valuable Player and Manager of the Year Awards.  His MVP came in 1964 with Jacksonville (the IL affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) and his Manager of the Year came with Pawtucket in 1977.

Morgan was an infielder with three different IL clubs…Charleston in 1961, Atlanta in 1962-63, and Jacksonville in 1964-65.  He managed three different IL affiliates as well with Columbus in 1970, Charleston in 1971 & ’73, and Pawtucket from 1974-82 posting 845 wins as an IL skipper.

Morgan, now 86, is a native and lifelong resident of Walpole, MA who attended Boston College where he played both hockey (an All-American while leading the Eagles in scoring his junior year) and baseball (elected team captain his junior year).  His first professional baseball contract came with the Boston Braves and the lefty hitting infielder/outfielder played parts of four seasons in the majors with five different clubs.

 

After his 9th and final season as PawSox skipper in 1982, Joe was a Red Sox scout (1983-84) and then a Red Sox coach (1985-88).  During the 1988 All-Star break, with Boston hovering around the .500 mark under John McNamara, Morgan was promoted to interim manager on July 14, 1988.  The Red Sox promptly won their first 12 games under Morgan (and their first 20 home games in a row) and rode “Morgan’s Magic” to the 1988 AL East pennant.  From 1988-1991 with Boston, “Walpole Joe” posted a 301-262 record along with two AL East Division titles (1988 & 1990).

Morgan was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006 and the International League Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

PawSox Host Free Open House April 1st

PAWTUCKET, RI – The Pawtucket Red Sox will again host “A Touch of Spring” Open House on Saturday, April 1, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at McCoy Stadium.  The free event includes autographs, photographs, tours of the 75-year-old stadium—and free hot dogs forPawSox Opening Night everyone in the family.

Tours will include the PawSox Clubhouse, the home and visitors’ dugouts, the playing field, the press box, and historic exhibits in various coves.  Fans can also wander at their leisure, enjoying the elaborate photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia on the PawSox’ Hall of History, typically open only to private suite guests.

Former Red Sox and PawSox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who won 16 games in 1986 to help the Boston Red Sox reach the ‘86 World Series, will be on hand to take photographs and sign autographs in the PawSox Baseball Store.  A Meridian, MS native who now lives in Providence, Oil Can went 78-77 in 214 major league games with the Red Sox (1982-89), Montreal (1990-91), and Texas (1991).

Mascots Paws & Sox will also provide autographs and take photographs with children of all ages.

“We’ve been counting the days to springtime,” said PawSox President Dr. Charles A. Steinberg, “And we are eager to share the spring fever with our faithful fans.  Amid lingering snowflakes, Grounds keeper Matt McKinnon has been working day and night to prepare our green lawn for a summer of baseball.

pawsox mascot“We would like our children to be the first to see and touch the grass—it’s an Instagram moment and a Snapchat moment.”

The grandstands will have some added color, as the PawSox will place balloons on seats that are still available for the 2017 season.  The PawSox Box Office and the PawSox Baseball Store will both be open throughout the day.  Again this year, tickets for children and seniors start at only $6, and for adults at $9.  The PawSox will present fireworks set to music after every Saturday night home game.  Pawtucket’s home-opener at McCoy will take place on Monday, April 10 vs. Syracuse at 6:15 pm.

In addition to the coupons for free hot dogs on April 1, the PawSox will have special family-friendly prices on concessions and merchandise, including new gear celebrating McCoy’s Diamond Anniversary.

Red Sox Versatility Should Not Be Overlooked

I have come to the conclusion that versatility is the Red Sox organization’s top strength and it should not be overlooked in 2016. Already we have seen guys step-up to the challenge when injuries and inconsistency arose. Guys like Josh Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, and Heath Hembree have all shown us what “Red Sox versatility” really is and by being key contributors and bright spots in what has so far been a dismal season.Red Sox versatility

Down in Pawtucket the phrase ‘Red Sox versatility’ can be seen in action on a daily basis with guys not only getting reps in at different positions, but also embracing the challenge. One of those guys is IF/OF Sean Coyle. A 3rd round draft pick out of Germantown Academy (PA) in 2010 has been seeing time this season down in Pawtucket at 2B, 3B, and CF. When I asked him about seeing time in the outfield, Coyle responded:

“It’s an easy comp, being an infielder and then going ahead to the outfield. i know Mookie started out as an infielder and then moved to the outfield, anywhere I can go and pick up some AB’s I’m ready to go, I’m ready to play and its kind of a challenge I’ve embraced.”

Having a guy who you can move all around the left side of the infield as well as CF not only helps the organization, but also will help him in the long run. With the way injuries have been taking over the first month of the season for the Sox, you could be seeing Coyle’s versatility at the major league level this season.

It’s becoming more of a common trend to see guys becoming utility-players . Names such as Ben Zobrist, Brock Holt, and Danny Valencia are showing teams that having the ability to play multiple positions can surely strengthen a teams depth, but also gives managers the flexibility to carry an extra pitcher or 2, and we all know you can never have too many pitchers.

 

PawSox Opening Night Festivities to Focus on Children

The Pawtucket Red Sox, whose Opening Night was rescheduled for Friday, April 8 at 6:15 because of rain on Thursday, will present pre-game ceremonies at 5:45 p.m. that pay tribute to the greater Pawtucket community.

Nearly 100 area children who have earned the PawSox’ “Most Improved Student” PawSox Opening Nightdistinction will escort police, firefighters, and other first responders who will present the colors along the skin of the infield.

Kaya Rose Giroux, an accomplished 16-year-old soprano from Pawtucket’s Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Arts, is scheduled to perform the national anthem.

Two Pawtucket 8th graders, Mikhail Algoo of Slater Middle School and Anthony Martin of the Pawtucket Learning Academy, will throw Ceremonial First Pitches.  Algoo is an outstanding scholar-athlete, and Martin has been recognized by the City of Pawtucket for his courage and perseverance.  Both were discovered through the City of Pawtucket’s new Neighborhood Response Unit, a community-based approach to policing that fosters communication and trust between city residents and police officers.  The NRU, led by Captain Michael Newman, oversees Pawtucket’s school resource officers and is heavily involved in school programming.

And two longtime season-ticket holders, “Big Al” Beaulieu and Arthur Vincent, will give the command to “Play Ball.”

To begin the 7th Inning Stretch, 12-year-old Lexi Lanni of Bristol, RI, is set to sing God Bless America.  An honors student at Kickemuit Middle School, the classical singer is a member of the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus.

“These children represent the hope of Pawtucket,” said PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg.  “We have many young people in our community with talent and passion, and we embrace the honor of using baseball to providing an avenue of expression of their exceptional qualities.”

PawSox Home Opener Postponed Tonight at McCoy

Tonight’s (Thursday’s) scheduled PawSox home opener at McCoy Stadium between the host Pawtucket Red Sox and the Buffalo Bisons has been postponed due to rain and wet grounds.PawSox Home Opener

The PawSox will now play their 2016 home-opener on Friday at the regularly-scheduled start time of 6:15 pm with special Opening Night pre-game ceremonies slated to begin at 5:45 pm.  Friday will be just a single game at McCoy vs. Buffalo and fans holding general admission tickets for Thursday can use those on Friday.  Fans holding box seat tickets for Thursday must exchange their tickets for box seats to Friday’s game or for any future remaining regular-season game at McCoy.  Fans with complimentary tickets (including the oversized commemorative versions) may only use these tickets Friday night.

The McCoy Box Office will be open tonight until 7:00 pm and will reopen Friday morning at 9:00 am for fans’ convenience.

The first 3,000 fans entering through the gates on Friday will receive a full color poster featuring action photos of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley, Jr.  The first 4,000 fans coming to McCoy on Friday will also receive a collector’s edition commemorative PawSox red jersey pin.  The PawSox will be unveiling their new red uniform tops during Friday’s game.

Thursday’s postponed game will be made-up as part of a doubleheader this Saturday beginning at the new start time of 12:05 pm at McCoy.  Gates will open at 10:35 am.  The single-admission twinbill will feature two 7-inning games (with a 30 minute break between games).  The Bark in the Park dog parade on the field will take place between games.

This marks Pawtucket’s first home-opener to be postponed since 2003 when the first three PawSox home games that year were all postponed due to snow (April 7, 8, and 9 vs. Ottawa).  That year the PawSox played their season-opener on April 3 in Buffalo but then were snowed-out three straight games in Buffalo (April 4, 5,and 6) only to return to McCoy and suffer three more snow-outs in a row.  The PawSox finally played on April 10 vs. Rochester but then were rained-out on April 11.

Besides tonight and 2003, the only other times that the PawSox have had their home-openers postponed occurred in 1998 (April 9 vs. Syracuse), 1987 when they had their first two games rained-out (April 17 & 18 vs. Toledo), and 1983 (April 11 vs. Columbus).

Pawtucket had just one home rain-out all of last season and it came almost one year ago on April 20 vs. Buffalo.

 

The probable pitching match-ups for the series vs. Buffalo at McCoy:

                                               

                                                                Buffalo                                                 Pawtucket

                                                               

Fri.                   6:15 pm                 RHP Drew Hutchison         vs.           LHP Henry Owens

Sat.  DH      12:05 pm     G1      LHP Scott Diamond           vs.           RHP Sean O’Sullivan

G2      RHP Scott Copeland          vs.           RHP William Cuevas

Sun.                1:05 pm                 LHP Wade LeBlanc            vs.           LHP Brian Johnson