Eduardo Rodriguez is Finally Back

Starting pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez will finally make his long awaited return to the major league club tonight against his former organization, the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez had been injured with a knee injury and following a setback, Rodriguez ended up making five starts at Pawtucket.

Rodriguez pitched very strong in his last start at Pawtucket, throwing seven innings of oneEduardo Rodriguez run ball and striking out seven. Following this start, Rodriguez’s had a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings pitched at Pawtucket, only striking out 17 in those innings. The lack of strikeouts can be seen as a concern as Rodriguez has been seen as a guy with strong strikeout potential but has yet to flash that at the big league level. Although, with Buchholz having struggled greatly in the rotation and coming off a shaky start, the timing was perfect for Rodriguez to replace him in the starting rotation.

Last season Rodriguez was the ace of the Sox staff. To go along with his 3.85 ERA, his command at a young age was very impressive. Rodriguez does not seem to get phased by tough situations in a game. He walked just 37 batters in 121.2 innings pitched. As he approaches his second year at the major league level, expect Rodriguez to improve on these numbers.

Rodriguez will eventually become a strong strikeout pitcher and president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, believes Rodriguez can be an ace at the major league level. Rodriguez’s strong three pitch make-up featuring his fastball, slider and changeup give him three impressive pitches to bring at major league hitters. To improve upon his second season, new ace and veteran pitcher, David Price, can be of great help to propelling Rodriguez to that next level. One pitch that Price features and Rodriguez doesn’t is the cut fastball. If Rodriguez can learn this pitch from Price and begin to add it to his repertoire, he could become a very lethal starting pitcher.

Tonight is an exciting night for Sox fans and Rodriguez in general. With Buchholz to the bullpen and Rodriguez back, the Sox have a more reliable option on the mound even if he doesn’t improve but stays on track with last year’s numbers.

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.

 

Red Sox Farm System Packed With Talent

From Salem to Pawtucket the Red Sox farm system is already seeing a lot of success from its minor league players, and it’s only the end of the first month of the season.

The High-A Class Salem Red Sox have two red hot players tearing up the Carolina LeagueRed Sox Farm System with no signs of slowing down. Yoan Moncada (Boston’s No.1 prospect at MLB.com) and Andrew Benintendi (Boston’s No.3 prospect at MLB.com) both have 13-game hitting streaks going that they protected Saturday April 23rd against Winston-Salem. That makes 14 out of 16 games in which Benintendi has hit safely. Going into the last week of April, Moncada is hitting .357 with six extra base hits, 14 runs, eight RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Benintendi is hitting .338 with six triples, eight doubles, and 11 RBIs. The way the Salem Red Sox are playing makes me wish I still lived in Virginia so I could watch them live!

Class A Greenville’s Anderson Espinoza, Boston’s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com, has a 1-1 record this season with a 2.45 ERA in four starts with 20 strikeouts. In 15 starts last season between Dominican Summer League, rookie Gulf Coast League, and Greenville, Espinoza commanded a 1.23 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. After being signed to a $1.8 million bonus by Boston during the 2014-15 international signing period, Espinoza has been closely watched by the Red Sox Nation as he continues his climb up to the majors.

Here in Pawtucket you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who is disappointed in the Class AAA Red Sox performance so far. The Class AAA team goes into the final week of April having won 8 of their last 10 games and continue their fight to stay in first place in the International League. Rusney Castillo and Blake Swihart continue working on their hitting so they can rejoin the Red Sox in Boston. While Swihart has a little ways to go before his batting average improves, Castillo is hitting .303 with a .395 OBP in eight games.

Fans should have a lot to be excited about as the Red Sox farm system continues to develop its hot prospects.

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

PAWSOX: SPECIAL TICKET PROMO IF TEMPs REACH 70 MARCH 9

If the temperature in Pawtucket, RI reaches 70 degrees tomorrow (Wednesday March 9, 2016), fans will be able to buy box seat tickets to any April game (non-Opening Day) for just $7 through the end of the day Wednesday.

As soon as the temperature hits 70 degrees tomorrow, fans can use the promo code Paw Sox Lunch BoxSUNSHINE on www.pawsox.com to buy box seats to any one of 11 April home games at McCoy Stadium for $7, a nearly 50 percent value off the usual purchase price of $13.

“At this time last year, there was still over a foot of snow on the ground,” said Senior Vice President/General Manager, Dan Rea. “The warm weather is a welcome harbinger of the baseball season, and we hope this meteorological promotion helps get our fans into the spring swing of things.”

Fans can follow the team on twitter and Facebook for live temperature updates from McCoy all day on Wednesday.

The 11 PawSox home games in April (other than Opening Night on April 7 at 7:05 pm) are:

April 8             vs. Buffalo                  6:15 pm                       April 22 vs. Lehigh Valley      6:15 pm

April 9             vs. Buffalo                  1:05 pm                       April 23 vs. Lehigh Valley      1:05 pm

April 10           vs. Buffalo                  1:05 pm                       April 24 vs. Lehigh Valley      1:05 pm

April 11           vs. Scranton/WB         6:15 pm                       April 25 vs. Syracuse              6:15 pm

April 12           vs. Scranton/WB         6:15 pm                       April 26 vs. Syracuse              12:05 pm

April 13           vs. Scranton/WB         12:05 pm