PAWTUCKET â To get picked first is always a noteworthy feat, not to mention the declaration of admiration and high regard that such a choice implies.
To get selected for the first broadcast in conjunction with CBS Sports Networkâs Minor League Baseball Game of the Week package further legitimizes the Pawtucket Red Sox as a national brand within this cottage industry of cultivating and developing the next wave of major league hopefuls.
PAWTUCKET â Much has already been said about Garin Cecchiniâs ability to understand the strike zone and his propensity to get on base. Case in point, the PawSox third baseman entered Sunday ninth in the International League in on-base percentage (.415) while his .329 batting average has him just outside the top 10.
LINCOLN --- As the weather warms up, so do Lincolnâs bats.
From the top of their batting order to the bottom, the Lions were impressive in putting on a hitting clinic on Monday afternoon at Saylesville Elementary Schoolâs Sullivan Field, and it came at the expense of Warwick Vets.
The two-time defending champs collected 15 hits â including a season-high eight that went for extra bases â and the end result was a 14-3 thrashing that was halted after 4Âœ innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
PAWTUCKET â The Daniel Nava that reported to McCoy Stadium Friday afternoon appeared to be in good spirits.
For the former independent league ballplayer whose rags-to-riches tale has been well documented, the fact the Red Sox shipped him to the minors after 67 at-bats is not going to yield fits of rage. Sure, Nava is disappointed with his .147 start at the plate and the .240 on-base percentage he compiled in 17 games with the Red Sox, but this is someone who has already beaten much bigger odds.
PAWTUCKET â If there was rust, Matt Barnes didnât appear to show any in first start of the season.
Standing on a mound in a âjuices followingâ setting for the first time since facing Boston College on Feb. 27 in Fort Myers, Barnes navigated his way through five innings in Pawtucketâs 6-2 conquest of Rochester on Friday night before 7,680 fans. A native of Connecticut, Barnes had been in extended spring training until earlier this week after right shoulder tenderness grounded him for the majority of spring training.
PAWTUCKET â Other than Will Middlebrooks expressing confidence that he was able to put some nice swings on the ball and that his strained calf survived several demanding tests at third base, thereâs not much to take away from Thursdayâs matinee at McCoy Stadium.
Anthony Ranaudo struggled on the bump and Pawtucketâs bats went cold as Rochester ran away with an 8-1 victory. Middle-brooks concluded his three-game rehab stint with another hitless day, going 0-for-4. In 10 minor league at-bats, the third baseman failed to collect a single base knock.
PAWTUCKET â At first blush, it would seem PawSox manager Kevin Boles has a dilemma on his hands.
His team already flush with options at first base and the corner outfield spots, Boles will have another warm body at his disposal when Daniel Nava finally reports to the Triple-A ranks on Friday. Since Nava isnât on a rehab assignment, his stay with Pawtucket figures to cut into someoneâs playing time.
LINCOLN â Itâs very safe to say Cumberland High skipper Paul Murphy had hoped Thursday afternoonâs intense winds would affect rival Lincolnâs pitchers and fielders more than his own.
Through the first four frames of a Division I tilt at Chet Nichols Memorial Field, he didnât get his wish.
The Lions rushed out to a quick 5-2 lead after the third, but Cumberlandâs fortunes changed on a dime in the fifth. Behind only two hits but a pair of Lincoln errors, Murphyâs crew manufactured five runs and raced to what had seemed an improbable but satisfying 7-5 victory.
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET â The wind came howling in off Newport Avenue on Thursday afternoon, blowing straight across Bailey Fieldâs softball diamond in gusts approaching 30 miles per hour, as Bay View Academy and Tolman High squared off in a Division I matchup.
The Bengals proved oblivious to the conditions, excelling in the field and at the plate during a 12-3 victory over Tolman that evened their record at 2-2 on the season. Tolman, which lost its third game in a row, fell to 4-4.
PAWTUCKET â If Will Middlebrooks is indeed activated by Boston on Friday night, he will have the good fortune of facing a pitcher that has much less zip on his fastball than the one that stymied the PawSox on Wednesday night.
Touching 99 miles per hour on the radar gun, Rochester starting pitcher Alex Meyer slowed the Pawtucket bats to a virtual crawl. Meyer struck out 11 in 6.2 innings and got Middlebrooks to go down swinging in all three of his at-bats.