PAWTUCKET â€“ Luis Exposito finally heard the words heâ€™s longed to hear â€“ the catching responsibilities for the Pawtucket Red Sox are his and his alone.
No longer is Exposito subjected to a strict platoon partnership, one that can test even the most patient of souls. Thanks to Ryan Lavarnwayâ€™s promotion to Boston and the Red Sox shipping off prospect Tim Federowicz at the July 31 trade deadline, the 24-year-old Exposito holds the title as the primary backstop.
Naturally, PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler wasted little time in delivering the message to Exposito.
PAWTUCKET â€” Odds are good that the Pawtucket Red Sox will secure a berth in the International League playoffs before the regular season ends on Sept. 5. The PawSox and Lehigh Valley are locked in a virtual dead heat for first place in the I.L. North standings.
Pawtucket also owns a 3-game bulge on Gwinnett, which is the closest wild-card contender to the two North leaders.
Making the tough call goes with the territory of being a baseball general manager, knowing full well that rosters arenâ€™t built on favoritism. The never-ending quest to explore every imaginable avenue in search of talent is one that canâ€™t be entered into lightly for fear of making a decision that comes back to haunt the ballclub.
With that as the backdrop, Theo Epsteinâ€™s evaluating glasses figure to get plenty of usage as the Boston G.M. spends the 2012 season drawing conclusions regarding the decisions to be made relating to the teamâ€™s long-term answer at third base.
LINCOLN â€“ Just up the road from Lincoln High School is Kirkbrae Country Club, a private golf course measuring 6,549 yards from the back tees that plays to a par of 71 (and 74 for the women).
Kirkbrae has been home to many great players since its inception back in 1960. Several of its members have captured the R.I. Amateur championship, including Marc St. Martin (1976, 1984, 1988), Mark Zyons (1985) and Tom McCormick (2005).
Ed Kirby, a Cumberland High grad who turned professional in the mid-1980s, owns the course record of 63.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Following Fridayâ€™s opening Little League World Series loss, Cumberland American manager Dave Belisle promised his team would play better Saturday against home-town favorite Clinton County, Pa.
He was right. But it was not enough to save Cumberlandâ€™s historic season.
Christopher Wright pitched 4 2/3 brilliant innings of six-hit baseball and repeatedly threw well under pressure Saturday night at Lamade Stadium, but Pennsylvania pitcher Alex Garbrick and Tyler McCloskey stymied Cumberland, combining on a three-hit as Cumberland lost, 2-0.
When the wave of transactions swept through Gillette Stadium at the start of training camp, two names expectedly stood out among the rest.
Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco.
The former, no stranger to controversy on and off the field, has not practiced since Aug. 4 because of an undisclosed injury. The latter, his first-quarter touchdown in the Patriotsâ€™ 31-14 preseason win over the Buccaneers on Thursday notwithstanding, continues to build a rapport with Tom Brady.
I foresee another New England newcomer having a more immediate impact than both Haynesworth and Ochocinco.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. â€” The Cumberland American Little League all-stars have made comebacks a summer-long staple.
Now they hope to stage their best comeback yet.
Braydon Salzman, Nick Pratto and Ryo Takada combined on a three-hit shutout and the offense produced up and down the lineup as California blanked Cumberland, 11-0 Friday at Lamade Stadium in Cumberlandâ€™s Little League World Series debut. The West champions, unbeaten this summer, move into Sundayâ€™s winner bracket to meet either Clinton County, Pa. or La Grange, Ken.
PAWTUCKET â€” The PawSox locker room has looked like a bus station this week, with players coming down I-95 from Portland or heading to Boston.
Fridayâ€™s transit report led with the news of third baseman Will Middlebrooksâ€™s promotion to Pawtucket from Portland. Middlebrooks effectively replaces Ryan Lavarnway, who joined Bostonâ€™s lineup on Thursday.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The Pawtucket Red Sox keep finding ways to win games, even as their 24-man playing roster is adjusted seemingly every day according to organizational needs.
On Friday night, Pawtucket gained a split of its four-game series with Columbus as new addition Greg Smith hurled one-run baseball over seven innings during a 7-1 victory. Smith had been released by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last week after compiling a 3-3 mark in 13 games for the Yankees.
As the players and coaches in the Cumberland American camp discovered this week, thereâ€™s nothing little about the Little League World Series.
On the surface, competing in this grand spectacle â€“ how else would you describe an event that includes participants hailing from around the country and the world? â€“ can seem overwhelming. ESPN cameras are practically everywhere, which CALL manager Dave Belisle hinted at earlier this week upon stating, â€śAll of the eyes of the world are on Williamsport.â€ť