PAWTUCKET â€” Kevin Millwood isnâ€™t much different than the average working man who is nearing the end of his professional career.
The 36-year-old veteran of 14 big league seasons is proud of his accomplishments (159 wins, third in the 1999 National League Cy Young voting) and determined to go out on his own terms, pitching baseballs on hot summer days in the minor leagues, waiting for one last call to the big leagues.
PAWTUCKET â€” Greg Grall, the bullpen catcher for the Pawtucket Red Sox, describes Ryan Lavarnway, the catcher, as â€śraw, which gives him the upside of what he can possibly do. Obviously with his hitting, heâ€™s going to have the potential of playing in any lineup. Now heâ€™s just going to work on continuing to improve his defense. Thatâ€™s the key.â€ť
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” There were more than a half dozen birdie putts that either lipped out or just missed the mark. There were two holes that he probably wished he could have had back.
But after an opening round of 3-over 73 at the 82nd annual New England Amateur Championship on Monday, Pawtucketâ€™s Kyle Hoffman was perfectly content with how he shot the ball at the challenging and tricky Metacomet Country Club.
As a Hall of Fame second baseman blessed with the ability to influence the game's outcome with his bat and glove, Ryne Sandberg appreciates the intangibles that present day second sackers Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano bring to the ballpark.
To Sandberg, Lehigh Valleyâ€™s first-year manager, Pedroia and Cano are chips off the old block. For good measure, so is Chase Utley, who unlike Pedroia and Cano operates outside of the A.L. East caldron.
PAWTUCKET â€“ This was certainly not the way the Pawtucket Red Sox wanted to end their four-game series with the Durham Bulls.
Locked in a tight game for six innings on Sunday afternoon, the Bulls cut loose with nine runs in the final three frames to cruise past the PawSox, 13-3, before 6,318 at McCoy Stadium. Durham collected 16 hits in the three-plus hour affair, including a three-run homer from Felipe Lopez in the ninth.
Durham scored eight of its runs with two outs, while the PawSox were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The second and final game of Carl Crawfordâ€™s rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox left much to be desired.
An 0-for-3 showing at the plate and no action in left field in the PawSoxâ€™s 11-8 loss to the Durham Bulls on Saturday at McCoy Stadium wasnâ€™t the evening Crawford envisioned before rejoining the Boston Red Sox. Nonetheless, the left fielder departed Pawtucket with at least one reason for optimism: a healthy left hamstring.
PAWTUCKET â€” The fans came to see Carl Crawford and went home talking about Ryan Lavarnway.
Crawford, in his first of two rehab games with Pawtucket, reached base in all three of his at-bats during Pawtucketâ€™s 3-2 win over Durham on Friday night. He blooped a single over the second basemanâ€™s head in the first, walked in the third, and reached on a fielderâ€™s choice in the fifth, scoring one batter later when Lavarnway crushed a home run down the left field line that cleared everything, bouncing around in the parking lot as the crowd collectively murmured â€śWho is this guy?â€ť
BURRILLVILLE â€” Down by four runs and staring at a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the second inning, Cumberland American showed the heart of a champion and staged a marvelous comeback that landed the ballclub the District IV Major Division title.
Connor Mastin and Stephen Dugas each bashed a pair of home runs and Max Hanuschak delivered five superb innings of relief to help CALL win a 12-6 slugfest with neighboring rival Lincoln on Friday night before a packed house at Sherman Park.
Very few people see batting practice anymore. Big league parks usually donâ€™t open their gates in time for the fans to witness this baseball ritual. The gates were open at McCoy Stadium on Friday afternoon but only a smattering of fans were in the stands when rehabbing Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford stepped into the cage and took swings with his temporary PawSox teammates.
RIVERSIDE â€“ Their pitchers might not have thrown as hard and their batters might not have had the same pop, but when it came to throwing strikes and make plays in the field, no one was better than Cumberland National.
Cumberland was spotless defensively and pitchers Sydney Provencal and Katerina Kent allowed only seven base runners the entire game as the offense took advantage of two errors in a 3-0 win over East Greenwich to claim the Rhode Island Major Division Softball Championship Friday night.