Chris Costantino made sure not leave any traces of doubt.
Thanks to a strong showing this with the Laconia (N.H.) Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, any and all speculation the St. Louis Cardinals had in the 19-year-old Lincoln native fell by the waste side. The fact-finding mission might have encompassed much of the summer, but the Cardinals realized that Costantinoâ€™s talents exceeded those of a typical 43rd round selection, which is where he emerged during this past Juneâ€™s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
PAWTUCKET â€” Will Middlebrooks was sitting at his locker stall in the PawSox clubhouse Monday afternoon when Chili Davis dropped by. Naturally the discussion between the prized newcomer and the first-year hitting coach focused on the rough Triple-A start Middlebrooks had gotten off to, one that included six strikeouts and 11 hitless at-bats.
Whatever words of reassurance Davis bestowed upon Middlebrooks seemed to click as the young third baseman went out and collected his first two hits in a PawSox uniform.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Pawtucket Red Sox manager Arnie Beyeler had only request of his starting pitcher Monday night â€“ pitch deep into the game.
Tony Pena Jr. heeded the wishes of his skipper, the right-hander tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Monday night as Pawtucket held on for a 3-2 win against Syracuse. The victory enables the PawSox to move into sole possession of first place in the I.L. North after Lehigh Valley was shut out by Indianapolis, 2-0.
For the 11 high school teams in the Blackstone Valley, as well as the others from across the state, the road to postseason glory in December started last week during workouts on hot mid-August mornings and afternoons that were better suited for spending on a beach.
And while the ultimate goal of every team is to reach the Super Bowl in their respective divisions, two teams from the area, Woonsocket and Tolman, are hoping to get back to the championship game.
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.