PAWTUCKET â€“ All appeared to be fine in Alfredo Acevesâ€™ universe when he walked into the home clubhouse shortly after 4 oâ€™clock on Thursday afternoon. The righthander chatted briefly with a reporter before going through the necessary preparations for that nightâ€™s start against Rochester.
Those plans were officially scrapped 15 minutes prior to first pitch, as Scott Atchison took Acevesâ€™ spot. Itâ€™s believed that the Red Sox will place reliever Matt Albers on the disabled list on Friday and call up Aceves in time for Bostonâ€™s home opener against the New York Yankees.
PAWTUCKET â€“ It had all the pageantry of Opening Day, from the introduction to the teams to the unfurling of an American flag in center field and a cannon salute that sounded off at the conclusion of the national anthem.
The Red Sox have certainly provided plenty of grist for the mill. Thatâ€™s what happens when you begin the season with unprecedented expectations (World Series or bust) only to stumble out of the gate with six straight losses. Agony doesnâ€™t even begin to describe the early-season travails with your Boston baseball club.
Weâ€™re not about to declare that hope is lost, especially when you subtract six from 162 and end up with 156, which is how many games the Red Sox have left. Time is on their side.
PAWTUCKET --- Lincoln High made good on its first splendid day of the spring to play baseball.
The Lions scored four times in their opening swings and tacked on three runs in the third inning before settling on a 10-5 victory over St. Raphael Academy on Thursday afternoon in the Division I-North opener for both teams at sun-drenched Vets Park.
University of Rhode Island-bound Ryan Oâ€™Dell went 3-for-4 to propel the Lionsâ€™ 11-hit assault, and Kyle Jacksonâ€™s two-run double in the first inning and Matt Sorkinâ€™s two-run single in the third were the key hits for the visitors.
The 2011 season for the PawSox is finally upon us, and with it brings the promise of intrigue and discovery. Who will produce enough to get summoned to Boston? Answers will start to reveal themselves beginning with tonightâ€™s opener against Rochester.
Here are five items one scribe plans to closely monitor in the early going until the picture becomes clearer:
1. Good gloves will always travel, but be patient with the hitting.
LINCOLN â€” As Bill Lee and Bob Montgomery swapped stories and shared laughs Wednesday afternoon at Kirkbrae Country Club, the former Red Sox pitcher-catcher battery took time to address some of baseballâ€™s hidden truths that todayâ€™s coaches and players like to put a different spin on.
WOONSOCKET â€” Cumberland High coach Marty Crowley believes he has a strong enough team to contend for a state title come mid-June.
But in his eyes, and perhaps most in Division I, the squad that everyone in the league should be concerned about is last yearâ€™s state runner-up Mount St. Charles Academy.
â€śAbsolutely,â€ť he said. â€śThey went to the finals last year. They (basically) got everybody back. They should be the favorites to win the whole thing. Theyâ€™re good.â€ť
LINCOLN â€“ At the core of Bill Leeâ€™s multi-faceted personality is a baseball pitcher who remains fascinated -- even at the age of 64 -- by the process of getting batters out.
Lee came here on Wednesday to serve as keynote speaker at the annual â€śWelcome Home, PawSoxâ€ť luncheon hosted by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. He walked into Kirkbrae Country Clubâ€™s dining area a few minutes before noon, dressed like a cowboy, his still-athletic frame topped off by a wide-brimmed hat that identified the former Red Sox pitcher as a man of great presence.
PAWTUCKET â€” Relief pitchers inherently are the most fickle commodity in baseball. Thatâ€™s why teams are inclined to stockpile as many candidates as they can each season, crossing oneâ€™s fingers that one or two arms pan out and solidify the foundation already in place.