PAWTUCKET â€“ Larry Lucchino admitted Wednesday that he tries to clear his schedule and make a once-per-season pilgrimage to McCoy Stadium. In that regard, the Red Soxâ€™s president and CEO should thank the PawSox for advancing to the Governorâ€™s Cup playoffs.
Providing a textbook case of better late than never, Lucchino took in Wednesdayâ€™s playoff opener from Pawtucket president Mike Tamburroâ€™s box.
Arriving roughly 3 1/2 hours prior to the scheduled 7:05 first pitch, Lucchino spent quite a bit of time in the home teamâ€™s clubhouse and in the company of PawSox skipper Arnie Beyeler.
â€śI came down here and met with some of the players and talked with Arnie,â€ť said Lucchino about the premise behind his sojourn to McCoy. â€śThe relationship between the PawSox and the Red Sox is a sensational one and has been for a long time. We rely and depend on them.â€ť
Before heading inside to Tamburroâ€™s box, Lucchino made reference to the reinforcements the PawSox have provided the parent club in what has been a trying season on many levels.
â€śThere have been a lot of people going back and forth not just this year, but last year too,â€ť noted Lucchino. â€śThe jobs that (Mauro) Gomez and (Pedro) Ciriaco have done in the opportunities that were created for them were the result of their performances down here. Weâ€™ve been able to get some major league-caliber players and weâ€™re really pleased and grateful for the job Pawtucket does year-in and year-out.â€ť
At this point, all Scott Atchison seeks is to head into the offseason with peace of mind.
Even though it seemed insurmountable as recent as a few weeks ago, back when Atchison was linked to possible Tommy John surgery, obtaining a clear and clean conscience has emerged as a plausible scenario.
Such a belief stems from the 37-year-old Atchison returning to the mound this week with the Pawtucket Red Sox, a course of events that puts him on track to return to Boston in the not-too-distant future.
â€śIâ€™m just trying to get a few outings under my belt before the offseason and prove to myself that (his right forearm) is healthy and that itâ€™s not something thatâ€™s going to be a problem down the road,â€ť said Atchison from his locker stall inside the PawSox clubhouse. â€ś(Mondayâ€™s scoreless inning) was the first step in that I felt good and hopefully it continues the rest of the season.â€ť
For Atchison, rest and plenty of it was prescribed following his previous rehab assignment with the PawSox, which ended on July 27.
â€śThere was no throwing this time around. After talking with the doctors, it was about giving it a chance to calm down, which seems to be the trick,â€ť said Atchison, mentioning he went three weeks without picking up a baseball. â€śLast time, we didnâ€™t necessarily know what was going on and I only took four days off without throwing.â€ť
From Atchisonâ€™s vantage point, the right-hander could not have scripted a more efficient kickoff to his rehab with Pawtucket.
Monday saw him throw all of eight pitches, six of which were strikes. The way his arm responded the following morning resulted in the Red Sox giving him the green light to return to the mound Thursday night at some point during Game Two of Pawtucketâ€™s series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
â€śI didnâ€™t want to go out there in my first outing and have to labor out there,â€ť Atchison said about the satisfaction he took in passing his first test. â€śEverything felt normal the next day, so positive steps so far.â€ť
Atchison isnâ€™t eligible to come off the disabled list at the earliest until next Wednesday. He says heâ€™s unsure whether heâ€™ll join the PawSox when the playoffs shift to Rochester beginning Friday.
â€śWe havenâ€™t gotten that far yet,â€ť he acknowledged. â€śThe closer I can get to (getting reinstated) with some outings, the better it will allow me to stay sharp.â€ť