PAWTUCKET – PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler gave everyone a scare after lifting shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias after seven innings Thursday night. After all, this is the same Iglesias that was hit in the head with a fastball on July 3, resulting in a concussion that sidelined him for two-plus weeks.
After a narrow 5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley, Beyeler clarified that the plan was to ease Iglesias back into the fray. “He felt good. We were thinking three at-bats or five innings, something in that range,” said the skipper. “He had a nice night.”
Ryan Lavarnway belted his 12th home run in a PawSox uniform, a two-run shot in the first inning that barely sneaked into the flower bed in left center. His bid for a second home run was denied as former PawSox outfielder Brandon Moss made a leaping catch before crashing into the padding separating the PawSox bullpen and left field. The fancy glovework preserved Lehigh Valley’s one-run lead with one down in the ninth inning.
Beyeler said Iglesias was fresh and ready to go, which proved to be the case throughout his seven-inning performance. The IronPigs sent three balls his direction in the top of the first, with the Cuban defector handling each one. Iglesias handled a high chop from Kevin Frandsen for the frame’s second out, completing the play with a low throw that first baseman Lars Anderson handled. Iglesias’ best defensive play came with one down in the sixth, when he ranged up the middle and threw off-balance to nab Delwyn Young, who would prove to be the difference maker for Lehigh Valley.
Iglesias went to right field in each of first two at-bats, a lineout to right in the second and a groundball single through the right side in the fourth. He finished with two hits.
Young delivered the game’s decisive blow, golfing a Hideki Okajima changeup beyond the fence for a two-run home run, the shot coming in the eighth inning and snapping a 3-3 tie.
Pawtucket starter Tony Pena Jr. deserved a better fate after allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings. The PawSox now trail the first-place IronPigs by two games in the I.L. North.
Tommy Hottovy didn’t necessarily mind being away. In fact, the Red Sox sort of did the lefty reliever a favor when the team designated him for assignment last Saturday. The five-day period Hottovy was in baseball limbo – normally players must wait 72 hours before officially clearing waivers, a process that was delayed two days since the transaction happened on a weekend – allowed the 30-year-old additional time at his Missouri home with his newborn son.
“I got five extra days at home with the baby, so you can’t put a price tag on that,” Hottovy said. “Being designated, I still have life and still have a chance to pitch, but saying goodbye to your week old son, that was tough.”
Hottovy passed his bullpen session test Thursday and will be added to Pawtucket’s roster Friday. Needless to say he’s eager to resume the season, one that has been chock-full of transactions, from getting summoned from Double-A to Triple-A to being added to Boston’s 40-man roster.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s hard to say, ‘I wish someone picks me up,’” Hottovy said. “Obviously I like the Red Sox organization, so of course I want to be around familiar people. You have the trade deadline coming up so stuff can still happen. We’ll see.”
Felix Doubront believes the hamstring cramp on his right side that cut short Tuesday’s start is nothing to get worked up about, though the lefty won’t feel completely at ease until Friday’s bullpen session in Buffalo. Beyeler mentioned that the 23-year-old Doubront is feeling better, although the pitcher has been told he won't be making his next scheduled start.
“I feel pretty good,” Doubront. “The other night I threw a curveball and felt something in my side. It’s just another thing, man, but I have to make sure everything is feeling good. I’ve got to be patient.”
Through all the nagging maladies that have confronted Doubront this season, ranging from elbow to groin a mild hamstring strain, he’s learned that it’s best to not rush the healing process.
“I guess I have to be patient,” said the native of Venezuela. “For now I have to sit and relax, work hard, do my treatments and see what happens.”
EXTRA BASES: Beyeler was asked if he’s getting tired of providing updates about Ryan Kalish, whose recovery from persistent neck discomfort continues to be slow. “He’s improving, but it’s three or four steps forward and two steps back. He’s taken some dry swings the past few days has responded positively. Hopefully he can continue to go without and major setbacks, but the shoulder’s fine.” … Outfielder Matt Sheely was placed on the disabled list with a right foot contusion to make room for Iglesias on the roster. The PawSox will have to make another move in order to get Hottovy back on. … Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg was not in the dugout Thursday. Instead the Hall of Fame second baseman was on his way to Cooperstown to take part in this weekend’s induction ceremonies involving pitcher Bert Blyleven, second baseman Roberto Alomar and general manager Pat Gillick. … A sure sign that the July 31 trading deadline is right around the corner? Five scouts were present at McCoy Stadium Thursday: two from the Blue Jays and one apiece from the Angels, Astros and Mariners. … The PawSox kick off an eight-game road trip Friday night with the first of four against Buffalo. The club returns to McCoy Stadium a week from Saturday.
Lehigh Valley 010 010 030 – 5-8-3
Pawtucket 200 001 010 – 4-11-0
Ryan Feierabend, Joe Savery (6), Mike Zagurski (8), Justin De Fratus (9) and Erik Kratz. Tony Pena Jr., Hideki Okajima (8), Clevelan Santeliz (9) and Ryan Lavarnway. 2B: Pete Orr (7); Hector Luna (14). 3B: Hector Luna (3). HR: Delwyn Young (9); Ryan Lavarnway (12).
WP: Savery (2-0) LP: Okajima (5-1). Save: DeFratus (1). Attendance: 6,366. Time: 3:03.