I could tell today would be a big day…
-As I drove towards the Red Sox Minor League Complex I noticed there were more cars in the parking lot than normal. The reason was simple – Jon Lester. The former Sea Dog hurler made the start for Triple-A Pawtucket with personal catcher Jason Varitek behind the plate. Lester struggled through six innings, allowing 10 hits and 4 runs. He threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes and recorded three strikeouts. Jason Varitek batted third and went 1-for-3 with a towering home run to right field off Jay Rainville. Rainville started for Double-A New Britain last spring against Josh Beckett.
-After Lester and Varitek finished their day, they received a golf-cart escort back to the Major League complex.
-At the complex, both the Sea Dogs and PawSox played the Twins affiliates. The Triple-A team featured 7 former Sea Dogs in the starting lineup. Jorge Jimenez clocked a home run and Dustin Richardson fanned two during his inning of relief. Richardson has been converted to the bullpen and featured an explosive fastball.
-According to Boston.com, the 25th spot on the Red Sox roster will come down to Jeff Bailey, Chris Carter and Brad Wilkerson.
Ouch: Andrew Dobies, Matt Goodson, Tommy Hottovy, Jay Johnson and John Otness are listed on the rehab part of the Red Sox Minor League Spring Roster. Johnson has been playing and looks strong running the bases. He ruptered his achilies tendon last April at Hadlock Field.
Faces in the Crowd at the Minor League Complex: Theo Epstein, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Frank Malzone, Tommy Harper, Ben Cherington and Mike Hazen.
On Wednesday, Portland and Pawtucket will travel to Baltimore’s minor league facility to take on Bowie and Norfold. As I do every year, I will head over to the Red Sox Minor League facility and watch Salem, Greenville and Lowell.
Former Sea Dogs’ trainer Brad Pearson is now the Head Minor League Trainer. I had a chance to chat with Brad before the games. He is very excited in his new role and plans to visit Portland during the season.