Notes from Minor League Spring Training: Sea Dogs lose a tough one

The Sea Dogs and Pawtucket Red Sox both played their exhibition games at the Twins’ complex this afternoon.  Pawtucket didn’t fare too well, and had to see Jim Thome bat pretty much every inning against them.  I swear, every time I turned over to see the PawSox game, Thome was making his turn around first base.

Portland was trailing 9-3, but scored six runs over two innings (7 & 8), and suffered a 10-9 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats.   The game was tied at nine, heading into the eighth inning, but Chris Cates scored the game-winning run on a missed catch at first base by pitcher Will Latimer.  Portland scored five runs in the eighth inning on a solo-blast by Jonathan Hee and a grand slam from Jorge Padron.  The homer by Pardon was an absolute bomb, and drew the “oh’s and ah’s from the bench, including most of the Pawtucket players.   There game finished when Portland was in the seventh inning, so they had to wait a bit before heading back to the minor league complex.  It’s nice having the Twins complex in the same city – makes it fun to travel and watch a game from a different location.

The Sea Dogs got off to a good start, scoring twice in the first inning off righty Steve Hirschfield.  With two outs, Will Middlebrooks singled and Ryan Lavarnway hit a monster homer over the fence in left-center field.  If your eyes were closed, you could tell from the crack of the bat that the ball was crushed.

Notes from Portland game: Alex Wilson struggled a bit over three innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.  “That was my worse outing of the spring, ” said Wilson. “I  just felt a little off.”  Wilson also added that it’s good to get those bad outings out-of-the-way in spring training…Oscar Tejeda started at second base and double twice.  Tim Federowicz caught the entire game, and added three hits.  Jason Place played left and centerfield, going 1-for-4 with a run-scoring double.  There were about five balls misplayed in the outfield due to the tough sun.  The wind was blowing out, but temps were in the mid 80’s all day.

I ran into: Tony Thomas Sr, who was watching his son Tony play for Pawtucket.  Thomas was acquired by Boston in the Robert Coello trade.  “My son has played in a championship game for the last four years, and I hope he does again,” said Thomas…Spent time with Arnie Beyeler, who is looking forward to managing the Pawtucket Red Sox this season.  Beyeler’s first day on the job was yesterday, after spending the entire spring with the big league team.  Sea Dogs’ hitting coach Dave Joppie is having a lot of fun this spring, and is looking forward to Portland.  Dave is a lot of fun to be around, but he owes me a couple of pre-game radio interviews – hope you’re reading Dave!  Sea Dogs’ manager Kevin Boles has trimmed down a lot, and credits the success to P90x.   I also chatted quickly with Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish, Kyle Weiland, Luis Exposito, Mark Wagner and Bubba Bell.  Every time I see Wagner, its giddee up.”  We’re both huge Seinfeld fans.  As I was leaving the minor game, I had a chance to catch up with Ray Chang, who is trying to make Minnesota’s Triple-A team.  Chang had 20 at-bats in big league camp.  He went 0-for-2 in the Double-A game.  Former Sea Dog Jeff Bailey played for Triple-A Rochester.

A True Class Act: Red Sox broadcaster Jon Rish has been so great to me the past two years, and invited me in the booth before the game.  Jon does a terrific job on the air, and is broadcasting his final game at the City of Palms Park.  Next year the Red Sox move into a new location.

On Sunday: A camp day for Red Sox minor leagues.  There is a possibility of a few intra-squad games, and we could see Jon Lester pitch in one of them…I’ll have a full report tomorrow from the Fort.

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