PORTLAND – The dirtiest uniform after Thursday’s home opener at Hadlock Field belonged to the pitcher.

Kyle Weiland became a dirt dog in the second inning. Reid Gorecki tried to bunt but popped it up toward the third-base line.

Weiland bolted for the ball, dove, belly-flopped on the infield dirt and made the catch.

Nice play, although it isn’t recommended for pitching prospects to risk their bodies for fly balls. Pitching coach Bob Kipper and trainer Paul Bucheit came out to check on Weiland.

“I was concerned he knocked the wind of him,” Kipper said.

Weiland was fine. Kipper was pleased with Weiland’s health and his outing — five innings, four hits, two runs, three walks and six strikeouts.

“He established his fastball right away,” Kipper said. “He attacked the lower half of the strike zone with good action. And it just made his change-up better. And he threw his curveball better.”

Weiland showed he was a competitor, and gave glimpses why the Boston Red Sox drafted him in the third round in 2008 out of Notre Dame.

With a sinking fastball, hard curveball and change-up, Weiland took care of the first two innings by himself — five strikeouts and his diving catch.

“One of those things you react to,” Weiland said of the play.

 

BEING DRAFTED after his junior year at Notre Dame, Weiland still wants to get his degree. He finished the first semester of his senior year in the fall of 2008, but hasn’t found time for that last semester.

Weiland is an anthropology major.

 

THE DOGS’ ROSTER hasn’t changed since the opener. The Red Sox picked up right-hander Santo Luis on waivers from the White Sox and announced that he was assigned to Portland. He hadn’t arrived by Thursday.

Infielder Ray Chang, who left Wednesday’s game after fouling a pitch off his ankle, wasn’t in the lineup but was available.

First baseman/outfielder Jon Still remains on the temporary inactive list for personal reasons.

 

THE HADLOCK INFIELD underwent a quick makeover, which was completed Wednesday. Twelve tons of clay base were added, solidifying the surface and raising it to the level of the grass.

“It’s awesome,” first baseman Lars Anderson said.

 

OPENING CEREMONIES included the national anthem sung by Jonathan Edwards (think “Sunshine” from 1971).

The first pitch was thrown out by former New York Yankees manager and current Harpswell resident Stump Merrill.

 

THE PAID ATTENDANCE was announced as 5,654. Today’s starter is Stephen Fife, another third-round draft pick in 2008, out of the University of Utah.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]