Saturday, May 25, 2013
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
Subscribe to the
Holding Court RSS
KENNEBUNK — Greetings from the rest stop here on the Maine Turnpike. While the Sea Dogs are playing (see @TomChardPPH), I'm heading to Fenway Park for the Terry Francona-Fenway reunion party.
The Francona-managed Cleveland Indians are in town. Francona has said that, of course, there will be extra emotions when he comes into Fenway. But he needs to focus on the game. See the Cleveland Plain Dealer story.
Francona has the Indians in first place in the AL Central. But his team was swept by the Red Sox in Cleveland, and the Indians have not won a series in Fenway since 2005.
The pitching match-ups for this four-game series:
Former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek arrived today in his capacity as a special assistant to the general manager, working out with the Sea Dogs, and observing. He will take in games today and Thursday morning (11 a.m. special).
Today's game will start on time (6 p.m.), but rain could be on the way.
Kolbrin Vitek is in left field, the first time he's ever played the outfield. Vitek, who has played third base and also been the DH for Portland, has been practicing the past week as an outfielder. The move not only frees up Almanzar to play third fulltime, but may also eventually make room for third baseman Garrin Cecchini, who is excelling in advanced Class A Salem.
Here are the Sox and Dogs lineups for tonight.
We love to look at the prospects on a minor league team. But besides those promising young players, a successful club in the minors needs another, essential ingredient.
Veterans with character.
Matt Spring, 28, is a back-up catcher for the Portland Sea Dogs. A guide for young pitchers and a presence in the clubhouse, Spring is the Sea Dogs' Crash Davis (Kevin Costner's character in Bull Durham).
"Pretty much," said Spring about the Crash Davis label.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Daniel Bard shagged balls during the Portland Sea Dogs batting practice. He talked to teammates. He did not look like a pitcher struggling to find his way.
“I’m not letting this beat me up too much,” Bard said before the Sea Dogs games Thursday night .
Bard is trying to re-claim his role in the Boston bullpen, but his efforts with the Sea Dogs have been discouraging. Those struggles may have peaked Wednesday night here. He faced eight batters, walking five and allowing a single. He threw 30 pitches, but only eight strikes.
“It hasn’t looked good. I’m not immune to that,” Bard said. “But it’s a process.
In 2008, Daniel Bard eventually got a promotion to the Portland Sea Dogs, as his pitching career seemed finally on track. He was in the majors the next season.
In 2008, Chris Martin quit baseball.
Five years later, Bard is back in Portland, his pitching out of control (literally).
Martin was recently promoted from Portland and continues his scoreless streak in Pawtucket.