Saturday April 09, 2011 | 09:24 AM

Another good morning from Fenway Park. Huge tour group taking up the press box, so I'm in a back room and, yes, the coffee is fresh.

Interesting to talk with Dustin Pedroia on Friday about the Red Sox early struggles. He knows a thing or two about getting out of the gate slow, given his slump in April of 2007. The message: It's early. There's talent here. And there's plenty of time. See the column.

Pedroia (pictured in his Sea Dogs days in 2005) tied an obscure record set by Fred Lynn, by homering in three straight Red Sox home openers.

While Red Sox fans may be rejoicing after Friday's win, how would they have felt about John Lackey if Boston lost? Lackey squandered a three-run lead, and allowed at least one run in each of the five innings he pitched. His ERA is now 15.58, his WHIP 2.42. Yet, he has the only win on the staff.

If you have to give Lackey credit, it is that he hung on for five innings, allowing Terry Francona to set up the bullpen.

There must also be concern on the other side, with Phil Hughes of the Yankees. I remember Hughes popping fastballs for Trenton, against the Sea Dogs in 2006. The pop was not there Friday. His fastball topped out at 90 m.p.h.

Now to the minors ... Remember when Casey Kelly struggled in Portland last year? The emphasis was on the talent and youth, not the results. Kelly still is young with loads of potential. His first start for the Padres' Double-A team in San Antonio was so-so (4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, BB, K).

Mark Rogers of Orrs Island made his 2011 debut, for the Brewers' Triple-A team. Rogers appeared to be wildly effective: 4 2/3, 4 H, R, 5 BB, 5 K.

Former Sea Dogs infielder Yamaico Navarro enjoyed a 3-for-4 night with 2 doubles, for Pawtucket. Ryan Kalish had 2 hits. Starter Kyle Weiland lasted only 3 innings (68 pitches/41 strikes): 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K.

Sea Dogs catcher Tim Federowicz homered over the Maine Monster Friday night.

Want an underdog to root for? Kyle Stroup was a 50th round draft pick in 2008 out of high school. He has reached Class A and started for Greenville Friday night: 5 IP, H, BB, 6 K.

And finally, we have a quick story on Felix Doubront getting called up, among other Red Sox notes, in today's Press Herald.




About this Blog

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.

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