Monday, March 10, 2014
Anthony Rizzo strolled through the cozy visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park when he spotted a group of recognizable reporters from his minor league days with the Red Sox. He approached and shook hands, before facing a reporter from Boston he did not know.
Rizzo stuck out hand, smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Anthony."
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rizzo for teaching your son manners.
The Padres people speak highly of the young and mature Rizzo, and how well he fits into the clubhouse.
And they also like the fact that Rizzo, 21, can swat a ball 420 feet, high off the center field wall at Fenway Park (which would be a home run anywhere else).
As I watched Rizzo Monday night, I was reminded of what then-Sea Dogs manager Arnie Beyeler said last year.
"He continues to develop. With his tools, it will be fun to see how he ends up."
See today's Press Herald for a column on Rizzo.
Rizzo, of course, came to the Padres in the deal for Adrian Gonzalez, a trade that also sent pitcher Casey Kelly and outfielder Reymond Fuentes to San Diego.
Kelly, 21, is again in Double-A, with a 5-2 record and 2.72 ERA. According to general manager Jed Hoyer, Kelly is consistently hitting 95 m.p.h. on the radar gun.
Fuentes, 20, is hitting. 294 with 30 stolen bases in advanced Class A.
In Boston's win over San Diego Monday, Red Sox starter Andrew Miller did not factor in the decision (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K). After five scoreless innings, he gave up a three-run homer.
Miller may be starting now - and his future may be as a starter - but he may be a huge help in the bullpen in later months, and in the post-season.
If Boston does make the playoffs, will Jed Lowrie be playing? Lowrie has a sore shoulder and he has gone to see Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles (hearing Dr. Yocum's name brings the same concern as when you hear of a player visiting Dr. James Andrews in Alabama. You worry about what they will find).
Watching Rizzo reminds me of another win-win trade the Red Sox took part in - sending Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez to the Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.
Ramirez has become a star player, but he still is high-maintenance. New Marlins manager Jack McKeon dealt with Ramirez quickly, benching him before Monday's game. See the Miami Herald blog.
Not every Red Sox deal works out. In 2003, Boston wanted pitching depth for a run at the playoffs. Infielder prospect Freddy Sanchez was sent to Pittsburgh in a deal involving starter Jeff Suppan.
I remember a radio broadcaster joking with Theo Epstein that he "picked the Pirates' pockets." Epstein frowned and offered that, "Freddy Sanchez is a very good player."
Sanchez, who collected a World Series ring with the Giants last year, has a career .297 average. Suppan went 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA for Boston and was left off the playoff roster.
The Sea Dogs return to Portland tonight for a three-game series. (Follow the tweets at ClearTheBases)
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
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