Friday, March 7, 2014
They are like road signs before the much-anticipated destination.
We have almost reached spring training, which means we have almost reached baseball season.
This Friday, two more events signal baseball's approach: The annual media day for the prospects that the Boston Red Sox believe are getting close to the majors leagues. And the annual Hot Stove Dinner, sponsored by the Portland Sea Dogs.
The Hot Stove Dinner on Friday night, before a sold-out crowd at the Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland, will feature a couple players who took part in that media day in Boston last year - pitcher Brandon Workman and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
They went from the Sea Dogs to being fitted for World Series rings (which they will receive at Boston's home opener).
The dinner will also feature Maine native and Red Sox third baseman Brian Butterfield, as well as newly-named Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon.
See our McMillon feature from last Sunday.
Of the 10 prospects who will meet the media Friday in Boston, most are former or current Sea Dogs. They are taking part in a week-long rookie program to prepare players in their likely transition to the major leagues.
Included in the group are former Sea Dogs pitchers Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, and catcher Christian Vazquez. They are all expected to begin the year in Triple-A Pawtucket. Prospects who finished the year in Portland include pitchers Henry Owens ad Noe Ramirez, catcher Blake Swihart, and infielders Travis Shaw, Garin Cecchini and Deven Marrero. Pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, recently signed from Cuba, will also take part.
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
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