Thursday, April 24, 2014
The recent good news at Hadlock Field was a thick coat of ice on the turf.
The Hadlock grounds crew did not have hockey on their minds, but snow removal with machinery.
"We had a 6-inch base of ice, so we could get the Bobcats out there," Portland Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa said of the skid steer loaders. "If you came by the week before, you would have seen a lot of snow on the field."
There are still some piles of snow, but the Sea Dogs' plan for those to be gone by the season opener 25 days away, on April 7.
But the threat of weather is hardly over. Early April snowstorms can cause problems. The ground is no longer frozen. Heavy equipment can't be used on the field, so the snow must be removed by hand, or melt.
Iacuessa remembers 2007, when "we could have played in the last week of March ... but then that storm hit us overnight."
In 2007, a slow moving nor'easter dumped 5 inches of snow on Hadlock the night before the home opener on April 5, postponing the first four games of the season.
Iacuessa, in his first season as GM, does not want to think of a reoccurrence. He said, "I think everyone is ready for spring. We are too."
TWO ANNUAL EVENTS are designed to get Sea Dogs fans ready for the season -- the preview luncheon held at noon March 25, at the Hadlock Field clubhouse; and the Welcome Back Dinner at 5:30 p.m. April 6.
Tickets to the luncheon are $15. Call the Sea Dogs (874-9300) for more information.
The dinner, which features a chance to meet the players, is a benefit for Youth Alternatives. Tickets start at $20 (adult) and $15 (14-and-under). Call Youth Alternatives (523-5031) for details.
WHEN THOSE PLAYERS arrive in Portland, who will they be?
It was thought that the Cuban duo of shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Juan Carlos Linares would return to Hadlock after short stints last season. Iglesias played only 57 games because of injury, while Linares arrived late in the year and played only 13 games.
But Iglesias, 21, in his second season on the 40-man roster, is playing well in spring training (.381 in 11 games), demonstrating that he may soon be major league-ready. Boston could ship him directly to Triple-A Pawtucket.
If Iglesias goes to Pawtucket, then the Sea Dogs might use veteran Double-A infielder Ryan Khoury at shortstop.
The next shortstop prospects coming up are Ryan Dent, 22, and Derrick Gibson, 21, but neither appears ready for Double-A.
Linares, 26, has been very impressive in the eight games he's played in Fort Myers (.368, one home run). This following the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .397 with seven doubles and three home runs.
Pawtucket looks to be full of outfielders, but could use the right-handed bat of Linares.
Outfielders Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick and Bubba Bell are all left-handed, and switch-hitter Daniel Nava hits much better left-handed.
Even without Iglesias and Linares, the Red Sox would have at least one Cuban -- first baseman Jorge Padron. He hit .286 over 47 games for Portland last year, mostly in the outfield. With Anthony Rizzo gone, Padron moves to first full time.
OSCAR TEJEDA IS enjoying his first major league spring training.
Tejeda, 21, who is ticketed for the starting second baseman's job in Portland, is batting .391 in 12 games.
CUTS FROM major league camp will begin, if they haven't already, as minor league teams get ready for the start of their spring games on Wednesday.
Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: