January 20, 2013

On Baseball: Red Sox addition of Gomes harkens memories of Millar

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Some notes on Boston's new character, the Netherlands connection, Sea Dogs dancers and more. 

WHEN JOSH REDDICK was in town last week, one topic of conversation was his former teammate in Oakland, outfielder Jonny Gomes, who signed with the Red Sox in the offseason. Gomes is considered a "personality," in the mold of live-wire Kevin Millar.

"I got the pleasure of meeting Millar in Vegas at a celebrity golf tournament," Reddick said. "(Gomes and Millar) are the same. Never a dull moment with either of them.

"Had my locker right next to Jonny's. I laughed a lot. Also learned a lot. He knows the ups and downs of the game.

"He can be a character but he's also a leader."

Reddick also got to know Boston's new shortstop, Stephen Drew, J.D.'s younger brother. Drew played in Oakland the last two months of the 2012 season.

"They're kind of the same," Reddick said of the Drew brothers. "Both are kind of quiet, but I think Stephen is more involved with his teammates. Nothing against J.D., but for Stephen to come out to a team for 2, 3 months, he meshed well. And he'll mesh well with (Boston)." 

SHORTSTOP XANDER BOGAERTS, Boston's No. 1 prospect who is expected to begin the 2013 season in Portland, will not be with Boston for all of spring training.

Bogaerts, 20, of Aruba, will play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic this spring. (Aruba is part of the Netherlands Antilles).

The big question concerning Bogaerts is what position will he play for the Netherlands, which has two shortstops who reached the majors last year -- Andrelton Simmons (Braves) and Jurickson Profar (Rangers). 

THE MIKE NAPOLI Saga appears to be finally over, with the veteran slugger and Red Sox apparently having settled on a one-year deal ($5 million, with incentives that could total an additional $8 million if he stays healthy). This is a reduction from the original deal (three years, $39 million) that was scratched after Napoli's physical reportedly showed problems with his hip.

While it will be good to get Napoli signed, there obviously is concern about his durability. Boston's first-base depth currently consists of Mauro Gomez, Mark Hamilton and Travis Shaw.

Gomez, 28, is a right-handed slugger with dubious fielding skills. Hamilton, 26, a left-handed minor league free agent, has a .197 average and no home runs in 47 major-league games.

Shaw, 22, is the sleeper. He batted .305 with 16 home runs in 99 games with Class A Salem last year. He was promoted to Portland and batted .227 with three home runs over 31 games. Shaw will be back in Portland this April. He may be a long shot to reach the majors by the end of the year, but keep an eye on him. 

TOMMY HOTTOVY, the former Sea Dogs lefty who has gone from the Royals to the Rangers to the Blue Jays this offseason, cleared waivers and was assigned to Toronto's Triple-A team in Buffalo.

We've reported other former Sea Dogs moving on as minor-league free agents. In case you missed them, they include pitchers Caleb Clay (Nationals) and Billy Buckner (Angels), infielders Reynaldo Rodriguez (Twins), Luis Jimenez (Blue Jays), Marquez Smith (Reds) and Nate Spears (Indians), and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang (Rangers).

THE VOICE WELCOMING fans to Hadlock Field this year belongs to Paul Coughlin, an English teacher at Bonny Eagle High.

Coughlin was selected from nearly 100 applicants as the Sea Dogs' new public-address announcer. He replaces the legendary Dean Rogers, who retired. 

ANOTHER NEW VOICE will be needed for radio broadcasts of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Aaron Goldsmith, 29, a former intern with the Sea Dogs, was the PawSox play-by-play announcer last season. But he's been called up to the big leagues, taking over the radio play-by-play duties for the Seattle Mariners. 

CHEERLEADING/DANCE teams may be common with football and basketball teams. But baseball?

When the Sea Dogs announced auditions for a dance team, I groaned. Shapely women in skimpy costumes at Hadlock Field?

"No," answered Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa. "We would never do anything like that."

The dance team, featuring kids ages 8-16, is an extension of an occasional promotion last year when the Dance Studio of Maine put on pregame performances on a few Sundays.

"It was very popular," Iacuessa said. "It brought kids and families to the ballpark. And that's what we're all about."

With that in mind, the Sea Dogs are forming a dance team to entertain before some games and at other times (like after a game before a fireworks show).

The actual audition is Feb. 9. There is also an open audition workshop on Feb. 1.

For more information, call 839-6161 or email seadogsdance@hotmail.com.

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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