THE HIGHLIGHTS: Bartolo Colon. Bartolo Colon. Bartolo Colon. In his first -- and possible only -- start for the PawSox the veteran right-hander was outstanding in his five scoreless innings of work. He threw 74 pitches (45 strikes) and allowed just one hit with one walk and five strikeouts, while earning the victory. He was consistently hitting 94-95 MPH on the radar gun, and his splitter and change-up were working, too. The veteran right-hander, who signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox at the start of spring training, was in total command of the strike zone and was working in a fluid tempo.
KEY TO THE GAME: PawSox newcomer Jonathan Van Every blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning to give Pawtucket a 3-0 lead. The 28-year-old outfielder, who signed as a free-agent with Boston last December, has played at McCoy Stadium as an opponent with the Buffalo Bisons. Last night he gave the 10,681 fans in attendance a glimpse of what could be to come this season. "It felt wonderful," he said. "Coming in here as a new player you always want to make an impact immediately and lucky for me I did it with my first swing of the bat. Hopefully I didn't spoil the fans with them thinking I'm going to do that every time, but it was definitely nice to get the first one out of the way."
PROSPECT WATCH: Craig Hansen. Yes, that Craig Hansen. After struggling in his first three seasons as a pro, this former first-round draft pick proved during spring training that he's finally beginning to come around. The hard-throwing right-handed reliever was solid again last night, working two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. He walked two and struck out three. It's clear he's taking the proper steps and PawSox manager Ron Johnson said following last night's game he's been impressed with Hansen's maturity this year.
THEY SAID IT: "He did an outstanding job," said PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur on Colon's outing. "He was throwing the ball very well during spring training and he continued it tonight. It's not my call, but if anyone watched that game tonight you'd say, 'Yeah, he's ready.' He threw some fastballs tonight that were very lively and some sliders that were very sharp. He's a big-league pitcher and he showed tonight he wants to get back there. It's just a matter of time."
Bartolo is leaving the mound at McCoy to a standing ovation after finishing his five-inning outing with a 95 MPH fastball. He completed the start with 74 pitches (45 strikes) and allowed one hit with five strikeouts and one walk. Basically, he was very impressive.
Again, Colon retired the side in order and threw just 13 pitches (eight strikes). He's up to 63 total pitches and has one inning remaining before he's taken out. He's allowed just one hit, a single in the second inning.
Colon continues to impress. In the second inning he threw 12 pitches (seven strikes) and allowed one hit. He was able to get a ground ball up the middle for a unassisted double play to end the inning. He's still reaching 94 on the gun.
A student touring Fenway Park was attacked by a resident red-tailed hawk that drew blood from a girl’s scalp Thursday.
The girl was taken by ambulance to a hospital, but wasn’t seriously injured.
The hawk was perched on a railing in the upper deck behind home plate while the group from Memorial Boulevard Middle School in Bristol, Conn., toured the stadium. The hawk flew at the girl and swooper with its talons extended, scratching her scalp.
A single egg lay in the hawk’s nearby nest in an overhang near the stadium’s press booth.
The nest and egg were removed at the direction of state wildlife officials.
Photo and story: Room for 1,000 more at Fenway Park
AP photo / Elise Amendola
Wade Sutton, of Merrimack, N.H., welds on a column in the upper left stands of Fenway Park this morning, as the ballpark is readied for Tuesday's home opener against the Detroit Tigers.
BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Red Sox have maxed out Fenway Park in their seventh year of offseason renovations, bringing the capacity of the oldest and smallest ballpark in the majors to 39,928 with no plans to add more.
"We decided never to have a number that started with a '4' for Fenway," said Janet Marie Smith, the team's point person on the ballpark improvements.
But she added: "I don't think we've run out of ideas, yet."
The Red Sox have steadily upgraded Fenway since the current owners bought the team in 2002, with the most visible change being the seats added above the Green Monster in 2003. Along the way, they've increased the capacity from under 34,000 seats to almost 40,000.
"With the Yankees opening a new ballpark in 2009, they have dramatic new revenue sources," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Tuesday after giving the media and Boston city officials a tour of the new changes. "So we've got to do everything we can to make this little engine that could keep up with the bullet train in the Bronx."
Among the changes fans will see first is the replacement of a temporary trailer that had been installed for the 1999 All-Star game with a permanent luxury suite. Farther down the third-base line in the upper deck is a new section with 412 more seats and a standing room section behind. There's also more handicapped seating in the bleachers.
Four new electronic scoreboards along the face of the upper deck bring the ballpark into the 21st century technologically. But, Smith said, the graphics used on the LED screens will be limited to information like scorelines and batting statistics, instead of the fancy graphics used at many arenas.
"It's the best technology one can buy," Smith said, "but the presentation of the information is very traditional."
A new Coca-Cola sign down the left-field line will be familiar to old-timers who might remember the one at the Coke plant off Storrow Drive as it followed the Charles River toward Harvard Square. The Coke bottles that used to line the light tower above the Green Monster are gone.
The Red Sox also added a stairwell and elevator in the same corner to improve the flow to and from the seats. Several luxury suites have been renovated.
Life will be a little bit better for the defending World Series champions, who have a professionally equipped kitchen upstairs from the clubhouse; previously, all their food had to be brought in from outside. Although the clubhouse itself remains the same size, it feels much bigger with the removal of a drop ceiling.
The clubhouse, which was about 8,000 square feet in 2002, now measures about 16,000 feet, including family rooms, workout rooms and the new kitchen.
Picnic tables and concession stands also have been added. A new restaurant under the center field bleachers, where there had been a batting cage, is scheduled to open in May.
Some things fans might not notice:
-The repair and waterproofing of concrete under the bleachers. The seats were removed and replaced, though the "Red Seat" that had marked the spot where Ted Williams allegedly hit his longest home run was returned.
-Sprinkler systems and structural stabilization throughout the concourse and seating areas.
"Our goal is for our fans to come in and breathe a sigh of relief that they're back, and it's still Fenway," Smith said. "We don't want it to look like we put the effort into it that in fact we had."
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Wrapping up the Oakland trip
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning, as he was headed for the San Francisco airport and a cross-country flight back to New England. (Steve Krasner will pick up our Red Sox coverage this weekend in Toronto.) Sean discusses Jon Lester, David Ortiz, the Oakland A's future and Bartolo Colon.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On Lester:"Even though he did walk three, he did get ahead of most of the hitters and put himself in control to sort of dictate what was going to happen in the at-bats, and you can do that when you can throw strikes with multiple pitches."
On Ortiz: "He did not feel great in Japan -- kind of battled the bug, or a flu, or something -- and wasn't at full strength, in addition to all the demands of the travel. And then you factor in the fact that Ortiz has traditionally been a slow starter; by his own admission it usually takes him a little while to get his swing together when the season starts. So all those things conspired to get him off to a slow start. ... But to be able to knock the first one out and have it be the hit that gave the Red Sox their first two runs yesterday in the seventh inning, must have been something of a relief for him."
On the state of the A's: "They made an awful lot of moves in the offseason, trading Danny Haren, Swisher, Kotsay, and it's clear that they are in a rebuilding mode. When you talk to people in the game, they maintain that Billy Beane did a good job in getting a good inventory of prospects back for those guys, particularly the Haren deal ... and those are the kinds of guys that are going to dictate how good this franchise is going to be in another two, three or four years."
What to expect from Colon tonight: "His velocity was pretty good at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. He was up pretty regularly at 91-92, which is certainly enough for him to be effective at the big-league level. In terms of workload and pitch count, I think they want him to get up to about 75, maybe 80 pitches maximum."
LARGER THAN LIFE: A good pitcher can make a team, any team, seem that way sometimes. So with the Red Sox' bats still somewhat somnolent as they reach the end of their round-the-world-in-19-days trek, it was up to Jon Lester to keep the Sox in the game against the A's until they managed to generate some offense. Lester did his job to perfection, holding Oakland scoreless over 6 2/3 innings and getting credit for the 5-0 win as his teammates came alive in their last three at-bats. Sean McAdam has the details, in which the Sox give plenty of credit to Lester for helping them complete their two-game sweep of the A's.
For all the talk of how difficult this trip would be, the Red Sox have actually won five of the six games they've played on it -- the two exhibition games in Tokyo, one of the two against the A's in Japan, and both games in Oakland. The last challenge: Keeping it up over the three games in Toronto this weekend.
HELPING HANDS: McAdam notes that Lester was aided yesterday by Alex Cora, who was making his first start of the season, and Bryan Corey, who continues to make a strong case for the last bullpen spot. That decision will have to come soon, with both Josh Beckett and Mike Timlin getting ready to come off the disabled list. Continuing his stellar defensive play was Kevin Youkilis, who broke Steve Garvey's record for consecutive errorless games at first base.
NO BIGGIE: Joba Chamberlain pumped and danced and screamed after striking out Frank Thomas on Tuesday night, and it wasn't long ago -- remember back with Oil Can Boyd played for the Red Sox? -- that major league players took great offense at such hijinks. But the old school Thomas says times have changed and he has no problems with such theatrics anymore. (New York Daily News)
As one who has long thought the Celtics, like the Yankees, have a lax to non-existent retire-the-number criteria -- leading to Howell and Don Nelson being placed on par with Bill Russell and Larry Bird -- I can only say, right on, Pete. It's for the all-time immortals, not good players on your championship teams.
THE INTERNET -- A BROADCASTER'S WORST NIGHTMARE: I listened in great amusement last night as seconds -- and I mean, literally seconds -- after Reds analyst Jeff Brantley eviscerated Edwin Encarnacion for not being "a clutch hitter . . . a clutch player" and imploring Dusty Baker to "take him out of the game," Encarnacion clubbed a walkoff, three-run homer to beat Arizona, 6-5. Used to be that announcers could smear their faces with egg the way Brantley did and it just sort of disappeared into the ether. But not today. A quick Google search of "Jeff Brantley and Encarnacion" delivered the Web sites East Windup Chronicle, Triple Steal, WSI: Totally Biased and Red Reporter, all of which had accounts of the incident . . . and none of which were particularly kind to Brantley,
EVER HEAR OF PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS? The blog Baseball Digest Daily found Branch Rickey's 1954 scouting report of 18-year-old Don Drysdale in the Library of Congress. Rickey, who was then running the Pittsburgh Pirates, predicted Drysdale's future stardom . . . but he also said the Pirates were "in no [financial] position to make [Drysdale] a bonus player," which is why Big D achieved that stardom with the Dodgers.
NOT-SO-GRAND THEFT: On the same night the Marlins' Robert Andino beat the Mets with a walkoff home run in the 10th inning, he got word, according to mlb.com, that his South Florida home was on the verge of being robbed. He arrived at the ballpark yesterday and said everything was fine, but gave no details on the incident.