« June 20, 2008
June 22, 2008 »
June 21, 2008
Chris Smith is his name
In case you just put the game on and noticed Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka is already out of the game, and you wanted to know who is pitching for Boston, his name is Chris Smith.
This is his major-league debut and he's already had an interesting outing. He surrendered a grand slam to the Cardinals' Troy Glaus in the second inning, but since then Smith has retired five straight batters.
He's an interesting kid. Here's a story I wrote about him on Aug. 6, 2006.
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
PAWTUCKET - A witch's eye almost ended the professional career of Chris Smith.
Originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, the right-handed pitching prospect suffered a compound fracture in his right forearm prior to the 2003 season. He was driving an off-road vehicle in the sand dunes of California when he was swallowed up by a large hole, also known as a witch's eye.
His arm was caught outside the vehicle as it tumbled and rolled numerous times. Surgery with screws and a steel plate was needed to repair the damage.
At the time of the accident, Smith had just completed his promising rookie season with Single-A Lowell, and now the prospect's career was in jeopardy.
He made a dramatic comeback and was able to finish the 2003 campaign, before another roadblock occurred in 2004. He suffered a bout of tendinitis in the throwing shoulder after just 14 starts for Double-A Portland and missed the remainder of the season.
Last summer was much of the same as he continued to battle tendinitis and needed surgery to repair a torn labrum. Finally, this season he has returned to form and once again is considered a pitching prospect in the organization.
"Smitty definitely had the ability to be a major-league pitcher before he got hurt," said Red Sox vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington. "We're starting to see that ability again. He's someone who really loves the game and to see how hard he has had to work to get back on the mound, at first when he came back he wasn't the same guy. To see him having success again, especially at Triple A, is nice to see. It's just nice to see guys who have had to overcome adversity."
The Red Sox farm system has produced many young arms that have enjoyed success at the major-league level, including Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester and Craig Hansen. Before his injuries, Smith was considered to be among that elite club, and now that he's healthy again and enjoying success, he's back in the fold.
"I don't know about that," said Smith. "In '04, it was something special, but I got sidetracked and a lot of things happened. I had to put the bad stuff behind me and move on. They can have all the limelight, I'll just come in the back door and let them get all the publicity. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and it's a little less stressful."
Smith throws a two- and four-seam fastball, an above-average changeup and a curveball, and that repertoire has allowed him to have success this season. He made his Triple-A debut on Friday and earned a three-hit shutout victory in seven innings of work. He can change speeds effectively, has good command of the strike zone and is able to keep the opposition off balance.
Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson managed Smith in Portland in 2004, where the young hurler recorded 85 strikeouts in 741³3 innings of work.
"He's faced adversity and he's battled back," said Johnson. "That's a long road back and realistically if he didn't get hurt he would have been up here two years ago."
PawSox pitching coach Mike Griffin hasn't seen much of Smith, but was impressed with his outing on Friday.
Before he turned pro in 2002, Smith played three years at University of California-Riverside where he set a school record with 127 strikeouts, while posting a 2.91 E.R.A. Even though his pro career took a bit of a detour, he's back where he needs to be physically and mentally and has his sights on a major-league job.
It's safe to say he'll be staying away from those nasty witch eyes.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:55 PM | Permalink
Timlin to DL, other early Sox notes
BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin has been placed on the disabled list with tendinitis of the left knee.
Taking his spot on the roster will be Daisuke Matsuzaka, who returns from the DL today to make his first start since last month.
It had been thouht that the Sox would return Chris Smith to Pawtucket to make room for Matsuzaka's activation. Instead, Smith will stay -- at least for a while -- and Timlin will make his second trip to the DL this season.
``It's something he's been pitching through,'' said manager Terry Francona. ``I think it has something to do with the inconsistency.''
Timlin is 3-3 with a 7.06 ERA and has given up 29 hits in 20 1/3 innings.
``We all ended up agreeing that this is probably the best thing for him and the organization,'' said Francona.
Francona said the Sox will have Timlin rest for the rest of the homestand, then probably be sent to Pawtucket to begin a rehab program.
``He'll go out, try to pitch effectivelly and we'll see how that goes,'' said Francona.
Manny Ramriez, still hampered by a hamstring pull, is restricted to DH duty for the rest of the homestand.
The Sox are hopeful that the time out of the field will help him heal so that he can play left field again when the Sox begin an interleague road series Friday in Houston.
With Ramirez as the DH, Brandon Moss gets the start in left.
Julio Lugo, who made two more errors Friday night to up his 16, more than double the total of any other Ameircan League shortstop, is on the bench this afternoon with Alex Cora getting te start at short.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 1:16 PM | Permalink
Red Sox lineup
Posted by Sean McAdam at 1:13 PM | Permalink
Postgame notes: Lugo's night
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON _ Julio Lugo had an eventful night.
The Red Sox shortstop drove in two of the club’s three runs with a sacrifice fly and a solo home run. That was the good news.
“At the time it was a one-run game and he got us back even,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “It was a good swing. He got his legs under and drove the ball. At the time it was a huge swing.”
The homer was his first in a 69-game span, which tied the third longest streak of his career. His longest skid was a 97 games when he played for the Astros in 2001 and 2002.
The bad news is he made two errors in the field that allowed an unearned run to score in a tie game.
The first one he made was attempting to turn a 3-6-1 double play. He rushed his throw and Tim Wakefield couldn’t make a play on it as the ball traveled to the screen in front of the Sox’ dugout, allowing a run to score.
On the second one he just made a bad throw.
“The one where he’s coming across the bag there’s a lot of movement,” Francona said. “You have to make a perfect throw because you have a pitcher covering. The other one was, I don’t know if he followed his throw because he had time and he got square and then he let it fly.”
It was Lugo’s second multi-error game of the season for the Red Sox. He has now made a total of 16 errors this season.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 12:03 AM | Permalink
| Comments 1