And so 2009 begins — unoficially
Though it won’t match the buzz you will feel at Fenway Park on April 6, when the Red Sox open their season against the Rays, there is at least some excitement here at City of Palms Park, with the Old Towne Team facing off against Boston College.
Ace Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings, striking out two. His first pitch of the season, at 1:02 p.m. ET, was grounded to second off the bat of J.B. MacDonald. Harry Darling had his bat sawed off by Beckett, but the righty deftly caught the looping liner for the out. Mike Augustine hit a soft grounder to short to the third out. The leadoff batter in the second was none other than Sam Shaughnessy, the son of the long-time Boston Globe columnist. I wonder what was going through Dan’s mind as he took in the at-bat in from the press box.Young Sam struck out looking on a nasty 1-2 pitch from Beckett.
The early “almost highlight” of the game came in the bottom of the third when Ortiz launched one to deep right-center. It was going, going and … caught at the warning track.
As we start the top of the fifth, with BC leading 1-0, we are into Tazawa time. Here is Junichi Tazawa, signed out of the Industrial League of Japan and to a Major League contract back in December. He is likely to start the at Double-A Portland,but the Red Sox have been impressed by what they’ve seen from him this spring. Against BC, he turned in a swift, 1-2-3 inning.
It must be a pre-exhibition, exhibition game. The Red Sox just sent up batting practice pitcher Ino Guerrero up for an at-bat in the fifth inning. Ino, who is best known for being a close confidant of erstwhile Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, drew a walk. Who would have thought that Guerrero would draw a walk in an exhibition game while Ramirez still doesn’t have a job?
Below is a Brita Meng Outzen photo on Ino being congratulated by hitting coach Dave Magadan after he came out for a pinch-runner.
Guerrero, by the way, is 48 years old, according to a couple of trusty clubhouse sources.
“That was just to
liven up the day a little bit,” Francona said. “I liked the way he got the walk and acted like
he won the World Series. He may get another chance against Northeastern.”
It was like Christmas Day for the beat writers who cover the team, as we were handed copies of the 2009 media guide earlier this morning. Yes, that book will be our bible for the next eight or nine months, you can be sure of that. Snazzy cover this year, with a black and white image of Jim Rice “National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2009″ contrasted with a color image of Dustin Pedroia “2008 AL MVP GOLD GLOVE SLIVER SLUGGER AWARD.
Pedroia will play tonight against the Twins. Lugo, Baldelli, Ortiz and Drew are the regulars today who played behind Beckett.