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July 2, 2005 at 11:03 PM

Hat Tricks - Pawtucket 7/2


Here's some thoughts and notes from tonight’s Pawsox game, a 5-2 loss to the Charlotte Knights:

As stated on the message board, the teams arrived in Lil’ Rhody around 2 p.m., per the clubhouse attendant and Chip Ambres. The game was at 6:05. When I arrived at 4:00 or so, the clubhouse was pretty empty and a couple players were taking naps on the couch. While triple-A is one step below the big leagues, it’s still certainly the minors.

The Pawsox and Knights shared a plane from North Carolina, since the teams were having an NHL-style home-and-home schedule. I understand that this probably cuts costs for the teams, but what if there was a bench-clearing brawl in the first four games and then the teams had to share a flight? Just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Pawtucket has already had a similar eight-game set with the Columbus Clippers (Yankees) and has a seven-game home-and-home with the Syracuse Skychiefs (Blue Jays) later this season.

Dustin Pedroia went to have some X-rays looked at today, and will be getting an MRI Sunday in Boston. He said there’s no broken bones and he’s still day-to-day. I saw his wrist, and while it didn’t look grotesque, it was still a bit swollen and bruised.

Quick note: Tim Kester will take Abe Alvarez’s spot in the rotation on Sunday. Curt Schilling’s rehab start on Wednesday means that Kester will be able to move up and remain on normal rest.

Pawsox pitching was underwhelming, while not terrible. Chris Narveson sat around 87-89 on the stadium gun, which those in the press box agreed was about 2-3 mph slow. He was working a slider and curve in there as well, but throwing mostly fastballs. All three runs off of him came in the second, when he walked the leadoff batter, hit the next one, and then walked the third. A bases-clearing double from Wilton “Vlad’s My Brother” Guerrero made Narveson pay for his early-inning control issues. He was solid the rest of the time.

Tim Bausher did not look like someone who could help the big club anytime soon. He was sitting at 91-92 (93-96 adjusted), but throwing pretty much all fastballs. The three batters that he worked in breaking balls to all struck out. If he felt more comfortable with his breaking pitch, he might be on to something.

Jack Cressend was very good in his one inning, but the game was over at that point anyway.

Adam Stern and Ambres had average days at the plate. Stern flashed his wheels when he beat out an infield single in the fifth (to second baseman Guerrero, who has great range) and scored easily on a wild pitch that might have been a close play for others. Talking to him after the game, he said he has been frustrated with his injury-filled season, but doesn’t think about the July 12 deadline after which either he needs to be up with the Red Sox or some deal must be made between Boston and Atlanta. He also graciously laughed at a ridiculous comment from another writer who asked if he’d been to any Providence restaurants.

Ambres had a great play, in which he singled up the middle but caught the centerfielder sleeping and stretched it into a double (helped that he’s got some speed as well). He was one of the first guys at the park, and was very personable doing our interview while he was watching the Marlins-Mets tilt and admittedly trying to figure out whether or not to take a nap before the game. He admitted seeing a team full of his former teammates playing in the Majors was a big tease (he came over from the Marlins organization in the off-season). “I’m very happy for those guys, to see them smiling up there and go back to conversations that we’ve had and to see them on TV and then be like ‘man, I was just sitting with that cat the other day,’ ” he said.

Ambres said he was like a “deer in headlights” when he found out he’d be starting for the International League in the All-Star Game and didn’t expect it. As for his success, he said the change of scenery from the Florida organization helped him because he wanted to “go out and show (the Red Sox) why they picked you up,” but that he started feeling like he was on the verge of “something special” during the last two months of last season. Like Stern, he said he pays no mind to talk of him coming up, instead “doing what you’ve been doing to keep eyes on you and keep eyebrows raised.”

Ambres said he’s constantly picking the brains of players like Jeremi Gonzalez and George Lombard, who have big league experience, about what it takes to get to the big leagues. “Even Kelly (Shoppach), when he went up and came back down, I was asking him about the experience and what it takes to get up there,” he said. “You want to pick their minds as much as possible.”

Roberto Petagine was 1-3 with a walk, but the two outs were smoked right at the left and right fielders. There's no doubt in my mind he could help a major league team. He didn't show much range at first, but he's got a good bat. I'm going to talk to him tomorrow about his opt-out clause and what he plans to do on that front.

I hope to have more stuff during the week from Sunday’s game. Have a question you didn’t see answered here? Post on the board and I’ll check before I head over to the park. I’ll have my laptop with me, so I’ll possibly be able to check the board during the game as well for any questions you all have.