QUICK HITS FROM CAROLINA

     First off, it is HOT here in Fort Mill, South Carolina.  Fry an egg on the sidewalk, hot.  The Weather Channel says 96 degrees, but feels like 101.  A lot has happened today, so I thought I’d fill you in.

     First, Kevin Millwood.  Millwood was granted his release by the Red Sox a couple of days ago.  He was driving to Vriginia to meet up with a few of his buddies and got a call from the Colorado Rockies.  The Rockies want the veteran right hander to join them immediately.  Happy for Kevin.  He is a real gentleman.  He is slated to tentatively pitch and go for career win #160 on Wednesday.

     Ryan Lavarnway, who put up “fantasy league” numbers in July has been named the Red Sox organizational offensive player of that month.  Earlier, he’d been named the Topps I.L. player of the month.  That honor comes from the managers in this league.

     Got onto the elevator in my hotel this afternoon and ran into Junichi Tazawa.  Taz has been promoted from Portland and will come out of the bullpen.  He has battled Tommy John surgery.  His first appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

     Randy Williams has been optioned to Pawtucket by the Red Sox.  The lefty returns so the Sox could make room on their roster for Jed Lowrie.  Unfortunately, to make room for Williams, Boston released right hander Clevelan Santeliz.  The Sox are also encouraged and optimistic that Felix Doubront will return to action a little later this week, in a starting role.

     Maybe the most exciting news involves Ryan Kalish.  The outfielder returns to action on Monday night in Charlotte.  Kalish, who has been out since April with neck and shoulder injuries recently completed a rehab assignment in Lowell and is raring to go.  “It just feels great to be back in the lineup.  I’m just so excited to play with my teammates again.  Keep the train rolling and be able to add to these wins and keep going.”  Kalish admitted that there were times this season when he thought he might not play again this year.  “Oh yeah.  I just kept battling and tried to beat it.  We took things day by day.  I’m just so excited.”  Kalish told me that April seems like a lifetime ago.  “It’s almost been four months total.  At least being around these guys has made it easier for me.  It’s been tough but my teammates have been awesome and supportive.  I’ve tried to be a part of the team every day.”

     Kalish says all systyems are “go” and he feels fine.  “I feel good. No limitations.”  He is scheduled to DH against the Knights.  His confidence is high after his brief stint in A ball with the Spinners.  “I was a little nervous at first that I’d feel something in my neck.  I had 7 plate appearances and with each one, I got a little more comfortable and confident and trusted my swing.  In the beginning, I was a little timid.  That will help me here.  I am happy to be healthy and hopefully it will continue.”  Hopefully!

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