FROM THE FRONT OFFICE

     Mike Hazen, the assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox is in town to take a look at the PawSox.  He was kind enough to sit down and discuss baseball matters today at McCoy.  Hazen says that despite the crazy nature of the 2012 season, everything is just fine.  “It’s been a challenging first half of the season.  It’s fun.  We’re grinding away.  We’re looking forward to the big club taking off and having a great second half of the season.  The biggest thing is watching these guys from Pawtucket go up and help Boston.  A lot of guys have made the most of it.  It’s fun to see.”

     Hazen says thing haven’t really changed with the departure of Theo Epstein to the Cubs.  His replacement, Ben Cherington has a similar management style.  “It’s always been very much a group effort.  A lot of people help make decisions, but the general manager makes the final decision.  There’s a wide array of voices and opinions helping in the decision process.  No one is right every time on every decision, so it’s good.”

     As the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, Hazen says there is one simple factor that decides whether the Sox will be buyers or sellers in a couple of weeks.  “You determine that based on your chances to make the playoffs.  Given the team and the talent we have, that is still the focus.  We’re in the hunt, especially given the second wild card spot.  With our team, we feel very strongly that this team is going to go on a run and contend in the second half.  We can certainly get to the playoffs and challenge for another World Series.”

     Hazen says that injuries are a part of the game and are not an excuse for what has gone on.  “Everyone has injuries.  The role of the minor leagues at this level is to provide support.  It’s unrealistic to expect a lot of kids to go up there and have a big impact.  Some guys, like (Will) Middlebrooks do.  It’s sometimes unfair to expect the kids to replace the superstars, but a lot of the time, they do a really good job.” 

     Hazen was also happy to single out the effort of Daniel Nava, the young man who wasn’t even invited to M.L. camp this February.  “Daniel Nava has not only stepped in as a fill-in, but he’s become an every day player.  He has far surpassed the expectations of everyone in terms of what he’s done for the club.  It’s great to see.  I think Daniel took a step back and assessed the way he’d approach things if he got another Major League opportunity.  He’s stepped right in and executed his plan.  His maturity has helped and entrenched him with the big club for now.”

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