It was a strange day in Fort Myers on Monday. It rained all night Sunday into Monday and as a result, the PawSox game against Rochester was cancelled. Funny thing is, the weather was beautiful by game time (1:00 p.m.) So with the PawSox playing an intrasquad game, I tried to watch the Red Sox play Tampa Bay at City of Palms Park. Note the use of the word “tried”. It was unwatchable. A couple of guys who could conceivably be part of the 2010 PawSox really struggled on Monday. Boof Bonser was the starter and he just did not have it. Bonser barely made it through two innings, surrendering 5 runs on 6 hits, walking a pair and giving up home runs to Evan Longoria and former Pawtucket All Star, Kelly Shoppach. “Shop” hit a pair of home runs in the game, a three run shot in the second inning that made it 4-0, then a solo homer in the fourth. Another performance to forget was turned in by Junichi Tazawa. The righty got lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in his time on the mound. In the top of the fifth, Longoria pummeled the first pitch thrown by Tazawa over the wall. Before the frame was over, he’d allowed three home runs. Two hitters later, Ben Zobrist went deep and two hitters after Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez continued the laser show. I left. I had seen enough. Give the Sox credit, they rallied, but still came up short, 11-9.
Being a broadcaster in the International League, I get to see a lot of players long before they’re on the radar screen of the average fan. Some things I thought of as I suffered through the game Monday. Bonser facing his former Rochester teammate, Jason Bartlett…Kelly Shoppach catching for the Rays and Victor Martinez catching for the Sox. A year ago, they were both on the Cleveland roster…How awful must it feel when you’re a fringe guy and you don’t capitalize on your opportunities. Bonser is a good example. His ERA this spring is over 11.00 and that won’t cut it in Boston…Heard that former PawSox hitting machine Chris Carter is having a great spring with the Mets, hitting over .400 so far. Not really surprised, CC can fall out of bed and get a couple of hits. Remember what a good spring he had in 2009, making the Red Sox out of Spring training…Had an interesting conversation with roving hitting instructor, Victor Rodriguez. Vic told me he threw batting practice to Ryan Westmoreland the day he suffered his seizure which was diagnosed as a cavernous malformation in his brain. Rodriguez said he marveled as the 19 year old outfielder hit line drives all over the ballpark. “He looked so fit and strong. He was hitting bombs all over the place. After we finished, he told me ‘Vic, I feel good. Thanks.” Rodriguez said he came to work the next day and was floored to hear what happened to the Red Sox top prospect. “I couldn’t believe it.” Folks in Fort Myers are breathing a little easier these days, thinking that Ryan has passed the crisis. Now it’s time to recover and get well. Baseball will come a little later.
The PawSox are home Tuesday for a game against Rochester. The game starts at 1:00 p.m.