Before Mondays’ game against the Rays in Fort Myers, pitching coach John Farrell addressed a concerned group of both American and Japanese media, regarding the elbow of pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa. According to Farrell, Tazawa has gone to Birmingham, Alabama to be examined by world renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Farrell said the righthander had been experiencing tightness in his arm, dating back to the end of 2009. It had been OK until recent days. Farrell said the visit to Dr. Andrews was a “precaution”.
My guess, educated or not, is that this has to be pretty serious to bring the surgeon into the picture. The Sox remain mum on the situation other than Farrells’ brief statement. Tazawas’ injury could deal a blow to the PawSox rotation. Tazawa, along with Adam Mills, Michael Bowden, Fabio Castro and maybe Randor Bierd, were expected to anchor the Pawtucket rotation. I’m sure more will come forth in the next few days.
Had some time to spend on the field during infield practice and batting practice Monday. The PawSox game was rained out, but the weather had cleared sufficiently so Tampa and Boston could play. It was like “old home” week. PawSox alums like Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester had a warm greeting for their old announcer. I am pleased and amazed at how big and healthy and strong Lester looks. Papelbon, although with the PawSox for a very short time, always has time to catch up. Kevin Youkilis and I discussed his appearance on my favorite TV show this past winter, Man vs. Food. Youk happened to be at the Eagle Deli in Boston when host Adam Richman was shooting the program. 2008 MVP, Dustin Pedroia greeted me in his usual fashion. (Read his biography, “Born to Play” to find out what it is.) I thanked him for the autographed copy of his book he sent me and the warm inscription on the inside cover. He’s a beauty and hasn’t changed a bit. I love him. Staff members like Rob Leary, Rich Sauveur, former PawSox trainer Greg Barajas and new trainer, John Jochim all chatted and joked around. Everyone seems to be in mid-seson form. Saw Dusty Brown, Josh Reddick and Fernando Cabrera, some of the mainstays of the ’09 Pawtucket club. Brown had just been optioned to Triple A. He seemed to be taking it in stride. We spoke at length with Clay Buchholz about a variety of topics, including his new wife Lindsey, the impending birth of their first child and their relationship with billionaire, Donald Trump. Buch said the ESPN commercial he did with Yankee Nick Swisher and actor Adam Scott, a 30 second job, took 6 and a half hours to shoot. Scott played Will Ferrells’ “real” brother in the movie “Step Brothers”. He also appeared in the Leonardo DiCaprio flick, “The Aviator.” Also caught wind of some Dunkin’ Donuts commercials shot down here, featuring Papelbon and Pedroia. I won’t let the cat out of the bag, but they sound amusing. Had a nice visit with my former broadcast partner, Andy Freed, in town with the Rays. He and wife Amy, welcomed twins to the family back in January. Big sister Sara is in love with her sisters. It’s fun catching up with old friends.
Happy belated 85th birthday to PawSox team owner, Ben Mondor. Ben celebrated the milestone on the 26th of March.