The Red Sox keep a close eye on their minor leaguers. Aside from the coaching and training staff assigned to the club, there is an endless stream of roving instructors, coaches and front office brass in and out of town on a regular basis. During this weeks’ trip to Allentown, Pa. one of the higher ranking Red Sox officials paid a visit. Vice President of Player Personnnel, Ben Cherington stood at the batting cage and watched intently as the PawSox took batting practice, preparing for a game with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
Cherington made the stop as he travelled back across the country after the Red Sox West Coast swing. “I was with the Big League team in Oakland and Anaheim and back to Baltimore. It’s a pretty short drive from Baltimore to Lehigh Valley, so I’m just here, checking on the guys.” One of Cheringtons’ objectives was to get a first hand look at outfielder Ryan Kalish who suffered a shoulder injury in Pawtucket a few days ago. “We’re confident that Ryan’s going to be fine. He feels a lot better today. He jammed it pretty good. We have to give him time for the inflammation to calm down and then give him some time to strengthen it. He should be fine.”
Although the front office looks at it differently than the average PawSox fan (development vs. winning) Cherington is pleased with the good start in 2011. “Most importantly for us, we think it’s a real intriguing mix of veteran guys that can easily come up and help our Big League team at any time, with some younger players who are still developing, but look like Big Leaguers in the future. Triple A teams, at times can be too old or too young. This is a nice mix of the two. We’re pleased with how the guys have started. They’ve pitched really well and some young guys are playing every day at positions. It’s a good mix of guys.”
Ben Cherington insists that despite their horrific start in the Majors, the folks in charge never pushed the panic button in Boston. “Inside our clubhouse, there was never really a sense of panic or anything. Understandably, the concern was more external than internal. Guys in our clubhouse know that we have a lot of good players and a lot of talent. Over the course of the six month season that talent is going to win out, more often than not. Certainly, it’s nice for us to get some wins on the board. Probably most important for us, the starting rotation. We’ve gone through roughly two cycles of the rotation with really good starting pitching performances and if we get anything close to that we’re in good shape.”
It’s probably a comfort to know that the Pawtucket Red Sox are ready to make their annual contribution.