Despite the fact that the PawSox have been a contending team for most of the season, not a single Pawtucket player had earned an I.L. Player of the Week award. Until today. Brandon Duckworth has been named the Pitcher of the Week and Ryan Lavarnway garnered Player of the week honors. Teammates haven’t turned that trick since the Richmond Braves duo of Corky Miller and James Parr both won on August 24, 2008. The last time a pair of Pawtucket players were recognized at the same time was when Gar Finnvold and Andy Tomberlin won on April , 1994.
Lavarnway has terrorized I.L. pitching since his promotion to Triple A. In 36 games, he’s hitting .372 with 13 homers and 36 RBI. This past week, the Yale product hit an amazing .409 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI. He’s provided the PawSox with a legitimate, run-producing power hitter in the middle of their lineup. It’s not a coincidence that his arrival matches up with Pawtuckets’ surge to the top of the International Leagues’ North Division.
Duckworth won a pair of games this week and didn’t allow a single run. The 35 year old righthander worked 11 and two thirds innings, scattering ten hits, walking 2 and striking out 5. Overall, Duckworth hasn’t allowed a run in 16 and a third innings, winnng three straight decisions. Duckworth was the I.L. Pitcher of the Year in 2001. He was 13-2, 2.63 for Scranton-Wilkes Barre. “Duck” is a veteran of 134 Major League appearances with Philadelphia, Houston and Kansas City. Duckworth had spent time away from the club earlier this season as his wife gave birth to twins. He also had a brief stint on the disabled list, with an oblique strain.
In my usual perch in the hotel lobby, I was able to share the news with both Lavarnway and Duckworth. Both were obviously pleased. Duckworth got a pat on the back from fellow veteran righty, Scott Atchison. Lavarnway, looking over my shoulder at my laptop while he was chatting on his phone, smiled and gave me fist bump.
Congratulations to both of them. Let’s hope they’ll be hoisting the Governors’ Cup sometime in mid- September.
A great scene at Coca Cola Field on Sunday afternoon. The Buffalo Bisons held their annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. This years’ honorees were Jim Rosenhaus, who broadcast Buffalo baseball for 11 years before joining the radio team for the Cleveland Indians, and Tony Pena, Sr. one of the greatest catchers of his generation. Tony Sr. was unable to attend since he’s the bench coach for the New York Yankees. Pinch-hitting was his son, PawSox righty, Tony Jr. After a video screen acceptance by the former All Star, young Tony accepted the plaque and thanked the Bisons on behalf of his family. “It’s a special moment for the Pena family and I’m glad to accept his award.” Pena tried to put his fathers’ feelings into words. “He had a great year in Buffalo in 1979. It helped him get to the Major Leagues. It’s part of his resume and something he’ll cherish for the rest of his life.”