PAWTUCKET - Matt Albers looked sharp in the first of two scheduled relief appearances Sunday for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The righthander pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning, needing just 11 pitches (eight) strikes to set down the heart of the Buffalo Bisons' offense.
Albers threw exclusively fastballs that generally resided in the 93 miles per hour range, according to the McCoy Stadium radar gun. He topped out at 94 mph. His outs came via groundout to third, a fly to center that Ryan Kalish made a nice diving play coming in and a swinging strikeout on a changeup.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The Boston Red Sox werenâ€™t the only affiliate to shake up its pitching staff on Friday. The PawSox made two moves, activating Kris Johnson and Tony Pena Jr. Both pitchers were in extended spring training.
Johnson will be placed in Pawtucketâ€™s starting rotation and is expected to make his first start next Tuesday in Buffalo. Johnson (9-26 in two seasons with Pawtucket) takes the spot of Alfredo Aceves, who was summoned to Boston on Friday. Pena Jr. takes the place of reliever Randy Williams, who Pawtucket placed on the disabled list with shoulder soreness.
As we finish filling out our brackets â€“ thankfully there are some pools that have chosen to ignore the â€śFirst Fourâ€ť â€“ we do so keeping an eye on Providence Collegeâ€™s ongoing search for the next menâ€™s basketball coach. Some names make sense; others leave a lot to be desired.
With rumor mill in full regale, we present the case for one Larry Brown. No, this isnâ€™t as far-fetched as it may seem.
A resolution regarding the status of menâ€™s basketball head coach Keno Davis and menâ€™s hockey coach Tim Army is expected to come as quickly as this Sunday, when the school is targeting to announce that Davis and Army will not be retained.
Cumberland High is 40 points behind Warwick Veterans after Saturday's semifinals. The Clippers were badly hurt by the injury default of Shai Lariviere in Friday night's second round. Shai hurt an ankle in practice on Monday, toughed out one victory on Friday, then defaulted. The two-time state champ and one-time New England champ finished with an unofficial career record of 147-10.
Twin brother Shoneil pinned his way into the finals at 125 pounds. Cumberland also has Cody Beaudette (103), Erik Travers (130) and Tom Lacroix (189) in tonight's finals. Starting time is 7:30 p.m.
Some baseball news on this snowy day, courtesy of the PawSox and the International League:
The International League announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, that Steve Balboni, Wade Boggs, and Cal Ripken, Jr., will be inducted into the circuit's Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2011. All three players starred in the International League during the early 1980's, and they now comprise the first Class elected to the IL Hall by a vote of current Hall of Fame members, along with longtime executives, broadcasters, and members of the media.
Let's see. The Eagles beat the Giants 38-31 today after trailing 31-10 in the third quarter. DeSean Jackson did his Muhammad Ali impersonation, begging the Giants' punter to keep the ball in-bounds with 14 seconds left, and then he ran 65 yards for the winning touchdown. He is the greatest (kick returner).
Jackson is a very modern player with enormous talent. Nobody makes more big plays in the open field than this guy. He was a bit of a troubled student-athlete in college at California and fell to the second round, where the Eagles took a chance on him.
There are Christmas presents, and then there's the one Warwick native Dan Wheeler gave to his family Saturday. The veteran relief pitcher has signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox with a vesting option for 2012. Wheeler said he has taken his physical, meaning the deal is complete.
"I've always loved the teams I've played on," said Wheeler Saturday afternoon, "but there's a little part of me that's always wanted to put on the Red Sox uniform. I'm pretty excited about that."
Saturday morning saw several media outlets proclaim that the Boston Red Sox had reached a deal with Rhode Island native Dan Wheeler. However, sources close to Wheeler, a reliever, say no deal is in place as of Saturday afternoon.
Stay tuned for updates ...
In this era of baseball free agency, championships are sometimes won in the offseason.
The Red Sox certainly made themselves the team to beat in the American League when they got Carl Crawford to agree on a 7-year contract worth a reported $142 million late Wednesday night. Crawford will take his physical in Boston on Friday and sign the contract soon after.
GM Theo Epstein can now focus on signing one more strong arm for his bullpen and then take it easy.