Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sam Dyson's Fourth of July surprise

RHP Sam Dyson "shed a few tears" after learning he was being up called by Toronto. The 24-year-old will join the Blue Jays on Thursday, becoming the 56th New Hampshire Fisher Cat to reach the majors. Apologies for the quick edit.

July 4th Walk-Off

Fisher Cats RHP Sam Dyson has been called up by the Blue Jays following an INCREDIBLE night here with the Fisher Cats and Sea Dogs. Players are pretty pumped up for Dyson, who has been throwing 92-96-mph and touching 97 and 98 with a few pitches. Packed house in Manchester: 8,544, the largest attendance of the season and fifth-largest in franchise history. Kevin Howard belted a first-pitch fastball in the 11th inning to beat the Sea Dogs, 11-10, capping the incredible walk-off win. New Hampshire rallied for three runs in the ninth to force extras. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford had hits, and Red Sox prospect Jackie Bradley, Jr., went 4-for-6 with knocks against Chad Jenkins and Scott Gracey. Postgame interviews with the Red Sox All-Star outfielders. Oh, and Ryan Sweeney is also playing for the Sea Dogs on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4! The Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, fittingly, defeated Great Britain, 33-0, on the diamond last night. As part of the Independence Day festivities, Keene took on the Great Britain U-23 national team. Once again, we crushed the Redcoats.

Looking forward to tonight's Fisher Cats-Sea Dogs game in Manchester. Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are joining Double-A Portland, but the best outfielder in the game will be Jackie Bradley, Jr., a lightning-quick 22-year-old who recently was promoted to Portland. My UL story on the series here.

Fisher Cats RHP John Stilson, a Blue Jays prospect and Texas A&M legend (too strong?), will pitch on Friday. The 21-year-old has gone 2-1 (3.18 ERA) in four starts at Double-A, giving up one earned run in his past two starts. "It's been a learning experience. I'm trying to locate my fastball better and not spray everything over the plate," he told me after yesterday's bullpen session. I've been working on trying to stay back over the rubber and not lean forward so much, which causes my arm to drag behind." 

Stilson's fastball has been sitting in the low 90s and occasionally touching 95 and even 96 on radar gun. There's more in the tank, too, he said. "I'm very satisfied with (the velocity). I just need to get my mechanics straightened out. Right now, I can’t really give it everything because my fastball command isn’t quite there yet.”

Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are both joining the Portland Sea Dogs on the start of their three-game trip to Double-A New Hampshire. Crawford made his Eastern League debut last night at Hadlock Field, going 1-for-2 with an infield hit and a pair of walks. He also fouled a pitch off his right knee in the third inning, falling to the dirt in obvious pain. He hobbled to first base and stayed in the game, eventually exiting in the 7th. Here's more on Fenway North in my story in today's Union Leader.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Podcast Excellence Award

Check out my boys in Back in Blue Episode XXV getting it done at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. These guys did a tremendous job on this podcast. 

Fisher Cats Player Watch

Fisher Cats third baseman Mark Sobolewski has caught fire over the past 10 games, belting four homers and posting a .372 average and 1.121 OPS. Let's be honest. Brett Lawrie isn't going anywhere. I'd like to see Sobo involved in a trade or eventually get picked up in the Rule 5 Draft. He's one of those guys always doing extra work. Pulling for him.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Rehabbing Red Sox take on Fisher Cats

Update: Carl Crawford has joined the Portland Sea Dogs and will play the outfield in Tuesday's 6 p.m. game against Trenton. He had a workout at Hadlock Field today and spoke with Mike Antonellis here. Sea Dogs play at New Hampshire on Wednesday. Do you have a ticket to watch Crawford play center field? The Fisher Cats ballpark could become Fenway North with CC and Jacoby Ellsbury in the house. Maybe even Ryan Sweeney.

We've seen A.J. Burnett pitch for the Fisher Cats, and we've watched Lyle Overbay beat the Sea Dogs with a grand slam. Major Leaguers who made rehabilitation stops in Manchester, including the year and attendance:

2010 - Travis Snider, 7,598
2010 - John Buck, 6,238
2009 - John Smoltz, 8,903
2009 - Jed Lowrie, 6,014
2009 - Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7,860
2006 - A.J. Burnett, 7,575
2007 - Lyle Overbay, 7,424
Lots of buzz today about Jacoby Ellsbury joining the Portland Sea Dogs for a rehab stint in the Eastern League. If you had tickets for Sea Dogs-Fisher Cats series, looks like you're a winner! Red Sox manager told the media in Seattle that Ellsbury could be joining Portland on Tuesday. That means the World Series champ/All-Star/Gold Glover could be playing against the Fisher Cats in the three-game series beginning Wednesday, weather permitting. I talked to Ben Cherington today, and he said Ellsbury will spend Tuesday in Florida with the Gulf Coast League. No decision on his next stop. In April, Ellsbury went down with a shoulder separation. He has been working his way back to the majors, making his first rehab stop in the Gulf Coast League. Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald was all over this on his blog earlier today ... Would be cool to have Ellsbury playing the outfield with Jackie Bradley, Jr., who I wrote about yesterday.