June 21, 2006

The Kids Are Alright

One day after Terry Francona said the club has called up Craig Hansen to "fortify our bullpen", the manager had a private chat with four of the younger pitchers on the staff.

The result? Jon Lester will remain in the starting rotation, Hansen and Manny Delcarmen will pitch middle relief, and Javier Lopez will be used mostly as a LOOGY.

We're getting to the point where we'd like to keep them here and we kind of want them to carry some responsibility. I'm OK with it; I'm actually a little excited. ... I want them to pitch with confidence and to know that we're not going to back away from them. This isn't an instance where they have to be here. We kind of want them here.
This is great news. I fully expected to see Lester in Boston by September and think that Hansen is ready for the majors (he was throwing some nasty 98-mph fastballs last night). And Delcarmen can certainly be trusted in the same situations as Julian Tavarez or Rudy Seanez. The kids won't be perfect, as I mentioned in my Transition post, but it's time.

Delcarmen: "As I walked out, I told Hansen, that's probably one of the best talks ever. All the meetings I've ever had with managers before were to send me down."

So what does the staff look like now?
SP            RP
Schilling Delcarmen
Beckett Hansen
Wakefield Lopez
Lester Timlin
Johnson Papelbon
I doubt Theo Epstein is done.

Random Stuff: Boston is 13 games over .500 for the first time this season. ... Tim Wakefield has 11 quality outings (in 15 starts); he's tied with Curt Schilling for the team lead. ... Alex Cora is hitting .304 this season (almost 60 points higher than his career average of .246); in his last 17 games, he's 19-for-50 (.380).

Steven Krasner's Inside the Game hitting off a tee for the past two days and has done a little soft-toss. He took ground balls in the outfield for the first time since his June 1 surgery.

The Globe has news about Keith Foulke and his elbow tendinitis. ... The Sox are a major-league-best 32-4 when their starting pitcher outlasts the other team's starter. ... Tim Lampa has started a dating service for Red Sox fans. "You're crossing off the main thing when you're looking for someone: They're not a Yankees fan."

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