June 17, 2006

Lester Shines, Helps Sox Stop Skid

Jon Lester showed poise in escaping two jams last night. In the fourth, he retired Adam LaRoche with two men on. And in the fifth, Atlanta loaded the bases with one out. Chipper Jones hit a sacrifice fly to right (putting Atlanta on the board at 4-1), Andruw Jones walked to reload the bases and Jeff Francoeur grounded out to short.

Afterwards, it sounded like Lester took advantage of the open base and pitched around Andruw:
You've got to pick your poison. You've got Francoeur on deck. He's a little bit more of a free swinger. You can make a decent pitch and get him out. Andruw, he hit 50-something home runs [51] last year. In that situation, I wanted to maybe get him to swing at my pitch, which he didn't.
What you want a guy like that to do is prove he can learn up here without regressing, and I thought tonight was a tremendous step forward for him and the people who are evaluating him. ... Tonight, he was so much more under control. ... He moved the ball in and out, he changed speeds, and we saw the things that we know are going to make him be what he is in the future.
Another reason to like Lester? On the tomahawk chops: "I hated those as a kid."

Let's all hope Lester continues to shine -- Sean McAdam reports that the Sox have had conversations with the Angels about (gulp) Jeff Weaver. ... And you thought the Derek Lowe Face was bad.

There were a handful of roster moves: Matt Clement was put on the 15-day disabled list (right shoulder sprain) and Gabe Kapler was called up from Pawtucket. Dustan Mohr and Mike Holtz were designated for assignment.

Righthander Kyle Snyder was claimed off waivers from the Royals. Snyder (who is 6-foot-8) pitched in one game for Kansas City this year, allowing nine runs (five earned) and 10 hits in two innings to Texas on June 8. At Omaha, he was 0-4, 3.88 in 10 games (nine starts). Over three big league seasons, he's 2-9, 5.91 in 29 games.

Javier Lopez is ecstatic to be back with the Red Sox: "This is the team that Rule Fived me and gave me an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues ... Most of my wife's family is from the Fall River area, so they obviously love it, being a big-time Red Sox family. They're pretty excited."

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