Hazelbaker 'relieved' after not being taken in Rule 5 draft

840311.jpg

Hazelbaker 'relieved' after not being taken in Rule 5 draft

PAWTUCKET The Rule 5 draft can produce mixed results, for the players taken and the teams involved. Roberto Clemente is perhaps the most surprising name on the list of players that were once Rule 5 draft picks. Recent Red Sox acquisition Shane Victorino is also on the list. Clemente was taken by the Pirates from the Brooklyn Dodgers and went on to a Hall of Fame career that was cut short by a tragic plane crash. Victorino was returned by the Padres to the Dodgers just a few months after he was taken.

Either way, though, it can be an unsettling time if youre a player who is left exposed by a team to the Rule 5 draft. Jeremy Hazelbaker found himself in that position for the first time this year. He was one of several players the Sox chose not to put on their 40-man roster, leaving them available to be taken.

I dont know if surprised is the right word, Hazelbaker said. You hope for something good to happen with the 40-man roster, being put on the 40-man. Everybody hopes for something to happen thats good for them in their baseball career. Thats just something that every minor leaguer thats in that situation hopes for. But you just cant let that affect you. You just have to treat it like its just one more thing in your baseball career that you have to deal with.

I wasnt paying attention to the draft on Thrusday. But, of course, my family was and my agent was telling me what was going on. But, of course, I wanted to know how it turned out. But I wasnt going to sit there and watch it on the computer.

Hazelbaker, 25, the Sox fourth-round pick in 2009 out of Ball State, was not taken.

I guess you could say I was relieved, he said. But it was nice to know where you stood. As a player it was nice to know where I stood and what that meant for me and my career at this point and how to go about the offseason.

Hazelbaker, who was at McCoy Stadium Saturday for Pawtuckets Christmas party, ended last season with the PawSox. In seven games, he hit .267, going 8-for-30, with three RBI and three stolen bases, playing four games in left field and serving as the designated hitter in three. He carried a seven-game hitting streak into the postseason after a 10-game hitting streak before his promotion from Double-A Portland -- as the PawSox won the International League championship for the first time in 28 years. In 114 games with the Sea Dogs, he hit .273 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI, and 33 stolen bases in 44 attempts, a 75 percent success rate. He tied a franchise record with four stolen bases on July 22 at New Hampshire. He also had 10 outfield assists in 80 games eight assists in 65 games in left field, two in 16 games in right.

It was great, Hazelbaker said of his time in Pawtucket. They were making a playoff push, and being able to be one of the players to come up here and help it was great to be a part of that and kind of get my feet wet for next season. And to know I came up here at the time where the best teams are playing, theyre putting their best players out there to be a part of that so you know what to expect for next season.

I cant say one certain thing really as the biggest difference between Double-A and Triple-A but I guess just the caliber of players. You play ex-big leaguers, current big leaguers, guys that are just down here because theres not enough spots on the roster in the big leagues. Theres so many talented guys here and so many guys with big league experience. You just hope to be one of those guys one day where another up-and-coming player looks at you and is like Man, hes played in the big leagues or hes playing in the big leagues. So just being around guys with big league experience.

For the first time, Hazelbaker played winter ball this offseason. Appearing in eight games with Obregon of the Mexican League, he hit .261 (6-for-23) with two home runs, three RBI, and three stolen bases in four attempts.

It was a great experience, he said. Its like a Yankees-Red Sox game every game. Everybodys excited. Everybodys on their feet, cheering, yelling every pitch. It was great to be a part of that.

Hazelbaker will likely start the season with the PawSox. His take on the outfield situation between Boston and Pawtucket?

A lot of guys, he said. A lot of players. We got a lot of money in the outfield right now, a lot of great players, a lot of big leaguers that have been up there for a while that know the game. Its good for me as a young player to be able to see them, to see what they're going to do and hopefully I get a chance to be around them in spring training so I can learn from them. But theres a lot of guys.

Hazelbaker, a native of Indiana, will be in Massachusetts now until spring training, working out at a facility in Hudson. In each of his four seasons with the Sox except 2010 when he spent the whole season with Single-A Greenville hes earned a promotion during the season. Hes hoping to do that again in 2013.

Just to keep performing and do what I did last season the second half of the season, to go up another level, he said of his goals for next season. Ive gone up a level each season and hopefully I can do the same thing next season. I just want to tighten my game up.

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Every few months, our buddy Manish Mehta gets suitably bored or his bosses at the New York Daily News get sufficiently impatient with him and he goes off with some prediction that winds up being the absolute direct opposite of what actually happens.

He would be like the drippy-nosed kid at his own birthday party trying to bust open the piñata for an uncomfortable length of time. Except, eventually, somebody takes pity on that kid. With Manish, nobody ever feels bad and he’s left out there swinging long after the party’s over and everyone’s gone home.

Tom Brady’s suspension has provided multiple opportunities for Manish to walk into screen doors.

RELATED

First, after Brady bailed in July on taking his suspension to the SCOTUS, Mehta spun it forward and said the Jets would be looking real good after four games with Jimmy Garoppolo driving the bus.

Brady will be in full-fledged F.U. mode by the time he faces the Jets for the first time in Week 12. But what if the Patriots start off winless or 1-3 with Garoppolo? Will Brady's greatness be enough to overcome such a sluggish start given that his team has the second toughest strength of schedule in the AFC (behind the Jets and just ahead of the Bills and Dolphins)?

"I feel like, in this division, you got to win 10-plus games, maybe 11-plus games," Decker said. "That means you almost have to go perfect the rest of the year (after a 1-3 start). You can be in a situation where you play a hard Sunday game and, all of sudden, you got a (quick turnaround) on a Thursday night. … You can factor those things in and make a case that it's more difficult to go on a run after starting 1-3."

After the Patriots started 2-0 and Garoppolo broke, Mehta waded in again.

Not even the greatest football mind of the generation will be able to wiggle out of this jam.

The Patriots face a new reality now that Jimmy Garoppolo wrecked his shoulder on Sunday: The Evil Empire will be looking up at the Jets in the AFC East standings when Tom Brady returns….

(Jacoby) Brissett has been a NFL player for FIVE MONTHS. He'll have THREE DAYS to prepare for his first start. Belichick is brilliant, but let's be realistic. He's not going to climb this mountain.

Friday, Manish made a Mehta Culpa in the New York Daily News and on CSN's SportsNet Central. His prediction of Brissett going bellyup and the Patriots being behind the Jets by the time Brady made his return was, “one giant swing and a miss,” wrote Mehta.

“I was wrong like pre-Socratic philosophers, who thought the world was flat. I was wrong like the Chicago Daily Tribune headline writer, who prematurely buried Truman in '48. I was wrong like Lex Luthor, who thought he could destroy Superman three or four hundred times.

Mehta got an avalanche of “You’re a ******* moooooorrrrrrooooonnnnn!!!!” tweets Thursday night. This was his blanket attempt to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”

And for a second, you worry. Is Manish done? Has he taken his blindfold off, put down his stick and gone into the house for good? No more wild swings and misses?

And then you realize it is his raison d’etre. He’ll be back. And – like this guy – he’ll be gloriously mistaken.

 

Towles accounts for 4 TDs, BC runs past Wagner, 42-10

boston-college-football-qb-patrick-towles.jpg

Towles accounts for 4 TDs, BC runs past Wagner, 42-10

BOSTON - Quarterback Patrick Towles passed for two touchdowns and added two more on the ground as Boston College defeated Wagner 42-10 on Saturday.

Jon Hilliman ran for two more touchdowns for the Eagles (2-2), who won their 25th straight game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

Wagner (2-1) wasn't rattled early, scoring on its second drive of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. But after the Seahawks pulled within 14-10 early in the second quarter, BC took control, and scored the final 28 points of the game.

Boston College coach Steve Addazio expressed discontent this week with his team's inability to run the ball consistently over its first three games, after establishing that identity during his first three seasons in Boston.

BC had just 44 yards rushing in last week's 49-0 loss at Virginia Tech, its fewest since 28 at N.C. State in 2015. The Eagles entered Saturday ranked second from last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing at just 124.4 yards per game.

They had 188 yards rushing at halftime against Wagner, and finished with 300 yards on the ground for the day.

"We wanted to emphasize running the football today and we did that," Addazio said.

Towles said the success on the ground helped relax the entire offense.

"That was big for us," he said. "We've traditionally been a good running football team here. It hasn't been to our standards the first few weeks of the season. I know that's one thing we really focused on this week was getting out there and really running the football well."

Towles' day ended after three quarters. He was 9 of 16 for 157 yards passing and rushed seven times for 46 yards. Hilliman rushed 19 times for 83 yards, and Davon Jones also rushed 12 times for 90 yards.

After giving up the early score, Boston College's defense tightened, holding to Seahawks to just 89 total yards in the first half, and -2 yards in the third quarter.

The Eagles outgained Wagner 490-107 in total yards for the game.

Wagner coach Wagner coach Jason Houghtaling said after some early stands, the Seahawks' defense started to show fatigue as the game progressed.

"We wanted to try and run it, but we knew it would be an uphill battle," he said. "The defense started to wear down. The longer they were on the field, the size of the offensive line, the physicality of the running backs, absolutely I think it wore down."

THE TAKEAWAY

WAGNER: The Seahawks held their own early with a FBS opponent, which should give it a boost going into its conference schedule.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles wanted to begin breathing life into what had been an anemic offense at times in their first three games. BC established the run early, and was able to get touchdowns in the red zone - a positive with the meat of the ACC schedule still remaining. But penalties remain a concern. The Eagles had seven for 85 yards on Saturday, including a few that took away big plays.

UP NEXT

WAGNER: The Seahawks return home next week to host Sacred Heart in its Northeast Conference opener.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles continue their four-game home stand next week with a visit from Mid-American Conference Buffalo.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.