Barnes: Draft day 'hectic' with UConn still in action

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Barnes: Draft day 'hectic' with UConn still in action

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

Before right-hander Matt Barnes can sign his first major league contract and begin his professional career in the Red Sox' organization, he and his UConn Huskies teammates have other matters they must take care of. They must get past the University of South Carolina this weekend in the NCAA super regional if they are to make a trip to Omaha in the College World Series. The last time the Huskies appeared in the CWS was 1979.

Barnes, the Red Sox No. 1 pick in this years draft, found out hed been selected on Monday by the Sox, with the 19th overall pick while the Huskies were beating Clemson.

Monday was a pretty hectic day between the regional and the draft, Barnes said. I had a lot of time with my parents and talked to them because, if anything needed to be taken care of, my parents were going to have to speak on my behalf. But my coaches and teammates were also really understanding. They let me be by my phone during batting practice and during the game in case anybody needed to get a hold of me. But once it came game time we had a couple of teammates who werent allowed to be in the dugout due to NCAA rules. They were standing outside and they were relaying messages to me about who was getting drafted, and every half inning Id go over and talk to them about that.

All in all, it was hectic, but it was a great day. Im very fortunate to be drafted by the Red Sox on Monday and to top it all off, we got the 'W' against Clemson and now were staying down here in South Carolina.

Barnes, one of 10 Huskies drafted this year, was surprised when he learned it was the Sox who had picked him. He knew they had watched his starts, and that general manager Theo Epstein was at one, but had not spoken with them directly.

I even asked my dad whether or not he had talked to them, Barnes said. I knew that they were interested, but I hadnt talked to them previously leading up to. So, I didnt know for sure that they were taking me until my name was called.

Barnes, who turns 21 on June 17, is 6-feet-4, 203 pounds with a fastball in the 91-93 range. He posted a record of 11-4 with a 1.62 ERA in 16 starts spanning 116 23 innings this season for the Huskies. He was a unanimous choice as the Big East Pitcher of the Year, the first UConn player to earn the honor since former major leaguer Charles Nagy received the award in 1988 and 1989. Barnes won the Big East pitching Triple Crown, leading the conference in wins (11), strikeouts (97) and ERA (1.20) during the regular season, walking just 26 batters in 105.0 innings and limiting opponents to a .163 batting average. He has 241 career strikeouts, just two behind UConn all-time leader Ed Baird, who set the record in 1966-68.

Barnes, who grew up a Yankees fan, sees the humor in being taken by their rivals.

Its definitely ironic. But as much as Ive always been a Yankees fan, Ive always respected the Red Sox, he said. So Im very excited for the opportunity to play for the Red Sox and I know that theyll take care of me just fine.

He wasnt drafted out of Bethel (Conn.) High three years ago. Hes used the time since then to develop, as a person, as a player. Playing at UConn, in the Cape Cod League, and for Team USA has helped him mature, refine his pitching and develop his confidence.

Barnes is glad to have the draft behind him, allowing him and his teammates to focus on the NCAA tournament and a possible trip to Omaha. Hes not sure how quickly he will sign the Sox.

Obviously, we still have hopefully a couple of weeks at UConn, he said. I have some time left here and once the season is over with UConn, I'll sit down with my parents and talk about it. Well talk to the Red Sox, see what they want to do. I pitched a lot of innings at UConn so far this year. So they might want me to take a little time off or they might want me to come out and get going. Thats something thats probably going to come up once the UConn season is over. When that comes up well deal with that then.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

MISSING: OFFENSE

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP