Capuano finally lands with hometown team

Capuano finally lands with hometown team
February 22, 2014, 7:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite growing up 100 miles from Boston and having pitched in the big leagues since 2003, Chris Capuano has never been on the mound at Fenway Park in a big league uniform.    

That will change in a little over a month, now that Capuano has signed a deal with the Red Sox and reported to camp Saturday.    

"It's one of the only stadiums I haven't pitched in yet,'' said Capuano after passing his physical and throwing a bullpen. "I was eight years old in 1986 when they lost to the Mets and I can remember being devestated as a kid. I grew up watching the Sox and really followed them. When I was out in the backyard, playing Wiffle Ball with my friends, we would always imagine ourselves out on the mound at Fenway.    

"It's kind of cool to come back and have a chance to be there.''    

His lone experience at Fenway, until now, was to pitch there in a high school All-Star game some 15 years ago.    

In 2011, Capuano was very nearly traded to the Red Sox in the final week of the season. The Red Sox, who were in a freefall that would see them fall out of the playoff race, were interested in Capuano (and Kansas City's Bruce Chen) to pitch a potential tie-breaker game against Tampa Bay.    

"It was an exciting possibility,'' recalled Capuano. "The Mets knew about it earlier, but kind of waited until the last minute to tell me so it wouldn't be a distraction when I was pitching for the Mets. I didn't have
a whole lot of time to think about it. It didn't end up happening. But I was excited about the prospect of pitching for the Red Sox.''    

Capuano wouldn't have been on the Red Sox' radar, but the news that Ryan Dempster would not pitch in 2014 sent the team on the lookout for some experienced veteran pitching.    

The Sox have plenty of young pitching prospects, but lack someone with a track record in the big leagues. Capuano fit the bill.    

Until then, he had been growing restless in Arizona, waiting for a call.    

"It was relatively easy to wait until guys started reporting to camp,'' said Capuano. "Fortunately, I didn't have to wait more than a week. But you do get antsy. You're at home and you're still throwing your bullpens and getting your work in, but there's a sense that you don't want to miss too much. Fortunately, it didn't go longer than it did and I haven't missed any games or real time. But it was a strange feeling.''    

While Capuano is here for depth, for the time being, he'll slated to pitch out of the bullpen at the start of the season -- unless injuries move him into the rotation.    

(Pitching in relief) is a different animal,'' he said. "You have to be ready to go everyday. You have to kind of monitor your throwing a little bit. You can't get the bullpen sides as a starter. But in 2010, Trevor Hoffman was (a teammate in Milwaukee) and I had a chance to kind of watch how a real professional went about it and I think that kind of taught me how to prepare for that role.''