Hottovy sent down but hungry to taste MLB again

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Hottovy sent down but hungry to taste MLB again

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Tommy Hottovy had waited seven years for this opportunity. On June 3 he made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox, 169 Minor League appearances after he was drafted by the organization in 2004.

Less than a month later, the left handed relievers first -- and long-anticipated -- stint in the big leagues came to an end when he was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket as Bobby Jenks and Franklin Morales were activated from the 15-day disabled list. He pitched a total of four innings over six games with a 6.75 ERA (3 ER, 0 HR, 2 SO) out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Im really hungry now that Ive had a taste, Hottovy told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview on Tuesday. I still have that fire to go out and improve myself and to continue to stay mentally aware of what got me here, but now you have that hunger to actually be back there and compete and do the things that I want to be doing.

I feel like it makes me a better pitcher, I know what I need to work on, I know what makes me successful, and I know what I need to continue to do to make myself better. Im always going to have that fire and Im going to be wanting to get back there as soon and as often as I can.

Hottovys first call up to the Red Sox lasted just over three weeks, but it was more than enough time for him to experience the life he had been dreaming of for 29 years. He recently took a look back at some of his favorite Minor League moments and shared how different they are in the Majors.

Home Sweet Home On the Road: Hottovys first home as a professional baseball player was a dorm room at UMass-Lowell during his rookie season with the Single-A Lowell Spinners. He brought one bag of clothes to last the entire summer and lived on campus without a car -- or a real closet. Its almost like summer camp, but it was fun, he told CSNNE back on June 7.

Once he was called up the Red Sox, Hottovy stayed in a Boston-area hotel while also keeping his apartment in Pawtucket, commuting to Rhode Island when the schedule permitted. When it came time to travel for road games, Hottovy was in awe of the places he stayed.

I actually have a closet, I have a TV and all that fun stuff, he smiled. The hotels that we stay in, especially on the road, its just unbelievable. Theyre the nicest hotels Ive stayed in. Its just really cool how even this year, I started in Double-A and youre staying in -- nothing against the hotels we were at -- but theyre just normal hotel rooms. Now youre in suites in the middle of New York City and in downtown Toronto. Its crazy.

"Without question, my view in New York City was unbelievable. And I didnt see it at first. When we got there, it was an off-day so we were all going to dinner. I threw my stuff in my room and didnt even look outside and went to dinner. I came back and got ready for bed and I was lying there and thought I should check it out. I was on the 21st floor and I opened my window. It was just amazing.
Flying in Luxury (with Chik-fil-A): It once took Hottovy 13 hours to travel 400 miles from Portland, Maine to Trenton, New Jersey after a blown bus tire nearly delayed his second start with the Sea Dogs. We pulled in for a 7 oclock start at 6:30, he recalled back on June 7.

There were still long plane rides in the Majors -- travel is just part of the game -- but flying with the Red Sox was nothing like the bus rides he had taken before.

Dont get me wrong, well still have days where you get in at four in the morning, but everything is expedited, he explained. Your game is done, youre going through security, youre getting on the plane, youre gone, whereas there was a lot more waiting around before and a lot longer trips. But when you fly everywhere its nice and you have your own private section of seats so you dont have to share seats with anybody.

I didnt know what to expect the first time I got on the plane. It was just cool because my version of a plane has been just a regular commercial airline. This is a big airplane but the rules are completely different. Its pretty neat. You can just pick whatever you want to eat, order off the menu, its just crazy. The chicken parm we had was pretty good. They have everything, like chicken burritos, we had Chik-fil-A one day. Even that, I love Chick-fil-As.

Add Toronto to the List: Hottovy had seen hundreds of cities as he made his way to Boston. Prior to his call-up, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Portland, Maine, and Akron, Ohio (yes, there is a LeBron James story behind it) were atop his list of favorites.

Being in the Majors gave Hottovy the opportunity to play outside of the United States and add another city to his list. And as he traveled to new places, he had the chance to bond with his new teammates.

I would have to say Toronto was my favorite city because I had never really been to Canada, he said. I had been to New York City and it was fun, but it was really hot too so I didnt really get to see a whole lot. But Toronto was really neat. I just liked the atmosphere there and how the city was built up. You dont have a whole lot of time to sightsee or anything, so our sightseeing is really from the airport to the hotel or the field to the hotel. But it was neat. I really liked how it was set up and the stadium was pretty cool.

We had a day game and had a pitchers dinner there. Pitchers dinners are really fun. Its a way for us guys to kind of get away from the field and still be able to keep that camaraderie and stuff. Its a lot of fun and we have a good time and definitely enjoy it.

Back with Old Friends: Hottovy made his Major League debut in relief of Clay Buchholz. Four years earlier, the two had been the first and second starting pitchers in the Sea Dogs rotation. Hottovy, who was sidelined with elbow tendonitis during the season Buchholz got called up to the Red Sox, always looked at Buchholzs success as motivation.

When I see a guy I played with play in the big leagues, that gives me hope and faith that Im here, I can do it too, he recently told CSNNE.

So when he made it to Fenway Park, Buchholz was glad to see his former teammate back in the same clubhouse.

Its awesome, Hottovy said of playing again with Buchholz. I played with a lot of these guys before, whether it was Mike Cameron rehabbing with us last year in Pawtucket or (Kevin) Youkilis rehabbing with us in 2004 when I was in Lowell. So Ive played with these guys for parts of years, but its not the same as being here. When youre here, youre a part of something bigger. Its pretty cool.

"Clay told me good job and congratulations on the first outing. Again, hes a guy that we pitched together and you just tried to learn from each other. You pick up on things on what works for some guys doesnt work for other guys, and you just try to piece together whats going to work for you. He was excited to see me here and be able to come in and pitch.
Real-Life Inspiration: Throughout the course of his career, Hottovy has met countless fans from all over the country. There are two, in fact, he met in the stands during a Wilmington Blue Rocks game that he still keeps in touch with today.

Its amazing the people you meet through the experiences over the years, he said on June 7.

Once Hottovy donned a Red Sox uniform, there were fans who not only congratulated him on his accomplishment, but also shared how he inspired them to pursue their goals as well.

The fans here are awesome, he said of Boston. I had some people the other day who came up to me and said congratulations. They were longtime Sea Dogs fans so they had seen me a ton. They just said it was awesome. They were really excited. They said its exciting for them because it kind of gives them a story that gives them hope for things, just not giving up and keep trying.

That was pretty, pretty cool. Im just getting really good feedback from everybody. Its just really nice. You meet so many people playing this game, fans, other players, guys you played with, played against, coaches, your fraternity is huge so you get to meet a lot of cool people.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

 

BOSTON — They have the right idea, if not yet the right personnel.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has brought on a pair of former Tigers in an effort to help the Red Sox’ depth.

It’s hard to expect much from righty Doug Fister — who mostly throws in the 80s these days and is to start Sunday — or from Jhonny Peralta, who’s going to play some third base at Triple-A Pawtucket. Fister was claimed off waivers from the Angels, who coincidentally started a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. Peralta, meanwhile, was signed as a free agent to a minor league deal.

Neither may prove much help. Fister could move to the bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez is ready to return, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. The Sox hope E-Rod is back in time for the All-Star break.

That’s assuming Fister is pitching well enough that the Sox want to keep him.

But at least the Sox are being proactive looking for help, and it’s not like either Peralta or Fister is high-risk.

Fister, 33, threw 180 1/3 innings last year with the Astros, posting a 4.64 ERA. He hasn’t been in the big leagues yet this season.

Said one American League talent evaluator earlier this year about Fister’s 2016: “Had a nice first half. Then struggled vs. left-handed hitters and with finishing hitters. No real putaway pitch. Has ability to pitch around the zone, reliable dude.”