PAWTUCKET, RI As the Opening Night starter for the Pawtucket Red Sox Thursday against Rochester, Alfredo Aceves knows whats expected of him.
Its an honor, he said. And a responsibility, too.
After making his first major league Opening Day roster last season, with the Yankees, no one could fault him if he was disappointed at not making the big-league team this year. Aceves, who still has options, was among the last roster moves, getting sent down the day before the Red Sox opened their season.
In 10 Grapefruit League games he had a record on 0-1 with one save and a 4.05 ERA, allowing six earned runs, with 13 hits, including two home runs, with three walks and four strikeouts in 13 13 innings. In 10 games with the Yankees last year, he was 3-0 (3.00). But a strained lower back limited him to 12 big-league games. A rehab stint was cut short after seven appearances and he was shut down for the season. An offseason biking accident left him with a broken left (non-throwing) collarbone. Hes healthy now, but feels he could have had a better showing in spring training.
My spring training, no, I couldnt have it better, but I was focused on other things, he said. And I live and learn. So I learn from that. Its not going to happen next year.
What was he focused on?
Showing the Red Sox that I was healthy, and working on the pitches, and not focus on numbers, he said. Maybe if I focus on numbers, I make the team. But I learn from that, from this spring training and its not going to happen next year.
I like his track record, said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. Hes been a very successful guy. He seems to be a real hard worker, very focused about what hes doing. Hes got a lot of ability. Hes proven it at the major league. So I expect him to be pretty successful at this level. Hopefully, we can enjoy him while we can.
Aceves will be opposed by Red Wings right-hander Anthony Swarzak, the Twins second-round pick in 2004.
The PawSox will have a club heavy with veterans and players with big-league experience, including 15 on the 24-man roster. That can only help Beyeler, he believes.
I hope it helps me a lot because we do have a lot of veteran leadership out there, Beyeler said. Im going to lean on those guys a lot to help me out, and batting coach Chili Davis and pitching coach Rich Sauveur and trainer Jon Jochim in the other room there to help these guys out.
The last thing I want to do is come in here and make guys uncomfortable and feel like theyre back in A ball again or something. I just want to stay out of the way and let them roll and let them do what they do here. Just get right into the realm of previous PawSox managers Torey Lovullo and Ron Johnson and the guys whove been here and keep things rolling. That, to me, is the best thing that can happen here.
Catcher Mike McKenry was acquired from Colorado for pitcher Daniel Turpen on March 29.
Very high-energy guy, Beyeler said. Blocks balls well. Above-average arm. Handles the pitching staff pretty good for a guy coming in that really doesnt know anybody. And swings the bat real good. Looks like hes a pretty strong kid. Seems to have a good idea of what hes doing. A pretty impressive kid.
Left-hander Felix Doubront, who was placed on the disabled list with March 31 with left forearm inflammation, remains in Fort Myers. Fla.
Outfielder Josh Reddick reported to McCoy Stadium Tuesday morning but was sick, with a possible strep infection, and was sent home. Driving to Pawtucket from Fort Myers, Reddick didnt feel well and stopped for medical attention.
Tip of the cap to Daniel Nava, who entertained onlookers before the PawSox workout Tuesday afternoon by borrowing a reporters tape recorder to interview his teammates. Have to admit, I wouldnt have thought to ask about singing with Enrique Iglesias (Jose Iglesias), hair care (Kyle Weiland), canoeing as an Olympic sport (Randy Williams, McKenry), or Fleetwood Mac vs. John Mayer (Aceves).
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen