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Red Sox notebook

Beginning to feel a draft

Recent success may bode well

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Gordon Edes
Globe Staff / May 7, 2008

DETROIT - The only downside of winning a World Series? You're slotted last in the June amateur draft of high school and college players.

So the Red Sox won't be picking until 30th when the draft is held June 5 in Orlando, Fla. The Sox haven't had a pick in the first half of the first round since 1998, when then-scouting director Dennis Britton took shortstop Adam Everett, who was later used in a trade for outfielder Carl Everett. Four years earlier, another shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, also was taken 12th.

The last time the Sox had a top-10 pick was in 1993, when Trot Nixon was selected with the seventh pick. Roger Clemens was the 19th pick in 1983; Jim Rice was 15th in 1971.

The Sox have never had the No. 1 overall pick, but they had top-five picks each of the first three years of the draft. Billy Conigliaro was the No. 5 pick in '65, Ken Brett was fourth in 1966, and Mike Garman was third in 1967.

Garman won two games in four seasons with the Sox; Brett was promoted to the '67 Impossible Dreamers just days after his 19th birthday but spent just four of his 14 seasons in the big leagues with the Sox; Billy C, younger brother of Tony Conigliaro, was with the club three seasons.

But perhaps more relevant than their slot in the first round is the fact that Sox scouting director Jason McLeod will have five picks in the first three rounds. They have their first-round pick, a first-round sandwich pick at 45 as compensation for Eric Gagné signing with the Brewers, their second-rounder at 77, a compensation second-round pick at 85th overall because they did not sign their third-rounder last season (Hunter Morris), and their own third-round pick at 108.

McLeod, in his first draft as Sox scouting director in 2005, had six of the first 57 picks, and made history with his selections: The Sox became the first team ever to place its first four picks in the big leagues within three years of the draft. Craig Hansen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Jed Lowrie all made it, Lowrie the last of the group to make his debut. Hansen was called up in '05, Buchholz and Ellsbury both made it last season, and Lowrie was summoned April 10 of this season when Mike Lowell went on the disabled list.

One player from the 2006 draft, when McLeod had seven of the first 103 picks, has already made it to the big leagues: pitcher Justin Masterson. Last June, McLeod had four of the first 114 picks, including top pick Nick Hagadone, the lefthanded pitcher who is facing the possibility of Tommy John elbow surgery.

Hagadone was supposed to see Dr. James Andrews last week for a second opinion, but he developed an infection.

Hansen unleashed

A measure of the renewed dedication with which Hansen has approached his baseball career? During the offseason, a week after undergoing surgery for sleep apnea, Hansen bought a dog, a Rottweiler he named Apollo.

"I was chased by a couple when I was little," said Hansen. "But I love 'em. They're great dogs."

But as attached as he is to the dog, he decided against bringing the pet with him to spring training or Pawtucket. Instead, he left it with his mother.

"My mom said, 'Just worry about baseball right now. I'll take care of him,' " said Hansen. "And she is."

And yes, like a good mom, Arlene Hansen periodically sends him video clips of the dog.

Hansen pitched in Monday night's 6-3 win. He had a 1-2-3 sixth, then got in trouble in the seventh, when in his haste he was unable to pick up a dribbler in front of the mound, then walked two batters. But the Sox are impressed with the stuff he's shown - a 97-mile-an-hour fastball, and a biting slider - as well as a new assertiveness on the hill.

"It's an opportunity to go out and pitch and show everyone how I really pitch instead of what I've been doing," Hansen said. "[John] Farrell and [Jason] Varitek helped me get back to where I wanted to be, pitching-wise."

Hansen pitched for the Sox in '05 and '06, but, he said, "When I was called up against the Angels [April 23], I honestly felt like it was a brand-new debut, especially after not being up last year and after the surgery, which has basically changed everything."

Hansen missed plane connections getting in from Syracuse, N.Y., and had to stay overnight in Chicago.

"I ended up waking up at 3:30 - I didn't want to miss my flight, which was 7:30," he said. "I went back to sleep, but got back up at 5, which means I got about four hours' sleep. Before surgery, I would have been drained, but I felt fine [Monday] night.

"I feel like I've fallen basically off the radar and I think that's when I do my best work, when you least expect it.

"I didn't make a name for myself in college until the Cape Cod League. No one knew my name. I had an opportunity to go out there and make a name for myself."

Stealing away

The Sox have been successful on their last 17 stolen base attempts, their longest such streak since stealing 18 in a row from Sept. 3-19, 1973. Elias Sports Bureau, in research back to 1965, could not find another instance in which the Sox executed two double steals in one game, as they did Sunday . . . The Sox came into last night with five players who had 20 or more runs: Ellsbury, Manny Ramírez, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis. No other team had more than two . . . Alex Cora (elbow) begins a three-game rehab tonight in Pawtucket. Sean Casey (hip) joins him tomorrow for a two-game rehab. Both expect to be activated Sunday . . . Julian Tavarez hasn't pitched in a game since April 24. That's 11 games and counting. "No problem," he said. "If it gets to 15 to 17 games, then maybe I'll need to pitch. But I'm just happy that we're winning."

Gordon Edes can be reached at edes@globe.com

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