Managing to keep it in order
PawSox’ Beyeler on call all the time
The game is the same. It always has been for Arnie Beyeler. But the Pawtucket Red Sox manager says there have been a few discernible differences in making the move from Double A Portland last year to Triple A this season.
“I used to joke around that I’d get a fungo and go out and hit ground balls and do things like that,’’ said Beyeler. “Now, I just make sure that my phone starts and I’ve got it on me. That kind of sums up my season. It’s pretty interesting on a day-to-day basis right up to game time.’’
He has gone from being hands-on in Portland to being on call in Pawtucket, where he is charged with the development of the Red Sox’ top farm team and also with the replenishment of the big-league club. Often at a moment’s notice.
And he has managed to do so while putting the PawSox (77-61) in position to clinch their first playoff berth since 2008 and first International League North title since 2003.
The PawSox, who have a two-game division lead over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, can clinch the IL North tonight with a win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After playing two against Scranton, the PawSox will wrap up the regular season with games against Rochester Sunday night and Monday afternoon.
“When the big-league team’s winning, everybody’s happy,’’ said Beyeler, who was mindful that Boston would likely dip into the roster of his playoff-bound team for September call-ups. “We understand how the minor leagues work. It’s great when you win down here, that’s part of development. If you’re doing stuff right, and you’re playing the game right, you’re going to win some games.
“Now if you get into the playoffs, those things kind of depend on the horses they leave you and how things work out. We’re pretty fortunate we have some great scouts who keep filling us with players here.
“So we move a guy on and we get a [Will] Middlebrooks, we move another guy on and we get Che-Hsuan Lin, things like that. We lose [Anthony] Rizzo, we get to keep a guy like Lars [Anderson].’’
Beyeler said a rewarding part of Triple A is being able to give a player the word that he is being called up for the first time, as was the case June 3 when the Sox summoned lefthanded reliever Tommy Hottovy.
“We were fortunate enough to do that with [Justin] Masterson and [Josh] Reddick,’’ Beyeler said. “But, yeah, when you get to tell a guy, like in Hottovy’s situation - a guy who’s been grinding through the organization and stuff - that he finally gets an opportunity, that’s exciting. It’s exciting for everybody.’’
Beyeler has relied on veterans such as Kevin Millwood (who was granted his release Aug. 7), Brandon Duckworth, Scott Atchison, Hector Luna, and Tony Pena Jr. to set the tone in the clubhouse.
“I kind of stay out of the way and let them play, and they do a great job of running the clubhouse and that’s great, it helps me out,’’ Beyeler said. “Then there’s the constant communication with the front office on a daily basis, it’s just crazy. That’s probably been the biggest thing.’’
And now that he has the PawSox on the verge of the playoffs?
“It’s exciting,’’ Beyeler said. “The game is the game, and these guys play and that’s a good thing, and it’s just a matter of trying to keep things going, having new guys in the race, and always having a goal and something to play for at the end of the season helps.
“To have a reason to come to the ballpark the last couple of weeks, I think at any level if you can do that, it keeps it exciting for the guys.’’
Bound for Arizona Beyeler will manage the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, where the Red Sox will send six players: catcher Dan Butler, outfielder Alex Hassan, righthander Brock Huntzinger, righthander Jeremy Kehrt, lefthander Will Latimer, and Middlebrooks, a third baseman.
“I’m excited about it,’’ said Beyeler. “I’ve been asked for years if you’re interested, and you’re always interested in those things, but to actually get picked and to get to work with some of the best players in baseball, our guys included . . .’’
The Arizona Fall League, which runs Oct. 4 through Nov. 19, also will include prospects from the Phillies, Angels, Giants, and Nationals organizations.
“Some of the best prospects in the game go out there and play,’’ Beyeler said. “Any time you can get another 40 games under your belt, maybe it can get you over the hump and get you established at another level. Guys who really want to be big leaguers, it’s another opportunity to play some more games and hone your skills.’’
Miller in command Trever Miller, 38, who was released by the Blue Jays Aug. 21, was signed by the Sox to a minor league contract and assigned to Pawtucket, where he made his first appearance Tuesday night in an 8-6 loss at Rochester. “He did a nice job for us, threw an inning-plus and got a couple of lefthanders out,’’ said Beyeler, who scouted Miller for the Tigers when they drafted him in the first round (41st overall) in 1991. “He was a young kid when I last saw him. He looks good. He’s dropped his arm slot and is not an over-the-top guy anymore. He’s still got good stuff. His fastball isn’t what it used to be, but, boy, he can command the baseball. He knows how to get guys out.’’
Salem slugfest Single A Salem trounced Winston-Salem, 16-10, Wednesday night in a game in which second baseman Zach Gentile went 3 for 4 with a double and five RBIs. Catcher Matt Spring (3 for 6) and first baseman Miles Head (3 for 5) each homered. Stolmy Pimentel (5-4) picked up the win despite allowing seven runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings . . . Out of the lineup while Kevin Youkilis had a two-game rehab stint with the PawSox, Middlebrooks didn’t mope about being idle. He soaked up some knowledge from Youkilis and took ground balls alongside him during the team’s trip to Rochester. Youkilis was happy to oblige. “He easily could not want to have anything to do with me, and that’s human nature,’’ Middlebrooks told PawSox.com blogger Dan Hoard, who is also the team’s play-by-play radio voice. “But he’s a great guy and acts like he’s one of us. It’s been a lot of fun to have him around.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.