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Lin picked as outfield fill-in

He is called up from Pawtucket

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / April 15, 2012
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Che-Hsuan Lin was preparing for his first at-bat with Triple A Pawtucket on Friday night when manager Arnie Beyeler pulled him out of the lineup.

The Red Sox needed an outfielder to replace the injured Jacoby Ellsbury and the 23-year-old Lin was their choice. After a restless night filled with phone calls and text messages, Lin flew into Boston on Saturday morning and was in uniform against the Tampa Bay Rays.

“It’s hard to describe how I feel right now,’’ Lin said via interpreter Mickey Jiang before the game. “Getting a chance to play in the big leagues has been my dream since I was young and it’s finally come true. But I don’t want to think too far ahead.’’

Good idea. Lin got into the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning then was optioned back to Pawtucket.

“It was fun to play,’’ he said. “I hope I come back.’’

Lin has made steady progress since being signed in 2007. He finished last season with Pawtucket, hitting .235 in 85 games.

Lin was with the Red Sox in spring training, going 1 for 11 in 10 games.

He said being around the team in spring training the last few years was beneficial, particularly in terms of feeling comfortable with the veteran players.

“Very good defensive player, strong accurate arm. Looks like he can play all three [outfield] spots. Good base runner,’’ manager Bobby Valentine said.

The problem for Lin comes at the plate. Although he has good strike-zone discipline, Lin is a career .256 hitter in the minors with 20 home runs over parts of six seasons.

Lin is the eighth player from Taiwan to be added to a major league roster, the first with the Red Sox.

Valentine didn’t get into specifics, but indicated that the team would make a move to add a different outfielder before Sunday afternoon’s game.

That could be Jason Repko, a 31-year-old with 355 games of major league experience with the Dodgers and Twins.

Repko might have been called up for Saturday, but he had missed six days with a minor injury. Repko started in center field for Pawtucket on Saturday afternoon in Rochester and was 3 for 5 with a double.

There could be a second addition. The Red Sox are carrying 13 pitchers, the extra bullpen arm serving as insurance in case Josh Beckett had problems with his right thumb.

But with Beckett two starts into his season and having no trouble, the Sox are ready to add another player to the bench.

Crawford works out

Carl Crawford was on the field early, working out with strength and conditioning consultant Mike Boyle. He will return to Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday and play in extended spring games.

Crawford took batting practice on the field Friday and Saturday and had no issues with his surgically repaired left wrist.

The loss of Ellsbury has added even more motivation to Crawford to return.

“I was doing the best I could anyway, but I know that the quicker I can come back, the better it’ll be,’’ Crawford said. “I’m trying.’’

Because he has yet to play in any games, Crawford will need a few weeks to regain his timing at the plate.

“I’m going to follow the program they have set up and see how I feel,’’ he said. “I really don’t know how many [at-bats] I’ll need. Hopefully I’ll get my swing down pretty quickly.’’

Not letting it slide

A mischievous teammate printed three photographs of Kelly Shoppach’s “slide’’ into second base Friday and taped them to a pillar near his locker. Shoppach stole a base for the first time in his career in the sixth inning, trying a pop-up slide too far from second base then diving on the base before the stunned Rays could make a throw. Shoppach hit his face on the bag but was safe. His innovative technique earned chuckles from both teams, Shoppach having played for the Rays from 2010-11.

Pesky honored

The Red Sox honored 92-year-old Johnny Pesky before the game. With owner John Henry, president Larry Lucchino, and David Ortiz on hand, Pesky was presented with some mementos of Fenway Park on the anniversary of his major league debut in 1942. Batting second ahead of Ted Williams, Pesky went 2 for 4 with a triple that day against the Philadelphia Athletics . . . Bill Hogan Jr., who was born six days before Fenway Park opened in 1912, threw out the first pitch. Wearing a Sox jersey and accompanied by his 18 great-grandchildren, Hogan threw a pitch to Mark Melancon from in front of the plate. He trained for a month with the staff of the Brookhaven Retirement Home in his hometown of Lexington.

Hardware store

Several players received their 2011 awards before the game. Ellsbury picked up his Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and Comeback Player of the Year trophies. Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez got their Gold Glove and Silver Slugger hardware, and Ortiz took home his Silver Slugger and Outstanding DH awards . . . Pitching coach Bob McClure was not feeling well, so bullpen coach Gary Tuck filled in during the game.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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