MINNEAPOLIS A few pregame notes from beautiful Target Field:
Bobby Valentine believes Rich Hill is "very close' to returning. He has pitched two days in a row for Pawtucket, the second outing coming today.
Nate Spears cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket.
Valentine on Scott Atchison, who has been excellent so far: "Ive liked the way Atch has thrown the ball from the first day I saw him. Its not just strikes; its quality strikes. He has real late rotation and it gets on the hitters pretty quickly. Learning more the more you see."
The original Red Sox lineup had Darnell McDonald playing left field, Kelly Shoppach catching, and David Ortiz hitting sixth. Seemed a little strange given that the Twins were starting a righthander.
Then, after a while, bench coach Tim Bogar posted a new lineup. Ryan Sweeney was back in there, as was Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And Ortiz was hitting sixth.
"The one that was posted was for the lefthander that I thought was pitching today, Valentine admitted with a hearty laugh.
Salty caught the mistake.
Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis were trading stories about playing in the Eastern League. As somebody who got his start in baseball covering the EL (the '96 Norwich Navigators), it was fun to listen to. Turns out none of them much liked playing games in New Haven.
Valentine said Siri (the voice on the latest iPhone) didn't have good directions back to the team hotel. Get on that, Apple.
It's almost to hard to describe how happy Marlon Byrd is to be with the Sox. "I've had a blast every day," he said. "It's a great bunch of guys."