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Up in arms

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  August 17, 2010 02:19 PM

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6. Lost in the Red Sox' angry sea of injuries this season is the one that got the whole miserable Year of The Walking (And Limping) Wounded started.

Young righthander Junichi Tazawa required Tommy John surgery after feeling pain in his elbow in late March. While it's essentially been a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind with him since he was lost so early and was unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, with hindsight you can't help but think the 24-year-old, who had his encouraging moments during his first year stateside, might have been a solution in a bullpen that 123 games into the season still has has far too many unsolved problems . . .

7. . . . Not that I'll ever fault Theo for his refusal to overpay for potential relief help down the stretch. Toronto lefty Scott Downs would have been an ideal fit here -- and pretty much anywhere else, given that he's among roughly a bullpen's worth of big league relievers who've made a recent habit of being consistent from season to season.

But for the price Toronto was allegedly asking -- righthander Casey Kelly and shortstop Jose Iglesias, when either/or wasn't even acceptable -- was far too steep to consider, and again his prudence won out over the quick fix, an underrated and extremely valuable attribute in a GM.

That doesn't mean there isn't reason for frustration, though. If Theo made any mistake, it's that he left the Red Sox short in the 'pen from the beginning, trying to catch lightning in a bottle with a collection of pitchers who no longer had lightning in their arms. I mean, did he really expect Scott Schoeneweis, Alan Embree, or Joe Nelson to contribute?

8. Adam LaRoche was a member of the Red Sox for a magical six games last season before the odd trade for Casey Kotchman sent him to Atlanta, where he had his usual monster second half (12 HRs, .957 OPS).

After settling for a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks in the offseason, he's tearing it up again after the All-Star break (seven homers, 28 RBIs, and a 1.007 OPS over the past month) Plus, there's this potential added benefit: He's been pestering the Diamondbacks staff to let him pitch.

So who knows, maybe the son of longtime lefty reliever Dave LaRoche is the answer to the bullpen woes. (No, I'm not going to tell you if I'm being facetious.)

9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

1d6b_12.jpg

You know what? At this point, if he wants to pitch the sixth and seventh himself when necessary . . . go for it. I'm all Okicarmened out.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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