The Sea Dogs opening day roster is beginning to crystalize. And it promises to be a strong one- maybe even stronger than the club that captured Portland’s first-ever Eastern League crown last season. A trade the Red Sox pulled off yesterday with the Orioles could reap instant dividends here at Hadlock Field. In dire need of a seasoned backup catcher, Baltimore acquired Alberto Castillo, a non-roster player from Boston. In exchange, the Birds parted with their 2006 Minor League Player-of-the-Year, outfielder Cory Keylor, who hit .294 with ten homers and 68 RBI with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. ‘Dogs broadcaster, Mike Antonellis says Keylor just might open the season here in Portland!
In other moves Tuesday, Boston optioned relievers Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen to Triple-A Pawtucket. Hansen, who shined in brief stints as a Sea Dog, has been inconsistent in two, partial seasons with the big club. This spring he’s been downright dreadful. Hansen said yesterday he “is letting the team down” and welcomes the chance to work his way back to the majors with the Paw Sox.
In other news, Jon Lester will start the season in Greenville, South Carolina. Terry Francona says the plan is for Lester to make four starts for the Class-A Drive and build up his pitch count, before the club evaluates the young lefthander’s next step on the road back from chemotherapy treatments.
On the Sea Dogs calendar, with Opening Night and the gala championship ring ceremony just eight days away, a couple of items of note. On Monday, April 2nd the team is due to arrive in Portland. We’ll post the complete roster here in the next couple of days. Wednesday night, April 4th is the annual ‘Welcome Back Dinner‘ to benefit Youth Alternatives. Tickets are still available.