Monday, May 01, 2006

Welcome Back Dougie!

I love this picture of pitcher Tim Wakefield and catcher Doug Mirabelli. Doug spent four years as Wake's "personal catcher" before being traded to the Padres for Mark Loretta. It was a great trade -- even though Loretta isn't producing quite yet at the plate, we're already seeing a much improved infield defense thanks to his contributions.

We've all joked about Doug being Wake's "binky" - that Wake needed him to pitch well. Well, it wasn't such a joke, as we've discovered so far this season. Poor Josh Bard just couldn't get the knack for catching the knuckleball. The New York Times has a great quote from John Flaherty about how difficult it is to catch:

"I've said to myself, 'Thank God it's not me,' " said Flaherty, who chose retirement over a season chasing knuckleballs. Two innings in a meaningless game, 20 minutes of feeling vulnerable because he did not know where Wakefield's next floater would dip or dart.

"There were a lot of things that caused me to retire," said Flaherty, who played for the Yankees last year. "The idea of catching Tim 35 times was one of them."

So, now Theo has tried to right the wrong. As of 9 am this morning, Mirabelli is a Red Sock again, on a chartered flight from San Diego winging back to the loving arms of RS Nation. Wake is due to pitch tonight against the Yankees, and truth be told, that's not the stage you want Bard on. And Bard (and Cla Meredith and ca$$h) are headed to San Diego in return.

I'm sure Bard could have caught on eventually. But the reality was that Wake has pitched really well this year (ERA 3.90), and has a 1-4 record to show for it. True, the offense has given him absolutely NO run support (only 10 runs in those outings), but Wake's comfort level also has to be considered. He looked totally out of sorts in his last start in Cleveland. Now with Doug behind him, I hope he can knock em dead!

Everyone has speculated what the reaction would be tonight to Johnny Damon's return. I think that just got overshadowed big time. I can't wait to see the reaction of the Fenway Faithful when Doug (known as the "stud who hits bombs") is introducted. WELCOME BACK Dougie - we all (especially Wake) really missed you!