Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Craig Breslow had three respectable stints with the parent Boston Red Sox last season and a very strong performance at Triple-A Pawtucket to keep him on the 40-man roster, but his chances of opening the 2007 in the major leagues apparently took a hit when Japanese darling Daisuke Matsuzaka came into the picture.

If this doesn't seem to make any sense since Breslow is a lefty reliever and Matsuzaka a right-handed starter dig a little deeper. The Red Sox also signed established southpaw reliever Hideki Okajima, and Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes says: "As a COD (Companion of Daisuke), Hideki Okajima would appear to be assured of a spot (on the roster)." He is 31 to Breslow's 26, but Okajima also has 10 years of experience in the Japanese leagues, he struck out 63 in 55 innings last season and the Red Sox very much want to impact the Japanese market.

It is not certain Boston will keep another lefty in the bullpen, but if it does Edes says J. C. Romero or Javier Lopez probably will get the first look. He called Breslow, who emerged from the New Jersey Jackals of the Northeast League (now the Can-Am League) in 2004, "the long shot".

Breslow fans should keep three things in mind. First, the odds can't be stacked as deeply against the Yale grad as when Milwaukee dropped him in '04 when he hadn't climbed above Class A. Secondly, the 7-1 record with seven saves to go with 77 strikeouts and only 49 hits allowed in 67 innings last season at Pawtucket (2.69 ERA) plus a 3.75 ERA in his 12 innings at Boston are reasons to hold your head high and believe in yourself. And third, he is a youthful lefthander. Those guys get opportunities, somewhere.

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