Drew Sutton, a repeat promotion to Boston since mid-May, has put in four sparse appearances for the PawSox spaced over three different calendar months.
That trend of recurring cameos will roll on for at least another week. It was reported Friday that the infielder will be placed on the seven-day disabled list with a finger contusion sustained in Thursday night’s 5-4 loss to the Bisons.
The PawSox have generally managed in his absence, improving their record from 21-19 on May 19 to 63-50 Friday night with his services in place for only five games.
Yet Sutton represents a considerable offensive void, particularly as he is the only active Pawtucket hitter besides Ryan Lavarnway to have played more than 10 games and to be carrying a batting average above .300 in that span. Through 42 games and 157 at-bats, he is enjoying a .306 success rate against International League pitchers.
In addition, in his last four appearances interspersed with two call-ups, Sutton’s production has been consistent. He is, by all technical accounts, riding a four-game hitting streak at the Triple-A level, going 5-for-13.
And while Sutton has not driven in a run for Pawtucket since June 14 versus Charlotte and has not swung for extra bases at this level since May 15, his contributions give no cause to be overlooked. During Thursday night’s losing effort, he was fairly blameless, hitting 2-for-3 with a walk.
In each of his first two at-bats, Sutton lined a single that pushed Lars Anderson all the way from first to third base. After Sutton did this in the second inning, Anderson subsequently scored the game’s first run while Hector Luna distracted the Bisons’ infield by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
The fourth inning bore a similar sequence. Anderson walked, Sutton pushed him ahead two bases on a single and Luna finished Anderson’s journey home with his own base hit to renew Pawtucket’s lead to 2-1.
In Sutton’s absence Friday night, the multifaceted fielder Nate Spears took over at second base while Anderson filled Sutton’s cleanup spot in the batting order. In turn, Spears and Anderson sandwiched a rehabbing DH in Jed Lowrie, who eerily channeled Sutton from Thursday night in the bottom of the ninth.
With the PawSox trailing, 5-4, and down to their final two outs, Lowrie sent Che-Hsuan Lin from first to third on a single to shallow right. Lowrie subsequently gave way to pinch-runner Tony Thomas, who followed Lin home on newcomer Brett Carroll’s walkoff base hit down the right field line.
Thomas, who himself typically plays second base, had ironically been placed on the DL himself on Wednesday after a knee contusion.
In other DL news, southpaw starter Felix Doubront will start for the Single-A Lowell Spinners in Saturday’s 7:05 tilt with the Connecticut Tigers. It will be Doubront’s first lick of authentic game action since July 19, when he aggravated a right hamstring against Lehigh Valley.
Now in his sixth year with the Red Sox, Doubront previously accumulated a 3-3 record in 10 starts for the Spinners between the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The odds are against his earning a decision on Saturday as he will likely be forked out after two innings of work.