MANCHESTER -- The Fisher Cats took care of the wannabe Red Sox. Now they’ll see what they can do with young Yankee hopefuls.
A last-out rally for a walk-off win gave New Hampshire a 3-2 win over the Eastern League’s best, the Portland Sea Dogs, on Sunday on Christmas in July Day at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The Fisher Cats took the series with Portland, three games to one, and turn their attention to the Trenton Thunder tonight with a doubleheader that kicks off a four-game series at the riverside park.
John Anderson, a versatile and comebacking lefty, gets the start for New Hampshire in Game 1. Richard Bleier will take the mound for Game 2.
Anderson began the season in the bullpen, but the thinking in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization these days is that he may be better suited for a starting role.
That said, Anderson threw a couple of hitless innings against Portland on Thursday.
Starting? Relieving? Anderson, 25, said he doesn’t have a preference. He’s just glad to be back pitching after missing the 2010 season and most of 2011 and 2012 after not one, but two, Tommy John surgeries and then another elbow injury.
“They did the first Tommy John in 2010 and the next one 15 months later,” Anderson said. “It was pretty tough, not only on my arm, but mentally. There were a lot of times when I asked myself whether I should just give up. My passion for the game and love of it kept me in it and pushed me through it.”
He’s glad he stayed. The Blue Jays are, too.
He worked his way back last year, pitching for Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham at Single-A Dunedin, and the Blue Jays were cautious with him.
“The chains are off this year,” Anderson said.
Because it takes him a little longer to get warmed up and he may not be able to pitch successive days, as called upon for relievers in the big leagues, starting might be his best option, Meacham said.
“He’s got such a good arm and we’re trying to find out what’s best for him and best for the organization,” Meacham said. “He’s done both but we need to settle on something. You’ve got a guy that throws 93 to 95 miles an hour, a lefthander who’s starting to understand what he needs to do out there to be successful. You hope it all of a sudden comes quickly and he can help the big league club soon.”
Anderson’s last two appearances have been against the Sea Dogs.
In his last start, on July 12 in Portland, he allowed one hit, struck out eight and walked one in five innings.
Overall, he’s 3-1 and in 51 and two-thirds innings, Anderson has allowed 40 hits, struck out 60 and walked 26 with a 4.70 earned run average.
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PORTLAND second baseman Sean Coyle, another of the team’s touted Red Sox prospects, had an eye-opening June.
July has not been as kind to him. Especially in the last week.
Coyle bounced back a bit with a pair of singles in his four at-bats on Sunday and he scored the first Portland run.
He had been 0-for-10 in the series, with seven strikeouts coming into the game and overall was 2-for-27 in his eight games previous to the finale against New Hampshire.
He struck out in each of his five plate appearances on Saturday night in the Sea Dogs’ 10-3 win.
The two hits on Sunday brought Coyle, who started at second base and hit second for Team USA in the Major League Baseball Futures Game a week ago, back to .325 for the season.
Coyle hit .348 with six home runs, 22 runs batted in and eight doubles in June and is listed by soxprospects.com as the No. 12 prospect in the Red Sox organization.