EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 22, 2013

Sports in a Minute


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — WEATHER STINKS FOR SPRING sports

Had to chuckle a bit this week as New England colleges began cancelling baseball and softball games up here by the bushel, due to the weather.

Let’s be honest. The recent snow, plus the cold spell that set in afterward, has seriously begun to impact the area high school sports scene too.

Unless, you are on artificial turf — only Haverhill and St. John’s Prep are locally — your baseball team might not be outside until April.

And that’s when the games are supposed to be begin.

One note on the local baseball scene, a big shout out to my man John Hennessy. The former walk-on at Boston College currently leads the Eagles offensively with a .285 average and an .852 OPS.The junior infield has yet to commit an error with 11 putouts and 21 assists.

By the way, the Eagles were supposed to host North Carolina this weekend, but that series has been moved to Chapel Hill.

ADRIAN KNOWS BEST

Asked yesterday by the New England media, what sold him on the Patriots, new veteran safety Adrian Wilson noted: “ Whenever Coach Belichick calls, you answer. That’s not a call that you send to voicemail. Obviously, being able to be competitive every year and being able to play not only for the playoffs and the division championship, but also to have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. New England was definitely my first choice. I don’t know what all the reports were saying that I wanted to stay out West, but that wasn’t true. It wasn’t a hard sell.”

DOYLE MISSES CUT

Salem’s Terry Doyle was among the four pitchers assigned by the Boston Red Sox to the team’s minor league camp. Doyle, who hopes to start the year in Pawtucket at Triple, turned in a solid preseason performance with a 1-1 mark and a 3.86 ERA. He struck out 12 and walked three in 14 innings of work.

With the moves, the Red Sox now have 42 players in big league camp, including 32 players from the 40-man roster, one on the 60-day disabled list, and 9 non-roster invitees.

ODDS TURN ON WELKER

How much of an impact did the Wes Welker deal to Denver make in the NFL?

A look at one Vegas casino’s lines would prove it out.

The Patriots, with Welker, were a 5-to-1 bet to win the Super Bowl. After the free agent signed in Denver, New England bumped up to 7-to-1. Meanwhile, Denver, with Welker, went from 7-to-1 to 5-to-1 as the AFC favorite.

RUNNING THROUGH RYAN’S NUMBERS

You wonder if defense matters in Major League Baseball? I give you Ryan Hanigan, starting catcher on the National League Central champion Cincinnati Reds.

According to MLB.com, Hanigan’s catcher’s ERA of 3.04 was the lowest in the Majors. His 48.5 caught stealing percentage was tops among big league catchers with at least 110 games played. His .995 fielding percentage was third-best in the National League and he had only three passed balls.

Hanigan caught 11 of the team’s 12 shutouts and six of the nine complete games. That included Homer Bailey’s Sept. 28 no-hitter at Pittsburgh.

“Hanigan has been catching me since we were in Double-A together. There’s just a long history,” Bailey said on MLB.com. “It’s kind of why we know what we’re usually trying to do. Usually by the second pitch, I understand what he’s trying to do to specific hitters. Typically if I shake, the next pitch he goes to is the one I was thinking. After the inning, he’d be like, ‘I was 50-50 on what you shook to and what I called.’ We’re usually on the same page.”