Embree Traded to Red Sox for Baker and Giese

It began with the recall of Eric Cyr from Mobile and ended with Alan Embree fanning seven Yankees in three innings last night. Embree has been dealt, along with minor-league right-hander Andy Shibilo, to the Boston Red Sox for right-handers Brad Baker and Dan Giese.

Baker, a first-round pick out of a Massachusetts high school in 1999, was 7-1 at Sarasota of the Florida State League, with a 2.79 ERA. The 21-year-old allowed 53 hits and 25 walks in 61.1 innings, while striking out 65 batters. Baseball America named him Boston’s #13 prospect. The scouting reports say he features a low-90s fastball and good curve. Frankly, with all due respect to Embree, I’m surprised the Pads were able to land a prospect with Baker’s pedigree for him. Baker isn’t just roster fill; he’s a legit prospect.

Giese, a 34th-round pick in 1999, comes home. The University of San Diego product had a 3.83 ERA at Trenton of the Eastern League in 23 relief appearances. He allowed 53 hits and just 9 walks in 49.1 innings, while recording 39 punchouts.

The guess here is that both will report to Double-A Mobile, although Baker conceivably could end up at Elsinore. Right-hander David Lundquist, who saw limited action with the Pads last year, was recalled to fill Embree’s spot on the roster.

Speaking of Cyr, he made his big-league debut yesterday against the Yankees and guess what: he looked a lot like Embree. He came in with runners at first and second in the seventh, and Jason Giambi at the plate. He got Giambi to pop out to left, then struck out Bernie Williams on a nasty slider to end the inning. Cyr’s fastball was 91-94 MPH, and he was attacking hitters. Nice work.

Brian Lawrence had started the game and pitched another gem. He leads the big leagues in groundball outs.

A few random questions:

  • Why does anybody ever throw Alfonso Soriano a fastball? He routinely hammered that pitch in the series, while struggling against breaking stuff.
  • How come the Red Sox’ and Yankees’ advance scouts didn’t tell them about Mark Kotsay’s arm? Three assists in six games sure looks nice, but it makes you wonder.
  • What’s the deal with Bernie Williams’ defense? He has a reputation as a good center fielder but badly misplayed two drives by Kotsay in yesterday’s game. Just one of those days, I guess.

The Padres may have lost the series, but they fought the Yankees tooth and nail. The Bronx Bombers, with one of the most potent offenses in the big leagues, scored just five runs in three games against the Pads.

Shifting gears, I caught the Storm game last night. Chatted a bit with Mark Phillips, who was charting pitches next to me. Real personable kid, understandably eager to join his former teammates in San Diego.

Crazy game at Elsinore, with the Storm beating High Desert, 14-8. It took 2 1/2 hours just to get through the fifth inning. The top two hitters in the Storm lineup reached base all 12 times they came to the plate. Marcus Nettles drew a walk each of his first three times up, then hit three singles. Jason Bartlett started the evening 5-for-5 before reaching first on an error in his final at-bat.

Former Storm pitchers Jake Peavy and Ben Howard were in the house. Peavy I understand; the Padres played an afternoon game less than an hour away from The Diamond. But what was Howard, who currently is at Portland, doing there? If I were one to engage in wild speculation, I might think that the Padres had found a potential taker for Steve Reed and were keeping Howard nearby just in case.

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