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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where are they now- Javier Lopez

Sidewinder lefty Javier Lopez was a 4th round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998 and traded to the Colorado Rockies where he played from 2003 to 2005. He pitched for Boston (and Pawtucket) from 2006 to the 2009 season. (At one point in the 2006 season, there were two players with the name Javier Lopez, the other being the former Orioles catcher whom the Red Sox picked up after Jason Varitek was injured that season.)

Slow out of the gate in 2009, he allowed 4 hits and 1 run in his first appearance of the season,buthe was able to shave his ERA from 9.00 on April 8th down to 3.68 by the next to last day of the month, when his implosion began. In his next 4 appearances, he allowed 11 hits and 9 earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work, and was demoted to Pawtucket. His implosion continued that month allowing 6 hits and 6 runs in 5.2 innings pitched. His rollercoaster ride continued with much better results in June, before getting hammered again in early July. I was in attendance at McCoy Stadium on July 27th watching the PawSox and the Columbus Clippers with press pass dangling from the lanyard around my neck. Going into that game Lopez had put together 3 good games in a row, so I was hoping to get a chance to speak with him after the game. Unfortunately, he had a miserable day on the mound- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs- garnering him a blown save and the loss for the day. Needless to say, I was hesitant to speak with him, but that was a moot point, as he was one of the first players to get out of the clubhouse that day. He eventually got into a nice groove for the remainder of his season, as his stats reveal that he did not allow a run to score in his last 9 games with the PawSox- 11 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 0 runs. In October, he was granted free agency.

So where is Javier Lopez, the pitcher, these days? He has just signed a one year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I usually was looking forward to him entering a game during his tenure with the Sox. Before faltering in 2009, he had a 5-1 W-L record, and 2.70 ERA in 158 appearances spanning his three previous seasons with the Sox. Hopefully Lopez will thrive with a new team in the National League.

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