AquaSox: From grounds crew to bullpen catcher

EVERETT — Scott Micinski thought he was going to spend his summer dragging tarps, mowing grass and raking dirt.

Little did he know he’d end up briefly fulfilling a childhood dream.

Micinski, a member of the Everett Memorial Stadium grounds crew, got to spend two days living the life of a professional baseball player as he was drafted into emergency bullpen catching duty.

“I definitely didn’t expect that to happen,” Micinski said. “I told someone I felt like I won a promotion, be an AquaSox for a day or something.”

Micinski, a 24-year-old native of South Bend, Indiana, is a graduate student at Seattle University who scored a summer internship working the field for the Sox. But fate opened up a rare opportunity for Micinski.

Everett found itself in a bind when David Villasuso was promoted to Clinton of the mid-Class A Midwest League. That left the Sox with just two catchers, Mike Zunino and Marcus Littlewood, and Everett manager Rob Mummau likes to get both in the lineup, with one serving as the designated hitter. Therefore, there was no one left to catch the relief pitchers as they warmed up in the bullpen.

The first player drafted into emergency catching duty was utilityman Richie Palase. However, Palase suffered a jammed thumb, leaving the Sox scrambling. That’s when head groundskeeper Brian Burroughs suggested Micinski, who played four years of college ball at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Micinski was a pitcher and infielder at IPFW, but he was also the emergency catcher. So as he headed to the ballpark Sunday Micinski was informed his job duties had expanded.

“It was pretty cool,” Micinski said. “They let me take BP so I got to hit, which was fun. I hadn’t done that in a while. They gave me a uniform. I got to hit in a group with Zunino and (Taylor) Ard. They’re hitting 400-foot bombs, so it was pretty humbling hitting routine fly balls.”

Unfortunately, Micinski’s stint in the bullpen was cut short. While catching Steven Ewing’s bullpen session before Monday’s game he suffered the same fate as Palase as a curveball jammed his thumb. Pitching coach Rich Dorman had to warm up the relievers during the game, and the Sox were scrambling for another replacement Tuesday.

But for a brief moment, Micinski was a part of the team.

“Being a little kid I definitely wanted to be pro player,” Micinski said. “Then when I got to college I realized I wasn’t as talented as these guys. But this kind of made my year.”

Faulkner injured

Sox outfielder Mike Faulkner suffered a pulled hamstring during Monday’s 11-7 loss to Boise and is expected to miss several days. Faulkner was on base in the bottom of the seventh inning and ran out the third out when he felt a twinge. He went to his position for the top of the eighth, but while warming up he decided he wasn’t able to continue and took himself out of the game.

Faulkner’s injury once again leaves the Sox thin on the bench. Shortstop Ketel Marte returned Tuesday from his shoulder sprain, but with just 11 position players on the roster the Sox have little margin of error. The banged-up Palase was Everett’s only available player on the bench.

Today’s Game

Opponent: Boise Hawks

When: 7:05 p.m.

Where: Everett Memorial Stadium

Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)

Probable starting pitchers: Everett right-hander Victor Sanchez (5-1, 3.56 ERA) vs. Boise right-hander Jose Arias (2-2, 3.43)

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