PAWTUCKET - Robert Coello couldn't get a strike when he needed it, couldn't get an out when he had to on the pitching mound for the Pawtucket Red Sox Thursday.
The hard-throwing righthander, who had been delivering some stellar starts since his promotion from AA-Portland a month ago, was tagged for a pair of two-run homers and a two-run double through five innings of work, contributing to the Rochester Red Wings taking an 9-2 victory at McCoy Stadium.
Coello gave up a two-run homer in the first inning (with two outs) to Jose Morales, gave up a two-run double in the second inning (with two outs) to Trevor Plouffe and gave up a two-run homer to Plouffe in the fifth inning.
"He's had one little hiccup progressing through this level," said PawSox manager Torey Lovullo of Coello, who took a 2-1 record and a 1.61 ERA into the game after five appearances, three of them as a starter. He threw six scoreless innings, notching nine strikeouts, in his last outing against Lehigh Valley and he struck out 10 batters in his AAA debut, beating the SWB Yankees.
In the meantime, despite nine hits by the PawSox over that five-inning span with Coello on the mound, batters went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position before Lars Anderson poked a two-out, RBI-single up the middle in the fifth inning.
Coello, a Bayonne, N.J. native, was once a catcher, selected in the 20th round of the MLB Draft in 2004 by Cincinnati. Signed as a free agent by Boston in 2008, Coello pitched in 33 games for Class A-Salem last year, having a nice 2.05 ERA, allowing just four home runs in 66 innings.
The rugged 6-foot-4 Coello missed the 2005 and '06 seasons due to a wounded right arm, then was converted to the pitching mound by the Angels' organization in 2007. A year later, he was pitching in the Independent League with teams in Calgary and Edmonton.
Before being summoned to Pawtucket, Coello had a 4-1 record with AA-Portland this season in 14 appearances. Since arriving at McCoy Stadium, Coello has totaled 36 K's in 27.1 innings, foes batting just .171 against him.
"He's gotten a lot of swings and misses with his fastball," said Lovullo. "He has a downhill fastball. It's alive, it looks like a big league fastball.
"It's aggressive. There's some deception there, it has late life in the hitting zone. He's had some very good outings, attacking the zone." Just not last night.
"Usually they call time out and throw the ball away," related PawSox SS Gil Velazquez of a most unusual baseball play which occurred after he drew an eighth inning walk at Lehigh Valley Wednesday night. Iron Pigs pitcher Oscar Villarreal didn't like the ball and tossed it into the dugout, where the bat boy stopped it, "Rich Saveur (PawSox pitching coach) said he's been waiting 17 years to see that play," said PawSox manager Torey Lovullo. After a conferring of umpires, because the ball was in play and timeout had not been called, Velazuez was awarded two bases, going to third base, the rule being that if a pitcher commits the crime with his foot on the rubber, it is a one-base penalty — with his foot off the rubber, a two-base penalty. "That play never happens," added Lovullo … Rochester, the Twins' AAA-affiliate, is 25 games under .500, Red Wing starting pitchers being 3-18 with a 7.39 ERA over the past 30 games … Michael Bowden is being converted from a starting pitcher to a middle inning reliever to potentially smooth over Boston's doubt in Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima. "He has a strong body, he's got bounce back ability," said Lovullo. "This is where he's going to practice and get his routine down. Does it mean that he won't be starting? No" … Catcher Mark Wagner was reinstated from the disabled list, missing the past two months with a broken left hand. He appeared n three games with the GCL Red Sox and will likely catch Adam Mills in tonight's game. "We'll not put him in harm's way," said Lovullo of managing his off days and at-bats … Who's hot? Ryan Kalish, (four hits) batting .515 (17-for-33) over the last eight games, Lars Anderson batting .333 (17 for 51) over the last 14 games, Bubba Bell batting .433 (21-for-49) over the last 14 games. Who's not? Cleanup batter Aaron Bates who struck out four times, leaving four runners stranded in scoring position, Jorge Jimenez with just one hit over his last 25 AB, before an eighth inning RBI-single and Josh Reddick, 8-for-44 (.181) over the last 13 games … Dustin Martin, Rochester's leadoff batter, drew four walks.