Catcher-turned-pitcher Robert Coello made his Triple-A debut with the Pawtucket Red Sox on April 19, 2009 against Lehigh Valley.
Coello blanked the Iron Pigs for 1 1/3 innings and then was sent to Class-A Salem where he was 5-3 with two saves, a 2.05 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 66 innings.
Looking back on Coello’s debut with Pawtucket, one thought stuck in the mind of pitching coach Rich Sauveur.
“If you had asked me a year ago after he pitched that one inning, I would have said ‘Good luck. I hope you have a good education,’” related Sauveur. “But the strides he’s made in the last year are outstanding.
“He very much wants to learn this game of pitching. Ask me now and I’d say the kid has an opportunity because he throws strikes and he’s got velocity on his fastball. He gets a lot of swings and misses with his fastball.
“I’m very hopeful this kid will stay here,” added Sauveur, “and help our team win.”
During his first three outings (one start and two relief appearances) with the PawSox, the 25-year-old right-hander has given every indication he’ll do exactly that – since he was 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA, replete with only five hits plus 19 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.
In retrospect, those stats are a microcosm of his performance with Portland, where he began the season.