His past 24 hours have been quite hectic. A little crazy, too. Craig Breslow’s whirlwind day took him from Los Angeles to Boston, with a pit stop in Phoenix for clean clothes. His flight landed at Logan Airport shortly after 5 p.m., and the Red Sox’ newest player arrived at Fenway 10 minutes before game time.
It all ended when the lefthanded reliever did what he has done so many times before: He jogged in from the bullpen, and got batters out.
Breslow was dealt from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik just before Tuesday’s trade deadline, and he quickly got thrust into the fire.
Relieving starter Aaron Cook in the fifth, Breslow pitched 1⅓ innings of one-hit ball with two strikeouts in the Sox’ 7-5 loss to the Tigers.
“Probably would have been nice to settle in a little bit, but at the same time getting out there and getting my feet wet is also nice,” said Breslow, who got Albers’s old locker and wore his predecessor’s No. 32 jersey. “Sometimes when you have a little bit of time to think about your surroundings, it doesn’t work in your favor.”
Breslow wasn’t the only one swept up by the trade flurry. His fiancee was returning to Arizona when Breslow got dealt. They met two years ago at a dinner for Breslow’s Strike 3 Foundation, a charity he founded in 2008 to raise money for childhood cancer research. Breslow, whose sister is a 15-year survivor of thyroid cancer, operates the charity with Andrew Bailey, his teammate for three seasons in Oakland, now reunited in the Sox pen.
After Boston signed him to a minor league deal in 2006, Breslow spent two seasons in Pawtucket, and was a two-time Triple A All-Star. He appeared in 13 games with the Red Sox in 2006. Since then, he has developed a cutter and a sinker, gaining versatility and confidence along the way.
“It’s exciting for me,” said Breslow, a Trumbull, Conn., native. “I appreciate the time I had away, but this is home for me. The first time I was here, I was just a fill-in, shuffling back and forth between here and Triple A, but this time I hope I can contribute.”
Despite not pitching for Boston at all in 2007, Breslow has a World Series ring after getting called up for the playoffs. But don’t expect him to brandish the hardware upon his return.
“Some of these guys know I was just up for a day,” Breslow said, smiling.
His journey has been highlighted by the intersection of athletics and academia, filled with wisecracks about graphing calculators and pocket protectors. He graduated from Yale with a double-major in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.
But those snickering are usually quick to note his specialty: mowing down lefties.
“I can give them another lefthanded option out of the bullpen, whether that’s matching up or throwing innings at a time,” Breslow said. “I’ve always fought the notion that I was just a left-on-left guy. I feel like my splits through my career have been pretty even.”
Breslow arrived at Fenway alongside catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who was recalled from Pawtucket when Daniel Nava’s injured wrist put him on the disabled list. Breslow and Lavarnway are the only two former Yale players in MLB.
“I heard we got him, shot him a text message,” Lavarnway said before the game. “I can’t wait to see him, because he’s always been good to me. It’ll be great working with him.”
Ron Darling, who retired in 1995, was the last Bulldog to play in the majors, Ivy League pedigree and all.
“It’s nice to have some company,” Breslow said. “I’m sure I can deflect some ribbing now that he’s another Yale guy, and a younger guy.”
Breslow was in Los Angeles with the Diamondbacks when he heard the “surprising” trade news. In past years, he had been the subject of trade rumors, some actually linked to the Red Sox.
“I’ve thought about it, always nice to get back here close to home,” Breslow said. “But I thought that ship had sailed.”
Within 24 hours, it returned to the Fenway docks.