ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox are actively seeking to bring college football back to Fenway Park, specifically a game between Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut in 2014.
Talks are in the early stages, according to sources involved in the discussions. But UConn officials feel the idea has merit and Notre Dame may be willing to shift a home game to Boston.
Red Sox executives said in March that they were looking for a high-profile game to play at Fenway Park. The Huskies and Fighting Irish would fit their blueprint on several levels.
UConn, one of three FBS teams in New England, has regional appeal and is only 85 miles from Fenway.
Notre Dame has a national following and would bring a national television audience to the game. The Irish have at least one opening on their 2014 schedule.
There hasn’t been a football game played at Fenway Park since the Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 33-14, on Dec. 1, 1968. The park hosted football for six decades before that, with high school, college, and professional games played there regularly.
Since 2002, when John Henry and Tom Werner purchased the team, the Red Sox have opened Fenway to concerts, soccer games, and even hockey games for two winters.
Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field have had college football in recent seasons. The Yankees have hosted regular-season games and the Pinstripe Bowl.
For all the marbles
Pawtucket will play Reno in the one-game Triple A national championship game Tuesday night in Durham, N.C.
Pawtucket is the International League champion and Reno won the Pacific Coast League.
The PawSox will start 38-year-old righthander Nelson Figueroa, who has played parts of nine seasons in the majors. The Brandeis graduate was 5-3 with a 3.77 earned run average in eight games for Pawtucket after signing as a free agent.
Figueroa has won both of his starts in the postseason, allowing two earned runs on nine hits over 14 innings with one walk and 13 strikeouts. Figueroa started the final game of the IL series Thursday.
Reno will go with Trevor Bauer. The 21-year-old was the third pick of the 2011 draft by the Diamondbacks. He was 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 games in Double A and Triple A this season and is 2-0, 0.77 in two postseason starts.
Bauer also started four games for Arizona.
Outfielder Bryce Brentz is 8 for 24 with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in seven postseason games. The 23-year-old played only five games for Pawtucket after a late-season promotion from Double A Portland.
Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who spent most of the season with Pawtucket, said manager Arnie Beyeler deserves a lot of credit for guiding the team to postseason success.
“He’s all business,” Lavarnway said. “He’s always willing to do extra work and he expects you to do the work and work hard. He’s a great teacher. They always have so many players coming and going, too.”
Pawtucket has had 69 players on the roster this season with 23 getting called up to the Red Sox. The only position players to spend the majority of their season with the team are infielders Nate Spears and Tony Thomas along with outfielders Che-Hsuan Lin, Jason Repko, and Alex Hassan.
Ortiz gets treatment
David Ortiz is with the Sox on the road trip and is getting treatment on his strained right Achilles’ tendon. He has no plans to try anything beyond that.
“I don’t need to hit before the season ends,” Ortiz said. “I can do that once I feel 100 percent. It’s not like I have to prove anything.”
Ortiz has played one game since July 16. He came off the disabled list on Aug. 24 and had two hits and two RBIs against Kansas City. But Ortiz aggravated his injury running the bases and was shut down a few days later.
“I think I’ll be fine in a few weeks,” Ortiz said. “The doctors said it would heal and I’ll be normal.”
Ortiz will finish the season with 23 homers and 60 RBIs. That will snap a streak of nine consecutive seasons with at least 89 RBIs.
Lefthanded reliever Andrew Miller entered Monday’s game with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 49 appearances. He also was averaging 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings. The statistics are by far the best of his seven-year career. “Andrew’s developed into a terrific pitcher,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “Think he started in a very questionable place and now has a real secure foothold on being able to compete at the major league level. I think he can be a dominating force in the bullpen.” Miller, who has started 66 games in his career, has been matched up mainly against lefthanded hitters, who are hitting .134 against him. He is working on a changeup that should make him more effective against righthanders. “That will put him over the edge next year,” Valentine said . . . The Rays changed their rotation for the series. Righthander Chris Archer will start Wednesday with David Price bumped back to Thursday. James Shields will not pitch in the series . . . Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria was out of the lineup with “heavy legs,” according to manager Joe Maddon.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.