The Red Sox win the championship!

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OK, it was just the Governors’ Cup, the trophy given to the winner of the Triple-A level International League championship. But it is one thing for the Red Sox to celebrate in a dismal 2012 season. They hadn’t won the title in 28 years.

The Pawtucket Red Sox finished a sweep of the best-of-five series over the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox affiliate, on Thursday, winning 4-1.

Journeyman right-hander Nelson Figueroa picked up the win for the PawSox, allowing one run in six innings. Jeremy Hazelbaker, Juan Carlos Linares, Mike Rivera and Che-Hsuan Lin drove in the runs. The lone top prospect in the lineup, right fielder Bryce Brentz, went 0-for-4, but he did finish the series 4-for-12.

Game 2 of the series featured Zach Stewart shutting out his old team for six innings on his way to the win. Stewart pitched for Charlotte before being included in the Kevin Youkilis trade in June.

Now that the PawSox season is over, one imagines a few players will be added to Boston’s roster for Friday’s game. Stewart, Lin and Danny Valencia would be obvious additions.

Kyle Schwarber: Before and After

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It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear  a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.

Which brings us to Kyle Schwarber. All offseason long we’ve been getting reports about Schwarber working out, losing weight and, of course, getting into The Best Shape of His Life. And some of those pics have definitely shown a young man who has cut fat and gotten lean. Good for him!

Let’s see how that translates to Schwarber in uniform. Here is is at spring training last year:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

Here he is toward the end of last season:

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 09: at Wrigley Field on September 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

And here he is now:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Nice goin’, kid.