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Craig Breslow

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Craig Andrew Breslow

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Craig Breslow was 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA as a college junior for Yale University, striking out 66 in 52 innings. He was third in the Ivy League in ERA; the rest of the Bulldogs' staff was 3-12. Yale was only 5-15 in 2002 and Craig was just 1-5 despite a 2.56 ERA, second in the league and best of any starter.

Breslow was the 26th pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2002 amateur draft and was assigned to the Ogden Raptors, where he went 6-2 with a 1.82 ERA and two saves, striking out 56 and allowing 42 hits in 54 innings over 23 games out of the bullpen.

With the 2003 Beloit Snappers, Craig went 3-4 with two saves and a 5.12 ERA in 33 outings, but did strike out 80 in 65 innings. He was 1-3 with a 7.19 for the High Desert Mavericks in 2004 and was let go. Signing with the independent New Jersey Jackals later in the year, Breslow was 3-1 with one save and a 4.10 ERA, fanning 37 in 26 innings.

Signing with the San Diego Padres for 2005, Craig was 2-1, 2.75 for the Mobile BayBears, allowing a .212 average in 52 innings over 40 outings and striking out 47, walking 17. He was 0-1 in 7 games for the Portland Beavers, allowing a 4.00 ERA, and appeared for San Diego in 14 outings, striking out 14 in 16 1/3 IP but with 15 hits and 13 walks. His ERA was 2.20 and he had no decisions for the Padres. He became the 24th Yalie to play in Major League Baseball

Going to the Boston Red Sox system in 2006, Breslow failed to make the team out of spring training and began the year with the Pawtucket Red Sox, where he was 7-1, 2.69 in 39 games with 7 saves and 77 strikeouts in 67 innings. That earned him a ticket to Boston at the end of the season, where he had his first two decisions in the majors - both losses - 13 games, with an ERA of 3.75. He spent all of 2007 with Pawtucket, going 2-3, 4.06 in 49 games, including his only professional start. He was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians after failing to make the Sox's staff out of spring training in 2008, and made 7 appearances with the Indians before being put on waivers again. This time, the Minnesota Twins claimed him and gave him a home in their bullpen for the remainder of the 2008 season, giving him 42 appearances in which his ERA was a sparkling 1.63. Overall, he went 0-2, 1.91 in 49 games that year, earning his first major league save.

In 2009, Breslow was hit hard in 17 games for the Twins, giving up 10 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings for a 6.28 ERA. He did earn his first major league victory during that stretch, but still ended up on waivers for the third time in a little over a year, being claimed by the Oakland Athletics. There he was able to right the ship, and moving out of a LOOGY role, had a 7-5 record with a 2.60 ERA in 60 games, securing a long-term spot in the A's bullpen. In 2010, he went 4-4, 3.01 in 75 games and picked up 5 saves. He was back with the A's in 2011, when he went 0-2, 3.79 in 67 games. On December 9th, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Trevor Cahill for Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook.

On August 18, 2012, Craig combined with fellow Eli Ryan Lavarnway to form the first all-Yale University battery in the major leagues since 1883 (Al Hubbard and Jack Jones). Craig forced an inning-ending double play on the first pitch he threw that day. He split that season between the D-Bakcs and the Red Sox, being traded for P Matt Albers and OF Scott Podsednik at the trading deadline. He had an excellent year, going 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 63 appearances. Up to that point, he had always been a generic middle reliever without much to set him apart from the mass of other pitchers performing a similar job in the majors. In 2013, however, he became one of the key men out of the Red Sox's bullpen, serving as a set-up man for closer Koji Uehara alongside Junichi Tazawa. He pitched 61 times with a record of 5-2 and an outstanding ERA of 1.81. The Red Sox went from last to first in the AL East last season, and Breslow continued to do well in the first two rounds of the postseason, his first taste of October baseball. In the ALDS he won a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 3 games, not giving up a run, then made four more scoreless appearances in the 2013 ALCS. However, in the World Series, his three outings were not so good, as he managed to record only one out, while giving up 3 hits and 2 walks. No matter, the Sox still won the Series in 6 games, giving Craig a World Champions ring. He got a ring of another kind a couple of weeks later, as he was married in early November. Breslow said he had set the date over a year earlier, when pitching for a last-place team, avoiding an October date "just in case".

Sources: 2002-2006 Baseball Almanacs, column by Jonathan Mayo in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, 5/4/2006

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