PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Adam Mills has a chance to pick up some nice jewelry over the next two weeks.
Of course, the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Portland Sea Dogs and the Lancaster JetHawks will have to win their respective league titles for the young right-hander to earn that bling. But the fact that Mills is even in a position to have his name on three separate championship rosters is not something he imagined possible when this season began. Actually, it's something he wasn't even thinking about earlier this week.
Mills was named as the surprise starter for Friday's third game in Pawtucket's opening-round Governors' Cup series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre yankees. He had been at Double-A Portland and was originally slated to start Game 1 of the Eastern League playoffs Wednesday night against Trenton.
"This is a big surprise," said Mills, a 2007 eighth-round pick by Boston who pitched in Lowell of the New York-Penn League last season. "I found out two days ago. They told me I was throwing the first game against Trenton. Then I came in after the game and they told me I was coming here. It's a big surprise, but then again it was a big surprise that I ended up at Portland.
"I pitched well when I was in Portland and, hopefully, that will continue up here. Being in three leagues this year was very unexpected. I thought I would be in Lancaster all year and work my way up one level every year. Now we have a chance to win three championships and I can get three rings."
Mills began the season with Lancaster of the Class A Advanced California League and went 7-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 15 starts for the playoff-bound JetHawks. He got bumped up to Portland in early July and though he was 0-5 in 11 starts, he had a 4.00 ERA and pitched well. He struck out 38 and walked only eight in 63 innings for the Sea Dogs and had a 2.23 ERA in his last five starts.
Michael Bowden, who made his Major League debut with Boston on Saturday, spent several weeks at Portland with Mills in July. He's slated to come on in relief of the UNC-Charlotte product and says the PawSox are in for a treat with the Mills on the mound.
"He works really fast," Bowden said. "With him on the mound, the games go quick. The position players love it. He throws all his pitches for strikes, so he gets outs."
Mills has worked at least six innings in 12 of his starts this year, prompting Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson to call him "a seven-inning machine." Five of those outings came in the hitter-friendly Cal League, where he surrendered only five homers in 81 1/3 innings.
"I'm very glad that I'm out of the Cal League," Mills said. "It's mentally fatiguing more than anything else. The first half of the year there with the wind blowing out is tough, but after a while you get over it. High Desert was tough. I hope I never have to throw there ever again."
Odds are that he won't. If everything breaks right he'll have at least one more start for Pawtucket should they reach the finals. And then, who knows, he could even get a start at the Bricktown Showdown in what would potentially be a fourth title this year.
This and that: Jon Van Every, who was called up by the Red Sox earlier this week, was sent back to Pawtucket following Wednesday's Major League contest against Baltimore. Van Every was in uniform and on the bench and left shortly after Boston's victory. He was in the starting lineup for Pawtucket, arriving at McCoy Stadium about 45 minutes before game time. ... Bowden is slated to throw two innings Friday. He isn't sure what the Sox have planned for him after that outing, but he says he's "keeping his options open" while preparing for that game as though it was a start. ... Pawtucket reinstated first baseman Sandy Madera off the disabled list and assigned LHP Lincoln Holdzkom to Class A Greenville. ... Right-hander Devern Hansack will get the start in Game 2 for the PawSox. He made his first appearance in two weeks last Saturday, allowing two earned runs on four hits in two innings against Buffalo. He had been out since Aug. 17 after taking a line drive off the right arm against the Bisons. Johnson said he expects Hansack to be available for 75 to 80 pitches. "He threw 37 to 40 pitches his last time out so there's no reason he can't go 75-80 if he feels good," Johnson said.