Magical in Manchester: Salem's Doyle dominates in homecoming

By: Bill Burt, Eagle-Tribune

Terry Doyle walked out of the visitors’ clubhouse about 90 minutes before Tuesday night’s game, in full Bowie Baysox regalia. He stopped as he walked through the dugout door to see and feel what the rest of us saw and felt yesterday.

Cloudy, overcast skies and seemingly freezing temperatures.

It was a warm New England welcome.

“There is something about being from around here,” said the 29-year-old Doyle, a native of Salem, N.H. “You have to be tough to play be from around here and play baseball.”

Underneath the happy-go-lucky Doyle is a man on a mission, albeit with an ear-to-ear grin.

Every outing, Doyle is practically pitching for his baseball life. And last night, for the third straight outing, the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder was lights out.

At 29, in Double-A ball, his biological clock is ticking like a time bomb.

If you count the two winters and two teams he played on in Venezuela, he has played on 16 teams since being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 37th round in 2008 after his senior year at Boston College.

“This is my eighth year in pro ball,” said Doyle. “And to be honest, I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. I mean ... come on ... I go to the field every day, throw a little, jog a little ... I love this job.”

Joking aside, there is stress at this level and his age. Doyle is in the starting rotation for the Baysox, a farm team of the Baltimore Orioles (the Baysox have the same colors as the O’s).

When Doyle signed with the Orioles this past winter, he hoped he’d be starting the season in Triple-A.

But, in pro baseball, one thing Doyle has learned over his bus-hopping career is that you expect nothing.

“Everyone (in pro baseball) keeps everything close to the vest,” said Doyle. “You just do your job and at some point you might hear something. They haven’t told me anything.”

Doyle started the season on the disabled list with a sore arm. When he returned he had to wait his turn, first in the bullpen, then recently in the starting rotation.

He allowed only two runs over 15 innings of relief before joining the starting rotation. After allowing six runs in three innings in his first start, he has since allowed only three runs over three starts (18 innings), averaging five strikeouts per outing.

Last night was magical ... he gave up two earned runs over six innings, fanning five and walking three. He earned the win as Bowie held on 3-2. He’s now 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA.

“A couple of guys got hurt and I got my shot,” said Doyle, whose family moved to Rhode Island after he graduated from Salem High in 2004.

“I got a break and so far have taken advantage of it. I’ve had a lot of fun here. I’ve become a little more flexible here working with our strength and conditioning guy. I feel good before every start.”

If you think Doyle’s life as a “pro athlete” is glamour, think again. He lives with two other players in an apartment in Bowie

“We don’t have any furniture, other than the three folding chairs we stole from our park,” said Doyle. “We all have air mattresses. We’re guys and we’re baseball players. We’re fine.”

That life will change when Doyle gets married on Oct. 24 and will eventually settle down in the Columbia, S.C. area. In fact, he will be attending five weddings, including his own, from Oct. 7 through Jan. 9.

“That’s when baseball players get married,” smiled Doyle, the two-time Eagle-Tribune MVP at Salem.

In the meantime, he awaits a possible return to Triple-A -- he has made 43 appearances with three different organizations at that level, including the Red Sox’s team Pawtucket. He’s still holding out hope someday he’ll pitch in the majors.

“The great part about Terry is he genuinely wants everyone to succeed,” said Mike Yastrzemski, an Andover native, and one of three Merrimack Valley guys on the Baysox (Lawrence’s Dennis Torres was called up from Single-A last week).

“He knows what type of player he is,” said Yaz, who didn’t have a hit last night in four at bats. “He will outsmart you. I love playing behind him.”