Welcome to your daily "Cup of Coffee," a quick report on the previous day's Red Sox minor league happenings. On Sunday, the PawSox fell to the Richmond Braves, 2-1. Chris Narveson took the tough-luck loss, giving up only 2 runs in 6 IP. In AA Action, Portland defeated Norwich 10-6. Phil Devey got te win in relief, while Alberto Concepcion led the offense, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs. The Blue Rocks took the loss at Winston-Salem, falling 6-2. Luis Mendoza gave up 5 runs and 6 hits in 4 IP. Down in Greenville, the Bombers came from behind to eek out a 7-6 victory over Savannah. Jeff Natale led the Bombers offense, going 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs, hitting his first professional home run in the process. Matt Goodson pitched 5 scoreless innings, giving up only 1 hit. Beau Vaughan made an unsucessful season debut, giving up 6 ER in 1.1 IP. Jesus Delgado took the win in relief. The Spinners lost their first game of the season, losing to Oneonta by a score of 6-4.
Player of the Day: Jeff Natale, Greenville: 3/4, 2 2Bs, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 runs
Boston promoted 2004 second-round draft pick Dustin Pedroia from AA Portland to AAA Pawtucket on Wednesday. The second baseman hit .324 with 8 HRs, 40 RBIs, and 7 stolen bases through 66 games at Portland. Pedroia will start at second base for Pawtucket and bat in the two-hole.
In addition to having a solid year at the plate, Pedroia has an excellent reputation as a top-notch defensive infielder. He won the 2003 NCAA Defensive Player of the Year award playing shortstop for Arizona State. The Red Sox moved Pedroia to second base prior to the 2005 season to play alongside with Hanley Ramirez. Pedroia is also said to be a great teammate and an extremely hard worker.
LOWELL - The Spinners opened their 10th season in the NY-Penn League with a bang on Tuesday night, dominating the Vermont Expos to a 20-2 victory in front of a sell-out crowd at LeLacheur Park. In the victory, the team set a new mark for runs in a game; the previous record was 18, which occured twice previously. Outfielder Willy Mota led the offense with 3 hits and 4 RBIs, while recent draft pick and leadoff hitter Dominic Ramos scored four runs. Starter Ryan Phillips got the win in his pro debut, striking out 5 and allowing only 1 hit in 5 shutout innings.
Among those in attendance were Red Sox owner John Henry, who trhew ou the first pitch. The Spinners continue the series with Vermont tonight at LeLacheur Park.
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - This is the third of several Wilmington reports that we will feature this season. Steve Lenox is the Blue Rocks radio voice and Director of Media Relations.
DL: It's been a month since our last report. How did the team look in the month of May?
SL: The club went 15-15 in the month of May. Mickey Hall really started to get going offensively, but had a fracture of his index finger on his left hand in a game against Frederick on May 25. It looks like he will be out for an extended period of time. Mickey hit .325 (25-for-77) with 8 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, and 17 RBI. He was recognized as the Blue Rocks Player of the Month for May and received a signature watch from a local jeweler. Anibal Sanchez turned in several impressive outings in May. He went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in five starts. People are really starting to pick up interest in him because he has done a terrific job in the starting role. DL: Matt Van Der Bosch replaced Hall on the roster. Can you be more specific on how long will Mickey be out, and how has Matt looked since joining the team? SL: It's going to be four to six weeks for Mickey. He has stayed with the club and continues to work hard with his conditioning. Our hitting coach, Bruce Crabbe, has told us that although Mickey is limited in what he can do, he does whatever he can to stay in shape. Matt has been in the lineup everyday, hitting in the leadoff spot and playing centerfield. He's a left-handed hitter who puts tremendous pressure on the infield defense when he hits the ball on the ground. He has shown the ability to work the count and see a lot of pitches. I am looking forward to the first time that he has to chase after a ball in our spacious outfield at Frawley Stadium. He can go after it and not too many balls are going to fall in with him patrolling centerfield. DL: Has anyone else been out of the line-up due to injury? SL: Ian Bladergroen is still out with a wrist injury. Ian and Mickey are together on most days with their conditioning programs. He is still a few weeks away. DL: Steve Langone was activated recently, giving the Blue Rocks three New England natives in the bullpen. How have he, Pete Fisher, and Barry Hertzler been throwing? SL: Pete was actually promoted to Double-A Portland last week. He's a great guy and was terrific working out of the bullpen, which is something that took some getting used to. I had one conversation with him (Pete) a while back about an outing that he had and he was very upfront and honest with the questions that I had for him. Steve is similar to Pete in that he is older and is here in Wilmington to build up arm strength. I joked around with him on our last road trip about having two wins already. The wins are not important for him right now. Building arm strength and staying healthy are the objectives. All three that you mentioned grew up as Red Sox fans. Barry is the youngest of the three and has been solid when called upon out of the bullpen. DL: Who have been the stalwarts out of the bullpen so far this year? SL: Everyone. They have all improved since the opening of the season. Edgar Martinez "El Guapo" is working on the feel for his change-up. He has a pretty good fastball and has been getting some opportunities to close out games recently. He had back-to-back outings where he did not allow a single base runner. Randy Beam is the only lefty out of the pen. He has great movement on his pitches. DL: Give us a brief update on two other pitchers -- Tommy Hottovy and Jose Vaquedano. SL: Vaquedano has moved into the starting rotation since the last time we talked. He has great poise on the mound. He keeps the club in the game and when he is on, he'll get a lot of groundball outs. Tommy had a rough stretch, but has turned things around. He is very mature and he is another one of the starting pitchers that works hard between starts. He is very much self-motivated.
DL: Is there anything else you'd like to pass along? SL: The first half of the season wraps up on June 19. As of June 7, the club is a season-high nine games below .500 (23-32). Hall's injury really hurt the offense. The club is struggling to find consistency on the offensive side. Here are some numbers for you. The club has had 38 of their 56 games decided by three runs or less this season and 14 of the last 16 have been decided by two runs or less. A few clutch hits here and there and fortunes may turn. Andrew Dobies has been promoted to Wilmington from Greenville. Jarrett Gardner was sent down to Greenville. Dobies makes his first start in the second game of a doubleheader at home tonight.
Friday, June 3 - This Greenville report is thanks to Rick Ludwig, a Bombers season ticket holder. DL: It's been awhile since we last did a Bombers report. How did the team look in the month of May? RL: The team struggled early through a deep slump, and has started to return to the promise of the first few weeks. They appear to have three players I'm sure will make it to Fenway in the future. DL: Christian Lara is one of the more highly regarded prospects wearing a Bomber's uniform. What have you seen from him this year? RL: You found my 1st of the three. You need to go back to Rick Bureleson to find as good a shortstop prospect. He consistently makes all the routine plays, and most of the hard ones. His good range and accurate arm set him apart from the average shortstop. He has shown good instincts and control at bat to be a good 2-hole hitter. It would not surprise me to see Christian and Hanley in 3-4 years, providing a strong middle infield in Fenway. DL: Which other position players have impressed you this year? RL: John Otness has shown good bat speed and the ability to take a pitch the other way. He looks like the best hitter on the team and can play several positions defensively very well. Andrew Pickney has provided a very good amount of offense and has very good power up the gaps. He has also provided a steady glove at 3rd. Logan Sorensen has shown a great glove at 1st and is rapidly improving with the bat. DL: Mike Rozier and Andrew Dobies are two of the more promising pitchers in Greenville. What are your early impressions of each? RL: You found the other two on my list. Andrew seems a bit ahead of Mike at the moment, but that is expected from a college pitcher compared to someone who was pitching in high school a year ago. Mike has really come on lately. You could see that he'd let one bad inning affect the rest of the game, now his poise is really showing through. His last outing was a strong one, touching 90 at times, and he earned his first professional win. Look for both of these guys to make a run through the system and be in Boston by 2008. DL: What has Ryan Schroyer shown in the early going? RL: Strong record and ERA, but almost a hit per inning, which is not good for a reliever. Too many hits and too many inherited runners scoring. If he can reduce the hits, he will be very effective for the Bombers. DL: Luis Soto struggled before being sent back to Extended Spring Training earlier this year. What did you see as his biggest problem(s) in adjusting to the SAL and the outfield? RL: It seemed Luis was lost at the plate, and in the field. He has a cannon for an arm and his natural position is at short. The fact that the Sox have so many good players at that position necessitated his moving to a new position, and I don't think he was ready for it. DL: Is there anything else you'd like to pass along from Greenville? RL: Bob Kipper has done a good job of getting the pitchers to buy into his methods. Mental preparation is every bit as important as being able to throw 90. Randy Phillips has also done a great job with the hitters, preparing them for the game, and the bats are coming on after being silent earlier in the year. Lastly, props have to be handed out to my favorite mascot of all time, our own Ace. Ace keeps the crowd going and the kids laughing -- having a good time. Ace by far is the MVP of the off the field staff.