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September 29, 2009 at 11:12 PM

SoxProspects.com Podcast - September 29, 2009

In the final podcast of the season, Ian, Chris, and Chris discuss the 2009 season and what we should look forward to moving ahead.

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at 4:30 PM

Cabrera latest Boston call-up, Bates hits the DL

Another day, another relief pitcher added to the expanded Boston active roster. According to Chad Finn of Boston.com, Pawtucket closer Fernando Cabrera is the latest call-up in what has already been a busy September for the Red Sox. For Cabrera, this will be his second stint in the Major Leagues this season. In 4 appearances for Boston, the 27-year-old right-hander allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7 in his 4.0 innings of work. At Pawtucket this season, Cabrera served as the team's closer, racking up 22 saves and 51 strikeouts in 52.2 innings while pitching to a 1.71 ERA. He limited Triple-A hitters to just 40 hits, only 3 of which were home runs, and took home Pawtucket Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. A veteran of parts of six Major League seasons for Cleveland, Baltimore and Boston, Cabrera is a career 8-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 129 big league appearances.

To make room for Cabrera on the 40-man roster, first baseman / left fielder Aaron Bates was called up and immediately placed on the 60-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain. The 25-year-old right-handed hitter split 2009 between Portland and Pawtucket, putting up combined .268/.337/.391 totals with 23 doubles, 12 home runs, and 57 RBI in 478 at-bats. Bates also saw some brief Major League action this season, hitting .364/.417/.545 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI in 11 at-bats for Boston.
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at 11:27 AM

Q&A with Mike Hazen

In our annual tradition, Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen took some questions from Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com to wrap up the 2009 minor league season. For our newer readers, Hazen is the head of the farm system, responsible for overseeing the development of Boston's minor league talent. Special thanks to Mike for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Thanks as well to Chris Hatfield, who contributed to this interview.

Mike Andrews:
Could you compare and contrast the defensive tools of Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish? What factors will be the most determinative as to what outfield positions they will play at the next levels?
Mike Hazen: Josh and Ryan are both good defensive outfielders. We think Josh is a little quicker in his first step to the ball and has a quicker release on his throws. Both players have solid-average arms from the outfield. Ryan is very sound defensive outfielder with good closing speed. He's also bigger than Josh physically, and may continue to fill out over the course of his career. That could likely be the ultimate decision-maker. Both players will continue to play center in the near future in the minor leagues, but ultimately how they physically end up filling out will play a large role in their final major league position.

: What can we make of Lars Anderson's 2009 season?
MH: Lars had a tough year with some inconsistent performances. We’ve talked a lot about this in the past; not every developmental path is a linear one. During the course of their respective careers, players are going to have periods – sometimes seasons – of inconsistent play and growth. Sometimes it’s hard to reason, but there are times when good seasons emerge and players are able to ride that run of positive performance. Then there are seasons that go in the other direction and players can have a difficult time digging themselves out of holes. Lars is a very good player and is going to perform at his accustomed levels again. There were probably similar feelings about Dan Bard after 2007 and Clay Buchholz after 2008 as well. Not to say that we expect that type of turn around, but Lars works as hard as anyone we have, and we are confident that he is going to process 2009 and be better for it next year.

: You must be very proud of Anthony Rizzo’s accomplishments in 2009. Please discuss his development over the course of the last year.
MH: Anthony had a very good season with solid performances at two levels. At this age, the majority of development is focused on repetition and foundation building. Anthony has done a good job of continuing to get his swing more consistent from a timing standpoint and defensively he has always been very good at first base. Thankfully he has been healthy and cancer-free now for over a year and he should be able to focus on getting stronger in instructional league in preparation for 2010.

: Can you discuss the relative strengths and developmental needs of Luis Exposito, Tim Federowicz, and Ryan Lavarnway?
MH: Exposito is very strong and has a good catcher’s frame. He probably has the best raw arm strength and raw power in the system for catchers. With Expo, we are just getting started working with the upper level pitchers, which is always a challenge for any young catcher. Fed is a little quicker behind the plate with a very good release, ability to run the pitching staff, and call games. With Fed, we are working on the finer points of his blocking and receiving skills. Ryan probably had the best overall offensive year for our catchers. We are working with Ryan on receiving technique and overall throwing mechanics. Ryan’s ability to stay behind the plate will be very important for his career.

: Felix Doubront and Stolmy Pimentel are two of the more successful international pitchers in the organization. What are the keys to their respective successes?
MH: Hard work. Both players came into 2009 in Fort Myers in extremely good shape. Felix had worked harder than we have ever seen last off-season. His body is starting to add considerable muscle and that helped with his ability to repeat his delivery even more, translating into higher velocities for his fastball. Stolmy put on a lot of size and strength last off-season as well. Stolmy had always shown a pretty good feel for his fastball command and the ability to throw his changeup. The emergence of his breaking ball this year was a big separator.

: Che-Hsuan Lin appears to have some of the best tools in the organization, particularly his defense and speed. How well did his bat come along in 2009?
MH: As you know, Lin got off to a little bit of a rough start in 2009. While he had a lot of very good months after that, his overall numbers obviously suffered as a result. He has all the tools we look for in a good young hitter: plate discipline, balance, strength, and bat speed. As you mentioned, his defense and speed are going to be his calling card in the majors, but we feel strongly that he is going to hit as well.

: The young Greenville infield from early 2009 went in various directions over the course of the season. Could you contrast the development of Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Dent, Oscar Tejeda, and Michael Almanzar over the 2009 season?
MH: As we have talked about in the past, young players equals inconsistency. I think this group is a microcosm of that. Middlebrooks struggled for most of the first half before getting a little more luck in the second half and turning his season around. Will improved his at bat management tremendously this season. Ryan had a solid year start-to-finish. There were still some ups-and-downs, but those were much less noticeable than 2008. He really emerged at shortstop where he played very well, and that gives us a lot to think about moving into this off-season. Oscar had a pretty good year – not what a lot of people expect we realize – but a year of growth at the plate. We made some fundamental adjustments with his swing during the year which can always be a challenge to immediate performance. Michael’s season was disappointing in the aspect of having to move him back to Lowell . We just didn’t feel that keeping Will and Michael at the same level was going to be productive for the second half and neither player had shown enough to move up to fill the hole in Salem. As you look at this group, realize that they all played well below the average age of the South Atlantic League (very fluid number as you would imagine, but the average age sits slightly above 21). There are always a number of players that excel regardless of age such as Rizzo or Jason Heyward, but that is more the exception. It does present challenges to younger players that are working on building more of a developmental foundation with regard to their approach or swing mechanics.

: Daniel Nava and Derrick Loop are two independent league signees who have had some real success in the Sox system over the past couple years. How did they come onto the Red Sox' radar, and where do they stand in terms of being potential major league contributors?
MH: Allard Baird and Jared Porter scour the independent leagues every year and we have been fortunate to have scouted and signed two of the better players over the last couple of years. We monitor good performances in those leagues and send scouts in to see them play. Nava and Loop both had very good seasons and have performed as well as our younger prospects. They will continue to get more opportunities to perform in the future.

: In that same vein, what aspects of their respective games do Bryce Cox and Chris Province need to work on to excel at the next levels?
MH: Bryce and Chris are both hitting that point of their careers where they need to separate themselves from the others within their group. Both need more consistency with regard to command of their secondary pitches. This becomes the separator at the highest levels. Next year as they move into a possible major league protection role, this will become very important. At this point moving forward, promotion and opportunity are a function of performance and little else.

: We ask this every year, but you've given us great names like Stolmy Pimentel, Roman Mendez, and Manny Rivera in the past, so we'll ask again: what players coming out of the Latin American program should we keep an eye on next season?
MH: Juan Rodriguez and Keury De La Cruz were our pitcher and player of the year respectively. We feel both have a good amount of upside and are excited to see them perform in the states.
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September 28, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Richardson called up, makes Major League debut

After a very good season split between Portland and Pawtucket, Dustin Richardson today received his reward. According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, Richardson has been called up to Boston to join several former Pawtucket teammates in an already crowded bullpen.

After a tough 2008 campaign that saw him put up a 6.45 ERA in 24 starts, Richardson was converted to a relief pitcher during the off-season. The 25-year-old left-hander responded, putting up a 2.55 ERA in 45 appearances, striking out 96 in 74.0 innings and earning an Eastern League All-Star nod. A fifth-round selection in the 2006 draft, Richardson now owns a 22-21 record with a 4.11 ERA in 348.0 innings in the Red Sox system.

To make room for Richardson on the 40-man roster, Pawtucket outfielder Chris Carter was designated for assignment. The left-handed batter, who recently turned 27, hit .294/.358/.465 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 2009, taking home the Pawtucket MVP award in the process. Originally acquired from Arizona for Wily Mo Pena in a three-way trade in August of 2007, Carter owns a career .306/.380/.510 line with 126 home runs in 726 minor league games in the Arizona and Boston systems.
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September 24, 2009 at 4:44 PM

2009 Instructional League Roster

The Fall Instructional League got underway this week in Fort Myers, and the league will run until mid-October. Also referred to as "Instrux", the Fall Instructional League is a short-season league used to develop Low-A and Rookie-Ball players, often including many recently-drafted prospects. The league focuses on fundamental baseball and includes classroom training, akin to the gulf Coast League. Forty-four players will participate in the Fall Instructional League for the Red Sox in 2009:

Pitchers: Drake Britton, Cesar Cabral, Yeiper Castillo, Randy Consuegra, Chris Court, Eric Curtis, Jordan Flasher, Leandro Marin, Roman Mendez, Renny Parthemore, Pedro Perez, Manny Rivera, Juan Rodriguez, Kyle Stroup, Francisco Taveras, Raynel Velette, Kendal Volz, Richie Wasielewski, Tyler Wilson, Madison Younginer

Catchers: Carson Blair, Chia-Chu Chen, Ryan Lavarnway, Oscar Perez, Christian Vazquez

Infielders: Michael Almanzar, Jose Garcia, Derrik Gibson, Miles Head, Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Chris McGuiness, Will Middlebrooks, David Renfroe, Oscar Tejeda, Jason Thompson, Jose Vinico

Outfielders: Reymond Fuentes, Alex Hassan, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Brandon Jacobs, Wilfred Pichardo, Seth Schwindenhammer, Shannon Wilkerson

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September 23, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Jones back to the bigs

In a move to further fortify the bullpen as the regular season winds down, the Red Sox have recalled lefthander Hunter Jones from Triple-A Pawtucket to join the expanded Boston roster, this according to Boston.com's Chad Finn. This will be the second Major League stint in 2009 for Jones, who previously appeared in 8 games for Boston in April and May, allowing 8 earned runs on 10 hits and 4 walks in 9.0 innings, striking out 7 in that span. The 25-year-old lefthander appeared in 36 games out of the Pawtucket bullpen, pitching to a 4-3 record with a 4.25 ERA in 53.0 innings of work. He struck out 39 and walked 24, but allowed only 45 hits to International League batters. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2005 draft, Jones owns a 3.09 ERA in 338.0 innings in his five seasons in the Red Sox system. Because Jones is already on the 40-man roster, no corresponding roster move is required.
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September 21, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Tazawa placed on 60-day DL, Woodward rejoins Sox

The Red Sox have placed Junichi Tazawa on the 60-day disabled list with what was described as a "mild left groin strain" and have replaced him on the roster with Chris Woodward, the team announced this afternoon. Tazawa last appearance was August 27 against the White Sox, a game he started but left after allowing 9 runs on 10 hits in four innings of work, and took the loss. Woodward returns to the Sox after being outrighted to Pawtucket September 15 to make room for Diasuke Matsuzaka. Tazawa is currently the sixth-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.
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September 19, 2009 at 7:13 AM

Greenville season ends with 5-1 loss to Lakewood

9/19 Cup of Coffee: Greenville's season came to an end on Friday when the Drive fell to Lakewood, 5-1, as the BlueClaws took the South Atlantic League Championship, three games to one. Fabian Williamson started and took the loss. He went 4 innings, giving up 4 runs, 3 of which were earned, on 7 hits and a walk. The Drive scored their only run in the bottom of the 7th when Mitch Dening singled with two out and scored on Kade Keowen's double to left center. Dening had 2 hits in the game as did Ryan Lavarnway. The usual steady defense of the Drive was absent, as the team committed 3 errors in the game, two of them coming in the top of the 3rd inning, allowing the BlueClaws to score twice.

The Coffee pot has been drained, but we'll have a fresh one on when the Arizona Fall League kicks off in October. Until then, all the best.

Player of the Night: Mitch Dening, who had 2 hits in the game and scored the Drive's only run.
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September 18, 2009 at 6:31 AM

Greenville's win extends series while Salem's season ends

9/18 Cup of Coffee: Greenville scored three times in the bottom of the 6th inning to overcome a 1-0 deficit and held on to score a 3-2 win over Lakewood, cutting the BlueClaws' South Atlantic League Championship lead to two games to one. Casey Kelly drove in what proved to be the winning run with a single in the sixth inning. Earlier in that same inning, Mitch Dening's double had driven in the Drive's first run. Dening later scored on a sacrifice fly. Lakewood threatened in the ninth and had a pair of runners on base with two out before Kyle Rutter came on in relief to get the final out of the game. Stolmy Pimentel started and went 5 innings. He allowed 1 run on 6 hits. Jeremy Kehrt got the win, throwing 3.2 innings of relief and giving up 1 run. Pete Hissey had 3 hits in the game.

Lynchburg ended Salem's season with an 8-7 win, sweeping the Carolina League Mills Cup Championship Series in three games. Lynchburg scored six times in the second inning and held an 8-4 lead going into the sixth. The Red Sox rallied with two runs in the sixth on a Ryan Dent home run, and pushed another across in the ninth to pull within one. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Zach Borowiak grounded out to second to end the game. Starter Kyle Weiland took the loss, giving up 7 runs in 1.1 innings. Che-Hsuan Lin, Anthony Rizzo and Mike Jones had 2 hits apiece.

Player of the Night: Stolmy Pimentel, who threw 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits.
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September 16, 2009 at 11:50 PM

SoxProspects.com 2009 Player Awards

SoxProspects.com is proud to announce that the following players have been selected by the community for recognition as the Site's 2009 award winners:

The SoxProspects Community selected Ryan Lavarnway as the 2009 Offensive Player of the Year, narrowly edging out Portland outfielders Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava. Drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round out of Yale in 2008, Lavarnway suffered through nagging injuries in his first professional season in Lowell last season. In 2009, the 22-year-old catcher came back in a big way, spending the entire season in Low-A Greenville, hitting .285 with a .367 on-base percentage, and leading the organization with a .540 slugging percentage, 21 home runs, and 59 extra base hits. He also finished second in the organization in OPS (.907, behind Nava's .991) and total bases (218, behind Kalish's 230). In 106 games this season, Lavarnway spent 66 behind the plate and 40 as a designated hitter. Look for the Ivy Leaguer to start the 2010 season in Salem.

Additionally, the community named Casey Kelly as the SoxProspects
Pitcher of the Year, Ryan Westmoreland as SoxProspects Rookie of the Year, Kalish as Breakout Player of the Year, and Anthony Rizzo as Comeback Player of the Year. Each of these four players were also named SoxProspects 2009 All Stars. For details on these players' respective seasons, check out Zach Nicholson's report on the 2009 SoxProspects All Stars.
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at 9:00 AM

2009 SoxProspects.com All-Stars

The players have played, the votes have been cast, and the people have spoken. Congratulations to the following players, who have been named 2009 SoxProspects.com All-Stars:

Catcher: Luis Exposito
After winning the same honor in 2008, a .287/.339/.439 line with 29 doubles, 9 home runs, and 57 RBI was plenty good enough to allow Exposito to defend his All-Star crown. After compiling solid .271/.329/.424 numbers in 76 games for High-A Salem, the 22-year-old Florida native earned an August call-up to Double-A Portland. That's when the real production began. In 23 games for the Sea Dogs, Exposito hit a torrid .337/.371/.489 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI in 92 at-bats, including an impressive .462/.500/.692 against left-handed pitching. Exposito, who currently checks in as the tenth-rated prospect by SoxProspects.com, will soon head to Arizona to join the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.

First Base: Anthony Rizzo
In what may be the most surprising change from last season's SoxProspects.com All-Star ranks, a resurgent Anthony Rizzo easily supplanted the incumbent Lars Anderson to capture the honors in 2009. Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in May 2008 but declared cancer-free in November 2008, and he returned to professional baseball with a vengeance, unleashing a combined .297/.368/.461 line upon the pitchers of the South Atlantic and Carolina Leagues. In 445 at-bats split between Greenville and Salem, Rizzo hit 37 doubles and 12 home runs, and drove in 66. A sixth-round draft choice in 2007, Rizzo is currently the eighth-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Second Base: Ken Roque
Following a disappointing 2008 season that saw him hit just .236/.314/.330 for the GCL Red Sox, Roque burst through the gates in 2009 and never looked back. After putting up .317/.400/.520 numbers to start the season in the GCL, Roque kept hitting after an August promotion to Lowell, contributing a .313/.389/.469 line as a member of the first-place Spinners. Roque slammed 10 doubles, 7 triples, and 2 home runs along the way, driving in 26 in 155 at-bats while sporting a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 21/31. His combined .907 OPS tied him for second in the Red Sox system. Just 19 years of age, Roque was a seventh-round choice by the Red Sox in 2007 and is currently the system's fifty-seventh ranked prospect by SoxProspects.com.

Third Base: Jorge Jimenez
Another year, another All-Star nod for Jimenez, who takes his third honor at the hot corner with a .289/.366/.424 line in 498 at-bats for Portland. After hitting just 7 home runs in 2008, Jimenez nearly doubled his total this season, blasting 13 home runs and driving in 87 runs while earning the 2009 Portland Sea Dogs Most Valuable Player Award and being named to the Eastern League All-Star Team. The 25-year-old Jimenez, already a veteran of four minor league seasons in the Red Sox organization, was a fifteenth-round draft choice by the team in 2006. The tall left-handed hitter is currently the twenty-seventh-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com.

Shortstop: Derrik Gibson
An impressive combination of speed and plate discipline netted 19-year-old Derrik Gibson the votes he needed to come away with All-Star honors at shortstop. After a less-than-stellar performance following a late-season call-up to Lowell in 2008, Gibson put worries to rest in 2009, finishing the year with a .290/.395/.380 line in 255 at-bats, including 15 doubles and 4 triples. His 28 steals in 33 opportunities ranked him second in the organization in thefts. An electric .471/.600/.755 month of June and a strong .412/.500/.525 month of September helped Gibson overcome a lull in July, when he hit just .178/.288/.218. A second-round pick in the 2008 draft, Gibson currently holds down the number 30 spot on the SoxProspects.com charts.

Outfield: Ryan Kalish
When a player finishes second in the Red Sox organization in home runs, tied for second in triples, first in walks, and fifth in steals, it's hard not to take notice. With his combined .279/.364/.457 line between two levels, 18 home runs, and 21 thefts, Ryan Kalish did just that. After tearing up the Carolina League to the tune of .304/.434/.513 with 5 home runs, 21 RBI, and a 26/20 walk-to-strikeout ratio, Kalish earned a promotion to Double-A Portland. He then proceeded to handle the Eastern League as well, hitting .271/.341/.440 with 13 home runs, 56 RBI, and 14 steals the rest of the way despite a slump immediately following his promotion. Just two seasons removed from missing time with a wrist injury, Kalish has vaulted back up the SoxProspects.com rankings, settling into the number three spot to close out the season. He will join fellow All-Stars Luis Exposito and Casey Kelly in the Arizona Fall League.

Outfield: Ryan Westmoreland
It's hard to have a professional debut better than that of Ryan Westmoreland, who justified his $2-million signing bonus as a fifth-round selection in the 2008 draft by hitting .296/.401/.484 in 223 at-bats. The 19-year-old Rhode Island native complemented his solid slash line with 15 doubles, 3 triples, 7 home runs, and 35 RBI for the Lowell Spinners before breaking his collarbone on August 28 after making a catch and crashing into an outfield wall. A true five-tool player, Westmoreland also stole 19 bases without being caught in 2009, and walked 38 times against only 49 strikeouts, ending the season as the system's fourth-ranked prospect by SoxProspects.com.

Outfield: Daniel Nava
Rounding out the outfield is Daniel Nava, who led Red Sox minor leaguers in batting average and on-base percentage and finished second in slugging percentage while hitting a combined .352/.458/.533 in 227 at-bats between Salem and Portland. Of his 80 hits this season, 29 went for extra bases, including 22 doubles and 5 home runs. Nava also walked 43 times and struck out on only 33 occasions. Nava had his best month in August following his call-up to Portland, hitting .382/.486/.640 in 89 at-bats. The Red Sox signed the 26-year-old switch hitter out of Chico of the independent Golden League following the 2007 season, and he proceeded to capture the California League batting crown in 2008 with Lancaster before continuing his success this season.

Designated Hitter: Chris Carter
In what appears to be his final season in the Red Sox organization, Pawtucket designated hitter Chris Carter went out with a bang. The 27-year-old left-handed hitter compiled .294/.358/.465 totals in 427 Triple-A at-bats, swatting 25 doubles and a team-high 16 home runs while driving in 61 runs to earn himself 2009 Pawtucket Red Sox MVP honors. Carter saved his best performance for last, hitting .317/.423/.476 to capture the SoxProspects.com Player of the Month nod in August. He even saw some time on the Boston roster, collecting an RBI in 5 at-bats. A veteran of four consecutive seasons at the Triple-A level, Carter was originally acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 in exchange for Wily Mo Peña.

Starting Pitcher: Casey Kelly
When one is a first-round draft choice, it can be hard to exceed expectations. But by going 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA in 95.0 innings combined between two levels, Casey Kelly did just that. The 19-year-old right-hander struck out 74 and walked only 16 on the season, limiting opposing hitters to a .190 batting average and just 4 home runs in 17 starts. A two-way player, Kelly also hit .224/.305/.313 in 134 at-bats this season as the shortstop for the Greenville Drive following a short stint in the GCL to readjust to playing every day. Thanks mostly to his efforts on the mound, Kelly sits at the very top of the SoxProspects.com rankings as the 2009 season comes to a close. He will join Luis Exposito and Ryan Kalish as a member of the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox in October, but as a shortstop.

Starting Pitcher: Junichi Tazawa
Continuing a trend of first-year players finding tremendous success in the Red Sox organization in 2009, Japanese righthander Junichi Tazawa impressed from wire to wire for Portland, Pawtucket and Boston. In 20 minor league starts covering 109.1 innings, Tazawa pitched to a 9-7 record with a 2.55 ERA, striking out 94 and walking only 27. The 23-year-old Tazawa yielded only 8 home runs in 2009 and limited hitters to a .219 batting average against, earning himself a selection to the Futures Game roster and an Eastern League All-Star nod as well. He has gone 2-3 in 6 major league appearances so far for Boston, and finishes the season as SoxProspects.com's sixth-ranked prospect.

Starting Pitcher: Clay Buchholz
Sometimes it just takes some time for a top prospect to become a top contributor. After a disappointing 2008 campaign, Clay Buchholz righted the ship with a 7-2 record and a 2.36 ERA in 17 minor league starts, setting the stage for him to become a key contributor in the Majors down the stretch run. In 99.0 innings for Pawtucket before his call-up, Buchholz dazzled the International League with his advanced repertoire, punching out 89 hitters while holding the opposition to a .188 batting average. A first-round draft choice in 2005 and the former number one prospect on the SoxProspects.com list, Buchholz owns a career minor league record of 31-14 with a 2.42 ERA in 91 appearances spanning 443.1 innings in the Red Sox system.

Starting Pitcher: Fabian Williamson
Having come over from the Seattle organization in exchange for David Aardsma during the offseason, Fabian Williamson was nothing more than an intriguing new name as 2009 began. A 2.42 ERA in 108.0 innings for Greenville certainly changed that. In 28 appearances for the Drive, the tall 20-year-old left-hander managed a 10-5 record, punching out 104 while yielding just 71 hits on the year, only 3 of which were home runs. His versatility and talent were a great asset for Greenville as the team earned a birth in the South Atlantic League playoffs, where they currently are playing for the league championship. Williamson presently sits in the thirty-third spot in the SoxProspects.com rankings.

Relief Pitcher: Daniel Bard
Just two seasons removed from a disastrous year in which he went a combined 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA, walking 78 batters in just 75.0 innings, who would have guessed that in 2009, Daniel Bard would emerge as one of baseball's most electrifying relievers? Indeed, Bard needed just about a month in Triple-A Pawtucket to earn his second consecutive All-Star nod. As the Pawsox's closer, Bard put up a 1.12 ERA and notched 6 saves, striking out 29 hitters and allowing only 6 hits in 16.0 innings before getting the call to Boston. With the big league club, Bard has continued to dominate, fanning 59 and allowing just 34 hits in 43.1 innings to go along with a 3.32 ERA. Bard was originally a first-round draft choice in 2006 out of North Carolina.

Relief Pitcher: Fernando Cabrera
Another newcomer in the Red Sox organization, Cabrera was signed as a minor league free agent in January after putting up a 5.40 ERA in 28.1 innings for the Orioles in 2008. Assigned to Pawtucket and installed as the team's closer following the promotion of Daniel Bard, Cabrera thrived to the tune of a 1.71 ERA and 22 saves, striking out 51 in 52.2 innings. Cabrera allowed only 22 walks on the season and held opposing hitters to a .208 batting average. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican right-hander also saw brief time with Boston, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 7 in 4.0 innings over 4 Major League appearances.

Relief Pitcher: Derrick Loop
What a year it was for former independent league standouts. Just like fellow All-Star Daniel Nava, Loop was plying his trade for Chico of the Golden League before being signed by the Red Sox in June 2008. After an impressive stint to end the 2008 season in Lancaster during which he pitched to a 3.04 ERA in 53.1 innings, Loop really turned it on in 2009 for Salem. As the team's closer, Loop managed a 3-3 record with a 1.61 ERA and 18 saves in 47 appearances, striking out 78 over 67.0 innings while yielding only 51 hits. The 25-year-old left-hander features a devastating pickoff move, as he duped 15 baserunners on the year. Loop was originally a draftee of the Cleveland organization, having been selected by the Indians in the twenty-third round in 2006.

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at 6:33 AM

Salem and Greenville both on verge of elimination

9/16 Cup of Coffee: Salem is now faced with the prospect of having to win three straight games to capture the Mills Cup after its 5-4 loss to Lynchburg. Salem took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the 8th, when reliever Jason Blackey gave up three walks and a bunt single to give up the lead. Kyle Fernandes was able to preserve the tie, as he entered and got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play. He was not so fortunate in the 9th, when with 2 outs, he gave up the game-winning home run. Starter Stephen Fife went 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Chih-Hsien Chiang went 1 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI. Ryan Dent also had a home run.

Greenville fell 3-0 to Lakewood, and now faces the same challenge as Salem. Caleb Clay took a no-hitter into the 5th inning before giving up three straight hits and the first run of the game. He gave up two more in the 6th before being replaced by Lance McClain. Clay went 5 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, on 3 hits. He struck out 5. Zach Gentile, Ryan Lavarnway and Casey Kelly each had 2 hits in the game.

Both teams have an off day today before resuming play on Thursday.

Player of the Night: Chih-Hsien Chiang, who had 3 RBI for Salem.
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September 15, 2009 at 6:14 AM

Salem and Greenville both fall in series openers

9/15 Cup of Coffee: Both Salem and Greenville lost their respective league championship series-opening games last night. Salem was humbled by Lynchburg, 9-2. Eammon Portice started and took the loss, going 6 innings. He gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. He fanned 2. The Red Sox led 2-0 going into the bottom of the third, but the Hillcats scored three times and never looked back. Salem had the tying runs in scoring position in both the 6th and 7th innings, but could not capitalize. Lynchburg then scored twice in their half of the 7th and brought home four more in the 8th to break the game open. Jon Hee and Mike Jones each went 2 for 4 in the game.

downed Greenville, 6-3. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th, the Drive allowed the BlueClaws to score two more insurance runs to finalize the score. Brock Huntzinger started and went 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits. He did not allow a walk while striking out 5. The Drive out-hit the BlueClaws, 10-9, but were just 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 runners on base. Zach Gentile went 3 for 4 and scored a run. Shannon Wilkerson and Casey Kelly each went 2 for 4 in the game.

Player of the Night:
Zach Gentile, who led the Drive with 3 hits in their loss.
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September 13, 2009 at 5:51 AM

Lowell eliminated by Staten Island

9/13 Cup of Coffee: The Staten Island Yankees scored five times in the bottom half of the 2nd inning and coasted to a 5-1 win over the Spinners, winning their best-of-three series, 2-1. The Yankees sent ten men to the plate in the second, and scored their 5 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. Lowell's only run came in the 7th, when Drew Hedman singled and scored on a double by Dan Butler. Yeiper Castillo started and lasted 1.2 frames. He was charged with giving up 5 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. Pedro Perez came on in relief and gave up 2 hits, allowing two inherited runners to score. He then got the next 9 outs allowing just a walk. In fact, the Spinner bullpen held the Yankees scoreless for the final 6.1 innings. The Spinner offense, however, could not climb back into the contest, and was held to just 6 hits in the game while striking out 12 times. Michael Almanzar went 2 for 4 in the contest. The loss ended a record-setting season for the Spinners. They broke the franchise record for most wins in a season with 45. They also set a record for most steals in a season with 100. Several players also set individual franchise records. Jose Alvarez set the record for most wins in a season with 8. He also led the NY-Penn League in ERA with a mark of 1.52. Wilfred Pichardo broke the club's stolen base record and ended up with 32.

Player of the Night: Pedro Perez, who after allowing 2 hits when he entered the game, threw a scoreless 3 innings allowing just a walk.
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September 12, 2009 at 6:29 AM

Jones and Dening hit walk-off homers to send teams to League Championships

9/12 Cup of Coffee: With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Brad Correll singled and Mike Jones then hit a walk-off, two-run homer to give Salem a 6-4 win over Winston-Salem. The win saw the Red Sox complete a three-game sweep of the Dash and give the Red Sox affiliate the 2009 Southern Division Championship. Salem came close to breaking the tie in the bottom of the 8th, when Correll was thrown out at home trying to score from second on a two-out Zach Borowiak single. Seth Garrison started and threw 6 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and a walk. He fanned 5. Derrick Loop got the win, retiring the final two batters in the top of the 10th inning. Jon Hee went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Salem now waits for the winner of the Northern Division series between Lynchburg and Wilmington.

Mitch Dening hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to give Greenville a 3-2 win over Asheville and a two-game sweep of their best-of-three series. The Drive trailed 2-0 in the 6th inning when a Zach Gentile double scored Oscar Tejeda. Gentile then scored on a double by Ryan Lavarnway to tie the score. Jeremy Kehrt earned the win in relief, allowing 1 unearned run on 3 hits over 4.1 frames. He struck out 5. Tejeda went 2 for 3 in the game. Greenville will now face Lakewood in the South Atlantic League Championship, beginning on Monday.

Player of the Night: Shared between Mike Jones and Mitch Dening, who both had walk-off homers, giving their respective teams Division Championships.
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September 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Kelly, Bierd join AFL roster

As the minor league season winds down, the road will now continue for Casey Kelly and Randor Bierd. Both will be headed to Arizona to play in the Arizona Fall League, and having been added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster, where they will join the five Red Sox prospects already announced. Play is scheduled to begin October 13.

Kelly (pictured), who will be going as a shortstop, hit .222/.302/.340 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI in 162 at-bats between the GCL and Greenville. The number one ranked prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com, the 19-year-old Kelly also went a combined 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 95 innings split between Greenville and Salem earlier this season. Bierd, meanwhile, wore many hats for the Pawtucket pitching staff, appearing in 25 games - 7 of which were starts - and posting a 3-1 record with a 4.55 ERA, striking out 55 in 61.1 innings. The 25-year-old righthander was originally acquired for David Pauley in January.
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at 6:25 AM

Salem take 2-0 lead on Hee's extra-inning heroics

9/11 Cup of Coffee: With the score tied 4-4 in the 11th inning, Jon Hee singled to drive in Zach Borowiak and Che-Hsuan Lin to give Salem a 6-4 win and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series with Winston-Salem. Kyle Weiland started and went 7 innings. He allowed 3 runs, 2 of them earned, on 7 hits and a walk. Kyle Fernandes got the final 4 outs of the game without allowing a baserunner and earned the win. Brad Correll, Chih-Hsien Chiang, and Lin each had home runs. Anthony Rizzo, Borowiak and Chiang each had 3 hits. After winning two games on the road, Salem will go for the three-game sweep at home tonight, sending Seth Garrison to the mound.

Greenville scored twice in the top of the 9th to earn a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Asheville, taking a 1-0 lead in their series. Ryan Lavarnway homered to lead off the 9th and tie the score, and Will Middlebrooks followed with another home run to provide the margin of victory. The Tourists loaded the bases with 2 out in the bottom of the inning, but Kyle Rutter got the final out on a line drive to second baseman Zach Gentile. Lavarnway and Middlebrooks each had 2 hits in the game. Stolmy Pimentel went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs, 1 of which was earned. Mitch Herold earned the win, pitching 2 scoreless, 1-hit innings. Fabian Williamson will get the ball for the Drive in game two this evening.

The Lowell-Staten Island game was postponed. The teams will play the third and final game of their series on Saturday, opting not to play on Friday in observance of 9/11.

Player of the Night: Chih-Hsien Chiang, who went 3 for 5 with a home run.
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September 10, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Players of the Month of August/September: Chris Carter & Jose Alvarez

With the regular season having come to a close, SoxProspects.com is pleased to announce the selection of Chris Carter and Jose Alvarez as the Players of the Month of August/September combined. Carter's August line of .317/.423/.476 with 3 home runs, 4 doubles and 11 RBI alone would have merited strong consideration for the position player award, but his .545/.600/1.000 line in 22 at-bats over 6 September games with 2 home runs and 4 doubles in his Pawtucket farewell tour made him an easy choice. Lowell lefty Alvarez turned in quality starts in five of his last six, going 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 5 August starts, allowing 7 earned runs on 25 hits, striking out 27 while walking only three over 30 innings pitched. He made the most of his single September start, throwing 7 shutout innings of 5-hit ball, striking out 6 and walking 1, and was credited with the win. On the season, Alvarez was 9-4 in 26 games with Lowell and Salem, making 12 starts, all with Lowell, allowing 27 earned runs on 92 hits over 107.2 innings, striking out 74 and walking 16, for a 2.26 ERA and .231 average against. Carter hit .294/.358/.465 with 16 home runs, 25 doubles and 61 RBI in 428 at-bats over 116 games with Pawtucket in 2009, en route to being named team MVP.
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at 6:01 AM

Lowell evens series at 1 game each with 3-2 win

9/10 Cup of Coffee: Salem defeated Winston-Salem, 7-2, in the opening game of their best-of-5 series. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 6.2 strong innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. He struck out 7. Brad Correll set the tone early, hitting a 2-run homer in the top of the first, and the Sox never looked back. He ended up going 2 for 4 in the game. Jonathan Hee went 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored and a RBI. Game 2 is tonight, with Kyle Weiland getting the start.

Lowell downed Staten Island, 3-2, in 11 innings. The Spinners jumped off to an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the top of the first. Alex Wilson started and was dominant in his 3 innings of work. He held the Yankees scoreless allowing 3 hits, while recording 7 strikeouts. Ryan Pressly took over and held Staten Island scoreless for the next 3 innings before walking the first 2 hitters he faced in the 7th. The Yankees were able to plate single runs in the seventh and eighth off of Cesar Cabral and Chez Angeloni, respectively, to tie the score. Angeloni allowed a pair of singles in the 9th before giving way to Jordan Flasher. With runners on first and third, he gave up an intentional walk to load the bases, then proceeded to strikeout the side to send the game to extra innings. In the top of the 11th, Dan Butler led off with a home run to provide what would be the winning run. Doug Wogee earned the win throwing 2 scoreless innings. Chris McGuinness went 2 for 4 with a RBI. Yeiper Castillo will toe the rubber in tonight's winner-take-all Game 3.

The first game of the Greenville-Asheville series was postponed last night due to rain. However, with Thursday originally scheduled to be an off day for travel, the teams will play tonight instead. Stolmy Pimentel will get the ball for the Drive.

Player of the Night: Jordan Flasher, who with the bases loaded and no outs, struck out the side to save the Spinners' season.
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September 9, 2009 at 6:18 AM

Lowell drops game 1 to Staten Island

9/9 Cup of Coffee: Staten Island broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth on a Zoilo Almonte home run and took game one of its best of three series with Lowell by a 3-2 score. The Yankees are now in the driver's seat as games two and three, if necesaary, will both be played in Staten Island. The Spinners trailed 2-0 but rallied in the fifth with 2 runs to tie the score. Ronald Bermudez singled and moved to third on a Ken Roque double. He scored on an infield single by Wilfred Pichardo. Pichardo then stole second with the catcher's throw going into center field, scoring Rogue. Jose Alvarez started and pitched 5 innings. He gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 6. Pedro Perez took the loss, giving up 1 run on 1 hit in 3.1 innings of work. Bermudez went 2 for 4 and scored a run.

Player of the Night:
Ronald Bermudez
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September 8, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Players of the Week, August 31-September 7: Chris Carter & Leandro Marin

Representatives from the organization's highest and lowest full-season affiliates shone brightly last week, as Greenville's Leandro Marin and Pawtucket's Chris Carter were voted the Players of the Week of August 31-September 7 by the SoxProspects.com community. Marin worked 4.1 shutout innings out of the Drive bullpen, allowing 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 10 over two appearances at Lexington (Astros) on August 31 and against Asheville (Rockies) on September 4. Carter, expected to be the player to be named later in the Billy Wagner trade, bid a fond farewell to the organization that has been his home for two-plus seasons, posting a .500/.552/.885 line with 2 home runs, 4 doubles, 10 runs and 6 RBI in 26 at-bats last week. For the season, Carter hit .294/.358/.465 with 16 home runs, 25 doubles and 61 RBI in 428 at-bats over 116 games. Marin, a 20-year-old righty, worked 43.2 innings innings in relief for Greenville over 27 appearances, allowing 14 earned runs on 31 hits for a 2.89 ERA, striking out 56 while walking 28.
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at 5:26 AM

Correll's double sends Salem to playoffs

9/8 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket fell 5-3 to Syracuse in its season finale. TJ Large (3-4) entered the game in the 8th inning and promptly gave up the lead, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. That spoiled the good start of Enrique Gonzalez, who had given up 2 runs in 5 innings of work. Chris Carter went 3 for 4 and finished the season with a team-high batting average of .294. The PawSox finished the season with a 61-82 record, which saw them finish in 5th place in the IL North.

Portland ended their season on a winning note, downing New Hampshire, 12-4. The offense pounded out 15 hits in the game. Four of those were home runs, with Ryan Kalish and Juan Apodaca each hitting single blasts. Jon Still had 2 homers. Daniel Nava, Jorge Jimenez and Still each had 3 hits in the game. Blake Maxwell (7-8) got the win, going 6 innings. He gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk, and struck out 7. The Sea Dogs finished the season with a 67-74 record, which left them in 4th place in the EL Northern Division.

Salem edged Lynchburg, 6-5, to capture a playoff spot. Trailing 5-1, the Red Sox scored 2 runs in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th to tie the game. In the 9th, Ryan Dent doubled and with 2 out scored on a Brad Correll double to provide the winning run. Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 4 with a home run. Correll went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Tim Federowicz had 2 doubles, a run scored and 2 RBI. Robert Coello (5-3) got the win, throwing 2 scoreless innings of relief. He gave up 1 hit and had 3 strikeouts. Salem starts its best-of-five playoff on Wednesday in Winston-Salem. The rehabbing Daisuke Matsuzaka will get the start in game one.

Greenville ended its regular season with a 5-1 win over Asheville. Caleb Clay (6-7) started and got the win, going 5 innings. He gave up 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks and struck out 4. Tom Di Benedetto had 2 doubles and scored a run. Michael Thomas hit his 4th home run of the season. The Drive finished the 2nd half of the season with a record of 34-36, which put them in fourth place. They made the playoffs by way of their first half division win, and begin a best-of-three series with Asheville on Wednesday.

Lowell did not play on Monday, and begins its best-of-three series with Staten Island tonight. Jose Alvarez gets the start in game one for the Spinners. The teams split the six games they played this season.

Player of the Night: Brad Correll, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored and had the game-winning RBI as the Salem Red Sox clinched a playoff bid.
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September 7, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Brown, Lowrie called up as Pawtucket season ends

Following this afternoon's season-ending tilt in Syracuse, the Pawtucket Red Sox bid adieu to catcher Dusty Brown (pictured) and infielder Jed Lowrie. According to Mark Divver of the Providence Journal, both men have been called up to join the expanded active roster in Boston. For Lowrie, this will be his third stint in the major leagues this season as he has struggled to come back from a variety of complications with his surgically-repaired left wrist. In 56 big league at-bats so far in 2009, Lowrie has managed to hit just .143/.206/.232 with 1 home run and 7 RBI. The results weren't much better for Lowrie on his various rehab assignments either, as he hit a combined .210/.330/.395 in 81 minor league at-bats.

For Brown, meanwhile, this will be his second trip to Boston in 2009, although he did not receive an at-bat the first time around. In 291 at-bats for Pawtucket this season, Brown put together a .261/.343/.323 line with 2 home runs and 22 RBI. The 27-year-old will become the fourth catcher on the Boston roster, joining Jason Varitek, Victor Martinez, and George Kottaras.
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at 5:52 AM

Carter helps lead PawSox to doubleheader sweep

9/7 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket took both games of their doubleheader with Syracuse. The PawSox trounced the Chiefs, 12-5, in the first game. The offense pounded out 17 hits, led by Travis Denker, who had 3 and also scored 3 runs. Dusty Brown had 3 hits as well. Sean Danielson went 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Adam Mills (2-2) got the win, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits and a walk in 5 innings of work. Pawtucket hammered Syracuse, 10-2, in the nightcap. Charlie Zink (6-15) got the win, allowing 1 run on 5 hits over 5 innings. Chris Carter went 4 for 4 and scored 4 times. Jeff Natale had 2 hits, including his 3rd home run of the season. Aaron Bates also had 2 hits in the game and scored twice.

New Hampshire
downed Portland, 8-3. With the Sea Dogs ahead 3-2, the Fisher Cats scored 4 times in the 8th inning on a grand slam homer by DH Moses Sierra. The Manchester squad added 2 more in the 9th to give the team its final margin of victory. Ryan Lawson threw 7 strong innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk. He struck out 6. Andrew Dobies (2-3) pitched the 8th and was charged with the blown save and the loss. He gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Yamaico Navarro was 2 for 2 with a home run. Jon Still also had 2 hits in the game.

Lynchburg scored a run in the 1st inning and held on
to score a 1-0 win over Salem. With 1 game remaining, the Red Sox need either a win or a Kinston loss today to capture the final playoff spot without needing a one-game playoff. Eammon Portice (8-8) took the loss despite throwing 6 strong innings. He gave up a run on 6 hits and did not allow a walk while fanning 6. That gave him 141 strikeouts for the season, which with 1 game remaining leads the Carolina League. The offense managed just 4 hits in the game, with no runner advancing beyond second base. Tim Federowicz went 2 for 3.

Greenville scored 5 runs in the 2nd inning and went on
to a 6-2 win over Asheville. The 5 runs came by way of a walk and 5 singles. Pete Hissey went 3 for 4 and scored twice. Will Middlebrooks had 2 hits and scored a run. Oscar Tejeda had 2 hits, a run scored and 2 RBI.
Brock Huntzinger (10-9) got the win, pitching 5.2 innings. He gave up 1 run on 5 hits and a walk, and struck out 7.

Lowell came back from an early 2-0 deficit
to down Brooklyn, 4-2. Trailing 2-1 in the 6th, the Spinners scored twice on 2 singles and a throwing error by Cyclones pitcher Chris Hilliard. His wild throw to first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt allowed both runners to score. Michael Almanzar went 3 for 4 and scored twice. Alex Hassan went 2 for 4 and scored a run. Tom Ebert (4-0) earned the win, pitching 3.1 innings of relief. He gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk.

Player of the Night:
Chris Carter, who went a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate and scored 4 times in game 2 of the PawSox doubleheader.
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September 6, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Cuban signee Iglesias to debut in Arizona Fall League

According to ESPN.com's Peter Gammons, the Red Sox will have Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias make his U.S. pro debut in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox. Iglesias signed a contract with Boston this summer for a reported $8.2 million over 4 years, a figure that includes a $6 million signing bonus. Iglesias' strength is in the field, where his slick fielding has drawn comparisons to Ozzie Smith.

Iglesias will join the four previously announced Sox heading for Mesa - catcher Luis Exposito, outfielder Ryan Kalish, and relief pitchers Chris Province and Dustin Richardson - as well as three more unnamed players, reported by Baseball America to be an infielder and two more pitchers. Greenville Drive hitting coach Billy McMillon will also fill that same role for the Solar Sox.
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at 6:35 AM

Salem reduces magic number to 1 with 11-inning win

9/6 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket scored 5 times in the bottom of the 3rd inning and never looked back on way to an 8-2 win over Syracuse. The final two runs of the 3rd came via a 2-run homer by Chris Carter. It was his 16th of the season. Dusty Brown went 3 for 4 in the game. Randor Bierd (3-1) started and went 5 innings to earn the win. He allowed 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.

Portland came from behind to edge New Hampshire, 7-6. The Sea Dogs trailed by 2 going into the bottom of the 8th inning and tied the score on a pair of walks and 3 singles. The Portland squad then scored in the bottom of the 9th to win. Jon Still led off the inning with a double, his 38th of the season, followed by an intentional walk given to Lars Anderson. New Hampshire pitcher Zach Dials then walked Jason Place and Iggy Suarez to force in the winning run. Chad Rhoades (6-2) earned the win, pitching a clean 9th inning. Suarez had 2 hits and 2 RBI in the game. Luis Exposito extended his hitting streak to 11 games, going 1 for 4. It was the Sea Dogs' 6th walk-off win of the year and the second by way of a bases-loaded walk.

Salem downed Lynchburg, 7-6, in 11 innings. The win gives Salem a 2-game lead for the final playoff spot with 2 games left to play. The Red Sox trailed 6-4 going into the bottom of the 9th, but an RBI single by Tim Federowicz and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Dent sent the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th, Chih-Hsien Chiang doubled and scored on a single by Dent for the win. Jason Blackey (2-0) got the win, pitching a scoreless 11th despite giving up a hit and 2 walks. Chiang went 4 for 5 with 3 runs scored. Dent went 4 for 4 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Greenville hammered Asheville, 9-1 behind the strong starting performance of Jeremy Kehrt (2-2). He went 7 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 7. Ryan Lavarnway had two hits, including his 21st homer of the season. He had 4 RBI in the game. Michael Thomas also had a home run, his 3rd of the year.

The Brooklyn Cyclones scored a run in the bottom of the 9th on three straight singles to edge Lowell, 4-3. Chez Angeloni (1-1) took the loss, giving up 1 run on 5 hits over 3 innings of work. Michael Almanzar drove in 2 runs and Alex Hassan homered to account for the Spinner offense.

Player of the Night: Ryan Dent, who drove in 3 runs and scored 2 more, helping Salem reduce its magic number to 1.
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September 5, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Bowden recalled, Lora shipped out

Michael Bowden is back with Boston, and this time, he's here to stay. In an effort to fortify the back end of the major league bullpen, the Red Sox have recalled the 23-year-old righthander from Triple-A Pawtucket and have announced that he will be with the big league club for the rest of the season. For Bowden, this will be his third stint with Boston this season, having so far allowed 7 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in 4.0 major league innings in 2009. For Pawtucket, Bowden had gone 4-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 24 starts, striking out 88 in 126.1 innings. He is currently the seventh-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com.

In other news, Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal is reporting that the Red Sox today completed half of the team's trade for reliever Billy Wagner, sending GCL first baseman Eddie Lora to the New York Mets. Signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Lora had appeared in 34 games this season, hitting .222/.287/.414 with 3 home runs in 99 at-bats.
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at 7:00 AM

Kalish hits walkoff homer in 14th to give Dogs win

9/5 Cup of Coffee: There was a capacity crowd of over 11,000 at McCoy Stadium Friday night to watch Daisuke Matsuzaka make his third rehab start. He threw 4.1 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, and struck out 3. The score was tied, 2-2, when he exited. Syracuse pulled ahead 4-2 in the 7th inning, but Mark Wagner responded with a home run in the bottom half of the inning to narrow the margin to one. The Chiefs broke the game open in the ninth, scoring 3 runs to give them a 7-3 win. Marcus McBeth (2-3) was charged with the loss, giving up 1 run over 1.2 innings of work. Wagner went 2 for 5 with a home run and 2 RBI. Dusty Brown and Bubba Bell each had 2 hits in the game.

With the Sea Dogs trailing by 1 run in the bottom of the 8th, Jorge Jimenez doubled and scored on Juan Apodaca's single to tie the game. Six innings later, in the bottom of the 14th, Ryan Kalish hit a 2-out, walkoff homer to give Portland a 3-2 win over New Hampshire. It was his 12th homer for Portland and 17th overall in the 2009 season. Josh Papelbon (1-0) earned his first win at the AA level, throwing 3 scoreless, hitless innings. He walked 2 while striking out 3.

Salem downed Lynchburg, 3-2, and took a 1-game lead for the Carolina League Southern Division Wild Card with 3 games left. The Red Sox trailed 2-0 after just an inning and a half, but responded with runs in the 2nd, 5th and 7th innings to pull out the win. Mike Jones' single in the 7th inning drove in Jonathan Hee with what proved to be the winning run. Derrick Loop, returned from Portland, gave up 2 singles and had runners on first and third before getting the final out of the game and earning his 17th save of the year. Kyle Weiland (7-9) got the win, going 7 innings. He gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk and struck out 3. Jones, Zach Borowiak and Chih-Hsien Chiang all had 2 hits in the game.

Asheville blanked Greenville, 4-0. The win gave the Tourists the second-half crown in the Division, setting up a first-round match-up between the Drive and Tourists in the first round of the SAL playoffs. Fabian Williamson (10-5) took the loss, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings of work. He struck out 5. Shannon Wilkerson went 2 for 4 with a double.

Lowell added one more win to their franchise record total with an 8-2 rout of Brooklyn. The Spinners scored 7 runs in the top of the 7th to break open the contest, a rally that was capped off with a 3-run homer by Christian Vazquez. Wilfred Pichardo stole his 32nd base of the season. He also had 2 hits. Derrik Gibson stole his 28th base of the year. Pedro Perez (2-5) earned the victory throwing 6 scoreless innings, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks. He fanned 6. He was not fazed by Met Carlos Beltran, who went 0 for 3 in a rehab start for the Cyclones.

Player of the Night: Ryan Kalish, who hit a walkoff homer in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the Sea Dogs a 3-2 win
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September 4, 2009 at 5:26 AM

Lowell sets single season franchise record for wins

9/4 Cup of Coffee: Rochester broke a 3-3 tie with 2 runs in the 5th inning off starter Billy Traber (7-8), and went on to a 6-4 win over Pawtucket. Chris Carter, Mark Wagner, and Dusty Brown each had 2 hits in the game.

Trenton downed Portland, 5-2. Kris Johnson (0-3) threw 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. The game got out of hand in the 8th inning ,when Derrick Loop gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Ryan Kalish hit his 11th home run in the 9th inning, and scored both of the Sea Dog runs. Jorge Jimenez went 2 for 4 with a double.

Winston-Salem defeated Salem, 7-5, in 11 innings. Tim Federowicz hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 9th to send the game into extra innings. Catcher John Curtis, however, hit a walk off 2-run homer in the 11th inning off Chad Povich (0-1) to give Winston-Salem the win. Despite the loss, Salem remains tied for the Wild Card. Federowicz and Ryan Dent each had 2 hits in the game.

Greenville out-lasted Bowling Green, 7-6, in 12 innings. With the score tied at 5 in the 11th inning, the Hot Rods scored to take the lead. The Drive responded to even the score on a Zach Gentile RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom of the 12th, Oscar Tejeda, with 2 out, singled to drive in the winning run. Ryan Lavarnway, Kade Keowen and Tejeda each had 2 hits in the contest. Felix Ventura (3-7) pitched the final 3.2 innings to earn the win. He gave up a run on 4 hits.

Lowell scored 4 times in the top of the 10th inning to come out with a win in Oneonta, 9-5. The win set a Spinner franchise record for wins in a season with 43. The Spinners' 4 runs in the 10th came on 2 walks, 2 errors, a double by Drew Hedman and a single. Joantoni Garcia led the offense, going 3 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI. His 3 hits were all doubles. Alex Hassan, Drew Dominguez, and Hedman each had 2 hits. Michael Bugary (3-1) threw 2 scoreless innings to pick up the win. Jordan Flasher got the final three outs in the game to earn a save.

Player of the Night: Joantoni Garcia, who had 3 doubles in the Spinners' win over Oneonta.
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September 3, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Players of the Week, August 24 - 30: Chih-Hsien Chiang & Cesar Cabral

Plate discipline, power, and scoreless relief were huge hits with the voters, allowing Salem DH / outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang and Lowell pitcher Cesar Cabral to handily win Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for August 24 - 30. Chiang put up an impressive .444/.545/.778 slash line covering 22 plate appearances, smacking 2 singles and 6 doubles while walking 4 times against only 2 strikeouts. He also scored 4 runs and drove in 5, helping Salem go 6-2 in the week. Originally signed as an international free agent out of Taiwan following the 2005 season, the 21-year-old lefthanded batter has hit .253/.315/.400 with 6 home runs in 285 at-bats in 2009.

For Cabral (pictured), it all began with 4.0 perfect innings of relief on August 25 at Aberdeen in which he struck out 4 to earn his fourth save of the season. He followed that up with 4.0 more scoreless frames on August 30 at home against Brooklyn, striking out 7 to earn the win. The 19-year-old Dominican lefthander allowed only 3 hits and 1 walk in his 8.0 innings during the week, holding opposing hitters to a .120 batting average and a .274 OPS. For the season, Cabral is1-6 with a 4.07 ERA, striking out 42 in 55.1 innings for the first-place Spinners.
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at 6:21 AM

Lowell captures 1st place in Stedler Division

9/3 Cup of Coffee: Leading 7-2 going into the 9th inning, Pawtucket gave up 4 runs but held on to edge Rochester, 7-6. The game ended with the Red Wings having the tying run on third and the lead run on second. Fernando Cabrera struck out Rochester DH Matt Tolbert to end the game. It was his 22nd save of the season. Enrique Gonzalez (8-11) started and got credit for the win, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings of work. Jeff Natale went 3 for 4 and scored a run. Chris Carter went 2 for 3 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI.

Portland scored 4 times in the bottom of the 6th inning to overcome a 3-1 deficit, and went on
to a 5-3 win over Trenton. Ryan Khoury led off the 6th with a bunt single, Daniel Nava walked and both scored on Ryan Kalish's triple. Jorge Jimenez singled driving in Kalish, and then took second on an error. Jon Still was then walked intentionally. Lars Anderson then grounded into a forceout at second. With runners now at first and third, Juan Apodaca grounded into a forceout scoring Jimenez with the 4th run of the inning. Blake Maxwell (6-8) started and went 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks to earn the win.

downed Winston-Salem, 9-5. Stephen Fife (3-2) threw 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk. He struck out 5. The Red Sox out-hit the Dash 14-8 in the contest. Will Vazquez led the attack, going 3 for 4 with a home run and 5 RBI. Anthony Rizzo, Brad Correll and Zach Borowiak each had 2 hits in the game.

Bowling Green
defeated Greenville, 7-3. Caleb Clay (5-7) took the loss giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks over 2 innings, fanning 2. Casey Kelly led the offense, going 2 for 5 with a RBI. The Drive defense committed 4 errors in the game, with Kelly contributing 2 of them, giving him 10 on the season.

Lowell clinched first place in the Stedler Division for the 2nd straight year
with a 13-0 hammering of their division rivals, Oneonta. Jose Alvarez pitched a complete game shutout, allowing 5 hits and a walk. It was his 8th win of the season, which set the Spinners' single-season record. He also leads the NY-Penn League with an ERA of 1.52. Derrik Gibson, Chris McGuinness, and Ken Roque each had 3 hits in the game. Gibson reached base 5 times in the game and scored 3 times, setting the franchise record for runs scored at 53, which also leads the League. Wilfred Pichardo stole his 28th base, tying the franchise record. In game two, Lowell completed the sweep, downing the Tigers, 6-2. The win tied the Spinners' record for most wins in a season at 42. Pichardo swiped 3 more bases, giving him a franchise single-season record total of 31. Alex Wilson started and threw 3 scoreless, 1-hit innings. Tom Ebert (3-0) got credit for the win, despite giving up 2 runs in 2 innings of work. Willie Holmes led the offense, going 3 for 3 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.

Player of the Night:
Jose Alvarez, who pitched a complete game shutout, giving the Spinners the Stedler Division title.
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