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March 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Fort Report: Dominican Academy graduates six

Most minor leaguers are in camp now, with a few still getting time with the major league club in Grapefruit League action since my last report, including Brett Harper, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Jason Place, and Scott Patterson. Blake Maxwell also traveled with the team as an extra today, but didn't get into the game. No major transactions yet, but look for some news soon. Mass re-assignments and options to minor league camp generally start happening this week, and there's typically some additional waiver-wire maneuvering around this time. However, if history rings true, minor league cuts likely won't occur until the end of the month.
  • Among the “graduates” from last year’s Dominican Academy class will likely be Juan Rodriguez, Raynel Vellette, Francisco Taveras, Nestor Lastreto, Oscar Perez, and Keury De La Cruz. Jose Vinicio, signed to a $1.95-million bonus in July 2009, is also expected to skip the Dominican Summer League and make his professional debut stateside this year. It is believed that all seven players have obtained visas to play in the United States this season, and at this point it's all about proving in spring training that they're each worthy of a roster spot on a U.S.-based affiliate. We’re projecting all of these players to stay back in XST this spring and play for the GCL Red Sox later in the season, with the possible exception of Rodriguez, who could be assigned to Lowell. The 21-year-old right-hander was named the Red Sox Latin Program Pitcher of the Year in 2009, going 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA, while striking out 78 batters in 63.2 innings for the DSL Red Sox.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com noted on Saturday that Brian Shouse’s contract will pay him $800,000 if he makes the major league club out of spring training. In that same article, Speier adds that Zach Daeges suffered another injury setback this spring to pile on top of the ankle issue that caused the outfielder to miss nearly all of the 2009 season. The 26-year-old has a strained right latissimus dorsi, and it could be up to two weeks before he gets back onto the field. Following the injury, Daeges was reassigned to minor league camp. This could lead to a situation where Daeges starts the season in XST to get back up to speed, in the hopes of an assignment back to Pawtucket whenever he's ready to go.
  • Speier also brings us an outstanding report on some adjustments that Michael Bowden made to his delivery this off-season under the direction of Sox pitching coach John Farrell and minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel. According to Speier, Bowden always recognized that his mechanics were unconventional, with a herky-jerky motion and a bit of a hitch, but this off-season the 23-year-old worked on eliminating some of that unnecessary movement. He also incorporated certain other elements into his motion that have worked for other Boston pitchers - including a more refined drop step and a longer arm swing - in an attempt to increase velocity while giving his mechanics a more natural feel.
  • Following Casey Kelly's outing on Saturday, Terry Francona raved about the young righty, commenting that he was impressed with Kelly's poise, pitchability, maturity, and willingness to take instruction. Kelly pitched two shutout innings against the Orioles in front of a sold-out crowd in his home town of Sarasota, allowing no hits, striking out one and allowing a walk. After the game, the 20-year-old talked to the media about keeping things in perspective: "I’m staying one day at a time, focusing on what I have to do to get better every day. Being around all the guys here is just unbelievable, watching them and how they go about their business."
  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com talked to Francona on Monday and the manager noted that he has been impressed with the improvement in Josh Reddick's plate discipline since last year. When asked to compare Reddick to Ryan Kalish, Francona commented that Kalish may have the ability to steal a few more bases than Reddick (for more discussion, check out the Reddick vs. Kalish thread in the SoxProspects Forum). He also found the comparison between Reddick and Trot Nixon to be apt. Meanwhile, Reddick spoke with Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com about his experiences this spring: "I feel like I'm more comfortable here just from knowing everybody," said Reddick, "being up there for that amount of time brought me more of a comfort zone. Last year, I was more that guy who sat in the corner, kept my mouth shut and learned. I'm still doing that here, but I feel I can talk a little more with these guys and interact with them a lot more than I could last year." As of today, Reddick is the club's leading hitter, putting up a .385/.385/.692 line in five spring games.
  • Reddick, Jose Iglesias, and Che-Hsuan Lin (pictured) each came up big in Boston's 7-6 victory over the St. Louis on Monday. With the Sox down two in the eighth inning, Iglesias hit a three-run home run that gave the Sox a temporary one-run lead (Richardson blew the save in the top of the ninth). In the bottom of the ninth, Reddick doubled in the tying run and scored the winning run on a walk-off single by Lin.
  • In today's game preview, Peter Abraham of Boston.com notes that Richardson left Monday’s game with a sore quad and will need to rest for a few days before he resumes throwing. Abraham also speculates whether the injury gives Shouse the upper hand in the battle for the last spot out of the bullpen.
  • For those interested in the story behind the revolving door for Boston's 40th roster spot, check out the report by Jason Beck of MLB.com on Casey Fien and his 48-hour tenure with the Red Sox.

Chris Hatfield, Jonathan Singer, John Gray, and Corey Hersch of SoxProspects.com contributed to this article. Photo by Dave Letizi.