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SoxProspects News

March 16, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Fort Report: Our thoughts are with Ryan Westmoreland

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan Westmoreland and his family today as he undergoes surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem. All of Red Sox Nation is behind you Ryan, get well soon.
  • In less serious news, Josh Reddick continues to tear up opposing pitchers this spring, putting up a line of .423/.444/.769 in 26 at-bats. However, Jeremy Hermida isn't giving fans much reason to question his place a notch ahead of Reddick on the depth chart, himself hitting .364/.391/.455 in 22 at-bats. Meanwhile, Darnell McDonald, the next outfielder on the depth chart behind Hermida and Reddick, has also looked good in short time, going .462/.500/.692 in 13 at-bats
  • Casey Kelly, Adam Mills, Kyle Weiland, Randor Bierd, Kris Johnson, Robert Manuel, Lars Anderson, Luis Exposito, Yamaico Navarro, Ryan Kalish, and Che-Hsuan Lin were all reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday. Jose Iglesias was also optioned to Portland and sent to minor league camp in the process, a move that the young shortstop took with some disappointment. Terry Francona attributed Iglesias' reaction to his confident mentality, and noted that he himself faced a similar disappointing situation when he was a young prospect in the Montreal Expos organization. (footnote: After being selected in the first round of the 1981 draft, the Expos' brass promised Francona that he would initially be assigned to major league camp later that year. However, Francona was given only one Grapefruit League at-bat, in which he struck out, before manager Dick Williams sent him to High-A Daytona on his way back to the dugout). Keep in mind that Iglesias' option to Portland does not necessarily mean that the Cuban is headed to Double-A to start the 2010 season. Indeed, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports today that the decision has not yet been made according to farm director Mike Hazen. Hazen told Speier, "He can speed that process up by performing. If he keeps doing what he’s been doing, then he’s going to speed that process up naturally. There’s still a few things to learn. He’ll get them.” Many props to Speier for being the first to get some semblance of an answer to the primary question in the back of my mind this spring. For a similarly props-worthy article on Iglesias, check out Alden Gonzalez' report on the shortstop's acclimation to Boston.
  • On Saturday, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald brought us a report on how Kalish's first trip to Fenway in a Sox uniform could signal the "Return of the Dirt Dog", furthering the comparisons between Kalish and Trot Nixon. Silverman also notes that Kalish went his entire senior high school season without ever swinging and missing at a pitch.
  • Meanwhile, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports that Lars Anderson remains calm and composed despite going hitless in 18 spring training at-bats. The first baseman remarked that he wants to try not to over-analyze his at-bats, but instead wants to focus on being physically present at the plate and letting things flow from there.

  • Amalie Benjamin of Boston.com recently commented on Junichi Tazawa, noting that his breaking ball has looked particularly good this spring, while also adding that Terry Francona said that the righthander looks stronger and more confident than he did last season.
  • Michael Bowden earned the save in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Pirates despite struggling through his two innings, allowing a run and three walks. Francona told the Associated Press, "Bowden had a tough time pitching, throwing strikes ... He worked behind, and except for the play that we drew up at the end, [he was] getting in a little bit of trouble. Up till then I thought everybody, Clay included, attacked the zone." Bowden recently talked to NESN.com about what it was like working out of the Boston bullpen for a short stint in 2009 after spending his entire career as a starter: "I didn't know how many throws my body needed to warm up. I got warmed up in the second [and the] third. I threw way more than I should have."
  • Ryne Miller was given the start on Sunday in the place of an ill Josh Beckett, and word is that Miller was given just one hour notice that he would be pitching with the major league club that day. The righty gave up two hits, two walks, and three earned runs in an inning of action against Minnesota. Look for a Q&A with Miller here on SoxProspects News in the next week or so.

  • One pitcher who impressed in Sunday's game was Paronto, a big righthander who spent the 2009 season in the Houston organization. A New Hampshire native and U-Mass alum, Paronto threw 1.2 innings of hitless ball against the Twins, fanning 1 and allowing a walk. Francona told MassLive.com on Monday, "He was great ... he kept the ball down in the zone. With the wind blowing out, a mistake or two could have led to some high numbers on the scoreboard. I'm sure we'll get him back here at least one more time.'' As of right now, it appears that Paronto is fighting for one of the last spots in the Pawtucket bullpen this season.
  • In Monday's notes column, Speier contends that Scott Atchison and Joe Nelson, two of the pitchers in the race for the last bullpen spot on the major league roster, are each capable of being used against both right-handed and left-handed hitters given their respective repertoires, while also mentioning that Francona has praised has Atchison's work this spring.
  • PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard did a lot of legwork tabulating which of Baseball America's top prospects may be visiting McCoy Stadium this year and when those visits might occur. Some intriguing names to keep an eye out for include Jason Heyward (May 10-13), Stephen Strasburg (May 14-17), Jesus Montero (June 29-July 2), Pedro Alvarez (April 27-30), and Aroldis Chapman (June 12-15). Obviously, Hoard provides no guarantees, but any of those players may be worth the drive to Rhode Island.

  • On Tuesday, Speier added an interesting piece on Madison Younginer and his relationship with his cousin Brandon Snyder, one of the top prospects in the Orioles organization. Speier also notes that Younginer's fastball has been clocked at 97 mph several times, that Hazen is impressed with Younginer's "hammer" curve, and that the pitcher is working on improving his changeup. It appears that Younginer's performance this spring will dictate whether he starts the season in Greenville or in extended spring training.
  • Two players who are reportedly not in minor league camp are Austin Bailey and Raoell Kortstam. Although not confirmed, word is that Bailey will spend another season on the inactive list, while Kortstam, who is relatively fluent in Spanish, will begin the season in the Dominican Summer League.

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