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SoxProspects News

April 30, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Wagner out six weeks with broken hand

According to SoxProspects sources, PawSox catcher Mark Wagner broke his hand on a foul ball in Thursday's game against Indianapolis, and will require surgery next week that will keep him out of the lineup for six weeks. Wagner was pulled from the game mid at-bat in the sixth inning for pinch hitter Lars Anderson, and was sent to Red Sox team doctors this morning to have his hand examined. The catcher was hitting .222 through sixteen games in Triple-A this season. Going forward, look for Dusty Brown to see more time at backstop in Pawtucket, coupled with the likely activation of Gustavo Molina from the disabled list and possible addition of Brian Peterson from extended spring training.
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at 6:39 AM

Anderson debuts for PawSox in a losing effort

4/30 Cup of Coffee: On a night when all eyes were on Pawtucket in anticipation of Lars Anderson's Triple-A debut, it was Greenville who had the best result in the only other action Thursday night.

Anderson pinch hit and grounded out for Mark Wagner, who left with a hand injury in the sixth inning as the PawSox managed just five hits in a 4-1 loss to Indianapolis (PIT). The Indians plated a run in the first and second innings before getting two in the third off Pawtucket starter Randor Bierd, who went 5.0 innings and allowed 4 runs, 3 earned on 7 hits. He struck out a pair. Robert Manuel tossed 2.0 innings of hitless relief before Scott Atchison made his PawSox debut, striking out 2 and giving up 3 hits in a pair of scoreless innings. Josh Reddick generated Pawtucket's only run, depositing one over the right field wall in the sixth inning. Reddick was 2 for 4, and Angel Sanchez was 2 for 3 with a double for the PawSox, who lost their third straight.

In the only other game on the bill Thursday evening, six different Drive players drove in runs and all but one of the starting nine had a hit as Greenville rolled over West Virginia (PIT) 9-3. Drive starter Yeiper Castillo got off to a tough start, allowing a pair of runs in the top of the first before settling down in the second. He went on to retire 10 in a row. Castillo left with two on and two out in the fifth, having allowed 4 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 4. Jordan Flasher got out of the jam for the Drive, who got on the board an inning earlier when Reymond Fuentes hit an inside-the-park home run. The only blemish in Flasher's 2.1 innings of work was a solo home run in the sixth that put Greenville down 3-1 before the Drive bats came to life. Fuentes singled and scored on an RBI triple by Dan Butler, and Butler scored on an error before Chris McGuiness chipped in with an RBI single to put Greenville ahead for good. Michael Almanzar added a two-run double in the eighth, while Shannon Wilkerson and Ronald Bermudez had an RBI single each for the Drive, who won for the fourth time in their last five games. Cesar Cabral struck out 3 in 2.0 perfect innings to get the save.

Player of the Night: Reymond Fuentes, who hit an inside-the-park home run and scored 3 runs in Greenville's 9-3 win over West Virginia. The home run was his first of the season.
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April 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Anderson promoted to Triple-A

According to multiple sources, Lars Anderson has been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Anderson has gotten off to a red-hot start in 2010, hitting .355/.408/.677 with 5 home runs and 16 RBI for Double-A Portland. In his 17 games played, he has smacked 5 doubles, while drawing 7 walks and striking out 16 times.

Drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2006 draft, Anderson split time between Greenville and Lancaster in 2007. After starting the 2008 campaign with Lancaster, he was called up to Portland on July 15. Anderson posted a combined line of .317/.417/.517 that season, his highest totals of any season to date. He also posted career highs with 18 home runs and 80 RBI. By the end of the 2008 season, Anderson found himself atop the SoxProspects.com prospect rankings.

After struggling in his first full season at the Double-A level in 2009, Anderson currently sits as the fourth-ranked prospect in the organization according to SoxProspects.com.
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at 6:05 AM

Wilson impresses in Salem victory

4/29 Cup of Coffee: Wednesday night saw Pawtucket engaged in a close battle, Portland getting lackluster pitching performances and Salem with a nearly perfect start, as the affiliates went 1-2 on the evening.

While the PawSox would pound out 11 hits, a disappointing start by Michael Bowden and a late inning collapse
allowed the Indianapolis Indians (PIT) to beat Pawtucket 10-9. Bowden, making his fourth start of the season, was hit early and often, allowing 7 runs on 5 hits in his 4.2 innings of work. The Pawtucket offense scored four in the second as Bubba Bell and Ryan Khoury laced RBI singles, and a bases loaded walk to Angel Sanchez plated the fourth run. Indianapolis would strike back for two in the top of the third, but Pawtucket would answer with five in the bottom of the frame. RBI singles by Bell, Daniel Nava, and Sanchez plated three, while a costly error by the Indians allowed two more to score, giving Pawtucket an early 9-3 advantage. Indianapolis scored four in the fifth and one in the sixth to bring the score to 9-8. Pawtucket would take this lead to the ninth as Fernando Cabrera came on to attempt the save. The game slipped away when the Indians took advantage of a passed ball by Dusty Brown and a key error by Nava to score two and take the 10-9 lead. Pawtucket made it interesting in the ninth, but Bell was picked off as he started toward second base to kill a potential rally. Bell, Khoury and Jorge Jimenez each had two hits to lead the offense.

Pitching proved to be problematic for Portland in its
9-3 loss to the Binghamton Mets (NYM). Starter Casey Kelly had a rough first inning, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, on his way to picking up his first loss of the season. Kelly would go the first 2.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and striking out 3. Things didn't get much better once Kelly exited, as Eammon Portice and TJ Large allowed three runs each in their combined 4.2 innings of work. Portland's only scoring came in the sixth when they plated three, scoring on a wild pitch, a bases loaded walk to Luis Exposito and an RBI single by Che-Hsuan Lin. Lin was 3 for 4 on the evening to lead the Portland offense, and Jose Iglesias went 2 for 4 with a double.

While pitching failed Pawtucket and Portland, Salem got a dazzling start by Alex Wilson to
capture a close 2-1 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC). Wilson was nearly perfect in his 5.0 innings of work, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 6. The Red Sox scored their lone runs of the contest on a Will Middlebrooks RBI double in the sixth. The Blue Rocks staged a rally in the ninth, scoring one and loading the bases before Lance McClain struck out the final two batters to pick up his second save. Mitch Herold picked up his second victory of the season, pitching 3.0 flawless innings.

Player of the Night:
Alex Wilson, who tossed 5.0 sparkling innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 6 in Salem's 2-1 victory.
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April 28, 2010 at 11:29 AM

The Ladder: 4.28.10

1B Lars Anderson

The Line: Sporting an Eastern League leading 1.086 OPS and carrying a .355/.408/.677 line, Anderson has gotten off to a strong start in 2010. He’s been piling up the extra-base hits, including 5 home runs and 5 doubles on the young season. Especially hot in his last 10 games, he’s launched 4 home runs and added 3 doubles to post an OPS of 1.393 over that stretch. Anderson got things rolling on April 18 against Trenton with a solo home run and followed that up for a 2 for 4 showing against Binghamton the next day, drilling another long home run. In the series against Trenton from April 22-25, he went 6 for 14 with 2 home runs and 6 runs batted in, launching the go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning to propel Portland to the victory in the final game of the series.

The View: Many hitters get off to strong starts at the beginning of the season, but for Anderson this is exactly the type of start that followers were looking for after a very disappointing 2009 season in Double-A. Struggling for most of last season and especially in the second half to produce extra-base hits, he’s been looking much more comfortable and grounded in the box out of the gate. Anderson is a hitter that has always shown good power to the opposite field, which led to above-average power projections for him when he began to learn to tap into his natural strength and turn on more balls. Thus far in 2010, he’s been turning on balls with much more authority and creating a good amount of lift in his swing to drive balls deep out to right field. Anderson has been locked in on fastballs, and he has been able to stay back longer and then explode through the ball with a smooth, fluid swing. In 2009, he was out on his front foot in many at-bats and committed his hands too early in a lot of instances, leading to a lack of solid contact. With more focus during each at-bat and grinding pitchers out to get offerings he can drive, the results have been much more in line with his career up until 2009, and he’s shown an improving trend so far of hitting more balls in the air. Now facing teams for a second time on the season, Anderson can expect to get more off-speed pitches earlier in counts, and this has been an area he’s needed to improve upon in the past. By adjusting to these pitching patterns and continuing to battle in each at-bat to take what is given to him, Anderson should be able to sustain his hitting success at this level and be back on the path towards rounding out into an impact middle-of-the-order bat, with an eye on a promotion to Triple-A sometime in the summer.

LHP Manny Rivera

The Line: After a rocky first start to begin the year for Greenville, Rivera has rebounded nicely to work 19 innings as a member of the starting rotation while giving up 13 hits and 5 earned runs to go along with an impressive 19 strikeouts against only 2 walks. Earning his first win of the season on April 15 against Rome, he dealt 5.0 shutout innings while allowing 1 hit and fanning 9 batters without issuing a free pass. Rivera followed that up with a 4 innings of one-run baseball against West Virginia, and picked up his second win of the year in a five-shutout-inning performance against Lexington on April 25, limiting the lineup to 2 hits and picking up 4 more strikeouts while not giving up a walk.

The View: The 20-year-old left-handed starter has gotten out of the gate quickly so far in the South Atlantic League and is more of an unknown after spending the last couple of seasons in the Red Sox rookie leagues. Flashing a fastball that sits right around 90 MPH and an already advanced changeup that he has good feel for, Rivera commands the strike zone well and has been adept at throwing strikes while living away from the middle of the plate. With a deceptive delivery, he’s able to hide the ball well and bury his changeup on hitters with good arm speed, while sneaking his fastball up on hitters and pounding the lower portion of the strike zone with it. Rivera also throws a curveball, but this offering is currently behind his other two pitches and is on the loopy side. Improvements with his feel and finish with this pitch will round out his arsenal, and continue to project him as a starting pitcher down the line. Hitters are going to adjust against Rivera as he goes through the league a couple of more times, and he’ll need to change his pitching sequences accordingly to continue to keep hitters off-balance. As the season progresses and he gains additional trust in the pitch, Rivera’s curveball can become an offering that he uses more to get consistent outs and keep batters honest. It should be expected that he’ll hit a rough patch or two over the course of the season, but early signals indicate that Rivera can be effective at this level and that his command is rounding into a strength for him, with a goal of continuing to polish off his arsenal while getting some positive results in the process.

Trending Up

Salem’s Will Middlebrooks has gotten off to a very strong start in High-A this season after being a notoriously slow starter in his previous two minor league seasons. The 21-year-old third baseman has posted a .354/.417/.554 line out of the gate, and has been even stronger in his last 10 games with an OPS of 1.036 during that stretch. Middlebrooks recently hit his first 2 home runs of 2010 on April 25 and April 26, and has been showing off his defensive skills down at the hot corner. A lot of Middlebrooks’s past struggles stemmed from his raw pitch recognition and unrefined approach. After making improvements in both areas in 2009 to come on strong in the second half of the season with Greenville, he’s been able to carry them over and build on them so far in High-A. Still striking out at a decent clip, continued sharpening of his pitch selection will be needed to sustain his good success, but the ball has been jumping off Middlebrooks’s bat, and he has been giving a glimpse of the type of right-handed power hitter he can become…Dan Butler is 11 for his last 34 with 2 home runs to push his season OPS to 1.011. The Greenville catcher has been locked in at the plate recently and has been piling up the extra-base hits after hitting .173 in 81 at-bats between his time at Lowell last season and brief two-game call-up to Salem…Oscar Tejeda has been white hot to begin 2010 and recently picked up both Carolina League Player of the Week and SoxProspects.com Player of the Week honors. Tejeda has surprised with his power to start the season and is currently carrying a .694 slugging percentage. He’s eclipsed last year’s total of 3 home runs in 379 at-bats this year, with 5 round trippers in only 72 at-bats with Salem. Tejeda has struggled to maintain consistent contact in the past, but showed good hitting tools and potential to round into a productive hitter as he matures. While only walking once on the season and striking out 13 times, he’s been able to square more balls up and tighten his previously sometimes sloppy hitting mechanics at the plate. Look for Tejeda to come a bit back down to earth if his patience doesn’t improve some, but the early returns have been very positive for him and show the type of hitting skills he possesses…Portland outfielder Ryan Kalish has an impressive 15 walks versus only 7 strikeouts in his first 15 games this season and has continued to show the advanced approach that is a key strength for him at the plate. His contact rates are a bit down right now, but with the way he works counts and patience he displays, an uptick is most likely around the corner.

Trending Down

Che-Hsuan Lin has hit a tough patch with Portland in his first exposure to Double-A and is now 4 for his last 36 to drop his season average to .186. The graceful centerfielder has had considerable troubling squaring up pitches, only picking up a lone extra-base hit thus far. A very gifted defender with a well-above-average throwing arm, Lin can struggle with his timing and mechanics at the plate where he gets way out in front and drags his hands through the hitting zone, which leads to spells of inconsistent and weak contact…Portland righty Kyle Weiland has not been able to get on track yet in Double-A, allowing 14 earned runs in 14.0 innings of work on the season. Weiland was hit especially hard over 4.0 innings in his last outing, getting tagged for 8 earned runs while giving up 2 home runs. Weiland features a heavy, running fastball that shows excellent late movement and an improving changeup. But his fastball can be hittable when it is up in the strike zone, and he’s been off with his command of the pitch during the early season, which has lead to it grabbing too much of the plate…Recently returned to Triple-A after a brief stint with the big club, Josh Reddick has yet to find his groove this season at the plate. Reddick is currently 8 for 50 with the PawSox and hasn’t been making much solid contact in his at-bats. He’s struck out 10 times during the stretch and has walked only once. Reddick’s main need has revolved around the sharpening of his approach at the plate and to cut down on the number of pitches he chases. After a strong spring training, he’s been unable to translate that to the Triple-A level and has appeared to be trying to jerk too many balls in the early going.
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at 8:08 AM

Miller on the money for Portland

4/28 Cup of Coffee: No matter what kind of game you like, Tuesday had it on the menu, with Sox affiliates earning a split of the four games played. The accounts of a solid defeat, a crisp and clean pitching gem, an epic late-inning offensive explosion, and a game marred by errors are to follow:

A close game through eight ended up a lopsided score as Indianapolis (PIT) downed Pawtucket 7-2. Kason Gabbard, making his first start of the season for the PawSox, allowing only 3 runs, 2 of them earned, in 4.1 innings, leaving with his team trailing 3-0 in the fifth. Pawtucket drew closer in the bottom half of the frame, as a lead-off single by Kevin Frandsen and back-to-back doubles by Daniel Nava and Josh Reddick plated 2 runs to make it 3-2. Nava, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, is now hitting .328/.397/.459. The score would stay 3-2 through the next 2.0 innings, but things got away late as Joe Nelson allowed a run in the eighth and Fernando Cabrera was touched for 3 runs in the ninth. Pawtucket put two men on in the ninth, but ultimately couldn't push another run across. Both pitching staffs struck out 10 in this one, but Pawtucket hurlers also walked 10 against only 2 free passes for Indianapolis.

As the Boston Red Sox were getting excellent pitching north of the border, Portland pitchers tossed a gem of their own, shutting out Binghamton (NYM) 2-0. Ryne Miller's 6.0 shutout innings led the way, as the big righthander allowed only 1 hit and 2 walks in his outing. Jason Rice and Bryce Cox were equally impressive in relief, allowing only 1 hit combined the rest of the way. The Sea Dogs tallied just enough offense to win in this one, starting in the fifth when Lars Anderson singled, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Chih-Hsien Chiang. Ryan Kalish blasted his fourth home run of the season in the sixth to extend the lead, but it was Anderson who was the hitting star in this one, collecting 3 of Portland's 7 hits in his 4 at-bats to raise his season line to .355/.408/.677. Chang and Will Vazquez were each 1 for 3.

With a 5-3 deficit staring them in the face entering the bottom of the seventh, the Salem Red Sox came roaring back, scoring twelve times over the final two innings to crush former Sox affiliate Wilmington 15-5. The teams traded chances in the early going, driven by the wheels and power stroke of Oscar Tejeda, who hit his fifth home run of the season in the second and scored a run after stealing his fifth base of the season in the fifth to tie the score at 3. After the Blue Rocks took the lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh, three Salem runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh when David Mailman hit a two-run double and was subsequently driven in by Jon Hee. In the bottom of the eighth, Red Sox hitters had two streaks of five straight hitters reaching base, with the big blows coming off the bats of Pete Hissey and Tim Federowicz, who each hit two-run doubles. There was no shortage of heroes on the offensive side of the ball in this one, with Tejeda and Hee leading the way with 3 hits each. Hissey, Mailman, Ryan Dent, and Mitch Dening each had 2 hits. One cannot overstate the mound work of Mike Lee, either, who quieted the Wilmington offense with 2.1 solid innings of relief to earn the win.

There was more offense to be found in South Carolina on Tuesday, but the Greenville Drive came out on the wrong side of that affair, losing 14-7 to Lexington (HOU). Ryan Pressly, Pete Ruiz, and the Drive defense gave the team little hope right out of the gate, as the Legends scored 3 runs against Pressly in the first and 7 more against Ruiz in the second and third. Only 1 run charged to Ruiz was earned, however, as 2 errors by Vladimir Frias led to 6 unearned runs. Greenville tried to mount a comeback, scoring a run in the third on a Chris McGuiness RBI single and 3 runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Wilfred Pichardo and a two-run double by McGuiness. But Lexington scored 4 more unearned runs in the seventh against Jeremiah Bayer on Frias's third and fourth errors of the night to put the game out of reach. McGuiness and Ronald Bermudez were the top offensive performers, with each man going 2 for 4.

Player of the Night: Ryne Miller, who fired 6.0 shutout innings, yielding only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 3 to help Portland to victory.
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April 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Sox recall Embree, send down Castro

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have recalled Alan Embree from Triple-A Pawtucket. Embree has a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to opt out of his contract had the Red Sox not called him up by April 30th.

Just one day after calling up Fabio Castro from Pawtucket, the team sent him back down again in favor of the 40-year-old left hander.

Embree has made 8 appearances with the PawSox this season, posting a 3.68 ERA with 5 walks and 6 strikeouts in 7.1 innings. He is coming off of a week in which he appeared in 4 games and retired all 12 batters he faced.

The 25-year-old Castro returns to Pawtucket sporting an 0-1 record with a 8.10 ERA in 3 starts. In his 10.0 innings of work, he has issued 9 walks while striking out 13.

In order to make room for Embree on the 40-man roster, Kevin Frandsen has been designated for assignment.
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at 1:11 PM

Players of the Week, April 19-25: Oscar Tejeda and Robert Coello

Outstanding performances this week earned Salem's Oscar Tejeda and Portland's Robert Coello Player and Pitcher of the Week honors as voted on by the SoxProspects.com community.

Tejeda, Salem's 20-year-old second baseman, amassed a .440/.440/.920 line in his six games this week, highlighted by a 2 home run, 4 RBI performance against Frederick on April 24. In 25 at-bats, Tejeda had 11 hits, 5 for extra bases, including 4 home runs and 7 RBI. The impressive performance also earned him Carolina League Player of the Week honors.

The 25-year-old Coello appeared in three games out of the Sea Dogs' bullpen this week, where he went 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA and 12 strikeouts. He allowed only 3 hits in his 8 innings pitched. Originally drafted as a catcher by the Cincinnati Reds in 2004, Coello is now 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 5 appearances for Portland this season.

Greenville's Dan Butler, who finished third in this week's SoxProspects.com Player of the Week poll, won South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors for his .450/.476/.950 performance. He also smacked 2 home runs and 4 doubles while adding 7 RBI to help Greenville go 6-1 over the course of the week.
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at 12:53 PM

Westmoreland released from hospital

The Red Sox have announced that Ryan Westmoreland was released from the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital on Saturday as he continues his recovery from brain surgery. Westmoreland, who will celebrate his 20th birthday today, will continue outpatient therapy at Spaulding. The statement from the Red Sox is as follows:

"The Red Sox announced that minor league outfielder Ryan Westmoreland was released from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital on Saturday, April 24. General Manager Theo Epstein made the announcement.Westmoreland will continue to undergo physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient at Spaulding. He has been making steady progress and is in great spirits."
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at 6:09 AM

Greenville's seven run rally leads to comeback win

4/27 Cup of Coffee: A solid start by a former first round pick in Pawtucket and an exciting seven run eighth inning rally by Greenville highlighted the day for the affiliates.

Trying to bounce back after a disappointing 2009 season, Kris Johnson pitched 5.0 solid innings to help the PawSox beat the Buffalo Bisons (NYM) 5-1. Making his first start after a few rocky bullpen outings, the left-handed Johnson allowed just 5 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 3. Pawtucket jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, getting a solo home run from Kevin Frandsen and a bases-loaded walk to Dusty Brown. A pair of sacrifice flies by Matt Sheely and Josh Reddick expanded the lead to 4-1 after the 4th. The Pawtucket bullpen was superb upon Johnson's exit as Robert Manuel and Joe Nelson combined to pitch the final 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit. Daniel Nava added his first home run of the year in the 6th and is now hitting .328 for the season.

Portland's game against the Binghamton Mets was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 2. The two teams begin a brief two game series on Tuesday night.

Strong offensive performances couldn't help Salem overcome a disappointing start by Fabian Williamson as the Red Sox fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC) 7-6. Williamson, who was looking to remain undefeated and move to 4-0 on the season, went 5.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits walking 3 and striking out 2. The Red Sox got on the board in the second as Ryan Dent's RBI single and Peter Hissey's RBI double knotted the score at 2-2. Salem did not score again until the sixth when they staged a two out rally, highlighted by Will Middlebrooks solo home run and Alex Hassan's bases-loaded walk. Ryan Lavarnway and Hissey added RBI singles in the 7th and 8th, but it was not enough to overtake the Blue Rocks. Jeremy Kehrt followed Williamson out of the bullpen, pitching 4.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 1. Hissey and Tim Federowicz were both 3 for 5 to pace the Red Sox offense.

In Greenville it looked like it was going to be a long night as the Drive's offense was stagnant through the first six innings, but a seven run eighth inning rally gave Greenville a 8-6 victory over the Lexington Legends (HOU). Starter Roman Mendez, who was looking to bounce back from his early season struggles, went the first 2.0 innings allowing 5 unearned runs on 6 hits and struck out 2. Key errors by Michael Almanzar and Ronald Bermudez helped the Legends jump out to a 5-0 lead. Trying to hold Lexington in check, reliever Dennis Neuman followed Mendez, going 4.0 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Trailing 6-1 going in the bottom of the eighth, the Drive staged a massive rally to take a 8-6 lead. Almanzar and Dan Butler reached base to start the inning and were knocked in on Bermudez's three-run home run. Zach Gentile welcomed a new Lexington pitcher with a walk and scored on Kenneth Roque's two-run blast. Wilfred Pichardo and Derrik Gibson both reached base and created havoc, with each stealing a base and scoring. Cesar Cabral pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. Jordan Flasher picked up his second victory of the season by pitching 2.0 scoreless innings.

Player of the Night: Kris Johnson, who tossed 5.0 solid innings, allowing one unearned run on 5 hits while striking out 3 in Pawtucket's 5-1 victory.
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at 1:32 AM

Sox recall lefty starter Castro

The Red Sox have recalled left-handed starter Fabio Castro and will send reliever Scott Atchison to Pawtucket.

The 25-year-old Castro pitched well in his first start for the PawSox this season, giving up 1 run over 4.0 innings with 4 strikeouts. However, he has had a rocky go of things since, posting an ERA of 12.00 in his last two starts.

Last season in Toronto's farm system, Castro made 29 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A and finished with an ERA of 4.01. He has 30 career appearances at the big league level.

Castro was scheduled to start for Pawtucket on Tuesday. However, Boston's bullpen has been heavily taxed over the past few games, leading them to need an extra arm. He will likely serve as insurance in case Clay Buchholz is unable to pitch deep into the game.

Atchison, 34, went 0-1 with an ERA of 6.10 in 7 relief appearances for Boston.
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April 26, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Sox sign Cuban defector Ibarra

The Red Sox signed former Cuban National League player Adalberto Ibarra to a major league contract worth $4.3 million, confirms Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Ibarra, 23, hit very well during the 2007-2008 season in Cuba, putting up a line of .363/.464/.525 while playing at first, second, and third base. Prior to that he took part in the 2004 World Junior Championship and hit .429/.500/.571, taking All-Star honors at third base. He ranked just ahead of current Arizona Diamondback star Justin Upton for eighth in batting average and tied with recently-signed Red Sox prospect Jorge Padron for third in hits in the tournament.

In the 2008-2009 season, his last before defecting from Cuba, Ibarra's stat line dropped slightly to .341/.470/.481. He is a left-handed batter, listed as 5'9" and 200 lbs.

There is some question as to what position he will focus on upon entering the Red Sox system. Reports have him primarily playing second base in his last season in Cuba. He has also played first and third base in his career, but it is believed he has recently switched to become a full-time catcher.

CubanBallPlayers.com reports that the Red Sox do indeed see him as a future catcher. The report goes on to state that he is considered a strong leader on and off the field. It also says he has an elegant batting stance, and hits well to all fields. If the Red Sox do see him as a catcher moving forward, it will be interesting to see how he fits into a system already stocked with catching prospects. He is expected to begin his Red Sox tenure in extended spring training.
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at 8:00 AM

Rivera gem leads Drive to victory

4/26 Cup of Coffee: A double-header sweep by Greenville and a come-back win by Portland highlighted a full slate of action for Sox minor leaguers.

Not even Star Wars Day at McCoy Stadium could save the PawSox, as Adam Mills and the Pawtucket bullpen allowed 19 hits en route to a 10-3 loss to Buffalo (NYM). After shining in his previous start, Mills was very hittable on Sunday, allowing runs in each of the first three innings and struggling through 5.0 frames in all, allowing 6 runs on 11 hits. The Bisons swung early and often against Mills, who threw only 88 pitches in his outing despite facing 26 batters. Angel Sanchez went 2 for 3 with a walk for the Red Sox, and Mark Wagner also had a nice day, going 2 for 4 with a double. Each man also had an RBI. Leadoff hitter Josh Reddick continued his struggles, going 0 for 4 and committing an error in the first inning, his third of the season.

A close game through eight ended up a comfortable win for Portland, which scored 5 runs in the ninth and defeated Trenton (NYY) 9-5. The game began as a see-saw affair, as Ryan Kalish doubled home Nate Spears to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, only to see Trenton tie things up in the bottom of the frame. A Juan Apodaca solo home run reestablished the Portland lead in the second, but Trenton once again came back, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the third. Apodaca, who ended up 4 for 5 in this one, once again came through in the seventh, this time tying the game 4-4 with an RBI double, but the big bats didn't truly come to life until the ninth. The first five Sea Dogs reached in the inning, with Lars Anderson providing the loudest blow in the form of a three-run home run, his fifth already on the season, part of a 2-for-5, 4-RBI day. Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin, meanwhile, each stole their fifth base of the season in the inning, and Spears also cashed in with a two-run double. Felix Doubront, Tommy Hottovy, and Robert Coello were solid enough on the mound, allowing 5 runs but combining to strike out 12.

As their major league counterparts battled in Boston, Salem and Frederick (BAL) played a far more anticlimactic game, with the Keys prevailing 15-4. The Red Sox actually led in this game after Will Middlebrooks led off the top of the second with his first home run of the year, but Frederick struck back with a 5-run third and never looked back. All 5 runs in the third were unearned against Brock Huntzinger, as second baseman Oscar Tejeda made two errors in the inning. The Keys scored 5 more unearned runs in an 8-run eighth after an error by Middlebrooks, giving Frederick 10 unearned runs total in the game. Both error makers for Salem did partially redeem themselves with good days at the plate, with Tejeda going 3 for 4 with a triple and Middlebrooks going 2 for 5. Ryan Lavarnway continued his assault on the Carolina League, mashing his sixth home run of the year while going 2 for 5 to raise his season line to .377/.424/.754.

Things started off rocky for Kendall Volz and Greenville in Sunday's first game against Lexington (HOU), but a tenacious late-inning comeback led to a 6-3 Drive win. Volz allowed 2 in the first and another run in the second but gutted his way through 5.0 innings, earning the win when Greenville took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Dan Butler and Ronald Bermudez drove in those fifth-inning runs, while Michael Almanzar provided insurance with his 2-run double in the sixth. Jeremiah Bayer provided 2.0 scoreless frames to close things out.

In game two, it was a stellar pitching performance by Manny Rivera that stole the show as the Drive won again, 4-0. Rivera allowed only 2 hits in his 5.0 innings of work, striking out 4. Anatanaer Batista brought the shutout home with 2.0 scoreless frames of his own. Greenville gave its mound magicians an early lead to work with, as Chris McGuiness drilled his second home run of the year to center in the first. That blast drove in Jeremy Hazelbaker, who singled earlier in the inning and stole his twelfth base of the young season. Two more Drive runs crossed the plate in the fourth, as Bermudez homered to lead off the inning and Reymond Fuentes followed with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Almanzar also had another solid game, going 2 for 3 with a triple.

Player of the Night: Manny Rivera, who tossed 5.0 shutout innings to help Greenville to a double-header sweep.
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April 25, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Salem offense hits double-digits in win

The Salem offense exploded for 10 runs and the Sea Dogs got a great pitching effort, while the PawSox fell victim to the knuckleball and Greenville was rained out in Sox-affiliate action (or non-action) last night.

Buffalo (NYM) knuckleballer R.A. Dickey shut Red Sox bats down for the second time in ten days, as the Pawtucket fell to the Bisons, 4-2. After allowing two runs in his complete game victory back on April 14, Dickey gave up only a pair of runs over 8.0 innings on six hits and no walks, striking out five. The PawSox actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second, as Aaron Bates doubled with one out, then scored two batters later on Daniel Nava’s single to left. The Bisons tied the score in the top of the third off starter Randor Bierd, but Nava helped get the lead back in the bottom of the fifth, doubling to lead off the frame and scoring on Bubba Bell’s single. Again, Buffalo answered right back in the next inning, taking the lead for good on a two-run homer in the sixth, and added an insurance run in the ninth. Bierd went 6.0 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. Alan Embree made his seventh scoreless, 1.0-inning appearance of the year, reportedly hitting 94 mph twice in his 1-2-3 frame, then turned it over to Dustin Richardson, who allowed a run on 2 hits and a walk in his 2.0 innings, striking out 4. Nava and Bell paced the offense, each going 2 for 3.

Stephen Fife turned in 5.1 strong innings of work as Portland toppled Trenton (NYY), 5-2. The right-hander allowed just 1 unearned run on 5 hits and an uncharacteristically high 3 walks, striking out 5 to earn his first win of 2010. He was followed by T.J. Large, who made his season debut with 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief, and Bryce Cox, who allowed a run on 4 hits in his 1.1 innings. The red-hot Lars Anderson got the scoring started in the second, leading off the inning with a single, moving to third on Ray Chang’s double, and scoring on a groundout to second by Chih-Hsien Chiang. Anderson then started the sixth-inning rally that broke the game open for the Sea Dogs, leading off with a double. Singles by Chang and Jose Iglesias loaded the bases with none out, allowing Chiang to drive in Anderson once again with a sacrifice fly to right. Following a Jason Place walk to re-load the bases, Chang scored on a wild pitch and Ryan Kalish brought in Iglesias with another sac fly. The Thunder got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on an Iglesias error, but Nate Spears’ solo home run in the top of the seventh extended the lead back to three. Trenton rallied for a run off Cox in the ninth, but Cox induced a double play to end the game with the winning run at the plate. Anderson and Chang each had a pair of hits in 3 at-bats to pace the Sea Dogs, while Kalish went 1 for 2 with 2 walks.

Salem ran up double-digits behind a stunning power display from second baseman Oscar Tejeda, taking a 10-3 decision from Frederick (BAL). Down 3-1 entering the sixth, their lone run coming on Tejeda's first dinger in the fourth, the Red Sox offense scored 8 runs in the next two frames to take control of the contest. Anthony Rizzo started things with one out in the sixth, doubling, stealing third, and scoring on a groundout by Ryan Lavarnway. Will Middlebrooks then doubled, scoring thanks to a throwing error one batter later that allowed Tejeda to reach and advance to second. Alex Hassan singled to right next to bring Tejeda in. After a 1-2-3 inning from reliever Mitch Herold, three Salem walks loaded the bases for Lavarnway, who drove in another run on a fielder’s choice. Middlebrooks then plated a run with a single to right, and Tejeda followed with his second homer of the night, a three-run round-tripper to left. Salem capped the scoring in the ninth when Rizzo doubled and scored on Middlebrooks’ single, but the insurance run was not needed, as Kyle Fernandes shut the door. Tejeda was the offensive star, going 2 for 5 with 2 home runs, driving in 4 runs and scoring 3 himself. Middlebrooks was 3 for 5 with a double, scoring twice and driving in a pair, while Rizzo was 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk, scoring 2 runs. Stolmy Pimentel gave up 8 hits in his 4.2 innings, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, striking out 3 and walking 2. Herold and Fernandes continued their great relief work this year, the former allowing just 2 hits in 2.1 innings to get the win, and the latter giving up a hit and a walk in 2.0 innings, fanning 2. The pair dropped their respective ERAs to 0.87 and 1.74 on the season, respectively.

Player of the Night: Oscar Tejeda, who hit a pair of home runs to pace the Salem offensive onslaught. With four homers already, Tejeda has matched his career high for home runs in a season just 57 at-bats into the year.
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April 24, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Red Sox acquire Van Every, option Reddick to Pawtucket

The Boston Red Sox have reacquired 30-year-old outfielder Jonathan Van Every from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later. To make room for Van Every in Boston, the team has optioned Josh Reddick to Triple-A Pawtucket and designated pitcher Santo Luis for assignment. Van Every, who was signed by the Pirates last season after being released by the Red Sox in July, was hitting .314 in 10 games for Triple-A Indianapolis so far this season. Spending parts of 2008 and 2009 with Boston, Van Every hit .286 in 18 games.
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at 10:51 AM

Wakefield and Buchholz named Jimmy Fund Co-Captains

BOSTON - Red Sox pitchers Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz and President and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dana-Farber President Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, along with pediatric and adult patients and their families, today to kick off their appointment as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Co-captains.

The two pitchers will be ambassadors for the Jimmy Fund to raise awareness and build support for cancer care and research at Dana-Farber. They will also lend their support to some of the charity’s signature events throughout the year, visit adult and pediatric clinics, thank donors, and more.

“We’re proud to have Tim and Clay ‘pitching in’ for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund,” said Benz. “The combination of one of the Red Sox’ most established and distinguished veterans and one of the team’s brightest new stars reinforces the durability of the bond between the Sox and Dana-Farber.”

The Boston Red Sox are unequalled champions in the fight against cancer. The Red Sox adopted the Jimmy Fund as their official charity in 1953, and since then, the two organizations have established a deep bond — unlike any other between a professional sports team and a charity. The Red Sox have teamed with the Jimmy Fund to save lives, seek cures, and dramatically change the quality of life for adults and children facing cancer in New England and around the world.

Buchholz, who served as this year’s honorary spokesplayer for Dana-Farber’s Rally Against CancerSM fundraiser, is thrilled with his newest role with the Jimmy Fund.

“Being involved with the Jimmy Fund is an honor for any Red Sox player, as we are all aware of the long-standing relationship,” said Buchholz. “I feel extremely fortunate to be part of this tradition and will do what I can to support Dana-Farber’s important mission.”

Wakefield has been a longtime supporter of the Jimmy Fund, visiting with clinic teens during their road trips to Spring Training and a Red Sox road game each season, and participating in various WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethons. In 1998, he started the “Wakefield Warriors” program, through which patients from Dana-Farber and Franciscan Hospital for Children visit with him and watch batting practice before all Tuesday games at Fenway Park, and after the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series it was Wakefield who brought the coveted trophy to Dana-Farber for pediatric and adult patients to admire.

“I’ve often said how special it is to be a member of the Red Sox because of the passion New Englanders feel for baseball,” said Wakefield. “It’s the same way with the Jimmy Fund. Every time I walk out to the mound and see that Jimmy Fund emblem out on the Green Monster, I am reminded of the special role the team has played in helping fight cancer since Ted Williams visited with patients at Dana-Farber back in the 1950s.”

The Jimmy Fund, an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, supports the fight against cancer at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer around the world. Since 1948, the generosity of millions of people has helped the Jimmy Fund save countless lives by furthering cancer research and care.

Join Wakefield and Buchholz in their fight against cancer: Text KCANCER to 20222 to give $10 now (message and data rates apply; ten dollars will be billed to your cell phone; for terms, visit
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at 6:25 AM

PawSox score only win of the night

4/24 Cup of Coffee: Casey Kelly finally gave up an earned run, but that wasn't all the bad news as the bats went cold in losses for Portland and Greenville. The PawSox gained the only win of the night for the affiliates.

A two-run home run by Jorge Jimenez and a Daniel Nava two-run triple provided enough offense for Michael Bowden and the PawSox pitching staff as Pawtucket topped Buffalo (NYM), 5-3. Jimenez went deep to right with two down in the third inning to pull the PawSox even at two in the bottom of the third, and Nava tripled to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth before scoring on a Bubba Bell sacrifice fly. Bowden had a rough opening inning, but rebounded to throw 4.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. He struck out 3. Robert Manuel got the win, throwing 2 scoreless innings of relief. Alan Embree threw a perfect seventh, and Fernando Cabrera allowed a run but earned the save.

In Trenton, Kelly allowed his first earned run of the season, but it was the bullpen that held responsibility for the Sea Dog's 9-1 thumping by the Thunder (NYY). Kelly went 3.1 innings, allowing an earned run and 6 hits while striking out 3. Ryne Lawson entered in relief, threw 3.0 innings and allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits. Jason Rice entered with the bases loaded in the seventh, but did not fare much better. All three inherited runners scored, and he allowed a three-run home run to make it 9-1 in the eighth. Portland could not get much going offensively, with Lars Anderson collecting the only RBI on a sacrifice fly in the first. Juan Apodaca, Ray Chang, Jason Place, and Anderson had a hit apiece in the loss.

Much like the story for Portland, Salem's bullpen could not keep the Red Sox in the game either, as they fell 8-4 to Frederick (BAL). The Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on a two-run double by Tim Federowicz, but Frederick drew even in the fifth to chase starter Alex Wilson. Wilson struck out 6 in 4.2 innings of two-run ball. Oscar Tejeda singled to put Salem up 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but the Keys posted a five-spot on reliever Mike Lee in the bottom half of frame. Ryan Lavarnaway hit his fifth home run of the year to bring the Sox back to within three runs, but it was too little, too late. Blake Maxwell gave up a run in his 1.0 inning of work. Tejeda led the Sox from the leadoff spot, going 3 for 5 with an RBI and a double.

The Drive did not fare much better, managing just a single run in a 5-1 loss to West Virginia (PIT). Yieper Castillo got the start for Greenville and took the loss. He allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, in 4.0 innings, striking out 5 and walking 3 while allowing just 3 hits. Jordan Flasher and Cesar Cabral each allowed a run in relief appearances, while Dennis Neuman threw a scoreless eighth for the Drive. Greenville scored its only run of the game on a Zach Gentile single in the second. Gentile and Dan Butler each had a pair of hits in the loss.

Player of the Night: Jorge Jimenez, whose two-run home run helped the Sox affiliates to their only win of the evening. He went 2 for 4 in Pawtucket's 5-3 victory over Buffalo.
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April 23, 2010 at 11:59 AM

2010 Sea Dogs could be a special group

The 2010 Portland Sea Dogs -- Boston’s Double-A affiliate -- are one of the most prospect-laden teams in the entire minor leagues this season. In fact, Baseball America named this year’s Portland squad the second-best lineup in the minors heading into the 2010 campaign. This is precisely the talent that Theo Epstein was talking about when he made the off-hand remark over the winter that the 2010 season might be a “bridge year” before the next influx of prospects. But when measuring how good this team really is, one needs look no further than the team that the Red Sox had in Portland five years ago.
For more, check out ESPNBoston: 2010 Sea Dogs could be a special group
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at 9:54 AM

Q&A with Tim Federowicz

The Red Sox drafted Tim Federowicz out of the University of North Carolina in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. He quickly established himself as an excellent defensive catcher with the Lowell Spinners that summer, showing off his strong, accurate throwing arm on a regular basis. Federowicz showed off his offensive game in 2009, hitting a combined .305 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in between the Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox. He returns to Salem in 2010 to continue his work honing his overall game and pushing towards the upper levels of the Red Sox organization. I had a chance to sit down with Federowicz in Fort Myers after one of his spring training games to check in on what he has been working on, and get his thoughts on how things have been going. Thanks to Tim for taking the time after catching in the Florida heat to answer some questions and chat about baseball.

Chris Mellen: After spending the summer of 2008 with Lowell and feeling things out with professional pitching, what type of adjustments did you make in the 2009 season heading into your first season in full-season baseball?
Tim Federowicz:
I straightened my stance up a little bit to stand up tall and concentrated on staying above the baseball. I wanted to keep myself from dropping my back shoulder and getting out of whack there as well. A lot of it came from being tight with my approach to look for that one pitch in every at-bat that I can drive, and it worked out well for me to have some good success on the season.

CM: How do you go about building relationships with the pitchers that you work with? What do you do to improve upon these relationships?
TF: I have to try to get into their head to find out what kind of pitcher they are and what they want to accomplish in each outing. Most of the time they tell me they want to go out there and get a quick three outs. So, we’ve got to out there and throw a lot of fastballs to get that done. I have to make sure that before we go out there we’re both on the same page as to what the plan is. If I see that we aren’t on the same page at some point, then we’ll talk things over before a game, between innings, or whatever to figure out what we need to try to do.

CM: How long does getting comfortable usually take?
The first couple of outings are more of a feel thing to try and figure out what they like to do, and what they like to throw. Once you’ve gotten that down then the biggest thing is establishing what they want to get out of their outings and what I’d like to get out of their outings. Building the relationship is pretty much the most important thing, and then everything goes from there.

CM: Where would you like to see yourself as a baseball player by the end of 2010? Are there one or two aspects of improvement that jump out at you?
I’d like to obviously develop more as an overall player, but I’d like to be able to last for a full season of games without wearing down too much. I need to be able to be that guy that the organization can rely on every day, and not get beat up too much by the grind of the season. Catching-wise I need to make sure that I work on my leadership more and try to really round that out as one of my strengths.

CM: So, you mention leadership being one of your strengths. Can you give us a quick scouting report on your strengths and weaknesses as a catcher?
Yeah, as a catcher I feel that I have pretty good leadership abilities. Guys tend to look up to me out on the field. As a catcher, I need to be the captain on the field, so one of the things I really want to work on -- and it actually may be one of my weaknesses -- is being more vocal out throughout the games. I have to make sure guys are staying in the games and have to let the guys know where they have to go in certain situations. That’s been something that I have been working on a lot this spring and something that I feel is going to take my game to the next level.

CM: Take us through your gameday routine and how you prepare with the pitchers leading up to the first pitch of an outing.
I usually get to the field about a good two hours before we take BP. I’ll hang out a bit and make sure I’m following my same eating patterns to keep my energy up. After getting my swings in during BP, we may go down and do some catching drills to get things going there. Pitchers tend to keep to themselves and that’s fine. The time that I’ll go out and start talking to them is when they are stretching. I’ll show them the opposing lineup to go through who is going to pull the ball, who likes to go to the opposite field, who is going to swing first pitch, etc. As we talked about before, it’s about getting on the same page, as you don’t want to go out there calling a game and have the pitcher shaking you off every pitch. I like to take the time before we start throwing to go through this and establish what we are going to accomplish.

CM: Has there been a player that you have tried to model your game after or looked up to growing up?
I always liked the way Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez) played. I always followed him and he was my favorite catcher. He was a smaller guy like me and always went about his business in a manner I liked. He was a great catch-and-throw guy, and I’ve tried to model my game after his.

CM: Ok, so we talked a lot about baseball and know a lot about you as a baseball player. What does Tim Federowicz like to do when he isn’t playing baseball?
I’m a pretty laid-back guy. I really like to relax and not do much when I’m not at the field during the grind of the season. Sometimes, when I’ve got some free time in the off-season, that is when you want to go out and really do something. I’ll go fishing or hunting. I got to do some hunting this past off-season; that was pretty fun. I’m actually trying to find a few hobbies to keep me busy in the off-season.

CM: We like to ask this one a lot in our interviews so let’s get to it. Which teammate has impressed you the most thus far in your time in the organization?
TF: Anthony Rizzo. We’ve been playing together the last two years and he has been one of the most impressive guys that I have played with. Rizzo and I work really well together during our at-bats. We’ve both been hitting right around each other in the lineup so we’ll talk about pitchers and how they have been attacking us. We also live together off the field so we’ve developed a close relationship. He’s got a lot of potential as a player and has become a close friend.
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at 5:00 AM

Portland, Salem rally late for victories

4/23 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem rallied late in their respective games to pull out victories, while Pawtucket ruined an otherwise stellar night of pitching from the farm system.

Pawtucket was unable complete the sweep of the Iron Pigs (PHI) on weak pitching performances from starter Fabio Castro and Ramon A. Ramirez, falling 12-2. Castro lasted only 3.0 innings, giving up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 9 hits. Chad Paronto stopped the bleeding temporarily, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings, but Ramirez put the game out of reach, giving up 6 more earned runs in 2.0 innings of work. The PawSox offense briefly showed life in the seventh, but was able to score only 2 runs on hits by Daniel Nava, Kevin Frandsen, Jorge Jimenez, and Angel Sanchez. Fernando Cabrera ended the night on a high note for the bullpen with a hitless inning of relief in the eighth, striking out 1. Nava, Sanchez, and Matt Sheely each finished the night 2 for 4.

Portland pulled out a 3-2 win over Trenton (NYY) on great pitching by a pair of right-handers and offensive heroics in the ninth inning. Starting pitcher Eammon Portice went 5.0 strong innings, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits and no walks. He was particularly adept at keeping the ball on the ground, posting a 10-2 groundout-flyout ratio. Robert Coello followed that up with 3.0 hitless innings of his own, striking out 5 batters in the process. Trenton struck first in the game, grabbing a run in the fifth inning, but Portland quickly answered, tying the score at one apiece on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Kalish in the seventh. With the score still tied going into the 9th, Lars Anderson and Ray Chang provided the clutch hits with back-to-back two-out solo shots. Bryce Cox got the save, but not before allowing a home run with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. Jose Iglesias also had a big night, going 3 for 4 with a triple.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox had a late-inning rally of their own in Salem, beating Lynchburg (CIN), 5-2. Salem jumped out to an early lead in the first on a double by Peter Hissey followed by a Ryan Lavarnway two-run homer (4). However, it was not to last as Lynchburg scored a run in the second and third inning off starter Caleb Clay. In total, Clay went 5.0 innings giving up 1 earned run on 4 hits. Still tied at 2 runs apiece going into the seventh, the Red Sox took the permanent lead on a bases-clearing double by Anthony Rizzo, scoring Mitch Dening, Alex Hassan, and Tim Federowicz. Will Latimer pitched 3.0 innings of scoreless relief, and Lance McClain got the save in his second appearance of the year.

There was no need for any late-inning offense in West Virginia (PIT) ,as the Drive scored 3 runs in the second inning and never looked back, winning 6-1. Catcher Dan Butler sparked the second-inning rally with a two-run homer, the first of two for him on the night. Ronald Bermudez followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the second. Ryan Pressly kicked off a night of solid pitching for the Drive, allowing only 3 hits in his 3.0 scoreless innings. Pitching in relief, Pete Ruiz followed that up with 5.0 innings, giving up 1 earned run. Anatanaer Batista closed out the night with a perfect ninth inning, striking out 2 batters.

Player of the Night: Dan Butler, who went 2 for 4 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI to raise his average to .235 on the season.
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April 22, 2010 at 5:47 AM

MIddlebrooks, Kehrt lead Salem to doubleheader sweep

4/22 Cup of Coffee: Daisuke Matsuzaka had a successful rehab start in Pawtucket, while Salem got two quality starts and a big night from Will Middlebrooks to sweep a doubleheader.

Pawtucket rode Matsuzaka's solid start and some clutch hitting to an 8-4 victory over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (PHI). Matsuzaka, in his third and final rehab start, went 5.2 innings, allowing 4 runs, 3 earned on 6 hits while striking out 8 and walking none. With two outs in the second, Pawtucket got back-to-back singles from Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown to load the bases. Bubba Bell then walked to force in the first run of the game and Kevin Frandsen added an RBI single to give the PawSox the early 2-0 advantage. Brown added a sacrifice fly in the third and Fransden a solo home run in the fourth to give Pawtucket a 4-1 advantage after four. The PawSox put the game out of reach in the sixth, adding four runs to give them the 8-2 advantage. Bell led off the inning with a walk, and Matt Sheely reached on a bunt attempt that the third baseman threw away, allowing Bell to advance to third. Sheely quickly stole second and Jorge Jimenez was intentionally walked before Aaron Bates was walked to force in a run. Daniel Nava followed with a 3-RBI double to cap the scoring. After Matzusaka was pulled in the sixth, Robert Manuel, Alan Embree and Dustin Richardson combined for 3.1 perfect innings of relief. Frandsen and Nava were both 2 for 5 to lead the offense.

While pitching was very good overall for the other affiliates Wednesday night, Portland starter Kyle Weiland was roughed up in a 10-4 loss to the Binghamton Mets. Weiland went 4.0 innings, allowing 8 runs on 6 hits, including two home runs, while striking out 5 and walking 3. Portland got on the board in the first on Ryan Kalish's third home run of the year, making the score 4-1 Binghamton after one. In the bottom of the fourth, Nate Spears and Ray Chang opened the inning with back-to-back hits and Lars Anderson added a sacrifice fly to give the Sea Dogs their second run of the evening. Anderson knocked in Chang in the sixth with an RBI double, and Portland scored their fourth and final run of the evening in the eighth, when the inning opened with consecutive walks to Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Chang reached on catcher's interference, and Anderson followed with his third RBI of the night on a groundout to first. Newly acquired Santo Luis pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Tommy Hottovy pitched the final 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 4 and walking 1. Portland only accumulated six hits, with Spears going 2 for 4 and Chang 2 for 3 to lead the offense.

In the first game of a doubleheader, Salem held the Lynchburg Hillcats (CIN) to 1 hit in their 9-1 victory. Starter Fabian Williamson was excellent, going 5.0 innings, allowing only 1 hit and 1 run while striking out 5 and walking 3 for his third victory of the early season. Salem scored twice in the first, getting an RBI double from Tim Federowicz and an RBI single from Middlebrooks. The Red Sox added three more in the third inning on costly mistakes by the Hillcats. Anthony Rizzo started the rally by reaching on a walk. Middlebrooks followed with a single and Ryan Dent was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rizzo then scored on a balk and Mitch Dening reached on an error by the first baseman that allowed two more runs to score. In the fifth, Dening added an RBI double to bring the score to 7-1. The Red Sox added two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Rizzo and an RBI single by Middlebrooks. The clear offensive leader in the game, Middlebrooks went 4 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI as the Salem designated hitter. Mitch Herold pitched the final 2.0 innings in the seven-inning affair, striking out three without allowing a hit.

The second game of the Salem-Lynchburg doubleheader saw Jeremy Kehrt toss another gem for the Red Sox in their 5-3 victory. Kehrt went 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs, one earned, on just 2 hits while striking out 8. Salem got RBI singles from Drew Hedman (1st), Luis Segovia (2nd), Ryan Lavarnway (3rd), and Oscar Tejeda (4th), and added their final run in the fifth when Rizzo scored on a throwing error by the catcher to outpace the Hillcats. Kyle Fernandes pitched the final 2.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and striking out 2 to record his first save. Tejeda, Hedman and Segovia were all 2 for 3 to lead the offense.

Greenville outlasted the West Virgina Power (PIT), 6-4, in a back-and-forth affair. The Drive quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Michael Almanzar's RBI double. In the third, Jeremy Hazelbaker hit his first home run of the season to knock in two and put Greenville back on top 3-1. The Power handed the Drive two more runs in the top of the sixth, when a costly fielding error by the first baseman allowed Dan Butler and Ronald Bermudez to score. Another error in the ninth allowed Chris McGuiness to score the sixth and final Greenville run. Drive starter Roman Mendez went 4.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 6. Pedro Perez picked up the win, going the remaining 5.0 innings, allowing 1 run on just 2 hits, striking out 3 and walking 1. Hazelbaker swiped his tenth stolen base of the season, tying him for the minor-league lead, stealing third base in the fifth. Bermudez was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles to lead the Greenville offense.

Player of the Night: Will Middlebrooks, who continued his hot hitting, going 4 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in Salem's 9-1 game one victory.
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