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SoxProspects News

June 30, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Red Sox add Rich Hill

As first reported by Dan Hoard on Twitter, the Red Sox have signed 30-year-old lefty Rich Hill to a minor-league contract. The Milton, Massachusetts native has pitched in the major leagues for the Cubs and the Orioles, and was recently released by St. Louis after struggling with their Triple-A club. The Cubs' 4th-round pick in 2002, Hill made his big-league debut in 2005 and pitched in parts of four seasons for Chicago before going to Baltimore for 2009. He will join the PawSox bullpen, which will be a man short as TJ Large was placed on the disabled list Wednesday.

For his career, Hill is 21-20 with an ERA of 4.82. He enjoyed his best season in 2007, going 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 32 starts. He ranked fifth in the NL in batting average against (.235) and strikeouts (183).
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at 5:03 PM

Bell, Manuel named Triple-A All-Stars

Outfielder Bubba Bell and right-handed pitcher Robert Manuel have been named Triple-A All-Stars and will represent the International League on July 14.

Bell, 27, has hit .308 with 4 homers and 5 stolen bases, good for an OPS of .803 in his sixth season with the Red Sox organization. Since being drafted in the 39th round, he has batted .293 with 57 home runs, including 26 in 2007 with Portland. Over his last 15 games, he's hitting .467 with 4 doubles and 3 home runs.

The 26-year-old Manuel has bounced around minors in his career, spending time in the New York Mets, Cincinatti, and Seattle organizations. He saw his first major league action last year, appearing in three games for Cincinatti and giving up no earned runs. The Red Sox claimed him off waivers from Seattle this off-season and he has put up an ERA of 1.54 with 33 strikeouts over 41.0 innings in Pawtucket. He has shared closer duties this season for the PawSox, picking up 8 saves thus far. Manuel spent time in the Boston bullpen earlier this season, but has yet to make an appearance.
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at 9:05 AM

Mills helps secure victory for PawSox

6/30 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night for Sox affiliates on Tuesday, with only one win in seven tries.

Pawtucket kept the roll going on Tuesday, clobbering the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY) 7-1 behind a solid start from Adam Mills. The PawSox righty went the first 7.0 innings, limiting the Yankees to just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2. Robert Manuel and Kason Gabbard finished things up with a hitless inning apiece. Pawtucket took an early lead in the second, when Josh Reddick drove home Lars Anderson with a sacrifice fly, and Juan Apodaca singled in Ryan Kalish to make it 2-0. That's how things would stay until the sixth, when Tug Hulett drove home two with a double, and Anderson broke things open in the seventh with a two-run two-bagger of his own, part of a three-run inning. The PawSox first baseman had one of his better games of late, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 RBI and a run scored. Kalish also had a nice night, going 2 for 5 with a steal.

Despite only being out-hit 9-8, Portland lost soundly at the hands of Harrisburg (WAS), 8-4. Things looked good early, when Nate Spears homered in the first to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead. But six unanswered Senators runs over the next five frames took much of the wind out of Portland's sails. That damage was all done against Stephen Fife, who yielded those runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in his 5.0-inning start. Looking to hold the deficit at five and give Portland a chance, Eammon Portice ended up allowing 2 runs of his own on 3 hits in his 3.0 innings of relief, though he did punch out 5. The Sea Dogs attempted a come-back, scoring in the sixth on a Ray Chang RBI double and adding a couple more in the seventh on a two-run bomb off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, but it was too little, too late. Portland collected 8 hits in the game, but only Matt Sheely had more than one, going 2 for 4.

Salem actually out-hit its opponent on Tuesday, but still lost by the same margin, dropping a 9-5 decision to Winston-Salem (CWS). The Red Sox actually took a 4-0 lead after four in this one, grabbing 2 in the first on Ryan Lavarnway's RBI double and a run-producing single by Jorge Padron and 2 more in the fourth on Padron's double and an RBI single from Will Middlebrooks. But the Dash came right back, scoring 3 in the fourth and 4 more in the sixth, and just like that the score was 7-4. All those runs were charged to Caleb Clay, who in 6.0 innings yielded 6 hits, with no walks and 3 strikeouts. All the runs in the sixth were unearned. Winston-Salem would add two more in the eighth, and while Lavarnway chipped away with a sacrifice fly in the ninth, the game was already decided. Lavarnway, Padron, Tim Federowicz, and Ryan Dent all had multiple hits in this one.

Greenville could only muster 3 hits and committed 5 errors, losing easily to Savannah (NYM) 6-1. Michael Almanzar and Michael Thomas each had 2 fielding gaffes, though only 2 Savannah runs were unearned. Most of the damage was done against Ryan Pressly, who allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks in 5.2 innings. Dennis Neuman went the rest of the way, allowing just an unearned run on 1 hit and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts. On offense, it was the Ronald Bermudez show for the Drive, as the right fielder went 2 for 3 with the team's lone RBI and a stolen base. The other Greenville hit belonged to Derrik Gibson, who was 1 for 4.

It was a tightly-fought game in Connecticut (DET), with both teams registering only 3 hits each, but the Spinners found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision. The tough-luck loss went to Madison Younginer, who allowed a second-inning run but was otherwise solid, going 4.0 innings yielding 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Charlie Rosario pitched the final 4.0 innings allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk, punching out 2. First-year Spinners Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, and David Renfroe each had a hit for Lowell.

While their major league counterparts landed a big win against the Rays, the GCL Red Sox lost a tough one to the GCL Rays (TB) 5-4. The Rays jumped out front with a run in the second, but the Red Sox came right back in the third when Jason Thompson collected an RBI single. After falling behind again in the fourth, the Red Sox again evened things when Keury De La Cruz homered to lead off the bottom of the inning. A Luke Yoder home run actually put the Red Sox up 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but a three-run Rays seventh put the hometown team behind for good. Those runs scored on the watch of Michael Gleason, who allowed 3 hits and 2 walks in 1.2 innings of relief to take the loss. Eric Curtis got the start, allowing his 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. The Red Sox tried to make a comeback, loading the bases in the eighth with 1 out, but Trygg Larsson-Danforth could only muster an RBI groundout, and the Rays escaped the inning with the lead. Yoder had the best night offensively, going 2 for 4.

Another game against a Rays affiliate, another tough loss for the DSL Red Sox, who were creamed to the tune of 9-3. This was despite leading 3-0 after two, and registering 12 hits in the game, as the Red Sox committed 5 errors and allowed 12 hits to the Rays, too. Jair Bogaerts got things started well with a two-run double in the first, scoring Lewis Urena and Xander Bogaerts, the latter of whom added a sacrifice fly in the second. But it was all Rays from there, as Mario Alcantara struggled in his 4.0 innings, allowing 6 runs (only 2 earned) on 8 hits. Kiler Gil only allowed 1 run in his 3.0 innings of work, and Pedro Reyes allowed 2 unearned runs over the final 2.0 innings. It was a fine day to be a Bogaerts offensively, as Xander led the attack with 3 hits in 4 at-bats, while Jair chipped in 2 hits and a walk in 3 at-bats. Juan Ugas had a nice day as well, going 2 for 3 with a walk.

Player of the Night: Adam Mills, who went 7.0 strong innings to help Pawtucket pick up the lone affiliate win of the night.
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June 29, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Chang, Spears, and Fife named Eastern League All-Stars

Double-A Portland's Ray Chang, Nate Spears and Stephen Fife have been selected to play in the Eastern League All-Star game to be played on July 14th in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Chang, 26, is in his first full season with the Red Sox organization after being signed as a minor league free agent this January. The versatile infielder has put together one of the best seasons of his career, hitting .302 with 4 home runs, 29 RBI and 19 doubles in 65 games this season.

Spears, 25, is also in his first full season with the Red Sox organization after originally being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 5th round of the 2003 amateur draft. A Carolina League All-Star in 2005 and a Southern League All-Star in 2008, Spears leads the Eastern League this season with 53 walks. In 71 games played this season, he has hit .259 with 6 home runs and 28 RBI. An impressive start to May earned him SoxProspects.com's Player of the Week award for May 3-9.

Fife, 23, is currently ranked the 21st prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com. Originally drafted by Boston in the third round of the 2008 amateur draft, Fife has compiled a 4-1 record with a 3.84 ERA in 13 starts this season.
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at 2:53 PM

Sox sign 44th rounder Kapstein, Cal State pitcher Phillips

SoxProspects.com has confirmed that the Red Sox have signed 44th round selection Zach Kapstein and undrafted free agent Matt Phillips out of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Kapstein, the nephew of Red Sox Senior Advisor Jeremy Kapstein, is a 6'2" catcher that hit .603 with 5 home runs and 24 stolen bases in his senior season at Tiverton High School in Rhode Island. A gifted athlete who was also selected as an all-state running back, Kapstein has been assigned to the GCL Red Sox.

Phillips, a 22 year old left-hander, compiled a 6.04 ERA in 119.1 innings pitched in his three year career at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Primarily working as a reliever, Phillips struck out a career high 53 batters in 41 innings pitched this season. The 6'4" southpaw will report to the GCL Red Sox to begin his professional career.
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at 10:17 AM

Players of the Week, June 21-27: Bubba Bell and Robert Coello

A pair of PawSox players nabbed the honors this week after impressive displays in the International League. Bubba Bell, far and away his team's best hitter on the week, was named Player of the Week, while Robert Coello was impressive enough in his start last Tuesday to be selected as Pitcher of the Week, as voted on by SoxProspects.com members.

On top of being his team's only consistent hitter last week, Bell also had the best week in the organization, posting a .566/.600/.833 line in 18 at bats. 2 of his 10 hits were doubles, and he also added a home run. Bell also drove in 3 runs on the week before leaving Saturday night's game after getting plunked in the leg in his first plate appearance. He is batting .308 with an .803 OPS on the season.

Coello's one start last week was enough to earn him the honors, as the former independent league pitcher struck out 10 in his first Triple-A start Tuesday. He yielded 4 hits, including a solo home run, and walked just 1 in 5.2 innings. The second-inning home run marked the end of his streak of 7.2 scoreless innings to begin his Triple-A career. Coello was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 14 appearances with Portland before his mid-June promotion.
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at 8:35 AM

Holmes perfect evening drives GCL rout

6/29 Cup of Coffee: While Portland was nearly no-hit at home, Salem and the GCL Red Sox put on offensive displays by scoring double digit runs in impressive victories. Greenville completed a rare five game sweep of Charleston, and a pair of top prospects in Lowell hit their first professional home runs.

Looking to even up the series, the PawSox were overpowered by the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) 9-4. Robert Coello had a mediocre start, going the first 3.2 innings while allowing 6 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits and 3 walks. Chad Paronto followed Coello out of the bullpen, pitching 2.1 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits. Robert Manuel pitched a shaky seventh inning, allowing two runs on 3 hits. Kason Gabbard tossed a scoreless eighth inning, allowing just one hit. Pawtucket scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning on a Niuman Romero RBI double and an Aaron Bates three-run home run. Bates and first baseman Lars Anderson collected two hits each to lead the Pawtucket offense.

In Portland, a masterful pitching performance helped the Harrisburg Senators (WAS) shut out the Sea Dogs 3-0. Jeremy Kehrt was the tough luck loser for Portland, going 5.0 innings, allowing just one unearned run on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. Ryne Miller followed Kehrt by hurling 2.0 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and a walk. Mitch Herold threw the final two innings, allowing just three hits and a walk. The Sea Dogs were no-hit for 8.1 innings until Anthony Rizzo collected a double for the only hit of the night for Portland. Four Harrisburg pitchers combined on the gem, striking out 12 Sea Dog hitters.

While offense was scare in Portland, Salem obliterated the Winston-Salem Dash (CHW) 12-1. Mike Lee got the start for the Red Sox, going the first 3.0 innings, allowing the lone Winston-Salem run on 4 hits while striking out 3. Blake Maxwell picked up the victory with his 5.0 shutout innings in which he collected 3 strikeouts. Kyle Fernandes tossed a scoreless ninth inning and collected a pair of strikeouts. The Red Sox drew first blood in the top of the first on Oscar Tejeda's RBI triple. In the second, Salem plated four runs on a pair of RBI doubles by Mitch Dening and Ryan Lavarnway. Dening lashed his second RBI double in the third to give the Red Sox a 6-1 lead. The lead expanded to 9-1 after four as Jorge Padron knocked in a pair on his RBI double and Tejeda scampered home on a wild pitch. Salem capped its scoring in the fifth, as Lavarnway drilled an RBI single, Tejeda smoked an RBI double and Tim Federowicz lofted a sacrifice fly. The Red Sox offense was clicking on all cylinders as every member of the starting lineup had at least one hit in the 15 hit drubbing.

Continuing to stay hot, the Greenville Drive completed a five game sweep of the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) 5-4. Drake Britton pitched the first 1.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 2. Tom Ebert piggybacked Britton, picking up his sixth victory of the season thanks to tossing 5.2 innings in which he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 5. Jordan Flasher finished the final 2.0 innings of the contest, allowing just one hit and striking out 4 to pick up his second save. Derrik Gibson manufactured a run in the first for the Drive, picking up a single and then promptly stealing second base before scampering home on a ball botched by the RiverDogs second baseman. Down 2-1 heading into the fourth, Vladimir Frias notched an RBI single and Zach Gentile looped a sacrifice fly to give the Drive a 3-2 advantage. Shannon Wilkerson's sacrifice fly in the fifth gave Greenville a 4-2 lead that they relinquished in the bottom half of the inning as Charleston tied the game. Chris McGuiness plated the winning run in the seventh, as his RBI double brought home Gibson to give the Drive the 5-4 advantage. McGuiness was 2 for 5 to lead the Greenville offense.

After Sunday's easy victory, the Lowell Spinners could not build momentum and fell to the Connecticut Tigers (DET) 6-3. Roman Mendez made his third start for Lowell, going 3.0 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Jay Broughton, who has yet to allow a run this season, spun 4.0 scoreless innings of relief as he allowed just one hit while striking out 4. Kyle Rutter threw a scoreless eighth inning as he picked up a pair of strikeouts. All three Spinner runs came in the sixth, as Bryce Brentz hit a two-run home run and the next batter Brandon Jacobs followed with a solo home run of his own as each picked up their first round tripper of the season. Brentz was 2 for 3 to have the only multi-hit evening for Lowell.

Like their counterparts in Salem, the GCL Red Sox put on an offensive display as they clubbed the GCL Rays (TB) 13-2. Juan Rodriguez threw 5.0 innings, allowing just 2 hits and a walk while striking out 5 to pick up the victory. Raynel Velette finished the game by tossing 4.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 5 to pick up the save. The Red Sox were quiet until the fourth, when they scored five runs on a Willie Holmes RBI double, a Jose Vinicio RBI double, a Trygg Danforth RBI single, a Leonel Escobar RBI single and a wild pitch. The sixth inning saw the Red Sox duplicate their output from the fourth, as they collected another five runs on a Jason Thompson RBI single, Heiker Meneses RBI groundout, another Holmes RBI double, a Boss Moanaroa RBI single and a wild pitch. Not satisfied with a 10-2 lead heading into the ninth, the Red Sox plated three more runs on a wild pitch, Meneses RBI single and a Holmes RBI single. The 19 hit affair saw every member of the Red Sox lineup collect at least one hit as five hitters put together multiple hit games. Holmes was a perfect 5 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI to bump his average up to .474.

Rounding out Monday's action, the DSL Red Sox collected only four hits as they fell to the DSL Pirates (PIT) 5-3. Raul Alcantara hurled the first 6.0 innings, allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits while striking out 2. Ellis Jimenez tossed the final 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. The Red Sox got on the board in the fourth on Jair Bogaerts sacrifice fly. The last two Red Sox runs came in the eighth, as Roberto Duncan laced an RBI single and Jesus Loya trotted home on an error by the Pirates third baseman.

Player of the Night: Willie Holmes, who went 5 for 5, with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in the GCL Red Sox 13-2 victory.
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June 28, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Sox sign draft picks Ramos and Dahlstrand

According to Peter Abraham of Boston.com, the Red Sox have signed two more 2010 draft picks, outfielder Henry Ramos and pitcher Jacob Dahlstrand.

Ramos, a fifth-round draft choice, was picked out of Alfonso Martinez Casta High School in Puerto Rico. The 18-year-old switch hitter has an extremely high power ceiling, but is also extremely raw. He has only been playing organized baseball for about a year - his background is in soccer - but the Red Sox hope his overall athleticism will translate into success on the diamond.

Dahlstrand, also taken out of high school, was the Red Sox tenth-round pick. The right hander had previously committed to the University of Houston but will forgo his scholarship and join the Red Sox organization. The 18-year-old is listed at 6'5", 205 pounds and utilizes a sinker as his primary pitch.
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June 27, 2010 at 11:25 PM

Shealy comes up big in Pawtucket rout

6/28 Cup of Coffee: It was a big night for offense for most Sox affiliates on Sunday, leading to four solid wins on the afternoon.

Pawtucket broke out the big bats early to back an excellent outing by Michael Bowden, rolling 8-1 over Syracuse (WAS). Ryan Shealy got the scoring started with a two-run double in the first, and after Juan Apodaca added another run with an RBI double in the second, Shealy came through again with a two-run home run in the third that made it 5-1. The big right-handed hitter was 3 for 4 in the game. A few batters after Shealy's blast, Josh Reddick stepped to the plate and opened things up in a big way, depositing his seventh home run of the year over the right-field fence, a three-run shot that scored Ryan Kalish and Aaron Bates. Bowden, meanwhile was turning in another solid outing, and ended up going 6.0 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, walking 3 and striking out 4. It was the sixth time in his last seven starts that he allowed 2 or fewer runs, lowering his season ERA to 4.02.

Portland's offense also showed up on Sunday, albeit not until the eighth inning, as the Sea Dogs came from behind to best New Britain (MIN) 9-5. Che-Hsuan Lin got the scoring started in this one with a two-run single in the second, but the Rock Cats came right back in the bottom of the frame to tie things up. Portland went ahead again in the fourth when Cheh-Hsien Chang hit his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot out to right, but once again New Britain came back with a run in the fifth, this one unearned. All the damage was done against Alex Wilson, who was solid if unspectacular in his 5.2 innings, relinquishing 7 hits and 3 runs (2 earned), striking out 3 without walking a batter. It looked like it was going to be a game of missed opportunities when New Britain scored two more in the bottom of the seventh, but in the top of the eighth, the Portland laser show began. After a ground out to begin the inning, seven straight Sea Dogs reached base and 6 runners crossed the plate, and just like that it was 9-5. Matt Sheely and Nate Spears recorded the big blows in the inning, with each picking up a two-run double. Portland ended up with 12 hits in the game, including 2 each for Chiang, Sheely, Luis Exposito, and Ryan Khoury.

Salem, too, recorded double-digit hits on Sunday, but unfortunately the pitching couldn't back it up as the Red Sox fell 13-6 to Winston-Salem (CWS). As good as he's been all season, it was not Brock Huntzinger's day, as the Salem starter allowed 8 runs on 9 hits and a walk in just 2.2 innings of work. Will Latimer (3 runs on 6 hits) and Cesar Cabral (2 runs on 2 hits) didn't fair much better, as the Red Sox allowed 17 hits in the game. On the offensive side of the ball, things looked promising early, as Ryan Lavarnway and Oscar Tejeda hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the first to make it 2-0 Salem. The Dash then scored 8 unanswered runs before Jon Hee and Lavarnway each recorded RBI hits in the fifth, but the comeback was short-lived as Winston-Salem scored 3 more an inning later. Lavarnway, Tejeda, Hee, and Alex Hassan all had multi-hit games, but it just wasn't enough in this one.

Greenville got down early but came back to win a close game against Charleston (NYY), 5-4. The River Dogs scored 3 early runs against Kendal Volz, who ended up going 4.0 innings allowing 4 hits, walking 1 and striking out 4. But the Drive came all the way back in the fourth, scoring 4 runs to take a 4-3 lead. Dan Butler's RBI double and Vladimir Frias's two-run single highlighted the inning. Charleston mounted its own comeback, tying things up in the sixth, but Michael Almanzar's RBI double in the eighth put the Drive up for good. Anatanaer Batista slammed the door with 2.0 perfect innings, striking out 3.

Behind some great pitching and timely scoring, Lowell outlasted Tri-City (HOU) 7-2. The Spinners got on the board first in the third inning when Kolbrin Vitek grounded out with the bases loaded and one down, but the Valley Cats came right back with a run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score. From there, however, it was all Lowell, beginning in the fifth inning when Vitek collected his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly, and Brandon Jacobs drove in two more with a double two batters later to make it 4-1. A Jose Garcia home run and a Miles Head RBI double brought home two more in the seventh, and the Spinners tacked on one more in the eighth on an RBI single off the bat of Nick Robinson. All that was more than enough for Hunter Cervenka, who started and went the first 4.1 innings allowing just 1 unearned run on 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 6. Stephen Fox was almost equally good in relief, tossing the final 4.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. Felix Sanchez led the Lowell hit parade from the lead-off spot with 3 of them in 6 at-bats, while Garcia, Head, Jacobs, and Seth Schwindenhammer each had 2 hits.

Despite outhitting the Dodgers (LAD) 4-2, the DSL Red Sox somehow found a way to come out on the wrong end of a 3-0 score. All three Dodgers runs came in the second inning, when a walk, a hit batsman, and an error led to three base runners who all scored against Yunior Ortega, who was otherwise brilliant in the game. The Red Sox starter did not allow a hit in 5.0 innings, though he did walk 3. Offensively, the best chance for the Red Sox came in the first inning, when a Xander Bogaerts double put runners on second and third with one out, but the runners were both stranded, and the Red Sox only had three at-bats the rest of the game with runners in scoring position.

Player of the Night: Ryan Shealy, who was 3 for 4 with a double, a home run, and 4 RBI in an 8-1 Pawtucket victory.
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at 7:07 AM

Holmes leads GCL comeback

6/27 Cup of Coffee: Saturday saw Casey Kelly's ERA balloon to over 5, but his Sea Dogs teammates and the GCL Red Sox had come-from-behind wins that took the stink off a lackluster day for the organization.

Pawtucket starter Kris Johnson got knocked around a bit in a 6-1 loss to Syracuse (WAS). Johnson surrendered 5 runs on 11 hits in 5.0 innings to take the loss, and Chad Paronto added 2.0 innings of scoreless relief before Robert Manuel allowed a run in the eighth. Aaron Bates was 3 for 4 with a double, and Gustavo Molina had a pair of hits and a run scored. Bubba Bell, arguably the PawSox' hottest hitter of late, left the game after being hit by a pitch.

The Portland offense bailed out Casey Kelly with a six-run outburst in the seventh as the Sea Dogs topped New Britain (MIN) 8-5. Kelly allowed 5 runs, 4 earned on 6 hits in 5.0 innings, though he struck out 6. Che-Hsuan Lin and Nate Spears each collected 3 hits, with Spears adding 3 RBI. Ray Chang and Anthony Rizzo had 2 hits and 2 RBI apiece. Santo Luis and Bryce Cox combined to toss 4.0 innings of shutout relief in the win.

Stolmy Pimentel didn't have his best stuff Friday night, allowing 8 earned on 10 hits in Salem's 13-5 loss to Wilmington (KC). Pimentel went 2.1 innings before Zach Hammes took over and allowed 3 runs in 2.2 frames. Tim Federowicz, Ryan Lavarnway and Jon Hee had 2 hits each, while Oscar Tejeda and Drew Hedman drove in a pair each. Lance McClain was charged with an unearned run and Kyle Fernandes threw a scoreless eighth in the loss.

A late offensive surge by Greenville gave the Drive a 9-5 win over Charleston (NYY). Vladimir Frias was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and Will Vazquez was 2 for 3 with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Pete Ruiz was tagged for 5 runs on 7 hits in 5.0 innings, and Jeremiah Bayer got the win with 4.0 innings of shutout relief. Derrik Gibson went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

Randy Consuegra was wild once again Friday as Lowell fell 8-0 to Tri-City (HOU). Consuegra retired just 1 batter, walking 6 and throwing 2 wild pitches en route to allowing 7 runs. Felix Sanchez was 3 for 4 with a double, and David Renfroe and the debuting Seth Schwindenhammer both went 2 for 4. Keith Couch tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief, and Cesare Angeloni was charged with an unearned run in 3.0 innings of work. Armando Zerpa struck out the side in the eighth.

Willie Holmes and Boss Moanaroa homered in a five-run eighth inning as the GCL squad rallied past the Twins 6-5. Holmes was 2 for 4 with a double, home run, and 3 RBI, and Jordan Sallis added a pair of hits. Sergio Gomez struck out 5 and allowed a run on 2 hits in 3.0 innings before Luis Bastardo yielded 3 runs in 4.0 frames. Justin Erasmus struck out 2 in 2.0 perfect frames to get the save, and Roberto Ramos drove in a run in the win.

In DSL action, the Red sox took an early lead but fell 4-2 to the Royals. Dreily Guererro was 1 for 4 with a double, while Curtney Doran and Derward Ruiz drove in a run each. William Cuevas gave up 2 runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings, and Carlos Pinales took the hard-luck loss, giving up 2 unearned runs in 4.0 innings of relief.

Player of the Night: Willie Holmes was 2 for 4 with a double and a three-run home run in the eighth inning of the GCL Red Sox' 6-5 win over the Twins.
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at 1:05 AM

Sox sign 17th rounder Jason Garcia, Austin Peay catcher Lucas

According to SoxProspects.com sources, the Red Sox have signed their 17th round selection pitcher Jason Garcia, who will report to the GCL Red Sox. In addition, the team has signed undrafted free agent catcher Trey Lucas out of Austin Peay State University.

Garcia, 17, was signed away from a commitment to St. Petersburg College in his home state of Florida. The young right-hander was 6-4 with a 1.46 ERA and 107 strikeouts this season in his senior year at Land O' Lakes high school.

Lucas, 22, had a stellar career at Austin Peay, compiling a .341/.435/.521 line in 187 collegiate contests. In 2010, Lucas hit .356 with 6 home runs and 42 RBI in 48 games. He will also report to the GCL Red Sox.
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at 12:27 AM

Red Sox acquire Eric Patterson from Oakland

The Boston Red Sox, looking to get middle infield help in the absence of Dustin Pedroia, acquired the versatile Eric Patterson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for pitcher Fabian Williamson of High-A Salem.

Patterson, 27, has played both second base and the outfield this season in 45 games with Oakland. Originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 8th round of the 2004 amateur draft, Patterson has hit .204/.255/.408 with 4 home runs, 9 RBI, and 6 stolen bases this season with the Athletics. The brother of outfielder Corey Patterson of the Baltimore Orioles, he has had success in the minors, posting a .303/.368/.478 line across five minor league seasons between the Chicago (NL) and Oakland organizations. He is known for his exceptional speed (175 steals in 572 minor league games) and his solid defense at second base.

The left-handed Williamson was in his second season with the Red Sox organization after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in 2009 for David Aardsma. The 45th ranked prospect on SoxProspects.com, Williamson was 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 14 starts this season with High-A Salem. The 21-year-old has compiled a 24-13 record with a 3.17 ERA across four minor league seasons with the Seattle and Boston organizations.
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June 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Pedroia hits DL, Sanchez called up from Pawtucket

The Red Sox have placed Dustin Pedroia on the 15-day disabled list with a non-displaced fracture of the navicular bone on his left foot and recalled Angel Sanchez from Triple-A Pawtucket. Pedroia was having a torrid June, hitting .374/.449/.626 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI in 23 games.

Sanchez, 26, was hitting .274/.348/.327 in 62 games with Pawtucket. Sanchez was with Boston earlier this season, filling in for Marco Scutaro on May 20th and going 0 for 3. He collected his first major league action with the Kansas City Royals in 2006, accumulating six hits in eight games. Sanchez, a career .279/.332/.353 hitter in eight minor league seasons between the Boston, Toronto and Kansas City organizations, is adept at both middle infield positions.
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at 7:02 AM

Vinicio perfect from the dish

6/25 Cup of Coffee: Nobody in the high minors swung the bat well, but Jose Vinicio and his GCL teammates put up a ten-spot in a win Friday night.

Felix Doubront made his first start for Pawtucket since his big-league debut, but the offense sputtered for the second straight night in a 6-1 loss to Syracuse (WAS). Doubront allowed 3 runs in the second inning on a couple of hits and a balk, going 5.0 innings and striking out 4 while giving up just the two singles in the second. Kason Gabbard gave up a run on 1 hit in 1.0 inning and TJ Large retired just 1 batter before being charged with 2 runs. Bubba Bell was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Lars Anderson had a hit in his third straight game. Tommy Hottovy retired all 5 batters he faced in the loss.

Kyle Weiland's fifth straight impressive start wasn't good enough to beat top prospect Kyle Gibson, with New Britain (MIN) squeaking by Portland 2-1. Weiland went 6.2 innings, fanning 7 and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in the hard-luck loss. Luis Exposito added a pair of hits and Che-Hsuan Lin doubled to score Chih-Hsien Chiang in the seventh for the Sea Dogs' only run. Eammon Portice struck out 2 in 1.2 innings of relief.

Salem bounced back from a dismal second-half opener with a 4-3 win over Wilmington (KC). Starter Miguel Gonzalez picked up his first win since 2007, allowing just a pair of hits in 5.0 shutout frames. Ryan Dent was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, while Oscar Tejeda doubled and scored twice. Mike Lee yielded 2 runs in 3.0 innings of relief, and Blake Maxwell was touched up for a run in the ninth while earning his third save of the season. Pete Hissey and Jon Hee added RBI in the win.

Greenville won their second straight out of the all-star break with another quality start by Manny Rivera, who fanned 5 and allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 5.0 innings as the Drive topped Charleston (NYY) 3-1. Derrik Gibson was 1 for 2 with a 2 walks, a double and an RBI, while Ronald Bermudez added a hit and an RBI. Pedro Perez and Dennis Neuman combined for 4.0 innings of shutout relief.

Lowell's first six batters of the night scored, but they couldn't muster enough offense after that in an 8-7 loss to Connecticut (DET). Miles Head hit a three-run triple in the first, while David Renfroe was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. Brandon Jacobs and Bryce Brentz each added RBI in the loss. Tyler Wilson struck out 4 and yielded 4 runs on 6 hits in 4.0 innings, with Garrett Rau giving up 1 earned in 4.0 of his own. Armando Zerpa was charged with the blown save, retiring 2 batters in the ninth while being charged with 3 runs, with Kyle Rutter recording the final out.

The 16-year-old Vinicio was an incredible 5 for 5 with a double and an RBI in the GCL squad's 10-9 win over the Twins. Jason Thompson had 2 hits, including a home run, while Willie Holmes, Trygg Danforth, and Moko Moanaroa each had a pair of hits. Moanaroa drove in 3. Miguel Celestino was charged with 5 runs, 1 earned in 5.0 innings, and Scott Swinson gave up 4 runs in as many innings.

Despite scoring 7 runs, the DSL squad managed just 4 hits in an 8-7 loss against the DSL Yankees 2. Dreily Guererro had 3 of the team's 4 hits, including 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Luis Diaz, Francellis Montas, Kiler Gil, Alexander Mateo, and Nefi Ogando were all less than stellar from the hill.

Player of the Night: Jose Vinicio, who went 5 for 5 with 3 doubles and an RBI Friday afternoon.
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June 25, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Lowell Spinners: Players to Watch

Check out my article on ESPNBoston.com about the players to watch in Lowell this year.
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at 2:41 PM

Castro to Boston, Reddick to Pawtucket

The Red Sox have recalled left-hander Fabio Castro and optioned outfielder Josh Reddick to Triple-A Pawtucket. The move was made to give Boston an extra pitcher after last night's extra inning affair with the Colorado Rockies in which six members of the Boston bullpen appeared.

Castro, 25, has appeared in 17 games (5 starts) with Pawtucket this season, compiling a 6.65 ERA in 43.1 innings. He has made 30 big league appearances with both the Texas Rangers (2006) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2006-2007) going 0-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 1 save in 43.2 innings pitched.

Reddick, 23, was recalled from Pawtucket on Tuesday and appeared in all three games of the Colorado series in which he went 1 for 8. Reddick returns to Pawtucket with a batting line of .218/.268/.375 in 57 games this season.
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at 9:33 AM

The Ladder: 6.25.10

RHP Kyle Weiland

The Line: Since finding his footing in Double-A at the end of April, Weiland has been very difficult for hitters to make good contact against. Covering his last 45.0 innings, he’s only given up 28 hits while fanning 41 batters and issuing 19 walks. On June 4 against Reading, Weiland fired 5.0 solid innings of 1-run ball, scattering 3 hits and striking out 5 without allowing a walk. After a stint on the disabled list for a bruised knuckle, he came back on June 15 against Erie to pitch 5.1 shutout innings, limiting the lineup to 4 hits to go along with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. Weiland kept things rolling in his June 20 start against Akron, picking up 7 strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work while allowing 3 hits and 1 earned run. He’s held opposing batters to a .181 batting average since they hit .322 against the right-hander in April.

The View: Weiland went through an adjustment period during his first month of Double-A similar to the one he experienced in 2009 with Salem. Plagued by inconsistent command in the early going, he was leaving far too many of his sinking fastballs in the middle of the plate, and batters were getting very good swings at him. His 89-91 MPH two-seam fastball has excellent run back in to right-handed batters, but he was having trouble controlling it. Unable to consistently get ahead in counts, Weiland was forced to come in with his four-seam fastball, and hitters were sitting all over it. Since harnessing his two-seamer and spotting up on the corners with his 92-94 MPH four-seamer much better, he’s been locked into a groove and able to work all of his pitches into at-bats. Weiland also features a breaking ball with two different variations and an improving changeup. When he takes something off his breaking ball, it shows sharp backdoor curveball break and the ability to catch the back corner of the plate for strikes. This offering is especially effective against left-handed hitters, as they tend to give up on the pitch or get fooled as they commit their swing. Weiland will lean on a harder variation of the pitch to right-handed batters, where it shows more power break across the strike zone towards the left-handed batter’s box. He can either try to nip the corner or bury the offering into the dirt. A below-average pitch when he entered the Red Sox system, Weiland’s changeup has been progressing towards an average offering and one that he can start to lean on. Showing good feel for the pitch, it exhibits tumbling action with the bottom following out and has the potential to continue to improve. The development of a good changeup is key to Weiland being able to stick in the starting rotation at the major league level. Despite his continued success as a starting pitcher, he has the look and feel of a future reliever at the major league level, as his fastball can be very effective in short stints, and he has the ability to be a multi-inning pitcher out of the bullpen. The organization will continued to allow him to develop his arsenal in the role of a starting pitcher, but don’t be surprised to see him converted to a reliever down the line when an opening presents itself.

2B Oscar Tejeda

The Line: Absolutely scorching in June, Tejeda has posted a .415/.453/.492 line in the month, good for an OPS of .946. Overall on the season, he’s produced 28 extra-base hits after collecting 19 all of last season with Greenville. Tejeda has been especially hot in his last 10 games, picking up hits in 8 of them, including 5 multi-hit efforts. Against Wilmington on June 15, he went 3 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Tejeda followed that up for a 1 for 2 performance with another 2 runs scored and an RBI the next day, along with a 2 for 4 effort on June 17 to wrap up a strong series. A 4-hit day against Kinston on June 19 put a wrap on a very strong first half of the season in High-A, which culminated with an appearance in the Carolina League All-Star Game.

The View: Tejeda came onto the scene in the United States and held his own as a 17-year-old in the New-York Penn League towards the tail end of 2007, but had a difficult time adjusting to full-season baseball and ended up repeating with the Greenville Drive last season. Possessing excellent all-around tools, the key needs for him centered on sharpening his skills and maturing physically as a player. With a whip-like swing, Tejeda generates excellent bat speed to the point of contact and shows pretty good lift with his swing path. His swing can tend to get a little bit too long, though, and his balance with his lower body has needed some tightening in the past, but those aspects of his game have been improving. An aggressive hitter, Tejeda is more of a free swinger, and his struggles in the past have come as a result of needing to be more selective in hitter’s counts, and not chasing pitches to get himself out. The surprise of the 2010 season for Tejeda has been the power he’s produced and the rise in his home run totals in High-A. Despite striking out at a higher rate, the contact rates have risen, and he has been driving balls hard into the gaps while also being able to muscle up to provide some push behind his swing. The number of times he has struck out are a bit of a red flag, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the tough Eastern League down the line, where hitters with aggressive approaches tend to run into a roadblock. Tejeda can project to hit for average to slightly-above average power as he continues to refine his approach and attack more pitches he can handle. If he is going to hit consistently at the major league level, he will have to improve on his selectiveness and adjust to Double-A once he reaches the level, as pitchers are going to look to take advantage of his free-swinging approach. The Red Sox moved Tejeda over to second base this season, and he’s shown the skills to round into a solid defender at the position. Most of his work in the field centers on slowing himself down and bringing the necessary focus to be a consistent, steady fielder. Extremely young and just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do offensively, Tejeda has a lot more development ahead of him, but the strides to start 2010 have been encouraging. The next steps lie in continuing to sharpen the selectiveness at the plate, with improvement in this aspect being crucial to having similar success at the next level up the chain.

Trending Up

After a sluggish start to the season in April when he posted a .481 OPS, Salem right-fielder Mitch Dening has come on strong in May and June to raise his season line to .302/.371/.395 while recently taking over the team’s leadoff spot. Red hot in his last 10 games, he’s seen a spike in his power during the month of June, including his first home run of the season along with 4 doubles and 2 triples. A standout offensively in 2008 with Lowell, Dening saw a decline in his overall offensive game last season with Greenville, struggling to make consistent hard contact for most of the season. Possessing a fluid, sweet stroke from the left side of the plate, he’s been much improved over the last two months in terms of getting the fat part of the bat on the ball, and has been spraying hits to all fields…Since going back to his old mechanics, PawSox righty Michael Bowden has started to get into a grove in 2010 and show that he is capable of being in the major league mix for the Red Sox during the summer. Struggling in April and starting to get things together in May, Bowden has been much more effective in his last 24.2 innings, limiting batters to 19 hits while striking out 18 and issuing only 4 free passes. Plagued by inconsistent command, especially with his fastball, he’s tightened things up as he’s gotten back into his comfort zone and the strong results have followed. Whether it is a spot start or a potential bullpen role, Bowden has been making a push should a need open up at the major league level down the line…While his strikeout numbers are down from 2009, right-handed starter Brock Huntzinger has been very effective in High-A and was rewarded with a spot in the Carolina League All-Star Game. Huntzinger has limited opposing batters to a .226 average, while showing improvement with keeping his fastball down in the zone and on the corners. When on top of his fastball, it shows some late sinking movement and can generate a lot of groundballs. Huntzinger had his best start of the season right before the break, logging 7.0 efficient innings while scattering 4 hits and cruising through the outing…Alex Wilson’s stay in the low minors was a short one, as he received a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 15. Struggling with his fastball command in his debut and getting knocked around as a result, Wilson came back in his second start with 5.2 innings giving up 5 hits and an earned run while striking out 4 and walking 2. His slider has looked more polished since the end of last season with Lowell, and shows very tight rotation along with sharp off-the-table dive out of the strike zone. Set up by his 92-94 MPH fastball, Wilson’s slider has been evolving into a devastating pitch.

Trending Down

Luis Exposito has hit a rough patch in June, highlighted by a reduction in the number of walks he’s drawn and working himself into fewer good hitter’s counts. Exposito has started to come back around recently, but still has some need to do more damage against the steady diet of breaking balls pitchers have been throwing him. Most of his development heading into the season centered on his improvement with his approach and being more of a selective hitter, which has been making strides in 2010. As Exposito continues to push and put the work in, more consistent results should be around the corner…Lars Anderson has been mired in a 1 for 34 slump the last two weeks and looks to be fighting it heavily at the plate. After having a resurgence in Double-A to start the season, Anderson has found adjusting to the pitching of the International League to be a challenge, as pitchers have changed their patterns against him. Receiving a heavy dose of off-speed pitches the second time through, his success at this level is tied into how he can improve against advanced secondary offerings and get back to working himself into more favorable hitter’s counts…Hard-throwing righty Roman Mendez has been dealing with shaky fastball command this season as a result of over-throwing, and is down with the Lowell Spinners to work himself into a groove. Mendez has an excellent live fastball and the potential for a plus slider, but his first experience in full-season baseball was a tough one. The recent assignment to the New York-Penn League should give him a fresh start to the season.
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at 6:22 AM

Hazelbaker, Gibson produce in win

6/24 Cup of Coffee: Despite the season's first full seven-game slate, there wasn't much good news, though Greenville emerged from the all-star break with a win and the DSL squad finally got a game in.

Only Lars Anderson, Gil Velazquez and Bubba Bell collected hits Thursday in Pawtucket's 5-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes Barre (NYY). With a pair of hits, Anderson improved to 5 of his last 8, while Velazquez was 3 for 3 and Bell had 2 hits. Adam Mills was knocked around to the tune of 5 earned on 9 hits, striking out 2 and walking a pair in 6.1 innings to get the loss. Chad Paronto and Kason Gabbard combined for 1.2 innings of shutout relief, and Alex Hassan drove in the PawSox only run on a sacrifice fly in the third.

Stephen Fife struck out 5 in as many innings, but the bullpen couldn't hang on for him as Altoona (PIT) dropped Portland 7-4. Fife allowed just 2 runs and left with a 4-2 lead, but Mitch Herold gave up 5 runs in the seventh to take the loss. Ray Chang was 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBI, while Anthony Rizzo also added 2 hits, including a double. Yamaicco Navarro and Luis Exposito each chipped in with a hit and an RBI, and Ryne Miller fanned a pair in 1.2 innings of relief.

Salem managed just 5 hits in a 2-0 shutout loss to Wilmington (KC). Caleb Clay took the hard-luck loss, yielding 2 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched. Tim Federowicz was thrown out at home in the second after Ryan Dent doubled, marking the Sox' only extra-base hit and best chance to score in the game.

It wasn't necessarily pretty, but Derrik Gibson singled to score Jeremy Hazelbaker in the top of the ninth to give Greenville a 7-6 win over Charleston (NYY). Hazelbaker was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored, while Gibson, Michael Almanzar, and Zach Gentile added 2 hits apiece. Ryan Pressly gave up 5 runs in 3.1 frames before Anatanaer Batista and Jordan Flasher combined for 5.2 innings of two-hit, one-run relief. Almanzar drove in a run and Gibson knocked in 2 in the win.

In his second professional start, Madison Younginer came down to earth in a big way, yielding 6 runs in 3.1 innings as Connecticut (DET) thumped Lowell 13-1. Charle Rosario and Wilson Matos gave up 3 runs each in relief of Younginer, who walked 3 and allowed 6 hits. Kolbrin Vitek had 2 hits and an RBI, while Brandon Jacobs and Jose Garcia added doubles in the loss.

In GCL action, Swen Huijer picked up his first loss of the season as the Red Sox fell 6-2 to the Orioles. Huijer was charged with 4 runs on 4 hits in 3.0 innings in relief of starter Francisco Taveras, who yielded 2 runs in 5.0 frames. Boss Moanaroa collected 2 hits and an RBI, while Jason Thompson and Keury De La Cruz had the only other hits of the afternoon. Outfielder Roberto Ramos tossed a scoreless ninth.

After a slew of rainouts, the DSL squad finally got a game in, topping the DSL Mets 6-0 in 8 innings. Mario Alcantara and Ellis Jimenez combined for a five-hit shutout, with Alcantara going 6.0 innings and Jimenez finishing up. Dreily Guererro's 2 RBI's give him 19 on the year, while Xander Bogaerts knocked in 2 to bring his season total to 15. Jesus Loya and Lewis Urena had an RBI each in the win.

Player of the Night: Jeremy Hazelbaker, who went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI in Greenville's win over Charleson. He also scored the game winning run.
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June 24, 2010 at 4:10 PM

The Book: Roman Mendez

RHP Roman Mendez
Date: June 23, 2010
Team: Lowell Spinners

Outing: 5 innings, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk. 62 Pitches

Fastball: Mendez possesses a high-octane fastball with plus-plus velocity and shows very easy effort in generating his velocity, with good torque and arm extension out of his high 3/4 arm slot. Sitting 94-96 MPH, Mendez can operate on both sides of the plate with the pitch and exhibits consistent stretches of good command with the offering. When he reaches back and wants to grab more, his fastball can operate in the 97-98 MPH range, with a peak velocity of 99 MPH. Because of his relatively easy and fluid delivery, Mendez’s heater jumps at hitters and has some hop to it at the very end, exploding out of his hand and onto batters very quickly to produce many late, velocity-induced swings against it. However, his fastball approaches home plate on a consistent plane and shows very little horizontal movement and deception to the eye. When opposing hitters can time the pitch, they are likely to produce solid contact, as Mendez supplies a great deal of power due to his high velocity. On a couple of occasions in his outing against Connecticut, batters were able to put a charge into 97 MPH fastballs, with one instance coming in a two-strike count when center fielder Jeff Rowland put too good of a swing on it for a lineout to center field.

Secondary Offerings: Mendez uses an 82-85 MPH slider with tight rotation and sharper break to get hitters to chase out of the strike zone. The pitch shows excellent potential to evolve into an above-average pitch at the major league level as he continues to polish off consistently generating hard snap and finishing better out of his delivery with the offering. His good sliders dart out of the strike zone towards the left-handed batter’s box and tend to come on the upper end of his velocity range. Mendez’s slider can lack the last instance of finish at times and these offerings hang a bit in the last portion of their approach to home plate, allowing hitters to get a piece of the pitch. While he was not hurt with his slider in the outing, more advanced hitters will be better at getting the bat to the ball and at least spoiling the pitch. Polishing off his finish for it to consistently break hard out of the strike zone will push his slider towards a true wipeout pitch. Mendez also features a below-average 88-91 MPH changeup, with action similar to the bottom falling out of a split-fingered fastball. While his feel for his changeup has improved since spring training, there is a lot of work to go for it to become a legit third pitch in his arsenal. He could stand to improve the arm action he produces to create more separation from his fastball.

Take: With an extremely live arm and secondary stuff with good potential, Mendez is a very intriguing arm coming up the ranks of the Red Sox system and one that can gain a lot of steam as he continues to make development strides. His fluid, balanced, and easy delivery bodes well for him pushing his command to another level. Mendez can battle instances where he over-throws and loses the placement of his fastball, allowing hitters to sit on it and gear up too much for his heater. When throwing free and loose, he is able to mix up his pitch patterns and use his slider to compliment his fastball very nicely, forcing batters to chase out of the strike zone or be way out in front as they try to protect against his high velocity. The future development of his changeup clouds his ultimate projection and offers two paths. If he can hone the feel of his changeup and create more separation with the pitch to push it to a viable third offering, Mendez should continue to trend as a starting pitcher when he reaches the upper levels of the Red Sox organization and into the major league level. Even with his overpowering velocity, he very well may need to develop a 2-seam or cutter to offer more movement to the eyes of hitters multiple times through the lineup. On the other hand, if Mendez’s changeup continues to act more like a fastball with something taken off of it, a future late-inning bullpen role will most likely be his ultimate path. Not yet 20 years of age and just starting to begin the progression of polishing off his arsenal, there is a lot of development ahead of Mendez, but he can quickly become an arm to keep a very close watch on.
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at 9:00 AM

Q&A with Dusty Brown

For those who have followed the Red Sox farm system for the past decade, it has perhaps become easy to take Dusty Brown for granted. Since he signed with Boston in 2001 as a draft-and-follow from the 2000 Draft, Brown has made a slow, steady climb up the ladder to the big leagues, finally making his major league debut exactly one year ago yesterday, June 23. During that time, he has built a reputation as a solid defensive catcher who can handle a pitching staff with a bit of pop and good plate discipline, as well as a great clubhouse presence. Dusty recently took some time out to chat with SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Chris Hatfield: Here in Pawtucket, you’re one of the guys on the “Taxi Squad” – if someone goes down up in Boston, you’re the guy they would call up, especially now that Mark (Wagner) is on the DL too. Being in that position, how much do you keep an eye on what’s going on up in Boston? Is that something that’s on your mind, or do you try to block that out and just focus on playing your game?
Dusty Brown: Most days I don’t really pay too much attention to it, but whenever I hear something, like the other day when Victor took that foul ball off his foot, it obviously makes me get ready to go and think for a minute that something might happen. But for the most part, I just worry about what I do here and just let everything else happen the way it’s going to happen.

CH: The past few years, you’ve usually been paired up with someone, like George Kottaras or Wagner, but there have been other times, like now, when you’re playing almost every day. Does that change the way you go about your business, and do you find it harder to get into a rhythm when you’re paired up with a “partner”?
DB: It just depends on the way things are going at the time. A couple years ago when I split time with George, we both had really good seasons and it seemed to work out great. We got along really well and worked well together, and it was a good year. Other times, I don’t want to split time. I would prefer to play every day. I like coming to the yard knowing that I’m going to be in the lineup, but I’ve got to do whatever they tell me to do. But as far as preparing, it’s all the same. It’s probably a little bit easier to get into a rhythm when you’re playing every day, but it’s also easier to get tired when you play three or four games in a row behind the plate. It’s just a matter of keeping myself fresh, keeping my body in shape.

CH: Now, there’s Wakefield, Varitek, Delcarmen, and then you in terms of longevity in the system. So as a guy who, I guess, is one of the senior members in the Red Sox system, whether it’s down in spring training, or at other times, do you get any kind of seniority here?
DB: I wish! I feel like if I had maybe a few more years in Boston I would. It’s weird that I’ve been here this long, especially with the amount of big league time that I have. But I love the organization, I love being here. I definitely don’t have any kind of seniority, especially in spring training in the big league clubhouse. But everybody knows me and I know everybody and I’ve been here as long as anybody that’s been here except Wake and Tek and Delcarmen, but for example, the front office people, I was here before any of them. It’s nice to be able to come back to the same place every year and not shuffle around worrying where you’re going to play.

CH: We’re coming up on just under a year since your son Jude was born. Obviously becoming a father changes everything, but from a baseball perspective, has becoming a father changed anything for you in that respect?
DB: I try to keep the same schedule. Obviously I do more things when I’m at home as far as taking care of him and playing with him and stuff, but as far as the hours I’m at the field I try not to change anything. I don’t want to show up late and I don’t want to leave early. I still want to be here – it’s my job and my career. Then in the offseason he’s got all my time.

CH: Being in the minor leagues, this is a team sport, but at the same time, you’re in a competition with your teammates to get up to the next level. Does that become hard to balance? Are the guys who make it the ones that wind up not worrying about that?
DB: It’s hard for me to say for other positions, because for me, it’s not so much of an issue, because the more I am a team player, especially working with my pitching staff and making those guys better and helping them perform, the better I look as a catcher. Offensively, being a catcher, anything I do to help the team win a game at the plate is a plus, but my job is behind the plate calling the game, running the game, and that’s the philosophy behind anything I do. I think for a catcher it’s not the same thing that it would be for another position, like a corner outfielder or corner infielder.

CH: Developing as a catcher, it’s really unique in that you do have to worry about an entire staff of pitchers. When you’re promoted to another level, you’ve got to learn a bunch of new pitchers – it’s not like you just need to worry about your hitting and your defense. You mentioned the differences a bit before, but how have you viewed that coming up as a catcher?
DB: You get the throwing and receiving out of the way early, then the other stuff comes with experience the more you play, the more pitchers you work with. Especially for Boston, a huge part of being a catcher is being able to handle a pitching staff, and over the last two, three, four years, that’s definitely the part of my game that I’ve focused on most. I think that it’s the part of my game that guys up the street are most concerned about and the part that they need behind the plate. It’s definitely the last thing to come, but it’s a huge part of being a big league catcher.

CH: You’ve had so many teammates coming up through the system, but is there any teammate that sticks out for you as most impressive?
DB: I’ve played with everybody, from Hanley Ramirez to David Murphy, I came up with Pap, Lester, Pedroia. Everybody I’ve played with, just to see where they are now and what they’ve become, it’s amazing – superstars that five years ago were my A-ball teammates. They were just another guy and now they’re All-Stars and World Series Champions, and doing commercials. It’s weird that I know all of them and that I know all of them well and played with them so long ago. I played with Hanley when he was 170, 180 pounds and 18 years old, but I guess that’s what happens when you get older, huh? Most people move on and I just kind of stay where I’m at.

CH: Now, the name Jude came from both you and your wife being big Beatles fans. (DB: Yup.) I’ve gotta find out: what's your favorite Beatles album?
DB: I couldn’t even begin…
CH: You don't have a favorite one to throw on or something?
DB: I have favorite songs, not albums. Hey Jude obviously. I love Eleanor Rigby. I love Yesterday. I love Across the Universe, I love the movie too. I’ve got a lot – I could go on forever.
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at 8:59 AM

Anderson's bat leads Pawtucket to victory

6/24 Cup of Coffee: With only four games on Wednesday, the affiliates found different ways to bring home wins as they went 3 for 4 in their contests. Pawtucket and the GCL both came out on top in back-and-forth offensive struggles, while Lowell received stellar pitching to secure a rather easy victory. Portland missed multiple scoring opportunities and received a poor start as they fell at the hands of Altoona.

Looking to strike down their rival, Pawtucket scored a late run to hold off the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY) 7-6. Ramon A. Ramirez had a tough start as he went 5.0 innings, allowing 6 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 4. The PawSox got on the board in the second on Lars Anderson's fifth home run of the season. Down 3-1 heading into the fourth, Pawtucket scored four on an Anderson RBI double and a Gustavo Molina two run home run to reclaim the lead. Jorge Jimenez added an RBI single in the fifth to expand the PawSox lead to 6-3, a lead they would give back in the bottom half of the inning as the Yankees tied the game with three runs of their own. Niuman Romero broke the tie in the seventh as he dropped a single in front of the right fielder to bring home the eventual winning run. T.J. Large picked up his third victory of the season as he went 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit. Robert Manuel pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings to lower his ERA to 0.95 on the season. Fernando Cabrera notched his tenth save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Anderson was 3 for 4 with a double, home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored to lead the offensive output.

Despite only being outhit 10-8, Portland was smoked by the Altoona Curve (PIT) 8-1. Sea Dogs starter Jeremy Kehrt was torched in his 5.1 innings of work, allowing 8 runs (6 earned) on 9 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Che-Hsuan Lin's RBI single in the first inning accounted for the lone run of the night for Portland. Santo Luis and Jason Rice combined for 2.2 scoreless innings of relief after taking over for Kehrt. The Sea Dogs left eleven men on base and were just 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Yamaico Navarro was 2 for 4 to have the only multi-hit game for Portland.

Lowell pounded out 10 hits and got some dazzling pitching to tame the Connecticut Tigers (DET) 6-1. Spinners starter Roman Mendez was on his game, tossing 5.0 innings, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Mendez was reportedly touching the upper 90's on his fastball and picked up his first victory of the season. After Connecticut got a run in the first, Lowell responded in the second on a Miles Head RBI triple to knot the score at 1-1. Head's RBI double in the fourth broke the tie and put the Spinners on top for good. Lowell padded their lead by adding two runs in the sixth on a Chia-Chu Chen RBI single and two more in the seventh on a Brandon Jacobs RBI double. Jay Broughton followed Mendez out of the bullpen and pitched 3.0 scoreless frames, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 2. Kyle Rutter pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory. Jacobs was 3 for 4 with two doubles to lead the Lowell offense as Chen, Head and Jose Garcia each added a two hit night.

The GCL Red Sox stayed perfect by breaking open a close game late to defeat the GCL Orioles (BAL) 10-8. Starter Eric Curtis pitched a solid 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 6. Richie Wasielewski picked up the victory by pitching 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. The Red Sox scored their first run of the contest in the third on a James Kang RBI single, giving them a temporary 1-0 lead. The Orioles answered back with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning and all scoring ceased until Kang's solo home run in the top of the sixth. Leading 2-1, the Red Sox exploded for seven runs in the eighth on a Moko Moanaroa RBI double, a throwing error by the Orioles third baseman, and a Heiker Menses grand slam. Moanaroa added an RBI single in the ninth to help the Red Sox stave off a late charge by the Orioles. Michael Gleason pitched 1.2 innings, almost giving back the entire Red Sox lead by allowing 6 runs on 8 hits. Justin Erasmus stopped the Orioles rally by recording the final out of the game for his first save. Kang and Moanaroa were both 3 for 5 to lead the offensive output.

Player of the Night: Lars Anderson, who went 3 for 4, with a double, home run, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI in Pawtucket's 7-6 victory.
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June 23, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Westmoreland gives positive update on recovery

This afternoon, the Red Sox held a conference call to update fans and the media on the recovery and rehabilitation of Ryan Westmoreland, who entered the season as the second-ranked player in the SoxProspects.com rankings before undergoing a life-threatening procedure to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem in March. Westmoreland said he "feels a lot better," adding that doctors and therapists alike have told him his progress has been remarkable.

"I can say from not one specific incident, but from a general perspective that everything’s really gotten better," said Westmoreland, who added that he often exceeds the goals his therapists set for him. "There are things more than other that come back more rapidly, but as a whole I’ve been able to look back at myself and say, 'Wow, I’m getting a lot better.'"

Though doctors haven't set a timetable for his return to baseball, Westmoreland refuses to let go of his waver from his commitment to continue his playing career

Of getting back on the field, Westmoreland said. "That's the ultimate goal. You know every day, that doesn't change and it never will. But doing things like going to see Portland play or Pawtucket play or the big league team play, it just gives you that extra motivation you need to want to get to that point."
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at 3:06 PM

Hatfield and Mellen join SoxProspects ownership team

SoxProspects, LLC is delighted to announce the strengthening of its ownership team with the additions of Chris Hatfield and Chris Mellen as shareholders and “Members” of the LLC. SoxProspects, LLC owns SoxProspects.com and all related media, including SoxProspects News and the SoxProspects Forum.

Hatfield has been an invaluable and versatile member of SoxProspects.com for the last five years, working in the roles of scout, editor, staff writer, forum moderator, and columnist, all before he was promoted to his current role of Senior Columnist and Editor in 2009. In that role, Hatfield is the primary editor for SoxProspects News, while also taking responsibility for overseeing numerous features of SoxProspects.com including rosters, transactions, and awards. He also contributes to SoxProspects News with regular columns and player interviews. A regular at McCoy Stadium for the past five seasons, Hatfield will be moving to Charlottesville, Virginia later this summer to attend the University of Virginia School of Law. Good luck to Hatfield in those endeavors, but don’t think we haven’t realized that it’s only a “short” 120-mile drive from Charlottesville to Salem.

Mellen has made significant contributions to SoxProspects since joining the staff in 2007. After working as a moderator on the SoxProspects Forum, Mellen quickly proved himself to be a vital member of the team, earning a dual promotion to roles as both a scout and a columnist on SoxProspects News. His contributions have included columns such as the annual Prospect Previews, the Ladder, and the Book, while also conducting regular player interviews. In 2009, Mellen was named the SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting. In that role, he attends numerous games each season in Boston, Pawtucket, Portland, Lowell, and Fort Myers, oversees the site’s scouting reports, also provides substantial input on the prospect rankings. During his time with the site, Mellen has developed numerous contacts throughout the industry, including many scouts, broadcasters, affiliate front office members, and players.

Congratulations to both!
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at 9:13 AM

Coello on his game in PawSox win

6/23 Cup of Coffee: Solid pitching performances were common on Tuesday's slate, as two Single-A All-Star Games and some rain in the Dominican kept the action light for Sox affiliates:

Pawtucket was out-hit on Tuesday by Scranton Wilkes-Barre (NYY), but ended up leading where it counts, winning a close game 3-1. The PawSox got the scoring started in the second on Dusty Brown's RBI double. The Yankees tied things up in the bottom of the frame, but Pawtucket took the lead in the third when Angel Sanchez doubled and later scored on a Lars Anderson sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. A Bubba Bell solo home run in the fourth provided the game's final run, but it was already more than enough for Robert Coello, who went the first 5.2 innings allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 10 along the way. Tommy Hottovy, Chad Paronto, and Fernando Cabrera took things from there with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief.

In a well-pitched game on both sides, Portland managed to tie things up late, but couldn't quite hold on and fell 2-1 to Altoona (PIT). After a rough first start at the Double-A level, Alex Wilson was on his game in this one, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks in 5.2 innings, striking out 4. While he left with the score 1-0 in favor of the Curve, he was pulled off the hook in the seventh by Luis Exposito, whose two-out solo home run tied the game at 1. But Eammon Portice allowed three straight singles to open the bottom of the eighth, allowing the eventual winning run to score. Portland managed only 3 total hits in the contest.

Salem may have had the night off on Tuesday as the Carolina and California Leagues played their All-Star Game, but the High-A Sox were well represented in the contest, which was won by the California League All-Stars, 4-3. Oscar Tejeda started at second base and played the entire game, going 1 for 4 with a solo home run in the fourth. Ryan Lavarnway also recorded a hit in the game, going 1 for 2, while Will Middlebrooks went 0 for 2. Unfortunately, Salem contributed a bit less on the mound, where Brock Huntzinger was touched for 2 runs in an inning of work. Salem will get back to work on Thursday when the team travels to Wilmington (KC).

The South Atlantic League also held its All-Star Game on Tuesday night, and after some fast and furious early scoring, the game ended in a 5-5 tie after 10 innings. Representing the SAL South All-Stars, the only Greenville player to see action at the plate was Dan Butler, who went 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored as the starting catcher. On the mound, Dennis Neuman did the Drive proud by striking out the side in his inning of work on just 11 pitches. Greenville also returns to action on Thursday, traveling to Charleston to take on the Riverdogs (NYY).

After taking an early lead and letting it slip away at home against Tri-City (HOU), Lowell rose to the occasion in the bottom of the ninth and walked off with a 3-2 victory. The Spinners took a 2-0 lead in the first when Kolbrin Vitek walked and scored on a double by Bryce Brentz, who was subsequently singled home by Brandon Jacobs. Hunter Cervenka certainly did his part to make that lead stand up, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walksin his 4.0-inning start. Stephen Fox was just as good in his 4.0 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6, but he allowed the tying run to score in the seventh. He was redeemed in the bottom of the ninth, whe Jose Garcia took advantage of a throwing error that put the tying run in scoring position when he singled up the middle to end the game. Garcia was 2 for 5 in the game, while David Renfroe also had 2 hits in 4 trips to the plate.

The GCL Red Sox scored in four of the game's first five innings and took advantage of 4 errors to topple the GCL Rays (TB), 8-3. Keury De La Cruz got things off to a good start in the first when he hit a two-run home run out to right, and the Red Sox added 3 more runs on two ground outs and a Jose Vinicio RBI single over the next two innings to make it 5-1. De La Cruz helped create another run in the fifth when he led off the inning with a triple and scored on a Boss Moanaroa sacrifice fly, making it 6-2, and the Red Sox never looked back from there. Juan Rodriguez was solid in his start, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 4.0 innings, but it was the work of Raynel Velette that really made the difference. Velette allowed only an unearned run in 4.0 hitless innings, striking out 4 to earn the win. Moko Moanaroa also had a good night, going 3 for 4 with a double, while Jason Thompson was 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI.

Action in the DSL between the Red Sox and Astros was postponed on Tuesday due to rain.

Player of the Night: Robert Coello, who allowed just 1 run in 5.2 innings, striking out 10 to help the PawSox take down the Yankees.
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