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SoxProspects News

July 31, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Red Sox get Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Texas for McGuiness, Mendez, PTBNL and cash

The Red Sox have acquired catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for first baseman Chris McGuiness, pitcher Roman Mendez, cash and a player to be named later.

Saltalamacchia, 25, was originally drafted in the first round of the 2003 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves. This marks the second time he has been traded at the trade deadline, being dealt to Texas in 2007 as part of the package for Mark Teixeria. Saltalamacchia was once regarded as one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, but injuries and throwing problems have given him issues. He has spent almost all of his time this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .244/.326/.445 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 63 games.

McGuiness, 22, was originally drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 amateur draft. He had put together a very nice season with Low-A Greenville this year, hitting .298/.416/.504 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 78 games.

Mendez, 20, was signed as an international free agent in 2007. The hard throwing right-hander had struggled this season as he split time between Low-A Greenville and Short-Season-A Lowell, compiling a 2-5 record with a 6.56 ERA in 14 starts despite collecting 53 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched.
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at 4:12 PM

Ramon Ramirez traded to Giants for Turpen, Richardson recalled from Pawtucket

The Boston Red Sox have traded reliever Ramon Ramirez to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for reliever Daniel Turpen. Taking Ramirez's spot in the bullpen will be Dustin Richardson, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Ramirez, 28, was originally acquired from the Kansas City Royals in November 2008 in exchange for outfielder Coco Crisp. His first season in Boston was stellar, as he posted a 2.84 ERA in 70 games out of the Boston bullpen. In 2010, Ramirez has been unable to duplicate his success from 2009, posting a 4.46 ERA in 44 games in relief.

Turpen, who will turn 24 next month, was originally drafted by the Giants in the eighth round of the 2007 amateur draft. This season pitching for Double-A Richmond, the right-handed Turpen has compiled a 5-5 record with a 4.09 ERA in 37 games of relief.

Richardson, 26, returns to Boston after appearing in 13 games for the Red Sox earlier this season, posting a 2.57 ERA in 7.0 innings of relief. In 26 games this season with Triple-A Pawtucket, the left-hander has posted a 3-0 record with a 3.19 ERA in 26 games out of the bullpen.
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at 3:30 PM

Hermida designated for assignment, Kalish called up to Boston

According to NESN, the Red Sox have designated outfield Jeremy Hermida for assignment and recalled outfielder Ryan Kalish from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Hermida, 26, was acquired this offseason from the Florida Marlins in exchange for pitchers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez. He has struggled this season in 52 games with Boston, hitting just .203/.257/.348 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI.

Kalish, 22, was originally drafted in the 9th round of the 2006 amateur draft. The left-handed outfielder is known for his gritty play and his sound defensive work. In 78 games this season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Kalish has hit .294/.382/.502 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI. He is currently ranked the #2 prospect on SoxProspects.com and should see immediate playing time in the Boston outfield.
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at 7:19 AM

PawSox win on Shealy homer

7/31 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Portland, and Lowell needed extras Friday night, while a pair of double header sweeps were in order down in rookie ball.

Ryan Shealy hit a three-run home run in the top of the 11th to power Pawtucket to a 7-4 win over Toledo (DET). Kris Johnson gave up 3 runs in 6.1 innings, and Michael Bowden allowed a run in relief that sent the game to extras. Chad Paronto, Dustin Richardson, and Robert Manuel combined for 3.1 innings of shutout relief to secure the win. Lars Anderson, Jack Hannahan, and Dusty Brown all hit solo home runs, while Josh Reddick was 3 for 6 with 2 doubles in the victory.

Portland spoiled a solid outing from Jeremy Kehrt, losing 3-2 in 11 innings to Harrisburg (WAS). Kehrt yielded just 2 runs on 7 hits in 6.2 innings, and Blake Maxwell allowed just a hit in 3.1 frames of relief before Ryne Lawson gave up the winning run in the 11th. Che-Hsuan Lin was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, and Yamaico Navarro was 2 for 5 with an RBI triple. Luis Exposito also drove in a run in the loss.

Mike Lee, Will Latimer, and Kyle Fernandes combined for a six-hit shutout as Salem squeaked past Lynchburg (CIN) 2-0. Lee struck out 5 and allowed 5 hits in 7.0 shutout innings, and Latimer allowed a hit in the eighth before Fernandes' perfect ninth. Oscar Tejeda doubled and scored on Will Middlebrook's 10th home run of the season in the first.

Greenville scored a couple of late runs, but ultimately fell 6-5 to Charleston (NYY). Drake Britton allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 4.2 innings, though he struck out 5. Jeremiah Bayer had similar line in 3.1 innings. Reymond Fuentes was 2 for 4 with a solo home run, while Shannon Wilkerson and Derrik Gibson each had 2 hits and an RBI.

For once, it was Lowell who scored in the ninth to tie the game, but only to fall 7-6 to Tri-City (HOU) in 11 innings. The Spinners bullpen spoiled Madison Younginer's best start in nearly a month, with Charle Rosario allowing 4 runs in 2.0 innings after Younginer allowed a run on 2 hits, striking out 4 in 5.0 innings. Chia-Chu Chen was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, and Bryce Brentz smacked an RBI triple in the fifth. Tyler Lockwood and Tyler Lavigne each allowed a run in the loss.

In the completion of last week's suspended game, the GCL Red Sox were pounded by the cross-town rival Twins 10-1. Sergio Gomez was touched for 3 runs on 4 hits in 2.0 innings, and Raynel Velette allowed 2 runs in 1.2 innings of relief. Mike Hacker retired the only batter he faced in his debut. Jason Thompson had 2 hits and an RBI, while Trygg Danforth and Leonel Escobar had the only other hits for the Red Sox. After play was resumed in the seventh, Sven Hujier gave up 5 unearned runs in 2.0 innings.

The Sox couldn't get much offense going in the regularly-scheduled game, recording just a pair of hits in a 2-0, seven-inning loss to the Twins. Jason Garcia surrendered a pair of runs on 3 hits in 4.0 innings, with Mike Gleason allowing a hit in 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Henry Ramos and Heiker Meneses singled to account for the team's only hits.

They played two down in the Dominican as well, with the DSL Sox committing 5 errors but taking game one over the Astros 9-3. Raul Alcantara went the first 6.0 innings, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned on 3 hits. Ellis Jimenez held the Astros to 1 run in 3.0 innings of relief. Aly Gonzalez and Juan Ugas had 2 hits and a pair driven in each, while Lewis Urena, Xander Bogaerts, and Curtney Doran drove in a run each in the win.

Game two went similarly well, this one a 10-2, seven inning thumping of the Astros. Nefi Ogando allowed 2 runs, 1 earned in 5.0 innings, with Ricardo Betancourt tossing 2.0 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts in relief. Javier Gutierrez was 2 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBI, while Jesus Loya and Dreily Guererro had 2 hits and 2 RBI each.

Player of the Night: Ryan Shealy hit a three-run home run to win it for Pawtucket in extra innings Friday night. Though it was his only hit of the night, he drew three walks in the victory.
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July 30, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Exposito homers twice in loss

7/30 Cup of Coffee: Lowell moved to within one game of double digits in the win column Thursday night, while Pawtucket got it done at the dish and on the mound.

Turns out Pawtucket didn't really need Mike Lowell after all, as they romped Toledo (DET) 7-0. Felix Doubront got back to his prior form, scattering 6 hits in 5.1 scoreless innings before Fernando Cabrera, Tommy Hottovy, and Rich Hill combined for 3.2 shutout, one-hit innings. Josh Reddick returned to the lineup to go 3 for 4 with a triple and 2 RBI, while Lars Anderson added 2 hits and a pair of RBI. Ryan Shealy and Ryan Kalish had 2 hits and an RBI each in the win.

A pair of Luis Exposito home runs accounted for all five of Portland's runs, but the Sea Dogs made four errors en route to a 10-5 loss to Harrisburg (WAS). Kyle Weiland struck out 8 in 5.1 innings, but gave up 8 runs, 7 earned on 6 hits, including 2 home runs. Eammon Portice allowed a hit and struck out 3 in 1.2 innings, and Bryce Cox allowed a pair of runs in the eighth. Exposito hit a two-run home run in the first and a three-run shot in the eighth.

Salem endured through some early fireworks and a near-brawl to top Lynchburg (CIN) 9-8. Brock Huntzinger allowed a 3 home runs and 6 earned in 2.2 innings while causing a near-brawl with a fastball up-and-in after allowing back-t0-back home runs. Alex Hassan was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI, while Dan Butler also drove in a pair. Four other players, including b and Pete Hissey, added RBI. Seth Garrison and Will Latimer allowed a run each, and Pat Ryan tossed two scoreless innings to get the save.

Greenville pulled even in the top of the eighth but conceded in the bottom half of the frame, dropping a 4-3 decision to Charleston (NYY). Ryan Pressly gave up 3 early runs but struck out 9 in 5.0 innings of work. Anatanaer Batista worked the sixth and seventh without trouble before allowing the go-ahead run in the eighth, while Dennis Neuman worked the rest of the frame without further damage. Chris McGuiness was 2 for 2 with a double and 3 walks, and Jeremy Hazelbaker, Reynaldo Rodriguez, and Zach Gentile drove in a run each in the loss.

Lowell hung crooked numbers in the second and third innings to win their ninth game of the season, this one a 9-2 win over Tri-City (HOU). Joantoni Garcia and Jose Garcia drove in 2 runs each in the second inning, while David Renfroe added 2 RBI and Felix Sanchez drove 1 in batted in the third. Bryce Brentz drove in a run in each inning. Roman Mendez struck out 6 and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, including a home run, in 5.0 innings. Stephen Fox allowed a hit and struck out 3 in as many innings of relief, and Wilson Matos tossed a scoreless ninth.

Four pitchers combined on an impressive performance down in the GCL, with the Red Sox topping the Orioles 7-2. Sergio Gomez allowed a run in 2.1 innings, and Raynel Velette allowed a run in 4.0 frames of relief before Justin Erasmus recorded his seventh save with 2.0 scoreless innings. Keury De La Cruz was 1 for 3 with a triple and 3 RBI, while Henry Ramos, Moko Moanaroa, and Jose Vinicio each added an RBI. Heiker Meneses had a pair of hits in the win.

Player of the Night: Luis Exposito homered twice and drove in all 5 Sea Dog runs Thursday night.
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July 29, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Q&A with Miles Head

Perhaps overshadowed by Lars Anderson, Anthony Rizzo and Chris McGuiness in the Red Sox’ crowded minor league depth chart at first base, Miles Head has quietly been working towards the big leagues just outside of the spotlight. Drafted in the 26th round in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Head made the switch from third base to first base upon being assigned to the Lowell Spinners. Despite the move on defense, he has been solid offensively as a 19-year-old in the New York-Penn League, hitting .270/.366/.396 with 1 home run and 21 RBI. Miles took the time to sit down with SoxProspects.com’s Jonathan Singer at a recent Lowell game.

Jonathan Singer: You worked out for the Red Sox at Fenway Park prior to the 2009 MLB draft and hit a home run over the monster. The team had obvious interest in you, but you were also committed to play baseball at the University of Georgia. Was the lure of the Red Sox drafting you the biggest reason you broke your commitment to the Bulldogs?
Miles Head: I think that was a big thing to think about. My dream growing up as a kid was to play professional baseball, and ultimately, whatever got me into the pro ball the fastest that was the path I was choosing. It happened that signing out of high school with the Red Sox was that path.

JS: What if you had been drafted by a lesser team, say, a team in the bottom half of the league, do you still think you would have signed to become a professional?
MH: I think I probably would. As I said, it’s always been my dream to play professional baseball, regardless of which team it was for. I just want to play.

JS: You were a participant in the fall instructional league in 2009. Tell us how that went and what did you take away from it?
MH: I thought it was a very good experience. The way the coaching staff worked with us in all aspects of the game was absolutely beneficial. I definitely think the work put in here will pay off in the long run.

JS: Over the winter what type of workout regimen did you partake in to prepare yourself for your first full professional season?
MH: I worked out with a club called Home Plate from around the same part of Georgia where I live, and just every single day I was hitting and throwing to prepare for the grind of my first full professional season.

JS: The organization held you in extended spring training to begin this season. What were some of the things you focused on during the extra time spent in Fort Myers?
MH: I just wanted to improve a little bit on my defense, especially my footwork. I felt like my hitting was there and would come around, but the main focus was getting my defense down to the point where I was comfortable.

JS: You were drafted as a third baseman but now you have moved over to first. Tell us about the adjustment you have made moving across the diamond.
MH: They are two very similar positions, but they do have their differences. At first base it was a big change, as I was a little uncomfortable to begin with, but now I am getting the hang of playing over there every single day and my comfort zone has greatly increased there.

JS: How did it come about that you moved positions so early in your career?
MH: You know I’m not sure. When I got here I was saying to myself that I was going to be a third baseman but the first day, (Spinners Manager Bruce) Crabbe called me into his office and said, ‘We are going to try you out at first base and see how you feel.’

JS: Coming up to Lowell, did you set any specific goals for yourself?
MH: One of my goals was to come here and finish the year in the .285 to .300 range batting average-wise. It would be nice to accomplish that in my first full professional season.

JS: What type of preparation do you go through before each game? Do you have any specific routine?
MH: I have my hitting routine that (Spinners Hitting Coach) George Lombard and I do every day. It’s the same thing as I do tee work and front flips, and that’s something I repeat every single day.

JS: You hit your first professional home run last night. How did that feel to get that weight off your shoulders? (Note: Head had hit that home run the previous night)
MH: It felt awesome. It’s just a big burden off my shoulders. The moment and the feeling were definitely surreal and it’s something I won’t forget.

JS: You have been in the organization for less than a year, but in that time, is there any player that has impressed you the most?
MH: I would have to say Brandon Jacobs, because I knew him a little growing up but I always looked at him as primarily a football player. You know he came here and has really shown myself and the whole organization a lot, because he knows how to play this game.

JS: Did you have any role models growing up in your life, and what part did they play in getting you to where you are right now?
MH: I would definitely say my parents and my grandparents. Growing up as a kid, I always played travel ball and they were there beside me the whole time. They took me to my games at 6 o’clock in the morning; they were always there no matter what.

JS: You grew up in Brooks, Georgia, which is small rural town. Was there a big culture shock coming up to Lowell and being in a region that was so passionate about its sports teams?
MH: I mean, yea. The south is so much different than the north. We have baseball fans in the south, but nothing like it is here. Red Sox Nation is the real deal. Its crazy how all the fans are and the support they have for you.

JS: Would you compare the passion of the professional sports teams up here to college athletics in the south?
MH: Absolutely. SEC football is what we grew up watching. The fans there are crazy and it’s the same thing here with the Red Sox.

JS: Moving away from baseball, tell us about some of the things you enjoy away from baseball that we may not know.
MH: In the off-season, I love to fish and hunt. I also play a little bit of guitar and I enjoy hanging out a lot with my grandparents.

JS: Since you have been in the Boston area only a short time, what is the best thing you have done so far?
MH: I’d say visiting Fenway Park. Just walking into the park gives you chills, as does knowing all the guys that have played there in the past and knowing in a few years I could be there.

JS: Have you taken in a baseball game at Fenway on any off day this year?
MH: A few of us players went to a game in June when Daniel Nava hit his grand slam. We had become pretty good friends with him in spring training and went to watch him play, and it was an awesome feeling to watch the game he had.
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at 8:32 AM

Chang's explosive night leads Portland to victory

7/29 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem were the only victorious affiliates on Wednesday, with the Sea Dogs coming out on top of a slug fest and the Red Sox riding solid pitching.

Unable to muster any offense against the bullpen, Pawtucket was dropped by the Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 8-5. Robert Coello continued to struggle as he went 5.0 innings, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Chad Paronto added 2.0 scoreless innings of relief but Michael Bowden struggled in the eighth, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk in his lone inning of work. Back-to-back RBI singles from Mike Lowell and Ryan Shealy gave the PawSox an early 2-0 lead after one. With the game tied in the third, Lowell smacked an RBI double to put Pawtucket back on top 3-2. Dusty Brown cracked his sixth home run of the season in the fourth, giving the PawSox a 4-3 lead. Lowell continued his torrid rehab stint by adding a home run of his own in the fifth, giving the Pawtucket a two run cushion that it would eventually give back in the bottom half of the inning. Toledo took the lead with three runs in the fifth and never looked back, as their bullpen tossed 4.0 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. Lowell was 3 for 4 falling a triple short of a cycle, with 3 RBI and a run scored to lead the Pawtucket offense.

In a game that needed extras to decide a winner, Portland overpowered the Binghamton Mets (NYM) 11-9. Stephen Fife took the hill for Portland, going 6.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. Mitch Herold relieved Fife and struggled his way through 1.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk. Jason Rice picked up the victory for his 2.2 inning performance in which he allowed 1 run on 1 hit while striking out 4. In the first, a costly throwing error by the Mets pitcher allowed two runs to score and give the Sea Dogs an early 2-0 lead. The very next inning Portland put up five on Che-Hsuan Lin, Yamaico Navarro and Ray Chang RBI singles and a Ryan Lavarnway RBI double to open up a 7-0 lead. With a 7-5 advantage in the sixth, Anthony Rizzo and Chang each hit solo home runs to give Portland some insurance runs and take a 9-5 lead. Binghamton tied the game in the eighth to force the game into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Lavarnway smoked a two run home run to put the Sea Dogs up for good. Chang was 4 for 6 with a double, home run, RBI and 3 runs scored to lead the Portland offense.

Unlike Portland, Salem rode strong pitching to a 4-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (ATL). Miguel Gonzalez picked up the victory for his 5.2 innings of work in which he allowed 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 3. Kyle Fernandes added 2.0 hitless innings of relief and Cesar Cabral picked up his fourth save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. The Red Sox finally got on the board in the fifth on Ryan Dent's RBI single that tied the game 1-1. After Myrtle Beach took the lead in the top of the sixth, the Red Sox scored three in the bottom half of the inning on an Oscar Tejeda RBI double, Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly, and an Alex Hassan RBI single to take a 4-2 lead. Tejeda was 2 for 3 with a double to lead the Salem offense.

Despite attempting a rally late, Greenville was smoked by the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) 10-6. Manuel Rivera was hammered in his 2.0 innings of work, allowing 9 runs on 10 hits to pick up the loss. Pedro Perez pitched 4.2 innings in relief and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 4. Chris Court finished the final 1.1 innings in scoreless fashion, walking 2 and striking out 3. The Drive was held scoreless until the seventh when they scored four runs on a Michael Almanzar sacrifice fly, wild pitch and a Reynaldo Rodriguez two run home run to pull within 5 runs at 9-4. Chris McGuiness and Ronald Bermudez added solo home runs in the ninth but it was not enough to overcome a deep hole. McGuiness and Rodriguez each had two hits to lead the Greenville offense.

Lowell continued to struggle as they fell to the Tri-City ValleyCats (HOU) 5-2. Miguel Celestino did not pitch poorly in his 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits. Cesare Angeloni picked up the loss for his 2.0 innings of work in which he allowed 3 unearned runs on 4 hits. Jay Broughton pitched a scoreless eighth inning. In the third, a wild pitch allowed Felix Sanchez to scamper home from third with the Spinners first run of the evening, which at the time tied the game 1-1. In the seventh, Seth Schwindenhammer lofted a sacrifice fly to give Lowell their only other run of the contest. Sanchez was 2 for 5 from the top of the order to lead the Spinners offense.

The GCL Red Sox were doubled up by the GCL Orioles (BAL) 4-2. Francisco Tavares went the first 2.0 innings of the game, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits to pick up the loss. Scott Swinson, Swen Huijer and T.J. Large combined for 7.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. The Red Sox scored their lone runs of the game in the third on a Luke Yoder RBI single. The Red Sox were only able to muster 3 hits and went 2 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Despite six Rays errors, the DSL Red Sox fell to the DSL Rays (TB) 7-4. Yunior Ortega went the first 4.0 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. Sully Bonnelly followed with 4.0 innings of his own, allowing 3 unearned runs on 4 hits and 4 walks to pick up the loss. Jesus Loya picked up an RBI double in the sixth and an RBI single in the seventh to account for two of the Red Sox runs. The remaining runs were added on errors by the Rays. Loya was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI to lead the Red Sox offense.

Player of the Night: Mike Lowell, who fell a triple short of the cycle as he added 3 RBI and went 3 for 4 in Pawtucket's 8-5 loss and Ray Chang who was 4 for 6 to also fall a triple short of the cycle as he scored 3 runs and added 2 RBI in Portland's 11-9 win.
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at 8:28 AM

Reviewing past deals

With the trade deadline approaching, we take a look at the current status of every "prospect" that Boston has traded since July 2005 - all 45 of them.
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July 28, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Lowell launches three bombs in PawSox win

7/28 Cup of Coffee: A number of Sox affiliates put up crooked numbers early on Tuesday, but a number of squandered leads led to just as many defeats. Meanwhile, a few rehabbing Boston Red Sox stole the show.

Mike Lowell’s rehab stint continued with a bang (or three, to be precise), as the veteran third baseman crushed 3 home runs to help Pawtucket overcome Toledo (DET) 10-6. The first Lowell homer came in the first inning, and two-run job to give Pawtucket a 2-0 lead. After Toledo tied things up in the bottom half of the frame, it was Mark Wagner’s turn to hit a big fly, also a two-run bomb, which combined with a Ryan Kalish sacrifice fly gave the PawSox a 5-2 lead in the top of the second. The aforementioned Lowell added to the lead in the third when he hit his second home run of the game, this one a solo shot, to make it 6-2. Kalish added to the power parade in the fourth with a solo home run of his own, and just like that it was 7-2 Pawtucket. All of this offense supported the serviceable mound work of Ramon A. Ramirez, who started the game and went the first 5.0 innings, yielding 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Dustin Richardson gave up 2 runs of his own in the seventh to bring Toledo closer, but a three-run Pawtucket eighth, highlighted by another two-run home run from Lowell, gave the Sox some breathing room. Fernando Cabrera gave up 2 more runs in the eighth, but the lead still stood at four, and Robert Manuel closed things out in the ninth without incident. Lowell’s 3-for-4, 5-RBI night certainly led all Pawtucket hitters, while Kalish and Wagner both went 2 for 4 with a double, a home run, and 2 RBI. The final RBI belonged to Aaron Bates, who was 1 for 4.

Portland took an early 4-0 lead but let it slip away, eventually losing big to Binghamton (NYM) 12-8. Ray Chang got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly, then after a walk, three consecutive RBI singles by Anthony Rizzo, Yamaico Navarro, and Ryan Lavarnway made it 4-0. Binghamton came right back with 2 runs in the second, but Portland expanded the lead in the third. A wild pitch scored Rizzo, then RBI knocks by Jorge Padron and Che-Hsuan Lin made it 7-2 after 3. But the lead would be short lived. In the fourth, 5 singles, a double, and a walk led to 5 runs against starter Alex Wilson, and just like that the game was tied at 7. Wilson managed a clean fifth inning, but allowed 2 base runners in the sixth before being yanked in favor of Ryne Miller. Miller, however, allowed both inherited runners to score, and then allowed 3 more runs of his own over his 3.0-inning outing. The damage left both men’s ERAs north of 6. Portland, meanwhile, managed only 1 more run on a Chih-Hsien Chiang RBI single in the seventh, leaving 2 runners on in the eighth but otherwise going down quickly and quietly after the third. Lin, Padron, and Nate Spears were all 2 for 5.

Salem struggled to put hits together all night, scoring late but far too little in a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Myrtle Beach (ATL). Stolmy Pimentel did a decent job but was hardly at his best, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 5.0 innings, striking out 5. The Red Sox offense, meanwhile, was stymied all night, leaving a few runners on here and there but generally sputtering at the dish. A two-run double by Drew Hedman with two down in the ninth spoiled the Pelicans shutout, but not the victory. Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Dent each had 2 hits in 4 at-bats.

A four-run first inning actually held up for Greenville in game one of its double-header at Rome (ATL), as the Drive cruised to a 4-0 win. Pete Ruiz was the king of the hill in this one, going the full 7.0 innings allowing just 4 hits, walking nobody and striking out 4 along the way. Shannon Wilkerson and Sean Killeen each drove in runs in the first with RBI singles, but the rally was greatly aided by 2 Rome errors and a wild pitch. Rome made 4 errors on the day, as each team only recorded 4 hits in the contest.

As good as game 1 was for Greenville, game 2 was that much of a disaster, as the Drive committed 3 errors and were out-hit 12-6 en route to an 8-1 defeat to Rome (ATL). Kendall Volz was most affected by the sloppy defense, allowing 7 runs in 3.0 innings total, only 2 of which were earned. He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4. Armando Zerpa tossed 2.0 scoreless frames, while Anatanaer Batista allowed a run in his inning of work, but the offense simply couldn’t bring Greenville back into this one. The Drive did finally score in the seventh on a Reynaldo Rodriguez RBI single, but were just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the game. Rodriguez (2 for 2 with a walk) and Vladimir Frias (3 for 3) both had nice games at the plate.

Lowell was idle on Tuesday.

The GCL Red Sox also scored 4 first-inning runs, but also let the lead slip away, losing a heart-breaker to the GCL Rays (TB) 5-4. After the Rays scored in the first to make it 1-0, Heiker Meneses continued his recent power surge in the first, launching a two-run home run out to right that scored the rehabbing Jacoby Ellsbury, who had walked and stolen second to open the frame. Four batters later, Jose Vinicio laced a two-run triple to right to make it 4-1. The next three innings went well for the Red Sox, but Luis Bastardo ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing 4 earned runs to give the lead back. The bullpen held the Rays scoreless from there, but the Red Sox managed only 3 hits the rest of the way. Ellsbury had 3 plate appearances before being pulled from the game, going 1 for 2 with a walk and a steal. No member of the Sox lineup had more than 1 hit.

In the DSL, Red Sox pitching got lit up by the DSL Pirates (PIT) as the team lost 13-4. A bases-loaded walk in the first by Jesus Loya actually gave the Red Sox a brief 1-0 lead, but the Pirates scored 2 runs in each of the next two frames to make it 4-1. A two-run Red Sox third, highlighted by a Xander Bogaerts RBI single and an RBI groundout by Loya, made it 4-3, but the Pirates again struck back, scoring 3 more runs in the bottom of the third to make it 7-3. The teams traded runs in the fourth, with the Sox scoring on a Dreily Guerrero triple, but a five-run Pirates eighth put the game out of reach. Francellis Montas gave up the early runs, allowing 7 of them on 8 hits in just 2.0 innings. William Cuevas had a nice run in relief, allowing just 1 run while scattering 8 hits over 5.0 innings, but Ricardo Betancourt was trounced in the eighth, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk in his lone inning of work. Guerrero led the way offensively, going 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, and his 22nd steal of the season, while Bogaerts was 2 for 4 in defeat.

Players of the Night: Mike Lowell, who launched 3 home runs while on rehab for Pawtucket, and Pete Ruiz, who earned a 7.0-inning shutout victory for the Drive in game one of a double header.
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July 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Players of the Week, July 19-25; Kyle Weiland and Chih-Hsien Chiang

Portland Sea Dog teammates, Kyle Weiland and Chih-Hsien Chiang, were voted by the SoxProspects community as this week's Pitcher and Player of the Week.

In his first season in Double-A, Weiland has impressed thus far, putting up an ERA of 3.82 in 94.1 innings while collecting 91 strikeouts. The 23-year-old right-hander dominated the SoxProspects Pitcher of the Week voting due to his miniscule 0.71 ERA and 0.55 WHIP over 12.2 innings. He was also able to strikeout 15 batters, while only issuing 1 free pass.

Chiang, 22, has also been getting his first taste of Double-A ball this season, but has not had the same level of success as Weiland thus far. Last week may be the start to a strong finish to his season, as he just beat out Daniel Nava to become the week's top performer. In 6 games over that time period, he batted .391 with 1 home run and 4 doubles. He also walked 1 time, and finished the week with an OBP of .440.
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at 5:00 AM

Dening leads the way in Salem's victory

7/27 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem picked up impressive victories on an otherwise lackluster day for the affiliates.

Nothing has gone right for Pawtucket lately as they continued their recent slide by being swept by the Columbus Clippers (CLE) 11-7. Mark Holliman, making his second start for the PawSox, was rocked for 7 runs on 5 hits and 7 walks in his 4.2 innings of work despite racking up 6 strikeouts. Reliever Rich Hill followed Holliman and did not fare any better, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits in his lone inning. Michael Bowden tossed 1.1 scoreless innings while collecting a strikeout, lowering his ERA to 3.47. Chad Paronto came on for the eighth and allowed 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. After the Clippers put up four quick runs in the first, Pawtucket responded with two in the second on a Lars Anderson solo home run and a Gil Velazquez RBI single. In the sixth, a Ryan Shealy solo shot and a Gustavo Molina three run home run brought the PawSox within one at 7-6. The Clippers opened up the game after that despite Pawtucket getting a Ryan Kalish solo home run in the seventh. Every member of the PawSox lineup had a hit with Velazquez being the only batter to collect two hits.

A six run fourth inning allowed Portland to brush aside the Binghamton Mets (NYM) 8-4. Blake Maxwell, making his first start of 2010, collected the victory for his 5.0 inning performance in which he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 5. Ryne Lawson picked up his first save since 2008 by tossing 4.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. Down 2-0 in the fourth, Yamaico Navarro smoked an RBI double and Chih-Hsien Chiang cracked a grand slam to give the Sea Dogs a 6-2 advantage. Portland added two insurance runs in the fifth as Ryan Lavarnway hit his first Double-A home run, a two run shot that gave the Sea Dogs a comfortable 8-2 lead. The victory improved Portland to 7-3 in its last 10 games.

In a game that saw 26 hits between the two teams, Salem nipped the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (ATL) 5-4. Caleb Clay improved to 4-9 with his 5.1 inning performance in which he allowed 3 runs on 9 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Will Latimer followed Clay and hurled 2.0 innings of relief, allowing a run on 4 hits. Patrick Ryan picked up his first save as a member of the Red Sox organization by tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Salem wasted no time getting on the board, as they got three in the first on RBI doubles by Will Middlebrooks and Dan Butler and an RBI single by Tim Federowicz. Peter Hissey's RBI single in the fourth gave the Red Sox a 4-2 lead. Myrtle Beach handed Salem the eventual winning run in the sixth as an error and two wild pitches allowed Mitch Dening to cross home. Dening was 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored as the Red Sox lead-off man.

Greenville's contest with the Rome Braves (ATL) was postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow.

Despite two late runs, Lowell continued its losing ways, falling to the Connecticut Tigers (DET) 3-2. Tyler Wilson picked up his third loss of the season despite allowing only 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 3 in his 5.0 innings of work. Garrett Rau was the next man out of the bullpen, hurling 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Tyler Lockwood pitched the eighth and ninth innings, allowing the decisive run on 2 hits and a walk. Lowell did not score until the eighth, when Felix Sanchez led off the inning with a triple and scored on Miles Head's RBI ground out. Kolbrin Vitek added a sacrifice fly in the ninth, but the Spinners left the bases loaded as they did not have enough magic for a comeback.

Jacoby Ellsbury began his rehab assignment, but the GCL Red Sox were shut out by the GCL Rays (TB) 3-0. Ellsbury was 1 for 3 as he hit lead off and served as the designated hitter. Ryne Reynoso made his Red Sox debut by starting and going 1.0 inning, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. Juan Rodriguez followed Reynoso and tossed 3.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on 3 hits while striking out 3. Michael Gleason twirled 3.0 scoreless innings and Matt Phillips hurled a scoreless eighth inning despite allowing 2 walks. The Red Sox had their best scoring chance in the ninth, loading the bases before the Rays got out of trouble. Leonel Escobar and Henry Ramos led the Red Sox offense with two hits apiece.

Unable to get much offense, the DSL Red Sox were dropped for a 4-1 loss by the DSL Dodgers (LAD). Carlos Pinales picked up his second loss of the season for his 5.0 innings of work in which he allowed 2 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Alexander Mateo followed Pinales with 4.0 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits. The Red Sox scored their lone run of the contest in the second on Aly Gonzalez's RBI single.

Player of the Night: Mitch Dening, who served as the catalyst for Salem by going 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored in a 5-4 victory over Myrtle Beach.
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July 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Bates outrighted, Brown optioned in latest roster moves

The Red Sox have made a few roster moves this afternoon, outrighting first baseman/outfielder Aaron Bates to Triple-A Pawtucket, optioning catcher Dusty Brown to Triple-A Pawtucket and activating catcher Victor Martinez from the 15-day disabled list.

Bates, 26, cleared waivers and was outrighted in order to remove him from Boston's 40-man roster. He appeared in five games with the Red Sox last season, collecting 4 hits in 11 at-bats. This season Bates has appeared in 93 games with Pawtucket, hitting .222/.322/.349 with 9 home runs and 36 RBI.

Brown, 28, has appeared in six games this season with Boston, collecting only 2 hits in 11 at-bats. In 52 games this season with Pawtucket, Brown has hit .225/.325/.396 with 5 home runs and 24 RBI.

With today's moves, the Red Sox currently have 38 players officially listed on the 40-man roster with recent signing Adalberto Ibarra likely to be added shortly.
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at 9:38 AM

Killeen comes up big in first Greenville start

7/26 Cup of Coffee: The results were generally lackluster for Sox affiliates on Sunday, as the teams had only one solid win and an error-aided victory to show for their efforts.

A four-run Columbus (CLE) fifth inning was just too much for Pawtucket, as the PawSox fell 5-4. The game began well enough for Pawtucket, when Ryan Kalish walked, stole second, advanced on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Nava to make it 1-0. An Aaron Bates RBI double in the second made it 2-0 PawSox, but the Clippers would soon start their comeback. A run in the fourth and 4 runs in the fifth were charged to starter Kris Johnson, and just like that it was 5-2. Johnson ended up only lasting 4.0 innings and gave up 8 hits and 2 walks. Fabio Castro put out the fire with 3.0 scoreless frames from there, and actually gave Pawtucket a chance to come back in turn. Another RBI by Nava, this time on a single in the seventh, made it 5-3, and the very next inning the PawSox loaded the bases with nobody out. Bates drove in one with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4, but a sharp groundout and a strikeout snuffed the rally. Pawtucket loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth as well, but again could not cash in. Nava was the big bat for Pawtucket, going 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, while Mark Wagner also chipped in 2 hits in 3 at-bats, walking twice.

It was a sloppy day for Portland, which was simply overmatched by Harrisburg (WAS), allowing 10 runs on 17 hits while making 3 errors in a 10-3 defeat. No Portland pitcher left the mound unscathed, led by starter Jeremy Kehrt, who allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 12 hits and 2 walks in 5.0 innings. Eammon Portice allowed 3 runs in his 2.0 innings, while Bryce Cox allowed 2 runs in his 2.0 frames. The Sea Dogs entered the eighth down 10-0, but scored three times in the frame to avoid the goose egg, tallying on an error, an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo, and a wild pitch. Rizzo, Che-Hsuan Lin and Nate Spears all had 2 hits in the game.

It was a closely fought contest in Lynchburg, but the Salem Red Sox ended up on the wrong end of the score, losing 6-5 to the Hillcats (CIN). Lynchburg started off strong, scoring 3 against starter Mike Lee in the first two innings, but Salem came back right away to narrow the gap; a Pete Hissey RBI groundout in the third and a Will Middlebrooks solo home run in the fourth made it 3-2. After the Hillcats scored single runs of their own in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 5-2, RBI doubles by Jon Hee and Ryan Dent in the seventh once again made it a one-run game. But Seth Garrison gave up another run in the bottom of the seventh, and though Salem got that one back in the eighth on a Middlebrooks RBI groundout, the team couldn’t quite make it all the way back. Salem even loaded the bases in the ninth with one out, but a foul out and a ground out ended the game. The Salem offense was well spread, as the team collected 10 hits but only first baseman Hee had more than one, going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles.

Greenville shot like a rocket out of the gate, accumulating a 5-0 lead before Rome (ATL) even came to bat and winning handily, 8-2. Two errors and a wild pitch led to the first 2 runs in the first, but the big blow was a bases-clearing three-run double by Sean Killeen which made it 5-0. Derrik Gibson singled in another run in the second, and the Drive added single runs in the sixth on a single by Michael Thomas and in the ninth on a single by Shannon Wilkerson to account for the final tally. It was all more than enough for starter Drake Britton, who went the first 5.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Tom Ebert was even more impressive in relief, going the final 4.0 innings allowing only 3 hits. Gibson was the star on offense, going 3 for 5 with an RBI, while Killeen was 1 for 2 with 2 walks and 3 RBI in his first start for Greenville since being promoted from Lowell, serving as the team’s DH in this one.

Lowell finally managed some offense on Sunday, scoring 5 runs on 12 hits, but Connecticut (DET) managed even more and defeated the Spinners 9-5. After giving up a run in the first, the Spinners came right back and tied things on Jose Garcia’s RBI double in the bottom half. Connecticut scored 3 more over the fifth and sixth innings, but again Lowell was resilient, cutting the deficit in half on a Felix Sanchez RBI groundout. The team’s traded runs in the eighth, with the Lowell run scoring on another Sanchez groundout, but the Tigers blew it open in the ninth, scoring 4 times against reliever Kyle Rutter to make it 9-3. A two-run double by Seth Schwindenhammer in the bottom half made it closer, but it was too little, too late. Josue Peley led the offense for the Spinners, going 3 for 5, while Sanchez, Miles Head, and Brandon Jacobs all tallied 2 hits.

As always, the GCL Red Sox were dormant on Sunday.

Despite being out-hit 7-5, the DSL Red Sox took advantage of 4 errors to defeat the DSL Royals (KC) 3-2. The Royals actually scored first in this one, tallying twice against starter Mario Alcantara in the second, but the Red Sox came back in the sixth. Four straight singles with one out did the job, with the last off the bat of Javier Gutierrez plating 2 runs to tie the score. The Red Sox scored the winning run in the eighth when Lewis Urena walked and eventually scored on a Royals error. Stellar relief work by Kiler Gil and Ellis Jimenez, who combined for 4.0 scoreless innings, was crucial in the win. Gutierrez carried the load on offense, going 2 for 3 with a walk.

Player of the Night: Sean Killeen, who was 1 for 2 with a big three-run double and 2 walks in his first start for victorious Greenville.
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at 8:00 AM

Q&A with Casey Kelly

As the first half of Casey Kelly's full-season pitching debut wound to a close, many people were alarmed by what they saw. The 20-year-old was hardly recreating last year's dominance from the rubber, checking in at the All-Star break with an ERA over 5.00 for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. But as we noted in last week's ESPNBoston article, the young righty has made several adjustments to his arsenal and worked through tough situations in a much older league. But now the transition period is over. With 13 strikeouts in 12 innings and just 3 runs allowed in 2 starts since the break, Kelly seems poised to finish 2010 on a high note. Jon Meoli had a chance to talk with Kelly as the Sea Dogs came back from the All-Star break earlier this month to discuss his season so far.

Jon Meoli: There’s been a lot written recently about how well this season has been going for you despite the stats, almost to point of trying to justify the stats to the fan base. Have you had to do any of that for yourself?

Casey Kelly: I think if you let all of that in, it can really create a problem. For me, it’s important to go out there and pitch every fifth day and compete with my team. My teammates are all trying and I’m trying out there, so I just try to take the positives.

JM: Without the benefit of hindsight, what were your expectations coming into this season? Did you expect to have the same kind of success as you did last year?

CK: I really didn’t have any expectations coming in. Having it be my first full year pitching and being in Double-A was kind of exciting in itself, but there really was no expectation. My only expectation was to come here and learn a lot and become a better pitcher, and I think this half of the season I’ve done that.

JM: Mentally and physically, how have you found that preparing as a pitcher this season has helped you so far?

CK: It’s been good. My workouts in the off-season have definitely helped me get to the half-way-point of the season, and I still feel fresh. You can get worn down and feel tired, but I think I go out there every five days, feel 100%, and feel good every start.

JM: There have been a lot of reports of a rise in your velocity this season. Have you had to make any adjustments to compensate for that?

CK: It’s definitely been different. I’ve never thrown this hard in my career, but you have to control it. My curveball is a lot better this year, and so is my changeup, so it’s just about handling all of those pitches and going through the bumps in the road that will ultimately make me a better pitcher.

JM: Can you talk about the progression you’ve had with your curveball and your changeup so far this season?

CK: My stuff this year is a lot better than it was last year, and I think the first half of the year was me learning how to control both of those. I’m trying to throw them in the zone and start my curveball a little higher so that it drops in for strikes, because throwing a strikeout curveball is a lot different from throwing it early in the count for strikes. I think both of those pitches have really come a long way in terms of throwing them for strikes.

JM: I’ve seen a pretty wide range of velocities on the curveball, but you’re saying it’s just a matter of where in the count you throw it?

CK: Yea, they’re the same pitch, but early in the count I just want to throw it for a strike. If they swing and I can get a ground ball, then that’s great, but my main concern is throwing strikes. When you get into situations where it’s 0-2, 1-2, I try to throw the two-strike curveball. You really need to have two different ones depending on the situation.

JM:. In the category of “bumps in the road”, I think it’s fair to assume that you didn’t face a ton of adversity on the field while you were coming up as an amateur, and even in your first year on the mound as a professional. From April to now, how have you improved the manner in which you deal with adversity?

CK: In baseball, you’re going to go through times where you deal with failure and you’re going to go through times when you feel good out there and things don’t go your way. It’s how you deal with it that matters. You have to be the same guy every day. You can’t get too high after good outings or too low after bad ones. I think the difference between good players and great players is that good players let slumps last a month and great players let them last a week, so it’s all about how you react to those bumps.

JM: Looking ahead to the second half, is there anything specific that you hope to improve on?

CK: For me, it’s really a matter of going out and doing the same thing I have been doing. I definitely think I’m a better pitcher now than I was at the beginning of the season, and towards the end of the year I’m going to be putting up the numbers that I thought I might put up. Everything will kind of equal itself out.

JM: In the offseason, there was a lot of buzz about you being in the Boston bullpen by September. Do you feel any added pressure with all of the accolades and recognition that come your way?

CK: I don’t feel that much added pressure. I’m in Portland right now, and if I pitch well and they call me up to Pawtucket, then that’s what happens. I think you can always just try to think about things on a day-to-day basis. I’m here in Maine playing for the Sea Dogs. I love it here and I’m having a great time playing with my teammates. Whatever happens, happens.

JM: Now that you’ve been in Portland for what’s shaping up to be an entire season, have you found it easier than all of the jumping around you did last season?

CK: Last year was a lot of fun. Being able to play in Greenville and Salem, and then going back to Ft. Myers and Greenville really kept me guessing. I never knew where I was going to go, but I feel like I had great success last year with everything that happened. It was a cool year, but this year is different. I’m staying in the same place for the majority of the year, but for me, every season is different and you have to take it the way it is. I’m very happy to be in Portland right now.

JM: You’ve been with the organization for almost two years now. Have any teammates been particularly impressive along the way?

CK: Everybody has been great to me. The teammates I had last year in Greenville and Salem, everyone was awesome. I don’t think I can pick out just one guy. I’ve become close with a lot of people in this organization. It’s definitely a top-of-the-line organization with top-of-the-line players. Everyone knows how to be professional and all of the guys go about their business the right way.

JM: This time last year, you were at the Futures Game. What’s it like to see some of those guys you shared a locker room with already contributing at the big-league level?

CK: It’s awesome. To be able to be on the same team as them was a tremendous honor, and it’s cool to see people you know get up to the big-league level and compete every day.

JM: Last, what do you like to do off the field?

CK: I love to play video games. I’m a big FIFA player, and I love going to the beach back home. I like traveling, too. Last year I traveled to Arizona and Puerto Rico, I just really enjoyed getting to travel and seeing those different places.
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July 25, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Lowell snaps losing streak

7/25 Cup of Coffee: Lowell prevented their losing streak from sliding to 12 games with a big win Saturday night, while Kyle Weiland and Ryan Pressly gave their teams 7.0 innings of shutout ball.

Mike Lowell was a perfect 4 for 4, but Pawtucket ultimately dropped a 12-7 decision to Columbus (CLE). Felix Doubront was tagged for 6 earned runs on 7 hits in 3.0 innings of work, and Tommy Hottovy dug the PawSox a deeper hole by yielding 4 runs in 2.1 innings of relief. Lowell had 3 doubles and a pair of RBI, while Gustavo Molina hit a three-run home run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 4. Ryan Kalish added 2 hits, including a double. Dustin Richardson allowed a run in 1.0 inning, as did infielder Gil Velazquez, who took the hill in the eighth.

After seeing their winning streak snapped last night, Portland couldn't capitalize on an outstanding Kyle Weiland start in a 2-1 loss to Harrisburg (WAS). Weiland allowed a first inning double and proceeded to retire the next 15 in order on his way to 7.0 innings of shutout, one-hit ball. He struck out 8, but Jason Rice allowed 2 runs in the eighth to take the loss. Mitch Herold tossed a scoreless ninth. Nate Spears doubled and scored on an Anthony Rizzo single in the fourth to account for the Sea Dogs' lone run.

Salem had similar offensive woes as the Sea Dogs, collecting just 2 hits in a 3-0 loss to Lynchburg (CIN). Brock Huntzinger allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings before Zach Hammes, Lance McClain, and Pat Ryan combined to keep the Hillcats off the board for the rest of the game. Pete Hissey singled in the first and Alex Hassan doubled in the second for the futile Red Sox offense.

Where Salem imitated Portland's bats, Greenville's Ryan Pressly followed Weiland's lead in the Drive's 7-4 win over Rome (ATL). Pressly struck out 3 and allowed just 3 hits in 7.0 innings of work, but Chris Court put his lead in jeopardy by surrendering 2 runs in the eighth and ninth before Dennis Neuman notched the save. Chris McGuiness was 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBI, while Shannon Wilkerson had a pair of hits and an RBI in the win.

After quite the futile stretch, Lowell finally put a a notch in the win column with an 11-5 win over Vermont (WAS). Seth Schwindenhammer, Miles Head, Kolbrin Vitek, and Jayson Hernandez each had 2 RBI, with Scwindenhammer also homering in the win. Roman Mendez and Stephen Fox went 4.0 innings each, with Mendez allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and Fox giving up 2 runs on 5. Vitek tripled and had 2 hits, while Felix Sanchez knocked a pair of singles and scored twice. Tyler Lavigne pitched a scoreless ninth in the win.

In the first game of a double header, the GCL Red Sox lost to the cross-town rival Twins 3-1. Keury De La Cruz and Oscar Perez had two hits each, with De La Cruz driving in the team's only run. Jason Garcia went the first 3.0 frames, holding the Twins scoreless and allowing just 1 hit, and Swen Huijer combined with TJ Large for 3.0 perfect innings of relief before Scott Swinson gave up 3 runs on 4 hits to take the loss.

The second game was suspended after 5.0 innings with the Twins leading 5-1. Sergio Gomez was touched for 3 runs on 4 hits in 2.0 innings, and Raynel Velette allowed 2 runs in 1.2 innings of relief. Mike Hacker retired the only batter he faced in his debut. Jason Thompson had 2 hits and an RBI, while Trygg Danforth and Leonel Escobar had the only other hits for the Red Sox.

In DSL action, Raul Alcantara was touched up for 7 runs on 11 hits in a 9-4 loss to DSL Yankees 2. 5 of the 7 runs were earned, with Alcantara going 3.2 innings before Nefi Ogando allowed a pair of runs in 2.1 frames. Eddie Loya was a home run shy of the cycle, while David Sopilka had 2 hits and an RBI for the Red Sox. Xander Bogaerts and Dreily Guererro also drove in a run apiece. Pedro Reyes and Israel Perez each tossed a scoreless inning in the loss.

Player of the Night: Kyle Weiland, who sat down 15 batters in a row while pitching 7.0 innings of shutout ball. He struck out 8 and improved his ERA to 3.82.
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July 24, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Place homers twice in rout

7/24 Cup of Coffee: Portland saw their winning streak snapped at 6 Friday night, but Lowell wasn't lucky enough to have their streak broken as the Spinners fell for the eleventh straight game.

In the completion of a suspended game, Columbus (CLE) scored 4 in the sixth to top Pawtucket 6-3. TJ Large allowed 4 runs in two-thirds of an inning, but Chad Paronto and Fernando Cabrera joined up to toss 3.1 scoreless frames of relief. The PawSox scored all of their runs before the suspension of the original game, with Bubba Bell and Ryan Sheely homering.

The regularly-scheduled game saw Pawtucket fall victim to a stellar pitching performance in a 5-3 loss to Columbus. Robert Coello gave up 5 runs on 6 hits, including 2 home runs, in 5.0 innings, while Rich Hill and Dustin Richardson combined for 3.0 scoreless innings of relief. Aaron Bates and Gil Velazquez each had 2 hits, while Velazquez, Lars Anderson, and Argenis Reyes drove in a run in the loss.

Portland saw their winning streak snapped at 6 in a 7-5 loss to Harrisburg (WAS). Luis Exposito was 2 for 5 with 3 RBI, while Ray Chang also had a pair of hits and 1 driven in. Stephen Fife was chargeed with 5 runs, 4 earned on 8 hits in 6.0 innings. Ryne Lawson alowed a pair of runs in 2.0 innings of relief, and Ryne Miller pitched a perfect. ninth in the loss.

Salem used a pair of four-run innings to give themselves a comfortable lead in an 11-2 romp over Lynchburg (CIN). Will Middlebrooks, Dan Butler, and Jason Place each had 3 hits, while Place homered twice to finish with 3 RBI. Oscar Tejeda and Alex Hassan added 2 hits in the win, with Hassan collecting a home run and 4 RBI for the second straight night. Miguel Gonzalez pitched the first 5.0 innings, scattering 5 hits and allowing just 1 run before Will Latimer allowed another run in 2.0 innings of relief. Kyle Fernandes struck out 2 in 2.0 scoreless frames to close out the win.

Michael Almanzar smacked his fifth home run of the season for Greenville, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 4-3 loss to Kannapolis (CWS). Roman Mendez allowed 3 runs, 4 earned on 10 hits in the first 4.1 innings, but Pedro Perez and Dennis Neuman combined to allow just 1 hit in 4.1 shutout frames of relief. Almanzar's two-run shot and Ronald Bermudez' solo home run provided all of the Drive's offense, with Bermudez collecting the only multi-hit game for the losing side.

Lowell saw their losing streak fall to 11 games on another late-inning loss, this one of the 6-5 variety to Vermont (WAS). David Renfroe and Josue Peley provided the Spinners with a 2-0 lead in the second, a lead they'd relinquish in the next inning before Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, and James Kang brought them back ahead to 5-4 with runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. But Vermont pulled ahead for good with a pair of runs of Cesare Angeloni, who struck out 6 in 4.0 innings of relief. Hunter Cervenka tossed the first 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs, 4 earned on 3 hits, and Tyler Lockwood allowed a hit in a scoreless eighth.

Yunior Ortega, Sully Bonnelly, and Alexander Mateo combined on a five-hit shutout in the DSL squad's 3-0 win over DSL Mets 2. Ortega lowered his ERA to 1.24 with 5.0 innings of three-hit ball, while Bonnelly added a pair of hits in 3.0 innings of his own. Mateo recorded the save by striking out 2 in a perfect ninth. Eddie Loya was 3 for 4 with a double and a run batted in, while Xander Bogaerts also added an RBI in the win.

Player of the Night: Jason Place, who hit a pair of home runs in Salem's rout over Lynchburg. He finished the night with 3 hits and 3 RBI.
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at 9:42 AM

The Book: Ryan Lavarnway

C Ryan Lavarnway
Date: July 22, 2010
Team: Portland Sea Dogs

Line: 3 for 5, 2 singles, 1 double, 3 runs batted in, 2 runs scored, 2 strikeouts

Swing: Lavarnway starts out in a slight crouch with his hands lower on his body and his bat flat towards his back shoulder. Upon the pitch’s approach towards home plate, he loads his hands back and brings his bat up to a more vertical position, which puts him in a good hitting position to be quicker to the point of contact with his slightly above-average bat speed. Lavarnway has some early extension in his swing and likes to get his arms open to drive balls that are out and over the plate. He did demonstrate the ability to pull in his hands and shorten his swing to produce a single in a 3-2 count, but there is somewhat of a hole on the inside portion of the plate due to him straightening out his arms early in his swing. Its bears watching to see how quick he can get to balls buried inside on him. He is able to cover a large percentage of the strike zone and generates good contact on balls away from him, rather than push them off the end of the bat. Lavarnway produces some lift at the end of his swing, but he is level through the hitting zone and hits balls out of the ballpark due to his above-average strength right now. If he can develop a touch more lift with his swing, he could produce even more home run power.

Approach: Advanced and polished, Lavarnway’s approach is a strong asset for him and his pitch recognition allows him to pick balls up early out of the pitcher’s hand. Keeping his weight back and looking for pitches to drive, he takes advantage of mistakes, especially in a spot where he can get his arms extended to send them a long way. Lavarnway has a tendency to chase breaking balls that sweep across the strike zone and would be better served to let those balls go by unless he is protecting with two strikes. With good knowledge of the strike zone, he rarely chases bad balls in hitters’ counts and is not afraid to take a pitch not in his zone for a chance to work on something more to his liking. He is very deliberate and relaxed in the way he goes about working an at-bat. Lavarnway did not look out of place against Double-A pitching and should come up to speed quickly with the new looks and patterns he is going to see from pitchers at that level.

Take: Offensively, Lavarnway has the potential to be an above-average hitter for power with the ability to hit for enough contact against advanced pitching to be a very dangerous hitter. When pitchers offer up mistakes, he makes them pay as shown by his double to deep center field on a two-strike fastball that grabbed too much of the plate. He is an excellent fastball hitter, but teams are going to pick up on this and the consistent look of off-speed pitches will challenge him to hit better secondary pitches, while also laying off others when he is ahead in the count. If he can make this adjustment, he should be able to hit consistently in the upper minors and produce similar numbers to those he did in the lower minors.

The questions come when talking about Lavarnway’s defense as a catcher. His skills are average as a whole, showing limited range behind the dish, a slightly below-average arm, and stiff reactions on balls he has to move to. There were times balls popped out of his glove, he stabbed at pitches on the corner, and just looked rough in general behind the plate. Lavarnway did show a quicker release when throwing a runner out and keeping consistent with his technique can help his arm out. With well below-average speed and rigid body actions, it is tough to project him into a potential corner outfield spot or at first base down the line. Most, if not all, projection as to his future defensive position is tied into with how much more improvement he can make catching, where he has made strides since signing with the organization. With his bat’s potential, rounding into an average defensive catcher at the major league level would increase the likelihood he could consistently start for a big league team, a likelihood that is a little bit cloudy right now. He is also going to have to shorten his swing to maintain higher contact rates to keep from becoming an “all-or-nothing” hitter against better competition. Lavarnway has tracked pretty quickly through the low minors and shown the advanced hitting skills that reports indicated when he was drafted, and in the process pushed himself up the catching depth chart within the Red Sox system. Dedicated to his craft, followers can expect him to put the time into improving as a receiver, and there is some room for him to grow at the position. Double-A will be a big proving ground for Lavarnway and should show whether he can take a step forward behind the plate to answer the questions surrounding his defense.
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July 23, 2010 at 8:20 AM

PawSox win in Nava's return

7/23 Cup of Coffee: Another late-inning loss in Lowell prevented a perfect day down on the farm, with Portland winning big and Greenville and Pawtucket winning late.

Lars Anderson singled to score Daniel Nava in the bottom of the tenth to give Pawtucket a 5-4 walk-off win over Toledo (DET). Nava made a triumphant return to the minors, tying the game at 3 with a three-run jack to left in the third inning en route to going 2 for 3 with a pair of walks. Ryan Kalish and Niuman Romero each had a pair of hits, with Kalish also driving in a run. Ramon A. Ramirez returned from the DL to go 4.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and striking out 4. Tommy Hottovy allowed a run on 3 hits, and Robert Manuel held the Mud Hens scoreless in the final 3 innings to get the win.

Ryan Lavarnway continued to swing a hot stick since his promotion to Double-A, going 3 for 5 with a double and 3 batted in as Portland trounced Harrisburg (WAS) 9-1. Chih-Hsien Chiang also homered and drove in 3 for the Sea Dogs, while Luis Exposito, Anthony Rizzo, and Yamaico Navarro each had multi-hit games. Alex Wilson held the Senators to 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 3 in 5.1 innings, and Eammon Portice combined with Bryce Cox to hold them scoreless for the final 3.1 innings.

Under the watchful eye of our own Chris Hatfield, Salem hung a crooked number in the third thanks to an Alex Hassan grand slam in a 5-1 victory over Lynchburg (CIN). Stolmy Pimentel dazzled on the hill for Salem, allowing a solo home run and a single in the second and proceeding to set down the next 13 batters in order before a walk in the seventh. Pimentel struck out 7 in as many innings, and Seth Garrison fanned 3 in 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Mitch Dening was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, and Oscar Tejeda added 2 hits in the win.

Shannon Wilkerson smacked a 2-run double to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth to give Greenville a 3-1 win over Kannapolis (CWS). Kendal Volz continued to be the ace of the Drive staff, striking out 5 and allowing 6 hits in 6.0 shutout innings. The Drive took a 1-0 lead in the sixth and Jeremiah Bayer gave it back in the eighth, but held on to go 3.0 innings and allow just a run while striking out 4 and picking up the win. Chris McGuiness picked up his 41st RBI of the season, and five different players accounted for Greenville's five hits.

Lowell spoiled a perfect night for the farm teams with their tenth straight loss, this one a 4-3 come-from-behind Brooklyn (NYM) win. Brandon Jacobs drove in a run with a second-inning double and scored on Miles Head's first professional home run later that inning, but Miguel Celestino and Garrett Rau couldn't hang onto the 3-0 lead. Each allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, with Celestino going the first 4 and Rau the final 4.1 before allowing the game-winner in the ninth. Nick Robinson and Bryce Brentz each had a pair of hits in the loss.

The GCL squad did a pretty apt impression of the rest of the affiliates, using timely late hitting and impressive starting pitching to top the Orioles 4-1. Fransisco Taveras pitched the first 5.0 shutout frames, striking out 6 and walking just 1 while allowing 3 hits. Not to be outdone, Luis Bastardo added 4.0 frames of relief, allowing just an unearned run and striking out 6 of his own. Henry Ramos, who went 3 for 4 with a double, gave the Red Sox a lead in the fourth by stealing home. Keury De La Cruz was also 3 for 4 with a double, and Wilfred Pichardo smacked a two-run home run in the win.

Player of the Night: Daniel Nava picked up the form that earned him his memorable call-up in his return to Pawtucket, scoring the game-winning run and belting a three-run home run en route to a 2 for 3 night. He also walked twice in the win.
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