March 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM
This week’s minor league notes:
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com lays out the schedule and pitching lineups for the first week of spring training games. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe adds that prospects Lars Anderson, Dan Butler, Luis Exposito, Alex Hassan, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Che-Hsuan Lin, Juan Carlos Linares, Will Middlebrooks, Nate Spears, Oscar Tejeda and others made the trip across town to face the Twins in an unofficial “B” game Thursday. Lavarnway homered in his first at-bat, Iglesias singled, walked and stole a base, Middlebrooks contributed a single of his own, Spears tripled, and Butler also homered. Alex Wilson also appeared in the game, which the Red Sox lost 6-5. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston has more details.
Felix Doubront (Kelly O'Connor)
- The Hardball Times checks in with their Sox system preview.
- Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that the goal of newly acquired pitcher Chris Carpenter is to win a spot in the bullpen.
- Mauro Gomez was assigned to minor league camp after arriving late to spring training due to visa issues.
- WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia reports that Bobby Valentine is putting an emphasis on strengthening the throwing of his outfielders, having them work with Dwight Evans and first base coach Alex Ochoa. Valentine and Ochoa have been particularly impressed with the arm of Che-Hsuan Lin.
- The chance to earn a starting rotation spot, rather than work out of the bullpen, was what drew Vicente Padilla to sign with Boston, per WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
- The Baseball Prospectus team choose their breakout players for 2012, and Matthew Kory likes Ryan Lavarnway: “His good plate discipline and right-handed power will push him into the Red Sox' lineup, and by the end of the season he'll be a Rookie of the Year candidate.”
- ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald has a nice feature on Will Middlebrooks. The third base prospect talks about trying to be a sponge this spring and learn as much as he can.
- CSNNE’s Maureen Mullen wrote about Valentine’s first impressions of Middlebrooks and Junichi Tazawa.
- The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson quotes Bobby Valentine talking up Tazawa’s command, and suggests that, if healthy, he could earn a spot in the Sox bullpen with a strong spring.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports Alex Wilson is focused on making the big league team this season, and that path likely runs through the bullpen.
- Bradford reports that on Wednesday, Ryan Kalish played catch for the first time in six months, making 30 throws from 45 feet. Also, Aaron Cook and Carpenter threw their first batting practice as members of the organization. Sean McAdam of CSNNE adds that Kalish is taking his recovery day-by-day. Kalish says “it's going to be weeks (before swinging), not months”
Jason Varitek (Tom Hauck/Allsport)
- Finally, we wanted to commemorate the career Jason Varitek with a note from Fort Myers, 1998. There, a clean-shaven Varitek (photo from CBS Boston) was expected to start the year with Triple-A Pawtucket. Instead, he hit .389 with 3 home runs, and showed enough defensively that manager Jimy Williams successfully lobbied to bring him north with the major league club as part of a platoon with Scott Hatteburg, as Larry Stone wrote for the Seattle Times. Leyritz, acquired from Texas that offseason, had been expected to have that role, but was made a part-time designated hitter and backup to Mo Vaughn at first base. Leyritz wasn’t happy about it, as the New York Times reported, but Red Sox fans ultimately were. Congratulations to Varitek on retiring after an exemplary career.
Dan Hanson & James Dunne are Staff Writers for SoxProspects.com. Follow James on Twitter @JamesMDunne.