June 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM
This looked like it would be a relatively slow week until things got a bit crazy on Saturday and Sunday. Let’s get to it. (All stats as of Sunday, 6/10)
|Daniel Bard (Kelly O'Connor)|
Plenty of ink has been spilled on the Bard move. Bard’s first “start” with the PawSox on Friday night was a scheduled one-inning outing, an interesting approach as the club seeks to help Bard rediscover his mechanics. Then, on Monday night, his “start” was changed to a relief outing – according to Bard, he did not want to start if he was only throwing one inning. Regardless of the party line, it is hard not to read into these short outings, now coming out of the bullpen. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s return from the disabled list means there is no rotation spot into which the club can slot Bard once he “fixes” things unless someone gets hurt. I think the team still wants to try Bard as a starter long-term, but once (if?) he gets it together in Pawtucket, there just may be nowhere for him to go but the bullpen.
The Move: Ryan Kalish (rehab) transferred from Portland to Pawtucket (6/5) / Kalish activated from 60-day DL, optioned to Pawtucket; Jason Repko transferred from 15-day to 60-day DL; Ronald Bermudez placed on Pawtucket 7-day DL (6/9)
All Kalish has done since starting his rehab assignment on May 26 is hit, jumping from Salem to Portland to Pawtucket in less than two weeks (that second jump admittedly hastened by an inclement weather forecast). He has a .390/.500/.756 line in that time in 50 plate appearances entering Monday’s game, including a .500/.600/1.050 mark in Pawtucket. Still, it may be a while before we see Kalish in Boston, despite the hot streak, because he also needs to show he can field. Kalish’s ability to play center field better than the options the Sox have available there, presently Scott Podsednik and McDonald, will determine how fast he gets to the majors. Given how long Kalish has been out—effectively a year and a half, excluding false starts—the Sox will not promote him unless he is certain to play nearly every day, and with Repko starting a rehab assignment on Monday night and Cody Ross due to follow soon, the outfield picture is about to get even more crowded.
But there is another question: Why activate Kalish and option him with a week remaining on his rehab assignment? I agree with our Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews, who posited on Twitter that the team wanted to stop Kalish from accruing service time on the major league disabled list. Kalish has two options remaining, so burning one this year is of no issue. Repko had been out since April 20, so his transfer to the 60-day disabled list was a formality—he can be activated next Tuesday if the team wants.
The Move: Peter Hissey and Ryan Dent activated from Portland DL; Shannon Wilkerson and Heiker Meneses assigned to Salem from Portland (6/10); Felix Sanchez and James Kang to Salem 7-day DL (6/11)
Dent had only been on the disabled list since May 26, but Hissey had been out most of the year after taking a pitch on the hand on April 13. Hissey had been impressive during spring training but had been unable to capitalize on that momentum due to the early injury. He will take over as the primary center fielder for the Sea Dogs, between Oscar Tejeda and Bryce Brentz, with the Portland outfield picture quite crowded with Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares also present.
After spending much of his time in the system at shortstop, Dent has worked as a utility infielder this year, splitting most of his time between second and third base while Derrik Gibson mans short. With Meneses, a potential major league utility infielder himself, being sent down to Salem after hitting just .197/.282/.244 as one of the youngest players in the Eastern League, Dent should take over as the regular second baseman, although he could continue seeing starts at third base while Kolbrin Vitek sits with an injury.
As for the players sent down to Salem, Wilkerson heads back after a short, 13-game stay in Double-A in which he hit .288/.327/.327. He returns to being Salem’s primary right fielder. Meneses’s spot in the lineup is not quite as clear. Second baseman Sean Coyle has struggled this year to a .210/.282/.349 line, including a 26-for-140 (.186) mark since May 1, and may get some time out of the lineup to straighten things out. Meneses will also back up Xander Bogaerts at short and may play some at third, although the club recently said that Travis Shaw, one of the best hitters in the system this season, could see time there. Expect Salem manager Billy McMillon to mix up his infield lineups. In the meantime, Sanchez and Kang went on the disabled list Monday to make room for Wilkerson and Meneses.
Red Sox sign 2012 draft picks Mike Augliera, Justin Haley, Kyle Kraus, Nathan Minnich, Mike Miller, and J.T. Watkins (6/9): The first set of picks to sign were all college players, representing the clubs fifth- through 10th-round selections in last week’s draft. This crew represents the first domino to fall in the signing process; the money the team saved on their bonuses, as compared to the slot recommendation for their picks, will be re-allotted elsewhere. They will all report to Lowell in time for next Monday's (!!!) season opener. Expect another crew of signings imminently.
Madison Younginer placed on Greenville 7-day DL; Raynel Velette assigned to Greenville from Extended Spring Training (6/5): Younginer has a strained right lat. He still has not shown the promise that led the Sox to give him a $975,000 signing bonus, spending two seasons in Lowell and failing to impress as a 21-year-old in the South Atlantic League (1-6, 5.33, 50.2 IP, 60 H, 23 BB, 41 K). In the meantime, Velette is likely only up temporarily. After a promising 2010 season in the GCL, he allowed just as many walks (36) as strikeouts last year in Lowell.
Ryan Pressly placed on Salem 7-day DL; Jeremy Kehrt assigned to Salem from Portland (6/8): Pressly was placed on the disabled list with an undisclosed injury. Despite never putting up stellar numbers, scouts have expressed interest in Pressly due to the stuff he shows in starts like his May 16, seven-inning, four-hit, no-walk, eight-strikeout gem. Org guy Kehrt, a long-reliever/swingman since being drafted in 2008, was demoted to make a spot start in his stead.
Noe Ramirez assigned to Greenville from Extended Spring Training; Tyler Wilson assigned to Lowell from Greenville (6/9): Ramirez, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 draft, finally made his debut on Sunday, going five perfect innings, striking out five. Ramirez, a fourth-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton last year, was held back in extended spring training due to shoulder weakness, but seems to be just fine now. Wilson split last season between Greenville and Lowell, had more walks than strikeouts this year, and thus will see time in Lowell for the third straight year.
Marco Duarte assigned to Pawtucket from Portland (6/10) / Duarte assigned to Portland from Pawtucket (6/11): In case you were wondering, just a paper move during the Portland roster shuffle.