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April 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Weekly Notes: Ups and downs in the first week of games

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • Alex Wilson (pictured) is ranked at No. 16 in the SoxProspects.com rankings, is the top relief pitching prospect, and despite a good spring was unable to make the major league team because of the depth the Red Sox have at the position. However, he did not have to wait long to get the call as he was activated on Wednesday when John Lackey was sent to the disabled list with a bicep strain. He appeared in his first major league game last night throwing one inning with a walk and a strikeout, and in doing so became the first Saudi Arabian born pitcher to appear in a major league game. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer Kevin Pereira talked to Wilson last week about his mindset and preparation entering his first full season as a reliever.
  • Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes about Wilson's long journey to the majors. The transition to the bullpen for Wilson seemed ill-timed last year as the major-league bullpen quickly became a strength and starting depth was needed. Wilson finally got his call-up to majors though in a role in which most think he is best-suited.
  • Infielder Brock Holt made an impression on the coaching staff this spring as SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel wrote for ESPN Boston. He has started the season 3-for-11 at Pawtucket after being one of the last players cut in spring training.
  • Stephen Drew was sent to Double-A Portland for his rehabilitation assignment and played four games there, finishing 2 for 16 with one home run, two walks, and three strikeouts  After the fourth game the organization decided he was ready to be activated from the 7-day disabled list, and the corresponding move was Jose Iglesias being optioned to Pawtucket. Iglesias had the best offensive production during his time in the majors, hitting .450 with two doubles. He had several bunt singles and infield hits, but it was an improvement from his time in the majors in 2011 where he only hit .118 over 68 at-bats. SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel spoke with Iglesias, who did not seem down about being optioned. Iglesias said "no doubt" this is the best he's felt in his career, and followed that with a simple, "I'm back."
  • Iglesias was sent down because most believe Drew will be able to produce at a higher level in the immediate future and not due to Iglesias' production this year as MacPherson explains. John Farrell's was quoted by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia on the subject, saying “What he’s done is he’s clearly shown that not only do we have a now-ready shortstop [but] if, it turns out that he becomes depth for us, he’s made very good strides, particularly at the plate.”
  • David Ortiz is also on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket and made his debut there yesterday after spending some time in extended spring training. He went 2 for 3 and will likely spend about another week there testing his heels before rejoining the major league team.
  • Once Ortiz is ready to return the Red Sox will be faced with another roster decision. Jackie Bradley Jr. was a surprise addition to the roster at the end of spring training and he could be that player optioned in order to let him continue to develop and also to delay his entrance into free agency. WEEI's Rob Bradford writes about the continuing baseball education of Bradley who has hit only .120 thus far but has also walked in over 18-percent of his at-bats.
  • With the help of Drew, Ortiz, and Holt, Pawtucket is off to a 6-1 start, leading the International League after winning the Governors' Cup last season. Both starters Terry Doyle and Allen Webster did not allow a run in their first start of the season. Webster, the fourth-ranked prospect according to SoxProspects.com, went five innings allowing two hits and three walks while striking out five.
  • Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, and Ian Cundall recorded a minor-league Opening Week SoxProspects.com Podcast. Discussed is the staff trip to spring training and thoughts on the how the rosters shaped up.
  • Now that the minor league season is underway, this week SoxProspects.com's Kevin Pereira announced the first Players of the Week, with Portland's Michael Almanzar and Salem's Henry Owens (pictured) taking home the honors. 
  • SoxProspects.com Senior Columnist Jon Meloi was on hand for Owens' High-A debut, and Owen's harder breaking ball was one of many things he noticed in the efficient outing.
  • Not everything has been smooth sailing in minors. Daniel Bard remains a work in progress as he tries to regain his once dominant form as a relief pitcher. Bard spoke with Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald and said, "I'm happy with my delivery. Maybe I could be more down in the zone. I got to put people away. Not enough swings and misses."
  • Other strong starts to the season included Garin Cecchini who has going 10 for 23 in his first six games for the Salem Red Sox and also Anthony Ranaudo who went five innings in his season debut allowing six batters to reach base while striking out six as well. Ranaudo has had an up and down career derailed partly due to injury, but he still has the upside that made him a first-round pick.
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier came out with his latest episode of his Minor Details podcast, and on this edition he speaks with two players he views as potential breakout prospects, Garin Cecchini and Henry Owens.
  • Relievers Josh Fields and Ryan Pressly were both left unprotected by the Red Sox in this year's Rule 5 draft and both made their respective teams out of spring training. Fields was picked by first overall by the Astros and has thrown 2/3 of an inning, striking out one of the two batters he has faced, but was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a strained right forearm. Pressly has yet to allow a run over four innings thus far for the Twins.
Photo credit: Alex Wilson and Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor

Will Woodward and Jim Crowell are Staff Writers for SoxProspects.com. Follow them on Twitter @SPWill and @CrowellJim