SoxProspects News

May 31, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Travis out for the year, Luis Alej. Basabe stays hot


http://www.soxprospects.com/players/castillo-rusney.htm
Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • Some tough news broke on Monday as the Red Sox announced that first baseman Sam Travis, the fifth-ranked prospect on SoxProspects.com, would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Allen Craig also went on the disabled list last week, so the corner infield depth in the upper minors took a big hit over the last seven days.
  • With Blake Swihart seeing most of the opportunities in left field for Boston, Rusney Castillo (pictured, right) continues to stay buried on the depth chart. Castillo was the focus of Alex Speier's column last week, as the Boston Globe columnist discussed his struggles in Pawtucket. Entering Monday, Castillo was batting .248/.305/.326 over 141 at-bats for the PawSox, which is not what the organization expected when they signed him to a seven year, $72.5 million deal in 2014. 
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at 9:30 AM

The Write-Up: Eduardo Rodriguez's mechanical adjustment


SoxProspects Assistant Director of Scouting Chaz Fiorino was in attendance for Eduardo Rodriguez’s final rehab start. This is his report from the field, including his take on a mechanical adjustment to the windup of Rodriguez. Chaz also wrote up Rodriguez's previous rehab start here.

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Eduardo Rodriguez made his fifth rehab start with Pawtucket on May 24, in what we now know was his final minor league start of the stint. He has since been announced as tonight’s starter for Boston, replacing a struggling Clay Buchholz in the rotation. Rodriguez’s final line on the day was 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, thus making it the best results he’s had in a rehab start to date,  returning from the right knee injury suffered in spring training. He threw 102 pitches, 69 of them strikes; throwing first-pitch strikes to 18 of 25 batters and generating eight swing-and-misses.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Espinoza, Ockimey lead Greenville, Haley rolls on


5/31 Cup of Coffee: Both Justin Haley and Anderson Espinoza picked up victories yesterday, with Haley in particular having an impressive performance. Espinoza got the win thanks to a home run by Josh Ockimey, which was all the offense the Drive needed. Roenis Elias took a step back for Pawtucket, and Justin Maxwell's four hits were not enough to get Elias a win. 

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After allowing only three runs and striking out 21 over his last 15 innings, Roenis Elias was tagged for five runs, four earned, on six hits over five innings last night, as the PawSox fell to the Braves. Elias left with the PawSox down 5-2, but they came back to tie it up after seven. The Braves then got to Roman Mendez for a run in the eighth that proved to be the difference. Mendez went three innings, with the lone run scoring on a home run by Rio Ruiz. 
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May 30, 2016 at 9:41 PM

Sam Travis out for season with torn ACL



The Red Sox have announced that first baseman Sam Travis (pictured), the fifth-ranked prospect on the SoxProspects.com rankings, has torn his left ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Travis suffered the injury during a rundown on Sunday afternoon against the Indianapolis Indians. He will undergo surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2017 season.

Through 47 games with the PawSox in 2016, Travis was slashing .272/.332/.434 with 10 doubles and six home runs. Travis has risen quickly through the Red Sox organization since being drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University. He played in Lowell and Greenville after being drafted in 2014 and then hit a combined .307/.381/.452 in 2015 between Salem and Portland after an aggressive promotion to High-A to begin the season.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Gunsolus, Ray power Greenville to win


5/30 Cup of Coffee: The minor league affiliates saw some terrific bullpen work on Sunday, including perfection in Salem from Yankory Pimentel and Taylor Grover. Andrew Benintendi recorded multiple hits for the second day in a row, and Greenville had a big offensive day behind Mitchell Gunsolus, Luis Alejandro Basabe, and Jayce Ray.

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It was a rough outing for PawSox starter Keith Couch, as he gave up seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. Things spiraled out of control for Couch in the fourth inning when he surrendered two singles, a double, a triple, and two home runs. Robby Scott came on in relief and pitched very well, allowing just a run over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and did not walk anybody. Anthony Varvaro pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and struck out four of the five batters he faced.

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May 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Benintendi, Devers record multi-hit games



Cup of Coffee 5/29: It was a night of excellent pitching on the farm for the Red Sox. Pawtucket, Portland, and Salem emerged as winners behind strong performances by starting pitchers. Aaron Wilkerson, Mitch Atkins, and Matt Kent. Andrew Benintendi (pictured) turned in a 2-for-4 game for the Sea Dogs while Rafael Devers was 3 for 4 for Salem. Greenville’s Chad De La Guerra and Jeremy Rivera recorded three-hit games in a loss for the Drive.


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Aaron Wilkerson made his second start of the season with the PawSox on Saturday evening and was exceptional. The 27-year-old lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing just a run on three hits and two walks while striking out nine. Kyle Martin pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing no baserunners and striking out two batters to lower his ERA to 3.33 in 24 1/3 innings of work this season. Pat Light (2/3 innings, one hit) and Wesley Wright (1/3 innings) combined for a scoreless ninth as the PawSox were victorious.
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May 28, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Almonte throws six no-hit innings



Cup of Coffee 5/28: It was a tough Friday night for Red Sox affiliates, with Greenville being the only victorious team in the system. It was a night of particularly poor offensive performances as the Drive's three runs were the most of any affiliate. Teddy Stankiewicz and Trey Ball turned in decent starts on the mound but were overshadowed by Jose Almonte, who threw six no-hit innings for Greenville.


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The PawSox bats were unable to generate much offense against one of Pittsburgh's top prospects, Tyler Glasnow. Both of Pawtucket's runs came in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Bryce Brentz, scoring Ryan LaMarre and Sam Travis. Brentz, who was 2 for 4, was the offensive standout for the PawSox.  

William Cuevas started and turned in a solid but unspectacular performance on the hill. Cuevas allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in five innings, striking out four and walking two. Roman Mendez allowed a run in two innings of relief while Anthony Varvaro tossed two scoreless frames.

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May 27, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Owens, others struggle on mound


5/27 Cup of Coffee: It was a night to forget for starting pitchers at all four levels playing on Thursday for Red Sox affiliates. Henry Owens (pictured), Ty Buttrey, Dedgar Jimenez and Marc Brakeman were all pulled from their respective starts in under five innings of work. Rafael Davers of Salem and Ryan Court of Portland provided the few offensive highlights of the day.

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Henry Owens struggled with consistency again, continuing his recent trend of good start/bad start. Owens threw 90 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings of work, walking five and surrendering five earned runs on six hits, including a two-run home run. Pawtucket pitchers allowed 15 hits overall. Rusney Castillo and Ryan LaMarre provided five of the Red Sox seven hits - including a solo home run each - out of the top two spots in the lineup. Castillo went 2 for 5 with two runs scored while LaMarre finished 3 for 4 with a run scored. It was Castillo's fifth home run of the season and LaMarre's third. Sam Travis went 0 for 4.

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May 26, 2016 at 1:09 PM

Cup of Coffee: Espinoza dominates in mid-week matinee


5/26 Cup of Coffee: All four affiliates had pitchers turn in quality starts on Wednesday. Greenville phenom Anderson Espinoza (pictured) highlighted the bunch, combining with a pair of relievers on a two-hit shutout. Equally impressive was Justin Haley, who matched Lucas Giolito (WAS) pitch-for-pitch before Portland fell in a walk-off.

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Roenis Elias turned in his second straight outstanding start, holding Lehigh Valley to a run on two hits in 7 1/3 innings. The lefty struck out eight, giving him 21 in 15 innings over his last two outings. Kyle Martin allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings to close out the win. Sam Travis slammed a three-run third-inning home run, providing the big blow for the offense. Bryce Brentz added a pair of doubles, and Chirs Marrero also had a two-bagger as part of his 1-for-3 night.

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May 25, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Rodriguez fires seven strong innings in rehab start


5/25 Cup of Coffee: It was an encouraging night on the farm as Eduardo Rodriguez (pictured, right) returned from a setback in his rehab with an outstanding outing to lead the PawSox. Portland and Salem also got good starting pitching and excellent bullpen work in victories. It was a tough night on the mound for Greenville as the Drive fell in a slugfest.

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All eyes at McCoy Stadium were on rehabbing left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. After having his initial rehab assignment cut short a week ago due to knee soreness, the 23-year-old returned featuring a new, simplified delivery from the wind-up. After four outings with middling results in his last stint, Rodriguez was stellar on Tuesday, allowing a run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk, and the only blemish was a fifth-inning solo home run.

Despite his dominance, Rodriguez was actually in line to take the loss, as he left the game with the PawSox trailing, 1-0. Chris Marrero stepped up once again, slamming a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put the PawSox on top. The home run was Marrero's ninth, tying him for the International League lead. 

Anthony Varvaro got credit for the win, allowing one hit while striking out two in a scoreless eighth inning. The save went to Pat Light, who also gave up one hit in a scoreless frame. He struck out and walked one apiece.
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May 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Raudes strikes out eight over six scoreless frames


5/24 Cup of Coffee: All three affiliates suffered tough losses on Monday night, with their bullpens letting them down late in the game. Roniel Raudes (pictured) was nearly unhittable for Greenville, striking out eight without walking a batter over six innings. Sean Coyle launched his third home run of the season, while Andrew Benintendi and Josh Ockimey each had rough nights at the plate. 

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Portland's rested bullpen could not maintain a late lead, as the Sea Dogs fell in their first game since Friday. Aaron Wilkerson battled through five innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out two. He threw 92 pitches, and his scoreless streak ended at 21 innings. Williams Jerez allowed one run in his two innings of relief, and with Portland up one in the eighth, Luis Ysla gave up two runs on two walks and two hits as he picked up his second loss.
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May 23, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Weekly Notes: Rodriguez to start tomorrow for Pawtucket


Here are this week's minor league notes:
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ball shines again for Salem


5/23 Cup of Coffee: Portland was rained out for a second consecutive night, but Salem and Greenville picked up impressive wins behind a few late-inning rallies. Trey Ball and William Cuevas turned in great outings and the offense for Greenville was solid up and down the lineup.

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The PawSox dropped a tough one despite a very solid start from William Cuevas. He went the first six innings and allowed just one run on four hits to lower his ERA to 3.09. He walked two and struck out four. Noe Ramirez was very good out of the bullpen, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Kyle Martin took the loss, as he struggled in the ninth and allowed a walk-off single.

The offense was quiet on Sunday. Sam Travis doubled in Ryan LaMarre in the third for the only run of the day for Pawtucket. Bryce Brentz went 2 for 4 and Sandy Leon reached twice with a walk and a single.
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May 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The Write-Up: Eduardo Rodriguez


SoxProspects Assistant Director of Scouting Chaz Fiorino recently took in Eduardo Rodriguez's start in Pawtucket. This is his report from the field.

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Eduardo Rodriguez made his fourth rehab start with Pawtucket as he continues recovering from a right knee injury suffered during spring training. As we now know, Rodriguez was recalled from his rehab without being activated days later, as he continues to suffer from soreness in that knee. That he was still not fully healthy was apparent in the outing, as described below, and is evidence that the Red Sox did the right thing by shutting him down in the short term.

Rodriguez’s final line was 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He threw 100 pitches, 71 of them strikes. He pitched with a free and easy delivery and was able to consistently pound the strike zone with a four-pitch mix, throwing first-pitch strikes to 20 of 25 batters. However, his velocity and pure stuff were still a step back from where he was at his peak last year.

The fastball mostly sat 91-92 mph and topped out at 94 once. The decline in velocity had me thinking—as we now know, correctly—that he was still cautious of his right landing leg, and as a result not generating as much power from his legs in his delivery. Overall, the fastball lacked movement and the usual life on the pitch he has had in the past when sitting in the 94-95 mph range.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Kemp homers twice, Light hits 101


5/22 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates split four games, but the bats were roaring across multiple levels. Pawtucket racked up 14 hits in a 7-3 win while Greenville hit a pair of home runs each game of its doubleheader, including a two-homer game for Trent Kemp (pictured) in a 7-0 win in game two. Salem is the exception to the offensive fireworks, mounting little at the plate in a 6-0 loss.   
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Every member of the Pawtucket lineup contributed hits to the squad’s 14-hit, seven-run offensive outburst. The PawSox scored in the first and fourth innings but did not take the lead for good until their three-run sixth inning. A two-run double off the bat of Sam Travis broke a 3-3 tie and proved to be the decisive blow. Sandy Leon drove in a run with a sac fly and Chris Marrero contributed an RBI as the PawSox piled on late. Chris Marrero finished the night 3 for 4 with a walk, and Travis and Chris Dominguez each turned in 2-for-5 performances — though both also committed errors in the field.
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May 21, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Moore comes through in the clutch for Salem


5/21 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket and Salem made late comebacks Friday, but while the Salem Sox rallied for a victory, the PawSox comeback was erased in a walk-off loss. Ben Moore (pictured) was the hero for Salem, and Chris Marrero and Chris Dominguez homered for Pawtucket. Portland’s offensive woes continued in an 8-0 blowout. 

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Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 6, Pawtucket Red Sox 5
The PawSox rallied with three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to tie the game, but the Bisons answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off win. Pawtucket jumped to an early lead on a Chris Marrero home run in the top of the first. Henry Owens gave his team five innings of one-run ball, but his command troubles continued with five walks. Buffalo scored four in the sixth off Roman Mendez to take a big lead before the late PawSox rally. Down to their last out in the ninth, Pawtucket closed the gap with a long home run off the bat of Chris Dominguez.
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May 20, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Cup of Coffee: Moncada wins it in extras


5/20 Cup of Coffee: While the major league club enjoyed a night off, three affiliates were in action, but were only able to win one game between them. The PawSox dropped a close game to the Buffalo Bisons while the Drive were shut out against Lexington. Salem collected the lone win on the night thanks to a Yoan Moncada sacrifice fly in the tenth.

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After jumping out to a four-run lead in the top of the first, the PawSox were unable to hold on for the win. Allen Craig did most of the damage in that first inning, launching a three-run home run with two outs in the inning. Bryce Brentz drove in the other first-inning run with a single as part of a 1-for-4 performance. Craig, Mike Miller, and Chris Dominguez each collected two hits and Dominguez added an RBI as well.
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May 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Elias's career night powers Pawtucket


5/19 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox rose past the Tides on the back of a an outstanding pitching performance, Portland and Greenville had tough nights, and Salem dropped both ends of a tightly contested doubleheader. 
Roenis Elias (pictured) picked up his first victory as a member of the Red Sox organization. He tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out a career-high 13 without a walk. Elias's 13 strikeouts is the most for a PawSox hurler since Jin Ho Cho struck out 15 in 1999. Anthony Vavaro picked up his first save, hurling 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out three.

With the game scoreless in the second, a Chris Marrero solo home run and a Deven Marrero RBI single gave the PawSox a 2-0 lead. Leading, 2-1, in the seventh, Pawtucket padded its lead as Bryce Brentz came home on a throwing error. Brentz and Chris Marrero led the PawSox with two hits apiece. 

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May 18, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Benintendi drives in two to boost Couch, Sea Dogs


5/18 Cup of Coffee: While it was a tough night for the major league club, Tuesday was a successful night on the farm, with all three teams in action coming away victorious. Andrew Benintendi delivered the tying and go-ahead runs with his first two Double-A hits in a Portland win. Pawtucket walked off in the 14th, while a trio of hurlers led Greenville. 

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It took a marathon effort for the PawSox to come away with the win. After Norfolk took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th, the PawSox evened the score with a wild rally in the bottom of the frame. Justin Maxwell delivered a one-out double, sending Jantzen Witte to third and putting the winning run in scoring position. Allen Craig followed with a grounder to first, with the Tides retiring Witte at the plate. Down to their final out, a wild pitch scored Maxwell to even the score. The game remained tied for four more innings, until Rusney Castillo delivered an RBI base hit, scoring Deven Marrero with one out in the bottom of the 14th.

The hit capped a strong game for Castillo, who went 3 for 7 with a run scored and an RBI. Ryan LaMarre had three hits of his own, including a two-run fifth-inning homer off old friend Joe Gunkel (BAL). 

William Cuevas got the start, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings. He walked two, struck out two, and surrendered two home runs. Kyle Martin was outstanding in relief, striking out six against only one walk and two hits in three innings. Pat Light followed, giving up a run on one hit in two innings. Three scoreless innings with three strikeouts gave Robby Scott the win and lowered his ERA to 2.08.
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May 17, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Kelly eyes return to Boston with 10 strikeouts


5/17 Cup of Coffee: On a night when Andrew Benintendi's Double-A debut was supposed to be the biggest story, Joe Kelly, Aaron Wilkerson (pictured), and Trey Ball combined to throw 20 2/3 innings without allowing a run while notching 24 strikeouts. 

Jose Almonte made his full season debut in Greenville, while Jordan Procyshen returned from the disabled list in Salem. Procyshen provided some offense on a night where the affiliates struggled to get on base. 

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Joe Kelly looks ready to join the big league rotation, as he struck out 10 and walked only one over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. After striking out only six batters over the first eight innings of his rehab assignment, Kelly was dialed in yesterday, getting 11 swing-and-misses on 92 pitches en route to his 10 strikeouts. The bullpen could not hold the lead however, as Anthony Varvaro gave up three runs in the eighth that proved to be the difference. 
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May 16, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Benintendi promoted and Red Sox under investigation


Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • The biggest news of the week came at the very end of it with the Salem Red Sox announcing that outfielder Andrew Benintendi (pictured, right) has been promoted to Portland after hitting .341/.413/.563 over the first 34 games of the season.
  • Reports surfaced this week that the Red Sox were being investigated by Major League Baseball for their 2015 international signings from Venezuela. MLB is looking into whether the Red Sox violated the international bonus pools and associated rules by signing players to "package deals."
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America was the first to break the news of the investigation, and he has more details including sources telling him that the interview process was concerning, with the players not having proper representation, told to hand over bank account information, and threatened with suspension.
  • MLB generally does not punish players for their involvement in a rules violation like the one the Red Sox are accused of, ESPN's Keith Law writes.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Travis homers twice in day of slugfests


5/16 Cup of Coffee: Just like the big league club, three of four Red Sox affiliates scored in double figures to earn a win Sunday. Sam Travis (pictured) stayed hot by homering twice in Pawtucket's victory, and Danny Mars and Mitchell Gunsolus had huge days for Salem and Greenville, respectively. It was still a great day for Andrew Benintendi despite going 0 for 4, as he found out that he was promoted to Double-A Portland after the game.

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The PawSox slugged their way past the Braves behind first baseman Sam Travis, who belted a pair of home runs and knocked in five. His first long ball was a three-run shot that came in the first inning and gave Pawtucket an early 3-0 cushion, while his second, a two-run blast, extended the lead to five in the fifth. He also walked twice and has now homered three times in two days after not homering since April 14. Marco Hernandez, who is a popular candidate to be called up to Boston after the Red Sox sent Sean O'Sullivan back down, set the table for Travis all day by going 3 for 4 and scoring three times. Justin Maxwell went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and three runs driven in. Bryce Brentz added a two-run single in the fourth as well.
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May 15, 2016 at 8:12 PM

Red Sox promote Andrew Benintendi to Portland


After dominating the Carolina League for a month and a half to begin 2016, the Red Sox have promoted outfielder Andrew Benintendi to Double-A Portland, as announced by the Salem Red Sox. Benintendi, who is currently ranked as the number two prospect in the system by  SoxProspects.com, has excelled during his brief stay in Salem, slashing .341/.413/.563 with 13 doubles, seven triples, and a home run through 34 games, including setting a Salem Red Sox record with a 23-game hitting streak from April 11 through May 6.

The Red Sox made Benintendi the seventh-overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft and he has done nothing but impress since joining the organization. He hit a combined .313/.416/.556 with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 54 games between Lowell and Greenville last season. At every stop in Benintendi’s professional career he has walked more often than he has struck out.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Rodriguez and Johnson tackle Pawtucket twin bill


Cup of Coffee 5/15: The affiliates earned an even split on Saturday, coming away with three wins and three losses. The PawSox and Sea Dogs each played and split doubleheaders, with Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson both turning in mixed-bag outings for Pawtucket. Sam Travis homered on a night where Andrew Benintendi, Nick Longhi, and Yoan Moncada reached base four times for Salem. Henry Ramos (pictured) and Ali Solis were offensive standouts for Portland.

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Eduardo Rodriguez made the fourth start of his rehab assignment in the first game of Pawtucket's doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The southpaw lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out three. With SoxProspects.com director of scouting Ian Cundall sitting in on the game, Rodriguez again struggled with velocity, sitting in the low 90's, but exhibited better control as he walked none and threw 71 strikes in 100 pitches. Noe Ramirez pitched in relief, tossing 1 1/3 shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk.
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May 14, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Haley throws shutout in Portland walk-off win


5/14 Cup of Coffee: The arms and bats were on display in a couple of impressive wins for the affiliates Friday. Justin Haley (pictured) tossed a shutout in a walk-off win for Portland, while Josh Ockimey once again powered Greenville to victory. Travis Lakins struggled in a blowout loss for Salem. 

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Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Gwinnet Braves (ATL)
Pawtucket’s game against Gwinnet was rained out, so the pair will play a doubleheader Saturday. Game one will start at 4:35 pm and feature Eduardo Rodriguez in his fourth rehab start.

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May 13, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ockimey homers, Moncada bounces back


5/13 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem both took home wins thanks  to a pair of solid pitching performances from Keith Couch and Matt Kent. The Drive brought their bats on Thursday, pounding out nine runs on 14 hits on a big night for Josh Ockimey.

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In a bit of a flip-flop in the rotation, Roenis Elias got the start on Thursday for the PawSox instead of William Cuevas, who was bumped back a day. Elias' night began inauspiciously, giving up a leadoff home run. He was roughed up over four innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits while walking two and striking out two. The PawSox briefly took a 3-1 lead in the second inning when Chris Marrero and Blake Swihart scored on a ground out and an error on the same play and Sandy Leon drove in a run. That was about all the bats could muster, however, as the PawSox ran themselves out of a rally in the fifth and grounded into a double play in the seventh. Sam Travis and Rusney Castillo each went 1 for 4.
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May 12, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Kelly continues rehab, Salem stays hot


5/12 Cup of Coffee: Strong pitching was a common theme across all of the affiliates on Wednesday. Pawtucket squeezed out a win while Portland wasted a stellar start from Aaron Wilkerson (pictured). Also, Salem stayed hot with a come-from-behind victory over Lynchburg. 
In his second rehab appearance, Joe Kelly went five innings and threw 77 pitches (48 strikes). He picked up the win, allowing just one run on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Anthony Varvaro and Pat Light each added two scoreless innings of relief, with Light picking up his first save of 2016.

The PawSox got all their offense in the fourth on a two-run home run by Blake Swihart. Sam Travis and Chris Marrero each had two hits in the victory. 

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May 11, 2016 at 6:02 PM

Report: MLB investigating Red Sox for 2015 international signings


Major League Baseball has opened an investigation into the Red Sox international signings from Venezuela in 2015, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler. The focus of the investigation involves whether the Red Sox signed multiple players from the same trainer in "package deals" and whether such signings would have violated the international bonus pools that were implemented in 2012.

The Red Sox went over their allotted international bonus pool in 2014, signing a bumper crop of international amateurs that included Cuban second baseman Yoan Moncada, Venezuelan right-hander Anderson Espinoza, and Dominican left-hander Christopher Acosta. As a result, the organization was not allowed to sign any international amateur for a bonus of greater than $300,000 over the next two signing periods. Operating under this restriction, 24 of the club's 33 reported international signings in the 2015 period were from Venezuela, with at least seven of them signing for the maximum of $300,000. As Badler points out, this included two players from Baseball America's top 30 international prospects--outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti, who ranked 15th and 24th, respectively.

Badler reports that MLB officials, including MLB Manager of Investigations Nelson Tejada, went to the Red Sox Dominican Academy last week and questioned a number of Venezuelan players. The questions were geared toward finding out whether the players signed as part of package deals, whether bonuses given to one player were then given to other players, and why players agreed to sign for more or less than would have been anticipated. Players were also asked for their bank information.

According to Badler, package deals are not explicitly against MLB rules and their use pre-dates the current bonus cap system. The commissioner's office told Badler that no team has ever been punished for signing players to package deals. Based on the questions reportedly being asked, the investigation is presumably instead focused on whether package deals were used to pay bonuses larger than $300,000 to individual players in circumvention of the rules.

The Red Sox have a strong track record of signing players out of Venezuela, particularly in recent years. In addition to Espinoza, other highly regarded prospects the Red Sox have recently signed out of Venezuela include twin brothers Luis Alexander and Luis Alejandro Basabe, who are teammates with Espinoza on the Low A Greenville Drive. To be clear, the investigation only covers the 2015 July 2 signing class.

At this time, the Red Sox are the only team known to be under investigation for signing players to package deals.

SoxProspects.com Executive Editor Chris Hatfield also contributed to this story.

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at 11:20 AM

Reports: Agreement in place for sale of Lowell Spinners


According to reports, Lowell Spinners owner Drew Weber has reached an agreement to sell the team to Dave Heller. Heller is President and co-owner of Main Street Baseball, LLC, a group that owns four other minor league baseball teams, including the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks, a former Red Sox affiliate. The news was first reported by Robert Mills of the Lowell Sun, and was confirmed by Baseball America.

Along with Main Street Baseball, Heller is the President of the political consulting firm Main Street Communications, out of Washington, D.C. 
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Owens returns to PawSox with seven shutout innings


5/11 Cup of Coffee: It was a split result on Tuesday down on the farm. Henry Owens (pictured, right) and Noe Ramirez combined on a shutout for the PawSox, while a trio of relievers dominated in Salem's comeback win. A Greenville rally fell just short after Anderson Espinoza was knocked out early, and Portland dropped its second straight contest in Manchester, N.H.

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Back with the PawSox after a three-start cameo in the big leagues, Henry Owens showed both the unhittable stuff that got him to the majors and the control issues that landed him back in Triple-A. The 6-foot-7 lefty fired seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.72 in his four PawSox starts. However, he issued another five walks, giving him 28 in 37 1/3 innings between the two levels. Noe Ramirez picked up the save, tossing two scoreless innings. Ramirez surrendered three hits and struck out three without walking a batter.

Rusney Castillo led the way at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Jantzen Witte and Marco Hernandez added two hits apiece. Perhaps the most surprising moment of the day was the ninth-inning triple off the bat of Sandy Leon. It was Leon's first triple since March 28, 2013, when he was a member of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
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May 10, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ockimey reaches base five times in Greenville's loss


5/10 Cup of Coffee: After they both struggled mightily in their last starts, Brian Johnson and Teddy Stankiewicz each had better performances yesterday, though Johnson still was not sharp. 

Josh Ockimey (pictured) stole the show in Greenville, but it was not enough to push the Drive past the Fireflies. Both Pawtucket and Portland struggled on offense, as the two teams combined to score one run on only 10 hits.

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After only making it through one inning in his last start, Brian Johnson tossed seven innings yesterday, but he still struggled as he dropped his third decision of the season. Johnson's control was better than it has been in some of his recent starts, but it was still not back to where it has been in the past. He walked three and struck out four while allowing five runs on nine hits. He has an ERA of 4.34 over his last 18 2/3 innings, but that does not tell the full story, as he has walked 14 while allowing 18 hits. 

Chris Marrero led the way offensively, going 2 for 4 with a double while Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, and Sam Travis each added singles. 

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Teddy Stankiewicz bounced back in a big way, but it was not enough to propel Portland to a victory. After allowing eight runs over 3 2/3 innings in his last start, Stankiewicz allowed two runs on five hits over six innings last night, walking one and striking out four. Nik Turley finished off the game with two scoreless innings. Stankiewicz has tossed quality starts in five of his first six appearances with the Sea Dogs, and aside from last week's hiccup, he has allowed two runs or fewer in each start. 

There was not much to note offensively for Portland, as the team could only muster up five hits. Jake Romanski went 2 for 4 with a double, and Aneury Tavarez drove in the lone run with a double. Romanski and Tavarez continue to produce on a Portland team that is currently scoring under three runs per game. 

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The Drive failed to execute with runners in scoring position, as they dropped a tough one to the Fireflies. Marc Brakeman got the start, allowing five runs on seven hits over five innings. He walked three, struck out five, and was helped out by two outfield assists. Jeffry Fernandez tossed the final four innings, limiting Columbia to one run as his ERA rose to 1.69. 

The Drive went 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position, as they wasted a tremendous effort from Josh Ockimey. Ockimey went 2 for 2 with a double and three walks, but only scored one run. Mitchell Gunsolus had the only other extra-base hit for the Drive, as he doubled and later stole home as part of a double-steal with Tate Matheny

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Player of the Night: It has been a tremendous start to the season for Josh Ockimey, and he tied a season-high by reaching base five times last night. A fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, the 20-year-old has excelled in his first full season, putting up similar offensive statistics to both Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada. Ockimey's power has really stood out, as he has slugged 14 extra-base hits, including six home runs, which is tied for the most in Boston's farm system. 

Photo Credit: Josh Ockimey by Kelly O'Connor

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May 9, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Kelly, Rodriguez rehab and Salem prospects collect recognition


Here are this week’s minor league notes:

  • Red Sox pitchers Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez made starts for Triple-A Pawtucket as they both rehabbed from injuries. Kelly, who has been out with a right shoulder injury since April 19, made his first rehab appearance last Friday. He allowed one run, a homer by Minnesota prospect Byron Buxton, and threw 52 pitches in three innings. Rodriguez, who is working his way back from a knee injury suffered in Spring Training, made his third rehab start on on Sunday, allowing six hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings. Rodriguez said afterward he felt 100 percent, but it has not been decided whether he will make another rehab start before returning to Boston.
  • Boston and Pawtucket made a couple of swaps as well this week. Relief pitcher Carson Smith was activated from the 15-day disabled list on May 3 after a rehab stint with Portland. Smith threw a perfect inning against the White Sox on the day he was activated but has not pitched since. Manager John Farrell has said that he wants to limit Smith's use to ease him back from the injury. Marco Hernandez was optioned to the PawSox to make room for Smith. PawSox starter Sean O’Sullivan (pictured) received a call-up on May 6. O’Sullivan pitched an inning out of the bullpen against the Yankees and allowed two hits and run. Farrell identified him as Boston's likely Tuesday starter against the Athletics. Henry Owens was sent back to Triple-A after a rocky start against the White Sox in which he lasted just three innings and walked six batters.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Haley, Meyers with big nights for Portland, Salem


5/9 Cup of Coffee: A day after a bunch of doubleheaders, the Greenville Drive picked up their game from Saturday that was suspended in the fifth inning, before also playing their regularly scheduled game. Justin Haley (pictured) dominated in his outing for Portland, and Jalen Beeks pitched well for Salem. Rafael Devers and Josh Ockimey drilled home runs, while Mike Meyers had a huge day at the plate for Salem.

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Eduardo Rodriguez took the loss while making his third rehab start. He lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed six hits and three runs, including two home runs. He walked one and struck out just two. His next start could come for Boston. Kyle Martin provided 3 1/3 perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts.

The PawSox offense didn't do much, recording just two hits. Justin Maxwell tied the game in the fourth inning with a two-run homer, but that was it for the offense. Chris Marrero had the other hit, and Sandy Leon drew two walks.
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May 8, 2016 at 9:26 PM

Podcast Ep. 96: Catching up on catching up


In the unofficial second part of the crew's roundup of the first month-plus of the season, the guys looked at the goings-on in Portland and Greenville. The Sea Dogs are struggling in the standings, but noteworthy mound performances by Aaron Wilkerson and Chandler Shepherd merit discussion and further looks at Williams Jerez, Luis Ysla, Henry Ramos, and Jake Romanski were undertaken. Greenville has been home to many of the season's early pleasant surprises. Among the members of the Drive discussed are Michael Chavis, Josh Ockimey, Roniel Raudes, the Basabe twins, Kyri Washington, Tate Matheny, Austin Glorius, Jake Cosart, and Bobby Poyner. And in the Big 4 Update, the topics included which days - precisely - we might see an Andrew Benintendi promotion (could it be this week?), how much longer Yoan Moncada might spend in Salem (longer than Benintendi, at least), and Anderson Espinoza's record-tying start for the Drive (he gooooood).

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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Cuevas dominates on day of doubleheaders



5/8 Cup of Coffee: Three Red Sox affiliates played doubleheaders on Saturday, making up for lost time in a rainy week on the east coast while Low-A Greenville's game only lasted five innings due to technical issues with the left field lights. William Cuevas (pictured) spun a gem on the mound for Pawtucket, while Keith Couch and Travis Lakins turned in solid performances. Outfielder Aneury Tavarez was the standout hitter on a night where Yoan Moncada homered and Andrew Benintendi ripped an RBI double. 

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The PawSox dominated in the first game of their twin bill against the Red Wings on Saturday. William Cuevas started for Pawtucket and, though he struggled with his control, was nearly unhittable. He tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and five walks while punching out seven. Anthony Varvaro pitched in relief and struck out a pair in 1 2/3 perfect innings.
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May 7, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Salem wins 8th straight behind Ball


5/7 Cup of Coffee: Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada backed a masterful start by Trey Ball (pictured) to extend Salem’s win streak to eight games. Joe Kelly was solid in a rehab start for Pawtucket but a ninth-inning meltdown led to a 7-5 loss in extras. Greenville banged out 10 hits and held on for a 4-3 victory.

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Joe Kelly surrendered a home run to leadoff hitter Byron Buxton to open his first rehab outing but rebounded to throw three clean innings. He allowed another hit and a walk on 52 pitches and will have at least one more rehab start. Roenis Elias piggy-backed Kelly, throwing the next five innings. Elias played with fire all night — allowing six hits and walking seven — but did not get burned until the ninth inning. With the PawSox ahead 4-1, Elias allowed three singles and a walk to open the frame. Pat Light came in to stop the bleeding but not without Rochester taking a 5-4 lead. Pawtucket pushed across a run in the bottom of the inning to send it to extras, but Light imploded in his second inning of work, allowing a single and three consecutive walks to give Rochester the decisive run.
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May 6, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Espinoza ties Drive K record in dominant outing


5/6 Cup of Coffee: On a light night due to rain, two Red Sox affiliates got a pair of excellent outings from their starting pitchers. After getting roughed up for six runs in his previous start, Anderson Espinoza (pictured) came back with a vengeance in a record-setting performance for the Drive. The Sea Dogs came out on the winning end of a pitchers' duel thanks to an excellent start from Aaron Wilkerson.

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Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Rochester Red Wings (MIN) - PPD.
The PawSox were rained out against Rochester on Thursday. They will make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, according to a team release. Joe Kelly is scheduled to make a rehab start for Pawtucket on Friday.

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May 5, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Chris Marrero powers PawSox past IronPigs


5/5 Cup of Coffee: Three of the four affiliates reached the winner's circle Wednesday, as Pawtucket, Salem, and Greenville all had strong nights at the plate. In Salem, Andrew Benintendi extended his hitting streak to 22 games and Yoan Moncada ignited the offense from the top of the order. 
A late rally propelled the PawSox past Lehigh Valley. Brian Johnson received the start, but tossed just one inning, allowing two runs and three walks. Jorge Marban followed with four scoreless innings, and Roman Mendez picked up the victory with three scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Down, 2-0, in the eighth, Pawtucket tied the game when Lehigh Valley committed a two-run error on a Chris Marrero (pictured, above) single. In the ninth, a Blake Swihart sacrifice fly gave the PawSox a 3-2 advantage. However. the big blow came when Marrero cracked a grand slam to clinch the win. Marrero was the star, going 3 for 5 with the grand slam and four RBI. 
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May 4, 2016 at 4:00 PM

April Players of the Month: Andrew Benintendi and Teddy Stankiewicz


Outfielder Andrew Benintendi and right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz (pictured) are the Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, as voted on by the SoxProspects.com community.

After taking home SoxProspects.com Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2015, Benintendi has improved in his first full season as a pro. He is the logical choice for Player of the Month after an April in which he hit .360/.426/.640 with 22 RBI in 22 games for High-A Salem. The second-ranked prospect led the Carolina League with 17 extra-base hits, and his six triples were tied for tops in the minors. He closed the month in style, belting two game-winning hits and driving in 11 runs during a three-game stretch from April 27-29. Perhaps the most impressive stat is how infrequently Benintendi swung and missed. Salem broadcaster Kevin Burke noted that from April 16-27, Benintendi went 10 games and 48 swings without a swing-and-miss. That efficiency helped him strike out a Carolina League-low six times.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Moncada hits grand slam to lead Salem sweep


5/4 Cup of Coffee: Yoan Moncada (pictured) and Andrew Benintendi continue to lay waste to the helpless hurlers of the Carolina League. Tuesday was business as usual; the top two players in the system combined to go 7 for 14 with three walks, six RBI, and an absurd ten runs scored in leading Salem to the sweep of its doubleheader. Elsewhere, Eduardo Rodriguez overcame a shaky first inning in his second rehab start, but the PawSox fell in extra innings. Teddy Stankiewicz saw his run of strong starts to begin the season snapped in Portland's loss.

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All eyes were on Eduardo Rodriguez as the left-hander made his second rehab start. He had a difficult first inning, surrendering three runs (including a solo homer.) He quickly rebounded, however, allowing only two more base runners and retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. Most importantly, Rodriguez was efficient, needing only 84 pitches to get through six innings. He struck out three, induced 10 ground outs, and did not walk a batter.
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May 3, 2016 at 10:30 AM

SoxProspects Featured Video: Nick Longhi


On occasion, we will be featuring videos here from the SoxProspects YouTube page. Today's video is of Salem first baseman Nick Longhi. Watch the 20-year-old get several at-bats in spring training games. Longhi has held his own in his first taste of High-A ball this season, posting an April batting line of .292/.354/.371. We plan to incorporate more video this year to supplement our regular scouting material, so check back here and on the YouTube page frequently.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Cuevas and Maxwell lead the PawSox


5/3 Cup of Coffee: Mother Nature continues to spoil the party, as both Portland and Salem were rained out yesterday. William Cuevas and Justin Maxwell (pictured) led the PawSox to an easy victory over the IronPigs, while the Drive split a doubleheader with Lakewood. 

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William Cuevas had a third consecutive quality start to lead the PawSox past the IronPigs. Cuevas pitched into the eighth, going the first 7 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out five, as he improved his record to 3-1. In his last three starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA over 21 1/3 innings. Pat Light closed the game out with two strikeouts in the ninth. 
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May 2, 2016 at 10:56 PM

Podcast Ep. 95: One month in, start it up again


It's been a month, but Chris came back from being a big shot and got back on the horn with Matt and Ian to discuss the season's first month. Things kick off with the first edition of the Big 4 Update, looking at whether Yoan Moncada's strikeouts are a concern and why Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers flipped in the site rankings update on May 1. Then the guys gave us their notes from the field from the first month. Chris had the latest from Salem, with reports on Moncada, Benintendi, Devers, Trey Ball, and others. Then Ian and Matt responded with the word from Pawtucket on Sam Travis and Deven Marrero. Finally, the guys aired it out on whether it is a good idea for Blake Swihart to start getting reps in left field, and what's gotten into the big riser in the May 1 rankings, Teddy Stankiewicz.

Click through for the in-site player and the download and streaming links!

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at 1:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Rodriguez, Smith begin rehab assignments


Here are this week's minor league notes:
  • A couple of key Red Sox pitchers began rehab assignments in the minor leagues this week. Carson Smith, who suffered a strained flexor tendon during spring training, threw scoreless innings with Portland on Friday and Saturday. The Red Sox appear likely to activate Smith for Tuesday's series opener against the Chicago White Sox, raising the question of who the Red Sox option to make room for Smith. Eduardo Rodriguez (pictured), who had a patellar subluxation in his right knee during spring training, made his first rehab appearance with the PawSox and struggled, allowing three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Rodriguez will have at least one more rehab start before the Red Sox consider activating him.
  • The Red Sox continued to shuffle their active roster this week. Pat Light made his major league debut on Tuesday, giving up a couple of runs in an inning. The Red Sox then optioned Light to Pawtucket and recalled infielder Marco Hernandez from Pawtucket. 
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Rijo breaks out, rain washes Salem and Greenville


5/2 Cup of Coffee: On a rainy Sunday, just two of four scheduled games for Red Sox affiliates were played. Sean O'Sullivan pitched well for Pawtucket in a loss, and the Sea Dogs bullpen, along with Wendell Rijo's clutch hit, helped Portland secure a big extra-innings win.

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The PawSox bullpen was unable to hold a lead after the offense scored early, while Sean O'Sullivan delivered a nice outing. Blake Swihart got the scoring going with an RBI double in the first inning and later scored when Rusney Castillo reached on an error. Castillo would finish 2 for 5 with a double. Ryan LaMarre also had a nice day at the plate by going 2 for 5 with an RBI double.

O'Sullivan lasted seven innings and left the game with a 4-2 lead. He struck out five and walked just one while allowing five hits. His ERA was lowered to 3.00 on the year. Wesley Wright gave up single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to send the game into extra innings. Kyle Martin took the loss by surrendering a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
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May 1, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Haley, Lakins continue strong starts



Cup of Coffee 5/1: It was a night of notable pitching in the Red Sox system as a pair of top ten prospects started on the mound in Greenville's Anderson Espinoza and Salem's Travis Lakins. Roenis Elias started for Pawtucket while Justin Haley turned in the most dominant performance of the day for Portland. Many of the big bats in the organization struggled on Saturday night but Sam Travis had a good game for the PawSox while Kyri Washington and Chad De La Guerra swung the bat well for Greenville.

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The PawSox were simply unable to string enough hits together in a shutout loss to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. Roenis Elias started on the mound for Pawtucket, lasting 6 2/3 innings but receiving the loss after allowing four runs on five hits and three walks.  Elias was followed by Roman Mendez, who allowed a run in 1/3 of an inning, and Jorge Marban, who allowed three baserunners but no runs in an inning of work.

The PawSox bats were able to reach base eleven times via seven hits and four walks but they just couldn't push any runs across the plate. First baseman Sam Travis was the offensive standout for Pawtucket as he went 2 for 4 with a double, pushing his line to .289/.326/.434 on the young season. Blake Swihart, who made his second start in left field, went 1 for 4.

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