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Sox Name Sawdaye New Head of Amateur Scouting

01.06.10 at 6:24 pm ET
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The Red Sox named Amiel Sawdaye the new director of amateur scouting, promoting him from the position of assistant director of amateur scouting, a capacity in which he served next to former director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod for the past five seasons. Sawdaye was originally hired by the Sox in June 2002, just before that draft.

When McLeod left Boston to become Assistant GM of the Padres last month, the Sox made clear that they wanted to find an internal replacement. Sawdaye, who helped McLeod to administer the draft during a period of tremendous success, was a natural candidate. Sawdaye suggests that his goal for the amateur scouting department is to continue to follow the formula that has proved tremendously successful under McLeod.

“We’€™re not changing much. We’€™re not reinventing the wheel,” Sawdaye said. “We have a really good system. We have really good processes in place. That’€™s why we’€™ve been successful, because of the processes and scouts we have out in the field. … It’€™s actually been a pretty seamless transition because of my relationship with all the scouts. Their understanding of what we do hasn’€™t changed.”

McLeod similarly suggested that Sawdaye understands the finer details of how the Sox approach to the draft, which is part of the reason why he will be able to continue what the department does.

“He was my assistant there for the last five years, so he has a very good understanding of the system that was put in place because he helped implement it. He knows all the processes. He has relationships with all the scouts,” said McLeod. “As far as the running of the department, I think it will be a pretty seamless transition with him stepping into the role.”

Sawdaye has already left a mark on one of the key changes in the Sox’ process of signing draftees, as it was his idea to create a Fenway invitational for the team’s draft picks, in which the Sox invite players whom they take in the draft to play against one another in Boston. In its two years, the invitational has been viewed by the organization as a significant success. It has given the Sox a chance to evaluate amateurs against comparable prospects (rather than against overmatched high-school opponents), and has also given the team a chance to meet draftees and their families.

“It’s been very successful, not only for the evaluative aspects of it. That first year we ran it in ’08, we didn’t get to see Pete Hissey or Derrik Gibson face much good pitching or much velocity. For us to see those kids, who we evaluated a lot, that was our chance to see them facing upper-80s and occasionally low-90s velocity. From an evaluative standpoint it helped,” said McLeod. “From a relationship-building standpoint and from an informative standpoint, to inform the families that this is what we’re about, this is what being a professional is about, those are hard to measure but they were truly helpful in the process of signing guys.”

Though he was hired initially as an administrator, Sawdaye has also been involved in evaluating several top draft picks in recent years. He was, first instance, involved in the evaluation of  2009 first-rounder Reymond Fuentes, helping to convince the organization that the outfielder could have more power potential than initially believed.

Sawdaye will have the opportunity to make his mark in his first draft. The free-agent departures of Billy Wagner and Jason Bay have left the Sox with the No. 20 overall pick (from the Braves for Wagner), the team’s highest since selecting David Murphy in the first-round in 2003, and with four high draft choices.

“There’s excitement not only in that, but for the fact that we’re going to get four picks in the top 60,” said Sawdaye. “We really have a chance to do some damage with that many picks so early.”

National cross-checker David Finley was also considered for the position, but he was instead promoted to the job of Special Assistant to GM Theo Epstein. Mike Rikard was promoted from East Coast cross-checker to National cross-checker. The Sox announced several baseball operations staff changes. Here is the complete release with details:

The Boston Red Sox today announced a series of personnel moves in the organization’€™s baseball operations department.

The announcements were made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Major League Medical Staff
Mike Reinold has been promoted to Head Athletic Trainer and Assistant Director, Medical Services under Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gill.  Reinold has served as the club’€™s Assistant Athletic Trainer for the past four seasons, adding the title of Rehab Coordinator prior to the 2008 campaign.  Before joining the Red Sox, he spent six years as the Director of Rehab and Clinical Education at the American Sports Medicine Institute run by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL.  Reinold earned a degree in physical therapy from Northeastern University and holds a doctorate in physical therapy from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.  He is a certified Athletic Trainer and certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Additional changes within the Major League medical department include the promotion of Greg Barajas to Assistant Athletic Trainer.  Barajas has spent the last five seasons as athletic trainer for Boston’€™s Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, earning International League Athletic Trainer of the Year honors in 2007.  He previously served as an athletic trainer in the Milwaukee Brewers organization from 1998-2004.  Barajas is a certified Athletic Trainer from the National Athletic Trainers Association and a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Mitsugi Ito joins the Red Sox as a team Massage Therapist.  He previously served as Assistant Massage Therapist for the Seibu Lions.

Amateur Scouting
Amiel Sawdaye has been promoted to Director, Amateur Scouting.  He served as Boston’€™s Assistant Director, Amateur Scouting for the last five years after being named to the post in December of 2004.  A 1999 graduate of the University of Maryland, Sawdaye joined the Red Sox organization in 2002 as an intern in the scouting department and spent 2004 as the club’s scouting assistant.

David Finley has been promoted to Special Assistant to the General Manager after spending the past five years as the Red Sox National Crosschecker.  Finley joined the Boston organization as the West Coast Crosschecker prior to the 2002 season.  He has previously worked for the Padres and Marlins.

Mark Wasinger has been promoted to Special Assignment Scout.  Wasinger was the club’€™s West Crosschecker in 2009 and has spent six years overall as a regional crosschecker and one year as a professional scout with Boston.  He came to the Red Sox in November of 2002 after seven years as an area scout with San Diego.  A former Major League infielder, he played parts of three seasons with the Padres (1986) and Giants (1987-88).

Mike Rikard has been promoted to National Crosschecker.  He has spent the past five years as a regional crosschecker with the Red Sox and previously was a scout in the Padres organization.

Dan Madsen has been promoted to West Coast Crosschecker.  The former minor league outfielder spent the previous seven years as an area scout for the Red Sox in the Southern California/San Diego area.

Tom Battista joins the organization as an Area Scout in Southern California after serving as an area scout and West Coast Crosschecker for the Atlanta Braves for seven years.

Pat Portugal has been hired as an Area Scout in the Northwest.  Prior to joining the Red Sox he spent five years as an area scout with the Giants and four years as an area scout with the Cubs.

Sam Ray has been named an Area Scout in the Ohio Valley after spending the previous two seasons as an intern in the baseball operations department.

Demond Smith has been hired as an Area Scout in Northern California.  Prior to joining the Red Sox, the former outfielder played 17 seasons of professional baseball from 1990-2008 and spent time in the Mets (1990-93), Angels (1994-95), Athletics (1995-97), White Sox (1998) and Braves (1999-2000) organizations.

Jared Banner has been named Assistant, Amateur Scouting.  Banner joined the Red Sox organization as an intern in baseball operations in 2007 and served as Assistant, Player Development in 2008-09.

Major League Personnel
Alex Ochoa has been named Special Assistant, Baseball Operations.  He served as a Staff Assistant under Terry Francona last year, his first season as a professional coach after an eight-year Major League career with the Mets (1995-97), Twins (1998), Brewers (1999, 2002), Reds (2000-01), Rockies (2001) and Angels (2002).

Mike Cather has been promoted to Major League Advance Scout after spending the last four seasons as a pitching coach in the Red Sox organization for Single-A Wilmington (2006) and Double-A Portland (2007-09).  Cather played professionally from 1993-99 and appeared in 75 games for the Braves from 1997-99.

Steve Langone has been hired as the Advance Scouting Coordinator after interning in baseball operations in 2009.  A pitcher for seven professional seasons in the Dodgers (2000-04), Red Sox (2005) and Phillies (2006) organizations, Langone advanced as high as Triple-A in 2003.  He graduated from Boston College in 2000 and was inducted into the school’€™s Hall of Fame in 2008.

Player Development
Ben Crockett has been promoted to Assistant Director, Player Development.  He joined the Red Sox organization as an intern in baseball operations in 2007 and served as Advance Scouting Coordinator from 2008-09.  Crockett was drafted by Colorado out of Harvard University in 2002 and is a veteran of five professional seasons (2002-06).

Ethan Faggett has been named Assistant Director, Florida Baseball Operations after working as the Assistant Director, Player Development since 2008.  Selected by Boston in the 33rd round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft, he played 11 seasons of professional baseball, including nine in the Red Sox (1992-98) and Padres (1998-2000) chains.

David Howard has been named Field Coordinator after working as Special Assistant to the General Manager since December of 2007.  He was a Major League scout in 2007, a professional scout from 2005-06 and a minor league coach in 2004, his first year in the Red Sox organization.  The former infielder played nine seasons in the Majors with the Royals (1991-97) and Cardinals (1998-99).

Gary DiSarcina has been promoted to Infield Coordinator.  He previously served as the manager for Short-Season A Lowell from 2007-09, leading the Spinners to a 125-99 (.558) record and Stedler Division Championships in each of the last two years.  The former shortstop played 12 seasons for the Angels from 1989-2000 and was named an American League All-Star in 1995.

Chad Epperson has been promoted to Catching Coordinator after six seasons as a manager in the Red Sox system.  He guided Single-A Salem to a 67-72 (.482) record in 2009, advancing as far as the Carolina League Championship Series.  It was the fourth consecutive season that he led his team to the playoffs.  A veteran of nine minor league seasons as a player, Epperson was named California League Manager of the Year with Single-A Lancaster in 2007 and 2008.

Professional Scouting
Jared Porter has been promoted to Assistant Director, Professional Scouting.  Porter has been the club’€™s Coordinator, Professional Scouting since 2008 after serving as Assistant, Player Development in 2006-07.  He joined the Red Sox as an intern in 2004 and spent one year in Fort Myers, FL.  Porter previously worked for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League in 2002-03 while attending Bowdoin (ME) College where he also played baseball.

International Scouting
Todd Claus returns to the Red Sox as Coordinator of Latin American Scouting/International Crosschecker after coaching Jacksonville (FL) University’€™s baseball program in 2009.  He was also with the Red Sox from 2004-08, spending three seasons as a minor league manager before serving as a Major League Advance Scout from 2007-08.  Claus had spent his entire baseball career in the Angels organization before joining the Red Sox.

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