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Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini suffers season-ending wrist fracture

07.26.11 at 8:17 am ET

Garin Cecchini was amidst the best stretch of his first professional baseball season when his year came to an untimely halt.

The 20-year-old, who was taken by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and signed away from a scholarship to LSU for a $1.31 million bonus (typically an amount reserved for first-round picks), had shaken off a slow start to enjoy an outrageously hot week for the Short-Season Single-A Lowell Spinners. In seven games, he went 12-for-21 with a homer, four doubles and seven RBI, good for a .571 average, .640 OBP and .905 OPS, in the process earning New York-Penn League Player of the Week honors.

However, on Saturday, he suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a pitch. Long-term, the non-displaced fracture is expected to heal fully after four to six weeks in an immobilizing cast that extends just above the elbow. Surgery will not be required, and he should be cleared to participate in the Fall Instructional League. However, the highly regarded third baseman’s year with the Spinners is over.

While disappointed at the premature end of his year, the Sox were extremely pleased with what Cecchini showed during his 32 games in Lowell. He hit .298 with a .398 OBP, .500 slugging mark and .898 OPS, the sort of line that few Red Sox prospects have amassed at such a young age for the Spinners. (Hanley Ramirez had a better line as an 18-year-old in 2002; Ryan Westmoreland had a comparable stat line over a nearly full season in Lowell as a 19-year-old in 2009.) Cecchini showed the ability to drive the ball, accumulating 16 extra-base hits (three homers) in 114 at-bats, and walking nearly as many times (17) as he struck out (19).

“This guy’€™s a really impressive bat,” said Sox farm director Mike Hazen. “Left-handed, he’€™s got a nice inside-out swing, an ability to cover the middle to the outer half of the plate well, and with power. He had the ability to not just hit the ball the other way, but to hit it over the outfielders’€™ heads the other way, which at that age is a huge separator.”

Yet the Sox were unsurprised by Cecchini’s ability in the batter’s box, since he showed an approach similar to what they’d seen when scouting him in high school. The unexpected element of the 20-year-old’s game was his speed. He swiped a dozen bases (in 14 attempts) for Lowell after having stolen a comparable number in extended spring training. Given that he suffered a torn ACL as a senior in high school that required surgery and prevented him from playing for much of last year, his running ability exceeded the Sox’ expectations.

Once Cecchini was able to recover fully from his surgery and begin working out in earnest, Hazen said that he became stronger, leaner and more athletic, putting him in a position to run the bases as well as he did.

“I think it was a bit of the unknown because we hadn’€™t seen him run in so long,” said Hazen. “He did a lot of work on his body, to the point where he was stealing all those bases. That was probably one of the more impressive things we saw, just the overall athleticism. Overall, we’re very happy with his season. It’s just unfortunate that it’€™s ending early.”

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