|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Patience paying off for Jose Iglesias; Bradley’s power surge continues||05.04.12 at 11:17 am ET|
Jose Iglesias did not appear in either of the two games for which he was summoned to the majors, and so with Will Middlebrooks now up in place of Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox moved swiftly to option him back to Pawtucket so that he could return to the lineup on Thursday. The result was one of the better stat lines of Iglesias’ professional career. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, matching a career high (achieved four times in 2010 with Double-A Portland, and never before in Triple-A) by reaching base four times.
It is interesting to note that Iglesias, who endured periods of trying to pull the ball in the past, seems more comfortable than ever going up the middle and to the opposite field. His singles (one a line drive to right, one a grounder to second) both were to the right side of the field, while his out was on a ball hit to center. During the spring, the most notable aspect of his game was that he was driving the ball to center in a way that made center fielders have to go back on the ball.
All of that is consistent with Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett‘s claim that Iglesias is showing an approach that was not properly reflected by his numbers. After Friday, he is hitting .216/.300/.227/.527.
One caveat in Iglesias’ day: Toledo starter Casey Crosby issued seven walks, so there was a bit of a chicken-and-egg question with regards to Iglesias’ patience on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-4 LOSS AT TOLEDO (DETROIT)
– Back in Triple-A, Junichi Tazawa submitted a dominant outing. He retired all seven batters he faced, striking out five and getting two on groundouts. Between Triple-A and the majors, Tazawa now has 10 appearances this year (five with the Red Sox, five with the PawSox) and has yet to allow a run. He’s struck out 18 and walked two in 15 2/3 innings between the two levels.
– Che-Hsuan Lin is doing some interesting things in Triple-A this year. He walked four times on Thursday (again, the Crosby disclaimer), and now has more walks (12) than strikeouts (11). His numbers for the year still look modest (.221/.326/.338/.664), but they’ve been dampened by struggles among left-handers. Against righties, the right-handed-hitting Lin has shown some promise, hitting .241/.323/.397/.720. A year ago, Lin had just 13 extra-base hits in 276 plate appearances against righties and a .231/.319/.306/.625 line. This season, he has seven extra-base hits in just 65 plate appearances against righties.
His defense is excellent, as Lin shows range and a tremendous throwing arm (he had an outfield assist on Thursday) that will allow him to play any outfield position. His speed can be an asset off the bench. Offensive progress will determine whether Lin can carve out a role as a fourth or fifth outfielder in the majors, and on that front, Lin is showing positive signs early this year.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 9-7 LOSS VS. TRENTON (YANKEES)
– Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel, whose first start of the year (five innings, seven strikeouts, no walks) had been subject to considerable enthusiasm among Red Sox player development staffers, came back with a less impressive second outing.
The 22-year-old tossed 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Still, of the six hits, five were singles (the other a double) and three of those were on groundballs. In addition to his three strikeouts, Pimentel recorded seven outs on groundballs (including two on a double play ball). Moreover, his outing was a strong one through the first four innings (extending his streak of innings without issuing a walk to nine on the year) before he faltered while issuing a pair of free passes in the fifth.
– Third baseman Kolbrin Vitek went 2-for-4 with a walk, giving him three straight two-hit games. The 2010 first-rounder is hitting .283/.333/.368/.701.
– Outfielder Bryce Brentz, who had been out the previous four days due to a left heel injury, returned to the lineup and singled in four at-bats. Brentz is hitting .217/.265/.315/.581.
– Outfielder Oscar Tejeda went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles to extend his hitting streak to five games. In that span, he is 8-for-22 (.364) with three doubles and a homer, giving the 22-year-old nine extra-base hits (second on the team) in 26 games this year.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-1 WIN AT WILMINGTON (ROYALS)
– Jackie Bradley Jr. did not homer in his first 21 games with Salem. He has now gone deep twice in his last three games. He reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with the homer, a single and reaching after being hit by a pitch, in the process reclaiming the league lead in OBP (.470).
– Right-hander Ryan Pressly had his second straight dominant outing, allowing just two hits (both singles) in six shutout innings while punching out seven and walking none. After struggling to a 10.90 ERA in his first four starts, Pressly has a 1.50 ERA with 13 strikeouts and one walk over 12 innings in his last two starts.
– Xander Bogaerts saw his streak of 20 straight games on base come to an end, as he went 0-for-4. The streak had been the longest in the Carolina League.
– First baseman Travis Shaw continued to enjoy a strong first full pro season, going 2-for-3 with a double and a sac fly. Shaw is now hitting .356/.406/.500/.906 with 11 extra-base hits (nine doubles, two triples) in 23 games.
– Right-hander Matt Barnes, after forging a 0.34 ERA while striking out 42 and walking four in Greenville, will make his Salem debut on Saturday.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-3 WIN VS. LEXINGTON (ASTROS)
– Left-hander Miguel Pena continued to attack the strike zone with good results. He tossed a season-high six innings on Thursday, allowing six hits (three doubles, three singles) while striking out five and walking none. On the season, in five starts spanning 25 1/3 innings, Pena has 22 strikeouts and three walks, the same ratio he had in 15 1/3 innings with Lowell last season.
– Catcher Blake Swihart went 1-for-4 with a double, the switch-hitter’s first extra-base hit against a left-handed pitcher. Swihart’s natural swing is right-handed and he shows a more advanced approach from that side of the plate, despite his .115/.219/.154/.373 line against lefties this year.
– Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 1-for-4 and extended his streak of consecutive games with a double to four. Though he has yet to hit a homer in 2012, he now has eight doubles on the season, and he is also amidst a nine-game hitting streak that has brought his line up to .267/.333/.356/.689.
– Will Middlebrooks is a dramatically different player and person now than he was the first time he played in a game at Fenway Park. A look at what his former manager, Gary DiSarcina, called his growth from a baby into a man is here.
– As Salem play-by-play man Evan Lepler noted, the success of Brandon Workman and Pressly on Wednesday and Thursday meant that carnivores could rejoice.
– Elizabeth Dreeson of SoxProspects.com looks at the ongoing defensive improvements of Ryan Lavarnway.
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