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Red Sox minor league roundup: Heri Quevedo, pitcher of intrigue; Michael Almanzar raking; no Tom Brady scenario for Jose Iglesias

04.22.13 at 1:33 pm ET
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Heri Quevedo delivered an overpowering performance out of the bullpen, tossing four no-hit innings in which he retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing his only baserunner (on a walk) with two outs in the ninth.

“They had no shot against him,” said one talent evaluator who saw the outing. “He’s big and came at them. His arm is loose, he had life on the ball and it was easy. They got something there. Who knows what it becomes?”

Quevedo is intriguing simply because there’s no real professional background on him. He signed a couple of times with pro organizations but verification issues prevented those deals from coming to fruition. Last year, the Sox were able to sign him as a right-hander with a strong build (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and big arm but until this spring, a number of evaluators in the organization had never seen him.

However, he impressed in Fort Myers, and because he signed as a 22-year-old out of the Dominican, the Red Sox were aggressive in pushing him to High-A in his professional debut. They felt that his mound presence and maturity were such that he could handle such a challenge. While the results in four outings as a piggyback starter have been uneven — alternately bad and dominant — his 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings underscore the reason why the Sox wanted to push the right-hander. Opponents are hitting .209 against him so far.

On Sunday, he showed a 92-94 mph fastball that was good for plenty of swings and misses, a hard changeup and an inconsistent slider that showed flashes of being an above-average offering. Though unusually old for an international amateur out of the Dominican, his stuff is good enough to merit further attention as the season progresses.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-1 WIN, 2-0 LOSS AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2)

Jose Iglesias

– Shortstop Jose Iglesias was 1-for-7 with a three-run double in the two games of the doubleheader. He’s hitting the ball with authority, as four of his seven extra-base hits with Pawtucket have been for extra bases, though he’s also hitting just .206 with a .270 OBP in nine games in Triple-A since being sent down.

Because Iglesias enjoyed such considerable success in his season-opening time in the majors, manager Gary DiSarcina considered it important to have a conversation with the shortstop last week about his roster status.

“I called Iggy in here [Wednesday] and we had a conversation about what is he doing up there, why were you so successful up there. I wasn’t there. I didn’t see what he was doing. I didn’t see a bunt. I didn’t see the types of hits he got. I need to get feedback from him,” said DiSarcina. “I’m reading him — if he has an inflated ego about himself, then it’s going to come out. It’s really difficult when someone has success and they’re sent down, you can’t sugarcoat anything. You got sent down. There’s very few Bledsoe/Bradys going on, where Drew Bledsoe got hurt, he’s down, he expects to get his job back but Tom Brady never gave it back. Stephen Drew was signed here to play. He’s getting a lot of money to come over here and play for a year. It’s difficult, but it goes back to communication and talking.

“You can say to a player, ‘Hey man, it’s a raw deal. You’re getting a raw deal. You went up there, you did what you’re supposed to do and you exceeded expectations. But reality is reality. You’re here now. And we’re going to work to get you out of here. We’re here for you — the hitting coach, the pitching coach, myself, the trainer — we’re here to get you out of here. Use us.’ ”

For more of DiSarcina’s thoughts on Iglesias, click here.

– Catcher Ryan Lavarnway has reached base in all 10 games he’s played this season. After going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks on Sunday, he’s hitting .297 with a .426 OBP and an identical number of walks (7) and strikeouts.

– Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker was 3-for-6 with a double and a walk in the doubleheader. The double came against a right-hander (Kyle Gibson), just as has been the case with each of his six extra-base hits this year. Hazelbaker is hammering righties to a line of .359/.409/.744 with four homers in 44 plate appearances, while struggling against lefties (.167/.211/.167).

– In three plate appearances, Bryce Brentz was 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts and a walk. Though 1-for-9 in his last three contests, he has worked a walk in each game, giving him four for the season against 15 strikeouts. The 24-year-old is hitting .246 with a .306 OBP and .386 slugging mark.

– Left-hander Chris Hernandez continued his early-season command struggles, throwing just 49 of 93 pitches for strikes and issuing three walks. Still, he allowed just two runs on six hits in five innings, and he now has a 3.86 ERA in four starts. In the early stages of the season, he’s showing considerable right/left splits, with lefties hitting .118/.167/.118 against him and righties hitting .300/.400/.517.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-7 WIN AT NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)

(BOX)

Michael Almanzar keeps driving the ball. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, giving him nine extra-base hits (four homers, five doubles) in the season’s first 15 games. He is third in the Eastern League with a .607 slugging percentage, tied for first in homers and sixth in OPS (.985).

Travis Shaw went 0-for-3 but took a walk, extending his streak of consecutive games on base to 15 to start the year. He has a .456 OBP. Interestingly, Shaw is off to an excellent start in terms of average and OBP against both lefties and righties, with a .296/.457/.481 line against righties and a .320/.455/.400 line against southpaws.

Kolbrin Vitek went 1-for-4 with a triple, his first extra-base hit of the season against a right-handed pitcher.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 1-0 WIN AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)

(BOX)

– Since his first outing of the year went off the rails (8 runs on 9 hits in 2 2/3 innings), William Cuevas has settled to become effective in his most recent two outings. He allowed just one hit and two walks in five shutout innings on Sunday, and in his last two starts, he’s allowed just one run on three hits in 10 innings of work while striking out 11 (four on Sunday) and walking two. The slight right-hander from Venezuela, who set the Lowell single-season ERA record last year with a 1.40 mark, has held lefties to a 2-for-12 mark while striking out six of the 14 left-handers he’s faced.

His stuff wasn’t overpowering — one evaluator had him at 88-91 mph (down from his velocity a year ago in Lowell) and suggested that hitters had good looks at the ball coming out of his hand — but he does now have 15 punchouts and just three walks in 12 2/3 innings pitched this year.

Deven Marrero continued to show a good all-around game, with good actions in the field and a quick bat that allowed him to drive a double to right-center field. He also walked and stole a base, his fourth in as many attempts this year.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-3 LOSS AT LEXINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

– Left-hander Brian Johnson had control difficulties, walking five batters in just 2 2/3 innings while giving up two hits (including a homer) with a pair of strikeouts. Perhaps rust was a factor in the command issues, as it was the 2012 first-rounder’s first start since April 7; he’d previously been skipped due to illness.

– Right-hander Austin Maddox, a 2012 second-round pick who was Johnson’s teammate at the University of Florida, gave up eight hits and five runs (four earned) in 4 1/3 innings in relief of Johnson. Though he’s only given up one homer thus far, Maddox has endured some tough results, with opponents hitting .364 with a .405 OBP and .485 slugging mark against him. He does have 15 strikeouts (against six walks) in 14 2/3 innings this season.

– The Drive have lost four straight and eight of nine.

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