Red Sox minor league roundup: Reins loosening on Rubby De La Rosa; Ks pile up for Brandon Workman; Jackie Bradley Jr. sidelined
|05.06.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
A brief look at Sunday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:
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– A quartet of Rays pitchers, led by seven innings from pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, combined to throw the first nine-inning no-hitter against the PawSox since 1994, when right-hander Jose Lima went the distance in doing so.
– Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, who’d been subject to an approximate 50-pitch limit through the first month of the season, will have the reins loosen a little bit starting with his Monday outing against the Gwinnett Braves. According to the Pawtucket Times, De La Rosa will be permitted to throw around 70-75 pitches.
The Sox created workload restrictions on the 24-year-old in deference to the fact that a) this is his first healthy full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2011 and b) he’s never thrown more than 110 innings in a season in his pro career.
Still, after De La Rosa tossed three scoreless innings in each of his last two starts — most notably, a three-inning, five-strikeout, one-walk effort in his last turn of the rotation — the Sox felt it was time to start to get the young right-hander stretched out.
‘Ultimately you want to protect his arm because of the surgery he had,’ PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina told the Times. ‘Rubby’s going to tell us when it’s time to stretch him out and he’s been telling us with his performance over the last outing or two. Sooner or later, you’ve got to release the reins.’
In five starts, De La Rosa has a 7.11 ERA with 13 strikeouts and eight walks in 12 2/3 innings.
– Catcher Ryan Lavarnway went 0-for-2 but drew a pair of walks, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 17 to start the year. The 25-year-old has 12 walks and nine strikeouts as part of a .317/.429/.500 line.
– Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, in his first appearance since tossing four scoreless innings on April 30, made his eighth straight scoreless appearance, tossing a clean inning in which he got three groundball outs. He has a 0.52 ERA in 17 1/3 innings this year, and lefties are 2-for-22 (.091) against him.
– Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who sat out of the last two games, could land on the seven-day DL due to a biceps injury. In 11 Triple-A games, Bradley is hitting .302/.400/.349. He’d been restricted to DH duties in recent days.
– Jose Iglesias was removed in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game due to what manager Gary DiSarcina described to reporters as a “manager’s decision,” the same term applied by DiSarcina on Sunday to explain why the 23-year-old shortstop was not in the PawSox lineup.
– The Red Sox’ third base depth was further compromised with Drew Sutton landing on the seven-day DL due to a muscle strain in his side. Sutton left a game on May 2 after one at-bat and hasn’t played since.
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– Though he was hit hard at times, giving up five extra-base hits, Brandon Workman continued his broken record of a season: pound the strike zone, get a lot of swings and misses, deliver steady innings totals. Workman logged 5 2/3 innings in which he allowed four runs (two earned) on a season-high six hits (homer, four doubles, single) while striking out eight and walking two. He got 18 swings and misses in the outing, while throwing 64 of 95 pitches (67 percent) for strikes.
The 24-year-old has pitched at least five innings in each of his six starts to date with 42 strikeouts (second most in the Eastern League) and just eight walks in 35 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .176 against him, with both lefties (.163 average, 18 strikeouts, 2 walks) and righties (.184, 24 strikeouts, six walks) struggling to do anything against the big right-hander.
– Reliever Chris Martin, 26, continued his tremendous work out of the bullpen. He punched out four, gave up one hit and allowed neither a walk nor a run in two innings of work. He’s now at 11 scoreless appearances (spanning 19 2/3 innings) on the season with 25 strikeouts and five walks.
– Third baseman Michael Almanzar, 22, went 1-for-4, with his single snapping an 0-for-13 skid.
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– Catcher Blake Swihart went 2-for-4 with a double and triple. It was the 21-year-old switch-hitter’s fourth multi-hit game in his last seven contests, a stretch during which he’s hitting .333/.400/.593. On the year, Swihart has an odd distribution of his eight extra-base hits (in 22 games), having recorded five triples and three doubles. He’s hitting .266/.341/.430 on the year.
– Henry Ramos, 21, went 2-for-4 with a triple. He has five multi-hit games in his last eight contests, with four extra-base hits in his last four games. Ramos remains an intriguing player, one of the better athletes in the Sox system and a player who was very raw entering pro ball (as a 2010 fifth-rounder) out of Puerto Rico. He shows intriguing flashes of a fairly broad-ranging skill set — particularly this past winter in the Puerto Rican winter league, when he recovered from a rough start (.125/.163/.175) to hit .397/.462/.603 in his final 22 games. Given his age (at 21, he’s still young for a Carolina League position player), athleticism and relative inexperience as an amateur, Ramos fits the profile of a player with a chance to be a late bloomer. Whether he lives up to such potential remains to be seen.
– Right-hander Mike McCarthy allowed one run in five innings while striking out four and walking none. On the year, while he’s shuttled in and out of the rotation, the 25-year-old has 25 strikeouts and five walks in 26 2/3 innings. McCarthy, one of the older players on the Salem roster, shared his thoughts on age and prospect status, as well as the social impact he can make as a baseball player, in this week’s episode of Minor Details. To listen, click here.
– Garin Cecchini went 0-for-5, ending a tremendous streak of 14 straight games in which he’d reached base multiple times.
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– Right-hander Francellis Montas gave up four runs on six hits included four knocks for extra bases (homer, three doubles). Even so, he remains amidst an impressive three-start stretch in which he hasn’t walked a batter while striking out 19 in 14 innings. On the year, the hard-throwing 20-year-old has 32 strikeouts (11.1 per nine innings) and just six walks (2.1 per nine) in six starts spanning 26 innings. He has proven somewhat vulnerable to homers (four in his 26 frames) en route to a 6.23 ERA, but the ability to attack the strike zone with a mid- to high-90s fastball and to get a fairly high number of swings and misses with his slider suggests a fairly promising foundation upon which to build.
– Second baseman Mookie Betts continued his unusual start to the season. He went 1-for-4 to improve his average to .150; he also drew his 24th walk to raise his OBP to .343. Betts appears to be one of two players in all of minor league baseball with an OBP that is more than twice his batting average (White Sox outfielder Jared Mitchell, hitting .149 with a .318 OBP, is the other). Not including pitchers, there have been 18 seasons in big league history in which a player with at least 100 plate appearances had an OBP that doubled his average. The most recent took place in 2010 with Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell. Also on the list: Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, hit .115 with a .233 OBP in 1989 with the Tigers.
The closest thing that the big leagues have ever seen to a pairing of average and OBP like the one being assembled by Betts on a full-season basis occurred in 1907, when Larry Schlafly hit .135 with 22 walks in 107 plate appearances, good for a .354 OBP, for the Senators.
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