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Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks turns back the clock; Garin Cecchini unfazed; Travis Shaw, Keury De La Cruz streaking

07.01.13 at 12:14 pm ET

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:



Will Middlebrooks had an encouraging contest, going 2-for-4 with a pair of long homers — one to left, one just to the right of center — and a walk. Middlebrooks now has hits in each of his five games since returning to Pawtucket, though the two longballs were his first two extra-base knocks since being optioned. He’s 6-for-21 with a pair of walks, three strikeouts and the two homers since re-joining the PawSox, a line of .286/.348/.571.

Here’s the homer to center:

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Brandon Workman endured his worst results of the year, getting tagged for four homers (a career-high; he’d never before yielded two) and season highs in hits (8) and runs (6) while matching his season-high yield in earned runs (5) and lasting just four innings. As impressive as Workman has been all year — even with Sunday’s struggle, he’s 8-2 with a 3.42 ERA on the year, and 3-1 with a 3.41 mark in Pawtucket — the homers offered a reminder that Workman is a fly ball pitcher whose fastball, when up in the zone, does leave him vulnerable to homers at times. He’s yielded 12 homers in 94 2/3 innings this season (1.1 per nine innings) beween Portland and Pawtucket.

— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk, his first game in Pawtucket in which he reached base three times. The 20-year-old — whose singles were to center and right — has walked in 10.1 percent of his plate appearances since his promotion to Triple-A.

Jose De La Torre retired all five batters he faced, punching out three. The reliever has a 1.69 ERA with 45 punchouts and 19 walks in 37 1/3 innings this year. Opponents are hitting a microscopic .152 against him with just one homer.

— Outfielder Mitch Maier was placed on the DL with a strained oblique. Maier is hitting .315/.435/.463, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. This is his third trip to the DL.



— Third baseman Garin Cecchini continued his outstanding start to his Double-A career, going 2-for-5 with a walk. He’s reached base multiple times in his last six games, with five of those contests featuring multiple hits. In eight games with Portland, he’s hitting .364/.475/.455 with seven walks and 10 strikeouts.

— Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo had one of his tougher days of the year, yet still emerged with a win after working five innings and permitting five runs on a season-high nine hits. He struck out five (with eight swings and misses) and walked two. Still, his aggregate body of work in Portland remains little short of outstanding, as he has an 8-2 record, 2.68 ERA, 9.7 strikeouts per nine and 3.1 walks per nine, dominant enough to secure a spot in the All-Star Futures Game.

— First baseman Travis Shaw continued his torrid stretch, going 2-for-3 with a homer (his seventh of the year and third in 10 games) and two walks while matching a career-high by driving in five runs. In his last 16 games, Shaw is hitting .333/.424/.614 with four homers and 14 RBI. He is tied for fifth in the Eastern League in walks with 50, helping him — despite a .236 average — to a .359 OBP.

— Right-hander Mike McCarthy had a dominant relief outing, tossing four shutout innings while allowing one hit, walking one and striking out four. The 25-year-old has a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings in Double-A.



— Shortstop Deven Marrero went 3-for-5 and drilled his first Carolina League homer in his 52nd game at the level. The 22-year-old has mostly shown a line drive stroke in the early stages of his pro career, with a .270/.341/.363 line, one homer and 16 doubles in 52 games with Salem this year, though he’s played outstanding defense (one error) while stealing 12 bases in as many attempts. Sunday marked Marrero’s sixth multi-hit game in his last nine contests, a span in which he’s hitting .385/.442/.513.

— Outfielder Keury De La Cruz is amidst a torrid spell in which, after going 2-for-4 with a double and walk on Sunday, he has multiple hits in five straight games and, perhaps most stunningly, walks in each of his last three. De La Cruz has now pushed his average up to .300, along with a .332 OBP and .446 slugging mark while driving in a Carolina League-leading 58 runs in 78 games. The 21-year-old is amidst a tremendous run, hitting .422/.450/.569 over his last 26 games. He has the highest average in the Carolina League and fifth-highest average in the minors during the run.

— Left-hander Henry Owens allowed just three hits (all singles) but walked five while yielding three runs in five innings. He struck out four. Owens’ command has been up-and-down over the last five weeks, a period in which he has 21 walks in 37 innings (5.1 per nine), nearly double his walk rate (2.9 per nine) over his first eight starts. Still, he’s been almost impossible to hit throughout the season, as opponents have a .193 average against the 20-year-old — the lowest batting average against in the league. His 2.91 ERA is sixth in the league.



— Right-hander Luis Diaz, 21, continued his intriguing performance in Greenville, allowing just one hit and one walk in a career-high seven shutout innings in which he punched out nine batters. In seven games and 40 innings, the 6-foot-3 from Venezuela has a 3.38 ERA, 8.6 strikeouts per nine and 2.7 walks per nine. Diaz did enjoy some success two years ago in the New York-Penn League, where his 2.53 ERA ranked sixth in the league, and one evaluator suggested that his velocity has gotten back to where it was that summer — sitting at 92 mph, topping out at 95 mph — after having diminished for more than a year.

— Reliever J.B. Wendelken tossed a pair of shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out three. In his last seven appearances, Wendelken, 20, has tossed 13 shutout innings with 15 punchouts and no walks while holding opponents to a .152 average.

David Chester went 2-for-3 with a homer and walk. The 24-year-old now has a team-leading 12 homers this year, and he’s hitting .333/.408/.595 with two homers and five doubles in 11 games since the All-Star break.



— Right-hander Mario Alcantara got shelled for nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in four innings, walking one and striking out one. In two prior starts for Lowell, he’d logged 10 shutout innings.

— Second baseman Reed Gragnani went 3-for-3 with a walk in four plate appearances. The 21st rounder is hitting .242/.297/.303 in nine games.



Read More: anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman, deven marrero, garin cecchini
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