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Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini continues to impress; Dan Butler rolling; Mike Augliera dominates

07.05.13 at 11:20 am ET

Here’s a look at Thursday’s action in the Red Sox minor league system:



— Catcher Dan Butler was a triple short of hitting for the cycle on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and his sixth home run of the season. Butler’€™s home run to lead off the third inning would give the Paw Sox a 1-0 lead, but after starter Chris Hernandez gave up three runs in the bottom of the frame, Pawtucket wouldn’€™t regain the lead again. Butler, who has been receiving more playing time since the promotion of Ryan Lavarnway to the Red Sox, has been heating up as of late, hitting .358/.417/.642 in 15 games since June 6. The three-hit day was Butler’€™s first since the end of May. Through 48 games on the season, the catcher is batting .247/.346/.428 with 24 RBIs, 22 walks and 41 strikeouts.

Bryce Brentz drove in Pawtucket’€™s only other run on a day when the PawSox bats were somewhat stifled by the Rochester pitching staff. Brentz clubbed his 15th double of the season along with a single, going 2-for-4 on the evening. The two-bagger was Brentz’€™s first in 10 games. The outfielder’€™s bat has been a little quieter since hitting .287 in May, but he’€™s gone 7-for-22 over his last five games and is batting .304 since June 21. Brentz owns a commanding lead in the RBI category for the PawSox, knocking in 53 through 73 games. Jeremy Hazelbaker ranks second with 38. Brentz is batting .268/.319/.487 with a club-leading 16 home runs and 80 hits.

— After a huge day at the plate for Pawtucket on Wednesday, Will Middlebrooks was relatively quiet, going 1-for-4 with a single to left field in his last at-bat. Middlebrooks also grounded into a force-out, lined to the third baseman and popped out to the first baseman in foul territory. Through four at-bats, Middlebrooks saw only seven pitches. Since being demoted to Triple-A, Middlebrooks is batting .324/.361/.706 with 13 RBIs, four home runs, two walks and five strikeouts through eight games.



— It’€™s been said that the hardest jump in the minor leagues is from the High-A level to Double-A. Garin Cecchini didn’€™t get that memo. The third baseman, who was promoted to Double-A Portland on June 21, is hitting .371/.509/.535 in 12 games with the Sea Dogs, reaching base safely in every game so far and reaching a total of 26 times through 12 contests. Cecchini drew two walks and singled on Thursday, bringing his walk total to 12, the same number as his strikeout total. He reached on a 10-pitch walk in the first inning, singled in the fifth, and walked on four pitches in the seventh, going 1-for-2 on the day. The third baseman, who despite just being promoted is batting in the three-hole for the Sea Dogs, has four doubles, a home run and six RBIs in 43 Double-A at-bats.

Christian Vazquez, who has been hot as of late, continued his good stretch with two hits on Thursday, singling twice and scoring a run. Vazquez is batting  .385 over his last six games with three doubles and three RBIs, while raising his overall line on the season to .246/.341/.380. Though he’s been on a tear recently, Vazquez has failed to take ball four in his last 10 games, which is unusual since the catcher has as many walks on the season as he has strikeouts (27 in 218 plate appearances, drawing walks about 12 percent of the time). Vazquez also caught one of two runners stealing on the day. In 54 games, the catcher, whose defense has been highly praised, has caught 47 percent of runners, throwing out 32 in 68 attempts.

— In mid-June, J.C. Linares suffered through a 1-for-28 stretch, but since breaking out of that slump, he’s been hot. Linares finished the day going 2-for-4 with an RBI and his 10th double of the season. The outfielder is batting .346 (8-for-22) over his last six games with two doubles and six RBIs, bringing his slash line up to .224/.323/.335 through 45 games after his average had fallen dangerously close to slipping under the Mendoza line just a couple of weeks ago.



Mike Augliera turned in a superb performance on Thursday night, throwing eight innings of shutout ball while scattering four hits throughout his outing. Augliera faced the minimum amount of batters through his first three innings despite allowing a single in the second until he allowed two runners to reach base in the fourth on consecutive singles. The righty cruised through the rest of his outing, allowing only one other hit, a single to lead off the seventh. He exhibited excellent control, striking out seven without allowing a walk on the evening. It was the starter’s second scoreless outing of the season, and his third without allowing a walk, while the eight innings and seven strikeouts were both good for season-highs for Augliera. With the win over Carolina, Augliera is now 6-5 on the season with a 4.25 ERA, striking out 53 while walking 22 in 89 innings.

Keury De La Cruz  was 1-for-4 with a RBI on the day, sending a double to right field after an eight-pitch battle in which he managed to bring the count to 3-2 after getting down 0-2 after two called strikes. De La Cruz, who got off to a slow start this season, has really found his groove as of late, hitting .372/.413/.535 with 11 RBIs in his last 10 games, hitting safely in nine of those contests. The outfielder hit .387 in 28 games this June, and has managed to bring his line up from .250/.285/.403 to finish May to .296/.327/.448 in 82 games this year.

Brandon Jacobs is another guy who has really woken up his bat as of late, batting .476 over his last six games with four doubles and a home run. He provided the only other offense on Thursday, driving in two with a two-out double in the third. He finished the day 1-for-2, drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch in the first inning. A particularly encouraging sign for Jacobs is the fact that over his last nine games, he’s drawn eight walks while striking out the same amount of times. In 76 games this season, Jacobs has taken ball four 31 times while leading the club with 84 strikeouts.




Ty Buttrey earned his second win with the Spinners and lowered his ERA to 3.77 through three starts on the season. It wasn’t necessarily an easy start for the 20-year-old, who allowing six hits and a walk through his five innings but he managed to limit the damage to only two runs. Buttrey’s day ended with a key bases-loaded strikeout in the fifth inning, his only strikeout of the day. Buttrey has fanned only three batters in three starts this year and has walked six, allowing 12 hits in his 14 1/3 innings.

Cleuluis Rondon hit safely in his fourth straight game and recorded a two-hit game for the third time in that span (and fifth time this season) with a triple and a single on Thursday, driving in two of the Spinners’ four runs. Rondon is batting .275 with a double and a triple in 13 games this season, drawing three walks while striking out seven times.

— Second baseman Reed Gragnani, Boston’s 21st round pick in this year’s draft out of the University of Virginia, enjoyed the first four-hit game of his professional career, going 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI on the day. Gragnani is hitting .325/.364/.400 through 11 games on the season, and is 10 for his last 14.



Jon Denney , the Sox’ third-round pick out of Yukon High School in Oklahoma, made his pro debut, going 1-for-3 with a walk as the DH.



— Despite the game being suspended in the second inning, Victor Acosta still managed to record a single and a double on the day. The 17-year-old third baseman is batting .241/.357/.446 with five doubles and 15 walks compared to only seven strikeouts through 23 games.

Read More: bryce brentz, Dan Butler, garin cecchini, Will Middlebrooks
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