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Red Sox minor league roundup: Some early 2013 draft diamonds in the rough; Pawtucket, Salem prepare for playoffs

09.04.13 at 12:27 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF DAY (START BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES AT ROCHESTER (TWINS) ON WEDNESDAY)

Anthony Ranaudo will get the start in Game 1 for the PawSox, while Clay Buchholz will make his third (and presumably final) rehab start in Game 2 on Thursday.

– Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino are dealing with injuries. Ellsbury, according to manager John Farrell, will have to manage the hand discomfort that crept up on Thursday for the rest of the year, while Victorino appeared to encounter similar discomfort following a bat-shattering jam shot in Tuesday’s game that left him flexing his right hand throughout the rest of the night and that may have played into his decision to bat left-handed for the first time in roughly a month. That said, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that even with both of the team’s primary center field options banged up, Jackie Bradley Jr. remains in Rochester for Game 1 of the first-round International League playoff series. It is worth noting that reserve Quintin Berry is also a center fielder. A Sox source said on Tuesday that the team fully expects Ellsbury to be back on Wednesday, simplifying the decision to let Bradley get more reps in Triple-A — in a year where injuries and his shuttle to and from the big leagues has limited him to 80 games in Pawtucket.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (SEASON OVER)

Outfielder Juan Carlos Linares was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the final week of the regular season. The 28-year-old played in eight games, going 17-for-35 with a four homers and nine extra-base hits, en route to a gaudy line of .486/.500/1.000. The year-end flourish allowed Linares (who turns 29 this week) to conclude his Double-A campaign with a .276/.351/.449 line that featured eight homers in 81 games. However, that followed a year-opening struggle in Pawtucket (.200/.294/.267 in 14 games), and a considerable step back from a 2012 season in which Linares hit .316/.364/.510 with 16 homers in 110 games for Portland and Pawtucket.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF DAY (START BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES VS. MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS) ON WEDNESDAY)

– Right-hander Luis Diaz, who leads the minors with a 0.97 ERA since June 25 while pitching for Greenville and Salem, is expected to start Game 1 for Salem on Wednesday. In 17 games this year, the 21-year-old went 9-4 with a 1.96 ERA, 8.4 strikeouts and just 2.1 walks per nine innings.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 8-7 LOSS AT ABERDEEN (ORIOLES)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Joe Gunkel punched out both batters he faced, continuing a head-turning debut for the 18th round pick out of West Chester University. The 21-year-old hasn’t issued a walk in 11 appearances spanning 16 innings, with 27 strikeouts and no walks in that time. He’s struck out 48 percent of the hitters (27 of 56) he’s faced during the run. He’s given up runs in just one of his 14 appearances in Lowell (three of them in a two-inning effort on Aug. 16), and he’s given up hits in just three of his 14 outings. He is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 32 strikeouts, three walks and a .114 opponents’ batting average in his pro debut.

Gunkel ranks — along with Greenville reliever and ninth-rounder Kyle Martin — as one of the foremost early surprises in the Sox’ 2013 draft class. He’s been up to 95 mph from a low three-quarters arm slot that opponents have seemingly had difficult picking up, and he’s show good sink on his fastball, a solid slider and a willingness to pound the strike zone.

Martin, who changed back to an over-the-top arm slot this year as a senior at Texas A&M, likewise dominated in his pro debut, with a 1.25 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 36 innings in Lowell and Greenville, with tremendous groundball rates to boot. He was up to 96 mph and sat at 93-94 in Greenville.

– Second baseman Wendell Rijo, in his second game for the Spinners since being promoted from the Gulf Coast League, went 3-for-5 with a triple, and is now 4-for-9 in the New York-Penn League. Rijo, who turned 18 today, hit .271/.368/.359 with 22 walks and 29 strikeouts in the Gulf Coast League, where he ranked third among the league’s 16 17-year-olds (min. 100 plate appearances) in average and was tied for second in OBP.

– Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz, the Sox’ second-round draft pick, matched his prior season total for runs allowed by giving up three (on five hits, including the first pro homer hit against him) in three innings while punching out two and walking none. Still, the 19-year-old wrapped up his season with a 2.29 ERA, 15 strikeouts and just two walks in 19 2/3 innings.

 

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