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Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of Mookie Betts’ breakout year; Daniel McGrath recognized; progress for Henry Ramos 08.13.13 at 10:32 am ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:



— Shortstop Deven Marrero has been promoted to Portland and will make his Sea Dogs debut on Tuesday. More on the 22-year-old’s move up the ladder here.



— Though Mookie Betts went 0-for-2 to end his nine-game hitting streak, the 20-year-old coaxed a pair of walks, giving him as many walks (14) as strikeouts since his promotion to High-A Salem last month. In his last 10 contests with Salem, the 20-year-old is hitting .394/.512/.606, improving his overall line in 31 games with Salem to .278/.363/.463 with 14 steals in as many attempts after successfully swiping another bag on Monday.

On the year, between Greenville and Salem, the 2011 fifth-rounder is now hitting .291/.403/.473 with 12 homers, 43 extra-base hits and 32 steals. Of the 88 players with 25 or more steals for full-season minor league affiliates this year, Betts leads them all with a 94.1 percent success rate on his stolen base attempts, having gone 32-for-34. Of that group, he’s also tied for ninth in homers on the year. In short, in a year where he was two years younger than the average position player in Single-A and three years younger than the average player in the Carolina League, Betts has distinguished himself this year with one of the most impressive combinations of speed, power and plate discipline, a player whose across-the-board skill set projects to make him a valuable big leaguer.

— After a scorching mid-summer stretch, outfielder Henry Ramos has lapsed into less consistent results, but he nonetheless continues to show progress compared to where he was a year ago. The 21-year-old went 1-for-5 with a double on Monday, with the two-bagger representing his 37th extra-base hit of the year — one more than he had in 122 games in 2012 while playing in a more favorable hitting environment in Greenville. A few markers of his progress this year: Ramos has bumped up his walk rate from 8.9 percent in 2012 to 11.0 percent this year; his strikeout rate has dipped from 20.4 to 18.8 percent; and he’s collecting extra-base hits in 8.0 percent of plate appearances, up from 7.3 percent last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: daniel mcgrath, deven marrero, mookie betts,
Ryan Kalish to undergo another surgery; hoping for spring 2014 return 08.12.13 at 10:07 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced that outfielder Ryan Kalish will undergo cervical fusion surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that repairs damaged areas of the vertebral column in the neck. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles, the same orthopedist who performed season-ending surgery on his neck at the end of the 2011 season.

According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Kalish, 25, plans to continue to pursue a playing career after this latest surgery. The recovery time should permit him to be healthy, barring a setback, by spring training in 2014. Still, this latest health issue continues a staggering run of injuries that have largely cost the outfielder the last three years of his career.

In 54 big league games as a 22-year-old rookie in 2010, Kalish hit .252/.305/.405 with four homers and 10 steals. However, he opened 2011 in Triple-A Pawtucket after the Sox signed Carl Crawford during the prior offseason. In April that year, he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder while making a diving catch. During the rehab, he first encountered the neck woes that would necessitate surgery with Watkins at the end of that season. Then, following the year, he had another procedure to repair the labrum. Read the rest of this entry »

Deven Marrero moves up to Double-A Portland 08.12.13 at 1:31 pm ET
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According to multiple industry sources, shortstop Deven Marrero — the Red Sox‘ top first-round pick (No. 24 overall) in the 2012 draft — will be promoted from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old went 1-for-4 with his second homer of the year for Salem on Sunday. He’€™s moved beyond an 0-for-15 rut to start this month by going 7-for-18 (.389) with six walks and three strikeouts in his last five contests, improving his season-long marks to .256/.341/.334. Given his experience as an elite college performer at Arizona State, the fact that he has posted a line score that fails to distinguish itself from the league-average offensive line (.254/.333/.381) represents something of a surprise.

Though his offensive numbers appear modest, however, Marrero’€™s standing as one of the better position prospects in the Sox system is predicated more on his all-around game than on an offense-first profile. The 2012 first-rounder has 21 steals in 23 attempts and he’€™s looked excellent at short, committing just four errors in 85 games. There’s plenty of room for offensive growth (though it is worth noting that Marrero has posted solid walk rates and strike zone management, taking a free pass in 11.2 percent of plate appearances with whiffs in 16.0 percent of plate appearances), but the overall maturity of his game would appear to lend itself to challenging Marrero at a higher level.

News of the promotion was first reported by Will Woodward of SoxProspects.com.

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Koji Uehara’s 2014 option to vest with one more appearance 08.12.13 at 1:16 pm ET
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Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has stabilized the back of his team’s bullpen while offering a dominating ninth-inning presence, recording a 1.35 ERA, 12 saves and striking out 74 while walking just nine in 53 1/3 innings this year. In his last 18 games (spanning 19 1/3 innings), he has not given up an earned run while striking out 25 and walking just two, with opponents hitting .109/.136/.125 against him since the start of July.

Now, it appears increasingly likely that the role is one in which Uehara may contribute not just for the rest of this season but also for next. According to an industry source, Uehara’s one-year, $4.25 million deal included a $4.25 million vesting option for the 2014 season that becomes guaranteed when he pitches in 55 games; incentives can push the value of the deal to $5 million with 35 games finished.

The 38-year-old now has appeared in 54 games, meaning that with his next appearance, his 2014 option will become guaranteed. Had the option not vested and had the Sox declined it, Uehara would have been eligible for free agency following this season.

In five seasons since coming to the big leagues from Japan, Uehara has a 2.58 ERA with the highest strikeout-to-walk rate (8.0 strikeouts per walk) in big league history.

Red Sox minor league roundup: Progress for Jackie Bradley Jr., the forgotten phenom; perfection for Daniel McGrath; Mookie Betts busting out; Matt Barnes rolling (sort of); Garin Cecchini, on-base machine 08.12.13 at 12:37 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-5 on Sunday for Triple-A Pawtucket, with his lone hit being a double. The two-bagger was the third extra-base hit for Bradley (who returned from a DL stint on Friday) in his last two games, further evidence that he’s developing an increasing ability to drive the ball in his second full pro season.

In 61 games for the PawSox, Bradley is hitting .276/.376/.496 with 34 extra-base hits this year in Triple-A Pawtucket. Those numbers don’t match his combined totals last year in the minors (a .315/.430/.482 line with High-A Salem and Double-A Portland), but it does represent a noteworthy step forward from what he did in the second half following his promotion to Double-A, where he hit .271/.373/.437 with 24 extra-base hits in 61 games. In particular, Bradley’s ability to drive the ball for extra bases seems greater this year than it was in Portland in 2012.

“Obviously, I’m still a pretty young kid. I’m going to get stronger. That’s just maturation, working out,” said Bradley. “I do think it has something to do with knowing your swing and picking your spots as well. I feel like it’s been something that’s being developed into my game. It might not be there in a large quantity, but it keeps pitchers honest.”

While Bradley just came off the DL due to a minor elbow injury, he feels that he’s physically primed to finish the 2013 campaign in strong fashion. The 23-year-old has adjusted his exhausting-and-amazing-to-watch pregame routine of power shagging, and he expects the results to show that.

“My body feels great. I’m not tiring out like I did last year. I was definitely tired out at the end of the year. I think that had to do with the power-shagging. I kind of adjusted that, had to make adjustments. I had to learn that from experience. The power-shagging I did in college and high school, I wasn’t playing as many games, so I kind of had to settle down. That’s something that I did this year. Maybe take it a group or so. Kind of get my body into shape to be able to perform at a high level every single day.”

As much attention as has been conferred upon whether and when teammate Xander Bogaerts might be called up, there’s every chance that Bradley could emerge as just as significant a contributor down the stretch. While he’s gone from the brightest of spring training spotlights (admittedly a somewhat oxymoronic term) to relative obscurity in Pawtucket, there remains an opportunity for the gifted defender with an advanced approach to make an impact down the stretch — whether as a late-season call-up or in positioning himself for a big league opportunity next year.


Read More: daniel mcgrath, David Ross, deven marrero, garin cecchini
Red Sox lineup: Sox shake up lineup with day off for David Ortiz 08.08.13 at 4:39 pm ET
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For the first time since July 5, Red Sox DH David Ortiz is not in the lineup. The designated hitter — coming off of back-to-back four-hit games — will sit on Thursday against Bruce Chen and the Royals. Mike Napoli will serve as the Sox DH, Jonny Gomes is in left against the left-hander and Daniel Nava, back from his three-game paternity leave after the birth of his first child, will get the start against Chen and play first base.

Left-handed hitters have actually posted better numbers this year (.270/.333/.500) against Chen than righties (.193/.253/.271), perhaps explaining why Brock Holt is in the lineup at third base instead of Brandon Snyder. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be behind the plate for Jon Lester.

For complete batter vs. starting pitcher matchups, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.


Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Shane Victorino, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

Jonny Gomes, LF

Stephen Drew, SS

Mike Napoli, DH

Daniel Nava, 1B

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

Brock Holt, 3B

Jon Lester, SP

Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini rebounds; Sergio Gomez keeps overpowering 08.08.13 at 3:48 pm ET
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A brief (and belated) look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:




Garin Cecchini went 2-for-4 with a double while driving in two, snapping a pair of slightly undesirable streaks. He’d entered Wednesday without a multi-hit game in any of his prior nine contests, a stretch in which he also didn’t have any extra-base hits. Cecchini was 3-for-28 — but with 10 walks and eight strikeouts — during the fallow period. The double actually snapped a 12-game run without an extra-base hit.

Still, it’s worth being mindful of the bigger picture with a player who has made what would continue to be characterized as a strong transition to Double-A. He’s hitting .298/.408/.417 in Portland, and .329/.444/.493 overall between High-A Salem and Portland in 104 games this year.

— Left-hander Franklin Morales, in his fourth rehab appearance as he nears a return from a pectoral strain, allowed a run on two hits while striking out a batter. He threw 13 of 20 pitches for strikes. The run was the first he’s given up in 5 1/3 rehab innings in this return from the DL; he has seven punchouts and no walks in the period.

— Left-hander Chris Hernandez, in his first start back in Portland (a level from which he’d graduated as a starter last year, but to which he returned after going 3-9 with a 5.72 ERA and .308 opponents’ batting average in Pawtucket), had a strong outing. The 24-year-old allowed one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, punching out four and walking one. Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli sits as Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp start 08.07.13 at 3:58 pm ET
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With right-hander Jarred Cosart on the mound for the Astros, slumping first baseman Mike Napoli will get the day off. Mike Carp will play first and bat fifth, while Jonny Gomes will bat sixth and play left. The left-handed hitting Brock Holt is back in the lineup at third base, with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia batting eighth, behind shortstop Stephen Drew.

The Sox have never faced Cosart. Sox starter Ryan Dempster, meanwhile, has enjoyed success in his few matchups with the Astros — aside from against third baseman Matt Dominguez, who has doubled in each of his two career plate appearances against the right-hander.

For complete batter vs. starting pitcher matchup information, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.


Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Shane Victorino, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Carp, 1B

Jonny Gomes, LF

Stephen Drew, SS

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

Brock Holt, 3B

Ryan Dempster, SP

Jonny Gomes: ‘Doesn’t make much sense that [Alex Rodriguez] is still playing’ 08.06.13 at 3:47 am ET
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Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes told reporters in Houston on Monday that he was very much behind the penalties that Major League Baseball had levied on the players implicated in the Biogeneseis scandal. Indeed, Gomes said, he would support harsher penalties for first-time users than the current 50-game standard, and he expressed displeasure with the fact that Alex Rodriguez would be able to play while appealing his suspension that runs through the 2014 season.

“It doesn’t make much sense that he’s still playing,” Gomes told reporters of Rodriguez. “I don’t really care what the penalties are. If it’s first time caught, lifetime ban, it doesn’t affect me. I’m not doing steroids. I’m not trying to keep the penalties down because I’m thinking about doing it. … I don’t really care what the penalties are. I do think it should be steeper, but like I said the steeper the penalties go it still doesn’t affect me. I’m going to play this game out how I started, and that’s clean.”

Gomes said that he was uncomfortable with the idea that his Players’ Association dues might be going to pay for Rodriguez’s legal battle to appeal his suspension from MLB.

“We do pay dues that go to our union that pay for our union guys to battle for our insurance and our pension and travel around and make sure we’re doing OK. That’s where our dues go,” said Gomes. “I hope our dues don’t really go to his lawyer fees by any means.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Shane Victorino named AL Player of the Week 08.05.13 at 4:38 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino was named AL Player of the Week for July 29-August 4. It is the first time in his career he’s been recognized with the award. Victorino batted .400 (12-for-30) with a .441 OBP, .700 slugging mark, three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored over seven games as the Sox went 5-2. His week concluded with an unusual 2-for-3 performance that also included a pair of HBPs on Sunday, a contest in which all four of the plate appearances in which the switch-hitter reached base came while batting right-handed against right-handed pitchers. On the year, Victorino is hitting .290 with a .337 OBP and .423 slugging mark in 79 games for the Sox.

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