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Red Sox announce minor league award winners 09.18.10 at 4:51 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced their Minor League Award Winners on Saturday. Here is the press release with details:

Pitcher of the Year: LHP Felix Doubront, Double-A Portland/Triple-A Pawtucket: Combined to go 8-3 with a 2.81 ERA (25 ER/80.0 IP) and 72 strikeouts in 17 games (16 starts) between Portland and Pawtucket as a 22 year old…Has also appeared in 12 games (three starts) with the Red Sox this season in his Major League debut…Held opponents to two earned runs or less in 12 of his 14 minor league starts…Began the season as Portland’s Opening Day starter and went 4-0 with a 2.51 ERA (12 ER/43.0 IP) before a May 20 promotion to Pawtucket, where he went 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA (13 ER/37.0 IP)…Signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2004.

Offensive Co-Player of the Year: 1B Anthony Rizzo, Single-A Salem/Double-A Portland: Hit .260 (138-for-531) with 42 doubles, 25 homers, 100 RBI and 61 walks in 136 games between Salem and Portland…At 21 years old, led the Red Sox minor leagues in home runs and ranked second in RBI…Set a franchise record for the Sea Dogs with 32 RBI in August…Was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week for August 2-8, batting .444 (12-for-27) with four doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in that span…Was Boston’s seventh pick (sixth round, 204th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Offensive Co-Player of the Year: C Ryan Lavarnway, Single-A Salem/Double-A Portland: Batted .288 (133-for-462) with 27 doubles, 22 home runs, 70 walks and 102 RBI in 126 games with Salem and Portland…Led Boston’s minor league system in RBI and ranked second in homers…The 23 year old was named Player of the Week in both the Carolina League (April 8-18) and Eastern League (August 23-29)…Named to both the Carolina League mid-season and post-season All-Star teams…Selected as the eighth pick by the Red Sox (sixth round, 202nd overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

Defensive Player of the Year: OF Che-Hsuan Lin, Double-A Portland: Committed just three errors in 338 chances for a .991 fielding percentage over 118 games between right field (four games) and center field (114 games) for Portland as a 21 year old…Hit .275 (126-for-458) with 17 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 34 RBI and 72 walks in 119 games with the Sea Dogs…Signed as an international free agent in 2007.

Base Runner of the Year: OF Jeremy Hazelbaker, Single-A Greenville: Led the Red Sox organization with 63 stolen bases, the most in a season by a Boston farmhand since Gus Burgess stole 68 bases in 1981…The 23-year-old outfielder was caught stealing 17 times for a 78.8 percent success rate…Hit .267 (118-for-442) with 29 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 59 walks and 62 RBI…Named a South Atlantic League post-season All-Star for the 2010 season…Was Boston’s fourth pick (fourth round, 138th overall) in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Minor League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: RHP Raul Alcantara, Rookie-Level DSL Red Sox: Was 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA (22 ER/60.1 IP) in 13 starts for the DSL Red Sox…Tied for the team high in wins and ranked second in innings…The 17 year old finished 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA (3 ER/21.0 IP) and 17 strikeouts over his last four starts…Was named to the 2010 DSL All-Star team.

Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year: SS Xander Bogaerts, Rookie-Level DSL Red Sox: Hit .314 (75-for-239) with seven doubles, five triples, three home runs, 42 RBI and 30 walks in 63 games for the DSL Red Sox…Paced the club in batting average, hits, homers, RBI, total bases (101) and slugging (.423)…The 17 year old was named to the 2010 DSL All-Star team.

Closing Time: Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 9 09.17.10 at 10:39 pm ET
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It appears safe to suggest that this is not what the Red Sox signed up for when they inked John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal this offseason. Friday offered more carnage, as the right-hander absorbed an 11-9 loss to the Blue Jays.

The snapshot of his brutal first year in Boston now looks like this:

–The Red Sox fell to 14-16 in games in which Lackey has been their starter.

–Lackey has now allowed five or more earned runs in 10 of his 30 starts this year, the most such outings he’s had in any of his nine big-league seasons.

–He has allowed 220 hits on the season, tied for the second-most (Curt Schilling in ’06, David Wells in ’05) by a Red Sox starter since 2000, behind only the 224 permitted by Derek Lowe in ’04.

–His ERA is now 4.63, which would be his worst since 2004.

In fairness, Lackey leads the team in innings (194 1/3) and starts of at least six innings (25) and is tied for the team lead in quality starts (18). Still, all things considered, it was an ugly night in a season that has featured plenty of them.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

–Lackey lost his fourth straight start, the longest losing streak of his career. He exhibited little command, as evidenced by the fact that he matched a career-high with three hit batters.

Michael Bowden was hit hard, allowing four hits and three runs (including a homer by Jose Bautista that established a new Blue Jays single-season record with 48) while recording just three outs. Opponents are hitting .370 against Bowden.

–For the third time in the last four games, the Red Sox walked two or fewer times.

–The Yankees won, moving them the seven games ahead of the Sox in the AL East, allowing them to leapfrog past the Rays in the division. As such, the Sox no longer control their own destiny, as they cannot close the gap on New York in the six remaining head-to-head contests between the two clubs. (The Rays are 6 1/2 games ahead of the Sox in the wild card.)

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Victor Martinez continued his rampage against left-handed pitchers, delivering a pair of two-run homers against Toronto southpaws, one against starter Brett Cecil, the other against reliever Jesse Carlson. His batting average is now .404 against lefties with a 1.203 OPS. Martinez has hit 11 of his 17 homers right-handed.

Tim Wakefield became the second-oldest Red Sox player in a game. At 44 years, 46 days, he surpassed Carl Yastrzemski (44 years, 41 days in his final contest). Next on the list: Deacon McGuire, who was 44 years, 280 days when he played for the Sox on Aug. 24, 1908.

Rich Hill, in his first appearance at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox, retired both batters he faced, including a strikeout of left-hander Lyle Overbay.

Read More: Blue Jays, john lackey, Tim Wakefield, victor martinez
Closing Time: Red Sox 5, Mariners 1 09.15.10 at 9:27 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz once again showed why his 2010 season has represented a tremendous leap forward in his career. The key trait in his two-year turnaround from a demotion to the minors to top-of-the-rotation status has been keyed by the ability to isolate his struggles.

That has been most important on a pitch-to-pitch and batter-to-batter basis for much of the year, but on Wednesday, Buchholz showed the ability to prevent failure from bleeding from one outing into another. After turning in his worst start of the year in Oakland last weekend, allowing nine baserunners and five runs in one inning, he rebounded to shut down the Mariners.

For the 15th time in his 26 starts this year, Buchholz allowed one or fewer earned runs. In so doing, he led the Sox to a 5-1 victory over Seattle to complete a three-game sweep to give the Sox their 82nd win of the year. That, in turn, assured the Sox their 13th straight winning season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

–Though the performance came against the anemic Mariners offense, Buchholz once again looked like one of the best pitchers in the American League. He struggled again out of the gate, allowing a solo homer in the bottom of the first and putting the first two runners of the second on base. But he worked out of that jam (thanks in no small part to a Victor Martinez pickoff of Casey Kotchman at third base), and ended up retiring 12 of 13 batters in a stretch. Buchholz did not allow another run in lowering his ERA to 2.48.

Victor Martinez made huge contributions both with a bat and behind the plate. He helped Buchholz get out of his early jam by picking Kotchman off of third and later caught Chone Figgins in an attempted steal of second. Offensively, he supported Buchholz with a two-run double against left-handed reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith. Martinez’ .405 average against lefties leads the majors; his 1.173 OPS against southpaws is second to Kevin Youkilis‘ amazing 1.311 mark (min. 100 PAs vs LHP).

Adrian Beltre was once again a force in the ballpark that did quite a bit of damage to his statistics over the previous five years. Beltre went 1-for-3 with a homer and two walks. For the year, he hit .297/.387/.481/.868.

Marco Scutaro, despite playing through injury, continue a September that has been his finest month of the season. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. Scutaro is now hitting .298 with a .952 OPS this month, the latter figure representing his highest mark of any turn of the calendar.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

–Though Yamaico Navarro made some nice defensive plays at shortstop, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and flailed wildly at the plate as Seattle pitchers exploited his over-eagerness.

Daniel Nava, after going 0-for-3, is now hitting .158 with a .483 OPS in September.

The year in Red Sox international signings 09.15.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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In recent years, the Red Sox have been one of the more aggressive teams in the international market. Since 2006, the team has signed players like middle infielder Oscar Tejeda (approx. $550,000), third baseman Michael Almanzar ($1.5 million), catcher Oscar Perez (approximately $700,000) and shortstops Jose Iglesias ($8.25 million) and Jose Vinicio ($1.95 million).

This year, however, the Sox did not make the same dramatic splash in the international market. Though the team scouted the pool of available players heavily, to date, there have only been a few international amateurs with whom the Sox have been able to find common ground in terms of an asking price and how the organization values them.

The fact that the Sox have not signed any of the more prominent (and expensive) names on this year’s international market does not necessarily have much bearing on the impact the teenagers might one day make.

After all, the signing of Felix Doubront in 2004 to a modest $150,000 bonus made few ripples. Likewise, the 2006 signings of Stolmy Pimentel ($25,000) and Yamaico Navarro ($20,000) remained unnoticed until both emerged among the best prospects in the organization.

Doubront and Navarro are now in the majors; Pimentel is virtually certain to be placed on the organization’s 40-man roster this winter, and he is viewed as being perhaps the second-best pitching prospect in the organization, behind only Casey Kelly.

Those examples suggest that the international market remains something of a crapshoot. Low-bonus signees can emerge as big leaguers. Players signed to more sizable bonuses, meanwhile, may never see the majors. As one baseball source noted, not even one percent of players signed out of the Dominican Republic will ever be added to a major league 40-man roster.

Such is the nature of trying to project players at the age of 16, when they are physically and emotionally immature. Scouts in Latin America are tasked with looking at a 130-pound ballplayer – sometimes, a player with so little in-game experience that he is unfamiliar with basic rules of the game such as force outs – and imagine how he projects years later when his frame has filled out and he has had years to professionalize.

The incredible distance that players must travel from the time that they sign as 16-year-olds to the majors helps to explain why international scouting is such a challenging undertaking. Moreover, it is an undertaking that requires patience. Doubront signed as a 16-year-old, and required six years to rise through the Sox system. Yet that ascent actually qualified as rapid, considering that he is now 22 – the same age as many of the college players taken in the 2009 draft.

All of that is to suggest that it remains to be seen what kind of impact the Sox get from the relatively low-profile international amateur signings they’ve made this year.

This year, the Sox’ biggest money international signees were Cuban defectors in their 20s. The team signed 23-year-old catcher Adalberto Ibarra for between $700,000 and $800,000, and also added 24-year-old outfielder Jorge Padron and 26-year-old Juan Carlos Linares.

Ibarra, who initially signed a five-year big league deal before renegotiating due to an issue in his physical, hit .244 with a .400 OBP and .268 slugging mark in 55 plate appearances for Hi-A Salem. The 24-year-old Padron hit .280/.323/.355/.678 while splitting the year between Salem and Double-A Portland. Linares, who will play in the Arizona Fall League, hit .239/.271/.391/.662 in 13 games for Portland.

The team also agreed to terms with four other Latin American teenage amateurs:

Anthony Amaya

A left-handed hitting and throwing 16-year-old centerfielder from Panama. Amaya has a sound swing, but is very young and physically immature. He played for Panama’s junior teams in international competition in recent years. His physical maturation and performance in the Dominican Summer League will determine his projection.

Edwin Osorio

A very raw, 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher with a big curveball and a fastball in the mid-80s. The Colombian was converted from shortstop to pitcher a year ago.

Denier Lopez

A 16-year-old, 6-foot, switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela. His defensive tools are more developed than his offense a this point. He has agreed to terms, but the signing is not yet official, pending the completion of standard background investigations.

Joseph Carpabire

A 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed pitcher with a very projectable frame. The 17-year-old from Venezuela has actually been eligible to sign since 2009. He currently tops out at 88 mph, and he has both the build and delivery of a starter. Like Lopez, he has agreed to terms but has not yet signed while a standard background investigation is performed.

Read More: anthony amaya, denier lopez, edwin osorio, joseph carpabire
Sox name minor league players of the month 09.13.10 at 6:24 pm ET
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The Red Sox named their Minor League Players of the Month for August/September, which included recognition for a pair of players on their current big league roster.

Josh Reddick was named Player of the Month, hitting .338/.375/.615/.990 with 10 homers in 34 games for Triple-A Pawtucket before his call-up on the final day of the minor league season

Raynel Velette was named Pitcher of the Month(s) after going 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA, striking out 17 and walking two in 17 1/3 innings for the Rookie Level GCL Red Sox

Second baseman Nate Spears was named the Baserunner of the Month after scoring 35 runs in the season’s final 34 games for Double-A Portland.

Felix Sanchez was recognized as the Base Stealer of the Month for swiping 20 bags in 26 attempts while splitting 30 games between Lowell and Greenville

Lars Anderson was named the Defensive Player of the Month for his work at first base with Pawtucket. Anderson committed two errors in 33 games for the PawSox in August and September.

Read More: felix sanchez, josh reddick, lars anderson, nate spears
Red Sox call up Milton native Rich Hill 09.13.10 at 3:29 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox have selected the contract of left-hander Rich Hill from Triple-A Pawtucket. The 30-year-old, who hails from Milton, Mass., will join the Sox for Monday night’s game in Seattle.

Hill signed a minor league deal with the Sox in June after being released by the Cardinals. He worked both out of the bullpen (13 appearances) and rotation (six season-ending starts) for Pawtucket, forging a 3.74 ERA while striking out 55 and walking 29 in 53 innings.

Hill last pitched in the majors with the Orioles in 2009, for whom he went 3-3 with a 7.80 ERA while walking 40 and striking out 46 in 57 innings. The left-hander, who owns what is considered one of the better curveballs in the game, has struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings in parts of five big league seasons.

Hill’s call-up was first reported by the Boston Globe.

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Closing Time: Athletics 5, Red Sox 0 09.11.10 at 2:22 am ET
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Good bye, Cy.

The idea that Clay Buchholz might be able to thrust himself into contention for the Cy Young Award was already a longshot. Though he entered Friday with a 15-6 record and an American League-leading 2.25 ERA, the fact that Buchholz had thrown just 151 2/3 innings — more than 60 fewer than Felix Hernandez, and more than 50 fewer than CC Sabathia — suggested that Buchholz would need a remarkable final few starts to have a legitimate shot at pitching’s most prestigious honor.

Any improbable visions were dispelled on Friday night, however, as Buchholz delivered his worst start of the year, and indeed one of the worst of his career. He had little on the mound, failing to record a single out in the second inning while getting shelled for five runs on five hits and four walks. It was the shortest start of his career that did not involve an injury.

Meanwhile, Oakland counterpart Trevor Cahill sailed through the Sox lineup over seven shutout innings as Oakland won, 5-0. (Recap.)

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

–Buchholz had been the team’s most consistent performer this year, having allowed two or fewer earned runs in a remarkable 17 of his 24 starts. But Oakland has been his undoing this year, posting two of the three contests in which Buchholz a) failed to record five or more innings and b) allowed five earned runs. For the season, Buchholz now has an 18.00 ERA against Oakland, and a 2.01 ERA against the rest of the majors.

–The Sox suffered their first shutout since June 9, ending a streak of 79 straight games in which they’d scored at least one run, the longest such streak in the majors this year.

Coco Crisp put on a show for the A’s against his former team. He robbed Ryan Kalish — batting leadoff — of a homer to lead off the game in the top of the first inning, and went 3-for-3 with three steals and a walk.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

–The Boston bullpen turned in an impressive night to prevent the game from getting out of hand after Buchholz’ departure. Dustin Richardson, who had allowed all five batters he’d faced over his previous three appearances to reach base (four walks and a single), elicited a double play grounder after inheriting a first-and-second, no-out situation in the second, allowing him to avoid any further damage. He produced a pair of shutout innings, the longest relief outing of his career. He was followed into the game by Michael Bowden (two shutout innings), Robert Coello (two shutout innings) and Robert Manuel (shutout inning).

Ryan Kalish, in addition to nearly hitting a homer to lead off the game before it was pulled back by Crisp, also once again demonstrated his strong arm, cutting down Crisp at third with a strong throw on a fly out to center.

Josh Reddick continued his impressive run, as his double improved him to 5-for-10 since his call-up earlier in the week, a continuation of his scorching conclusion of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Lars Anderson, playing his first big league game in the ballpark where he grew up attending games, drew his first career walk. For more on Anderson’s homecoming, click here.

Read More: Athletics, Clay Buchholz, Coco Crisp, cy young
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