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Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks, Travis Shaw mashing; Nick Longhi’s promising year comes to early end; Bryce Brentz starts back 07.24.14 at 1:03 pm ET
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Will Middlebrooks hit his third homer of the month on Wednesday. (AP)

Will Middlebrooks hit his third homer of the month on Wednesday. (AP)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 LEAD (SUSPENDED IN FOURTH INNING) AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)

(BOX)

– Before the game’s suspension, Will Middlebrooks went 1-for-2, slamming his third homer in 14 rehab games this month with the PawSox. He’s hitting .313/.358/.563 in July.

– First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-2 before the game was suspended. The 24-year-old has now reached base in all 19 games in which he’s played in July, hitting .324/.430/.544 during the stretch.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-2 LOSS VS. BINGHAMTON (METS)

(BOX)

Sean Coyle launched his 12th homer of the year, snapping a 12-game homerless drought, as part of a 1-for-3 game in which he also elicited a walk. July has represented the first month of struggle for Coyle this year, as the 22-year-old is hitting just .220/.279/.407 in 18 contests this month. But he’s shown recent signs of emerging from the funk, as he’s 6-for-15 with the homer and two walks in his last four games, bringing his line back up to .326/.401/.562. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bryce brentz, javier guerra, luis alexander basabe, nick longhi
Bryce Brentz rehabbing in Fort Myers after hamstring setback 06.21.14 at 6:14 pm ET
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At a time when the Red Sox have been desperate for outfield production and right-handed bats, Bryce Brentz has been notably absent from the discussion. Brentz has been out since tweaking a hamstring on May 15. Initially, the injury was considered mild enough that he was characterized as day-to-day before landing on the disabled list several days later. However, during the rehab process, Brentz suffered a recurrence of the injury, and he’s currently in Fort Myers as he works to get healthy. One team source said he’s out for at least a couple more weeks. The 25-year-old is hitting .230 with a .335 OBP and .430 slugging mark.

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PawSox OF Bryce Brentz waiting to get healthy before thinking about major league call-up 06.10.14 at 11:23 am ET
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(Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

Bryce Brentz’s injuries the last two seasons have prevented the outfielder from making his major league debut. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — When Bryce Brentz made an impression on the Red Sox with his strong performance during spring training, there was not a spot on the roster that the outfielder could fill. Grady Sizemore was the comeback story of the spring, Daniel Nava was the leadoff hitter and coming off the best season of his career, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was firmly established as the next man up should someone sustain an injury. There simply was not room for Brentz, a 2010 supplemental first-round pick.

Fast forward two months and the Red Sox outfielders collectively are the worst group in the majors, hitting .214/.295/.320 with a -0.8 WAR. While the Red Sox could potentially utilize Brentz’s services considering the group’s offensive struggles, Brentz is not in any position to help — the outfielder has a bum hamstring and has not played in a game since mid-May.

The hamstring injury that Brentz sustained has been so slow to heal that he underwent an MRI before Monday’s game to make sure that there wasn’t anything structurally wrong.

While he is frustrated with his situation, Brentz does not dwell on the possibility that he could be in the majors right now were he not injured.

“I don’t really pay attention to it” Brentz said. “It doesn’t bother me. What goes on up there, they’ve got to take care of what they can take care of and what they can control and what they think is best for the team. Right here with my position, I’ve got to take care of myself and get myself healthy before I can think of anything beyond that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of Anthony Ranaudo; Brian Johnson, Daniel McGrath dominate; Blake Swihart, southpaw slayer; injuries for Deven Marrero, Wendell Rijo 05.21.14 at 11:37 am ET
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Anthony Ranaudo has a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts. (AP)

Anthony Ranaudo has a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-0 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE

(BOX)

– There was one sequence in the top of the sixth inning that stood out in the day of Anthony Ranaudo. With a runner on first (followinga leadoff walk) and no outs, a left-handed hitter — Kyle Roller — stepped to the plate. First pitch: changeup with arm side fade, swing and miss. Second pitch: Backdoor curveball on the outside corner, called strike. Third pitch: Fastball on the hands, swing and miss.

It was a sequence that suggests a big league starting pitcher’s arsenal — after some refinements are achieved.

To be sure, Ranaudo isn’t a finished product. His fastball control (on a pitch that once touched 96 mph on the McCoy Stadium scoreboard, but mostly sat at 93 mph) came and went at times, most notably in a 27-pitch first-inning labor in which a pair of walks and a double led to a bases-loaded, one-out jam. But he worked around that with a strikeout and pop-out, commencing a stretch in which he retired 11 of 13. On the day, he ended up allowing just one run (a solo homer on an elevated fastball) in 5 2/3 innings, yielding four hits but punching out seven (while walking four). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anthony ranaudo, blake swihart, brian johnson, bryce brentz
Red Sox minor league roundup: Bryce Brentz mashing (and walking); Mookie Betts achieves absurdity against lefties; Salem’s strikeout machines 04.29.14 at 12:42 pm ET
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Bryce Brentz homered on Monday. (Jim Allen/Portland Sea Dogs)

Bryce Brentz homered on Monday. (Jim Allen/Portland Sea Dogs)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-2 WIN AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)

(BOX)

Bryce Brentz continued a torrid run production stretch, going 1-for-4 with a homer and a walk. The 25-year-old is starting to combine extra-base pop with an ability to take walks, with a .340/.400/.566 line with five walks and 11 strikeouts in 15 games since April 14. All three of his homers have come against lefties. His 12 walks in April are tied for the third most in any month of his career (career-high: 15 in August 2012 in Portland).

– Outfielder Daniel Nava wasted no time feeling sorry for himself after being sent down. Nava, who played center field on Monday, added to his strong Pawtucket run by going 2-for-4 with a double and walk, improving to .333/.421/.600 in four games.

– Right-hander Allen Webster struck out just one batter but threw strikes with 63 percent of his 82 offerings and got loads (specifically, 10) of groundouts in permitting one run on five hits in six innings. The 24-year-old has a 2.78 ERA for the year, though just 4.7 strikeouts per nine innings (compared to 4.2 walks per nine).

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-6 WIN VS. READING (PHILLIES) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: brian johnson, bryce brentz, corey littrell, mookie betts
Red Sox minor league roundup: The education of Henry Owens; Sean Coyle, Mookie Betts deliver undersized feats of strength; Cody Kukuk cruises 04.15.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sean Coyle slammed his second homer of 2014 for Double-A Portland on Monday. (Salem Red Sox)

Sean Coyle slammed his second homer of 2014 for Double-A Portland on Monday. (Salem Red Sox)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-5 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 3-for-5 with his second homer of the year, a no-doubter to left field in which he stayed back on a breaking ball from left-hander Edgar Ibarra. It’s been an inconsistent start to the 2014 campaign for Brentz, who sandwiched Monday’s 3-for-5 night and a 2-for-5 night with a homer last Thursday around an 0-for-10, three-game stretch. Yet it is worth noting that Brentz negotiated four walks during that three-game hitless streak, and he now has seven walks for the season. Since reaching the upper levels of the minors for the start of the 2012 season, Brentz only has two months in which he’s taken more walks than he has this April — last April, when he walked nine times in Pawtucket, and June 2012, when he walked 15 times with Portland. He’s hitting .195/.313/.366 this year.

– Third baseman Garin Cecchini, who turns 23 on Sunday, went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. The double ended a stretch of eight straight games without an extra-base hit, while the walk was Cecchini’s first in seven games. On the year, he’s hitting .310/.370/.357 with four walks and eight strikeouts.

– Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo permitted five runs on eight hits (two triples, a double and five singles) while walking three and striking out five. Through three starts this year in Pawtucket, the 24-year-old has allowed 14 runs (though just 10 earned) in 14 2/3 innings, with 16 strikeouts, eight walks and an opponents’ batting average of .311.

Rich Hill had his second straight outstanding appearance, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit and struck out three. That performance came three days after he likewise tossed two shutout innings while allowing one hit and striking out two. In five games, he has a 2.08 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and four walks. Opponents are hitting .167 against the 34-year-old, with lefties having gone 1-for-10 against the veteran.

– After a hot start, catcher Christian Vazquez has cooled considerably. After a 1-for-5 game on Monday, the 23-year-old is 4-for-28 with two walks and six strikeouts in his last seven games.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 9-4 WIN VS. BINGHAMTON (METS)

(BOX)

–Though Sean Coyle has been displaced at second base by the ascendance of Mookie Betts, Feats of Coyle did their own displacing, at least for a day, on Monday. The (mostly) third baseman went 3-for-4 with his second homer of the season and two steals. Between the 5-foot-8 Coyle and the 5-foot-9 Betts, the Sox have two of the unlikelier-looking impact hitters in the Eastern League. In 10 games, Coyle is hitting .343 with a .410 OBP and .543 slugging mark along with four steals in as many attempts. Though he strikes out with considerable frequency (including this year, when he’s punched out in 28 percent of his plate appearances), he shows the ability to make a considerable impact on the ball when he makes contact. He also is an asset on the bases, as suggested by the fact that he’s now 31-for-31 in steals in High-A and Double-A. When he was at second, he looked like a player with the upside of being a more athletic version of Dan Uggla. Though he’s moved over primarily to third (with occasional games at second when Betts isn’t playing there), the 22-year-old is offering a glimpse of that considerable potential again in his first exposure to Portland.

Coyle cleared the Maine Monster in deep left-center. Here’s a look: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bryce brentz, cody kukuk, henry owens, kevin heller
Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Brentz go deep but Henry Owens struggles as Red Sox fall to Orioles 03.08.14 at 4:12 pm ET
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Will Middlebrooks hit his first homer of the spring on Saturday. (AP)

Will Middlebrooks hit his first homer of the spring on Saturday. (AP)

Will Middlebrooks is at his best when he’s driving the ball to the opposite field, capitalizing on his considerable all-fields strength to deny opposing pitchers a go-to area against him. Thus it came as one of his more promising signs of the early spring that the third baseman got ahead in the count against Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter — a notoriously tough opponent for right-handed hitters — and drove a 2-1 pitch out to right-center for his first homer of the spring.

Outfielder Bryce Brentz, meanwhile, continued to offer a glimpse into his considerable power, going deep to left against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. The homer was Brentz’s third of the spring in 19 plate appearances; he’s 6-for-18 with a walk and seven strikeouts.

“He’s had a very productive camp so far,” manager John Farrell told reporters of Brentz prior to Saturday’s split-squad game against the Orioles in Sarasota. “You see the raw skills. You see the raw power. He’s got all-field power. With that comes along with some aggressive and maybe some swing and miss in there.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bryce brentz, spring training 2014, Will Middlebrooks,
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