|As the roster churns: Why the Red Sox made six roster moves with more to come||05.24.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
It is the busiest transaction day of the year for the Red Sox, who made six roster moves with more to come in the coming days. Here’s a look at the moves that were made and the moves that likely will be made, with a brief explanation for each:
SHANE VICTORINO PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LEFT HAMSTRING STRAIN), RETROACTIVE TO MAY 21
Victorino had been unable to play for the last three games. The Red Sox roster is currently running thin, given that the bullpen was nearly emptied in Thursday’s 12-3 blowout loss to the Indians and that Victorino and Will Middlebrooks both faced injuries. While the Sox had planned to wait until closer to the one-week mark of Victorino’s stretch of being unable to play before making a decision on him, the need to summon reinforcements from the minors somewhat forced the Sox’ hands. So, too, did the fitful progress he’d made since suffering the injury. It hadn’t been a straight-line improvement, but instead an up-and-down trajectory. Given that, the Sox, according to manager John Farrell, felt that Victorino was “in need of this extended time and treatment.”
Victorino is hitting .283/.343/.362 while playing dazzling right field defense in 34 games this year. He’s missed 14 games due to back injuries and the hamstring. This is his first stint on the DL this year.
WILL MIDDLEBROOKS PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LOWER BACK STRAIN) Read the rest of this entry »
PAWTUCKET — Shane Victorino missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury on Thursday, and while the outfielder’s condition is improving and the soreness is subsiding, a DL stint isn’t completely out of the question at this point. If Victorino were to be sidelined for more than a few days, Jackie Bradley Jr. would be the most obvious candidate to be recalled to reinforce the roster, right?
Well, not so fast.
Bradley missed a couple weeks of action with tendinitis in his biceps, but has been swinging a hot bat since returning from the disabled list. The 23-year-old is 6-for-16 (.375) in his first four games since coming off the DL with a double, a triple, and his first Triple-A home run.
But he’s not ready to return to game action on an everyday basis, and a protocol has been designed to ensure that Bradley’s arm is allowed to heal properly. After playing three times in four days, splitting time between the outfield and designated hitter, Bradley took some time off before getting back on the field, sitting out of Tuesday’s game and taking advantage of Pawtucket’s off-day on Wednesday before returning to the lineup with a 2-for-5 performance as the center fielder on Thursday. He’ll also play on Friday, after which PawSox manage Gary DiSarcina said he will be re-evaluated to determine a new protocol going forward.
With there possibly being a need for an outfielder at the major league level, sticking to a laid–out game plan could, understandably, make a player impatient. But Bradley knows that following the protocol is necessary.
“They want the best for me, you kind of do what you’ve got to do to get fully healthy,” says Bradley. “You’re never really going to play at 100 percent during the whole season but you got to make sure you can give 100 percent that day. Them resting me, it’s just a protective measure to make sure I’m all healed up.”
DiSarcina understands the need to get Bradley fully healthy, but is confident that he’d be ready to go if the Red Sox needed him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Reassessing Allen Webster’s big league readiness; Blake Swihart injured; Mookie Betts dazzles||05.20.13 at 12:18 pm ET|
This isn’t the same Allen Webster who opened eyes in spring training.
The right-hander currently in Triple-A Pawtucket bears some important similarities to the pitcher who showed off-the-charts stuff down in the Grapefruit League. His stuff verges on unhittable at times, as when he allowed one hit (a single) and permitted just two balls out of the infield in five innings on Sunday while punching out seven and getting swings and misses on 15 of his 92 offerings. Certainly, his 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and .158 opponents’ batting average along with a 2.40 ERA are eye-openers. The pitch mix is electric.
But whereas his improved command in spring training — highlighted by a 14-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate — was one of the biggest show stoppers in camp, Webster’s command has regressed recently in Pawtucket.
Sunday underscored the trend. Webster was filthy out of the gate, retiring the first 11 batters he faced in order. However, he then allowed five of the next six batters he faced to reach, walking four of them in the process and missing the strike zone badly with a number of pitches. As a result, on a day when he had incredible stuff, Webster managed to work just five innings while throwing 92 pitches (48 for strikes — just 52 percent).
He’s now walked nine batters in his last 10 innings. In 30 innings in Triple-A this year, he’s walked 15 batters, a rate of 4.5 per nine innings. As much as the 23-year-old’s extraordinary stuff and ability to get both swings and misses and tons of grounders creates general enthusiasm about his big league future, the fact that he has dominant major league stuff does not necessarily mean he’s major league ready. After all, with his current command and pitch efficiency issues, Webster confronts some of the same issues that have been areas of concern for left-hander Felix Doubront. In eight starts this year between Triple-A and the majors, he’s worked more than five innings just twice.
The temptation when seeing a remarkable talent such as Webster is to focus on his ceiling. But it will take time before he is capable of scraping it.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-3 WIN VS. INDIANAPOLIS (PIRATES) Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Matt Barnes settles in; Jackie Bradley, Garin Cecchini hit the ground running; Bryce Brentz walks off||05.18.13 at 10:30 am ET|
Right-hander Matt Barnes has now settled into a string of consistently solid starts with Double-A Portland. On Friday, he allowed three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in six innings on Friday. (Two of the runs came in his sixth and final inning.) Over his last four starts, he now has a 1.96 ERA with 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 23 innings.
On Friday, he had his best velocity of the season, sitting at 95 mph and reaching 97 mph, all with command down and on the corners. Still, that comes as little surprise given that Barnes was comfortably in the mid-90s with command for most of his first professional season in 2012.
That being the case, his secondary stuff will always be the most significant aspect in determining the pace of his development and his ultimate projection. One evaluator who saw Barnes recently spoke highly of the progress that the right-hander has made with his changeup, which has developed at times into being his primary secondary offering. His curveball has been an effective pitch at times, but he’s made considerable strides in the ability to pull the string on a legitimate changeup since he started his pro career, giving him a pitch capable of keeping hitters from cheating on his powerful fastball.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN VS. GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-5 with a double and a three-run, walkoff homer with one out in the ninth. He’s starting to heat up, hitting for average, power and driving in runs in bunches. In his last nine games, Brentz is hitting .389/.421/.639 with two homers, five doubles and an RBI per game, bringing his line for the year to .280/.335/.510 with seven homers. He’s tied for fourth in the International League in RBIs with 29, thanks to a .328/.384/.612 line with runners on base (compared to a .237/.293/.421 line with the bases empty).
As Tim Britton of the Providence Journal recently noted, Brentz, 24, is trying to put his offseason gun accident behind him through his play. Though he still hears taunts from fans about the incident, he is trying to bring the focus to what he’s accomplishing on the field.
“Anytime something like that happens, your play is going to get the past behind you,” Brentz told Britton. “For anybody who’s ever done anything in baseball or had an offseason accident, their play is what makes people forget. It’s just bad that I put the organization through that situation, that the fans had to read about it.”
– Jackie Bradley Jr., 23, returned from a stint on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis and, serving as the designated hitter, went 1-for-3 with a triple, walk and hit by pitch. The walk was arguably his most impressive plate appearance of the night, an 11-pitch marathon against a left-handed reliever (Ryan Buchter) to lead off the ninth inning and set in motion a three-run, game-winning rally. It was Bradley’s first game in two weeks. He’s now hitting .304/.418/.391 in 12 Triple-A games this year. Read the rest of this entry »
|It’s official: Jackie Bradley Jr. won’t be eligible for free agency after 2018||05.06.13 at 5:01 pm ET|
Triple-A Pawtucket placed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to May 4) due to tendinitis in his right biceps. He’d sat out the last two games due to the condition, and he’d been limited to designated hitter duties prior to that.
Wednesday will mark Bradley’s 20th day in the minor leagues since being optioned to Triple-A by the Red Sox. As such, he will remain on the DL through the date when he will have spent enough time in the minors for the Sox to avoid having him gain free agent eligibility after the 2018 season.
Of course, the DL stint merely confirms what had already become inevitable. Of greater significance to the Sox and Bradley is the opportunity for the center fielder to get back on the field.
Bradley is hitting .302 with a .400 OBP in 11 Triple-A games.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Reins loosening on Rubby De La Rosa; Ks pile up for Brandon Workman; Jackie Bradley Jr. sidelined||at 1:01 pm ET|
A brief look at Sunday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS VS. DURHAM (RAYS)
– A quartet of Rays pitchers, led by seven innings from pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, combined to throw the first nine-inning no-hitter against the PawSox since 1994, when right-hander Jose Lima went the distance in doing so.
– Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, who’d been subject to an approximate 50-pitch limit through the first month of the season, will have the reins loosen a little bit starting with his Monday outing against the Gwinnett Braves. According to the Pawtucket Times, De La Rosa will be permitted to throw around 70-75 pitches.
The Sox created workload restrictions on the 24-year-old in deference to the fact that a) this is his first healthy full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2011 and b) he’s never thrown more than 110 innings in a season in his pro career.
Still, after De La Rosa tossed three scoreless innings in each of his last two starts — most notably, a three-inning, five-strikeout, one-walk effort in his last turn of the rotation — the Sox felt it was time to start to get the young right-hander stretched out.
“Ultimately you want to protect his arm because of the surgery he had,” PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina told the Times. “Rubby’s going to tell us when it’s time to stretch him out and he’s been telling us with his performance over the last outing or two. Sooner or later, you’ve got to release the reins.”
In five starts, De La Rosa has a 7.11 ERA with 13 strikeouts and eight walks in 12 2/3 innings.
– Catcher Ryan Lavarnway went 0-for-2 but drew a pair of walks, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 17 to start the year. The 25-year-old has 12 walks and nine strikeouts as part of a .317/.429/.500 line.
– Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, in his first appearance since tossing four scoreless innings on April 30, made his eighth straight scoreless appearance, tossing a clean inning in which he got three groundball outs. He has a 0.52 ERA in 17 1/3 innings this year, and lefties are 2-for-22 (.091) against him.
– Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who sat out of the last two games, could land on the seven-day DL due to a biceps injury. In 11 Triple-A games, Bradley is hitting .302/.400/.349. He’d been restricted to DH duties in recent days.
– Jose Iglesias was removed in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game due to what manager Gary DiSarcina described to reporters as a “manager’s decision,” the same term applied by DiSarcina on Sunday to explain why the 23-year-old shortstop was not in the PawSox lineup. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Xander Bogaerts continues to affirm top prospect status; Anthony Ranaudo dominates; Christian Vazquez intrigues||05.03.13 at 11:06 am ET|
This is why Xander Bogaerts is the top prospect in the Red Sox system. At 20, he continues to out-perform much older players at an advanced level even as he continues his education in the game.
For the first time in 2013, Bogaerts went deep for Double-A Portland on Thursday, driving a first-inning, solo homer to the opposite field in right-center. The homer ended his longest fence-clearing drought (21 games) in any of his three seasons playing with Red Sox full-season minor league affiliates. It was part of a 2-for-5 day that also included a double for the 20-year-old, and although his power numbers have been a bit slower than usual to develop this year, it is hard not to be impressed by what he’s doing.
He started slowly this year, his timing disrupted by criss-crossing the globe during the World Baseball Classic and by the fact that he had limited playing time for Team Netherlands before returning to Red Sox big league camp late in the spring. Bogaerts started the year out of sync — through nine games, he hit .171 with no extra-base hits, one walk and 14 strikeouts — but subsequently made the necessary adjustments to excel.
“[The season-opening struggle] all started in spring training when he got back from the WBC. He came back and he was a little concerned about his playing time and making sure he was getting his at-bats,” said Portland manager Kevin Boles. “He felt very uncomfortable at the plate and at the time he wasn’t very confident at the plate late in spring training. That’s how much he cares, that even though the at-bats in spring training don’t count, he wanted to make sure he was right. Read the rest of this entry »
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- ESPNBoston: De La Rosa finding his way in Pawtucket
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