|Ryan Lavarnway called up as David Ross put on 7-day disabled list||05.12.13 at 2:53 pm ET|
Prior to the Red Sox’ series finale against the Blue Jays, catcher Ryan Lavarnway was activated to the 25-man roster, with David Ross going on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
While no official word on the cause of the concussion was given, Ross was hit in the facemask via foul balls multiple times during the Red Sox’ Saturday loss to the Jays.
Update: After the Red Sox’ 12-4 loss to the Jays, Ross said that foul balls off the bat of Colby Rasmus and Emilio Bonafacio on Saturday were the cause of the concussion. Ross reported some headaches and fogginess Saturday night. The only other occasion the catcher has experienced a concussion was in 2007, after being run over by Mike Cameron.
“He felt those symptoms come on late last night. and given his position we can’t put him at risk with any additional foul balls or foul-tips to the mask,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Sunday’s game. “So it’s the seven-day DL that he’s on.”
It is the second time this season Lavarnway has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was hitting .313 with an .883 OPS to go along with a pair of home runs. He had totaled multiple-hit performances in three of his last five games.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Making sense of Mookie Betts; Jose Iglesias returns; Franklin Morales sharp; Drake Britton becoming efficient||05.09.13 at 11:58 am ET|
The performance of second baseman Mookie Betts with Single-A Greenville this season looks unlike anything else seen in the minors in 2013.
The 2011 high school fifth-rounder, went 2-for-5 with a homer (his third of the year) and double, three walks, a steal and no strikeouts in the double header, in the process continuing his utterly fascinating debut in full-season ball. The 20-year-old is hitting just .184 but with a .390 OBP and .333 slugging mark, along with three homers and six steals, on the season. The disparity between average and OBP is something that has almost never been seen in the annals of major league history.
But Betts is performing as more than just a statistical anomaly. Since April 25, Betts is hitting .233 but with an astonishing .540 OBP (seventh-best in all of the minors in that span — and of the six played ahead of his, none is hitting less than .381) and .433 slugging mark and a minor-league best 20 walks (no one else has more than 14) with just five strikeouts in 50 plate appearances.
Betts is not a physically imposing player. However, though listed at 5-foot-9 and 156 pounds, he has some juice in his bat at times, as became evident when he crushed his homer on Wednesday.
“He’s worth watching,” said one NL talent evaluator. “He’s wiry strong, has got a little bat speed and strength, runs a little bit.”
At a relatively young age (20), Betts demonstrates an advanced approach, excellent knowledge of the strike zone and good bat control (hence the low strikeout rates). The Sox think he’s at his best when staying up the middle and hitting to the opposite field, though the team would also like to see him take some chances with more aggressive swings early in the count when he has good pitches to hit. Even so, Betts has shown consistently good at-bats, making him the most intriguing position prospect on the Greenville team thus far this year.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-1 WIN AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Jose Iglesias returned to the PawSox lineup after being pulled in the middle of Saturday’s game for a manager’s decision and then sitting the next three contests. He went 1-for-5, and is now hitting .233/.273/.384 in Triple-A.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Reins loosening on Rubby De La Rosa; Ks pile up for Brandon Workman; Jackie Bradley Jr. sidelined||05.06.13 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: As Felix Doubront falters, Allen Webster dominates; epic homer for Xander Bogaerts; Garin Cecchini, hottest hitter in minors?||05.04.13 at 7:46 am ET|
On a day where Felix Doubront struggled badly in the big leagues and showed diminished velocity that manager John Farrell acknowledged to be “a little bit of a concern,” it was difficult to overlook what was happening in Triple-A.
Right-hander Allen Webster had a season-high nine strikeouts while giving up just one run on two hits and no walks in six innings. It was his seventh career outing with nine or more punchouts, his first above Double-A. Webster now has 26 strikeouts (11.7 per nine innings) and six walks (2.7 per nine) in 20 Triple-A innings this year, continuing to cement the impression that he’s implemented a couple of adjustments successfully to allow him to attack the strike zone with relative efficiency — a trait that eluded Doubront on Friday night, and that indeed has eluded him for much of his time in a big league rotation.
On his 94 pitches on Friday night, Webster got 16 swings and misses, with plenty evidently in the tank at the end. Webster struck out the side in his sixth and final frame (requiring just 12 pitches to do so), and he allowed baserunners in just one of six innings he pitched. The fact that he’s pitching on Doubront’s day in the rotation suggests that it would be straightforward to slot the young right-hander into the big leagues should the “little bit of concern” about the left-hander warrant a spell on the sidelines.
Here’s a look at Webster’s nine strikeouts:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX:4-1 WIN VS. DURHAM (RAYS)
|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 »
|Red Sox notes: Daniel Bard explains Saturday night struggles; Ryan Lavarnway sent down||04.28.13 at 12:12 am ET|
After what was perceived as a fairly significant step forward in his road back to a relied-upon major league reliever, Daniel Bard took a step back Saturday night during the Red Sox’ 8-4 win over Houston.
Making his second appearance with the Red Sox this season, Bard came on in the eighth inning and threw just nine pitches, eight of which were balls. The wildness resulted in two walks and a charged run after Matt Dominguez’ RBI single off Bard’s replacement, Alex Wilson.
“My slot got a little high,” said Bard, who threw all fastballs to both Carlos Pena and Carlos Corporan. “I was locked in in the bullpen. I was throwing it as good as I can throw the ball and then I got into the game it probably crept up a little high, which is usually not what I want to be doing. Just a matter of adjusting it back to a lower slot. It’s nice when you’re able to recognize it right away, get to work and fix it for the next time.”
In his previous appearance, Bard threw eight of his 18 pitches in the strike zone, coming away with 10 strikes. He finished the outing – his first since being promoted from Double-A Portland – giving up a hit while striking out one.
After walking Pena on four pitches, Bard received a visit from pitching coach Juan Nieves.
“He said it was my tempo, said I was a little slower to the plate than I had been,” the reliever said. “I think that’s probably a valid point. Nothing major. I think it’s just slot wasn’t there and I didn’t have time to make adjustments – that’s on me.
“You learn from it and move on. Fortunately we still won the game and I think that’s all that really matters in the end.”
“I think Bardo was maybe going a little too slow,” said Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “His momentum, tempo was a little slow. I know we’ve talked about it. When he’s quicker to the plate, he’s been downward angle and getting the ball in the zone. He still had the good stuff, still throwing hard. Nothing I don’t think that he can’t fix pretty easily. Wilson did a great job. We needed that. He came in a tough situation, got us out of a big jam, struck out a good hitter with the bases loaded. That was big.”
- After the game, catcher Ryan Lavarnway was told he would be heading back down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Sunday’s starting pitcher, John Lackey.
“I’m working my butt off down there and it’s been noticed,” he said before leaving the clubhouse. “I just going to go down and keep doing my thing and keep getting better every day.
“For me the more repetition I get, the better I’m going to keep getting. If there’s not a defined role for me here this is probably the best move for me.”
Lavarnway, who was called up Thursday, didn’t get an at-bat during his three-game stint with the Sox. He had been hitting .310 with a homer, seven RBI and seven walks in 11 games. The catcher had also thrown out four of eight baserunners attempting to steal.
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel like, at the plate, I’m at a place where I can make pitch-to-pitch adjustments on my own based on how I feel instead of having to finish the at-bat and ask the hitting coach advice. Last year I was kind of searching. This year I know what direction I want to be going in and I’m on my way.”
- Reliever Craig Breslow took a positive step toward rejoining the Red Sox Saturday night, throwing a scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket against Columbus at McCoy Stadium. Breslow — who was coming off a three-run stint in Portland, in which he didn’t get an out, in his first rehab outing — allowed a hit, a walk and struck out a batter while throwing 15 pitches (7 strikes). The lefty will throw for the PawSox again Sunday.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Keury De La Cruz’s tempo; Sean Coyle’s powerful return; Garin Cecchini’s hot streak||04.25.13 at 11:18 am ET|
Outfielder Keury De La Cruz collected his second walk-off hit of the year, pulling a double to right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning, as part of a 2-for-4 day in which he also walked and stole a pair of bases. De La Cruz, who seemingly drove at least one ball to (or over) the fences per game in Fort Myers during spring training, now appears to be heating up after a slow start. He has five extra-base hits in his last four games, a span in which he’s 6-for-16 with three walks.
The cluster of walks and extra-base hits is likely more than just a coincidence. De La Cruz, 21, is one of the most aggressive swingers in the Red Sox system, appearing to come out of his cleats at times while going after fastballs. While that sometimes gets him in trouble and leaves him prone to swing and miss, when he controls his effort level and zones in on pitches, his bat speed is such that he can generate plenty of pop with a more relaxed cut.
Perhaps that explains the disparity between De La Cruz’s numbers when hitting with the bases empty as opposed to with runners on base. So far this year, he’s hitting .176/.243/.294 with 12 strikeouts in 37 bases-empty plate appearances. With runners on base, that line shoots up to .306/.350/.528 with seven strikeouts in 40 plate appearances. With runners in scoring position, he’s been even better, hitting .346/.400/.654 with six strikeouts in 30 plate appearances.
When De La Cruz plays under control, his talents are considerable — as evidenced by the fact that he became the first 20/20 player in the Red Sox system since 2005 last year, as a 20-year-old. The performance with runners on base suggests that the corner outfielder possesses the ability to do so; the question he must continue to answer in the lower levels is how consistently he can find the right pace to his game.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: RAINED OUT AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Catcher Ryan Lavarnway will be called up to the Red Sox on Thursday, with Alfredo Aceves being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Lavarnway gives the Red Sox an extra right-handed bat at a time when Shane Victorino‘s availability could be in question in the immediate term after he experienced tightness in his lower back for the second time in five days. Read the rest of this entry »
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- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
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- Christian Vazquez’s new focus at the plate starting to pay off
- Cup of Coffee: Augliera dominant in Salem victory
- Players of the Week, May 6-12: Rubby De La Rosa and Mookie Betts