|Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks’ power showcase; Henry Owens not stagnating in Double-A; Trey Ball’s breakthrough stretch?||07.20.14 at 3:37 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-1 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Third baseman Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-4 with a solo homer to center. It was nearly Middlebrooks’ second homer in as many days (he was robbed of a homer by a tremendous leaping catch on Friday).
For now, Middlebrooks will continue to enjoy steady playing time in Pawtucket. But with the crowd that the Sox have on the left side of their infield between the big leagues (Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt) and Triple-A (Middlebrooks, Garin Cecchini, Deven Marrero), teams are closely monitoring the situation to see if the Sox start dealing what seems like surplus inventory from their minor league prospect pool.
– DH Carlos Rivero reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a homer and two walks. He is 8-for-12 with two walks in his last three games.
– Right-hander Brandon Workman tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while punching out six. He struggled with his control at times (59 of 99 pitches for strikes — a 60 percent rate) but shut down his opponents by getting a handful of groundball outs to complement his six punchouts.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 10-3 WIN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
|Red Sox pregame notes: Mookie Betts sent down to Pawtucket; Will Middlebrooks to get more at-bats in Triple-A; Rubby De La Rosa excelling in rehab-free season||07.19.14 at 6:59 pm ET|
While the return of Shane Victorino would seem to be good news for most involved with the Red Sox, the same likely can’t be said for youngster Mookie Betts, who was optioned down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the roster for the veteran outfielder.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said prior to Saturday’s game against the Royals that he was impressed with Betts, who posted a line of .235/.278/.382 in 10 games with the Red Sox, but also noted that the 21-year-old outfielder/infielder needs more seasoning and regular playing time elsewhere.
“I thought he managed his at-bats well,” Farrell said. “I thought he showed very good presence, or at least composure, for a guy who’s flown through our system. He’s a work in progress defensively, particularly in the outfield and he’ll continue to get exposure in center and in right field in Pawtucket while also playing some second base, so that’s the plan going forward for him defensively.”
Farrell acknowledged that it is unclear what the future holds for Betts in terms of finding a home on the diamond, as the established second baseman has seen most of his time in the Sox outfield this year due to both injuries and Dustin Pedroia holding the position for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t know that there’s a clear-cut answer to that right now,” Farrell said of Betts’ expected long-term position. “I think there’s going to be a number of things that contribute to that final positioning -- how the bat plays, how he further develops defensively, if it’s a good that potentially moves around to a number of positions. I wouldn’t rule that out, but to sit here today and say, ‘Mookie is going to be at this position for the next 10 years,’ I don’t have that answer or that crystal ball.”
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Alex Hassan streaking; Will Middlebrooks brouhaha; Michael Kopech, Kevin McAvoy make strong early impressions||at 8:53 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Outfielder Alex Hassan homered for the fourth straight game, going 1-for-3 with a walk and his sixth longball of the year. He’s amidst a few impressive streaks, among them, including a 12-game hitting streak and a 21-game streak of games in which he’s reached base via hit or walk. Since rejoining Pawtucket on June 10 following the first big league stint of his career, Hassan is hitting .374/.459/.661 with five homers and 22 extra-base hits in 31 games. He has an extra-base hit in 10 of the last 11 games.
– Outfielder Shane Victorino went 1-for-4 with a double while playing seven innings, giving him three hits in the last two rehab games (all against right-handed pitchers). The Red Sox will check in with Victorino on Saturday to see if he’s physically ready for activation from the disabled list.
– Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had an eventful rehab game, going 0-for-2 with an almost-three-run-homer that was instead brought back into the park by a leaping outfielder for a sacrifice fly and getting hit by a pitch that nearly incited a brawl. The plunking on the arm was delivered by Esmil Rogers, the same right-hander who ended Middlebrooks’ rookie season in 2012 by breaking his wrist with a fastball. According to the Providence Journal, Middlebrooks slammed his bat to the ground by home plate and expressed his displeasure with what he deemed to be an intentional pitch to Rogers.
‘He didn’t mean to hit me [in 2012],’ Middlebrooks told the Journal. ‘I didn’t agree with tonight just because there was a base open, he missed me and then he hit me. I didn’t agree with that. I thought that was bad baseball. I’m not a guy to charge the mound, especially here. I’m here trying to get my innings up, not trying to fight people. It [ticked] me off, yeah’¦ He should carry himself better than that. Think his emotions just got the better of him.’
– Right-hander Steven Wright allowed three runs on three hits (including a solo homer and double) by the time he’d gotten through just six outs, but the knuckleballer then settled to retire 17 of the last 19 batters he faced, permitting just one more hit (a single) with another batter reaching on an error. Wright totaled eight innings — his third straight outing of eight frames — in which he allowed the three runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He has a streak of five straight starts and seven of eight outings in which he’s worked at least seven innings, and in nine starts on the year, he has a 5-1 record, 2.21 ERA, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.1 walks per nine, with Triple-A opponents hitting just .188 against him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox pregame notes: Shane Victorino could be activated tomorrow; Will Middlebrooks nears return; Sox remain hopeful for second-half run||07.18.14 at 7:08 pm ET|
While the Red Sox only managed to post a 9-12 record in the 21 games that he played this season in the majors, there’s no denying that Shane Victorino brings a certain amount of panache to the table that the Red Sox have sufficiently lacked this year.
Whether it be his proficiency in patrolling right field (25.0 UZR in 2013, first amongst all right fields in AL ), talent at the plate (.294/.351/.451 line last season) or skills on the basepaths (23-for-26 in stolen base attempts with Boston), Victorino has certainly left a void on the roster during the 74 games that he’s missed this season with hamstring and back issues.
“We’ve missed his energy, we’ve missed his talents, his in-game decision, his instincts on the basepaths, we’ve missed a very good player for a majority of the year,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell before Friday’s game against the Royals.
However, it appears that the 33-year-old outfielder will not be sidelined for much longer, as Farrell stated that there’s a definite scenario that he could be activated before Saturday’s game. Victorino played all nine innings of Triple-A Pawtucket’s game against Buffalo Thursday, going 2-for-4 while showing no hesitancy to test his hamstring both out on the field and on the basepaths.
“He came out of last night in good shape physically, he ran the bases aggressively, went first to third a couple of different times, slid headfirst, a couple of base hits, made three plays in right field, so last night was a very good night for him and we anticipate him getting through tonight in a similar fashion physically and there’s a scenario which has him active for us tomorrow,” Farrell said.
|John Farrell knows do-or-die time is upon his Red Sox: ‘Each [game] has increasing signficance’||07.17.14 at 9:32 pm ET|
John Farrell can read the standings just like everyone else. He knows his team stands 43-52 heading into the final 67 games, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. He can also read a schedule. He knows full well that after this three-game series this weekend with Kansas City, the Red Sox have 13 straight games against three of the four teams ahead of them in the division.
It’s do-or-die time.
“Given where we are right now, yes,” Farrell said, confirming the characterization of this as the make-or-break part of the season. “That’s not to add pressure. That’s to say there’s some additional significance when you play the teams ahead of you. After we get through Kansas City, we’ve got the next 13 [games] or four consecutive series of teams ahead of us. Sixty-seven games remaining, each one has increasing significance as we go.”
After three with the Royals, the Red Sox have four in Toronto, followed by three on the road against the Rays. They come home for three against the Jays and three against the Yankees, overlapping the July 31 trade deadline. Did Farrell feel like he got a break to mentally prepare for the upcoming grind?
“Yeah for about a day-and-a-half, and now I’m ready to get going for [Friday],” Farrell said of his shortened All-Star break due to managing the AL All-Stars to a 5-3 win in Minneapolis.
“I think the four days gives guys a chance to mentally and physically take a break and get away from the game a little bit. [Xander Bogaerts] has been going at it pretty hard, not only in terms of what he’s been working on pregame but with every focus to be brought into the game, and he’s played regularly as well. We’ve given him a couple of days here and there, but I think the break mentally and physically was needed for him, and quite frankly, for a number of guys.”
|What did Red Sox do during All-Star break?||at 12:40 am ET|
With Jon Lester and Koji Uehara the lone All-Star representatives in Minnesota for the Red Sox (besides the coaching staff), many members of the team had a chance to relax before the grind of the second half of the season gets underway. Some decided to share their activities on social media.
First baseman Mike Napoli had dinner with some long-time friends in the North End.
‘ Jen Royle (@Jen_Royle) July 16, 2014
|Red Sox pregame notes: Tommy Layne added for Game 2; Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks and Mike Carp see progress in rehab||07.05.14 at 12:13 pm ET|
With the Red Sox set to take part in their second doubleheader of the season, the team added reinforcements before their day-long tilt against the Orioles.
Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that PawSox reliever Tommy Layne will be added to the roster as the team’s 26th player for Game 2 of the doubleheader (per MLB rules on day-night doubleheaders), giving Boston some needed depth in the bullpen.
Layne will be available to pitch in the second game of Saturday’s set at Fenway Park.
Layne, who signed a minor-league deal with Boston on November 15, 2013, has been one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for Pawtucket this season, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.51 ERA in 30 appearances.
The 29-year-old southpaw has been dominant this season against left-handed hitters, holding them to a minuscule .138 average, with 23 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Despite his stellar numbers against lefty batters, Farrell said that Layne has been more than just a left-handed specialist this season.
“He’s continued what he did in spring training, and that has been [being] very successful against left handers, he’s had decent ability to get good right-handed hitters out, so he’s not solely a situational type of lefty reliever,” Farrell said. “But the performance has been very consistent.”
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