The Portland Sea Dogs begin the second half of their season tonight in New Britain, where they will welcome back their All-Stars and two rehabbing Boston Red Sox players — reliever Manny Delcarmen and backup outfielder Jeremy Hermida.

Delcarmen, 28, went on the disabled list July 1 with a forearm strain. He’s scheduled to pitch an inning for the Sea Dogs tonight.

Hermida, 26, has been on the disabled list since June 10 with fractured ribs. He will play three games with the Sea Dogs, according to Boston.com.

Also rejoining the Sea Dogs will be Eastern League All-Stars Nate Spears, Ray Chang, Jason Rice and Stephen Fife. They took part in the league All-Star game festivities the past two days in Harrisburg, Pa.

Chang played shortstop and third base in Wednesday’s game, going 2 for 4. Spears played second and was 1 for 4 with an RBI. Rice faced three batters (walk, strikeout, foul out).

Fife didn’t participate in the game.

While the All-Star break is the traditional midway point in a season, the Eastern League schedule is already more than 60 percent complete.

And Portland appears destined for a second straight season of not reaching the playoffs (after four straight years of postseason play).

The top two teams in each division reach the playoffs. Portland (44-46) is fifth in the East Division, 101/2 games behind New Hampshire (55-36) and nine games behind Trenton (53-37).

While the Sea Dogs are full of prospects, Manager Arnie Beyeler has warned from the start that this talent is young. Now he seeks improvement.

“The guys are playing hard but sometimes we don’t play very good baseball,” Beyeler said. “We give the other team too many outs or put their batters into too many advantage counts.

“But that’s playing the game and learning.

“They’re young guys and they’re getting better. Hopefully this second half we’ll continue to get better.”

That youth is especially apparent in the rotation with Fife, 23; Casey Kelly, 20; Kyle Weiland, 23; Alex Wilson, 23; and Jeremy Kehrt, 24.

“We’ve got some young and real impressive arms,” Beyeler said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they stepped up and did real well in the second half.”

 

OF COURSE, a number of Sea Dogs showed enough improvement this year to get promoted to Triple-A, including starter Felix Doubront, relievers Tommy Hottovy and Santo Luis, first baseman Lars Anderson and outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Doubront also reached the majors and will make his third start for Boston on Friday.

 

DELCARMEN WAS ONCE one of the Sea Dogs relievers earning a promotion. That was back in 2005.

Now Delcarmen is in his fifth major-league season. He cruised through April and May this year with an ERA under 2.00, but then allowed 12 runs on 16 hits and eight walks over his last 71/3 innings.

The Red Sox are hoping the problem was the forearm strain.

Delcarmen said recently he was pain-free during bullpen sessions.

 

IN THE ALL-STAR game, Chang and Spears both had hits in the third inning. Spears’ RBI double produced the game’s first run. Then Chang scored on a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 East lead.

The West won 10-3, breaking open the game with a six-run seventh inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Chase ‘Arnaud of Altoona.

RED SOX PITCHER Clay Buchholz is expected to make one rehab start before returning to Boston’s rotation after going on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said Buchholz will pitch three or four innings Friday in Syracuse. Epstein said Buchholz is “healthy but we want him to test it.”

Third baseman Adrian Beltre, who had his hamstring tighten the day before the All-Star break, is not expected to go on the disabled list.

Pitcher Josh Beckett will make his second rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Pawtucket. He’s been sidelined since May with a lower back strain.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or kthomas@pressherald.com