PORTLAND – The Sea Dogs will arrive out of the cornfield this afternoon for the annual Field of Dreams day at Hadlock Field.
The beginning of the end. Another game Monday and that’s a wrap for the 2011 season.
Monday’s pregame activities will feature the end-of-year awards. Some of the recipients will not be there. The player of the year is either Chih-Hsien Chiang (traded) or Will Middlebrooks (promoted). Pitcher of the year will either be Alex Wilson (promoted) or Stephen Fife (traded).
The 10th man award could go to a few players, including Jon Hee or Ryan Khoury.
The citizen of the year award is anyone’s guess. Chris Cameron, assistant general manager/media relations, said this year’s Sea Dogs were “perhaps the best community-involved team we have ever had.”
NEXT YEAR’S team could look a lot like the one finishing up in Portland.
The pitching staff will have the biggest turnover. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger is surely headed for Triple-A or another organization. Relievers Blake Maxwell and Kyle Fernandes will be free agents and unlikely to return, given their limited opportunities with the Red Sox.
Here is a guess to some of next year’s roster.
Starting pitchers: Brock Huntzinger, Stolmy Pimentel and Cliff Hernandez are likely pieces in the rotation. Huntzinger will be back to develop his offspeed pitches, while Pimentel will get another shot at Double-A. Hernandez, a seventh-round draft pick last year, is 10-7 with a 2.90 ERA at Class A Salem.
Catchers: Dan Butler should assume the No. 1 spot.
Infielders: First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, second baseman Oscar Tejeda and shortstop Ryan Dent all figure to return, along with utility player Hee. The new third baseman is likely Kolbrin Vitek, the 2010 first-round draft pick who is hitting .281 in Salem, (.300 after the All-Star break).
Outfielders: Jeremy Hazelbaker, Ronald Bermudez and Mitch Dening should return, with Alex Hassan getting a bump to Triple-A.
Others from Salem could be coming to Portland next year, just not in April. They include pitcher Anthony Ranaudo and slugging outfielder Bryce Brentz (29 homers in Class A).
THE ARIZONA Fall League rosters were announced this week. Pawtucket and former Portland manager Arnie Beyeler will guide the Scottsdale Scorpions, which feature prospects from Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco.
Beyeler’s outfield not only has Hassan, but also the top two prospects in the minor leagues: Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Mike Trout (Angels).
All of the Red Sox participants played at least part of the season in Portland: Hassan, Butler, third baseman Middlebrooks, Huntzinger and fellow pitchers Jeremy Kehrt and William Latimer.
The Scorpions’ hitting coach will be Portland native Ken Joyce, currently the Giants’ Double-A hitting coach in Richmond, Va.
It will be interesting to note the progress of Huntzinger. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft unless the Red Sox put him on the 40-man roster before December. If he shows his stuff in Arizona, some team may take a chance on him.
Former Sea Dogs Fife (Dodgers) and Chiang (Mariners) will also play in the league, which runs from Oct. 4 through Nov. 17.
BEYELER HAS a playoff team to manage before going to Arizona, leading Triple-A Pawtucket into the International League postseason in his first season. He reached the playoffs in two of his four years with the Sea Dogs.
Pawtucket includes five players who began the season with Portland: pitchers Wilson and Tommy Hottovy, third baseman Middlebrooks, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin and catcher Ryan Lavarnway (although Lavarnway is expected to be called up to Boston this week).
THE MAJOR LEAGUE playoffs begin in four weeks and it looks more and more like Tim Wakefield will not be appearing in them.
The Red Sox are skipping Wakefield’s turn in the rotation this weekend and instead will throw him this week in Toronto.
Wakefield recorded his 199th career win on July 24 and has been winless in his six starts since. The Red Sox want Wakefield to get No. 200, but they also want to keep Andrew Miller starting.
“I know what’s on the line with (Wakefield) personally. I’m very aware of that,” Boston Manager Terry Francona said. “I think it’s my responsibility to always try to put our team in the best position. That’s what we’ll do.”
JOSH BECKETT was the latest inductee into the Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame. Beckett pitched in Portland in 2001 when the Sea Dogs were a Florida Marlins affiliate. He went 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings.
Wonder if another former Sea Dogs player from the Marlins era, who is now on the Red Sox, might be the next inductee?
NOTES: Baseball stat guru Bill Chuck points out that John Lackey is among 16 pitchers who have allowed four earned runs or more in at least 12 games. Lackey is 5-6 in those games. Of the rest, only the Mets’ Chris Capuano has more than two wins (three). … Shortstop Jose Iglesias hit his first career home run last week. He’s still batting only .233.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: