PORTLAND – Stolmy Pimentel possesses a live arm that can whip in a lively fastball. All that’s missing are the consistent mechanics to utilize that arm.
The same description once applied to former Sea Dogs pitcher Felix Doubront, now a member of the Red Sox rotation.
No question, the Red Sox want to see Pimentel follow the same path.
Pimentel made a solid return to Double-A baseball Friday, despite the Sea Dogs’ 5-4 loss to the Reading Phillies at Hadlock Field.
Miguel Abreu’s home run off reliever Aaron Kurcz (0-2) in the ninth inning was the difference.
Pimentel, 22, started and threw five innings, allowing seven hits, three runs (two earned), and no walks, while striking out seven. He featured a fastball that touched 95 mph, along with an effective change-up and slider. He has ditched his curveball.
“Everything was working, down in the zone,” Pimentel said. “Everything was good, except for the one inning when I got behind in the count.”
Were it not for a five-hit, three-run third inning, it would have been a brilliant outing.
“His fastball had some good velocity going,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “He had a good rhythm to his delivery.”
A good rhythm is vital for Pimentel, who was promoted to the Red Sox 40-man roster before the 2011 season. He began last year in Portland but after 15 starts he was 0-9 with a 9.12 ERA. He was demoted to Class A Salem.
“Last year, he fought his delivery a little bit,” Boles said.
Following Pimentel was Brock Huntzinger, a former Sea Dogs starter whose request to join the bullpen was granted. Huntzinger allowed one walk over two innings, needing only 17 pitches.
Bryce Brentz provided much of Portland’s early offense. He swatted a pair of doubles and scored twice. Juan Carlos Linares put Portland ahead 4-3 on a wind-aided sixth-inning homer to right field.
Kurcz entered in the eighth inning. With two outs, Reading’s Darin Ruf singled to right and advanced to second base when Bryce could not field the ball cleanly. Ruf scored on Stephen Susdorf’s bloop single, tying the game 4-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Linares was thrown out at home, trying to score on a wild pitch.
With two outs in the ninth, Abreu tagged a Kurcz fastball into the 20 mph jet stream, sending it to the right field bullpen.
In the bottom of the ninth, Justin Friend pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his fourth save.
NOTES: To make room for Pimentel on the Sea Dogs roster, the Red Sox released pitcher Michael Lee, an eighth-round pick from the 2008 draft. Lee, 25, made four relief appearances this year, with a 7.00 ERA. Chris Martin, originally scheduled to start Friday, will be the first pitcher in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka today. Jeremy Hazelbaker extended his hit streak to nine games, going 2-for-3. The paid attendance was 4,531.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: