Saturday November 13, 2010 | 06:39 AM

Back on April 7, 2008, it looked like the Boston Red Sox had themselves a true left-handed prospect. Dustin Richardson made his Double-A debut with the Portland Sea Dogs and struck out 10 in five innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run and 3 walks.

The 6-foot-6 lefty was tough on left-handed hitters and bore in on right-handers. After 3 starts, Richardson was 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 17 innings.

But baseball people don't use the term "small sample" for nothing. Richardson was not as effective after that. His fastball came in flat at times and was hit hard. He ended the season 7-10 with a 6.33 ERA.

But Richardson got new life as a reliever to begin the 2009 season in Portland. He ended up at Fenway Park, making three appearances (3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 K, 1 BB).

This season, Richardson was given a chance with three stints in the majors. He had a 4.15 ERA in 26 games (13 IP) and a frustrating 14 walks. Lefties knocked him around, hitting .360.

Richardson, who turns 27 in January, still has time to improve. But he will do it with another organization, after the Red Sox traded him to the Marlins on Friday, for left-hander Andrew Miller, a pitcher with lots of promise but little to show for it.

In 2006, Miller was drafted in the first round (sixth overall) by the Detroit Tigers and handed a $3.5-million signing bonus (Richardson was also drafted in 2006, in the fifth round, receiving $107,000).

Detroit traded Miller to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera deal. He has been a disappointment and hit bottom this past season, going 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA (28 strikeouts in 32 IP is encouraging).

Miller, 25, did not fare well in the minors, either, going 2-9 with a 5.35 ERA.

Maybe a new team helps out both lefties.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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