Friday January 07, 2011 | 06:47 AM

One aspect of the two-week Rookie Camp that the Red Sox will hold for a select few of their prospects this month is a one-hour session with the media - getting the kids ready for the army of reporters that invade Fenway Park.

There has always been a "star" or two among the bunch that the media flocked to. Last year, it was Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias.

I predicted last fall that the big story this winter would be Anthony Rizzo, the young, slugging first baseman.

But with Rizzo gone in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, there are a lot of maybes. Pitcher Stolmy Pimentel may be focus because of his reported potential, or it might be catcher Ryan Lavarnway because of his unique background (Yale) and growing potential.

Speaking of Rizzo, I found a San Diego Union-Tribune story by Bill Center on Jed Hoyer's thoughts about the prospects he acquired in the Gonzalez trade.

On Rizzo, Hoyer said, "I know that people have been putting his numbers next to Adrian's when they both played in Double-A in Portland. That is a tough thing to put on any player to compare him to Adrian. But certainly he's a prospect we all liked a lot."

For the record: Gonzalez played a full year in Portland (turning 20 in May). In 508 at-bats, he batted .266 with 17 home runs, 34 doubles and 96 RBI.

Rizzo joined the Sea Dogs in May (and he turned 21 in August). In 414 at-bats, he hit .263 with 20 home runs, 30 doubles and 80 RBI.

Remember that Hadlock was a little more hitter friendly in 2002 with no Maine Monster in left and only one level of signage in right field.

So, while we're on the subject of former Sea Dogs, a couple of transactions have taken place recently, including the Minnesota Twins signing minor league free agent Ray Chang. As the Sea Dogs third baseman last year, Chang, 27, batted .298.

Another transaction involved former Sea Dogs shortstop Argenis Diaz. The Pirates did not offer him a contract and the Detroit Tigers signed him. Diaz was once considered a prime Sox prospect but was traded to Pittsburgh in the Adam LaRoche deal in 2009.

Diaz, still only 23, played mostly Triple-A last year. He played 22 games in the majors and batted .242.

And, finally. Red Sox spring training tickets go on sale Saturday. See www.redsox.com for more information.

 

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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