Sunday, March 9, 2014
The annual Red Sox Rookie Camp continued Wednesday at Boston College with the media session. With no Anthony Rizzo to take center stage, several reporters sought out catcher Ryan Lavarnway.
Catcher is always going to be a hot topic in Boston until a suitable replacement can be found for Jason Varitek. Obviously, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be given a chance, but he is more potential than proven.
Of course, all those gathered at BC Wednesday are there for their potential. Of the group of 11, 10 of them could conceivably find their way to Portland in April. Reliever Robert Coello will be in Pawtucket, and on a shuttle to Fenway when needed.
Of the remaining 10, reliever Jason Rice is likely headed to Triple-A. He spent all last year in Portland and has a major league fastball. He is still looking for control and a second out pitch (he developed a cutter in the off season).
Outfielder Juan Carlos Linares, 26, could go to Pawtucket if the Red Sox decide to push him. But he has yet to play a full season in the U.S.
Sea Dogs starter Stephen Fife is on the cusp of Triple-A, but could at least start the season in Portland.
Lavarnway is coming back to Hadlock, with Mark Wagner and Luis Exposito ahead of him in Pawtucket. Right-hander Alex Wilson has had only half a season in Double-A so he should be back.
Minor league free agent pitcher Clevelan Santeliz was in Triple-A for the White Sox last year. He could go to Portland or Pawtucket.
The others at the rookie camp will be in Portland for the first time - pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, catcher Tim Federowicz, and infielders Oscar Tejeda and Will Middlebrooks.
See the Press Herald story on the rookie camp.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias was not at the camp, have taken part last year. Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen said Iglesias will get a long look at spring training before deciding whether to send him to Portland or Pawtucket.
Hazen also had a report on Ryan Westmoreland, 20, the Sox prospect who underwent brain surgery to remove a cavernous malformation nearly a year ago. Westmoreland's recovery has been slow, but steady.
"He's down in Fort Myers working out, hitting and throwing. The original diagnosis was that it was going to take some time. We're not going to make any hard line prediction or a time frame when he will come out and actually play a game ... We're seeing steady progress. It still is going to take a while to get him back where he was."
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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