Thursday April 14, 2011 | 06:12 AM

With Boston, Pawtucket and the Sea Dog rained out, we can take a breath and look down a level in the minors, and see who might find their way to Hadlock Field sooner, rather than later.

Two players come to mind - left-handed relief pitcher Cesar Cabral, 22, and catcher Dan Butler, 23, both suiting up for advanced Class A Salem.

Cabral was take in the Rule V draft by Tampa Bay but, rather than keep him on the major league roster all year, he was returned to the Red Sox.

He made his second appearance on Wednesday (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K). He has not allowed a hit in three innings, so far.

Butler has been a surprise since he was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Arizona midway through the 2009 season. Butler has been excelling everywhere he's been, and even got invited to Houston for the major league exhibition game. He responded by hitting a home run.

Butler went 1-for-4 on Wednesday, but is still hitting .400 (4-for-10).

The Dogs are in New Britain tonight, while the Red Sox are off (giving Boston a chance to keep John Lackey out of the rotation for a week, while he and his 15.58 ERA, take a little extra time to figure things out).

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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