Sunday July 17, 2011 | 08:34 AM

The Red Sox rolled out another left-handed reliever Saturday, and Randy Williams retired all three batters he faced.

To activate Williams onto the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated Tommy Hottovy for assignment. Hottovy may still end up in the Boston organization, or another team could claim him.

Hottovy, who began this season with his sixth stint in Portland, was a wonderful story, as he worked his way to making his major league debut. He pitched 8 games for Boston (4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K).

While he was effective at times, the Red Sox will be going with more experienced lefties - Williams and Franklin Morales.

Who will be the next former Sea Dogs player to reach the majors?

Ryan Lavarnway is certainly pushing for a call-up (at least in September, when rosters are expanded).

His numbers, since his promotion from Portland to Pawtucket, are outrageous:

29 G, .378 avg, 10 2B, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 11 BB, .444 OBP, .712 Slugging avg., 1.155 OPS.

Lavarnway could be called up before September, which would make him eligible for the post-season. That may be rushing things a bit - he has played ONLY 29 games in Triple-A - but the Red Sox could use a right-handed power hitter.

Against left-handed pitching, Lavarnway is batting .444.

Lavarnway is bucking a trend in his career, where he usually struggles when he moves up a level, and then improves. See the 2010 Press Herald story.

Lavarnway went 4-for-4 Saturday with a home run. Lars Anderson hit a grand slam, 8th homer.

Pawtucket has a lot of quality players, but the Red Sox need to make room for outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang. In his second year in Portland, Chiang went 2-for-3 Saturday, upping his average to .327. He leads the Eastern League with a 1.029 OPS.

In today's Baseball Column, we look at players in Salem who could still wind up in Portland this year.

The biggest name in Salem is pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, 21, who some consider the top prospect in the Boston system. In the column, we point out that Ranaudo can be dominant and inconsistent.

He is more of the former. In his Friday night start, Ranaudo allowed 3 hits, 0 walks and 0 runs through six innings. He gave up 3 straight doubles to begin the seventh and left. His line read 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R. But his performance was much better than that.

The column also mentions lefty Chris Hernandez (2.87 ERA) as a possible candidate for promotion. He gave up 9 hits over 5 innings Saturday, but only one earned run and no walks, striking out four

And, in Class A Greenville, outfielder Brandon Jacobs (.320) went 2-for-4 with his 12th home run.

The Sea Dogs play at 1 p.m. today (follow Twitter: ClearTheBases). The Red Sox and Josh Beckett are on ESPN tonight, vs. the Rays.



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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