Wednesday May 22, 2013 | 06:29 AM

We love to look at the prospects on a minor league team. But besides those promising young players, a successful club in the minors needs another, essential ingredient.

Veterans with character.

Matt Spring, 28, is a back-up catcher for the Portland Sea Dogs. A guide for young pitchers and a presence in the clubhouse, Spring is the Sea Dogs' Crash Davis (Kevin Costner's character in Bull Durham).

"Pretty much," said Spring about the Crash Davis label.

Spring has Maine roots. His mother, Linda Spring, is from Berwick, although she now lives in Phoenix.

Spring calls Columbus, Ga. home. That is where wife Meredith and 6-month-old son Maddox are.

"It's not easy," Spring said about being away. "But (at night), I look at new pictures. Then it doesn't matter if I went 0-for-4 or 4-for-4."

Lately, Spring has been piling on the hits and the RBI. His three-run double spurred the Sea Dogs to a win Tuesday night. See today's story.

Michael Almanzar (.290) hit his eighth home run for Portland in the win ... Brandon Workman (3.83) started for the Sea Dogs: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

Pawtucket beat Indianapolis 9-8. Bryce Brentz (.275) hit his eighth home run ... Brentz and Almanzar are tied for second in home runs in the Sox organization, behind Salem's Sean Coyle (nine).

Former Deering High pitcher Ryan Reid pitched a third of an inning for Indianapolis, recording a strikeout. Reid, who signed a free agent minor league contract with the Pirates this past off-season, has a 0.33 ERA in 27 1/3 innings.

Pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller continues to work his way back to Portland. He has a 1.50 ERA in four appearances with Salem.

Matt Barnes starts for the Sea Dogs tonight at 6. The tweets will be coming in at @ClearTheBases




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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