Thursday June 06, 2013 | 05:34 AM

The major league draft begins tonight with the Red Sox holding the No. 7 pick. The top picks - college pitchers Mark Appel (Stanford) and Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma) and college third basemen Kris Bryant (San Diego) and Colin Moran (North Carolina) - figure to be gone.

Here’s a group of players that the Red Sox will likely chose from, if available.

Texas high school pitcher Kohl Stewart (my pick if he’s available); George high school outfielder Clint Frazier (my second guess).

Then there are college pitchers Braden Shipley (Nevada) and Ryne Stanek (Arkansas), Indiana high school pitcher Trey Ball and Georgia high school outfielder Austin Meadows.

From media reports out of Fenway before Wednesday’s game, Red Sox manager John Farrell is now not sure when Jacoby Ellsbury will return from his groin injury. Injury plagued? Ellsbury has missed 252 of his last 546 games.

Farrell also said Will Middlebrooks’ stint in Pawtucket is open-ended. The Red Sox want Middlebrooks to show some consistency. Think he heard them? Middlebrooks was 2-for-3 Wednesday night with a home run and five RBI.

The minor league performance of the night belonged to Sea Dogs lefty Drake Britton (4-5, 3.60), who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Britton’s line: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K … 88 pitches/62 strikes … Maybe Britton was motivated by teammate Brandon Workman being promoted to Pawtucket.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (.310) continues to look like he will be in Pawtucket sooner rather than later. He went 2-for-4 with his sixth home run and a walk (and no strikeouts) … Michael Almanzar (.283) hit his 11th home run.

Salem left-hander Henry Owens was wild (5 walks) but effective (1 hit, 0 runs, 6 strikeouts) over five innings.


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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