Tuesday July 23, 2013 | 06:54 AM

In today's column, I wrote about Brandon Workman, the pitcher who went from Portland in the spring to Boston in the summer.

But there is so much more to write about: Braun, Buchholz, Lester, Rays, Owens, the surging Sea Dogs, Garza, Soriano ...

Ryan Braun is the big news after his suspension for the rest of the year because of PED use. The real attention-getter here is not Braun's guilt (he's not the first one), but it is the way he so vehemently denied the charges last year. Lance Armstrong has met his match. See the Milwaukee Journal story on Braun from 17 months ago.

Among Braun's statement back then is his recollection of a conversation with MLB investigators: 

"I told them that I promise you on anything that's ever meant anything in my life - the morals, the values, the virtues by which I've lived in my 28 years on this planet - I did not do this."

Now that he's been caught, Braun said he's going to "take responsibility" for his actions. I'm sure he was very sincere when he said it.

In Red Sox news, the team received a second medical opinion (Dr. James Andrews) that Clay Buchholz can pitch again this season. No injury, just inflammation in his shoulder (when I say "just inflammation," I don't mean to downplay the pain). Buchholz appears at least 2-3 weeks from coming back - more long toss, then bullpen sessions, a simulated game and, finally, minor league rehab appearance(s).

The Red Sox said Jon Lester is healthy, even though they gave him an extra two days off after the All-Star break. Boston could use Lester returning to form tonight to slow down the hot Tampa Bay Rays.

After the Rays' 3-0 win over Boston on Monday, the AL East race got that much tighter: 

Red Sox 60-41
Rays 59-41 (0.5 games back)
Orioles 57-43 (2.5)
Yankees 52-47 (7)
Jays 45-53 (13.5)

The top performance in the minor leagues belonged to Salem lefty Henry Owens.

Owens, who pitched six innings of a combined no-hitter his previous time out, was at it again. He threw five hitless innnings on Monday (3 BB, 9 K). The bullpen gave up four hits.

Owens has a 2.78 ERA. Maybe NOW it is time to promote him to Portland. Owens' next scheduled start would be Saturday - which is the day the Sea Dogs play at Fenway Park.

Speaking of the Sea Dogs, they swept a doubleheader from New Britain. Garin Cecchini went 4-for-9 in the two games.

Portland remains in the hunt for the wild card spot in the Eastern League East Division (Binghamton has a 10-game lead in the division):

EL East Wild Card Race
New Hampshire  52-48
Trenton 50-50 (2 games back)
Portland 50-52 (3)
New Britain 48-54 (5)

Texas has reportedly completed its deal for Cubs pitcher Matt Garza. Baseball America analyzes the deal.

And the Yankees are looking for power. According to the New York Post, they want to trade for Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano, who had come up in the Yankees organization.

But I thought Alex Rodriguez was close to re-joining the Yankees ...



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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