Friday August 09, 2013 | 06:15 AM

In 2007, gifted outfielder Jaocby Ellsbury returned to the Portland Sea Dogs to start the season. He did not last long, moving up to Triple-A. Ellsbury was then summoned to Boston on June 30. He bounced between Triple-A and the majors until his final call-up on Sept. 1.

Ellsbury, who hit .298 in Triple-A, batted .353 in the majors and was nearly the World Series MVP.

Boston has another talented prospect in Xander Bogaerts. He too returned to Portland, to start the 2013 season, and is now in Pawtucket.

Should Bogaerts be in the majors? Bogaerts is a shortstop but, like recently-traded Jose Iglesias, has shown the ability to play third base - a position where Boston could use some help.

In 51 games in Pawtucket, Bogaerts is batting .291 with a .380 on-base percentage and .476 slugging average (.856 OPS).

The difference between the Ellsbury and Bogaerts scenarios is age and experience. Ellsbury came from an advanced college program and was 23 when he was promoted. Bogaerts is 20 and had limited baseball experience until the Red Sox signed him as a 16-year-old.

But Bogaerts has shown an ability to adjust to whatever level he's in. He could be a needed spark.

Of course, talk of a needed spark increases after a game like Thursday's 5-1 loss to Kansas City. Besides 1 run, Boston had 7 hits and 3 errors.

Pawtucket was swept in a doubleheader, although Bogaerts went a combined 5-for-7 ... Will Middlebrooks (remember him?) was a combined 3-for-5, upping his average to .269 (.797 OPS).

Portland's line was similar to Boston's: 1 run, 7 hits, 2 errors, in a 4-1 loss ... catcher Christian Vazquez (.280) was 2-for-3. Pawtucket beckons ... Garin Cecchini (.292) was 0-for-1 but with three walks. He has a .415 on-base percentage and .830 OPS.

Salem won 13-4 with two of its prospects starring: catcher Blake Swihart (.287) was 3-for-6, while shortstop Deven Marrero (.255) was 2-for-3.

Tonight, the Red Sox start Jake Peavy (1-0, 2.57) against Kansas City's Ervin Santana (8-6, 2.97), who is 3-0 since the All-Star break.

The Sea Dogs will start lefty Henry Owens in his Hadlock Field debut, at 6 p.m.

The standings: 

Red Sox 70-47
Rays 66-47 (2 games back)
Orioles 63-51 (5.5)
Yankees 57-56 (11)
Jays 53-61 (15.5)

EL East Wild Card Race
Trenton 60-57
Portland 56-60 (4 games back)
New Hampshire 55-60 (4)
New Britain 56-61 (4)



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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