Monday August 19, 2013 | 06:03 AM

Xander Bogaerts appears to be finally getting his shot at the Major Leagues. He is being called up to the Boston Red Sox and is expected in tonight's lineup when the Sox play in San Francisco, according to the thorough Alex Speier of

Bogaerts hit .284 in 60 games with Pawtucket (.822 OPS; combined on-base and slugging averages). As Speier points out, Bogaerts hit .298 against lefties in Pawtucket (.926 OPS).

But he can also hit right-handers. In Portland, where Bogaerts hit .311/.909 this year in 56 games, he actually hit right-handers better (.322/.948).

Bogaerts can spell Stephen Drew at shortstop. He can also play third base (giving Will Middlebrooks an occasional day off, or possibly moving Middlebrooks to first on certain days).

In other words, Bogaerts gives Boston options. And he may be the spark Boston need after losing a third straight series.

The 9-6 loss to the Yankees on Sunday was supposedly highlighted by Ryan Dempster's beaning Alex Rodriquez in the second inning. It was foolish.

Not only is Yankees manager Joe Girardi correct is stating that a pitcher does not have the right to hit people because he doesn't like the system (i.e. A-Rod's appeal of his suspension), it was also a terrible decision for a pitcher who is struggling.

Dempster (6-9, 4.77) had a 2-0 lead and decides to put the lead-off batter on in the second inning (sparking a two-run rally to tie the game). You can also argue that the whole circus took Dempster out of his game, but that's hard to tell, given his recent struggles.

The Rays won, closing the gap to one game (although Tampa Bay leads in the loss column):

Red Sox 73-53
Rays 70-52 (1 game back)
Orioles 67-56 (4.5)
Yankees 64-59 (7.5)
Jays 57-67 (15)

Jon Lester (10-7, 4.31) goes against the Giants' Tim Lincecum (6-12, 4.38) tonight. Besides Bogaerts, another expected roster move is the return of catcher David Ross (with Ryan Lavarnway headed to Pawtucket).

The Rays begin a three-game series in Baltimore.

Pawtucket won with Jackie Bradley Jr. (.277) going 2-for-3 with his 10th home run. Bradley is hitting .300 in his last eight games. He will certainly be joining Boston in September when rosters expand.

Portland right-hander Keith Couch (3.55) began the year in the bullpen. He is back to starting and recorded his 10th victory Sunday, a 2-1 win in Harrisburg. He went all nine innings: 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K. It was the first complete-game, nine-inning effort by a Portland pitcher since Charlie Zink in 2007.

Garin Cecchni (.305) was 1-for-3 with a triple and walk. The OBP is .418, the slugging average .412 (.830 OPS).

The Sea Dogs are home tonight, with Chris Hernandez on the mound. Portland is still in the hunt for a playoff spot:

EL East Wild Card Race
Trenton 65-61
New Hampshire 62-63 (2.5 games back)
Portland 60-66 (5)
New Britain 59-68 (6.5)





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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