Tuesday July 06, 2010 | 10:05 AM

Have I mentioned before about the concern over the Red Sox bullpen? (see Sunday's story). While the Rays' relievers were shutting down Boston, Red Sox manager Terry Francona kept Daisuke Matsuzaka in too long because he apparently was afraid to use his pen. Not to let Dice-K off the hook, but even when he was laboring he seemed to be a better option than the early relievers.

With Felix Doubront making the start tonight for Boston, the Pawtucket staff is thin. So the PawSox tried to get everything they could, and then some, out of recently-promoted reliever Blake Maxwell, against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Through 3 2/3 innings, Maxwell allowed two hits and not runs. He stayed in and promptly gave up three hits - a home run (by Domonic Brown, formerly of Reading), double and single - before being yanked. His line (3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K) does not show how well he pitched.

Speaking of Pawtucket, outfielder Bubba Bell is doing well there. See today's story.

Luis Exposito hit his sixth home run for Portland in a loss. Kyle Weiland had a quality start and a non-decision (6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K).

Salem third baseman Will Middlebrooks (.287) slumped in June, but is coming back. He had three hits on Monday.

Greenville first baseman Chris McGuiness (.300) had two hits.

Jed Lowrie had his first rehab game with Lowell as the DH. He went 1-for-2 with two walks.

In the Gulf Coast League, catcher Mark Wagner is rehabbing from his broken hand. He had two hits and a walk ... In the same game, Jason Place was 0-for-2.

I'll check in later from Hadlock, where Casey Kelly is starting tonight.

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.

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