March 28, 2010

Red Sox Notebook: Anderson getting a do-over with Dogs

Lars Anderson is assigned to Double-A, where he'll try to bounce back from a disappointing season.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After first baseman Lars Anderson struggled during a full season in Portland last year, the Boston Red Sox had to decide what to do with him for 2010.

They could send him back to the Sea Dogs or gamble with a promotion to Triple-A and try to kick-start him back into form.

The Sox opted to return him to the Sea Dogs.

Anderson, 22, was officially sent from the Triple-A spring training team to the Double-A team on Saturday, along with infielders Yamaico Navarro and Ryan Khoury.

Anderson said he expected the decision and, according to the Red Sox, it was really the only move they considered.

"We want to see him rebound from last year," said Mike Hazen, Boston's director of player development. "It's been well documented the challenges he faced, not unlike a lot of other minor league players of his age."

Anderson entered last season as the organization's No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, based in part on his final months of the 2008 season in Portland (.316).

But Anderson batted .233 last year with nine home runs and 51 RBI.

"We're hoping he grows from that experience and shows us some consistency," Hazen said. "We felt like Portland was the best place for him to start doing that." 

NAVARRO AND KHOURY landing back in Double-A is no surprise. Khoury, 26, a utility infielder the past two seasons in Portland, is coming off a so-so year (.223).

Navarro, 22, was promoted to Portland late last season and struggled (.185).

Navarro is a shortstop, but he may be moved to third with the Sea Dogs, depending on whether prime prospect Jose Iglesias sticks in Double-A.

Iglesias, 20, has been the talk of spring training with his play in major league exhibition games and his great potential. Boston signed him to a four-year $8.25-million deal.

During drills Friday morning, Navarro took ground balls at third while Iglesias fielded balls as the shortstop. 

THE SEA DOGS' roster is taking shape. Along with Anderson, Khoury and Navarro, catcher Luis Exposito is also working out with the Double-A team, as are relief pitchers Blake Maxwell and Bryce Cox.

And the Sea Dogs will get their manager back today. Arnie Beyeler has been directing the Triple-A team while new Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo has been working with the major league team.

Many of the 2010 Sea Dogs are still with the Triple-A team. Outfielders Ryan Kalish is among the players expected to return to Portland.

Hazen said minor league rosters will be finalized on Friday. 

JON STILL led the Sea Dogs in home runs (17) and RBI (89) last season, but he is looking for his place in the Red Sox organization.

Still, 25, was drafted in the fourth round in 2006 as a catcher. But he caught only one game last year, playing mostly first base. Now he's adding corner outfield positions to his resume.

"They're opening up more opportunities to get my bat in the lineup," Still said. "I'm all for it. Anything I can do to get on the field."

Still, who is currently in Triple-A camp, is looking to improve on his .233 average from last season.

"The offensive consistency still needs to come," Hazen said of Still. "And he needs to continue to increase his versatility in the hopes that it earns him a spot." 

ZACH DAEGES, an outfielder who led the Sea Dogs in batting in 2008 (.307), is still trying to get healthy. Daeges, 26, missed almost all of last year with an ankle injury that eventually required surgery in September.

This spring, Daeges injured his shoulder. He has not played in a game and just started taking batting practice.

"I'm having a hard time staying together," Daeges said. 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

 

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