Thursday, March 6, 2014
MANCHESTER, N.H. - When major league shortstop Stephen Drew shows up Thursday at Hadlock Field, the Portland Sea Dogs may not even notice.
Just another new guy.
Players are reporting to the Sea Dogs -- and leaving them -- at a rate of almost three per day in the last week.
Portland underwent 18 roster moves during a seven-day trip that ended Wednesday.
As players prepared for their Wednesday night game in Manchester, I expected them to be wearing "Hello, My Name Is _____" name tags.
"Sometimes it feels like there are 45 different guys in the clubhouse at once," infielder Derrik Gibson said. "Never seen anything like it."
The Sea Dogs have used 51 players this season. Injuries, call-ups and emergency needs for pitching for doubleheaders have played a role.
Among the players gone from Portland to Pawtucket recently are starter Charlie Haeger, reliever Will Latimer and outfielder Juan Carlos Linares. Outfielder Brandon Jacobs was called up from Salem on July 11, only to be traded to the White Sox two days later.
The moves are taking a toll. The Sea Dogs finished 1-8 on the trip with six straight losses.
They went into last week's Eastern League All-Star break in second place in the East Division. Now they are in fifth, 3 1/2 games out of second (and a playoff berth).
Portland has been shut out in four of its past five games.
"We've faced some tough pitching, but we should be more competitive than what we've shown," Manager Kevin Boles said before Wednesday's game. "One run in the last 36 innings, we're a better club than that. We've had stretches like this before. The guys will battle through it."
It's now one run in 45 innings.
DREW, THE Red Sox shortstop, made a rehab appearance with the Sea Dogs on April 11. He's now coming back from a strained hamstring and is due to be with the Sea Dogs on Thursday and Friday nights.
GIBSON IS one player not in a slump. He's batting .394 (13 for 33) in July. The Red Sox hope Gibson, 23, may finally be realizing his potential.
Gibson, a middle infielder, was a second-round draft pick out of Seaford (Del.) High in 2008. He has never had a breakout year, batting .230 in Greenville (2010), .240 in Salem (2011) and .225 in Portland (2012).
Through three months this season, Gibson was at .207 as a backup. Now he's starting more.
"It's been an up-and-down thing," Gibson said. "Just trying to realize my intangibles and maybe how good I am. I'm starting to buy in."
Did you catch that "maybe" from Gibson?
"I'm not an arrogant guy. I'm not going to be cocky out there," Gibson said. "Sometimes I need that kick in the butt from the staff."
BRANDON WORKMAN visited the Sea Dogs' clubhouse Tuesday night. Workman, who began the year in Portland, made his major league debut as a starter Sunday, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
"Pretty cool seeing him," reliever Jeremy Kehrt said. "To see a guy who started here and now he's up there."
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: