September 4, 2011

On Baseball: If end is near, a cornfield will appear

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The Sea Dogs will arrive out of the cornfield this afternoon for the annual Field of Dreams day at Hadlock Field.

MAINERS IN THE MINORS

(Statistics through Sept. 2)

Ryan Baker, Portland, catcher (Yankees): Batting .138 in 10 games for Double-A Trenton of the Eastern League.

Ryan Flaherty, Portland, 3B (Cubs): Batting .245 with five home runs in 46 games for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League.

Andrew Giobbi, Portland, catcher (Mariners): Remains on the disabled list with advanced Class A High Desert of the California League.

Mike MacDonald, Camden, pitcher (Blue Jays): Remains on the disabled list with Triple-A Las Vegas; is 6-6 with a 6.67 ERA.

Ryan Reid, Portland, pitcher (Rays): Moved from the temporary inactive list to the disabled list with Triple-A Durham; is 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA.

Mark Rogers, Orrs Island, pitcher (Brewers): Compiled overall 0-5 record and 9.34 ERA in minors; suspended 25 games for stimulant use.

-- Kevin Thomas

The beginning of the end. Another game Monday and that's a wrap for the 2011 season.

Monday's pregame activities will feature the end-of-year awards. Some of the recipients will not be there. The player of the year is either Chih-Hsien Chiang (traded) or Will Middlebrooks (promoted). Pitcher of the year will either be Alex Wilson (promoted) or Stephen Fife (traded).

The 10th man award could go to a few players, including Jon Hee or Ryan Khoury.

The citizen of the year award is anyone's guess. Chris Cameron, assistant general manager/media relations, said this year's Sea Dogs were "perhaps the best community-involved team we have ever had."

NEXT YEAR'S team could look a lot like the one finishing up in Portland.

The pitching staff will have the biggest turnover. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger is surely headed for Triple-A or another organization. Relievers Blake Maxwell and Kyle Fernandes will be free agents and unlikely to return, given their limited opportunities with the Red Sox.

Here is a guess to some of next year's roster.

Starting pitchers: Brock Huntzinger, Stolmy Pimentel and Cliff Hernandez are likely pieces in the rotation. Huntzinger will be back to develop his offspeed pitches, while Pimentel will get another shot at Double-A. Hernandez, a seventh-round draft pick last year, is 10-7 with a 2.90 ERA at Class A Salem.

Catchers: Dan Butler should assume the No. 1 spot.

Infielders: First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, second baseman Oscar Tejeda and shortstop Ryan Dent all figure to return, along with utility player Hee. The new third baseman is likely Kolbrin Vitek, the 2010 first-round draft pick who is hitting .281 in Salem, (.300 after the All-Star break).

Outfielders: Jeremy Hazelbaker, Ronald Bermudez and Mitch Dening should return, with Alex Hassan getting a bump to Triple-A.

Others from Salem could be coming to Portland next year, just not in April. They include pitcher Anthony Ranaudo and slugging outfielder Bryce Brentz (29 homers in Class A).

THE ARIZONA Fall League rosters were announced this week. Pawtucket and former Portland manager Arnie Beyeler will guide the Scottsdale Scorpions, which feature prospects from Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco.

Beyeler's outfield not only has Hassan, but also the top two prospects in the minor leagues: Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Mike Trout (Angels).

All of the Red Sox participants played at least part of the season in Portland: Hassan, Butler, third baseman Middlebrooks, Huntzinger and fellow pitchers Jeremy Kehrt and William Latimer.

The Scorpions' hitting coach will be Portland native Ken Joyce, currently the Giants' Double-A hitting coach in Richmond, Va.

It will be interesting to note the progress of Huntzinger. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft unless the Red Sox put him on the 40-man roster before December. If he shows his stuff in Arizona, some team may take a chance on him.

Former Sea Dogs Fife (Dodgers) and Chiang (Mariners) will also play in the league, which runs from Oct. 4 through Nov. 17.

BEYELER HAS a playoff team to manage before going to Arizona, leading Triple-A Pawtucket into the International League postseason in his first season. He reached the playoffs in two of his four years with the Sea Dogs.

Pawtucket includes five players who began the season with Portland: pitchers Wilson and Tommy Hottovy, third baseman Middlebrooks, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin and catcher Ryan Lavarnway (although Lavarnway is expected to be called up to Boston this week).

THE MAJOR LEAGUE playoffs begin in four weeks and it looks more and more like Tim Wakefield will not be appearing in them.

(Continued on page 2)

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