July 29, 2011

On Baseball: Life is fine on next rung of the ladder

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - In the manager's office, Arnie Beyeler asked about goings-on in Portland when Josh Reddick popped his head in.

Reddick back in Pawtucket? Breaking news?

No.

Reddick, the former Sea Dogs outfielder, is still in the majors. With Boston off Thursday, he came by to say hello.

His presence is another reminder of how close these players are to the bigs.

Reddick, 24, is batting .378/1.102 OPS in 29 games, and looks to be stepping into a full-time job, with veteran J.D. Drew in a seemingly irreversible slide and Ryan Kalish hurt.

Who might be next up from Pawtucket? Here's a rundown of the former Sea Dogs here:

ARNIE BEYELER, 47, is in his first year as a Triple-A manager after a 20-year career as scout, coach and manager, including the past four as the Sea Dogs' skipper.

The PawSox are 55-43 and looking at an International League playoff spot.

"It's going well," Beyeler said.

RYAN LAVARNWAY, 23, is the hottest name in Pawtucket, batting .376 in 33 games with 11 home runs, 31 RBI and a 1.183 OPS before Thursday's game. Lavarnway hit his 12th homer in the first inning Thursday.

"Reminds me of what he did when he came up last year (to Portland)," Beyeler said. "But on a bigger scale."

Lavarnway showed pop when he came to the Sea Dogs last year (eight home runs in 44 games). With this year's numbers, Lavarnway is getting plenty of media attention.

"I try to make sure it does not become a distraction," Lavarnway said. "I've heard it has been a pitfall for some guys in the past. Want to make sure I avoid that."

Because Lavarnway was once tagged as a catcher with raw tools, there always will be questions about his defense. But Beyeler said, "He's catching well. He's not a wow guy but he catches the ball. He blocks balls. He throws guys out.

"He's solid back there. Throw the offensive package in with it, it's a pretty good package."

Expect Lavarnway in the majors in September if not sooner.

RYAN KALISH, 23, walked into the clubhouse Thursday, his trademark smile still in place. Kalish remains optimistic despite a stinker of a season.

"We'll get through it," Kalish said.

After playing 53 major league games last year, Kalish was supposed to move closer to inheriting the right-field job from Drew.

Instead, Kalish injured his shoulder in his 14th game this season. While rehabbing, he suffered a herniated disc in his neck. He still isn't taking batting practice.

"Crazy," Kalish said. "It went from one thing to another. But it's getting better."

TOMMY HOTTOVY, 30, has been all over the transaction wire, beginning the year in Portland, moving to Pawtucket, promoted to the majors, back to Pawtucket, and designated for assignment (taken off the 40-man roster) last week.

"I was surprised," said Hottovy, who allowed no hits and no runs in six of his eight appearances. "They said a lot of good things when I was there, but I understand the Red Sox are always going to be making moves to put the best team out there."

If he remains off the 40-man roster, Hottovy again will be a free agent after the season. And now he has major league experience on his resume.

MICHAEL BOWDEN, 24, has been effective in his six major league games this year (1.29 ERA). His fastball is around 93-94, with a tight slider and split/change-up.

And after this year, he's out of minor league options, meaning the Red Sox will have to keep him in the majors next season or lose him.

"I'm excited about it," Bowden said. "I will have a true opportunity after this year."

FELIX DOUBRONT, 23, probably should have been in the Boston rotation the last few weeks, but he's been off and on the disabled list. He's currently slowed by a tight hamstring.

"Those things happen," Doubront said. "I've been doing well (3.28 ERA in 13 starts). I'm getting healthy."

JOSE IGLESIAS, 21, may be considered the Red Sox shortstop of the future because of his exceptional defense. But he's batting only .227.

"He's adapting to Triple-A," Beyeler said. Iglesias batted .285 in 57 games in an injury-filled season in Portland last year.

Iglesias said he's working hard with hitting coach Chili Davis and believes he's improving (8 for 27 his last nine games).

LARS ANDERSON, 23, is the forgotten first-base prospect mainly because of the seven-year contract extension handed out to Adrian Gonzalez.

"Focusing on that doesn't lead to anything constructive," Anderson said.

Anderson is batting .259 with eight home runs (.300 with four homers in July).

LUIS EXPOSITO, 24, may be the forgotten catcher because of Lavarnway's emergence and his .220 average hasn't helped. Beyeler said Exposito's defense is better than ever but he needs "a consistent plan" at the plate.

CHE-HSUAN LIN, 22, is hitting .268 in 45 games. Beyeler said he's "handling certain pitches better. He's learning."

OTHER EX-DOGS include outfielder Daniel Nava (.255), who was taken off the 40-man roster; infielder Nate Spears (.236); outfielder Matt Sheely (.224); and reliever Jason Rice (3.75).

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

Clearing the Bases - Friday
Pitching, pitching, pitching

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos