September 23, 2012

On Baseball: Next year's Sox manager, and a few other questions

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A few notes to ponder as the Red Sox wind up their final homestand.

Assuming that Manager Bobby Valentine is fired after the season, who will replace him? The early speculation includes Blue Jays Manager John Farrell (a former Boston pitching coach), Blue Jays Coach Torey Lovullo (a former Pawtucket manager) and Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar.

Dodgers Coach Trey Hillman should be on that list; a former manager (Royals) with loads of experience, including time as a player development director.

Here's another question: Who will play left field in 2013? Daniel Nava (.730 OPS) has filled in, along with Scott Podsednik (.660) and Ryan Kalish (.532). The Red Sox will want to upgrade.

My outfield long shot: Juan Carlos Linares. He led all Red Sox minor leaguers with a .316 combined average with Portland and Pawtucket (hitting eight home runs for each club). Linares, a Cuban defector, has never reached the majors. He also just turned 28 this month. He could be in Boston by mid-2013.

First base is another question mark. Travis Shaw, 22, was second to Jackie Bradley Jr. among Boston minor leaguers in on-base percentage (.397, mostly with Class A Salem). Shaw, who was called up to Portland on Aug. 1, has a ways to go before we talk about Fenway. Still, he's on the Red Sox radar, which is why he was sent to instructional league this month for further work.

The one-time future Red Sox first baseman, Lars Anderson, turns 25 on Tuesday. After his trade to the Indians on July 31, Anderson hit .196 in 18 Triple-A games, with no home runs (but a .319 on-base percentage).

Another former Sea Dogs first baseman finally reached the majors. Luis Jimenez, 30, who has been grinding away since 2001 with eight organizations – including one in Japan – was a September call-up to the Mariners. Jimenez played on the Sea Dogs' 2006 championship team.

Jimenez went to Japan in 2009, the same year that Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa debuted in the U.S. with the Sea Dogs. Tazawa was 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA as a Portland starter. After Tommy John surgery in 2010, Tazawa has finally emerged with an improved fastball and a 1.42 ERA in the bullpen. Will Boston gamble with his success and make him a starter again?

The Arnie Beyeler-managed Pawtucket Red Sox won the International League championship for the first time since 1984. Trivia: Who did Pawtucket beat in the 1984 league championship series?

The Sea Dogs released their schedule this week, and individual game tickets go on sale Nov. 3. Ticket prices were raised for the first time since 2007, up a dollar to $10 for box seats, $9 for reserved and $8 for general admission. Prices for 16-and-under and 62-and-over are $9, $8 and $5.

Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles did not take a break after the 2011 season, managing an Australian-league team in the winter. This year, Boles is taking it a little easier. "Going to go catch some rainbow trout this morning in the Columbia River," Boles emailed earlier this week from his home in Northport, Wash.

The trivia answer: Pawtucket defeated the Maine Guides three games to two in 1984.

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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