The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » Portland Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:29:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.6 On Baseball: Watching the scoreboard, and welcoming Benintendi’s return http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/13/on-baseball-watching-the-scoreboard-and-welcoming-benintendis-return/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/13/on-baseball-watching-the-scoreboard-and-welcoming-benintendis-return/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 03:56:40 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/13/on-baseball-watching-the-scoreboard-and-welcoming-benintendis-return/ BOSTON — While Fenway Park fans were watching the Baltimore Orioles launch balls well over the Green Monster on Tuesday night, they could take some consolation when they looked down.

On the left-field scoreboard, where all the major league scores are updated, there was this score:

Tampa Bay 6, Toronto 2.

The Red Sox lost to Baltimore 6-3, with all of the Orioles’ runs coming from three home runs, but Boston retained its two-game lead in the American League East.

Scoreboard watching is a rite of September.

“We’d be lying to say we don’t look over every night and see how they did,” Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw said. “We control our own destiny.

“We want to win obviously. But when you lose and you see the Blue Jays lose, we’ll be in the same spot (Wednesday).”

But the two-game lead is now not only over the Jays, but also the Orioles.

And just four games back are the Yankees, 3-0 winners over the Dodgers.

“Year after year, this is an extremely difficult division,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “And this year is no different.”

The Red Sox and Orioles play the third game of their series Wednesday and, despite what Shaw said, Boston is not in the same spot. Instead of Drew Pomeranz starting, it will be Rick Porcello, he of the 20-3 record, including an unbeaten mark at Fenway.

On Monday, Boston and David Price beat the Orioles.

You figured the Red Sox had a chance for a sweep if Pomeranz could repeat some of his recent success. In his previous seven starts, he never gave up more than three runs (and three runs only once).

But Tuesday, he gave up a three-run homer to J.J. Hardy on a fastball and a two-run homer to Nolan Reimold on a curveball as Baltimore jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning. It was his worst start since joining Boston in late July – two innings, five earned runs.

“Just the way it goes,” Pomeranz said.

Pomeranz probably wasn’t trying play to down his poor start – but rather turn the page.

At least I hope so.

The Red Sox had some good news to share before the game: They activated left fielder Andrew Benintendi, sooner than expected in his recovery from a sprained knee.

“Thankfully he has youth and quick healing on his side,” Farrell said.

And the organization celebrated the announcement that Yoan Moncada was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, the first time a Red Sox player has received the award.

That last bit of news will make for great trivia (and while we’re at it, Moncada is the second Sea Dogs player to get the honor, after Josh Beckett in 2001).

But the Benintendi news is much bigger for the Red Sox, because he can help Boston right now. It has become apparent that Moncada, after nine straight strikeouts, cannot.

Benintendi was batting .324 with an .850 OPS when he injured his knee Aug. 24 while running the bases.

“We held our collective breath,” Farrell said.

After Benintendi went through a workout Monday and a simulated game Tuesday, the Red Sox activated him. “No restrictions. He’s ready to go,” Farrell said.

The quiet Benintendi was relieved.

“We dodged a bullet and I’m glad to be back,” he said.

The Red Sox will ease Benintendi back into the lineup to shake off rust. But he will eventually be sharing time in left with Chris Young.

Meanwhile, Moncada will sit, watch and learn.

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Red Sox Farm Report: How Boston prospects fared in 2016 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/12/red-sox-farm-report-how-boston-prospects-fared-in-2016/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/12/red-sox-farm-report-how-boston-prospects-fared-in-2016/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 02:53:01 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1056567 Looking at the crowded dugout and bullpen for the Boston Red Sox, you know it’s time for roster expansion.

Who figured infielder Marco Hernandez would be suiting up at Fenway in September, or reliever Robby Scott, let alone outfielder Andrew Benintendi and infielder Yoan Moncada?

Pleasant surprises.

But not everyone in Boston is still on the fast track. While Infielder Deven Marrero is in Boston, he is there for his glove. He batted .198 in Pawtucket.

With the Red Sox minor league season officially over – now that Salem and Lowell were eliminated in the playoffs – here is a look at the big jumpers in the system; plus those who made a name for themselves; those who stalled; and the players in reverse.

BIG JUMPERS: Benintendi, Moncada, Hernandez, Scott and Mauricio Dubon.

This is the easy list to comprise. Both Benintendi and Moncada began in advanced Class A Salem and ended up in Boston. Moncada shows he has work to do on his raw edges, while Benintendi became the everyday left fielder before an injury. He could be a factor, once recovered from his sprained knee.

Both Hernandez and Scott were Eastern League All-Stars last year, but no one was talking about their big-league potential. But they put up solid numbers in Pawtucket; Hernandez .309/.787 OPS and Scott 2.54 ERA/0.91 WHIP.

Dubon played in the shadow of Benintendi and Moncada in Portland, but he is looking more and more like he’s close to the big leagues (.339/.909 in Portland).

MAKING A NAME for themselves: starting pitcher Justin Haley, outfielder Aneury Tavarez, catcher Jake Romanski, third baseman Rafael Devers, reliever Jake Cosart and starter Roniel Raudes.

Haley may be the comeback player of the year. After a 5.15 ERA in Portland last season, Haley combined for a 13-10 record and 3.01 ERA in Portland and Pawtucket.

In Portland, Tavarez broke out with .335/.886 numbers, and Romanski was consistent all year (.308/.748). Tavarez could use polish with his defense, and Romanski is working on his receiving.

Devers was already a big name, but he is only 19 and played all year in Salem. He started slow and finished .282/.779 (.326/.906 in the second half).

Cosart, 22, a third-round draft pick in 2014, moved to the bullpen this year and had a combined 1.78 ERA/1.12 WHIP with 104 strikeouts in 702/3 innings at Greenville and Salem. The high 90s fastball works in relief.

Raudes does not have a blistering fastball (88-90 mph) but the kid (age 18) can pitch, with a 3.65 ERA/1.19 WHIP in Greenville and 104 strikeouts in 1131/3 innings.

IN A SMALL sample, these three shined: starting pitchers Michael Kopech and Jason Groome, and third baseman Bobby Dalbec.

Kopech, 20, may be the top pitching prospect for now. Starting the season late because of injury, Kopech made 12 starts for Salem, hitting triple digits on the radar gun. He was 4-1, 2.08 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 561/3 innings.

Groome, 18, was the 2016 first-round draft pick. In only four brief starts in the Gulf Coast League and with Lowell, Groome had a 2.70 ERA, 13 strikeouts and six walks in 10 innings.

Dalbec, 21, another 2016 draft pick, batted .386/1.101 in 34 games with Lowell.

STALLED IN 2016: Starting pitchers Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Teddy Stankiewicz, Trey Ball and third baseman Sam Travis.

Owens (135 strikeouts/81 walks) had some solid starts in Pawtucket but struggled with command, which really showed in the majors (18 walks in 171/3 innings). Johnson (5-6, 4.09) took time off to deal with anxiety issues. Next season is a do-over.

Stankiewicz was 5-9 with a 4.71 ERA. The silver lining is that Stankiewicz was durable (25 starts) and had 14 quality starts (a least six innings and three or less earned runs).

Ball (8-6, 3.84) stayed in Salem for a second straight season. He showed positive signs, but needs command (1.61 WHIP).

Travis looked on the fast track after a good spring training. But he played only 47 games in Pawtucket (.272/.765) because of a knee injury.

GOING IN REVERSE: Marrero, outfielder Bryce Brentz, reliever Williams Jerez, and infielder Michael Chavis.

Since batting .291 for Portland in 2014, Marrero has not adjusted to Triple-A. He may be taken off the 40-man roster if Boston needs room the offseason. The same can be said for Brentz and Jerez.

Brentz played 25 games for Boston this year (.279/.690) but it is telling that he did not get a September call-up. Jerez, the converted outfielder, has potential but he took a step backward (4.71 ERA/1.54 WHIP).

Chavis, 21, the first-round draft pick in 2014, spent a second season in Greenville (.244/.711). He faded in the second half (.201/.616).

ONE MORE NAME to mention in the Sox system is former Sea Dogs infielder and first-year Lowell manager Iggy Suarez. Lowell won a franchise-record 47 games. Impressive for Suarez, 35, who was Lowell’s hitting coach last year.

“Managing is something I always wanted to do” Suarez said. “I didn’t think it would be this quick.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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Red Sox Farm Report: Future up in the air for many Red Sox prospects http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/red-sox-farm-report-future-up-in-the-air-for-many-red-sox-prospects/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/red-sox-farm-report-future-up-in-the-air-for-many-red-sox-prospects/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:06:02 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/red-sox-farm-report-future-up-in-the-air-for-many-red-sox-prospects/ MANCHESTER, N.H. — Cody Decker swatted ball after ball off the tee in the indoor batting cage.

After two ground balls, he lofted a ball into the netting.

“Better,” Decker said to himself.

Then a line drive sizzled off the tee.

“That’s what we’re looking for,” Decker said.

Seemed like a lot of work for the final game of the Sea Dogs’ season. But Decker is working for more than that. There is the World Baseball Classic qualifying round later this month (Decker plays for Team Israel), winter ball in Venezuela and then job hunting.

Decker is not alone. He is one of several minor league free agents in the Red Sox organization wondering where they will play next year.

“We’ll see where this offseason takes me,” Decker said. “Who knows? It’s baseball.”

The Red Sox must decide on several minor leaguers at the Double-A and Triple-A level, and not only the free agents. Other players are eligible for the Rule V Draft in December.

In the draft, eligible players not on a team’s 40-man roster can be taken by another team, as long as that player remains on the major-league roster (25-man) all of next season.

Among the 17 Rule V-eligible players in Pawtucket and Portland, at least four stand a chance of being taken by another team, if the Red Sox don’t move them to their 40-man roster:

Pawtucket starter Justin Haley, who began the season in Portland, was strong in Triple-A (8-6, 3.59). He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his final start on Sunday. He allowed two hits in eight shutout innings.

Pawtucket reliever Kyle Martin, who was in Portland last year, commands a 94 mph fastball with solid secondary stuff. He had a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP

Sea Dogs outfielder Aneury Tavarez came into this season with a career .254 average and broke out with an All-Star year: .335/.886 OPS.

Sea Dogs catcher Jake Romanski led the Eastern League in throwing out runners – 49 percent (53 of 108) – while also batting .308/.748.

Another longshot Rule V candidate is Salem reliever Jamie Callahan, a second-round draft pick in 2012. He spent two years in Greenville before coming to Salem this season with his mid-90s fastball (63 strikeouts in 652/3 innings).

Decker is one of eight free agents in Portland (there are 10 in Pawtucket). Five of them, like Decker, were signed this year to plug holes.

Three others have been in the Red Sox organization since they became pros – pitcher Keith Couch (a 13th-round draft pick in 2010), pitcher Jacob Dahlstrand (10th round, 2010) and oft-injured outfielder Henry Ramos (fifth round, 2010) can sign with other teams after the season.

If Couch’s Red Sox career is over, he leaves with a 52-43 record and 3.96 ERA.

Couch may not have a dominating pitch, but he commands well. His downfall in his development was a 5.90 ERA in 157 Triple-A innings.

Ramos, who has been hurt most of the past two seasons, finally reached Triple-A this year and looked good before cooling off (.246/.685 in 57 games). He came back to Portland and was put on the disabled list again.

Dahlstrand moved slowly through the system and then was shelved in early 2015 with Tommy John surgery. He pitched four games for Portland before going back on the DL.

First-year Sea Dogs include veteran pitcher Mitch Atkins, infielders Nate Freiman, Ryan Court and Decker, and outfielder Rainel Rosario.

Atkins, 30, was 6-7 with a 4.48 ERA and league-leading 145 strikeouts. Decker led the team in home runs (14, in 63 games); Freiman had an .814 OPS; Rosario batted .254; and Court (.277/.752) played every infield position and left field.

While major league free agents may look for a payday, minor leaguers look for an opportunity, including a spot on a Triple-A roster with an invitation to major league spring training camp.

Among the intriguing free agent pitchers in Pawtucket are Sean Sullivan and Williams Cuevas, both of whom pitched for Boston before eventually coming back and being removed from the 40-man roster.

Free-agent reliever Roman Mendez appeared briefly in Boston last year and stayed all 2016 in Pawtucket (3.38 ERA/1.19 WHIP).

Shortstop Jose Vinicio, a bonus baby ($2 million) in 2009, could be done with the Red Sox. After being promoted from Portland, he hit .269/.642 in 48 games with Pawtucket.

Catcher Dan Butler, 29, returned to the Red Sox organization this year, playing only 48 games, but batted .308. Boston may want to keep him for depth, but Butler will get offers from other organizations.

First baseman Chris Marrero, brother of shortstop Deven Marrero, is going to get offers. He batted .284/.838 with 23 home runs.

THE ARIZONA FALL league rosters were announced last week. The Surprise Saguaros, who will be managed by Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles, will have six players from the Red Sox organization – third baseman Yoan Moncada, shortstop Mauricio Dubon, outfielder Danny Mars, and pitchers Jalen Beeks, Trey Ball and Callahan.

Moncada has been called up to the major leagues, but other call-ups have returned to play in the AFL (including Mike Trout).

Dubon is likely to get some playing time in the outfield to increase his versatility.

Beeks was a combined 9-8, 3.87 in Salem and Portland.

Choosing three Salem players was a surprise.

Ball, a former first-round draft pick, is finishing his second season in advanced Class A (8-6, 3.84). Maybe a bullpen move is in order?

Mars batted .293/.754.

IN PAWTUCKET, left-hander Henry Owens finished Pawtucket’s season with a win Sunday, allowing one earned run, four hits and three walks over 62/3 innings.

He finished with a 3.53 ERA in Triple-A and will join Boston this weekend.

IN SALEM, third baseman Rafael Devers, 19 finished his season at .282/.779 (.326/.907 in the second half. Next stop: Portland next April.

IN LOWELL, first-year manager (and former Sea Dogs infielder) Iggy Suarez has the Spinners in the postseason for the first time in seven years. Lowell’s first playoff game is Wednesday. First-round draft pick Jason Groome may get the start.

Groome was promoted last week from the Gulf Coast League.

In his Spinners’ debut, Groome allowed no hits, but one run and four walks in 22/3 innings, while striking out two. He left in the third inning with two outs and a runner on first. The runner then scored on a double.

 

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Sea Dogs fall in season finale, 3-1 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/dogs-fall-in-season-finale-3-1/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/dogs-fall-in-season-finale-3-1/#comments Mon, 05 Sep 2016 20:07:10 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/05/dogs-fall-in-season-finale-3-1/ MANCHESTER, N.H. — Fitting how the Portland Sea Dogs finished their 2016 schedule: They had some chances, but missed out on opportunities … much like the whole season.

The Sea Dogs managed eight hits, but lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 3-1 Monday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Twice the Sea Dogs had runners on first and third with one out. They hit into double plays both times.

“That’s the bottom line,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “We pitched well and played good defense, but could not get the big hit.”

The Sea Dogs finished 55-84, the second-worst record in the Eastern League, percentage points ahead of Bowie (56-86). The Fisher Cats finished 69-73.

Mauricio Dubon went 2 for 4 to finish with a .339 average in 62 games, since his promotion from Class A. Dubon’s adjustment to Double-A was one of the Sea Dogs’ achievements this year.

The highlights of 2016 were, of course, the rapid rise of outfielder Andrew Benintendi and third baseman Yoan Moncada, who went from Salem to Portland and then straight to the majors.

Portland almost celebrated another achievement as Aneury Tavarez just missed out on the Eastern League batting title. Still, his .335 average is 90 points higher than his career average. Tavarez went into Monday with a five-point lead in the batting race, but Febles elected to sit Tavarez, who had played six straight games.

Binghamton Mets infielder Phillip Evans went 4 for 6 Monday and overtook Tavarez for the batting title, edging him .3351 to .3350. Evans benefited by the Mets going into extra innings and singled in the 11th inning, putting his average above Tavarez. When Evans was to bat in the 13th inning, the Mets pinch hit for him, guaranteeing him the title.

Febles focused on individual accomplishments when talking about the team before the game.

“The win-loss record does not reflect how well this season went for us, to be honest with you,” Febles said. “Two guys went up to the big leagues from here, and we have a guy who can win the batting title. The guys who came up from Salem did well. Our guys got better. At the end of the day, that’s a winning season for us.”

Febles said he hasn’t heard officially about next year, but assumes he is returning to Portland.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance in New Hampshire was 5,138. The Fisher Cats finished with a 4,834 average attendance, sixth-best in the Eastern League (Portland was third at 5,354) … The Eastern League West Division race went down to the last day. Akron (77-64) clinched the division with an 8-6 win over Bowie. Altoona (76-64) took the second berth with a 2-0, 10th-inning win over Richmond. Altoona’s victory eliminated the Harrisburg Senators (76-66) … Akron will play Altoona in one league semifinal series, East Division winner Reading plays runner-up Trenton in the other.

 

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Sports Digest: Sea Dogs collect three homers to beat Fisher Cats, 7-2 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/04/sports-digest-sea-dogs-collect-three-homers-to-beat-fisher-cats-7-2/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/04/sports-digest-sea-dogs-collect-three-homers-to-beat-fisher-cats-7-2/#comments Mon, 05 Sep 2016 02:26:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1045215 BASEBALL

Sea Dogs hit three homers to beat Fisher Cats, 7-2

Mauricio Dubon hit a three-run homer during a four-run second inning Sunday night as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 7-2 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Aneury Tavarez also homered and singled for Portland (55-83), which took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Ryan Court. Cole Sturgeon drove in the first run of the second inning with a single, and Dubon’s homer extended the lead to 5-0.

Portland added single runs in the sixth and seventh, on home runs by Cody Decker and Tavarez.

Mitch Atkins picked up his sixth win, allowing one run on eight hits while striking out nine in 62/3 innings.

COLLEGES

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Brooke Labrie scored an unassisted goal 37 minutes into the first half and Western New England held on to beat St. Joseph’s 1-0 in the Husson Classic at Bangor.

The Monks (1-2) had a 5-4 edge in shots. Brooke Troup made three saves for St. Joseph’s.

MEN’S SOCCER: Nick Paine broke a scoreless tie in the 62nd minute and the University of New England beat St. Joseph’s 2-0 at Standish

Dexter Doucet added an unassisted goal for UNE (1-0-1).

GOLF

LPGA: Caroline Masson broke out of a star-filled pack to win the LPGA Manulife Classic in Cambridge, Ontario, for her first tour title.

The 27-year-old German rebounded from an opening double bogey to make nine birdies in a 5-under 67. She beat third-round leader Mi Hyang Lee, Minjee Lee and Karine Icher by a stroke, finishing at 16-under 272.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Alex Noren of Sweden sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat Scott Hend of Australia in a playoff for the European Masters title at Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Paraguay’s Carlos Franco rallied to win the Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary, Alberta, for his first Champions Tour victory.

Three strokes behind Jeff Maggert entering the round, Franco shot a 7-under 63 to beat Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen by two strokes.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR TRUCKS: John Hunter Nemechek knocked Cole Custer from the lead to earn the win in a controversial finish in the Truck Series at Bowmanville, Ontario.

Custer, furious with the way he was raced, used a leaping tackle to knock Nemechek to the ground as Nemechek waited at the flagstand to be named the winner.

INDYCAR: Scott Dixon won the IndyCar Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York, with a dominant drive, leading all but 10 of the 60 laps.

FORMULA ONE: Nico Rosberg won the Italian Grand Prix virtually unchallenged after Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton wasted pole position with a poor start at Monza, Italy.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Nneka Ogwumike had 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists to lead the host Los Angeles Sparks past the Indiana Fever, 88-81.

The Sparks (24-5) are tied atop the Western Conference standings with Minnesota (24-5).

CYCLING

SPANISH VUELTA: A surprise attack by Alberto Contador helped Nairo Quintana boost his lead over Chris Froome to more than three minutes after the 15th stage at Aramon Formigal, Spain.

– Staff and news service report

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On Baseball: Moncada needs more time in minors next spring http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/04/on-baseball-moncada-needs-more-time-in-the-minors-next-spring/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/04/on-baseball-moncada-needs-more-time-in-the-minors-next-spring/#comments Sun, 04 Sep 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1043917 That Red Sox fans gave Yoan Moncada a standing ovation when he walked up for his first major league at-bat Friday night was remarkable.

That these were Red Sox fans attending a game in Oakland, California, shows just how far Red Sox Nation extends – and how closely they follow the franchise and its prospects.

Moncada, 21, could become a popular and productive player for several years. That he was called up to a contending big league team shows the hope his employers have in him.

The Red Sox were wise to beckon Moncada in September.

They would be equally wise to send him back to the minors in April.

For the remaining month, and possibly into the postseason, Moncada could provide a spark. He’s an athletic player who could get on a roll and deepen this already-deep lineup.

But there are holes in his game – nothing to fret over but holes still the same. This is a different player than Andrew Benintendi, the other Sea Dogs player sent directly to the majors this year. Benintendi, 22, is already a polished player – a gifted outfielder and a hitter able to make adjustments to avoid long slumps.

When the Red Sox promoted Benintendi to Boston on Aug. 2, they were quick to say Benintendi and Moncada are different. Even though Moncada is considered the best prospect in baseball, Benintendi was closer to being ready for the majors – which he proved immediately (.324/.850 OPS in 68 at-bats) before spraining his knee.

Moncada is a prized prospect whose talent can be blinding to the truth that he still needs time to develop.

Or haven’t the Red Sox learned their lesson?

Allow me to offer two examples.

In 2011, a third baseman named Will Middlebrooks came to Portland. He had been a touted draft pick out of high school but moved unceremoniously through the system (batting .276/.770 OPS in Salem in 2010). He was hardly being rushed and began 2011 batting sixth in the Sea Dogs’ lineup.

Middlebrooks would break out in Portland (.302/.865 in 95 games), although ending the year quietly in Pawtucket (.161 in 16 games).

In 2012, Middlebrooks played only 24 games for Pawtucket (hitting .333) when he was summoned to Boston to fill in for the injured Kevin Youkilis. Middlebrooks got on a roll, batting .288/.835 with 15 home runs from May 2 to Aug. 10 before his season ended with a broken wrist.

Middlebrooks may have seemed established. But one good minor league season and a three-month hot streak in the majors hid the flaws in his game – maybe even to himself. In 2013, Middlebrooks looked lost at times, batting .227/.686. He hit .160 in the postseason and lost the third-base job to Xander Bogaerts. In 2014, Middlebrooks batted .191/.522. He was eventually demoted to Pawtucket and traded after the season for backup catcher Ryan Hanigan.

The caution the Red Sox had taken with the developing Middlebrooks was abandoned because he got hot for a brief time. He looked ready but wasn’t.

In 2012, a touted outfield prospect named Jackie Bradley Jr. was promoted to Portland on June 21. For five weeks Bradley batted .301/.885, with electrifying play in center field. The hype machine was in full gear. Bradley finished the season batting .210/.671 for the final five weeks. A nagging ankle injury was blamed for the slump.

In 2013 spring training, Bradley was again in the headlines, batting .419/1.120. That sizzling March and some minor injuries to others put Bradley on the major league roster. He was poised and a great fielder. In his major league debut, Bradley walked three times and scored twice.

But by April 17, when he was batting .097, Bradley was sent back to Pawtucket. He had nagging injuries and played only 80 games (.275/.842) with occasional appearances with Boston (batting .139 in 37 games).

In 2014, with Jacoby Ellsbury gone to the Yankees, Boston signed the oft-injured Grady Sizemore to compete with Bradley for the center-field job. Both made the major league roster. Sizemore couldn’t regain his old form and was released in June. Bradley played 127 games for Boston that year. The glove was superb but he batted only .198. It became obvious Bradley needed more development.

In 2015, with Mookie Betts starting in center field, Bradley began the season in Pawtucket. There, Bradley’s approach matured, batting .305/.853. In Boston, Bradley went wild in August (.354/1.163) and cooled in September (.216/.739)

Questions abounded heading into this season but Bradley has developed. He’s still streaky but the lows aren’t so bad, maintaining .273/.852 numbers with superb play in center.

Maybe Bradley needed to go through those struggles in 2013-14 to get where he is – or maybe his development was impeded because he was rushed.

WHERE DOES MONCADA fit into all this? His talent is hardly raw but needs refinement.

On Friday night, Moncada showed plate discipline in his first big league appearance, willing to take a walk instead of chasing bad pitches.

But Moncada can be pitched to, as evidenced by the crafty Chris Smith (a former Sea Dogs right-hander) facing Moncada in the ninth inning on Friday. Smith stayed on the outside half of the plate, with a mix of change-ups and 86 mph fastballs, and got a strikeout.

The switch-hitting Moncada is more susceptible batting right-handed (.167/.691 in Portland). He can swat a fastball or hanging off-speed pitch. But the last two times I saw him bat right-handed in Portland, he took a slider for a called third strike and then struck out, swinging through a change-up.

A small sample, for sure, but evidence that more development is necessary.

In the field, Moncada has moved from second base and should be an exceptional third baseman – quick with a cannon arm. On Friday, he backhanded a bouncer past third base and, from the grass, threw out the runner with a strong, accurate throw.

But on a grounder toward the shortstop, he ranged too far to his left, stopping the ball but unable to glove it.

“That’s a play converted middle infielders try to make because they forget where they (are) at in the infield,” wrote former major league infielder and ESPN analysis Alex Cora in a tweet afterward. “Nothing wrong with that.”

Nothing that time and repetition won’t take care of.

Moncada could have an amazing September run. He has that ability.

But the Red Sox have invested a lot – maybe you’ve heard about the $63 million price tag – and they need to monitor Moncada’s progress.

He’ll gain invaluable experience this month, and in major league spring training next year, but he should begin 2017 in Triple-A.

Yes, there’s a business angle to this. By waiting to promote Moncada next season, they may get an extra year out of his career before he eventually hits free agency.

But there’s also a baseball decision to be made. Let Moncada close the holes in his game while in Pawtucket, then watch him soar.

TRAVIS SHAW may have something to say while the Red Sox wait for Moncada to become entrenched at third base. Shaw’s message Friday had a Simple Minds theme to it: Don’t you forget about me.

While the left-handed hitting Shaw has struggled recently – helping make the decision to bring up Moncada – he broke loose Friday with a home run, two doubles and five RBI.

“If you get hits, it’s going to be hard to keep you out of the lineup down the stretch,” Shaw said after the game.

Shaw seems to be energized when there’s competition. Remember, he beat out Pablo Sandoval for the job in spring training.

With Shaw competing for playing time and Moncada looking to impress, the Red Sox can only benefit.

 

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Sea Dogs shut out Reading http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/01/sea-dogs-shut-out-reading/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/01/sea-dogs-shut-out-reading/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2016 02:25:15 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/01/sea-dogs-shut-out-reading/ READING, Pa. — Jake Romanski hit a two-run single as part of a four-run fourth inning Thursday night to lead the Portland Sea Dogs to a 6-0 victory against the Reading Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Nate Freiman put the Sea Dogs ahead in the fourth with a single to right field that drove home Mauricio Dubon. Aneury Tavarez, who had reached on a bunt single, then scored on a single by Ryan Court.

Romanski followed a batter later with his two-run single.

Court gave the Sea Dogs a 5-0 lead in the sixth with a solo home run, and Romanski followed with a run-scoring single.

Romanski went 3 for 4 with two RBI, and Court went 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs.

Teddy Stankiewicz (5-9) of Portland pitched six shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out a season-high eight batters.

Stankiewicz didn’t allow a walk as his ERA dropped to 4.71.

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Sports Digest: Fightin Phils use five homers to power past Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/31/sports-digest-fightin-phils-use-five-homers-to-power-past-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/31/sports-digest-fightin-phils-use-five-homers-to-power-past-sea-dogs/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 03:17:04 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/31/sports-digest-fightin-phils-use-five-homers-to-power-past-sea-dogs/ BASEBALL

Reading uses five homers to power past Portland

Dylan Cozens’ league-leading 38th home run of the season was one of the five homers hit by the Reading Fightin Phils in a 14-6 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Cozens finished with three hits, four RBI and two runs, and Jorge Alfaro went 4 for 5 with a home run, four runs and two runs driven in for Reading (87-49).

Aneury Tavarez went 4 for 5 with a double and one run for the Sea Dogs (53-81) to boost his batting average to .336 on the season, which leads the league.

Nate Freiman added two hits, including a double, drove in two runs and scored one, and Mauricio Dubon hit two singles with one RBI and one run for the Sea Dogs.

Reading starter Tom Eshelman gave up two runs on six hits, striking out four over six innings to earn the win.

Portland starter Keith Couch took the loss, giving up seven runs over 41/3 innings.

BASKETBALL

NBA: Free-agent point guard Ty Lawson signed with the Sacramento Kings. In seven NBA seasons the 28-year-old Lawson has averaged 13.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game.

• TNT basketball broadcaster Craig Sager received a rare third bone marrow transplant as he continues his fight against cancer.

Sager, 65, has battled acute myeloid leukemia since 2014, and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.

SOCCER

EUROPE: Three of the biggest transfers in Serie A on deadline day saw players switch from the English Premier League to Italy’s top league.

Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart completed a loan move to Torino, while Juan Cuadrado returned to Juventus on a three-year loan deal and Luis Alberto joined Lazio from Liverpool on a permanent basis.

FIFA: The organization’s president, Gianni Infantino, agreed to an annual salary of $1.53 million with no bonus in 2016. FIFA said Infantino also receives a chauffeured car, lodgings paid, plus monthly expenses of $2,040. He will be eligible for a bonus in 2017 under a new FIFA compensation policy. .

HOCKEY

NHL: The league added meldonium to its list of banned substances.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the move after it was first reported by the Russian news agency TASS.

The change goes into effect for the upcoming season. The NHL and NHL Players’ Association had to agree to add meldonium to its list of prohibited substances.

GOLF

LPGA: Ariya Jutanugarn is giving a misbehaving old friend another chance.

Jutanugarn said she will use a driver in the LPGA Manulife Classic, the first time she has put the wild but long club in play since winning the Kingsmill Championship in May for the second of third straight victories.

“Actually I try to bring it out every week, but some course I can’t hit my driver,” the 20-year-old Thai player said the day before the start of play at Whistle Bear. “But this course, I feel like it’s wide enough to hit driver.”

OLYMPICS

BOXING: The International Boxing Association is pursuing disciplinary action against the referees and judges sent home from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for failing to properly officiate fights.

AIBA commissions met in Switzerland this week to review the Olympic boxing tournament, in which a handful of questionable decisions led to widespread condemnation of both the judging and refereeing.

CYCLING

SPANISH VUELTA: Chris Froome won a thrilling uphill duel against climbing rival Nairo Quintana by a bike length to win the 11th stage at Pena Cabarga, Spain.

Quintana defended his race lead and is now 54 seconds ahead of Froome, who overtook Alejandro Valverde to move into second overall.

Froome, who clinched his third Tour de France title in July, got his first stage win at a major race on this same Pena Cabarga peak in 2011 – the year the British rider finished as the Vuelta runner-up.

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Reading rallies to beat Portland http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/30/reading-rallies-to-beat-portland/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/30/reading-rallies-to-beat-portland/#comments Wed, 31 Aug 2016 02:33:02 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/30/reading-rallies-to-beat-portland/ READING, Pa. — Christian Marrero drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run single as the Reading Fightin Phils rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and held on for a 7-6 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Cody Decker had two hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs for the Sea Dogs and Aneury Tavarez added two RBI on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly.

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Red Sox Farm Report: Moncada needs more work but Boston may need him now http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/29/red-sox-farm-report-moncada-needs-more-work-but-boston-may-need-him-now/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/29/red-sox-farm-report-moncada-needs-more-work-but-boston-may-need-him-now/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:50:11 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/29/red-sox-farm-report-moncada-needs-more-work-but-boston-may-need-him-now/ Major league rosters can expand Thursday, the same day the Arizona Fall League rosters will be announced.

Will Yoan Moncada’s name be included on both rosters?

Earlier this month, Red Sox Manager John Farrell hinted that Moncada, now playing third base for the Portland Sea Dogs, would go to the Arizona Fall League to continue to adjust to his new position.

But on Sunday, Farrell wouldn’t rule out Moncada being called up to the majors, saying the decision “has yet to be determined.”

Could Moncada go to the majors and then head to the AFL? Sure. Mike Trout did that in 2011, jumping from Double-A to the Angels, then moving to the AFL after the season. By the way, the AFL’s Scottsdale Scorpions were loaded that year with Trout, Bryce Harper and Will Middlebrooks (and Arnie Beyeler as manager).

Moncada, 21, is Boston’s top prospect but still needs time to develop. But his production in 43 Double-A games is intriguing: a .286 batting average, .941 OPS and 11 home runs.

Boston isn’t getting a lot of production at third base from Travis Shaw (.175/.610 in the second half) and Aaron Hill (.195/.512 since his trade to Boston).

Moncada has been dominant when batting left-handed (.313/1.003), not so much right-handed (.171/.710). He has power right-handed – like his home run on a fastball Sunday. But he also struck out twice in the game, looking at a slider and swinging at a change-up.

Moncada shows a lot of athletic talent at third base but Sunday was only his eighth time at the position. He can steal bases (93 of 108 in his career), but is still learning the nuances of the running game, especially at higher levels.

Here’s one scenario: Moncada is promoted to Boston late Wednesday night. Boston is off Thursday and opens a long trip Friday at Oakland.

The Red Sox like their touted prospects making debuts far away from the glare of Boston. For example, Xander Bogaerts played his first game in San Francisco in 2013 and Andrew Benintendi debuted in Seattle earlier this month.

If Moncada is promoted by Wednesday, he becomes automatically eligible for the postseason roster should Boston make the playoffs.

THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE has been called the graduate school for prospects. Running from Oct. 8 to Nov. 19, it’s intended to be a showcase for some of the game’s best prospects, most coming from Double-A, with some from Triple-A and an occasional Class A player. Some of the prospects may not be big names but are promising players who need more work – especially those who missed time because of injury or have moved to a new position.

Each of the six AFL teams contains prospects from five major league teams, with minor league coaches assigned to each team.

Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles will manage the Surprise Saguaros.

The Red Sox players chosen for the Surprise team will be announced Thursday.

AFL CANDIDATES from the Red Sox, besides Moncada, include some other standouts in Portland.

Shortstop Mauricio Dubon would be a good candidate. Not only did Dubon tear up Double-A pitching (.342/.923) but excelled at shortstop. Dubon, 22, is likely to be introduced to other positions soon, maybe in Arizona.

Dubon has played second and third before, and probably could handle the outfield.

With Dubon blocked at so many positions in Boston, the Red Sox may want to find a way to get his quick bat to the majors. Think of him as a right-handed Brock Holt.

Catcher Jake Romanski, 25, is having a breakout year in Portland (.298/.724). He’s superb at throwing out runners but the Red Sox would like to see improvement in his overall defense. He caught 83 games in Portland and could catch a few more in the fall.

Outfielder Aneury Tavarez, 24, came out of nowhere this season, batting .331/.873. In 67 games with Portland last year, he batted .226/.616. It would be good to see Tavarez against better competition.

One pitcher seems an obvious choice. Right-hander Michael Kopech missed the first half of the season with a broken hand. In 10 starts with Salem he’s 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 51 innings. Kopech can rely solely on his 100 mph fastball in Class A. Boston needs to see him face more advanced hitters.

Portland could offer several pitchers to the AFL for more work. Ben Taylor and Ty Buttrey converted to the bullpen this year, and starter Kevin McAvoy missed time with injury. Left-handed relievers Luis Ysla and Williams Jerez are other candidates.

IN PAWTUCKET, left-hander Roenis Elias (10-5, 3.78 ERA) allowed three hits in six innings of shutout ball (three walks and six strikeouts) Sunday.

Trouble is, Elias didn’t look nearly as good during his short stint with Boston (three games, 72/3 innings, 11 earned runs).

Rusney Castillo went 3 for 5 on Sunday with a double and triple. In 22 games in August, Castillo is batting .365/.944.

IN SALEM, third baseman Rafael Devers (.335/.944) and outfielder Danny Mars (.331/.844) have been excellent in the second half of the season. They will be in Portland next year, as will first baseman Nick Longhi, who has been consistent all year (.280/.736).

IN GREENVILLE, 18-year-old wonder Raniel Raudes (11-5, 3.63 ERA) pitched only three innings in his start Sunday, allowing one hit. Raudes, in his first full pro season, is already up to 1112/3 innings and the Red Sox are cutting back his workload in the final week of the season.

IN LOWELL, two high draft picks from June are shining. Third baseman Bobby Dalbec (fourth round, Arizona) is batting .374/1.119 in 28 games. Shortstop C.J. Chatham (second round, Florida Atlantic), is batting .275 in the last 10 games, but is also showing his promising power, with three home runs in his last three games.

IN THE GULF Coast League, first-round draft pick Jason Groome made his second start last week: two innings, two hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts. Groome gave up a leadoff single. The runner stole second, advanced to third on a single and stole home.

A SCOUT WITH another organization visited Hadlock Field last week and the subject of Mookie Betts’ success came up. The scout was not surprised. “I have rated only four prospects (with top marks) – Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and …

“Andrew Benintendi.”

NOTES: Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard is pitching for the first time in two years. Signed by the Cardinals, Bard, 31, was activated this month in the advanced Class A Florida State League. In five games (only 11/3 innings), he has allowed eight earned runs on two hits, eight walks and five hit batters, with no strikeouts … Former Sea Dogs outfielder Shannon Wilkerson recently was released by the Twins organization. Wilkerson, 28, was batting .241/.628 in Double-A.

 

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Sea Dogs notebook: Team still a good draw despite record http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-notebook-team-still-a-good-draw-despite-record/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-notebook-team-still-a-good-draw-despite-record/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2016 00:27:03 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-notebook-team-still-a-good-draw-despite-record/ When a baseball team is 53-78 and the general manager says, “we feel good about the way the season has gone,” it must be a minor league GM talking.

After a second straight sold-out game at Hadlock Field to end the home schedule on Sunday, Portland Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa looked satisfied.

“A successful season,” Iacuessa said.

With Sunday’s crowd of 7,368 factored in, the Sea Dogs drew 374,746 fans for 70 dates, or a 5,353 average. That is 144 less than last year’s average, but still ranks third in the 12-team Eastern League, behind Reading, Pennsylvania (6,147) and Richmond, Virginia (5,672).

With a week of games left to play, only four Eastern League teams have recorded a gain in average over last year – Reading (103 more), Trenton (32 more), Akron (four more) and Bowie (three more).

Iacuessa was especially pleased because revamped marketing efforts after the 2013 season (a franchise-low 5,096 average) are still working. Pushes for group sales as well as one-time promotions (Star Wars Night, etc.) have helped.

Good weather also benefited the Sea Dogs, with only one rain-out.

Weather can also negatively affect the average. When games in April and May – which feature the poorest attendance because of the weather – are all played, the average crowd is lower.

While a winning team can help attendance (the 2004 division-winning club had a 5,530 average), it is not crucial in the minors.

“It impacts the diehard baseball fan,” Iacuessa said. “This year, we weren’t a contender but we had exciting players to watch, with (Yoan) Moncada, (Andrew) Benintendi and (Mauricio (Dubon).”

NEXT SEASON’S schedule has not yet been announced, but Iacuessa did say the Sea Dogs will be home on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and the season-ending game on Labor Day. Also, because the Eastern League requires every team to open the season at home every other year, the 2017 season opener on April 6 will be at Hadlock.

The schedule will be announced in 2-3 weeks.

THE TEAM AWARDS for the Sea Dogs were announced before Sunday’s game.

Aneury Tavarez, who is leading the league in batting with .331 average, was named Most Valuable Player. The Pitcher of the Year was Keith Couch, who is 9-4 with a 3.34 ERA and three complete games.

Ryan Court, who has played every infield position and left field, received The 10th Man Award. He is batting .277 in 78 games.

And, for the third consecutive year, pitcher Mike McCarthy was named Citizen of the Year for his work in the local and international communities.

BASEBALL CARD sets were given out to the first 1,000 fans at Friday’s game, which produced a line outside Hadlock before the gates opened. The sets were highlighted by Benintendi and Moncada, who joined the team in-season.

Moncada was almost not included.

The cards were sent to the printer in June – without Moncada. When he was promoted to Portland on June 21, Sea Dogs officials called the printer with a “stop the presses” plea.

They were able to include Moncada, the Boston Red Sox top prospect, making the 2016 Sea Dogs card set a must-have for collectors. For those who could not get a free set, they are for sale for $10 in the Sea Dogs gift shop.

 

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Sea Dogs drop final home game in 11 innings http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-drop-final-home-game-in-11-innings/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-drop-final-home-game-in-11-innings/#comments Sun, 28 Aug 2016 20:46:12 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/28/sea-dogs-drop-final-home-game-in-11-innings/ The final Portland Sea Dogs home game of 2017 ended like most of them, with a loss. But the Sea Dogs put up a fight before losing to the Trenton Thunder 4-3 in 11 innings Sunday afternoon, before a sold-out Hadlock Field crowd of 7,368.

Not only did the full house see a cliffhanger, but the fans also watched Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan make a rehab appearance (as the designated hitter). He went 2 for 3 with a walk.

The highlight of Sunday came on the first pitch from Trenton starter Daniel Camarena. It was an 89 mph fastball and Yoan Moncada crushed it.

Moncada’s blast was his 11th home run in 43 Double-A games. It left his bat at 98 mph and traveled an estimated 383 feet. And it’s important to point out that Camarena is a left-hander.

Moncada is a switch hitter, but he is batting .179 against lefties, with seven walks and 19 strikeouts. But since Aug. 11, Moncada is batting .333 (3 for 9, with a double, home run, four walks and five strikeouts) against left-handers.

“The main thing is he hasn’t faced much left-handers,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “Lately he’s been much better. He’s staying on the ball a little longer. It paid off day.”

The homer was Moncada’s only hit Sunday. Overall, he is still batting .286 with a .388 on-base percentage and .554 slugging average (.941 OPS).

Moncada again played at third base, his new position, and looked fine until the 11th inning. Jose Rosario hit a bouncer. Moncada initially backed up and then charged, trying to short-hop it. The ball got by him and Rosario raced to second base for a two-base error.

“He got caught in between,” Febles said.

Francisco Diaz followed with a bunt to pitcher Austin Maddox (3-2), who tried to get the out at third, but Rosario was safe. Michael O’Neill walked and Portland pulled its infield in. Abiatal Avelino singled off the glove of diving second baseman Ryan Court, to drive in two and give Trenton a 4-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 11th, Aneury Tavarez walked and Court was hit by a pitch with no out. The Sea Dogs managed one run on Rainel Rosario’s RBI ground out, but that was all.

Portland’s Jalen Beeks made a quality start, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out five in six innings. His one hiccup was a Mark Payton two-run homer in the third inning.

The Sea Dogs tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the eighth. Tzu-Wei Lin led off with a double to deep center. Tavarez singled him in with a line drive to left field.

With Portland’s bullpen limited after Saturday’s 15-inning game, reliever Jake Drehoff followed Beeks and pitched 32/3 scoreless innings, his longest outing this year.

“He kept us there,” Febles said. “We asked him more than we normally ask out of him.”

The Sea Dogs (53-78) will finish their season on the road, beginning with a game Monday in Reading, Pennsylvania. Trenton (83-51) plays in New Hampshire on Monday.

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Sea Dogs fall in 15 innings on ‘Field of Dreams’ night http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/sea-dogs-fall-in-15-innings-on-field-of-dreams-night/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/sea-dogs-fall-in-15-innings-on-field-of-dreams-night/#comments Sun, 28 Aug 2016 03:50:32 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/sea-dogs-fall-in-15-innings-on-field-of-dreams-night/ The Trenton Thunder clinched an Eastern League playoff berth by scoring two runs in the 15th inning to pull out a 4-2 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in the annual “Field of Dreams” game Saturday night at Hadlock Field.

The teams were knotted at 2-2 after the Sea Dogs scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

In the 15th, though, Thunder leadoff batter Tyler Wade reached on an error by second baseman Ryan Court. He stole second with one out and was trying to steal third when Miguel Andujar sent a ground single into left, driving home Wade with the go-ahead run. Two-out singles by Mark Payton and Billy McKinney produced another run.

Portland put two runners on with nobody out in the bottom half as Cole Sturgeon walked and Mauricio Dubon was hit by a pitch, but J.P. Feyereisen (7-3) struck out the next three batters. Four Trenton relievers combined for 17 strikeouts in 92/3 innings, as the Sea Dogs finished with 21 strikeouts.

The Sea Dogs threatened to end the game in the 12th when Rainel Rosario hit a double to deep center with one out. After Yoan Moncada was walked intentionally, Sturgeon bounced a single into left field, but Rosario had to stop at third. Tyler Jones then got Dubon to hit into a force play at home and retired Aneury Tavarez on another grounder.

Boston Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan, currently on the 15-day disabled list, started behind the plate for the Sea Dogs as he began a rehab assignment. Hanigan was placed on the DL on Aug. 8 because of left ankle tendinitis. He went 0 for 3 with walk and an RBI groundout before leaving the game after seven innings, and is expected to serve as the designated hitter for the Sea Dogs’ final home game of the season Sunday.

The Thunder took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. With two outs, Payton doubled into the gap in right, and McKinney and Abiatal Avelino followed with singles. Trenton made it 2-0 when Sebastian Valle, Wade and Dustin Fowler led off the fifth with singles.

The Sea Dogs pulled even in the bottom of the fifth. Cody Decker capped an 11-pitch at-bat with a leadoff double to left and moved to third on a ground ball by Henry Ramos. Moncada’s single through the right side and Hanigan’s grounder to shortstop produced the runs.

The Sea Dogs wasted a chance to break the tie in the seventh when Ramos led off with a double and moved to third on Rosario’s sacrifice. Moncada was walked intentionally, then was caught stealing, and Hanigan took a called third strike on reliever Matt Wotherspoon’s 3-and-2 slider.

Both teams got strong relief pitching.

Trenton relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Jones struck out eight of the nine Portland hitters in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings.

Ben Taylor, Portland’s workhorse reliever, retired eight of the nine men he faced after coming in with one out in the 10th.

Sea Dogs starter Teddy Stankiewicz allowed seven hits and two runs in five innings.

NOTES: The Sea Dogs drew their 12th sellout crowd of the season – 7,368. About 125 tickets remain for the final home game at 1 p.m. Sunday. … Tavarez, the league’s leading hitter, was selected to the season-ending Eastern League All-Star team. … Moncada, who batted .307 with 36 stolen bases in 61 games for Class A Salem before getting promoted, was named to the Carolina League All-Star team with third-base prospect Rafael Devers.

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Hanigan begins rehab assignment with Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/hanigan-begins-rehab-assignment-with-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/hanigan-begins-rehab-assignment-with-sea-dogs/#comments Sat, 27 Aug 2016 22:55:10 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/27/hanigan-begins-rehab-assignment-with-sea-dogs/ Boston Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan, currently on the 15-day disabled list because of left ankle tendinitis, started behind the plate Saturday for the Portland Sea Dogs against the Trenton Thunder as he began a rehab assignment.

Hanigan was placed on the DL on Aug. 8. He is expected to serve as Portland’s designated hitter in Sunday’s game – the Sea Dogs’ final home game of the season.

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Dubon, Tavarez spark Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/26/dubon-tavarez-spark-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/26/dubon-tavarez-spark-sea-dogs/#comments Sat, 27 Aug 2016 01:59:29 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/26/dubon-tavarez-spark-sea-dogs/ Starting pitcher Keith Couch turned in a solid performance and the top of the lineup came through in a big way as the Portland Sea Dogs rolled to a 9-6 win against the Trenton Thunder in an Eastern League baseball game at Hadlock Field on Friday night.

Couch allowed one run while scattering three hits in six innings to run his record to a team-best 9-4.

“He mixes pitches well and kept the defense engaged the entire outing,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said.

Couch, who left the game with an 8-1 lead, got all the support he needed from the first three hitters in the Portland lineup.

Between them, Yoan Moncada, Mauricio Dubon and Aneury Tavarez collected 10 of the team’s 15 hits and scored all but one of its runs.

“Tavarez and Dubon have been great for the last two months, so it’s no surprise what they did tonight,” Febles said.

Dubon hit three doubles and two singles and scored three runs, while Tavarez drove in three runs with a single, double and triple. Moncada, who singled twice and walked, scored three runs.

“If Moncada can get on base in front of those two guys you feel you feel you’ve got a shot,” Febles said.

Tavarez is hitting a league-leading .335. Dubon, who started the season in Class A Salem, leads the Sea Dogs with a .352 average, but he won’t have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title.

“You always want to have speed in the top of the lineup and having three guys who can run is huge,” Febles said. “That creates a lot of opportunities for the middle of the lineup.”

Nate Freiman, who batted cleanup, drove in two runs with a double and single. Cody Decker, Ryan Court and Jake Romanski each hit sacrifice flies.

Brandon Workman, who played a key role for the Red Sox in the 2013 playoffs, continued his comeback from Tommy John surgery by making his third relief appearance for the Sea Dogs. He allowed five runs and six hits, including two home runs, in 21/3 innings.

“He had 55-60 pitches to work with,” Febles said. Workman threw 38 of 58 pitches for strikes.

“He got tired after a long eighth inning and the ball was not coming out of his hand the same way in the ninth,” Febles said.

NOTES: St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Brandon Moss and former Portland manager Todd Claus are the 2016 inductees into the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame. Both were part of the 2006 team that won the Eastern League title. Claus is now in the Red Sox scouting department.

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Sea Dogs down Trenton, 4-3 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/25/sea-dogs-down-trenton-4-3/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/25/sea-dogs-down-trenton-4-3/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:05:35 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/25/sea-dogs-down-trenton-4-3/ The comparison is entirely unfair, but Mauricio Dubon is putting up Mookie Betts-type numbers with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Dubon, 22, went 3 for 4 with a home run, RBI double and single Thursday night to lead Portland to a 4-3 win over the Trenton Thunder at Hadlock Field.

Betts was 21 when he began the 2014 season in Portland. He batted .355 with 18 doubles, three triples and six home runs in 54 games before his promotion to Triple-A.

Dubon, in 52 games with the Sea Dogs since his promotion from Class A Salem, is batting .337 with 17 doubles, six triples and five home runs.

“He’s been money since Day 1,” said Manager Carlos Febles, who also managed Dubon in Salem last year. “He’s a thousand-times better hitter than what I saw last year (.274).

“He stays back (with the bat) and his hands are working pretty good. The ball jumps off his bat. He’s been impressive.”

Dubon doesn’t receive much hype, playing in the shadow of Boston’s stellar young players (including Betts), but he’s having a breakout year.

“I’m just keeping things simple,” Dubon said. “Last year I tried (quick fixes) when I struggled. Now when I go 0 for 4 I try to learn from it … And I’m definitely stronger from last year. I worked out a lot in the offseason and it’s paying off.”

Dubon’s double off reliever Caleb Smith (2-5) scored Tzu-Wei Lin to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh. Earlier he swatted a curveball over the left-field wall off Trenton starter Ronald Herrera.

Sea Dogs starter Mitch Atkins (5-7) struck out 10 and took over the Eastern League lead with 132, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings.

Luis Ysla allowed a walk and single in the ninth but escaped for his third save.

Nate Freiman had two RBI for Portland (52-76), both on groundouts.

Yoan Moncada (1 for 4) singled in the first and scored, also striking out twice.

Mark Payton’s two-run homer and Dustin Fowler’s RBI triple produced the runs for Trenton (81-50).

NOTES: Lin, normally a middle infielder, played the outfield for only the second time. … The announced paid attendance was 5,072. … One of those fans was Mike Davis of Falmouth, who was the Sea Dogs’ 9-millionth fan in the team’s 23rd season. … The Sea Dogs will announce their Hall of Fame inductees before Friday’s game. … Also, the first 1,000 fans will receive a Sea Dogs baseball card set. … The annual and popular Field of Dreams game is at 6 p.m. Saturday. Only 90 tickets remain. … Almost 600 tickets remain for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game, the final home game of the season.

In Eastern League news, league president Joe McEacharn announced that Hartford could lose its franchise if its stadium isn’t completed soon. The Hartford Yard Goats, formerly the New Britain Rock Cats, had to play on the road all year because of stadium construction delays and legal issues. McEacharn didn’t give an exact deadline for the stadium to be completed, nor specify where the Yard Goats would move if the stadium wasn’t ready.

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/25/sea-dogs-down-trenton-4-3/feed/ 0 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/890626-20160825_SeaDogs2342.jpgThu, 25 Aug 2016 23:45:00 +0000
Freiman walk-off homer gives Sea Dogs 10-7 win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/freiman-walkoff-homer-gives-sea-dogs-10-7-win/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/freiman-walkoff-homer-gives-sea-dogs-10-7-win/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:23:09 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/freiman-walkoff-homer-gives-sea-dogs-10-7-win/ It turned from ugly to thrilling at Hadlock Field on Wednesday night.

Nate Freiman swatted a three-run walk-off homer over the left-field wall in the ninth inning to give the Portland Sea Dogs a 10-7 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats before a capacity crowd of 7,368.

No one expected that much excitement after Portland fell behind 5-0 while making three errors in the first two innings.

“The game didn’t start off the way we would have liked,” Freiman said.

The Sea Dogs rallied, scoring four runs in the seventh to jump ahead 7-6. New Hampshire tied it in the eighth.

In the bottom of the ninth, Tzu-Wei Lin led off with a single against Brady Dragmire (4-6). Mauricio Dubon sacrificed Lin to second and Aneury Tavarez singled to put runners on first and third. Freiman then smacked Dragmire’s 2-0 pitch for the win.

“It was a slider,” said Freiman, sounding surprised. “I was just trying to be ready early and see it.

“I was trying to get something up and stay out of a double play. I wasn’t thinking home run, just something elevated.”

Freiman also had an RBI double. His home run was his 10th of the season and his second walk-off hit of the year. He had a game-winning single in May shortly after signing with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent.

Portland reliever Ben Taylor (1-0) got the win, pitching the final 12/3 innings.

Sea Dogs starter Kevin McAvoy rallied from his early struggles, providing 62/3 innings. He allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits, one walk and one hit batter. He struck out three.

“It could have been worse but after the second inning he settled down nicely,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “Really pleased with the way he pitched.”

This was McAvoy’s sixth straight start allowing three earned runs or less.

“(McAvoy) was huge for us,” Freiman said. “He gave us a chance to win.”

The Sea Dogs were paced by Ryan Court’s two doubles and one RBI. Dubon (2 for 4) had a key RBI single in the seventh and Tavarez (2 for 5) hit a two-run single in the seventh that tied it.

“The offense showed some courage tonight,” Febles said.

Center fielder Cole Sturgeon (1 for 3, RBI) made two impressive over-the-shoulder catches in the left-center gap, and also charged a fly ball and then doubled off the runner at first base in the fifth inning.

NOTES: Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada took the night off. Moncada is being handled carefully after spraining an ankle almost three weeks ago. He played in three of Portland’s previous four games. … Tavarez is now batting .332, the best in the Eastern League … The Sea Dogs (51-76) will be home against the Yankees-affiliated Trenton Thunder from Thursday through Sunday. The Thunder (81-49) are close to clinching a playoff spot. … Before Thursday’s game, the Sea Dogs expect to welcome their nine-millionth fan. … The Fisher Cats (62-68) travel to Reading, Pennsylvania. … In advanced Class A, future Sea Dogs starter Michael Kopech pitched one-hit shutout ball over seven innings, walking two and striking out 10. He has a 1.23 ERA for Salem.

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/freiman-walkoff-homer-gives-sea-dogs-10-7-win/feed/ 0 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1028864_403720-20160824_SeaDogs003.jpgWed, 24 Aug 2016 22:43:17 +0000
Another Razorback hopes to join the Red Sox http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/another-razorback-wants-to-join-the-red-sox/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/24/another-razorback-wants-to-join-the-red-sox/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:00:03 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1027703 In his second season in college, pitcher Jalen Beeks noticed a new player on the team, a smallish outfielder.

“You could see his talent as a freshman,” Beeks said. “I thought he was going to be all-conference (as a sophomore).

“But nobody saw that coming … who knew he would be the seventh overall (draft pick in 2015)?”

Now Beeks sees Andrew Benintendi manning left field for the Boston Red Sox.

“We watch him all the time (on TV) in the clubhouse,” Beeks said.

Beeks has already been Benintendi’s teammate on four teams – the University of Arkansas (2014), Greenville last year, then Salem and Portland this season. Beeks would like to join him one more time, in the majors.

Beeks, 23, a 14th-round draft pick in 2014, is the only starting pitcher promoted from Salem this season. The left-hander improved his record to 5-3 with the Sea Dogs on Tuesday night with an 8-2 victory against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

With a fastball touching 90-92 mph and three other pitches, Beeks gave up two runs on five hits and four walks over five innings, striking out one. He lowered his ERA a tick to 4.47, second-best among Sea Dogs starters.

At a time when the Red Sox pitching depth is not so deep, Beeks could develop into a prospect.

The promotion to Portland came in early June after Beeks posted a 3.07 ERA. He totaled 11 earned runs in his first three Double-A starts.

“Guys just have better approaches, more experience here,” Beeks said. “Some guys have been in the big leagues. It was just a big learning curve.”

He has had a few hiccups since but mostly has settled in.

“He had that little adjustment time,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He’s had some struggles but he’s starting to figure it out and starting to learn how to pitch.”

At Arkansas, Beeks went from reliever his freshman year (2.20 ERA) to starter as a sophomore (1.98). But he only made 13 starts because of a sprained ulnar collateral (elbow) ligament.

Bad timing. Beeks was eligible for the 2014 draft.

“I didn’t pitch the month leading into the draft,” said Beeks, who likely dropped down draft boards because of the injury. “I think so, but you never know with the draft.

“But I’m in Double-A now. I’m happy to be here. I play for the Red Sox. Now it’s just about getting to the big leagues.”

The jump to the majors is obviously the biggest leap a pitcher can make. The second- biggest may be to Double-A, a level that separates the pitchers from the throwers.

“This is really a mental leap. You can get guys out … but the experience level is so much better. Being able to repeat pitches (is important),” Beeks said.

“I obviously have a lot to learn. Really it’s just experience and learning, and battling adversity.”

Beeks does battle. Despite the bumps he’s had in Double-A, every start except one has gone at least five innings.

“The big thing for me is his poise and composure on the mound,” Walker said. “He doesn’t let any situation get too big. He’s always able to calm down and make that one pitch when he needs to.”

Beeks looked in big trouble early Tuesday, starting with a leadoff walk and then a line drive single. After a double play, Beeks gave up back-to-back RBI doubles.

Beeks gave up only two more hits, but also ran up his pitch count with three more walks.

“I still have to work on fastball control,” Beeks said. “All of my pitches are still developing. The slider sometimes gets kind of loopy instead of hard and down. The curveball is still a work in progress. So is the change-up.

“I have good days and bad days.”

In 561/3 Double-A innings, Beeks has 45 strikeouts and 24 walks.

He’s expected to return to Portland at the start of 2017. He will be facing a key season, a time for Beeks to put his experience to work for him. Maybe then he can realistically look forward to a reunion with his Arkansas teammate, in Boston.

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Moncada’s three-run homer propels Sea Dogs win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/23/moncadas-three-run-homer-propels-sea-dogs-win/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/23/moncadas-three-run-homer-propels-sea-dogs-win/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 02:15:07 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/23/moncadas-three-run-homer-propels-sea-dogs-win/ Yoan Moncada not only can hit a baseball far, he also works the count, refusing to chase bad pitches.

Moncada did all that Tuesday night. Besides walking four times, he launched a three-run homer to lead the Portland Sea Dogs to an 8-2 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats before 4,869 at Hadlock Field.
Jake Romanski joined in the offense with a 3-for-4 night, with two RBI and a double.

Jalen Beeks (5-3) got the win with five innings of work (five hits, two runs).

New Hampshire took a 2-0 lead in the first but Beeks rebounded, and his teammates more than backed him up.

Moncada worked the count full in each of his walks, including leading off the bottom of the first.

“I don’t chase,” Moncada said.

Those are words that hitting coach Jon Nunnally loves to hear.

“I like the walks,” Nunnally said. “Shows some patience. Shows some discipline, laying off (bad) pitches.

“The more he can do that, the more he will get pitches where he can do damage.”

In the first, Moncada scored on Nate Freiman’s double, closing the score to 2-1.

In the second, Moncada did the damage, giving Portland the lead. After singles by Cole Sturgeon and Tzu-Wei Lin, Moncada came up with two outs and worked a 2-1 count against Jeremy Gabryszwski (7-11).

Gabryszwski delivered a 93 mph fastball on the lower half of the strike zone. Moncada pounced, crushing a ball over the wall in right-center. The exit velocity was 102 mph and the estimated distance was 411 feet.

It was Moncada’s 10th home run in 39 Double-A games. He’s batting .285. He has 23 walks and a .386 on-base percentage, and a .563 slugging average.

Moncada also looked sharp again at third base, making a diving stop and throwing the runner out at first.

Romanski got his average back to .300 with his three hits, and Aneury Tavarez (2 for 3, walk) remains the Eastern League batting leader with a .334 average. Sturgeon and Lin also had two hits.

Three relievers kept New Hampshire hitless over the last four innings – Williams Jerez (two innings, two walks, four strikeouts), Ty Buttrey (one inning, one walk, one strikeout) and Luis Ysla (one inning, one strikeout).

NOTES: The Sea Dogs (50-76) and Fisher Cats (62-67) play again at 6 p.m. Wednesday. A fireworks show will follow the game. … Reliever Austin Maddox was returned to the Sea Dogs’ roster from Pawtucket.

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/23/moncadas-three-run-homer-propels-sea-dogs-win/feed/ 0 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1027631_888440-20160823_SeaDogs_016.jpgTue, 23 Aug 2016 23:12:29 +0000
Fisher Cats shut out Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/22/fisher-cats-shut-out-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/22/fisher-cats-shut-out-sea-dogs/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 01:41:38 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/22/fisher-cats-shut-out-sea-dogs/ The Portland Sea Dogs began their final homestand of the 2016 season with a whimper.

Portland featured solid pitching and some fine defense, with third baseman Yoan Moncada looking settled in.

But the Sea Dogs managed only four hits in a 4-0 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats before 4,979 at Hadlock Field.

Portland starter Teddy Stankiewicz (4-9) allowed three runs over six innings, giving up only four hits. But two of those hits were Derrick Loveless’ two-run triple in the second inning and Dwight Smith’s solo home run in the fifth.

Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit a solo home run in the ninth, off his old teammate, Brandon Workman.

New Hampshire starter Conner Greene (5-5) recorded the win, giving up three hits in seven innings. Greene, the Toronto Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, walked two and struck out one.

Moncada reached base three times, with a ground-ball single to center field and two walks.

Moncada made his Hadlock debut at third base – a position he switched to last week. He showcased his quickness by easily getting under a shallow fly ball down the left-field line. He also handled a routine grounder with no problem and later backhanded a grounder down the line and threw the runner out at first.

But Moncada’s most impressive play may have been an infield single by Roemon Fields, one of the league’s fastest players with 39 steals. Fields hit a dribbler – also known as a “swinging bunt” – down the third-base line. Moncada charged and fired a quick-wristed throw to almost get Fields.

“I’m impressed with how quick he got rid of it … Fields is the only guy he could not (have thrown out),” said Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles, who has been working with Moncada at his new position.

“He made a nice backhand play and good throw across. He’s getting comfortable there.”

Catcher Jake Romanski continued his impressive season behind the plate with a league-leading 50-percent success rate in throwing out base-stealers (50 of 100). He threw out 1 of 2 on Monday and also picked Christian Lopes off first base following a leadoff walk.

“The guy can catch and throw, no doubt about it,” Febles said.

Stankiewicz recorded his 13th quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs) in 23 starts, lowering his ERA to 4.98.

Workman made his second rehab appearance with the Sea Dogs, working the last three innings (two hits, one run and two strikeouts). His fastball ranged from 88 to 90 mph.

Portland (49-76) saw the end of its three-game winning streak, and New Hampshire (62-66) still has hopes for a winning season.

NOTES: Aneury Tavarez went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .331, which still leads the Eastern League … Right-handed reliever Austin Maddox was sent to Pawtucket and relieved Monday night, pitching a scoreless 12/3 innings, walking one and striking out one … Maddox relieved starter Brian Johnson, who allowed one run in 5½ innings.

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/22/fisher-cats-shut-out-sea-dogs/feed/ 0 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1025845_264684-20160822SeaDogs_1.jpgMon, 22 Aug 2016 23:13:50 +0000
Atkins, Sea Dogs shut down Mets http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/19/atkins-sea-dogs-shut-down-mets/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/19/atkins-sea-dogs-shut-down-mets/#comments Sat, 20 Aug 2016 02:23:37 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/19/atkins-sea-dogs-shut-down-mets/ BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Mitch Atkins has started more games than any active pitcher in minor-league baseball.

Not many of his starts were better than his effort Friday night.

Atkins struck out nine in seven scoreless innings to lead the Portland Sea Dogs to a 3-0 win over the Binghamton Mets in the opener of a three-game Eastern League series.

“That’s the best I’ve felt in a while,” the 30-year-old right-hander said.

Atkins (4-7) combined with Jake Drehoff and Luis Ysla on a four-hitter. Ysla pitched a hitless ninth for the save.

Binghamton managed just three singles and put two runners in scoring position against Atkins.

“The story of his game was his fastball. He got 14 swings and misses with it,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “He got his cutter working for him, too. He had a good curve to mix in, too.

“Something he did well was work ahead and force the opposition to swing at pitches out of the zone.”

The former seventh-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs out of Elon University has started 240 games for five different farm systems. He has 10 major league appearances, with the Cubs and the Orioles.

“I had another good game where I had a no-hitter going, those two are probably the best I’ve had in a long time,” Atkins said. “I really can’t put a finger on it. You just keep working and try to figure something out.

“Something clicked early on and I just kind of rode it.”

Atkins ranks second among active minor league pitchers in innings pitched (1,400) and strikeouts (94), and is fourth with 86 wins. He has a 4.66 earned-run average this season.

“If I could throw like that all the time, if I could take that stuff out there, I’d be real happy,” Atkins said. “It was a lot of fastballs and cutters. I was real aggressive with those and tried to move the fastball in and out and up and down.”

Mauricio Dubon and Cody Decker had solo home runs for the game’s first two hits and first two runs.

Dubon connected with one out in the third and Decker with one out in the fourth.

Atkins retired the first eight batters he faced and did not give up a hit until the fourth inning.

His nine strikeouts were a season high. He did not walk a batter while throwing 71 of 98 pitches for strikes.

Henry Ramos singled home the last run in the sixth inning.

The series concludes with games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

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McAvoy gets complete-game win for Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/18/mcavoy-gets-complete-game-win-for-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/18/mcavoy-gets-complete-game-win-for-sea-dogs/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 01:07:45 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/18/mcavoy-gets-complete-game-win-for-sea-dogs/ Kevin McAvoy was one misplaced pitch away from being out of the game. Ryan Court felt he had been scuffling at the plate all month.

Both Sea Dogs made successful adjustments Thursday night that proved critical in Portland’s 2-1 Eastern League victory against the Altoona Curve at Hadlock Field that earned a split of a four-game series.

McAvoy stranded runners at second and third in the third, fourth and fifth innings, then found his groove over the final two frames to pitch a seven-inning five-hitter.

Earlier on Thursday, the Curve (68-55) won the completion of Tuesday’s game 2-1. That game, also shortened to seven innings, had been suspended in the bottom of the fourth inning because of rain. Portland (47-74) and Altoona split a doubleheader on Wednesday.

McAvoy struck out the side in the sixth, getting ahead with off-speed pitches to complement a biting two-seam fastball that handcuffed Altoona’s right-handed batters. McAvoy also worked a clean seventh to improve to 8-7 with a 5.64 ERA.

“Probably more important though was getting out of trouble and making an adjustment,” said McAvoy, a 2014 fourth-round pick. “Being able to have (pitching coach Kevin) Walker come out and calm me down and then make better pitches, in the long run that’s a bigger part.”

Walker’s visit came in the fourth after McAvoy had walked the Curve’s No. 8 and 9 batters to load the bases. He got Elvis Escobar to ground to first.

In the fifth, Altoona’s Jin-De Jhang stung an opposite-field double to left to put runners at second and third with one out. Again McAvoy escaped, helped by second baseman Tzu-Wei Lin’s good reaction to snare a sinking liner by Anderson Feliz.

Altoona starter Cody Dickson (10-5, 3.83 ERA) didn’t allow a hit until Court stroked a clean single in the fourth. Court said he consciously tried to treat his at-bats like batting practice.

“That at-bat I felt really loose and relaxed and I hit a line drive that was free and easy,” Court said.

Then on a 3-2 count in the sixth, Court flicked a hard grounder down the right field line for a two-run single.

“With one out, I was just making sure I put the ball in play,” Court said. “Helping the team is bigger than me in that situation.”

NOTES: Thursday’s announced paid attendance was 5,625. … Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada sat out for a fifth straight day because of his sprained ankle. … In the completion of the suspended game Altoona’s Miguel Rosario and Portland’s Austin Maddox both pitched three perfect innings – even though Portland scored a run with Rosario on the mound. The game resumed with Altoona leading 2-0, Dubon on second base, and Rosario inheriting a 2-1 count on Court. Court drew a walk, charged to original starter Tyler Eppler. Dubon advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Cody Decker’s sacrifice fly.

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On Baseball: Joey Cora has a big-league resume and a minor league job http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/18/on-baseball-joey-cora-has-a-big-league-resume-and-a-minor-league-job/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/18/on-baseball-joey-cora-has-a-big-league-resume-and-a-minor-league-job/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1019345 He was a major league all-star infielder who also spent nine years as a major league coach, six years as a bench coach under a successful manager, Ozzie Guillen.

So why is Joey Cora managing the Altoona Curve and not a major league team?

“Very good question,” said Portland Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles. “The guy has a good resume. Was a bench coach for many years; was known as one of the smartest players in the game.

“That’s a guy you’d expect to be managing in the big leagues.”

Yet on Wednesday night, Cora managed the Curve against Febles’ Sea Dogs.

Hadlock Field featured two managers who are natives of Latin America (Cora from Puerto Rico, Febles the Dominican Republic).

That’s two more than are in major league baseball.

When the Atlanta Braves fired Cuban-born (and former Sea Dogs manager) Fredi Gonzalez in May, that left no Latin managers in the majors, although Latin Americans account for nearly 30 percent of players.

“The system and the interview process have not been fair to Latin Americans,” said Cora, 51, who has interviewed for six major league managing jobs with no offers.

There are only two minorities managing in the big leagues, both African-American – veteran Dusty Baker (Nationals) and first-timer Dave Roberts (Dodgers).

In 1999, then-commissioner Bud Selig ruled that major league teams had to interview minority candidates when filling vacancies for leadership positions, including general manager and field manager.

Before 1999 there had been only four Latin full-time (not interim) managers – Preston Gomez, Cookie Rojas, Felipe Alou and Tony Perez.

Since then there have been only six more native Latin- American managers – Tony Pena, Carlos Tosca (another former Sea Dogs manager), Guillen, Manny Acta, Edwin Rodriguez and Gonzalez.

Cora said the problem with the “Selig Rule” is teams interview Latins and other minorities with no intention of hiring them.

“Sometimes we get interviewed to get a check mark because they have to interview minorities,” Cora said. “But the people who are doing the interviews are not as prepared to interview us – or haven’t been.”

That lack of preparation becomes obvious when, for example, an interviewer is surprised to learn Cora attended Vanderbilt.

Cora said he grew up wanting to manage.

“My dream wasn’t to be a major league baseball player. My dream always, when I was little, was to be a big league manager,” he said. “But everybody has different dreams. That’s the way it goes.”

When Cora’s 12-year playing career was over after the 1998 season, he moved into coaching, managing in the minor leagues from 2001-03 before joining Guillen’s staff with the Chicago White Sox.

Cora went with Guillen to the Marlins in 2012. When Guillen was fired, Cora was gone, too. He’s been out of baseball the past three years – “I’ve been with my kids” – until the Pirates called about the Altoona job.

Cora won’t speak about future goals. “The goal is to get these guys to be better persons and better people,” he said.

Cora’s name still is floated when it comes to future managerial candidates, although his younger brother, Alex Cora, 40, may be higher on the list. Alex Cora, a former Red Sox infielder and now an ESPN commentator, interviewed for at least three openings last year – the Nationals, Padres and Marlins.

This is the first time since 1991 there has been no Latin Americans managing in the majors – there were as many as four at one time, in 2011. It seems a matter of time before more Latins are managing again.

Besides the Cora brothers, other Latin American managerial candidates include Sandy Alomar (Indians first base coach), Omar Vizquel (Tigers first base coach), Luis Rivera (Blue Jays third base coach) and Roberto Kelly (Giants third base coach).

Febles might someday be on that list.

“Every coach should dream of one day being in the big leagues,” said Febles, 40, who is in his first year as a Double-A manager.

Reaching the big leagues as a coach or manager, said Febles, is a matter of making contacts.

“You’ve got to know the right people,” Febles said. “You’ve got to keep working and learning, and get the right opportunity.

“I don’t care if you’re white, black or Latin, you have to prove yourself in order to manage in the big leagues.”

 

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Sea Dogs get a split with Curve http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/17/curve-squander-chances-as-sea-dogs-win-opener/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/17/curve-squander-chances-as-sea-dogs-win-opener/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 23:45:33 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/17/curve-squander-chances-as-sea-dogs-win-opener/ The Portland Sea Dogs kept the top of the batting order in place for a doubleheader Wednesday night, and both Aneury Tavarez and Mauricio Dubon delivered.

The two combined for seven hits as the Sea Dogs and the Altoona Curve split two games at Hadlock Field.

Portland won the first game 4-3. Altoona won the second 7-4 on Johnathan Schwind’s sixth-inning grand slam.

Tavarez led off for Portland and recorded a 4-for-6 night with two runs. He continues to lead the Eastern League in batting at .340 and is closing in on Kevin Millar’s franchise record of .342 in 1997.

Dubon went 3 for 6 with four RBI, including a two-run homer in Game 2, his third of the season. Dubon is batting .319.

Portland also got home runs from Nate Freiman (solo shot, first game) and Cole Sturgeon (two-run blast, Game 2).

Portland (46-74) is still last in the Eastern League East Division. The Curve (67-54) lead the West by 4½ games.

In the first game, Altoona had seven hits and 10 walks against three Portland pitchers but left 12 on base.

Ty Buttrey (1-9) got his first Double-A win with 11/3 innings of relief. Ben Taylor pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for his fourth save.

Boston Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman, coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, made a rehab appearance, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks over 12/3 innings.

Workman left with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Buttrey entered and induced a groundout to keep the score 3-3.

In the bottom of the fifth, Rainel Rosario and Tavarez singled. Rosario scored the winning run on a Dubon groundout.

In the second game, Sea Dogs starter Jalen Beeks (4-3) left with two runners on and Portland up 4-3. Williams Jerez relieved and gave up a single, then Schwind’s blast to right field.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 5,585. … Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada sat out a fourth straight day because of his sprained ankle. Moncada did take pregame grounders at third base and took part in batting practice. … Freiman’s home run was his ninth. … The Sea Dogs and Curve return to Hadlock on Thursday. At 5 p.m., the teams will resume a game suspended by rain Tuesday night (Altoona is leading 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth). A second game will begin at 7 p.m.

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On Baseball: Workman’s back to work, and that could spell relief for Red Sox later this season http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/on-baseball-workmans-back-to-work-and-that-could-spell-relief-for-red-sox-later-this-season/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/on-baseball-workmans-back-to-work-and-that-could-spell-relief-for-red-sox-later-this-season/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 02:20:31 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/on-baseball-workmans-back-to-work-and-that-could-spell-relief-for-red-sox-later-this-season/ Brandon Workman walked through the Portland Sea Dogs’ clubhouse at Hadlock Field Tuesday afternoon, grabbing a pregame meal and ready to pitch that night. Those plans were canceled when the Sea Dogs-Altoona Curve doubleheader was postponed by rain.

Workman will likely pitch Wednesday, continuing his comeback.

With the Red Sox in contention, Workman hopes to get a call to the majors, pitch in the playoffs and, who knows, maybe appear in the deciding game for a World Series championship.

Hmmm. Seems like we’ve heard this story before.

Workman, who turned 28 on Saturday, last pitched for the Sea Dogs in 2013. That was the year he vaulted from minor league starter to Red Sox reliever at the end of the year. In the postseason, Workman allowed no earned runs in seven appearances, including a 1-2-3 eighth inning in the deciding Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park.

Quite a rush.

Now Workman wants to get back. He reported to Portland on Tuesday, on a rehab assignment as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June of last year.

“It’s definitely been a long process,” Workman said. “You hear 12 months (recovery time) and that’s what you set your sights on. It’s been a little bit longer than that.”

Workman initially came back in early July with an appearance in the Gulf Coast League and another in short-season Lowell. It would be a boost if Workman could pitch his way back and help a beleaguered Boston bullpen.

But in that Lowell outing on July 8, Workman suffered an oblique strain and he was sent back to Fort Myers, Florida, for medical treatment.

Reaching the majors this year is a longshot … but one that Workman is not giving up on.

“I still have (that goal),” he said. “Hopefully I can pitch well and, come September, see what happens.”

Workman returned to Lowell on Aug. 1 and made four appearances, working his way to three innings in his fourth outing on Aug. 11.

Next stop: Portland.

“I feel good right now,” he said. “The pitching is coming along. It’s getting a little sharper each time out. I just need to keep building off that.

“It’s been a year and a half since I’ve thrown a ball competitively. Getting the rust knocked off, getting into a rhythm out there, getting comfortable on the mound.”

It seems Workman has always been comfortable on the mound, from his days at Bowie (Texas) High School in 2007 (when he was drafted by the Phillies in the third round, but turned them down), to his three seasons at the University of Texas, before being drafted by Boston in the second round in 2010.

Workman reached Portland in 2012 and, the next year, was part of a celebrated starting foursome that included Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and Britton.

Britton and Workman reached Boston that year, and Workman stuck on the roster.

After his World Series fun, Workman returned to mostly starting in 2014. In 15 major league starts, he was 1-9 with a 5.36 ERA. The numbers were worse than his performance – 11 of his starts featured three earned runs or fewer – but Workman still seemed destine for relief work.

He didn’t get another chance. Workman began the 2015 season on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Boston hoped Workman could avoid surgery, but he finally underwent Tommy John surgery in June.

Now he is working his way back. When healthy, Workman’s fastball averaged 91 with him topping 95 often. He also often threw a cutter and curveball, along with an occasional change-up.

In Lowell earlier this month, Workman said his fastball was around 90 mph.

“His fastball is coming along,” said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. “His off-speed (pitches are) looking really good.”

If Workman can build up his arm strength, he could be a surprising option for Boston’s bullpen down the stretch. Why not? Workman has already been tested in high-pressure games.

 

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Sea Dogs games rained out http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/sea-dogs-games-rained-out/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/sea-dogs-games-rained-out/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 00:24:16 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/sea-dogs-games-rained-out/ The Portland Sea Dogs’ scheduled doubleheader with the Altoona Curve Tuesday night at Hadlock Field was interrupted by rain.

Altoona led the first game 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the rain began. That game was suspended and will resume at 5 p.m. Thursday. Thursday’s regularly scheduled game will follow at 7 p.m.

The teams were already scheduled to play a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Because the teams aren’t scheduled to play again after Thursday, the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader will not be made up.

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Red Sox Farm Report: Couch appears to hit ceiling http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/red-sox-farm-report-couch-appears-to-hit-ceiling/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/red-sox-farm-report-couch-appears-to-hit-ceiling/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1016281 Keith Couch has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Boston minor league system for the past seven years, but the Red Sox seem content to let go him at the end of this season.

Couch has a career 51-42 record with a 3.89 ERA. In Double-A, he is 27-9 with a 3.22 ERA.

Couch, 26, had one solid chance in Triple-A and floundered in 2015 (4-10, 6.14). He began this year with two appearances in Pawtucket before being sent back to Portland. He has bounced back up to Triple-A occasionally, but has spent most of this season in the Eastern League.

“He struggled in Triple-A last year and we currently don’t have a rotation spot (in Pawtucket) available,” said Boston’s director of player development, Ben Crockett.

Couch can read the writing on the locker room wall. He will be a minor league free agent after this season.

“It’s nothing I can control,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and pitch.

“I’m pitching for me. I’m trying to get a job next year.”

Couch had two obstacles when he became a pro in 2010. For one, Couch was a 13th-round draft pick from Division II Adelphi University on Long Island, New York – not necessary the pedigree of a prospect.

Second, Couch doesn’t have a dominant pitch. He’s not a pitcher who can blow away hitters, but rather he throws strikes and hopes to go deep into ballgames.

When Couch first came to Portland in 2013, the Sea Dogs’ rotation was loaded with the likes of Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman and Drake Britton. Couch was initially sent to the pen. Later, he would join the rotation. Couch finished 11-3 with a 3.47 ERA (8-1, 2.98 as a starter).

An injury limited Couch to 18 games in 2014 (8-2, 2.96), but he was called up to Pawtucket for the playoffs and won the championship game with 62/3 shutout innings.

But Couch’s 2015 season did not go well. His four-pitch mix of a 91 mph sinking fastball, slider, curve and change-up was not effective. He still led Pawtucket in innings (1242/3), however.

Maybe if Couch was a top prospect, he might have received another chance. But the 2016 Pawtucket roster was filled with starters from the beginning, from leftovers Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, to promoted William Cuevas and recently acquired pitchers Roenis Elias and Sean O’Sullivan. Later, Eduardo Rodriguez would spend time in Triple-A, and eventually Aaron Wilkerson and Justin Haley were promoted from Portland.

In Couch’s last two starts in Pawtucket, July 15 and 20, he pitched seven innings in each, allowing a combined 12 hits, three earned runs and no walks while striking out 12. He made a relief appearance July 24 (31/3 innings, one run) but has been in Portland since. He has allowed one earned run in his last two starts.

“The guy knows how to pitch,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “He uses both corners. Does a good job pitching inside, and that opens up the outer half.”

Couch, who is 8-4 with a 3.16 ERA in Portland this year, hopes a job will open up in 2017, with any team.

“I just want to keep having success and hopefully something happens next year,” Couch said. “I want to keep playing baseball.”

IN PAWTUCKET, Haley is shining with a 7-3 record, 2.78 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He has not allowed an earned run in his last three starts, including Friday’s eight-inning, two-hit scoreless outing at Buffalo. … Johnson has allowed four earned runs in his last three starts (181/3 innings).

Catcher Christian Vazquez may be pushing to get back to Boston. In his last nine games, he’s batting .367 (11 for 30) with two doubles.

Remember Rusney Castillo, the Triple-A player who is making $10 million? Maybe he can make a comeback at age 29. In his last 13 games, he’s batting .420 (21 for 50) with two doubles and four triples.

IN PORTLAND, Yoan Moncada, 21, finally moved to third base for a game. But he has missed the last two because of a troublesome ankle he sprained the week before. Red Sox Manager John Farrell said Moncada will likely go to the Arizona Fall League to continue playing third base. … Mauricio Dubon, 22, is batting .313 with an .831 OPS in 43 games.

IN SALEM, pitcher Michael Kopech, 20, struck out the first six batters Saturday and 11 of the 19 batters he faced. Kopech is 2-1 with a 1.41 ERA in eight games (381/3 inning), with 60 strikeouts and 22 walks. … Rafael Devers, 19 had a two-homer game Thursday, giving him 11 homers this year. In the second half of the season, Devers is batting .332 with a .970 OPS.

IN GREENVILLE, 2014 first-round draft pick and third baseman Michael Chavis, 21 is slumping (.180 in his last 10 games). His numbers are down to .257 with a .748 OPS.

IN LOWELL, Jordan Weems is making strides in his conversion to pitching. Weems, 23, a catcher when Boston drafted him in the third round of the 2011 draft, came to Portland this year as a first baseman. After batting .119 in 22 games, he and the Red Sox decided on a position switch. Weems has a combined 3.38 ERA in 13 games (24 innings) at Lowell and in the Gulf Coast League, with 19 strikeouts and seven walks.

IN THE GULF COAST League, 2016 first-round draft pick Jason Groome, 17, has joined the roster. Groome, considered the best high school pitcher in the draft, signed for $3.65 million. He’s expected to pitch before the season ends, but no date has been set. “He is working through his throwing progression right now,” Crockett said.

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/16/red-sox-farm-report-couch-appears-to-hit-ceiling/feed/ 1 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1016281_810659__20140410_seadogs_dd.jpgMon, 15 Aug 2016 21:21:45 +0000
Akron homers twice, shuts out Portland http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/14/akron-homers-twice-shuts-out-portland/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/14/akron-homers-twice-shuts-out-portland/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 03:05:09 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/14/akron-homers-twice-shuts-out-portland/ AKRON, Ohio — Jordan Smith and Luigi Rodriguez both homered to lead the Akron RubberDucks to a 3-0 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs on Sunday at Canal Park.

Portland and Akron were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader on Sunday after their game Saturday was postponed. Sunday’s first game was delayed by rain for 4 hours, 4 minutes and the teams played just one nine inning game. The second game will not be made up because the teams do not play again this season.

Nick Pasquale earned the win for the RubberDucks (60-60), pitching six scoreless innings. He helped Portland to five hits, struck out three and walked three.

The Sea Dogs (45-73) had their best scoring opportunity in the first when they loaded the bases. Ryan Court popped out to second to end the threat.

Smith put Akron up 2-0 in the fourth inning with a two-run homer.

Rodriguez made it 3-0 in the sixth with a solo homer.

Portland’s Aneury Tavarez went 1 for 3, extending his on-base streak to 17 games.

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Sea Dogs rained out; doubleheader scheduled Sunday http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/13/sea-dogs-rained-out-doubleheader-scheduled-sunday/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/13/sea-dogs-rained-out-doubleheader-scheduled-sunday/#comments Sun, 14 Aug 2016 01:27:09 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/13/sea-dogs-rained-out-doubleheader-scheduled-sunday/ Akron, Ohio — The Eastern League game between the Portland Sea Dogs and Akron RubberDucks scheduled for Saturday night at Canal Park was postponed because of rain.

The teams will wrap up the three-game series with a doubleheader Sunday beginning at 1:05 p.m.

The RubberDucks (59-60) won the series opener 18-2 on Friday night behind six RBI from Todd Hankins, including two homers, and five RBI from Nellie Rodriguez.

Mitch Atkins has been named the starter for the opener for the Sea Dogs (45-72) after Saturday’s scheduled starter, Keith Couch, was put on the disabled list.

Atkins (3-6, 4.99) faces Akron’s Nick Pasquale (1-6, 5.10). Teddy Stankiewicz (4-7, 5.02) goes for the Sea Dogs against D.J. Brown (6-6, 4.42) in the second game.

The Sea Dogs activated pitcher Mike McCarthy to take Couch’s spot on the roster.

Portland returns home for a five-game series in three days against the Altoona Curve from Tuesday through Thursday.

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Portland pitchers take a pounding http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/12/portland-pitchers-take-a-pounding/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/12/portland-pitchers-take-a-pounding/#comments Sat, 13 Aug 2016 03:16:23 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/12/portland-pitchers-take-a-pounding/ AKRON, OHIO — Every member of the RubberDucks had a hit and scored at least one run and Akron pounded the Portland Sea Dogs 18-2 on Friday night at Canal Park.

Arkon piled up 20 hits, the most surrended by Portland this season. No. 9 hitter Todd Hankins led the way, going 4 for 5 with a pair of home runs, including a grand slam in the fourth inning. He finished with six RBI.

Eric Stamets added three hits for Akron (59-60) and scored four times. Joe Sever and Jordan Smith each added three hits.

Cody Decker hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning for Portland (45-72). It was the third home run of the road trip for Decker, who has homered in four of his last six games.

Yoan Moncada made his first start at third base for Portland.

Mauricio Dubon extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the third inning.

Rob Kaminsky beat Portland for the second straight start, allowed two runs on seven hits, while striking out five and walking two in six innings of work.

Jacob Dahlstrand took the loss for Portland.

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Bullpen fails as Sea Dogs come up short http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/11/bullpen-fails-as-sea-dogs-come-up-short/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/11/bullpen-fails-as-sea-dogs-come-up-short/#comments Fri, 12 Aug 2016 02:39:27 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/11/bullpen-fails-as-sea-dogs-come-up-short/ ERIE, Pa. — Erie scored three runs on five consecutive singles with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for a 5-2 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in the rubber game of their three-game series at Jerry Uht Park on Thursday night.

Portland (45-71) jumped to an early lead when Mauricio Dubon homered to left field with one out in the top of the first inning.

Dubon went 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to six games. He has collected at least one hit in 26 of his last 29 games

The SeaWolves (48-69) came back to tie the game on a homer by Wynton Bernard with two outs in the third inning.

The Sea Dogs regained the lead on a leadoff homer by Yoan Moncada in the sixth inning, his ninth as a member of the Sea Dogs. Moncada was playing for the first time since suffering an ankle injury Aug. 5.

In the bottom of the seventh, Gustavo Nunez, Anthony Gose and Christin Stewart hit consecutive RBI singles off Portland reliever Williams Jerez to give the SeaWolves a 4-2 lead.

Nate Freiman had a pair of singles for the Sea Dogs, and Cody Decker and Jake Romanski each had one single.

Portland starter Kevin McAvoy struck out six and walked one while giving up one run and scattering eight hits over six innings.

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Sea Dogs breeze past Erie, 16-1 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/10/sea-dogs-breeze-past-erie-16-1/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/10/sea-dogs-breeze-past-erie-16-1/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 03:02:29 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/10/sea-dogs-breeze-past-erie-16-1/ ERIE, Pa. — Aneury Tavarez went 4 for 4 with a pair of walks as the Portland Sea Dogs cranked out a season-high 22 hits in a 16-1 win over the Erie SeaWolves at Jerry Uht Park.

The 22 hits fell one short of a team record.

Tavarez, who finished a home run short of hitting for the cycle, ended the night with an Eastern League-leading .338 batting average. His triple in the third inning was his 11th of the year, setting a franchise record.

The Sea Dogs (45-70) scored single runs in the first and second, then took control with six runs in the third inning, including a two-run homer by Cody Decker – his first of two in the game – and a two-run homer by Tzu-Wei Lin.

Portland scored in each of the first six innings and had five home runs.

Jake Romanski of the Sea Dogs was 4 for 5, including a home run and two doubles with two RBI, and Ryan Court went 2 for 6 with a homer and drove in a game-high five runs.

Jalen Beeks, the Portland starter, picked up his fourth win, going six scoreless innings, striking out five and walking three.

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Red Sox Farm Report: Aneury Tavarez’s potential finally blooms http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/09/red-sox-farm-report-aneury-tavarezs-potential-finally-blooms/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/09/red-sox-farm-report-aneury-tavarezs-potential-finally-blooms/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1006075 The top prospects coming out of the Dominican Republic turn pro when they’re 16 and receive signing bonuses in the six- or seven-figure range.

Aneury Tavarez, from Barrio Obrero in the Dominican Republic, did not sign with the Red Sox until he was 18, in October 2010. He received a nice bonus ($80,000), but nothing close to the big-name prospects.

His first five seasons in the minors were unremarkable – a combined .254 average with 432 strikeouts and just 85 walks. Much of Tavarez’s fifth season, last year, was spent in Portland, where he hit .226 with a .616 OPS.

None of this explains what Tavarez is doing in 2016. He leads the Eastern League in batting (.330). His OPS is up to .873. He is no longer striking out 27 percent of the time, but rather just 16 percent.

You won’t find him on any top prospect list but Tavarez, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound outfielder, is putting up some of the best numbers in the Red Sox minor league system.

“I just go out and try to enjoy the game,” Tavarez said through interpreter and teammate Mauricio Dubon. “I made just a little adjustment with my hands. I raised them a little bit, and that helps me get the bat quicker to the ball.

“Thank God everything is working out so far.”

As late as May 5 this year it was not working out. Tavarez was hitting .219 with a .534 OPS and was fighting for playing time.

He got hot in June, with a .413 average. He hit .341 in July, and he’s 12 for 25 in August.

“Just a consistent approach and discipline,” Portland batting coach Jon Nunnally said of Tavarez’s improvement. “He makes good, consistent contact and makes the most of his speed. He can blast one into the gap, and runs into a homer here and there.”

Tavarez homered twice Sunday, giving him a total of five. He also beat out an infield single. But even with Andrew Benintendi promoted to Boston and Yoan Moncada out of the lineup with a sprained ankle, Tavarez is still flying under the radar.

“He is quietly having an unbelievable year,” Manager Carlos Febles said. “Something he is doing more often is putting the ball in play. He doesn’t swing and miss as he did early on.”

Tavarez is eligible for the Rule 5 draft after this season. He will become a minor league free agent after 2017.

If Tavarez has a 2017 season like 2016, the Red Sox will not let him get away.

IN PAWTUCKET, left-hander Brian Johnson continues his comeback. Johnson struggled early this year and then took time off to deal with anxiety issues. He began rehab games last month in the rookie leagues. Now back in Triple-A, he has shined in his last two starts (12 innings, seven hits, one earned run, three walks, 11 strikeouts). It will be interesting to see if he gets a shot with Boston this year.

Do you know which Pawtucket starter leads the team in ERA (3.18) and WHIP (1.15)? Answer: Justin Haley, the right-hander who slumped last year in Portland before rebounding this season. Haley posted a 2.20 ERA in 12 starts for the Sea Dogs, then was promoted to Triple-A on June 18 and is 6-3 in 10 games for Pawtucket. Now 25, he’s Rule 5 eligible after this season.

Left-handed reliever Robby Scott is also Rule 5 eligible. He should be inviting for some team if Boston does not put him on the 40-man roster. Scott, 27, has a 2.57 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, with 63 strikeouts and 12 walks in 66 innings. Lefties are hitting .165 against him, right-handers are hitting .227.

IN PORTLAND, Dubon continues to excel with a .305 average and a career-high .803 OPS. Dubon, 6-foot and up to 170 pounds, is showing more power to the gaps – and the left-field wall – with 13 doubles, four triples and a homer in 38 games.

Right-hander Ben Taylor, who was moved to the bullpen early this season in Class A Salem, is looking fine as a Double-A reliever: 0.85 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and just seven walks in 24 innings.

IN SALEM, third baseman Rafael Devers may earn a late-season promotion to Portland if he keeps up his pace. Devers, 19, had a slow start this year, but he’s batting .341 with a .920 OPS since May. In his last two games, he’s 6 for 11 with two doubles and a triple.

Outfielder Danny Mars, 22, is coming on in the second half. Since June, he’s batting .367 with a .933 OPS.

Right-hander Michael Kopech, Boston’s top pitching prospect, has made seven starts for Salem: 1.08 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 53 strikeouts and 24 walks in 372/3 innings. Pencil him into the Sea Dogs’ rotation next April.

IN GREENVILLE, infielder Michael Chavis, a first-round pick in 2014, has not been the same since his torrid 15 games in April (.356, four doubles and three homers). Chavis, 20, strained a ligament in his thumb, spent time on the DL and has struggled since returning in June. In his 47 games since coming back, Chavis is batting .229 with five doubles, one triple and four homer.

IN LOWELL, third baseman Bobby Dalbec, a fourth-round pick out of Arizona two months ago, is batting .317 with a .952 OPS in 11 games.

NOTES: Former Red Sox pitching prospect and Sea Dogs reliever Madison Younginer signed a minor league deal with Atlanta after last year. He was called up Sunday and made his ML debut against St. Louis, giving up three hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning. … Chris Smith, 35, who pitched parts of four seasons with the Sea Dogs (2004-07), made it back to the big leagues Sunday for the first time since 2010. He relieved for one inning with Oakland (one hit, one strikeout). He made 12 appearances with Boston in 2008, then pitched the next two seasons for Milwaukee. Then he was in three organizations as well as the independent leagues.

 

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Tavarez provides pop for Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/07/tavarez-provides-pop-for-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/07/tavarez-provides-pop-for-sea-dogs/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2016 00:34:48 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/07/tavarez-provides-pop-for-sea-dogs/ Aneury Tavarez and Danny Bethea each knocked in two runs and Keith Couch pitched six strong innings as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the Akron RubberDucks 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

Tavarez hit home runs in his first two at-bats, helping Portland to a 3-0 lead. Coming into the game, Tavarez had only three home runs this season.

“I had a good breakfast,” he joked, through interpreter and teammate Mauricio Dubon. Tavarez also had an infield single, going 3 for 4. He continues to lead the Eastern League in batting with a .330 average.

“He can drive the ball and he has speed to get on base,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said.

Tim Roberson also went 3 for 4 and scored twice, drive home both times by Bethea.

In the sixth inning, Bethea broke a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly. Bethea added an RBI double in the eighth.

The Sea Dogs improved to 44-69, while Akron dropped to 56-59.

Portland took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Tavarez’s home run to right field, Dubon doubled and eventually scored on a groundout.

Couch (8-4) retired 11 of the first 13 batters and did not allow an earned run. Akron loaded the bases on a single, an error and a hit batter in the fifth. Luigi Rodriguez’s two-out, three-run double tied the game.

Portland got scoreless relief from Williams Jerez (one inning, one hit) and Ben Taylor (two innings, one walk).

NOTES: Top prospect Yoan Moncada sat out his second straight game since spraining his ankle Friday night while sliding into third base. Febles said Moncada’s ankle has improved and that he is “day to day.” … The announced paid attendance was a second straight sellout of 7,368. … The Sea Dogs left after the game for a week-long road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, and Akron, Ohio. … The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock on Aug. 16 for a three-day, five-game series against Altoona, with doubleheaders on Aug. 16 and 17. …

In Pawtucket, former Sea Dogs starter Justin Haley pitched a seven-inning shutout in the first game of a doubleheader. He allowed five hits and one walk, striking out four. … Two former Sea Dogs pitchers were called up to the big leagues Sunday. Chris Smith was summoned to Oakland, and the Atlanta Braves promoted Madison Younginer for their bullpen. Younginer got into Sunday’s game for his major-league debut, allowing two hits in two-thirds of an inning. …

Before Sunday’s game, fans were allowed to play catch in the outfield. One elderly fan had no one to throw to, but was soon playing catch with Sea Dogs pitcher Mike McCarthy. … Sunday was not a complete loss for the Akron players. After the game, they enjoyed a lobster dinner before boarding their bus.

 

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Tavarez homers lead Sea Dogs past Akron, 5-3 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/07/tavarez-homers-lead-sea-dogs-past-akron-5-3/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/07/tavarez-homers-lead-sea-dogs-past-akron-5-3/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2016 19:52:37 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1004171 Aneury Tavarez hit two home runs and starter Keith Couch pitched six strong innings as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the Akron Rubber Ducks 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

Danny Bethea broke a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Bethea doubled in another run in the eighth.

The Sea Dogs improved to 44-69, while Akron dropped to 56-59.

Tavarez, who leads the Eastern League in batting with a .330 average, went 3-for-4 Sunday. He led off the bottom of the first with a home run to right field. He repeated the feat when he led off the third.

Mauricio Dubon, who was 2-for-4, doubled in the first and scored on a ground out.

Couch (8-4) retired 11 of the first 13 batters and did not allow an earned run. Akron loaded the bases on a single, error and hit-batter in the fifth. Luigi Rodriguez’s two-out, three-run double tied the game.

In the sixth, Tim Roberson single and went to third on Rainel Rosario’s double. Roberson scored on Bethea’s fly ball.

Roberson, who was 3-for-4, singled in the eighth and eventually scored on Bethea’s line drive to right center.

The Sea Dogs will be on the road the rest of the week. They return to Hadlock on Aug. 16.

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Tavarez, Dubon spark Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/tavarez-dubon-spark-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/tavarez-dubon-spark-sea-dogs/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2016 01:00:47 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/tavarez-dubon-spark-sea-dogs/ The Portland Sea Dogs got solid pitching and timely hitting Saturday night to snap a two-game losing streak with a 9-4 victory against the Akron RubberDucks before a sellout crowd of 7,368 at Hadlock Field.

Jacob Dahlstrand, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, held the RubberDucks in check for five innings and the Sea Dogs scored four runs in both the second and fourth innings to run their record to 3-2 on a six-game homestand.

“The offense did a good job tonight,” said Manager Carlos Febles of the Sea Dogs, who totaled 15 hits. “We had an explosive night at the plate to give our pitchers some room.”

Dahlstrand was nearly unhittable after getting roughed up in the first inning. Akron opened the scoring when Greg Allen led off the game with a bloop double down the left-field line and scored when Luigi Rodriguez lined a single up the middle. Jordan Smith and Nellie Rodriguez walked before Dahlstrand got out of the inning.

“He got into a rhythm,” Febles said. “He took a step back (in the first) and regrouped, and he was pretty good the rest of the way.”

Dahlstrand (2-1) retired 14 of the last 17 batters to face him, allowing one more hit.

“He can pitch five innings or 85 pitches, whatever comes first,” Febles said. Dahlstrand threw 73 pitches, 47 for strikes.

Reliever Taylor Grover retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh before running into trouble in the eighth. Ty Buttrey induced Todd Hankins to hit into an inning-ending double play in the eighth, then struck out the side in the ninth.

Portland took a 4-1 lead in the second. Nate Freiman and Cody Decker opened with singles. After both moved up on a wild pitch, Freiman made it 1-1 when Cole Sturgeon grounded to shortstop and Decker scored on Rainel Rosario’s infield hit. After Tzu-Wei Lin’s hit-and-run single put runners at the corners, Aneury Taverez pulled a triple into the gap in right.

Portland made it 8-1 in the fourth, loading the bases when Jake Romanski and Rosario opened with singles and Lin walked. With one out, Mauricio Dubon doubled to the base of the wall in center to clear the bases. After Ryan Court reached on an error, Dubon scored the fourth run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Decker led off the bottom of the seventh with his eighth home run of the season, a 361-foot opposite-field shot into the pavilion in right to make it 9-1.

Jordan Smith hit a three-run homer in the eighth to cut into Portland’s lead.

NOTES: Portland second baseman Yoan Moncado, who injured his left ankle while sliding into third Friday night, sat out. Lin, who started at third on Friday night, took his place at second. … Akron leftfielder Mike Papi had to leave the game in the third inning after Luigi Rodriguez lined a foul ball into the RubberDucks’ dugout and it hit him. … It was the ninth sellout of the season for the Sea Dogs at Hadlock.

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Defensive miscues costly for Sea Dogs in loss http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/defensive-miscues-costly-for-sea-dogs-in-loss/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/defensive-miscues-costly-for-sea-dogs-in-loss/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2016 00:21:17 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/06/defensive-miscues-costly-for-sea-dogs-in-loss/ The Portland Sea Dogs made five errors for the third time this season, helping the Akron RubberDucks snap a six-game losing streak with an 8-2 win Friday night before a crowd of 5,923 at Hadlock Field.

“This is the type of game maybe you see once or twice a year,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “We’ve been playing solid defense until tonight, and I won’t worry about it much. We’ll put this one behind us and get ready for the next one.”

The RubberDucks took a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

After Nellie Rodriguez and Luigi Rodriguez opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Eric Haase drilled a one-out double into the gap in left to make it 1-0.

The second run scored when Yoan Moncada made the second of his three errors, misplaying Lendy Castillo’s groundball to second.

Akron added five runs in the sixth. With one out, Haase drove a home run over the left-field wall. The RubberDucks then parlayed three errors, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by Nellie Rodriquez and singles by Castillo and Jeremy Lucas into four unearned runs.

Akron starter Rob Kaminsky (6-7), a left-hander, limited the Sea Dogs to three hits in five innings, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

The Sea Dogs scored their runs in the sixth off reliever Robbie Aviles. They loaded the bases on a walk and singles by Ryan Court and Nate Freiman. The runs scored on an error and a double play.

Akron added a run when Jordan Smith led off the ninth with a double, moved to third on Nellie Rodriguez’s third single of the game and scored on Luigi Rodriguez’s second single.

The lopsided loss ended Portland starter Kevin McAvoy’s string of success at Hadlock. Coming into Friday’s game, he was 4-0 in his last five starts at home. He was charged with six runs, but only two were earned.

“He pitched well,” Febles said. “He induced a lot of groundballs, and the infield defense let him down.”

McAvoy (7-7) pitched out of a nobody-out, bases-loaded jam in the second. After Nellie Rodriguez reached when his pop-up fell in between first base and the mound for a hit, Luigi Rodriguez reached on an error and Joe Sever walked. But Nellie Rodriguez was forced out at the plate when Haase grounded to third, and the Sea Dogs turned a double play to end the inning.

McAvoy avoided trouble in the third when he picked Greg Allen off first base after a one-out single. Jeremy Lucas followed with a double off the wall in left but was stranded at second.

“He didn’t back down at any time,” Febles said. “Every time he got into trouble or the infield got him into trouble, he made pitches to get out of it.”

NOTES: Moncada left the game in the seventh after injuring his left ankle while sliding into third on an attempted steal. “It’s a mild strain,” Febles said. “He’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

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Five errors sink Sea Dogs against Ducks, 8-2 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/05/five-errors-sink-sea-dogs-against-ducks-8-2/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/05/five-errors-sink-sea-dogs-against-ducks-8-2/#comments Sat, 06 Aug 2016 01:09:27 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/05/five-errors-sink-sea-dogs-against-ducks-8-2/ The Portland Sea Dogs made five errors for the third time this season, helping the Akron RubberDucks snap a six-game losing streak with an 8-2 win Friday night before a crowd of 5,923 at Hadlock Field.

“This is the type of game maybe you see once or twice a year,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “We’ve been playing solid defense until tonight, and I won’t worry about it much. We’ll put this one behind us and get ready for the next one.”

The RubberDucks took a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

After Nellie Rodriguez and Luigi Rodriguez opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Eric Haase drilled a one-out double into the gap in left to make it 1-0.

The second run scored when Yoan Moncada made the second of his three errors, misplaying Lendy Castillo’s groundball to second.

Akron added five runs in the sixth. With one out, Haase drove a home run over the left-field wall. The RubberDucks then parlayed three errors, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by Nellie Rodriquez and singles by Castillo and Jeremy Lucas into four unearned runs.

Akron starter Rob Kaminsky (6-7), a left-hander, limited the Sea Dogs to three hits during his five innings on the mound, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

The Sea Dogs scored their runs in the sixth off reliever Robbie Aviles. They loaded the bases on a walk and singles by Ryan Court and Nate Freiman. The runs scored on an error and a double play.

Akron added a run when Jordan Smith led off the ninth with a double, moved to third on Nellie Rodriguez’s third single of the game and scored on Luigi Rodriguez’s second single.

The lopsided loss ended Portland starter Kevin McAvoy’s string of success at Hadlock. Coming into Friday’s game, he was 4-0 in his last five starts at home. He was charged with six runs, but only two were earned.

“He pitched well,” Febles said. “He induced a lot of groundballs, and the infield defense let him down.”

McAvoy (7-7) pitched out of a nobody-out, bases-loaded jam in the second. After Nellie Rodriguez reached when his pop-up fell in between first base and the mound for a hit, Luigi Rodriguez reached on an error and Joe Sever walked. But Nellie Rodriguez was forced out at the plate when Haase grounded to third, and the Sea Dogs turned a double play to end the inning.

McAvoy avoided trouble in the third when he picked Greg Allen off first base after a one-out single. Jeremy Lucas followed with a double off the wall in left but was stranded at second.

“He didn’t back down at any time,” Febles said. “Every time he got into trouble or the infield got him into trouble, he made pitches to get out of it.”

NOTES: Moncada left the game in the seventh after injuring his left ankle while sliding into third on an attempted steal. “It’s a mild strain,” Febles said. “He’ll be fine in a couple of days.” … Friday’s game was the first meeting of the season between Akron and Portland. After this weekend’s three-game series, the two teams will play a three-game series next weekend at Canal Park in Akron, Ohio.

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Sea Dogs unable to complete sweep http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/04/sea-dogs-unable-to-complete-sweep/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/04/sea-dogs-unable-to-complete-sweep/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 18:58:59 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/04/sea-dogs-unable-to-complete-sweep/ With Boston Red Sox General Manager Mike Hazen watching from the box seats Thursday afternoon, the Portland Sea Dogs’ pitching faltered and their hits were not timely in a 9-3 loss to the Erie SeaWolves at Hadlock Field.

Portland got solo home runs from Danny Bethea and Cole Sturgeon. The Sea Dogs’ other run came in the fourth when Cody Decker tripled and scored on Rainel Rosario’s groundout.

Top prospect Yoan Moncada returned to second base after sitting out the previous two games. He went 1 for 5.

Moncada, 21, was obviously atop Hazen’s list of players to watch. Moncada singled once as his average dropped to .286 (.911 OPS).

Moncada, a switch-hitter, faced a left-handed pitcher only once Thursday and struck out on three pitches (two fouls and a swing and miss on a high fastball outside the strike zone). In his 23 plate appearances against lefties, Moncada has only three hits and three walks. He’s struck out 13 times.

“We’re not really concerned with him,” Hazen said. “He’s going to face the majority of his at-bats in the big leagues versus right-handed pitchers.

“It’s the challenge of any switch-hitter. They have to be able to get their work in on both sides. There is really no way to recreate that. He may get some more at-bats in the winter time, somewhere.”

Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said “it’s been hard for him to get a rhythm on the right side … hopefully he’ll get more action there.”

When the Akron RubberDucks arrive for a three-game series this weekend, lefty Rob Kaminsky will start Friday. But he’s the only left-hander on Akron’s roster.

The other question concerning Moncada is the ever-present inquiry about changing positions. He has been taking ground balls at third base in pregame workouts, but there is no announced timetable for when he will play there in a game.

“We’re starting to get him comfortable there,” Hazen said. “I’m sure at some point we’ll start exposing him to game activity.”

While Moncada has expressed no doubts about moving to third – a position he played for two years in Cuba – Febles said it is not an automatic switch. Febles, once a second baseman for the Royals, played some shortstop for Kansas City, but never third base.

“Everything is faster (at third). It’s tougher to get a read off the bat,” Febles said. “It is a reaction position. You have to be able to get a good read off the bat and react.

“He’s been taking some balls there … Let’s see where we are two weeks from now. If we feel like he’s ready to play there, I believe we’ll play him.”

In Thursday’s game, Erie’s Anthony Gose led off with a home run. Jason Krizan also homered in the first inning off Sea Dogs starter Mitch Atkins (3-6).

Atkins lasted five innings (six hits, five runs) and Jake Drehoff (two innings, three runs) and Ty Buttrey (one inning, one run) followed.

Sturgeon, now the regular center fielder since Andrew Benintendi’s promotion to the majors, went 3 for 4 to boost his average to .283 (.729 OPS).

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,548. … Febles said utility infielder Tzu-Wei Lin will begin seeing playing time in the outfield. … Friday’s game is at 6 p.m. because of the rescheduled fireworks show afterward. … On Sunday, fans with tickets can play catch in the Hadlock outfield from 10 to 11:15 a.m.

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Rosario’s grand slam powers Sea Dogs past SeaWolves http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/03/rosario-grand-slam-powers-sea-dogs/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/03/rosario-grand-slam-powers-sea-dogs/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 01:45:50 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/03/rosario-grand-slam-powers-sea-dogs/ For the second straight game, Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada was given a day off Wednesday.

Portland Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said Moncada is healthy – Moncada took part in batting practice and put in extra fielding practice at third and the outfield – and will be in the lineup Thursday.

So what were the Sea Dogs to do without the $63 million man? Well, for starters they won, beating the Erie SeaWolves 5-4 before 4,941 at Hadlock Field.

Portland didn’t have Moncada’s pop but Rainel Rosario filled in nicely, dropping a grand slam over the left-field wall in the fourth inning.

Moncada was not there to lead off, but Aneury Tavarez jumped in and went 3 for 5 with a run and stolen base.

Taking Moncada’s place at second base was utility infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who made two sensational plays. With runners on second and third in the fifth, Lin raced into right field and caught a bloop just inside the foul line. In the seventh, he hustled to glove a hard grounder up the middle, turned and made a leaping throw to first for the out.

And the Sea Dogs got enough pitching. Jalen Beeks (3-2), the left-hander promoted from Salem in June, allowed four runs on eight hits and no walks in six innings, striking out six.

“Beeks got hit around a little bit but managed to give us six innings,” Febles said.

Williams Jerez pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Ben Taylor added a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his second save, lowering his ERA to 2.08.

Down 3-1, with the bases loaded and two outs, Rosario hit a fly ball that cleared the left-field wall.

“When I hit it I didn’t know if it would stay in or go out,” said Rosario, who hit a split-fingered fastball from David Martinez (1-2). “The first grand slam in my career and we win the game.”

Tavarez scored Portland’s first run after singling in the first, moving to third on Mauricio Dubon’s double and scoring on Nate Freiman’s sacrifice fly. Tavarez is batting .318.

“This is a guy who has been put in different spots in the lineup and is contributing in a big way,” Febles said. “Nobody talks about him but he’s been one of our most consistent hitters.”
The Sea Dogs (42-67) have won three straight. Erie is 44-66.

NOTES: Despite his work at third base, when Moncada rejoins the lineup it will be back at second. Febles said moving to third base “is a big adjustment … but I don’t think it will take a long time because (Moncada) is so athletic and he’s done it in the past.” Thursday is the last weekday matinee game of the season, starting at noon. … Friday’s game has been bumped up an hour to 6 p.m. to accommodate a rescheduled fireworks show. Sea Dogs pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz was back at Hadlock Field a day after pitching the first nine-inning, complete-game one-hitter in Sea Dogs history. Stankiewicz left right after the game because his father was hospitalized with kidney stones. Stankiewicz said that his dad is fine. As for his career-best performance, “everything worked together. I worked off all my pitches and the location was on point … I’ve been working on normal things that needed to be addressed and tweaking stuff. I’m starting to figure it out more and more every day.”

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Stankiewicz’s one-hitter leads Sea Dogs to 3-0 win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/stankiewiczs-one-hitter-leads-sea-dogs-to-3-0-win/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/stankiewiczs-one-hitter-leads-sea-dogs-to-3-0-win/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2016 01:09:10 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/stankiewiczs-one-hitter-leads-sea-dogs-to-3-0-win/ Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz allowed only one baserunner, on a sixth-inning single, to lead the Portland Sea Dogs to a 3-0 win over the Erie SeaWolves on Tuesday night before 6,189 at Hadlock Field.

The one-hit, complete-game shutout was easily the best outing for Stankiewicz (4-7), who needed only 96 pitches. He struck out a career-high seven.

Stankiewicz, who has had an up-and-down season, lowered his ERA to 4.81.

“He had unbelievable confidence in everything he threw,” catcher Jake Romanski said. “I could (call for) fastball, change-up or slider, and it would work – anything in any count. Everything was down in the zone.

“He was locating as well as I’ve seen anyone this year.”

Mauricio Dubon paced Portland with two doubles, two RBI and a run. Ryan Court also doubled in a run.

Stankiewicz retired the first 16 batters until one out in the sixth when Grayson Greiner grounded a single into center field. The Hadlock crowd responded with an ovation for Stankiewicz. He got out of the inning with two flyouts as he retired his final 11 batters.

“I’ve caught him the last three years,” Romanski said. “We knew Teddy could do that. That’s him right there. That’s Teddy.”

Stankiewicz, 22, arrived in Portland this season as Boston’s 20th-best prospect, according to Baseball America. He carried a 1.13 ERA through his first four starts – and in nine of his first 10 starts he allowed two earned runs or fewer. But he has also had some blowups (eight earned runs twice) and bouts of inconsistency.

“He’s a guy who is growing before our eyes,” Portland Manager Carlos Febles said. “He started out well, hit a bump in the road and was down, and now he’s getting up.

“Seems like he has more confidence now. Tonight was an example of that. That’s what we expect out of him – maybe not always a one-hitter, but to compete every start because he has the stuff.”

Stankiewicz politely declined to comment, rushing out of the clubhouse after learning a family member was hospitalized.

NOTES: Second baseman Yoan Moncada was initially in the lineup but did not play. Febles said he planned to give Moncada day off, but mistakenly penciled him in. … Dubon’s performance boosted his batting average to .318, and OPS to .832 … Portland (41-67) and Erie (44-65) are both in last place in their respective divisions in the Eastern League … Boston Celtics small forward Jae Crowder made an appearance at Hadlock Tuesday, signing autographs.

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Mookie Betts’ home run gives Red Sox another comeback win http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/benintendi-called-up-during-red-sox-victory-at-seattle/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/benintendi-called-up-during-red-sox-victory-at-seattle/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 05:10:08 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=995469 SEATTLE — Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was supposed to get a “soft” outing in his return from left knee surgery, according to manager John Farrell. It didn’t work out that way.

Mookie Betts homered to lead off the ninth inning, Kimbrel got his 18th save in his return from the disabled list and the Red Sox beat James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners 2-1 on Monday night.

Kimbrel made his first appearance since having surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. He allowed a walk, and Kyle Seager reached on a third-strike wild pitch, but Kimbrel got two other strikeouts to end it.

“As much as we talked before the game about Kimbrel and giving him a little breathing room, that one-run margin wasn’t a heck of a lot,” Farrell said. “He was very good. It looked like he hadn’t missed any time.”

“That’s my job,” Kimbrel said. “I like save situations. It worked out nice.”

Paxton held Boston to a run and four hits over eight innings before Betts hit his 22nd homer off closer Steve Cishek (2-6), who blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday against Chicago.

Seattle may turn over closing duties to hard-throwing rookie right-hander Edwin Diaz.

“We’ll talk about it,” Servais said. “We’ll probably take the gas off a little bit and try to get (Cishek) in some better spots, and maybe not when the game is on the line all the time, and get it back going again.”

Aaron Hill homered off Paxton in the eighth to tie the game 1-1. It was the second straight ninth-inning comeback for Boston, which beat the Angels 5-3 with five two-out runs in their final at-bat Sunday.

“You have to play 27 outs to beat us,” Betts said. “We’re starting to see that more and more now.”

Junichi Tazawa (2-1) got the win with a scoreless eighth after Eduardo Rodriguez held Seattle to a run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez held the Mariners to three baserunners in the first six innings, and only one of his first 19 outs even left the infield.

Paxton retired the first seven batters until Sandy Leon’s one-out single in the third. Hanley Ramirez singled in the fifth and Betts was the first player to reach second with a two-out double in the sixth. All failed to advance.

Dae-Ho Lee’s run-scoring double with one out in the seventh chased Rodriguez, who allowed three hits, two walks and six strikeouts. Robbie Ross Jr. took over and hit Seager with a pitch to load the bases with one out. He then struck out Franklin Gutierrez and Chris Iannetta.

Paxton had six strikeouts and no walks.

KID COMING

The Red Sox will promote prospect Andrew Benintendi from Double-A to the majors before Tuesday night’s game. The outfielder is one of the top prospects in baseball, hitting .312 with nine homers, 76 RBIs and 16 stolen bases this season between Class A Salem and Portland.

PITCH FOR PITCH

The Red Sox added Kimbrel off the injured list, just three weeks after his July 11 surgery. To make room, the club optioned RHP Joe Kelly to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Mariners also added a pitcher, RHP Donn Roach from Triple-A Tacoma. He is likely a temporary fix for the team’s depleted staff.

MIRANDA THURSDAY?

The Mariners have not announced a pitcher for Thursday’s game, and manager Scott Servais said “there’s a possibility” that lefty Ariel Miranda could pitch. Miranda was acquired from Baltimore for lefty Wade Miley on Sunday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (right foot tendinitis) had a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Monday. … SS Ketel Marte (mono), on the DL since July 20, is nearly back to his playing weight. … RHP Nick Vincent (back strain) will throw a simulated game Tuesday, with Marte facing him. If that goes well, both likely will be ready for rehab assignments.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP David Price (9-7, 4.26) has lost his past three starts, although he was beaten 2-1 Thursday by the Angels, working eight innings and allowing no runs and seven hits.

Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 4.26) was acquired in a trade with Toronto June 21.

 

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http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/02/benintendi-called-up-during-red-sox-victory-at-seattle/feed/ 0 http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/995469_APTOPIX-Red-Sox-Mariners-4.jpgTue, 02 Aug 2016 12:26:22 +0000
Jon Nunnally helping to make Sea Dogs’ offense a hit http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/01/jon-nunnally-leads-sea-dogs-hit-parade/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/01/jon-nunnally-leads-sea-dogs-hit-parade/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2016 23:29:26 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/08/01/jon-nunnally-leads-sea-dogs-hit-parade/ The Portland Sea Dogs limped into August with the worst record in the Eastern League (40-67) and facing imminent mathematical elimination (any combination of Portland losses and Trenton victories totaling eight) from the playoffs.

Even so, there are signs of progress at Hadlock Field. The two top prospects, center fielder Andrew Benintendi and second baseman Yoan Moncada, are thriving. Benintendi was named Eastern League Player of the Week on Monday and Moncada was named MVP of the Futures Game in July.

As a team, the Sea Dogs are the only franchise in the league with a batting average that has climbed steadily since the season began. They hit .222 in April, .254 in May, .273 in June and .281 in July.

Jon Nunnally, Portland’s first-year hitting coach, said he doesn’t pay attention to such numbers.

“It’s about getting them to understand what the approach should be of each and every individual person,” said Nunnally, 44. “The numbers part of it, I don’t worry about it, man, because those things will take care of themselves. That’s something that fluctuates all the time.”

Catcher Jake Romanski, who worked with Nunnally last season in Class A Salem (Virginia), said the hitting coach is a tireless advocate for his players.

“If you need help, he’s willing to do anything for you,” Romanski said. “He always wants to be here. He always wants to work. If some guy’s struggling and he wants to go into the cage early, Jon is like, ‘What time do you want me here?’ ”

Romanski, batting .301 and tied with Aneury Tavarez for the team lead in multiple-hit games with 24, said Nunnally’s best attribute may be his ears.

“He wants to listen to what the player wants to do,” Romanski said. “He’s not trying to teach you his way. He wants to help you learn the way that’s best for you.”

Nunnally’s way was good enough to forge a 15-year playing career that included parts of six seasons in the majors. Primarily an outfielder who also played a little second base in the low minors, Nunnally broke into the big leagues with the 1995 Kansas City Royals, and also played for the Reds, Red Sox and Mets. In the minors he also played for the Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh organizations. He also played in Japan and Mexico.

The three hitting coaches who most influenced him are Mitchell Page, Gene Tenace and Ken Griffey Sr.

“Those three guys put together helped shape and mold my mind into what I wanted to do as a hitting coach,” Nunnally said. “I got a mechanical side. I got an approach side. I got direction. Those three guys helped me out tremendously.”

Four years after his last major league appearance as a player, Nunnally failed a drug test while playing for the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Indianapolis. The drug was reported as steroids but Nunnally said it was a diuretic to combat swelling of his hands and feet when he flew. He served a 15-game suspension at the start of the 2005 season.

The next year he found work as a hitting coach with Cleveland, the organization that originally drafted him. He moved quickly up the ladder, starting in rookie ball and reaching Triple-A by his fourth season. In 2010, he was promoted to the big leagues and lasted a year and a half before being fired in June 2011.

The Blue Jays hired Nunnally for their Triple-A club in Buffalo for 2013 and he moved to Double-A New Hampshire in 2014 before joining the Red Sox organization in 2015.

“He brings passion and energy to the field,” said Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles. “He’s willing to help these kids any time they want. He’s always available to them.”

Such varied experiences have taught Nunnally that different players require different approaches. Some learn visually. Some require a hands-on approach. Others learn best through conversation.

“The main thing is keeping it simple for everybody,” he said. “Rhythm, balance, getting a good pitch to hit and attacking the baseball. You figure out how to get as consistent as you can possibly get with that and have fun.”

He may not pay attention to the numbers but others do. Sea Dogs hitters are trending up. The arrivals of Benintendi and Moncada, both of whom started the season at Class A Salem, contribute to the improvement. Nunnally deserves some credit as well.

“You’ve got to take care of the mind and how they go about doing their job,” he said. “Hopefully, over the course of time, things get better.”

For four straight months, they have.

 

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Benintendi, Moncada shine in Sea Dogs rout http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/31/sea-dogs-beat-binghamton-8-1/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/31/sea-dogs-beat-binghamton-8-1/#comments Sun, 31 Jul 2016 20:15:14 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/31/sea-dogs-beat-binghamton-8-1/ BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — With one game left before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada seemed to be doing the impossible Sunday – boosting their already lofty reputations.

While teams weighed the merits of exchanging likely future standouts for current established producers based on their needs and the chances of contending this season, Benintendi and Moncada have become two of the most talked about players from the first group.

Benintendi and Moncada turned a game that was uncertain to even be played on a rainy afternoon in Binghamton into a series of opportunities to show off why Baseball America lists both Portland Sea Dogs among the top 10 prospects in baseball.

When it was over, Benintendi had the best game of his two-year professional career with five RBI and four extra-base hits, while Moncada scored four times and had three hits in an 8-1 romp over the Mets.

With a pair of blasts of more than 400 feet by Benintendi and a 270-foot sprint for a triple on a ball down the right-field line by Moncada, the pair showed why they are coveted by potential trade partners of the parent Boston Red Sox, but at the same time are seen as prized possessions by the Red Sox.

“I think I’m just staying with my routine, going with the same approach and everything’s working out fine,” said Benintendi, an outfielder who has thrived during a time when it would seem easy to be distracted.

The Sea Dogs were just 14-25 and already 11 games out of first place when Benintendi arrived from Class A on May 16.

Moncada made the same move June 21, and shortstop Mauricio Dubon arrived two days later. At that point, at 26-45 and 24 games out, the fate of the Sea Dogs’ season had already been settled.

The team has become much more interesting, if not always more successful, since.

While Portland pitchers have struggled at times, the Sea Dogs have gone from batting .222 in April to .254 in May to .273 in June to completing July at .281.

The last four days of July were spent in Binghamton, where the Sea Dogs won a road series for just the second time this season and handed the Mets their worst series beating in seven years in terms of run differential.

With the top of the order thriving, the Sea Dogs scored 14 runs in the first three innings of their three wins in the series. They outscored the Mets 27-6 in the four games.

Moncada, Dubon and Benintendi, batting in the first three spots, went 9 for 14 Sunday with a walk, seven runs scored, seven RBI, three homers, two doubles and a triple.

Moncada reached to lead off the first and third and got on again with one out in the fourth. Each time he came in on home runs, 406- and 422-foot blasts to right by Benintendi sandwiched around Dubon’s homer to left.

“It seemed like every time I came up, there was someone on base, so I think maybe he was thinking about the base runners,” Benintendi said of Rainy Lara (6-8), who gave up the homers. “Obviously when a pitcher thinks about base runners instead of hitters, things seem to go the hitter’s way.”

And, the ball went a long way.

The only question was whether Benintendi’s second homer would stay fair, something that became a bit of a mystery because it was hit so high above the right-field fence as it curled around the pole before settling nearly 100 feet beyond it.

“I knew when I hit it, it was going to slice, but I thought it started fair enough that it was going to stay fair,” he said.

Benintendi finished 4 for 5, adding two doubles to his two homers. In the last 42 games, he is hitting .346 with 12 doubles, eight homers, five triples and 35 RBI.

Moncada was 3 for 4 with a walk. He is 9 for 26 during a six-game hitting streak.

“It’s nice to have him in the lineup,” Benintendi said. “He’s a table-setter and when he gets on base, he’s obviously a threat to steal.”

The Sea Dogs took leads of 2-0 in the first, 5-1 in the third and 7-1 in the fourth.

Keith Couch, who rejoined the team from Triple-A Pawtucket and got the start when Mike McCarthy returned to the disabled list, briefly struggled to hold the first lead.

Binghamton scored once and had the bases loaded before Couch (7-4) recorded an out.

But Couch got out of the inning without any more damage, aided by a line-drive double play, then allowed only four more base runners through his six innings. He struck out seven.

The Sea Dogs have Monday off before starting a homestand Tuesday.

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Sea Dogs rout Mets http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/29/sea-dogs-rout-mets/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/29/sea-dogs-rout-mets/#comments Sat, 30 Jul 2016 02:22:35 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/29/sea-dogs-rout-mets/ BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — When the Portland Sea Dogs rolled into Binghamton for a seven-run victory Thursday night, they were just getting started.

The Sea Dogs began their trip by scoring the first 18 runs of their series with the Mets.

Binghamton eventually broke through but never threatened the Sea Dogs, who won 11-3 on Friday night.

Ryan Court had four hits and drove in four runs, and the Sea Dogs had six players with at least two hits.

Aneury Tavarez joined Court with four hits. Jake Romanski matched him in producing a three-run homer among four RBI.

Court doubled and scored the game’s first run in the second inning. His three-run homer made it 5-0 in the third.

After driving in another run with a single in the fifth, Court scored on Romanski’s three-run homer for an 11-0 lead.

Tavarez went 4 for 5 with a triple, double, two runs and an RBI. Romanski finished with two hits and a sacrifice fly. He also threw out both runners that tried to steal against him.

The Sea Dogs scored in each inning from the second through the sixth and totaled 18 hits.

Cole Sturgeon, Yoan Moncada and Nate Freiman each added two hits.

Sturgeon had a sacrifice to help manufacture the game’s first run before it became clear that one-run strategies would not matter. He also scored a run.

Freiman went 2 for 5 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. He’s hit .330 for the last 29 games to raise his average from .231 to .280. In the first two games of the series he has five hits, three for extra bases, driving in four runs.

Manager Carlos Febles said Thursday night that the 6-foot-8 Freiman has brought more than a big bat to the team since being signed out of the independent Atlantic League.

“He brings a lot to the table,” Febles said. “He brings experience. He brings leadership.

“He’s a very good player. It’s been a pleasure to have a guy who brings out that to a young team. He’s always willing to help a young guy.”

Now Freiman is helping himself, too.

After playing 116 games for the Oakland A’s in 2013-2014, Freiman spent 2015 in Triple-A. He was traded this spring, then released from Triple-A Syracuse in the first month of the season.

Freiman immediately signed on with Long Island in the Atlantic League.

“I really didn’t want to sit around and wait all season for a job to open,” Freiman said. “I went to (indepenent) ball pretty much immediately and I was extremely fortunate that the Red Sox signed me out of the Atlantic League.

“I’m extremely grateful and proud to be here.”

Freiman is batting behind highly regarded prospect Andrew Benintendi, who leads all Red Sox minor leaguers in RBI. Benintendi was 1 for 4 and drove in the team’s last run Friday.

The series continues with a 7:05 game Saturday and a 1:05 game Sunday.

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Foulke provides relief for Sea Dogs relievers http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/29/foulke-provides-relief-for-sea-dogs-relievers/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/29/foulke-provides-relief-for-sea-dogs-relievers/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=990239 Several times this season, Portland Sea Dogs relief pitchers have gathered in their elevated bullpen beyond the right-field fence to listen to Foulke tales.

Twelve years after Keith Foulke closed out the historic 2004 World Series for the Boston Red Sox, he’s back in the organization as a player-development consultant.

“Actually I think I’m a mentor or advisor or something like that,” Foulke said. “It’s a brand-new position that’s really never been done.”

Foulke spoke from a shaded picnic table at Hadlock Field during the Sea Dogs’ series earlier this week against Trenton. During games he sits in the bullpen with Portland’s relief corps, which currently numbers seven.

“He’s a good sounding board for guys who have questions about certain situations, certain pitches, counts, how to attack hitters,” said Portland pitching coach Kevin Walker, who remains in the dugout during games. “There’s just a lot of things you can bounce off a guy who’s got a ton of experience.”

Foulke had an 11-year career in the big leagues. He began as a starter with the Giants, was involved in trades to the White Sox and A’s, became an All-Star in 2003 and signed with the Red Sox prior to 2004, when he played a pivotal role in their American League Championship Series comeback against the New York Yankees and subsequent World Series sweep of St. Louis.

Knee problems limited Foulke’s effectiveness in two more years with the Red Sox. After elbow surgery he returned to pitch for Oakland in 2008 and ended his career after a 2009 season with the independent Newark (New Jersey) Bears.

In March, he returned to the Red Sox after discussing an advisory role with the team president, Dave Dombrowski.

“He had pretty much the same idea,” Foulke said. “When you think about it, it’s the one group of players that doesn’t have a roving instructor.”

Foulke, who has three sons and makes his home in Phoenix, drops in on the two highest rungs of Boston’s minor league ladder, Portland and Pawtucket. This week’s visit to Maine was his second of July. He arrived Sunday, remained through Wednesday and plans to return in late August.

“I definitely have tried to tap into some of the knowledge he has,” said Ty Buttrey, who has nine starts and 13 relief appearances. “He’s been through it and he can help us out in so many different ways. He’ll help you with your daily routine, help you to become a better overall pitcher.”

Buttrey asked Foulke for assistance with a mechanical issue, trying to resolve Buttrey’s tendency to pull his glove toward first base instead of staying in line with the plate.

“I’ll pull off, miss my spots a little bit,” Buttrey said. “It’s affected my breaking ball a little bit.”

Buttrey has other questions.

“I always ask him, ‘how many times did you throw back-to-back days?’ ” he said. “Because in the minor leagues, relievers generally don’t throw back-to-back days.”

Indeed, Foulke pitched in 11 of Boston’s 14 postseason games in 2004, including all four against St. Louis. After falling into a 3-0 hole against the Yankees, the Red Sox leaned on Foulke for five innings and 100 pitches over three days to remain alive.

“It’s not that your arm is hurting or not, it’s just that you give the team everything you can,” Foulke told Buttrey. “You have to be ready whenever they need you. If you’re a little tight that day, then spend some extra time to get hot, to get ready, stretch your arm out a little more. Obviously there’s a difference between being a little tight and being hurt. … But as long as you’re ready to go, it’s all out.”

Foulke speaks to the group and to pitchers individually. He arrives early for batting practice and pregame work.

“Some guys, we talk a lot more mental stuff,” he said. “Some guys, we talk a lot more physical stuff. We talk about life. Sometimes you have to talk about stuff that occurs off the field to help you on the field.”

Much of the conversation involves success and failure and how to deal with each. Foulke had plenty of both.

“If I can use my failures to help them proceed smoothly in life, that’s one of my real goals,” he said. “Try to keep them from making the mistakes I made, on and off the field.”

Every Portland reliever knows how it feels to descend the bullpen stairs and jog to the mound at Hadlock. What they dream about is making a similar trip at Fenway Park.

“You’re going to go out there and you’re going to be overwhelmed; you’re going to be scared,” Foulke said. “But it will be one of the greatest things ever to happen to you.”

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Sea Dogs storm past Mets, 7-0 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/28/sea-dogs-storm-past-mets-7-0/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/28/sea-dogs-storm-past-mets-7-0/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2016 01:44:50 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/28/sea-dogs-storm-past-mets-7-0/ BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Nate Freiman and Jalen Beeks made sure the Portland Sea Dogs got their trip off to a fast start Thursday night.

Freiman doubled twice and drove in three runs in the first three innings, and Beeks pitched five scoreless innings to lead the Sea Dogs to a 7-0 victory against the Binghamton Mets.

“It’s nice to win the first game,” said Freiman, who had hits in his first three at-bats. “I’m just trying to get good at-bats.

“We’re getting into the part of the season where you’re starting to see guys multiple times.”

The Sea Dogs had trouble with Binghamton starter Tyler Pill in the past.

Pill, who won his last five starts, was 4-0 for his career against the Sea Dogs, including a victory Saturday in Portland in his last start, which made him the winningest pitcher in team history.

The Sea Dogs put their knowledge of Pill (8-9) to immediate use Thursday.

Freiman drove in three runs and scored another as Portland opened a 4-0 lead in the third inning.

Freiman, with a career 116 major league games, has heated up recently after being released by Triple-A Syracuse, then spending time in an independent league in April and May.

Beeks (2-2) took advantage of Freiman’s fast start, going five innings and allowing two hits. He threw 57 of 90 pitches for strikes, walking two and striking out three.

“He’s been more consistent,” Manager Carlos Febles said of Beeks, who is 2-0 with a 2.52 earned-run average in his last four starts. “He’s been more aggressive. He’s always had the stuff, just sometimes he gets behind in the count and doesn’t know how to get out of it. That was not the case tonight.”

Beeks got help from Jake Drehoff, who allowed three hits in three innings, and Taylor Grover, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for Portland.

“I’ve had a lot of long innings, a lot of long counts,” said Beeks, 23, who has made just seven Double-A starts. “I’ve got to get guys out more efficiently.

“I only walked two guys so it’s not the walks. I’m not having trouble throwing strikes; I’m just having trouble putting guys away.”

Beeks has had less trouble lately. His only difficulty Thursday came when Binghamton loaded the bases in the second, in part because a batter reached on a passed ball on a strikeout.

The Sea Dogs got plenty of production from the top half of the order.

Aneury Tavarez and Mauricio Dubon started the game with back-to-back singles and came in to score. Tavarez then drove in a run when his sixth-inning chopper to first base got through for a double.

Andrew Benintendi went 2 for 4 and scored twice from the third spot in the order before being lifted for a pinch hitter.

While Benintendi was increasing his average to .325 for the past 11 games, Yoan Moncada, the Sea Dogs’ other prized prospect, had the night off.

Febles said Moncada, who is 4 for 33 (.121) with 16 strikeouts in his last eight games, will return Friday for the second game of the four-game series.

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Thunder pound away again, beat Sea Dogs 10-6 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/27/thunder-pound-away-again-beat-sea-dogs-10-6/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/27/thunder-pound-away-again-beat-sea-dogs-10-6/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:34:17 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/27/thunder-pound-away-again-beat-sea-dogs-10-6/ For the second time in less than 24 hours, a lopsided Portland Sea Dogs loss hinged on an unusual fielding play.

On Tuesday night, Trenton second baseman Cito Culver caught a hard throw with his bare hand and turned a double play as the energized Thunder saw a tie game morph into an 11-run rout.

On Wednesday afternoon, Culver’s shallow fly squirted out of the glove of Portland right fielder Rainel Rosario to spark a two-run rally that gave Trenton the lead for good in what turned out to be a 10-6 series-clinching victory.

A sun-baked crowd of 7,368 – many of them youngsters clad in color-coordinated summer camp T-shirts – saw the Sea Dogs rally from four runs down to take an early 6-5 lead.

“I like the way the guys fought back after being down,” said Portland Manager Carlos Febles. “You should feel pretty good about your club.”

Six players hit safely in the five-run third inning, knocking out Trenton starter Daniel Camarena.

Andrew Benintendi stroked a two-run double. Nate Freiman followed with a double. Ryan Court singled home a run. Jake Romanski doubled to put the Sea Dogs up 6-5.

But Trenton reliever Travis Hissong (1-0) quieted the offense with an effective slider and didn’t allow another hit over the next three innings. Caleb Smith and Tyler Jones followed for another three innings of one-hit relief.

Portland starter Teddy Stankiewicz recovered from a rough third inning in which Dustin Fowler’s three-run homer capped a five-run uprising by facing just three batters in each of the other four innings he pitched.

“Performance-wise I felt really good,” Stankiewicz said. “I started off great and then in the third inning, I got a couple guys on base and threw a hanging curveball. (Fowler) hit it well and got a home run off me. After that I just battled and located well.”

The game started to unravel for Portland when Culver reached on the error to open the sixth. Dante Bichette Jr. lined reliever Ty Buttrey’s next pitch for a double in the gap between Rosario and Benintendi in center. A grounder to Court at third erased Culver on a throw home, but Trenton tied the score when Michael O’Neill grounded a single through the box that barely eluded Buttrey. The go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-6.

Trenton added another run in the seventh and two in the ninth on Culver’s second home run of the season.

“As soon as that ball was dropped, I didn’t let it bother me,” said Buttrey (0-9, 4.82). “I moved on to the next hitter. But I left the ball up and (Bichette) put a good swing on it.”

The seventh inning could have been worse. It started with a walk, a throwing error by Buttrey on a potential double- play comebacker and a single to load the bases. But on Bichette’s subsequent liner to center, Benintendi held up his glove as if to make a catch, fielded the ball on one hop and threw to second for a force.

“That was awesome,” Febles said. “They could have had bases loaded, nobody out. Now it’s first and third and we get a double play to end the inning.”

The only other Sea Dogs highlight in the late going was Court’s third hit of the game, a one-out double in the eighth.

“When things go bad, it’s easy to sit there and blame the other guys,” Buttrey said. “But the way baseball is, you can’t do that. I have to go out here and execute pitches, and I missed a lot of opportunities to do that today.”

NOTES: Trenton was 6 of 13 with runners in scoring position. … The Thunder collected 31 hits and 25 runs after dropping the rain-shortened opener at Hadlock, 5-2. “At home it’s a real tough place to hit,” Bichette said of the ballpark in New Jersey. “Big field. Wind blows in. So when we come on the road, we usually hit really well.” … The Sea Dogs left for a four-game series at Binghamton. They host Erie and Akron on Aug. 2-7. … Buttrey, who has started nine games and relieved in 13, tries to be philosophical about his 0-9 record. “It definitely bothers me,” he said. “At the same time this is the minor leagues. This is development. I never sit there and dwell on my 0-9 record. … I know next year I’m going to be way better than I am this year. As negative as it is, you have to find positive in something so bad.”

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Trenton uses eight-run inning to crush Sea Dogs http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/26/trenton-uses-8-run-inning-to-crush-sea-dogs-15-4/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/26/trenton-uses-8-run-inning-to-crush-sea-dogs-15-4/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 02:30:34 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/26/trenton-uses-8-run-inning-to-crush-sea-dogs-15-4/ It only seemed appropriate on Harry Potter Night at Hadlock Field that a bit of wizardry overshadowed all the offensive pyrotechnics of a 15-4 victory by the Trenton Thunder over the Sea Dogs.

Forget the 27 hits and four home runs. The play of the night ended the fifth inning when Trenton second baseman Cito Culver turned a double play without using his glove.

With the score tied at 1 and a runner on first base, Thunder shortstop Tyler Wade ranged to his right to field a hard grounder in the hole. He quickly zinged a throw toward second with Culver covering.

“I went to reach for it with my glove,” said Culver, a 2010 first-round pick of the Yankees. “Well, with both hands, because I usually turn double plays with my hands together, but I kind of ran out of glove. My (right) hand was a little bit further, so it just went right into my hand.”

Potter could not have done better corralling a golden snitch.

Without hesitating, Culver relayed the baseball to first to complete the double play, then ran off the field into an electric Trenton dugout.

“I threw that hard,” Wade said. “It was a little wide. I thought he was going to take it with his glove. Then I saw him barehand it. That was an amazing play. I felt like that sparked a rally for us the next inning, gave us a little life and things went on from there.”

Portland's Nate Freiman slides into third base ahead of a tag attempt by Trenton third baseman Miguel Andujar for a triple.   John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Portland’s Nate Freiman slides into third base ahead of a tag attempt by Trenton third baseman Miguel Andujar for a triple. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

A little life? The next six Trenton batters hit safely. Culver himself delivered a two-run double to put the Thunder ahead for good 3-1 and came up again later in the inning to drive in two more runs with a single. In all, Trenton scored eight runs and sent 13 men to the plate in the sixth against Sea Dogs relievers Taylor Grover (1-3) and Williams Jerez.

“I don’t know how he caught it,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said of Culver’s wizardry. “That’s something I’ve never seen before. It was kind of fun to watch.”

The Sea Dogs had their moments. Andrew Benintendi, starting in left field for only the third time, produced two outfield assists and made a tough catch in what little foul territory there is adjacent to the visiting bullpen.

Benintendi first cut down Trenton’s Kyle Higashioka trying to stretch a leadoff single. After Mike Ford singled to center, Mark Payton hit a shallow fly in the gap. Benintendi raced over, reached across his body and gloved the ball at his shoe tops.

Looking up, Benintendi saw Ford remaining at second base, believing the ball had struck turf before leather. A long, easy throw to first base completed the double play, and brought Trenton Manager Bobby Mitchell out to argue in vain.

Benintendi also had two of Portland’s nine hits, raising his average to .281. The other top Red Sox prospect, Yoan Moncada, hit his eighth home run. Cole Sturgeon also homered for the Sea Dogs and Nate Freiman contributed a triple and a run-scoring single.

Coming off the disabled list and pitching for the first time in more than a month, Mike McCarthy started the game and delivered four scoreless innings. He faced only three batters over the minimum and had considerable help in the field.

In addition to Benintendi, catcher Danny Bethea threw out a would-be base stealer. But after Culver’s defense turned the game around, it was all Thunder.

Dante Bichette Jr. and Payton each homered. Wade, Ford and Lane Adams each had three hits as Trenton feasted on four Portland relievers for 14 of the team’s 18 hits. Portland pitchers also walked nine.

“It was definitely a lifter for us,” Culver said. “That’s all I try to do, is help my team as much as I can, make plays when I can, get hits when I can.”

So, did it sting?

Culver shook his head.

“I was pumped,” he said with a grin. “I didn’t feel anything.”

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 6,364. … To make room for McCarthy, the Sea Dogs placed right-hander Jacob Dahlstrand on the disabled list, retroactive to July 22. “He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery,” said pitching coach Kevin Walker. “It’s been a long road for him. This is a thing we do for all our starters, give them a little break during the season.”

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Sea Dogs beat rain, Thunder http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/25/sea-dogs-beat-rain-thunder/ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/25/sea-dogs-beat-rain-thunder/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:07:05 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/25/sea-dogs-beat-rain-thunder/ If Sea Dogs second baseman Yoan Moncada was bothered by his five-strikeout performance Sunday, he certainly didn’t show it Monday at Hadlock Field.

Moncada started a nifty double play in the first inning to help Portland starter Kevin McAvoy out of a jam and then lined a 97 mph fastball into center field to snap a 1-for-20 slump and set the tone for a 5-2 Sea Dogs victory over the Trenton Thunder in an Eastern League game shortened by rain.

“I didn’t change anything,” Moncada said through interpreter/shortstop Mauricio Dubon. “A bad day is going to happen. It’s baseball. Yeah, I felt happy I got a base-hit my first time at bat, but it’s not going to be the last time I get five strikeouts.”

Rain started to fall in the top of the seventh as McAvoy (7-5) was retiring 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. The downpour became heavy and was accompanied by thunder and lightning.

After a delay of 54 minutes, and with the possibility of more rain, the umpiring crew in consultation with both managers declared the game complete.

McAvoy walked the game’s first batter and fell behind the second, Dustin Fowler, before Moncada picked off Fowler’s hard grounder and, from a considerable distance, backhanded a flip to Dubon to start the double play.

McAvoy retired the next four batters and ran into trouble only in the third, when Trenton scored both its runs with help from a walk and two singles. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk the rest of the game, and struck out four.

“I think that was huge for (McAvoy),” catcher Jake Romanski said of the early double play. “He could relax a little bit. He wasn’t so uptight. It helped him get back in the zone.”

The Sea Dogs broke through in their half of the third against Trenton starter Will Carter, who was making his Double-A debut. Cole Sturgeon led off with a walk. Rainel Rosario then beat out a chopper over the mound and Moncada was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Dubon hustled to avoid a double play, allowing Sturgeon to score.

Then Andrew Benintendi punched a humpbacked liner to center. It looked as if a charging Fowler might make the catch with a diving attempt. Instead, it bounced past him for a two-run triple.

“The ball got in on me a little bit, so obviously I didn’t square it up the best I could,” said Benintendi. “It was a tough play and he was trying to make a good play and it was just fortunate for us that it got by him.”

With the infield pulled in to prevent Benintendi from scoring, Nate Freiman’s grounder to short squirted through Trenton’s Tyler Wade to make it 4-2.

The Sea Dogs added another run in the sixth on a two-out double by Sturgeon that scored Cody Decker.

NOTES: Romanski took a foul ball off his right foot in the exact spot he was hit early in Sunday’s game. … Moncada became the fourth Sea Dog in franchise history to fan five times in one game. The other three: Sean Coyle (2014), Brandon Moss (2006) and Nate Rolison (1999). … Announced paid attendance was 4,167. … Red Sox special assistant Jason Varitek is in town working with Portland catchers through Wednesday.

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