There was a time when Henry Ramos was a rising outfield prospect for the Boston Red Sox – a 6-foot-2, 220-pound switch-hitter who was breaking out in Portland.

Two years later, he is still in Double-A Portland, trying to become durable enough to move on. After early-season troubles, he was batting .379 in his last eight games heading into Monday’s contest in Harrisburg.

“He’s coming along,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said.

Many thought Ramos would come along faster. Assigned to the Sea Dogs in 2014, Ramos was batting .326 with a .799 OPS through 48 games. He had just turned 22.

Then Ramos suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia and was lost for the year.

Ramos returned to Portland last year and was on crutches after six games, requiring surgery on his right knee. He came back in July and hit .309 with an .830 OPS in a 24-game stretch before going back on the disabled list.


Time seems to be running out on Ramos, a fifth-round draft choice out of Puerto Rico in 2010. He will be a minor league free agent after this season.

Back in Portland this year, Ramos played nine games before going down again. The initial diagnosis was a sore knee, with further testing needed.

With Ramos’ history, the news did not seem good.

But the knee suffered no damage and Ramos was back playing on April 26, and trying too hard to make up for two-plus seasons of frustration.

“He was trying to hit everything,” Sea Dogs hitting coach Jon Nunnally said.

Ramos nodded at the assessment. “I tried to swing at every pitch,” he said. “I didn’t have patience. I tried to get three base hits in one at-bat.”


By May 11, Ramos’ batting average was down to .214. But, by working with Nunnally, he changed his approach.

“I tried to focus on seeing the ball and making contact,” he said.

And Ramos is hitting again, including an impressive game on May 14 when he led off both the first and second innings with home runs.

“His approach is much better now. He’s waiting for his pitch to hit, not going out of the zone like we was earlier,” Febles said. “It’s paying off.”

Ramos appears both relieved and thankful.

“It feels great, to do what I love,” he said. “Injuries are really bad, man.”


SEAN COYLE was another early draft pick in 2010, going in the third round. Coyle, 24, has also been hampered with an assortment of injuries. His best year was 2014 in Portland when he batted .295 with an .883 OPS, though in only 96 games because of injury.

Before the 2015 season, Coyle was added to Boston’s 40-man roster, but he played only 39 games last season in Pawtucket, hitting .159.

This season, Coyle played 24 games in Pawtucket, but his average was no better, at .125. The Red Sox sent him down to Portland last week.

“Trying to find my swing, have more consistent ABs” Coyle said. “I was fighting through injuries last year. They lingered into the offseason and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.

“Now it’s about getting back into a groove on the offensive side.”

TREY BALL has been mentioned before in this space as a left-handed pitcher with high expectations (seventh overall draft pick in 2013), although he is young (21). Ball, who is coming off a knee injury, returned to Class A Salem this season. In five starts, Ball is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA. Sounds like a ticket to Portland sometime this summer is likely. Ball has 19 strikeouts in 29 innings, but also 12 walks.


LEFT-HANDED PITCHER Brian Johnson made his major league debut last year but has struggled this season in Triple-A Pawtucket (2-3. 4.64 ERA, 22 walks in 33 innings). According to Ian Browne of, Johnson has been sent to Fort Myers, Florida, to be treated for anxiety.

Johnson, 25, has had some harrowing experiences on and off the field. In 2012, while pitching for the Lowell Spinners in a game at Fenway Park, Johnson was hit in the face by a line drive, causing a broken nose and 16 other fractures in his face. Last winter in Florida, Johnson was a passenger in a parked car when a man attempted an armed carjacking. Johnson was not harmed and the carjacker was arrested.

WILLIAM CUEVAS continues to pitch well since making his major league debut on April 21, in a relief role. Cuevas, an Eastern League All-Star last year, has made five starts for Pawtucket since being sent down, going 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA.

PAT LIGHT, another Pawtucket pitcher who made his Red Sox debut this year, has 20 strikeouts in 152/3 innings while hitting triple digits on the radar gun.

YOAN MONCADA continues to hit and run in Salem. He’s batting .324 with a .964 OPS and 30 stolen bases in 36 tries. Moncada, a switch-hitter is doing better batting left-handed (.339) than right (.278).

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