The Boston Red Sox like to have power arms in the bullpen. So Ty Buttrey might be catching their attention.

Buttrey, a Portland Sea Dogs right-hander, brings a high-90s fastball to the mound, and it’s doing the job. Through five games and 82/3 innings, Buttrey has 15 strikeouts.

“Everything is getting better,” Buttrey said. “Mechanics feel better. Arm feels better. I’m going to keep going with it, because it’s going well.”

That’s quite a difference from this time last year. Buttrey, 24, was a fourth-round draft pick out of high school in 2012. He was a starter, but the results in the minors just weren’t coming – including an 0-6 record and 6.08 ERA at the beginning of last year in Portland.

That’s when the Red Sox told Buttrey he was going to the bullpen.

“It was the right move for me,” said Buttrey, whose ERA was 3.00 the rest of last season.


“I loved starting and I was trying to figure things out. I couldn’t really get that consistent third pitch. As a reliever, you really need only one or two pitches.”

Buttrey ditched the curve. He now brings the heat, along with an improved change-up. For variety, he occasionally throws a slider.

“Buttrey continues to throw the ball well,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He’s starting to really have some confidence with himself and with his stuff – and trust his stuff in the zone.

“He’s got an uptick in velo and he’s on a roll.”

Buttrey, who is 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, has hit the radar gun at 97 mph.

“Let’s just say that I’m having a lot more fun playing baseball than when I was a starter,” Buttrey said. “It allowed me to free up some things and be a little bit more aggressive with my stuff.”


Except for one hiccup (two runs in 11/3 innings at Binghamton), Buttrey has been consistent, including two hitless innings against Trenton on Saturday.

IN PAWTUCKET, the team is batting .231 (ranked 13th in the 14-team International League). Hoping to break out soon are Blake Swihart (.189), Sam Travis (.175) and Deven Marrero (.103). … Reliever Chandler Shepherd has struck out 13 in 71/3 innings, recording a 1.09 WHIP (walks/hits per inning).

IN PORTLAND, Aneury Tavarez is batting .400 in his second season with the Sea Dogs. It’s likely that the Red Sox will find room for him in Pawtucket soon. … The same goes for reliever Austin Maddox (0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP), who already has made a couple Triple-A appearances before coming back down. … Rafael Devers is batting .320 with an .813 OPS, though he has drawn only one walk.

IN SALEM, third baseman Michael Chavis turned heads with a three-homer game April 19 at Salem Memorial Ballpark, which is considered a pitcher’s park.

Chavis, 21, was a first-round draft pick out of high school in 2014. Lauded for his potential, Chavis entered the season with a career average of .235. But the Red Sox believed in him, putting him in Salem above the touted Bobby Dalbec, a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Chavis spent most of the first week of the season on the disabled list. He’s been hot in the eight games he’s played – .400 average, five home runs and three doubles.


At the other infield corner in Salem is first baseman Josh Ockimey, 21, who is enjoying his debut in advanced Class A. Ockimey is batting .362 with a 1.057 OPS and three home runs.

IN GREENVILLE, Dalbec, 21, leads the Drive with a .310 average and an .834 OPS. … Starting pitcher Shaun Anderson is shining (2-0, 0.83 ERA, 23 strikeouts and seven walks in four starts. Anderson was a third-round draft pick last summer out of the University of Florida.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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