With concerns about their infield depth, especially with Dustin Pedroia on indefinite rehab at his home in Arizona, the Boston Red Sox signed major league veteran Brandon Phillips, 37, at the end of June.

Phillips’ comeback is stalled in Triple-A (batting .192 and currently hurt), but Pawtucket has another former major leaguer that Boston might be interested in: Tony Renda.

Granted, while Phillips measures his major league time in years (16), Renda can measure his experience in games (32), all with the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.

Renda, 27, has bounced around four organizations and been part of three trades, including the Yankees’ deal to obtain Aroldis Chapman in 2016. He was released by the Diamondbacks in spring training and scooped up by the Red Sox.

He seemed like just another minor league free agent signed for depth, assigned to the Sea Dogs at the end of April. But in 22 games, Renda batted .367 (.988 OPS) while playing second base, third and first, and left field. And he helped in other ways, being a leader in the clubhouse.

“He’s a professional who goes about his business the right way,” said Sea Dogs hitting coach Lee May Jr. “He was a big help when he was here. He made my job a lot easier.”


But then Renda broke his hand and sat out five weeks until returning July 4. In a four-game trip to Hartford, Renda was 7 for 18 with three doubles, a home run and six RBI. He didn’t come back to Portland, directed to Pawtucket.

In 13 games he’s batting .379 with five doubles and a home run. He’s added right field to his defensive versatility.

“Very impressive so far,” Pawtucket Manager Kevin Boles said. “He’s swinging the bat well, working to all fields, plays numerous positions,and makes sound decisions on the bases.”

It’s a small sample size, but if Renda carries his hot bat deep into August, might Boston give him a look?

PITCHER MATT Kent likes to prepare extensively for games, scouring scouting reports and creating a game plan. But he had little time to prepare for Thursday morning’s game in Pawtucket. On Wednesday afternoon, Kent planned to board a bus for Trenton to make his 17th start for the Sea Dogs. But Pawtucket’s Jalen Beeks was traded to Tampa Bay earlier in the day and Kent got the call to Triple-A for an 11 a.m. game against Columbus.

Through five innings, Kent allowed one run on four hits and a walk. He got out of a jam in the fifth – runner on third, one out – with two strikeouts.


In the sixth, Kent got the leadoff batter before giving up two doubles sandwiched around a hit batter. He left down 2-1 with two runners on. Reliever Trevor Kelley, also called up Wednesday, then gave up a two-run single.

Kent’s numbers don’t look great: 51/3 innings, seven hits, four runs (all earned), one walk and six strikeouts. But he shows an ability to adjust and can pitch at that level.

Not sure if Kent will stay in Pawtucket or another Portland starter gets promoted (Mike Shawaryn and Kent are 1-2 in ERA with the Sea Dogs, 3.29 and 3.44).

IT’S THAT time of year when the Red Sox promote some minor leaguers for a taste at the next level (first baseman Josh Ockimey arrived in Portland on Aug. 1 last year).

Who might the Sea Dogs get from Salem? Third baseman Bobby Dalbec (24 home runs, .938 OPS) seems a good candidate. Among the starters, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez (2.17 ERA over his last seven starts, with 49 strikeouts) and Tanner Houck (2.72 ERA in last eight starts, 47 strikeouts) would be welcomed at Hadlock.

RELIEVER KYLE Martin was released to pursue opportunities in Japan. Martin, 27, who pitched in Portland in 2015, made two appearances for Boston last year (22/3 innings, one earned run). Taken off the 40-man roster, Martin was in Pawtucket all year (3.33 ERA in 30 appearances). His departure leaves six players from the 2013 draft still in the Red Sox system – pitchers Trey Ball (first round) and Teddy Stankiewicz (second), catcher Jake Romanski (14th), outfielder Joseph Monge (17th), infielder Jantzen Witte (24th) and catcher-turned-pitcher Danny Bethea (34th). Ball, Stankiewicz, Witte and Monge (disabled list) are with the Sea Dogs. Romanski is on the Pawtucket roster but has been on the restricted list after a suspension. And Bethea is in his first year as a pitcher, with Lowell.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:


Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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