The Sea Dogs had a big announcement today, as Super Bowl hero Malcom Butler visits Hadlock Field on April 27th – here’s the official release.
Potential SS in Portland
MARCO HERNANDEZ SS Twitter: None
Height: 6-0 Weight: 170 Born: 9/6/92 Bats: L Throws: R Resides:
Obtained: From the Chicago Cubs as the player to be named later in the 7/30/14 trade that sent Felix Doubront to Chicago.
Highlights: Begins his first season in the Red Sox system, after the previous five in the Chicago Cubs Organization, and has not played above High-A…Spent all of 2014 with High-A Daytona (Florida State League), hitting .270 (119-for-441) with 3 homers and 55 RBI in 122 games (2nd on the team)…Led the team in triples (7) and stolen bases (22)…Had a season-high 4 RBI on August 29th vs. Tampa, blasting his 3rd homer of the season…Hit over .300 in three of five months, including a season-high .321 (25-for-78) mark in April…Had 33 multi-hit games…Named to the Florida State League All-Star team, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single.
I’m privileged to have Mark Perlman-Price on the broadcast with me this season. Mark can be reached on twitter @mtriplep, and he kicks off our Blog for Thursday. Great research on this project.
Red Sox Well Represented by Former Eastern Leaguers by Mark Perlman Price
As the Red Sox continue to whittle down their roster down to 25 as we approach Opening Day, the team is still well represented by former Eastern League players – and not just ones from Portland.
Of the 32 players remaining on the active roster as of today, 22 of them (68.8%) have seen action in the Eastern League. Of course, the majority of the group consists of former Sea Dogs: 15 of the 22 (68%) former Eastern Leaguers on the Red Sox roster played in the EL exclusively as members of the Sea Dogs. They are: Matt Barnes, Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow, Justin Masterson, Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman, Steven Wright, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Rusney Castillo, Daniel Nava, Hanley Ramirez, and David Ortiz.
But there are also seven players on the Red Sox active roster who are former Eastern Leaguers – some of which came through Hadlock Field wearing the opposing team’s laundry. Let’s take a look at some familiar opposing faces who will likely be wearing the Red Sox uniform this season:
Acquired by the Red Sox in the trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Giants on 7/26/14, Escobar made his AA debut in 2013 as a Richmond Flying Squirrel. He was called up to Richmond from High-A San Jose on July 10th, and in 10 starts for the Flying Squirrels following his call-up, Escobar went 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 54.0 IP. He had an impressive K:BB ratio (54:13) and opponents batted just .219 against him. And if you can’t remember seeing him at Hadlock Field, you’ve got a pretty good memory after all. Escobar never did appear in a game for Richmond against the Sea Dogs.
As a young pitcher coming up through the Cleveland Indians system, Mujica made his AA debut in 2005 after a call-up to the Akron Aeros (now the RubberDucks), where he happened to be managed by current Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo. Pitching exclusively in relief, Mujica finished the ’05 season with a 2-1 record to go along with 10 saves and a 2.88 ERA in 27 appearances (34.1 IP). He struck out 33 and walked just 5. Mujica also helped Akron win the EL Championship
that season, appearing in 6 games during the EL playoffs and posting an impressive 1.35 ERA with 4 saves. During the regular season, Mujica appeared in two games against the Sea Dogs, including an appearance at Hadlock Field on July 16th. In that game, he picked up the save in a 4-1 Akron victory. Jon Lester started the game for the Sea Dogs. And the first batter Mujica faced out of the pen? Hanley Ramirez. Mujica struck him out swinging. Later that season, Akron also faced Portland in the Eastern League Championship Series. Mujica appeared in 3 games and picked up 2 saves. He was the pitcher on the mound when the last out was recorded, inducing a ground out from former Sea Dog Chad Spann to give Akron the 4-1 win and their 2nd EL Championship.
Pitching in the Orioles system in 2010, Uehara made the major league club, but was sidelined to start the season by a left hamstring strain (coincidentally, the same injury he’s suffering from now). He had a rehab stint in Bowie where he appeared in 2 games in late April (both against Erie) and allowed no runs on 1 hit in 2.0 IP, walking 1 and striking out 1. Over two years later, in December of 2012, he signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox. The rest is history.
The newest member of the Red Sox, Leon saw Eastern League action in two seasons as a member of the Harrisburg Senators while playing in the Nationals organization. He appeared in 135 games over two seasons in 2012 and 2013, hitting .218 with 4 HR and 45 RBI. Leon did face the Sea Dogs twice in August of 2013, but both games were at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg. He picked up an RBI on a walk facing Miguel Celestino in a Senators 8-0 win.
Before he was sent to Boston along with Joel Hanrahan for Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimental, Ivan De Jesus, and Jerry Sands in 2012, Holt was working his way up through the Pittsburgh Pirates system. Over two stints with Altoona in 2011 and 2012, Holt played a combined 234 games for the Curve and hit .302 with 54 2B, 15 3B, 3 HR, and 83 RBI. He was named an EL mid-season All-Star in both 2011 and 2012, as well as a post-season All-Star in 2012, when he led the EL with a .322 AVG and proved to be the 5th-hardest player to strike out in the league (8.47 PA/SO). Holt played three career games at Hadlock Field from 7/28-7/30/11 and went a combined 3-for-11 with a double, RBI, and run scored.
As a Giants farmhand in 2008, the Panda had quite a year. He began the season playing 68 games for High-A San Jose before being promoted to AA Connecticut of the Eastern League and playing 44 games, then was called up directly to San Francisco, skipping AAA entirely. He ended up hitting .345 in 41 games for the Giants and was also named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. His first and only series at Hadlock Field (7/21-7/23/08) was a memorable one: David Ortiz was making a rehab appearance and would be playing for the Sea Dogs in all three games against Connecticut. It was Sandoval who stole the show, however. He posted a season high 6 RBI in a Connecticut 18-6 win on 7/22, going 3-for-7 with a double off Michael James and a home run off of Daniel Haigwood.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian came up through the Dodgers farm system before being chosen by the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2004. After a season in AAA in 2005, he received a September call-up to Philadelphia and hit .294 in 21 games. He ended up making the Phillies’ 2006 Opening Day roster and has been a major leaguer ever since. He has, however, made three different rehab appearances in the Eastern League for Reading, playing a combined 7 games in 2007, 2008, and 2011.
With 7 days until we start at Hadlock Field…We preview possible second baseman in Portland
CARLOS ASUAJE INF/OF @TherealAsuaje20
Obtained: Red Sox 11th pick (11th round, 323rd overall) in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Highlights: Enters 2015 as the #25 Prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America…In his first full professional season in 2014, hit a combined .310 (149-for-480) with 15 homers and 101 RBI (organizational best) between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem…Ranked 4th in the organization in homers and 5th in average …Played 2B, 3B, SS and LF…Appeared in 90 games with Greenville and hit .305 (10th in the league) with 11 HR, 73 RBI, 24 doubles and 11 triples (tied for tops in the league)…Was named Greenville Drive Player of the Year and South Atlantic League Mid and Post-Season All-Star…Socked 2 homers on June 7th at Rome…Promoted to High-A Salem on July 19th and hit .323 (50-for-155) in 39 games with the Sox…Hit .342 in August with 3 homers and 20 RBI.
MIKE MILLER INF @mrmiller_2
Obtained: Red Sox 11th pick (9th round, 301st overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Highlights: Assigned to Portland for his Double-A debut on August 2nd, after beginning 2014 with High-A Salem Red Sox (Carolina League)…Began the season in Extended debut and made his season debut on June 1st…In 49 games (31 at SS, 14 at 2B, 3 at 3B) with Salem, hit .307 (59-for-192), 0 HR, 18 RBI, 8 doubles, 24 runs scored and 7 stolen bases…Hit safely in 18 of 23 games with the Sea Dogs, hitting .301 (28-for-93) with 3 homers and 12 RBI…2-for-2, RBI and 2 walks in his Double-A debut on August 3rd vs. Trenton…First Double-A homer on August 21st at Harrisburg…Career-high 4 RBI (3-for-4, HR) on August 31st vs. Harrisburg…3-for-5 in Game 2 and 2-for-4 in Game 3 of the Eastern Division Championship Series…Following the 2014 season, appeared in three games with Surprise of the Arizona Fall League.
The guy we could see, who’s getting a lot of buzz…
YOAN MONCADA INF
Obtained: Signed by the Red Sox as an international amateur free agent on 2/27/15.Highlights: The switch-hitting Cuban infielder received the largest signing bonus in MLB history for an international free agent ($31.5 million) and was officially signed by the Red Sox as a minor-league free agent on February 27, 2015…Left Cuba in June of 2014 to pursue his Major League career…In two years (2012-13) with Cienfuegos of the Cuban National Series, hitting a combined .277 (84-for-303) with 4 homers and 28 RBI in 101 games…In 2012, was teammates with Major Leaguers Jose Abreu and Erisbel Arruebarrena.
We are 8 days away from Opening Night at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs will battle the Reading Fightin Phils. Let’s preview possible first baseman in Portland this season…Chester should be the starter. I’m taking a shot in Tejeda playing some first base, as he did a lot in Spring Training…If Matt Spring is back, he could also play some first base.
DAVID CHESTER @davechester
Highlights: Began 2014 with High-A Salem, hitting .220 (18-for-82) with 3 homers and 15 RBI in 22 games…Was on the disabled list from April 29-June 9 and made his Double-A debut with Portland on June 10th at Altoona, going 3-for-4 with an RBI double…His first Double-A homer was a grand slam on June 18th at Erie…Hit .231 (49-for-212) with 7 HR and 31 RBI with the Sea Dogs in 61 games and had 15 of 31 RBI with the bases loaded…Season-high 7-game hitting streak from June 15-23: 9-for-23 (.391), HR, 9 RBI and 2 doubles…Homered twice in the Eastern Division Championship Series against the Binghamton Mets.
OSCAR TEJEDA @OscarTejedaRD
Highlights: Returns to the Red Sox system, after spending the previous 2 ½ season in the Pirates and Nationals Organizations…Appeared in 174 games with the Sea Dogs in 2011-12, hitting a combined .253 (167-for-659) with 10 homers and 65 RBI…In 2014, he made his debut in the Washington system with High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg…Appeared in 94 games with Potomac, hitting .270 with 16 homers (3rd in the Carolina League) and 65 RBI…Promoted to Harrisburg on July 28th and hit .204 with a homer and 4 RBI in 18 games…Following the season, appeared in 12 games for the Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League…Has 275 games in the Eastern League with Portland (2011-‘12), Altoona (‘12-‘13) and Harrisburg (‘14)…Was released from Boston’s 40-man roster in 2012 and claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Check out the ink!
Speaking of 8…Great article on Clay Buchholz by Rob Bradford
With nine days remaining until we have a first pitch in the 2015 season, I thought a preview of each position for the next week and a 1/2, would be a good idea.
Potential Portland Catchers
Mike Brenly – Spent the entire 2014 season with the Portland Sea Dogs, in his debut in the Red Sox system…Hit .168 (24-for-143) with 2 homers and 18 RBI in 46 games, adding 7 doubles and a triple…Blasted his first career grand slam on May 19th off Binghamton’s Angel Cuan at Hadlock Field and hit his second homer on July 11th vs. New Hampshire…Spent 2008-12 in the Chicago Cubs system and appeared in 8 games with Triple-A Tucson in 2013…Son of former Major Leaguer Bob Brenly.
Luis Martinez – Enters his first season in the Red Sox system after spending 2014 in Triple-A with Salt Lake (Angels) and Sacramento (Oakland), hitting a combined .242 (56-for-231) with 4 homers and 25 RBI…Made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres in 2011, hitting his lone big-league homer on July 27, 2011 off Arizona’s Bryan Shaw…Appeared in 32 MLB games over 2011-12 with San Diego and Texas, hitting a combined .182 (14-for-77)…Began 2014 on Salt Lake’s Opening Day roster, hitting .262 in 53 games…Season-high 3 RBI on July 6 vs. El Paso…Played in 60 games with Double-A Bowie in 2013…Got his second call-up to the Majors in 2012 with Texas, due to Mike Napoli going on the disabled list.
Matt Spring – Has appeared in 163 games with the Sea Dogs from 2011-14, ranking 13th in team history in homers with 27…Hit a combined .241 (33-for-137) with 8 homers and 30 RBI between Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2014… Tied a career-high with 4 hits on May 26th at New Hampshire (4-for-4, 2 2B)…First Hadlock homer on April 25th vs. Trenton and had a game-winning 2-run homer on April 22nd at Binghamton (11th inning)…Promoted to Pawtucket on July 10th and appeared in 12 games, hitting .265 (9-for-34) with 2 homers and 7 RBI…First Triple-A homer on July 31st vs. Syracuse…Named an Eastern League All-Star in 2013, hitting .222 with 10 homers and 34 RBI in just 52 games with Portland…Has played in 17 games with Pawtucket from 2011-12, 14…Was drafted in the same round (4th in 2004) as former Sea Dog Tommy Hottovy.
This is my 10th season covering Spring Training with the Sea Dogs, and this has been far and away my best experience. I can’t thank Joe Castiglione, WEEI and the Sea Dogs enough for allowing me to work on the Red Sox broadcast this weekend. I was originally scheduled to leave on Friday morning, but I got the opportunity to help out Joe this weekend, and the Sea Dogs told me to make it happen. One thing about Joe Castiglione, he’s not only a Hall of Fame Broadcaster, but a Hall of Fame person.
Make sure to follow Sea Dogs and Red Sox Beat Writer Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald. His twitter handle is @clearthebases.
The entire minor leagues has a camp day on Sunday. This mainly includes intrasquad games with all four affiliates and players that will stay back in Extended Spring Training. Also, some Major League players will get in at-bats if they are not playing in the big league game today against Tampa Bay.
Red Sox lineup for Sunday, nice battery of former Sea Dogs: Betts CF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Victorino RF, Bogaerts SS, Swihart C, Johnson LHP…That’s 7 former Sea Dogs in the Red Sox starting lineup.
11 Days until Opening Day for the Sea Dogs, which begins on April 9th against the Reading Fightin Phils. It’s interesting that both the Sox and Boston have a Phillies connection on Opening Day.
Former Sea Dog Clay Buchholz named Opening Day starter for Boston…Brian Johnson received huge praise from John Farrell at his 9:30 Press Conference. “Brian Johnson has been a bright spot in camp.”
When I booked my trip for Spring Training, I was scheduled to leave yesterday morning, but after seeing Rob Bradford on Monday, my plans changed. Rob does a terrific job on WEEI.com and filling-in on Red Sox radio broadcasters with Hall of Famer Joe Castiglione. I ran into Rob on the stairs of the pressbox at jetBlue Park, and he asked me if I was around this weekend to help work the broadcasts. My response was that I had to leave on Friday, but after talking to my GM Geoff Iacuessa, he told me to make it work. I’m so lucky to work for the Portland Sea Dogs. They know how much this opportunity means to me. It’s so nice they let me extend my stay.
I’m scheduled to be on during innings 6-9 today, and tomorrow at jetBlue Park. I’m excited to see former Sea Dogs Steven Wright and Brian Johnson make starts.
Lineups for today’s exhibition game:
Red Sox: Victorino 9, Holt 5, Ortiz DH, Ramirez 7, Napoli 3, Castiloo 8, Bogaerts 6, Hanigan 2, Weeks 4, Wright RH
Rays: Jaso DH, Souza Jr. 9, Cabrera 6, Longoria 5, Loney 3, Jennings 7, Guyer 8, Forsythe 4, Casali 2, Karns LH
Former Sea Dogs on the trip: Wright, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Matty Ott, Matt Spring, Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz, Deven Marrero, Jonathan Roof, Mike Miller, Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Castillo
How about the other side: Former Sea Dog Jared Sandberg is the Durham Manager and is at Rays camp today…Rays Manager Kevin Cash caught Justin Masterson’s debut, I thank Brian McPherson for that tip.
Nice nugget from the Rays PR: Kevin Cash (37) is the youngest current manager or head coach in the major sports: Brad Stevens (38) runner up.
John Farrell on Christian Vazquez “unlikely he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Really hope the news is good for Vazquez, who learned there is something going on in his right elbow.
During minor league Spring Training, they cancel games quicker than the regular season. A few reasons, the fields don’t have tarps and they want their players to get work in. On Friday, with early morning thunderstorms and showers, the Red Sox put together an intrasquad game, which began at 10 AM.
On one of the fields, the battery mate featured Joe Kelly and Christian Vazquez. Kelly’s line: 3 IP, 53 pitches, 31 strikes, 1H, ER, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Shane Victorino led off all six innings, getting about 10 at-bats. The left-side featured Xander Bogaerts and Garin Cecchini.
I really like intrasquad days – the complex features all the Red Sox Minor League Players. I had the chance to see 18-year old Rafael Devers take a few swings. I did not see Yoan Moncada.
Remaining Exhibition Schedule for Portland
Sat. March 28 @ Montgomery Biscuits Rays Port Charlotte 1:00 pm
Sun. March 29 CAMP DAY
Mon. March 30 @ Montgomery Biscuits Rays Port Charlotte 1:00 pm
Tues. March 31 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Ft. Myers 1:00 pm
Wed. April 1 @ Bowie Baysox Orioles Sarasota 1:00 pm
Thur. April 2 vs. Montgomery Biscuits Rays Ft. Myers 1:00 pm
Fri. April 3 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Lee County 1:00 pm
Sat. April 4 vs. Chattanooga Lookouts Twins Ft. Myers 1:00 pm
Had a great time catching up with former Sea Dog and fan favorite Iggy Suarez. Suarez is the Hitting Coach for Short-Season Lowell. It would be great to see him back in Portland down the road. The Lowell coaching staff stays back in Ft. Myers once the full-season clubs start, and their work Extended Spring Training. “I was coaching third base for a 13-year old team in Houston, Texas when I got the call from the Red Sox.” said Suarez. I spent about 15 minutes talking to Iggy and I could tell how happy he is in his new position.
One of my favorite parts of Spring Training is catching up with friends I’ve made in Portland over the years. Before today’s games at jetBlue Park, I had a chance to see former Sea Dogs Trainers Brad Pearson and Masai Takahashi – both were trainers in Portland. Former Sea Dogs Pitching Coach Bob Kipper threw to the last group of Major League hitters, which included Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez.
After watching the Sea Dogs fall to Chattanooga on the minor league side, I climbed up the stairs at the big league game, and saw Castillo’s walk-off homer for Boston. What a way to end the day.
EXHIBITION RECAP: The Sea Dogs were beaten by Chattanooga 5-4 on Field 5, which is named Lou Gorman field. Portland made it interesting in the 9th inning, receiving a pair of RBI singles from David Chester and Jake Romanski. Kevin Heller had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the second
inning. The man of the day was Twins Top Prospect Byron Buxton, who homered on the first 2 pitches he saw. He led off the game with a solo-shot to left field off Zeke Spruill and smashed a three-run homer to right off Heath Hembree. Spiral and Hembree worked just an inning. Here’s Portland’s lineup from today, but expect many changes near the end of camp: Lin 6, Gragnani 5, Margot 8, Tejeda & Chester 3, Romanski 2, Tavarez 9, Heller 7, Bethea DH, Vinicio 4, Mesa EH
I had a chance to chat with Brian Johnson today, who has had a great spring and opening a lot of eyes in the Red Sox system.
Interesting Sea Dogs connection in the Triple-A game today. For Rochester, they had former Sea Dogs Argenis Diaz and Heiker Meneses batting back-to-back.
The Portland Sea Dogs exhibition schedule continued on Wednesday afternoon in Sarasota, Florida against the Bowie Baysox. Bowie scored three runs early and added a four-spot in the seventh, grabbing a 7-0 win over Portland. The ‘Dogs had a terrific chance in the first inning on a back-to-back singles by Cole Sturgeon and Tzu-Wei Lin, who then both execute a double steal. Veteran lefty Tim Berry fanned Jantzen Witte and Jordan Reems, and induced a 4-3 groundout by David Chester. Those two hits were the only in the game for Portland.
Position Players in today’s game for the Sea Dogs: Sturgeon, Lin, Lopez, Witte, Weems, Bethea, Chester, Tejeda, Gragnani, Vinicio, Perkins and Mesa.
23-year old Jacob Dahlstrand worked 4 innings for the Sea Dogs and gave up two runs. William Cuevas, Ellis Jimenez and Jorge Marban worked in relief.
The great thing about minor league spring training, you certainly get to see future Sea Dogs. Most of the players on Portland’s roster at this point will start the season for High-A Salem. Even the coaches are working a level higher. The Salem staff of Carlos Febles, Paul Abbott, Jon Nunnally and Mickey Jiang guarded Portland’s dugout. Billy McMillon, Kevin Walker and Dave Joppie worked the Triple-A Game.
REMEMBER THESE GUYS? Former Sea Dogs Michael Almanzar, Cesar Cabral and Derrik Gibson were at Baltimore’s minor league facility. Gibson has a chance to play everyday in Triple-A Norfolk.
GREAT ADDITION: Salem Hitting Coach Jon Nunnally was a great addition to the Minor League Coach Staff. In just two days, I’ve learned a lot from Jon. He spent last year as the Hitting Coach for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League.
THEY WORK HARD FOR THE MONEY: I’m so impressed with how hard all the trainers and strength coaches work behind the scenes. The beautiful thing about minor league baseball, is seeing the foundation being built. The player development process is a very intriguing thing to see. I think Red Sox fans are going to be very happy with the longterm success of the team.
HE’S ARRIVED AS WELL: PawSox radio voice Josh Mauer has made the trip from the East Coast. His new broadcast partner Will Fleming will arrive on Sunday. It’s nice seeing so many minor league broadcaster tweet from Spring Training.
Here’s the link to my blog from Tuesday. Today I’ll be heading to Sarasota, as the Sea Dogs and PawSox play Baltimore’s affiliate.
Some short video clips from yesterday’s action at the Twins Complex –
Red Sox are off today
Sea Dogs have home exhibition games on Thursday and Friday against Chattanooga and Bowie. A reminder, if you come down here, access to the minor league side is free.
Do You Remember This Guy? Henry Ramos was hitting .372 in May of last year, but injured his leg and missed the remainder of the season. At the time, Ramos was one of the best hitters in the Eastern League. Funny thing about last year’s club, Mookie Betts, Sean Coyle, Keury De La Cruz and Henry Ramos hardly played together due to injuries and promotions. In 48 games in his Double-A debut, Ramos hit .326 (59-for-181) with 2 HR and 23 RBI. One of my biggest thrills was the April 25th game against Trenton. Henry delivered a two-run walk-off single in the 15th inning, giving Portland a 9-8 win over Trenton. The win went to position player Peter Hissey, who allowed a run in the top of the inning on a wild pitch.