Results tagged ‘ Matt Barnes ’

Matt Barnes Has A New Toy, Peguero Es El Bambino; Hanigan Rehabs and Craig Makes a Day

by Will Flemming (@WillFlemming)

The PawSox rolled into McCoy Stadium a little after 3 A.M. on Monday morning on the heels of a six-game road swing through Charlotte and Gwinnett.  So the offense deserves a pass after a 3-2 loss in the series opener to Tyler Duffey (who was impressive for the second straight start) and the Rochester Red Wings.  Zeke Spruill was solid in his first official start in 2015; he retired the first nine hitters Monday night, gave Pawtucket five innings and allowed only one run.  He wobbled a little the second time through the order but made big pitches to limit the Wings to the single run; as Spruill gets truly stretched out, his ability to work through a lineup two and three times will dictate his tenability as a starter.

Once Spruill was lifted, Edwin Escobar came in and had his second straight shaky outing.  If there is one key hurdle that stands out as Escobar works back to full health, it is the leadoff batter: in four consecutive innings, Escobar has allowed the leadoff man to reach base (three walks and a double).  All four of those runners have scored.  The good news from last night: Edwin can build off his strong seventh-inning finish.  After a pair of doubles had plated a run, Escobar buckled in and got a groundout before he struck out Eric Fryer to end the inning.

The next two men out of the bullpen were predictably dominant.  Jonathan Aro continued his incredible run and extended his scoreless innings streak to 19 (look for a more in-depth post on Jonathan later this week).  After a pair of strikeouts ended the 8th, Aro handed the baseball to Matt Barnes.  Barnes showed off a cutter, a brand-new weapon that has been deadly for him.  In his first appearance with Pawtucket after being optioned back, Barnes struck out all five Charlotte hitters he faced – and relied heavily on the cutter in so doing.  Last night in the ninth, he fanned a pair – the first on a cutter, the second on a wicked curveball.  You can check out the video of that appearance here:

The other revelation from the roadtrip was Carlos Peguero.  Peguero – whom the Red Sox acquired in a trade on May 27, designated for assignment on June 4 and signed to a minor-league deal on June 15 – had a series for the ages in Gwinnett.  In three games against the Braves’ AAA affiliate, Peguero blasted three home runs and drove in ten runs with seven hits in twelve at-bats.  Here is an audio montage of the wreckage bestowed by Peguero at CoolRay Field:

It’s no secret why Carlos found a new nickname for the plane ride home; The Babe had earned it.

Pat Light has emerged as a serious weapon in the Pawtucket bullpen.  Though Light allowed his first runs with Pawtucket on the roadtrip, some extenuating circumstances contributed to the righthander’s first hiccup. There are times when a schedule laid out by the parent club mandates an outing in a lower leverage situation.  Such was the case when Light was summoned to pitch in Charlotte, with the PawSox trailing 13-3.  After having grown accustomed to pitching late in tight games, Light surrendered his first two runs on three hits.  Pat and I had spoken before the game; that interview is below.

The Sox spent Fathers’ Day in Gwinnett.  Every one of us has a special story of the role our dad has played in our lives and how they’ve guided our baseball journey.  Perhaps none is more direct than the PawSox’ skipper Kevin Boles, whose father John is a lifelong baseball executive and managed the Marlins on two separate occasions.  We spoke with Kevin about that relationship before Sunday’s game:

Some other links before Game 2 of the series with the Wings tonight at 7:05:

Keith Law went to Greenville to scout Yoan Moncada, and came away in awe of Rafael Devers.

It’s amazing what one offensive eruption can do to the mood of a club (and to that of the horde that covers them).  After 8 doubles, 3 homers and a barrage from the top 3 hitters Sunday in KC, Jason Mastrodonato is one of many who suddenly sees signs of hope for the Sox.  

The Red Sox continue to wait for Joe Kelly to master his pitch mix, and Carl Willis thinks the proliferation of hard throwers in every bullpen has posed a challenge for Kelly, writes Tim Britton.  

Ryan Hanigan had three at-bats for the Sox last night as he works his way back from a broken knuckle.  Hanigan is progressing toward catching consecutive games, and won’t be eliegible to come off the 60-day DL until July 1.

Ryan Hanigan caught five innings and had 3 ABs Monday night (Jillian Souza)

Ryan Hanigan caught five innings and had 3 ABs Monday night (Jillian Souza)

One last thing: Allen Craig has been a class act from the moment he arrived in Pawtucket, and he was at his best again on Sunday.  I was lucky to have my Uncle Paul and my cousin Avery come join me in Gwinnett; Avery is a huge Cardinals fan and was eager to see Allen with the PawSox.  When we came back from a Fathers’ Day brunch on Sunday, Allen was in the hotel lobby waiting for the team bus.  I asked him if he could take a moment to meet Avery; not only did he oblige, but he engaged with Avery, asked him about being a Cardinals fan and took a picture with him.  Here’s that shot of Craig with my cousin, who was tongue tied and had the kind of boyhood memory he will cherish forever.  So thanks to Allen for making Avery’s day (and year):

Allen Craig makes a great memory for my cousin.

Allen Craig makes a great memory for my cousin.

Keith Couch takes the ball for the PawSox tonight at 7:05.  Josh and I will catch you on the pregame show at 6:50.

Barnes Is Back, Plus Lots of Other Roster News

by Josh Maurer

The search for answers with the big league club in Boston has had John Farrell and Ben Cherington shuffling the roster frequently in recent days.  By nature of the business, all of that movement is making a big impact on the PawSox roster.

So as the team heads south to Charlotte on Tuesday, I thought I’d try to catch you up on some upcoming changes to the Pawtucket club.

Matt Barnes was optioned back to the PawSox on Sunday morning.  Barnes, who allowed a game-winning home run Saturday to Toronto’s Russell Martin, had been given a key setup role in the Boston bullpen this season but had a few shaky outings in June.

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes

Overall in 15 relief appearances for the Red Sox, Barnes went 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 17 innings of work.  Even though he began the season in the PawSox starting rotation, I would expect Barnes to be in the bullpen with the team for the near future.

Travis Shaw, who got an at-bat with Boston on Sunday afternoon, was optioned back to Pawtucket Monday so the Red Sox could activate Craig Breslow from the Paternity Leave List.  Shaw rejoins the PawSox for Tuesday’s game in Charlotte after his second one-game stint in the big leagues.

That also means that reliever Heath Hembree will stay with Boston for now.  Hembree pitched well in two appearances against the Blue Jays last weekend, pitching a total of four scoreless innings and allowing only one hit.

Hembree pitching Fenway

Heath Hembree has earned a spot in the Boston bullpen after two strong outings last weekend

Justin Masterson will make the fourth start of his MLB rehab assignment (and third with the PawSox) on Tuesday night in Charlotte.  The Knights new home, BB&T Field, is a hitter’s paradise and thus should provide a great test to see if Masterson is ready to return to the major leagues.

masterson pitching

Carlos Peguero, who was designated for assignment by Boston when the team traded for Alejandro De Aza, cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent.  Peguero then decided to sign a minor league deal with the Red Sox and has been assigned to Pawtucket.

Brandon Workman underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Monday.  The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, FL.  Workman had been with the PawSox coming out of spring training and was expected to be in the team’s bullpen, but never pitched in a game this season before being shut down with the elbow injury.Brandon_Workman_KellyOConnor_061513_4_xxerzwsw_slvxq8yv

Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment by Boston for a second time this season, as the Red Sox needed to recall a pitcher for Monday’s game with Atlanta (Robbie Ross re-joined the Boston bullpen for his fifth different stint this season).  Should Bianchi clear waivers, it’s quite possible he will be back with the PawSox in a week or so.

Jeff Bianchi hitting

Jeff Bianchi played well with the PawSox earlier this season before his promotion to Boston

-Former PawSox infielder Luis Jimenez has had his contract purchased by a team in Korea.  The man known as “Lucho” was placed on the Temporarily Inactive List on June 6th.  In 14 games with Pawtucket, Jimenez hit a pair of home runs but was only batting .140.  I wish him all the best.

Jimenez batting

Luis Jimenez had been with Milwaukee, Boston, Pawtucket this season…and now he heads to Korea.

Lots of news for a three-day period, right?!?  The PawSox series in Charlotte begins at 7:05pm on Tuesday night.  Our radio pregame coverage gets underway at 6:50 on WHJJ and across the PawSox Radio Network.  Will and I will talk to you then!

Josh M

Pitching Changes A-Plenty, Rusney Returns!

by Josh Maurer

Happy Wednesday everyone!  The PawSox have won back-to-back games at McCoy against Syracuse and are back with the best record in the International League at 13-7.  The squad continues to win despite some serious roster turnover over the past few days.

With the announcement that relievers Tommy Layne and Dalier Hinojosa have been promoted to Boston on Wednesday, the PawSox pitching staff has seen five players called up to the Majors in the past five days.  Overall six players have been promoted since Saturday.


Matt Barnes was optioned back to Pawtucket on Sunday after pitching two scoreless innings for Boston Saturday in Baltimore

Matt Barnes (Saturday), Heath Hembree (Sunday), Steven Wright (Monday) preceded Layne and Hinojosa, who is making his first foray to the big leagues.  Hinojosa allowed three runs in his first appearance this season, then pitched three straight scoreless outings of exactly two innings from April 15-24th.

It was only a one-day stint with Boston for Barnes, Hembree and Wright as each hurler was promptly optioned back to the PawSox the following day (Barnes and Hembree are back active, Wright should be on Thursday).  We’ll see how long Layne and Hinojosa can stick in the Red Sox bullpen – one that could certainly use some fresh arms.

Steven Wright pitch2

Steven Wright should be back in the PawSox rotation in the next few days

It was also just a one-day stay with the big league club for Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was recalled on Tuesday and optioned back Wednesday afternoon.  Jackie has played so well early in the season – both offensively and of course with his glove – but John Farrell said he would only be used as a reserve in Boston.  It makes sense to have him in Pawtucket playing every day.

There is some more good news for the PawSox outfield, as Rusney Castillo has been activated off the disabled list.  The electrifying native of Cuba had missed the previous 17 games after injuring his right shoulder during the third game of the season in Lehigh Valley.  Castillo adds some serious thump to the order.

Rusney Castillo in dugout in jacket

Rusney Castillo is expected to be back in the lineup for the PawSox on Wednesday night

The PawSox have welcomed several newcomers this week.  Relievers Jess Todd and Robby Scott joined in time to help lead the PawSox to a 4-1 win over Syracuse on Tuesday night.  Todd made a spot start (his first since 2008!) and threw four scoreless innings, while Scott made a trip for Portland in the morning and then earned a win at McCoy with three innings of one-run ball.

Jonathan Roof, a veteran utilityman who had been in Portland to begin the season, came before the start of the homestand and made his PawSox debut on Monday night.  He made a very nice defensive play at second base to help the team to a 3-1 victory.

Finally, Kevin Boles’ squad has lost two players to the disabled list in the past two days. Valuable reliever Noe Ramirez has been placed on the DL Wednesday (retroactive to April 27th) with tightness in his back. Utilityman Jeff Bianchi went on the DL Tuesday with a left shoulder problem.

Got all that?  Good!

If you didn’t get to listen over the weekend, check out my interview with International League President Randy Mobley in which we discussed at length the new pace of play regulations in Triple-A baseball:

Also, a heads up for those of you who live in Central Mass: our PawSox broadcasts on Charter TV 3 are scheduled to begin on Thursday afternoon with a 12:00 matinee against Syracuse.  Check out the complete schedule of games that Charter will air this season right here.

Game three of the seven-game homestand is scheduled for Wednesday night at 6:15 as the PawSox try to take three in a row from visiting Syracuse.  It will be Henry Owens’ fourth start of the season, and he’ll look to improve upon some command issues he has battled over the first three.  Owens has not walked fewer than four batters in a start thus far in 2015.

Henry Owens pitching

Henry Owens is on the bump for the PawSox on Wednesday night

Looking forward to speaking to you on the radio at 6:00pm tonight!

Josh M

Final Interviews From Fort Myers; PawSox Rotation Looks Epic

By Josh Maurer

We are four days away from opening night at Lehigh Valley and the PawSox players and coaches are making their way north from Florida.  Before they left the JetBlue complex, Will Flemming and I caught up with several men who should play prominent roles with Pawtucket for the next few months.

Will sat down with two projected members of the team’s starting infield for this weekend’s PawSox Insider show – Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle.  In case you missed them, here are those interviews:

Coyle spring

Sean Coyle figures to open the season on the PawSox infield this week

For the previous week’s edition of Insider I chatted with skipper Kevin Boles, who spent almost the entire spring assisting John Farrell and his staff in big league camp.  I also interviewed Travis Shaw, who should open the season as the PawSox everyday first baseman.  Those conversations are available below:

Travis Shaw

Travis Shaw should be back in Pawtucket manning first base for a second season

The big news on Friday was the Red Sox optioning both Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman to Pawtucket to begin the season, with Barnes expected to start and Workman anticipated to work out of the PawSox bullpen.

Barnes not making the big league club was somewhat surprising considering his dominant relief work this spring, but Farrell said he wanted to carry three southpaws in the pen to begin the campaign.

Moving forward it will be very interesting to see how long the big right-hander stays in a starting role.  Considering the recent history of Red Sox pitchers hitting bumps in the road when being shifted back and forth from the rotation to the pen (Daniel Bard, Drake Britton and Workman come to mind), it could be somewhat perilous to leave Barnes’ future role undefined for an extended period of time.

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes will begin the season in the Pawtucket starting rotation

That said, what a rotation we should have in Pawtucket to begin the season.  One would suspect a five-man unit of Barnes, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Edwin Escobar will open the year as starters, perhaps with Keith Couch as a sixth man.  Yikes – IL lineups beware!

How does that compare to last year’s early season starting unit of Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa, Barnes and Workman (with Steven Wright then coming mid-season)?  What do you think?

Reports have the Red Sox releasing several players right before camp broke.  One of those was lefty pitcher Chris Hernandez, who has served in a variety of important roles with the PawSox for the past three seasons.

chris hernandez

Chris Hernandez helped the PawSox win the Governor’s Cup last season

Seems like he got caught up in a numbers game while trying to earn a spot on a Triple-A pitching staff that is loaded with high prospects.  I wish all the best to Chris, who will certainly be a great addition to whatever organization he catches on with next.

Don’t forget the PawSox Welcome Home Luncheon is this Wednesday beginning at noon at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, RI.  The entire team will be on hand before heading to Allentown to begin the season on Thursday night.

We’ll have more here at “45 Miles” once the roster is officially announced in the next few days.  Happy holiday to all, can’t wait to get the season going this week!

Josh M

2013 Red Sox Top-10 Prospects

Although it’s not yet 2013, it’s never too early to take a look at the Red Sox top-10 prospect list published by Baseball America.

What first caught my eye is that while only three of listed prospects are pitchers, all three rank within the top-five — and none are yet to reach Pawtucket.

It might be hard to find a more promising top-three in any other farm system entering next year. No surprise shortstop Xander Bogaerts is ranked No. 1 overall. Only 20-years-old, Bogaerts split 2012 between High-A Salem and Portland where he combined to hit .307 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler, who spent some time around Bogaerts at the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City, commented later that his talents reminded him of Hanley Ramierez.

Like Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. split 2012 between Salem and Portland where he led all Sox farmhands in runs scored (89), walks (87), and on-base percentage (.430). He was second in the system in batting average (.315) and doubles (42). Add to his numbers the fact that Kevin Thomas (@ClearTheBases) of the Portland Press Herald told us on PawSox Insider that Bradley’s defensive abilities in center field surpass even the great Che-Hsuan Lin.

At No. 3 on the list, right-hander Matt Barnes has a good chance of seeing Pawtucket in 2013 — just like Bogaerts and Bradley. Barnes topped the Red Sox system with 133 strikeouts and was third in ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.05). In his first pro season after being taking 18th overall by the Red Sox out of the University of Connecticut, Barnes walked just 29 batters over 119 2/3 innings pitched.

To read the entire online article from Baseball America, click here.



Bogaerts’ pro career began in 2010 as a 17-year-old playing in the Dominican Summer League. (Kelly O’Connor)

Carl Crawford Rehabs with PawSox

Following the three-day All-Star break, the PawSox are back at it tonight versus the Buffalo Bisons from McCoy. Joining them this evening will be Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford who begins a new 20-day rehab assignment.

Crawford rehabbed from June 23-30 with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and continued from July 3-5 with Portland before suffering a left groin strain while running out a triple on July 5 in New Hampshire. Having not played for the past six days, Crawford is eligible to begin a new rehab assignment.

Originally a second-round pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Crawford is yet to suit up for the Red Sox this season after suffering wrist, elbow, and groin injuries. (Kelly O’Connor)

The second-year Boston outfielder went 3-for-14 with five walks in five games for the Gulf Coast Red Sox, and 4-for-10 with a triple, RBI, and two walks in three games for Portland.

PawSox Notebook:

  • Ryan Lavarnway, Pawtucket’s lone mid-season All-Star not in Boston, finished last night’s Triple-A All-Star game 1-for-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of over 18,000 in Buffalo.
  • Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes needed just two pitches to record two outs Sunday evening at the Futures Game in Kansas City.
  • Barnes’ Salem teammate, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, suited up for the World Team and finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts as the designated hitter.
Doug Mathis (6-6, 4.05 ERA) starts tonight for the PawSox and will be opposed by Jeremy Hefner (4-2, 2.50). First pitch is set for 7:05, we hit the air at 6:50 with the pre-game show.

Talk with you then.



Red Sox Farmhands Selected to Futures Game

The Red Sox will be represented by two young promising prospects at the 2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game held on July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes (U.S. Team) and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (World Team), both with High-A Salem, have been selected to represent the Red Sox organization at the game. The PawSox will also be represented at the event by manager Arnie Beyeler who has been selected as one of the coaches for the World Team.

“I’m very excited,” Arnie said from the visiting clubhouse in Syracuse today. “I feel honored to be selected. It should be a lot of fun to get to a big league ballpark and spend time with some real talented young players.”

Barnes, 22, was taken by the Red Sox with the 19th overall pick last June out of the University of Connecticut. He began the season with Single-A Greenville where he flat out dominated. He went 2-0 in five starts and compiled a microscopic 0.34 ERA (1 ER/26.2 IP) while walking four and fanning 42. Numbers that resembled a video game more than anything else, he allowed just 12 hits.

Barnes has struck out 95 batters in 72 2/3 professional innings pitched (Kelly O’Connor).

Barnes was then promoted to High-A Salem where in eight starts he’s gone 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (7 ER/46.0 IP) with eight walks and 53 punch outs.  With the Salem Red Sox he’s been paired with the 19-year-old Bogaerts who hit .293 over the first half of the season.

One of only two 19-year-olds in the Carolina League, some argue that Bogaerts should be the Red Sox No. 1 prospect because he may have the highest ceiling. At 6-foot-3, he could wind up being too big for a shortstop, but for now that’s the only defensive position he’s played in his young pro career.

Ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox No. 2 prospect, Bogaerts clubbed 16 homers as an 18-year-old with Single-A Greenville in 2011. (Kelly O’Connor)

For the complete rosters, click here. Current Red Sox players to suit up in the Futures Game include:

  • Josh Beckett
  • Clay Buchholz
  • Aaron Cook
  • Carl Crawford
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Adrian Gonzalez
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Will Middlebrooks

Enjoy the game, and keep an eye out for Arnie who will probably get an inning or two coaching third base.




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