Results tagged ‘ PawSox ’

Hembree A Huge Boost To Sox Pen

by Josh Maurer

When Heath Hembree once again began a season as the PawSox closer, it didn’t seem very feasible that he would be helping the big league club win games before the end of April.

But after earning the win with a three-inning appearance in Houston on Sunday night, Hembree seems to have made himself an indispensable part of the Boston bullpen.  Since being recalled one week ago, the right-hander has appeared in three games and tossed 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out 11 and walking just one.

Heath Hembree

Heath Hembree has been spectacular in the Red Sox bullpen since his recall last week

Hembree has featured a new curveball to go along with his mid-to-high 90s MPH fastball.  Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis says that along with his arsenal, his new hurler’s confidence is a big reason for his sudden dominance.

Already this season four pitchers who began the season with Pawtucket have gone to the bigs to try and help the Boston pitching staff – Hembree, William Cuevas, Roenis Elias, Henry Owens and Pat Light.

Cuevas and Elias each struggled in one appearance last week and were each optioned right back.  Owens and Light just joined the club Sunday in Houston, and Owens did not escape the fourth inning in his first start.

Henry Owens pitch follow through

The Red Sox bullpen should get a big lift soon as Carson Smith is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Tuesday afternoon.  After being acquired along with Elias in the Wade Miley deal last December, Smith was expected to be a big part of the pen before a forearm injury late in spring training landed him on the DL.

Meanwhile, as the PawSox get ready for two more home games to start the week, here are some interviews for you to enjoy from last week:

I sat down with the President of Minor League Baseball, Pat O’Conner, recently to discuss a litany of topics:

Pat O'Conner

MiLB President Pat O’Conner

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe recently joined Will and I to talk about the Red Sox super-talented Salem High-A affiliate:

New PawSox third-baseman Jantzen Witte joined us on the pregame show last week before his Triple-A debut and talked about his long road to reach this level:

Finally, here’s a conversation with veteran outfielder Justin Maxwell, who has been an everyday player for the PawSox thus far in 2016:

Justin Maxwell gets congrats in dugout

The PawSox are home at McCoy on Monday night, beginning a scheduled six-game week against Syracuse (two at home, then after a day-off on Wednesday four at NBT Bank Stadium). Cuevas, fresh off of his MLB debut, is slated to make the start for Pawtucket.  First pitch is at 6:15pm.

William Cuevas throws pitch good

William Cuevas is on the mound Monday night for Pawtucket

Have a great start to the week!

Josh M

 

 

 

PawSox Rotation Starting To Take Shape

by Josh Maurer

Opening day at McCoy Stadium is drawing even closer (two weeks from the time of this writing!), and the roster situation for the PawSox is becoming clearer. Roster moves made on Thursday morning sent several players to the Pawtucket roster.

Thursday was the final day in Fort Myers for Will and me, and during it we got the opportunity to broadcast one final Red Sox Grapefruit League game from JetBlue Park.  Boston defeated a split-squad Mets team, 4-1, behind seven brilliant innings from Joe Kelly.

Joe Kelly

Kelly improved to 3-0 this spring, and has now allowed only three runs in five starts. David Ortiz delivered his second RBI of the spring with a go-ahead two-out single in the sixth inning, while Xander Bogaerts added some insurance by lifting his first home run this season over the Green Monster in the eighth.

Earlier in the day, the Red Sox announced that six players had been re-assigned from big-league camp; pitchers Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Heath Hembree and Roman Mendez along with infielder Sam Travis and outfielder Ryan LaMarre.

Johnson on mound

Brian Johnson was optioned to the PawSox on Thursday

It is possible, maybe even likely, that all six of those players begin the season with the PawSox when the season opens in two weeks.  Owens, Johnson and Hembree are all members of the 40-man roster and so each have already been optioned to Pawtucket.

One would think that Owens would be right at or near the top of the PawSox starting rotation along with Johnson, who is now generally recovered from a sprained toe suffered earlier this month.

Henry Owens pitching

Henry Owens is a good candidate to start on opening night at McCoy Stadium on April 7th

William Cuevas, who finished the season well with Pawtucket in 2015, veteran hurler Sean O’Sullivan, and lefty Roenis Elias are also possibilities to begin the year in the PawSox rotation.

Elias, received by Boston from Seattle in the Wade Miley deal last offseason, is also a candidate to start the year in the big-league bullpen.  He earned a save on Thursday against the Mets by recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included two punchouts.

roenis elias

Roenis Elias

-Will had an in-depth conversation with new Red Sox President Sam Kennedy prior to Thursday’s broadcast. You can check it out below:

Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

-Here is a video interview with PawSox reliever Pat Light from Wednesday.  Light says he feels very confident as he gets ready to head north and begin his second season pitching in the International League.

Thanks to everyone for reading our coverage from “The Fort” over the past couple of weeks.  We owe a big debt of gratitude to the Red Sox broadcasting and media relations departments for allowing us to broadcast from JetBlue and giving us access to all the players and coaches.  It has been a lot of fun.

We’ll talk to you soon from New England!

Josh M

PawSox Face Some Big-Name Orioles in Sarasota

by Josh Maurer

Oftentimes during spring training, when established Major League players want to get in some extra work on the mound or take extra at-bats to work on some things at the plate they go take part in one of the minor league games.  On Monday, Will chronicled how David Ortiz and Junichi Tazawa (and others) played in the PawSox game at JetBlue.

Tuesday afternoon when the PawSox headed north to Sarasota to take on the Norfolk Tides (Orioles Triple-A affiliate), they ran into some important pieces of the Baltimore  big-league roster in a game played at the Buck O’Neill Complex at Twin Lakes Park (about a 15-minute drive from the Os spring home Ed Smith Stadium).

outside of Buck O'Neill complex

The Buck O’Neill Complex is a bit of a drive away from the Orioles MLB spring training home in Sarasota

Ubaldo Jimenez pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings against a lineup that feature PawSox infielder Sean Coyle, among others. Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters, infidlers Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Hyun Soo Kim all batted against a Pawtucket pitching staff that included William Cuevas and Edwin Escobar.

Will and I were fortunate enough to be at the contest in Sarasota, and here is a photo/video recap of the afternoon:

Jimenez pitches closeup

Ubaldo Jimenez and his familiar funky delivery started the game for the Norfolk team.

Ubaldo Jimenez pitches

Jimenez shut out the PawSox for 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday afternoon.

Sean Coyle on deck

Sean Coyle was in the lineup playing 2nd base for Pawtucket against the Tides.

Ron Johnson on back field

Former PawSox manager and current Norfolk Tides skipper Ron Johnson presided over the festivities for the Orioles side.

Pedro Alvarez and Kim

Several big-name Orioles played big roles in the contest on Tuesday, including Hyun Soo Kim and Pedro Alvarez.

Chris Davis batting

Chris Davis takes a cut in the middle innings against PawSox reliever Mike Augliera.

Edwin Escobar, a man who has spent a large portion of the past two seasons pitching for the PawSox, entered the game in the middle innings and got to face both Davis and Wieters.  Here is a video clip of Escobar retiring Davis on a fielder’s choice:

And here is Wieters lining a single to right against Edwin in the same inning:

-We have been very fortunate to get the opportunity to interview some great guests during our time in Fort Myers this spring.  On Monday, I sat down with new Red Sox pitching ace David Price and talked about, among other topics, his impressions of Henry Owens and Brian Johnson.

Tuesday morning Will caught up with PawSox Hall of Famer-to-be Jim Rice, and chatted with the Red Sox great about his impressions of the current Boston outfield situation.

Finally, here is a video interview with Red Sox reliever Noe Ramirez, who has had a strong spring and is in the mix for a big-league bullpen spot to start the season (especially after the injury to Carson Smith on Monday).

-Earlier on Tuesday back at the JetBlue Complex, Rick Porcello threw a bullpen session with Pawtucket pitching coach Bob Kipper standing in the batter’s box as a “dummy” hitter.

Porcello pitches to Kipper

Bob Kipper standing in the batter’s box as he worked with Rick Porcello during a bullpen session on Tuesday morning – good form!

Porcello is expected to pitch on Wednesday during the PawSox game on the backfields.  We will bring you a recap of his outing, as well as the rest of the game information, tomorrow afternoon here on “45 Miles From Fenway.”

Thanks so much for reading, we will talk to you again on Wednesday from The Fort!

Josh M

A Conversation With Sam Travis

by Josh Maurer

First-baseman Sam Travis has been the talk of the camp at JetBlue Park.  Not many paid attention when Travis was named a non-roster invitee to spring training, and those who did likely assumed he would have been re-assigned to minor league camp by this juncture.

The Red Sox’ Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 had other ideas, however.  He has hit for averageHe has hit for powerHe has hit in the clutch.  Through Friday’s action, Travis is batting a cool .600 (15-for-25) with two home runs and a remarkable 13 RBIs.

John Farrell said on Friday that the quiet-spoken Indiana Hoosier has made the big leage coaching staff take notice.

“He’s got lightning-quick hands and a compact swing. I marvel at a guy who sits for two hours, then comes up (late in the game) and hits line drives. He’s a gritty, hard-nosed type of player and for someone who’s come into major league camp for the first time, you hope they make an impression.”

“He’s made an impression on everyone who’s sat in the stands and watched games, let alone us who work with him day-in, day-out,” said Farrell.

Earlier on Saturday Will Flemming and I caught up with Travis before the Red Sox’ rain-shortened 3-1 victory over St. Louis.  Here is the interview, as heard on this week’s edition of PawSox Insider.

-If you have a few minutes, do check out this terrific look at PawSox Manager Kevin Boles’ winter working as the skipper for Perth of the Australian Baseball League by MassLive’s Jen McCaffery.  It paints an interesting picture of what the Aussies are doing to try and grow America’s National Pastime on their continent.

Boles bundled in dugout

-Also on PawSox Insider Saturday, Will and I had a fun sitdown with Gordon Edes, the longtime Red Sox beat reporter recently turned team historian.  Gordon has so many stories to tell, and in his new role he’ll have some new forums to relay them.

Gordon Edes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you had a chance to check out the Open House at McCoy this afternoon.  Opening Night is less than three weeks away!

PawSox open house

We will have more updates from Fort Myers throughout the weekend and all of next week.  Have a great rest of your Saturday, and thanks for stopping by!

Josh M

“45 Miles” Hits The Fort!

by Josh Maurer

After traveling nearly for 20 hours from New England to finally reach Southwest Florida International Airport, walking off the plane in Fort Myers to palm trees and mid 70-degree temperatures this morning brought a wave of euphoria to my body.

I knew was cutting it close anyway to make it from Western Mass in time for Monday’s 1:05pm Red Sox-Rays game broadcast (which Will and I were fortunate enough to do on MLB.com).  Because of basketball responsibilities at UMass, I was unable to leave from Hartford’s Bradley Airport until Sunday at 5pm, and was supposed to reach Fort Myers around 9pm Sunday night.

However, a mechanical failure with the first flight forced a missed connection, and subsequently a Sunday night spent in a motel room in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I woke up Monday morning at 4:30 am somewhat worried I wouldn’t make it to JetBlue Park in time for the broadcast.

But my flight from Charlotte landed right on time at 9:00 am, and off I went to a Red Sox fan’s paradise: the gorgeous, five-year old Fenway South complex.  Once there, I was reminded of how great this time of year is for baseball enthusiasts.  It is a time of filled with optimism, curiosity and great weather!

JetBlue1

The JetBlue Complex is perfectly manicured and looks nearly pristine when you look from the outside.

By the time I got settled in the WEEI booth (thank you to Joe C, Tim N and engineer Doug Lane for allowing us to squat in your space) it was nearly time for first pitch. Henry Owens made his second start of the spring, and it was great to watch the former PawSox hurler take care of the Rays for three shutout innings.

JetBlue booth

A view from the WEEI broadcast booth at JetBlue Park.

“I thought it was good,” said Owens afterwards. “I thought everything went well. I got some ground balls, teammates made some great plays. I’ll come here tomorrow and keep getting ready for the season.”

Mookie Betts homered against Matt Moore leading off the bottom of the first, and David Ortiz collected his first hit of the spring to drive home Boston’s second run in the fourth.  Only a pair of unearned runs against Noe Ramirez kept the Red Sox from blanking Tampa through nine innings.

Betts after HR

Mookie Betts after homering in the first at-bat of the game for Boston on Monday

But the Rays plated a run in the top of the tenth against William Cuevas, a man likely to begin the year in the PawSox starting rotation come April.  Tampa won the game, 3-2, in a well-pitched and well-defended Grapefruit League contest before a standing-room only crowd at JetBlue Park.  For me, broadcasting the game made a very long couple of days worth the trouble.

Today was just the start of our spring training coverage from the Fort.  Between now and March 25th (save for a short break this coming weekend), we will have daily updates on the happenings from the big league and minor league camps as well as plenty of special interviews.

We certainly hope you’ll use this blog as a means to get you excited for the upcoming International League season.  Will and I can’t wait to provide content for you.  Happy spring training!

Josh M

A One-Week Look For Some New PawSox

by Josh Maurer

Every year on the September 1st, the Major League rosters expand and teams in the International League get a very different look for the end of the regular season.  This week four members of the PawSox were promoted to the big leagues: Allen Craig, Sandy Leon, Noe Ramirez and Ryan Cook.

To take their spots in Pawtucket, the Red Sox promoted three players from Double-A Portland (and activated reliever Dayan Diaz from the disabled list).  Here are some capsules of the newest PawSox, who should all be regular contributors for the final week of the season:

ANEURY TAVAREZ – OF

Aneury Tavarez

2015: Made Triple-A debut on 9/1 vs. LHV, went 1-for-2 with BB, HBP, 2B, R…Promoted to PAW on 9/1…Split season between Salem and Portland, playing in 106 total games and batting .246 with 7 HR, 32 RBI, 12 SB and 21 2B…Played in 67 games with POR, batting .226 with 5 HR and 14 RBI…Led POR in OF assists (7)…Hit walk-off homer on July 30th vs. Harrisburg (led off the ninth)…Placed on temporary inactive list from July 8-21 (Pan-Am Games)…Promoted to Portland on May 24th from Salem (Gragnani to DL)…Hit .280 (59‐for‐132), 2 HR, 18 RBI, 8 2B, 4 3B, 17 BB, 28 SO, 8 SB in 39 games with Salem…Reached base safely in his last 16 games with Salem: 17‐for-55, .309, 3 2B, 3 3B, HR, 4 R, 11 RBI.

2014: Spent entire season with High-A Salem, leading the club in home runs and ranking second in steals…Hit .250 (86-for‐344) with 11 homers, 50 RBI, 16 doubles, 5 triples and 18 stolen bases…Was on the disabled list from April 10-­‐18 and August 15 through the remainder of the season…Hit .345 (19-for‐55) with 10 R and 3 HR during a 13-game hitting streak from June 2-19.

Personal: Signed by the Red Sox as an International free agent on October 18, 2010.

LUIS MARTINEZ – C

Luis Martinez

2015: Since return from POR on 9/1 (2 games): 3-for-7, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3K…Went 2-for-4 with 2 R, RBI in return to PAW on 9/1 vs. LHV…Promoted back to PAW on 8/1…With POR has played in 65 games and batted .219 with 1 HR and 23 RBI…Transferred back to POR on 7/31, played in 15 games in August and batted .196 (10-for-51) with 5 RBI…Had first RBI (1B in 5th inn) with PAW on 7/5 at SYR…Started 5 of team’s first 6 games after promotion from POR (6/28-7/3)…Got first 2 hits with PAW on 6/30 at ROC (each off Ervin Santana)…Made PAW debut on 6/28 vs. GWN, went 0-4 with K…Promoted to PAW on 6/28 (H. Quintero on DL)…Played in 50 G for Portland to start season…Signed by Boston as a minor league free agent on 1/23/15.

2014: Combined with Triple-A Salt Lake (LAA) and Triple-A Sacramento (OAK) to hit .242 (56-for-231) in 67 games. Threw out 23 of 66 (34.8%) attempted base stealers. Began the season with the Bees, hitting .392 (20-for-51, 8 2B, 2 HR) during a 15-game stretch from 4/16-5/13 and .326 (15-for- 46) in a 12-game span from 6/27-7/25. Released by LAA on 8/2, but signed the following day with OAK as a minor league free agent.

2013: Claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Rangers on 1/4. Spent majority of season with Double-A Bowie, hitting .325 (39-for-120) in his first 35 games with the club (4/4-7/1). Threw out a career-best 39.0% (16 of 41) of attempted base stealers. Placed on the DL from 6/10-20. Signed by the Angels as a minor league free agent on 11/20.

2012: In his 1st season in the TEX organization, played in 10 games (6 starts) over 2 stints with the Rangers. Did not commit an error for TEX (54 TC). Rangers pitchers produced a 2.95 ERA with Martinez catching. Spent majority of season with Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .316 (24-for-76) in his final 22 games with the Express.

Personal: Originally selected by San Diego in the 12th Round of the 2007 draft out of Cumberland (TN) University…Has seen ML action with SD (2011) and TEX (2012).

MADISON YOUNGINER – RHP

M Younginer Portland

2015: Promoted to PAW on 9/1…Appeared in 38 games with POR (all in relief), going 7-4 with 2 saves and a 2.72 ERA (72.2 IP, 60 H, 22 ER, 22 BB, 53 K)…Last 11 games w. POR: 1.64 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP)…2-for‐10 in SV opportunities: 3‐3-1, 4.27 ERA (10 ER/21.1 IP), 29 H, 2 BB, 16 SO…4-1 in all other appearances (28): 2.10 (12 ER/51.1 IP), 31 H, 20 BB, 37 SO…Posted a 0.00 ERA in June – just the 5th pitcher in franchise history to have a 0.00 ER (min. 50 batters faced)…Retired 20 straight batters over 3 IP (6 SO) from May 29-June 11…Allowed his first run on April 16th at Trenton (Aaron Judge walk-off homer in the 10th inning) and second run on April 24th vs. Trenton…Made regular season debut in Double-A on April 12th vs. Reading (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 SO).

2014: Made his Double-­A debut in Game 4 of the Eastern Division Championship Series against the Binghamton Mets, working 3 scoreless on one hit and one strikeout…Promoted to Portland on September 5th from High-­A Salem (3-­3, 4.08 ER in 35)…Allowed an earned run or less in 31 of 35 appearances…Season-­high 5 strikeouts on May 27th at Myrtle Beach…Following the season, played for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-­0, 7.36 ERA (6 ER/7.1 IP) in 7 games.

ACQUIRED: Selected in the 7th Round of the 2009 Draft from Mauldin High School (South Carolina).

PERSONAL: Attended Mauldin High School in South Carolina…Is the cousin of former Red Sox infielder Brandon Snyder.

Tavarez has recorded hits in each of his first two games played, plus the right-fielder made a leaping catch just in front of the fence to save a victory for the PawSox over Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night.

Martinez has delivered RBI hits in each of the his first two games since returning to Pawtucket, including a big one in the second inning on Tuesday that gave the PawSox an early lead.

The PawSox swept two games from the IronPigs and won the season series against Lehigh Valley, 10-8.  Pawtucket has now swept three of its last four series and overall has won 12 of 20 games since August 14th.  Looks like it will be a good finish to an otherwise tough season on the field.

Starting on Thursday night Kevin Boles’ squad welcomes Rochester for two games.  LHP Edwin Escobar takes the ball for his final start of the season in game one.  First pitch comes at 7:05pm. It is the first of the final five games of the 2015 season.

Edwin Escobar pitching

Hope to see you at McCoy, but if not Will and I look forward to speaking with you on the radio!

Josh M

Marrero Making His Mark In The Top Spot

by Josh Maurer

Since being optioned back from his second Major League stint earlier this month, PawSox shortstop Deven Marrero has been filling a role he had never before been asked to fill as a professional.  Now every night for two straight weeks, Deven has served as the team’s leadoff batter.

Hitting in the top spot seems to have ignited Marrero’s offensive game.  In the first 15 games with the shortstop batting first, Deven is 20-for-64 (.313) with six walks, one home run, 11 runs scored and five RBI.  In his final six games for the PawSox before moving to the leadoff spot, the former Arizona State Sun Devil was just 2-for-23 at the plate.

Marrero flipping ball playing DMarrero celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday night. While he went hitless in two at-bats and recorded a walk, he did make a nice leaping catch to finish a 2-0 shutout victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  In Monday’s victory against the RailRiders, Marrero capped a two-run sixth inning with this base hit.

On Sunday against Lehigh Valley, Marrero put his power on display in the third inning against tough right-hander Severino Gonzalez by connecting on his sixth home run of the season.

Largely because of the hamstring injury to Dustin Pedroia, the former Red Sox first round pick in 2012 has recorded his first big-league time in Boston earlier this season.  While with the club for the better part of a full month, Marrero only entered into six games (only making one start) and batted 1-for-7.

When asked why he moved Deven into the leadoff spot after being optioned back on August 11th, Pawtucket Manager Kevin Boles said on Sunday that the Red Sox really wanted to help Marrero make some some at-bats he missed earlier in the season while sitting on the bench in Boston.

Marrero swingingAnother factor that may be adding to Marrero’s recent hot stretch has been the addition of his first cousin and great friend, Chris Marrero, to the PawSox roster.  Chris was signed by the Red Sox after being released by the Chicago White Sox earlier in the month and has become an everyday outfielder for Boles since his August 15th arrival.

Chris Marrero, a former first round pick of the Nationals, grew up right near Deven in the Miami area and as children the two spent lots of time together.  It must be quite the treat for the two Marreros to play together in the pros for the final month of the International League season.

One down side for Deven Marrero all season, but especially of late, has been throwing the baseball from shortstop.  He has been charged with two throwing errors this week, including one in the tenth inning on Sunday against Lehigh Valley that brought home the game winning runs.

Marrero has been charged with 18 errors with the PawSox this season, with a good many of those occurring on throws.  For a man who made his name as a top prospect with his defense, the high error total is a bit surprising.

The good news is that the majority of those miscues seem to be made due to a lack of concentration – a problem that would be seemingly very correctable.  As the calendar turns to September next week, one would imagine that Deven would be a very likely MLB call up with the rosters expanding.

Marrero, like the rest of the youngsters already playing nightly in Boston, should be able to impress Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox front office team if he continues his strong play into the season’s final month.

-I had a very thoughtful chat with Pawtucket reliever Pat Light for last week’s PawSox Insider show.  Pat talked about his splitter, his mental work with Bob Tewksbury and his love for his home state of New Jersey.  Check out the conversation below:

Pat Light pitching

After a winning homestand (5-4) that included a series sweep against Scranton from Monday through Wednesday, the PawSox next head to Buffalo and Rochester for their final road trip of the season.  It will be a five-game stretch that begins on Thursday night at 7:05 from Coca-Cola Field.

Thursday’s game can be seen throughout New England on NESN.  As always, you can also listen on the radio to Will and me on the PawSox Radio Network.  Talk to you then!

Josh M

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