The Red Sox announced the winners of their 2008 Minor League awards on Thursday, with the recipients being honored during a pre-game on-field ceremony as Boston finishes up a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Here’s a list of the recipients:
of the Year: RHP Daniel Bard, Greenville/Portland: Combined to go 5-1 with a 1.51 ERA and
107 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in 46 relief appearances at Greenville and
Portland…Was 1-0, 0.64 with 43 strikeouts in 28.0 innings over 15 games
at Greenville and 4-1, 1.99 with 7 saves and 64 strikeouts in 49.2 innings in
31 outings with Portland…Was Boston’s April Minor League Pitcher of
the Month…Was the 28th overall pick in the 1st
round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft
Player of the Year: 1B Lars Anderson, Lancaster/Portland: Combined to bat .317 with 85 runs, 32
doubles, 18 homers, and 80 RBI in 118 games for Lancaster and
Portland…Had a .317 average with 13 homers and 50 RBI in 77 games with
the JetHawks and a .316 mark with 5 homers and 30 RBI in 41 games with the Sea Dogs…Had
the 3rd highest average and finished 2nd in runs among Boston minor
leaguers…Reached base in 36 of 41 games after promotion to Portland on
July 17…Was the Eastern League Player of the Week for period ending
August 17…Was Boston’s 22nd round selection in the 2006
First-Year Player Draft.
Player of the Year: OF Che-Hsuan Lin, Greenville: Had a .961 fielding percentage in 207
total chances in 88 games in the outfield for Greenville…Batted .249 with
5 homers and 37 RBI in 91 games for the Drive…Ranked 2nd among
Boston minor leaguers with 33 stolen bases…Was the Most Valuable Player
of the 2008 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium, going
2-for-2 with a home run…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free
agent in June 2007.
Runner of the Year: OF Wilfred Pichardo, GCL Red Sox/Lowell: Led the Red Sox organization with 43
stolen bases…Topped the Gulf Coast League with 42 stolen bases in 51
attempts, the most steals in the GCL since 1991…Batted .297 in 52 games
for the GCL Red Sox, finishing 3rd in the league in runs (36) and 5th
in hits (60)…Played in 3 games at Lowell at the end of the
season…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in July
League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: LHP Manuel Rivera, DSL Red Sox: Was 4-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 58 strikeouts
in 52.1 innings in 13 starts…Is participating in the Florida
League Latin Program Player of the Year: 1B Eddie Lora, DSL Red Sox/GCL Red Sox: Hit .300 with 6 doubles, 5 homers, 26
RBI, 21 runs, 34 walks, and a .455 on-base percentage in 35 games for the DSL
In a performance that will no doubt solidify Bartolo Colon’s return to the Red Sox’s roster, Triple-A Pawtucket could not quite find the offensive strength needed to extend its own season. On Sunday, Colon threw 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball for the PawSox, but a Shelley Duncan two-run homer off Edgar Martinez in the bottom of the 10th gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 2-0 victory and a series-clinching win.
The Yankees took the series three games to one, moving to the International League Governors’ Cup finals against Durham. The two will square off Tuesday night.
As for the PawSox, the loss also means members of the PawSox roster will now be recalled to Boston for its own postseason run. Among those on Tuesday are outfielder Chris Carter and catcher George Kottaras. Carter batted .300 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs for Pawtucket this season, and was 2-for-3 in his Major League debut with the Red Sox on June 5.
Kottaras will be making his Major League debut after batting .243 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs in 107 games for the PawSox this year.
Colon is slated to pitch Saturday for the Red Sox as part of the team’s doubleheader with Toronto.
Portland’s season ends
Much like Pawtucket, Double-A Portland had its own season come to a close over the weekend with a 5-4 defeat to another Yankees affiliate, Trenton. Sea Dogs reliever Miguel Asencio walked Colin Curtis in the top of the ninth inning to break the 4-4 tie, allowing Trenton to take the series in a three-game sweep.
The Thunder will now face Akron, who defeated Bowie in their own semifinal matchup. Trenton will be searching for its second straight Eastern League title.
The Red Sox organization no doubt posted smiles early Wednesday, given the series of events taking place all over the Northeast. Close to home, Fenway Park celebrated tying the Major League record for consecutive sellouts at 455 — tying the Cleveland Indians’ record from 1995 to 2001 while the beloved Sox stole a 5-4, walkoff win from the Baltimore Orioles to complete a series sweep.
Down south, Triple-A Pawtucket began its quest for the Governors’ Cup against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The PawSox headed into the playoffs 2 1/2 games behind those IL North champion Yankees, but they did manage to set franchise records in wins (85) and winning percentage (.594) during the 2008 campaign. In Trenton, Double-A Portland began its fourth consecutive playoff run.
But that’s where the glee ended, as both the PawSox and Sea Dogs dropped their opening games of this postseason, 7-1 and 2-1, respectively.
Pawtucket allowed three home runs to the Yankees, who put up three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. PawSox starter Charlie Zink lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits. Scranton’s bullpen tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Chase Wright.
Portland hung a bit closer in its tilt with Trenton, but the the Sea Dogs couldn’t top the Eastern League North champs. Portland starter Kris Johnson was tagged with the loss despite allowing two runs (one earned) over six innings. He struck out two while giving up four hits and two walks.
Clay Buchholz is slated to start Game 2 on Thursday. He struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings during his regular season finale against New Hampshire.
–Zink was named IL Pitcher of the Year and finished the regular season second in the league with a 2.84 ERA. He was 14-6 overall, tying two players — including teammate David Pauley, currently with the Red Sox — for the second most wins in the IL. Scranton’s Kei Igawa won 15 games.
— Jeff Bailey was named MVP of the IL after posting a .301 batting average and 25 home runs.
Bartolo Colon put together a promising start on Monday for Triple-A Pawtucket against Lehigh Valley. Colon, the 2005 Cy Young Award winner rehabbing a lower back injury, pitched six innings for the PawSox and allowed just one run in a 9-2 victory. Colon scattered four hits while walking one and striking out one.
He’s 3-1 this season for Pawtucket, which includes nine appearances over two stints since April 3. He’s 1-1 in his latest stint since Aug. 5. In this particular outing, Colon tossed 66 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona hasn’t committed to anything set in stone about September callups, but he did allude to the possibility of Colon arriving for one of Boston’s Sept. 13 games during a doubleheader against Toronto. Francona said he’d like to see Colon pitch once more with Pawtucket before he makes any return, but nothing is definite at this stage.
— Double-A Portland clinched a spot in the Eastern League playoffs with Birmingham’s 9-6 loss to New Britain on Sunday. It is the fourth consecutive seaosn the Sea Dogs will be in the playoffs.
If there’s any one word you could use to describe the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox this season, it’s got to be resilient. After all, this club stood tough all season while losing player after player to the big league Red Sox. They stressed their bullpen while helping rehabbing Red Sox starters like Bartolo Colon regain strength on the mound. And then, of course, they saw top hitting prospect Brandon Moss leave the organization as part of the Manny Ramirez trade on July 31.
But that just hasn’t stopped this crop of talented young players from achieving all season long. And for its efforts, Pawtucket earned its first playoff berth since 2003 after Toledo lost 6-1 to Richmond on Saturday. At 81-56, the PawSox stand 3.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North with seven games to play.
Louisville already clinched the IL West title, while the Yankees and PawSox have already clinched playoff berths and will duke it out in the remaining week to see who earns the division title. Pawtucket takes on Lehigh Valley tonight for the third tilt of a four-game set. The PawSox took the first two contests, 8-5 and 4-2.
Portland Struggling; Buchholz solid in start
The same can’t be said for Double-A Portland, who is 2-5 in its last seven games following a six-game winning streak in the middle of the month.
Still, at 11.5 games behind Trenton in the Eastern League North, the Sea Dogs are fighting for their playoff lives. They have seven games remaining to lock up a spot in postseason play.
Clay Buchholz made his first start of the season for the Sea Dogs on Monday against New Britain, earning a no decision in Portland’s 6-5 loss. Buchholz, whom the Red Sox sent to Double-A on Aug. 20 after going 2-9 on the season with a 6.75 ERA, went seven innings for the Sea Dogs while allowing five hits and four runs (three earned). He struck out eight.
On a night where the Red Sox are looking to avoid their eighth consecutive sweep to the Angels, Boston is holding their annual Cape Cod League Recognition Night at Fenway Park. The team will honor the members of the 2008 All-Star teams, and the crew has been circulating the ballpark since about 3 p.m. this afternoon throughout the concourse.
Donning blue polo shirts, the crew is easy to identify.
Sometimes on a night like this, it’s fun to look back and identify who took their trek to the big leagues through Cape Cod, an amateur league in its 114th year. In fact, on average one in seven Major League players went through the Cape — 212 were in the Majors last season, ranging from Craig Biggio to Barry Zito.
Ten current Sox went through the Cape before arriving at this Fenway Park destination: David Aardsma (Falmouth, 2002), Sean Casey (Brewster, 1994), Kevin Cash (Falmouth, 1999), Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth, 2004), Craig Hansen (Harwich, 2004), Javier Lopez (Falmouth, 1997), Mike Lowell (Chatham, 1994), Justin Masterson (Wareham, 2005), Jason Varitek (Hyannis, 1991, 1993), and Kevin Youkilis (Bourne, 2000).
Triple-A Pawtucket starter Charlie Zink became the International League’s first 13-game winner on Tuesday, tossing seven innings in the PawSox’s 5-3 win over Rochester. Zink is currently 13-3, and his 2.76 ERA is third best in the league.
Chris Smith closed out the game against the Red Wings, earning his 13th save. Smith has allowed six runs in nine appearances since being optioned back to Pawtucket from the Red Sox, but he hasn’t allowed a run in each of his last four outings.
Portland closing the gap
Double-A Portland ponied up a four-run 10th inning against New Hampshire highlighted by a two-run homer by Jorge Jimenez. The Sea Dogs are now five games behind Trenton in the Eastern League Northern division.
Kelly has big day against GCL Reds
Sox first-round pick Casey Kelly had his first big game Wednesday for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. Kelly went 3-for-5 against the GCL Reds in Sarasota, Fla.
Kelly recorded his first professional home run in the game and knocked in two RBIs. The Red Sox took the game 8-7 on the road against a team managed by Kelly’s father, Pat. A regular shortstop, Kelly played DH in the game and batted third.
In eight games this season, Kelly is batting .182 with a double, homer and two RBIs.
— Mark Remme