Robbie Ross Jr.

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada injured (with added update), Eddie Rodriguez grinds through tough stretch

Ken Laird
May 24, 2015 - 5:44 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday, May 23: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-20): L, 6-1, at Louisville (Reds) -- Boston swapped relief pitchers with Pawtucket before the game as right-hander Heath Hembree was recalled for the second time this season (Boston manager John Farrell cited the need for a "fresh arm"), while Robbie Ross Jr. was sent back to Triple-A. Hembree, 26, appeared in just one game in his first stint with Boston, allowing six runs and six hits on April 26 at Baltimore. In Pawtucket this year Hembree has allowed just two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings pitched (1.08 ERA) with 17 strikeouts and two walks in 14 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He converted five of his seven save opportunities for the PawSox. Ross, 25, in two stints with Boston has an ERA of 5.14 (8 ER/14 IP). Ross was on Boston's Opening Day roster. -- Ten players have been called up to Boston at various points this year from Pawtucket: Ross, Dalier Hinojosa, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Travis Shaw (who all are back with the PawSox), along with Hembree, Tommy Layne, Blake Swihart, Matt Barnes, Steven Wright and Rusney Castillo. In 2014 Pawtucket sent 23 players to Boston during the regular season. -- Eddie Rodriguez (Boston's No. 4 prospect at Baseball America) had one of his rockier starts of the season as he allowed nine hits and five runs, taking the loss to lower his record to 4-3 (2.98 ERA). Trouble started in the first inning as Rodriguez picked up a swinging bunt and threw it low and off the mark toward first base, traveling into foul territory, leading to two unearned runs. A throwing error in the fourth inning by left fielder Bryce Brentz led to another unearned run charged to Rodriguez. The southpaw went seven innings, with six strikeouts (no walks), throwing 93 pitches (70 for strikes). After going 3-0 with 1.82 ERA in his first four starts, Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA in his last four outings. -- Pawtucket added Mike Miller from Double-A Portland on Saturday, and Miller made his Triple-A debut batting ninth, playing second base, and going 0-for-3. Miller, 25, is a 5-foot-9 righty bat (Boston's ninth-round draft pick in 2012) who was 19-for-70 in his last 16 games with Portland (.271) to go with one home run, two triples, a double and seven RBIs. So far this year Miller has played 21 games at first base, 10 games at third base, and now seven games at second base. In 2014, with 72 games split between High-A and Double-A, Miller hit .305. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (18-25): L, 3-2 (Game 1), and W, 2-1 (Game 2), vs. Reading (Phillies) Portland split a Saturday afternoon twinbill at Hadlock Field, making up for a snow-out on Opening Day. -- In Game 1, Justin Haley, 23, was an out shy of a quality start, taking the loss for the Sea Dogs with this line: 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO (93 pitches, 64 strikes). Boston's sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, Haley has allowed just two earned runs in three consecutive starts since coming off the disabled list May 11. -- In Game 2, Portland had a rare hit-by-pitch walkoff as Jantzen Witte took his base and was mobbed by his teammates. Witte, 25, also knocked in Portland's first run with a first-inning double, giving him 29 RBIs on the season, the fourth-highest total in the Eastern League. Witte has had an excellent first year in Double-A, with a .324/.395/.497 slash line, following up on a 2014 season split between Low-A and High-A where Witte hit .312 and was a South Atlantic League All-Star. A TCU grad, Witte was selected in Round 24 of the 2013 draft. -- Several Portland streaks came to an end on Saturday. Carlos Asuaje had a 29-game on-base streak, one game shy of the longest in the Eastern League this season, concluded in Game 1. However, Asuaje bounced back for a 3-for-4, two double performance in Game 2. Also, Oscar Tejeda's hit streak ended in Game 2 at 11, while Keury De La Cruz and Jonathan Roof had modest six- and five-game streaks, respectively, come to a close. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (21-22): W, 4-3, vs. Winston-Salem (White Sox) -- Salem enjoyed its first walkoff win of the season in front of a sellout crowd at LewisGale Field as pinch-runner Deiner Lopez came around from first base to score on a sacrifice bunt from Jose Vinicio that was thrown into foul territory. -- Salem starter Ty Buttrey recovered from a three-run first inning, aided in part by his own throwing error, to finish with six scoreless innings. Buttrey retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced, finishing with six strikeouts and just one walk over seven total innings of work. Buttrey, 22, was promoted from Low-A Greenville on May 1 and has gone 3-0 in four starts in High-A with a 2.25 ERA (6 ER/24 IP). The 6-foot-6 right-hander was Boston's fourth-round pick in 2012, a high school arm out of North Carolina. -- Salem snapped a five-game losing streak with the win, getting its offense going with 10 total hits, albeit all singles. Salem had lost 10 of their last 16 games, hitting just .206 as a team while averaging just 2.75 runs per game. Salem's best hitting regular this season has arguably been outfielder Aneury Tavarez, although he has been streaky -- Tavarez was on a 13-for-33 tear (.394) entering Saturday's action on the heels of an 0-for-24 slump. He was 0-for-4 Saturday night from the cleanup spot. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (25-17): L, 5-4, vs. Charleston (Yankees) -- Greenville's offense struggled against one of the premier pitchers in the South Atlantic League, as Charleston's Jordan Montgomery limited Greenville to just two hits over seven innings. The Drive managed to score four runs in the eighth inning to make it interesting: a Yoan Moncada triple, a Michael Chavis walk, a Carlos Mesa RBI single and a Mauricio Dubon three-run home run. However, Greenville could not get the equalizer as Rafael Devers was stranded at second base to end the game. -- Moncada injured himself on his triple as he slid into third base with intensity after digging hard around the bases. He had pulled a breaking pitch deep to right-center, narrowly missing a home run as the ball caromed off of the outfield wall. Moncada walked slowly off the field with the trainer walking alongside, with Moncada showing a slight limp. After the game, Greenville manager Darren Fenster told reporters simply, "We'll know more tomorrow" in regards to the severity of Moncada's injury. The triple was Moncada's first extra-base hit in his fifth game for Greenville. He was 1-for-3 on the night with two strikeouts, bringing his Low-A totals to 6-for-18 (.333) with six K's. [UPDATE, 5 p.m. -- Moncada is out of the lineup Sunday night and a team source tells's Ryan Hannable he's out with a sore hamstring with no word beyond Sunday.] -- Dubon's long ball was his third of the year, tying his total from last year in 66 games played in the New York Penn League. The 20-year-old Dubon, a native of Honduras, has hits in seven of his last eight games. His average with runners in scoring position is a phenomenal .410 this season (16-for-39). Dubon has the arm, speed, and defensive ability that make him intriguing, while his offensive numbers this year have further risen his prospect stock.