Justin Masterson

Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Justin Masterson improves; Marco Hernandez heating up; Mauricio Dubon's speed pays off

Ken Laird
June 11, 2015 - 4:16 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (29-30): W, 2-1, vs. Charlotte (White Sox) -- After two rehab starts (right shoulder inflammation) in the minor leagues, Boston right-hander Justin Masterson showed clear improvement Wednesday afternoon with the PawSox as he allowed just two hits and one run over six innings, striking out six and walking one. Masterson threw 75 pitches, 47 for strikes, with the sinkerballer causing nine ground outs to just two fly outs. In Masterson'€™s previous rehab start for Double-A Portland on June 5, he allowed eight hits over 4 2/3 innings, while in his first rehab outing for Pawtucket on May 31 Masterson displayed some wildness as he walked two and had two wild pitches in just 1 2/3 innings. "€œHe was much more consistent in the strike zone," Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Baltimore. "Velocity was still in the mid to upper 80€™s, but the action to his sinker, he got a number of swings and misses. He used probably the same distribution of fastball and slider that we've seen here. So we'll check with him when we return to Boston and we may have a decision to be made here." -- The PawSox offense continued to scuffle, but the team managed to scrape out two runs on five hits, including Garin Cecchini'€™s game-winning walkoff double. A Travis Shaw single started the ninth-inning action for Pawtucket and pinch-runner Deven Marrero moved to second on a Bryce Brentz walk before coming home on the Cecchini two-bagger. Cecchini (Boston'€™s No. 8 prospect at MLB.com) worked a 3-1 count and ripped a fastball to the right-center wall on a bounce before being surrounded by celebratory teammates. Cecchini has put together a good week at the plate, going 5-for-18 with two homers, including a grand-slam on June 7 at Syracuse. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (23-36): L, 5-1, at Richmond (Giants) -- Portland has lost six straight and nine of 10. Richmond scored two runs off Portland starter Luis Diaz in the first inning and kept the lead throughout. Diaz, 23, gave up four earned runs in his five innings of work on two bases-loaded two-RBI singles. Diaz has not been able to replicate his solid 2014 numbers (9-7 with a 3.54 ERA split between High-A Salem and Portland) as he fell to 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA in 12 starts this year. His last win came July 5, 2014, a span of 21 starts. -- Three of Portland'€™s six hits went for doubles, as shortstop Marco Hernandez (his 12th), first baseman Jantzen Witte (his 17th), and center fielder Cole Sturgeon (his first in Double-A) all had doubles. Only Witte came home to score, via Oscar Tejeda'€™s RBI ground out in the sixth, as the Sea Dogs were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the night. -- Hernandez, Portland'€™s leadoff hitter, just missed a home run with a wall-ball double, as he extended his hitting streak to five games. The 22-year-old Dominican has gone 33-for-101 (.326) in his last 25 games with 11 doubles over that stretch, raising his average from .239 to .303 since May 13. -- Right-handed reliever John Cornely pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, his first work in Portland since being dropped down from Triple-A Pawtucket. Cornely, 26, was acquired from Atlanta in a trade on May 20 in exchange for cash considerations. He made four appearance for the PawSox after the trade, but allowed eight hits in 4 1/3 innings to go with three walks. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (30-28): L, 6-2, vs. Lynchburg (Indians) -- Salem was no-hit by Lynchburg starter Mitch Brown through seven innings before third baseman Jordan Betts broke up the no-no with a double down the left field line to lead off the eighth. Betts, 23, would double again in the ninth to bring home a run, as he extended his hit streak to seven games. He'€™s hit safely in 12 of 13, raising his average 56 points to .217. -- Salem starter Teddy Stankiewicz gave up only two runs in five innings, but he took the loss and fell to 1-7 on the year. The 6-foot-4 righty, a second-round pick in 2012, has a 4.06 ERA in his 11 starts this season. Last year in Low-A Greenville, Stankiewicz was 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA over 25 starts. -- In his second bullpen appearance since being promoted from Greenville, 6-foot-4 lefty Williams Jerez took over for Stankiewicz and pitched three innings, allowing an unearned run. Jerez, 23, has shown the ability to get strikeouts, as this year in Greenville he whiffed 43 in 39 1/3 innings. A second-round draft pick in 2011, Jerez has recorded six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings so far with Salem. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (32-27): W, 3-2 (10 innings), vs. Augusta (Giants) -- Derek Miller was the extra-inning hero for Greenville, ripping an 0-2 pitch past third base to score Michael Chavis with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, snapping Greenville'€™s seven-game losing skid. It was Miller'€™s third walkoff hit of the season. The 22-year-old outfielder was a 23rd-round draft pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas-Arlington, and he has continued his reputation as a high on-base percentage batter as his OBP sits at .381. Miller often hits out of the two-hole in the batting order. -- Greenville received excellent pitching from starter Dedgar Jimenez (6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) and reliever Kuehl McEachern (3 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO). Jimenez, a 6-foot-3 lefty from Venezuela, has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts this year. Last year in the Gulf Coast League, Jimenez was 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA over 10 starts, with 37 strikeouts to just eight walks. The control has been good again this year, with 31 strikeouts to nine walks. -- The speed of leadoff batter Mauricio Dubon manufactured Greenville'€™s first run, as the shortstop legged out a swinging bunt to start the game and stole second base despite a left-handed pitcher on the mound. Dubon would come around to score on back-to-back ground outs. The 20-year-old is 17-for-19 in stolen base attempts this year, and is hitting .294 with a .342 OBP.