Red Sox minor league roundup: Alex Hassan streaking; Will Middlebrooks brouhaha; Michael Kopech, Kevin McAvoy make strong early impressions

July 19, 2014 - 4:53 am

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS) (BOX) -- Outfielder Alex Hassan homered for the fourth straight game, going 1-for-3 with a walk and his sixth longball of the year. He's amidst a few impressive streaks, among them, including a 12-game hitting streak and a 21-game streak of games in which he's reached base via hit or walk. Since rejoining Pawtucket on June 10 following the first big league stint of his career, Hassan is hitting .374/.459/.661 with five homers and 22 extra-base hits in 31 games. He has an extra-base hit in 10 of the last 11 games. -- Outfielder Shane Victorino went 1-for-4 with a double while playing seven innings, giving him three hits in the last two rehab games (all against right-handed pitchers). The Red Sox will check in with Victorino on Saturday to see if he's physically ready for activation from the disabled list. -- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had an eventful rehab game, going 0-for-2 with an almost-three-run-homer that was instead brought back into the park by a leaping outfielder for a sacrifice fly and getting hit by a pitch that nearly incited a brawl. The plunking on the arm was delivered by Esmil Rogers, the same right-hander who ended Middlebrooks' rookie season in 2012 by breaking his wrist with a fastball. According to the Providence Journal, Middlebrooks slammed his bat to the ground by home plate and expressed his displeasure with what he deemed to be an intentional pitch to Rogers. '€œHe didn'€™t mean to hit me [in 2012],'€ Middlebrooks told the Journal. '€œI didn'€™t agree with tonight just because there was a base open, he missed me and then he hit me. I didn'€™t agree with that. I thought that was bad baseball. I'€™m not a guy to charge the mound, especially here. I'€™m here trying to get my innings up, not trying to fight people. It [ticked] me off, yeah'€¦ He should carry himself better than that. Think his emotions just got the better of him.'€ -- Right-hander Steven Wright allowed three runs on three hits (including a solo homer and double) by the time he'd gotten through just six outs, but the knuckleballer then settled to retire 17 of the last 19 batters he faced, permitting just one more hit (a single) with another batter reaching on an error. Wright totaled eight innings -- his third straight outing of eight frames -- in which he allowed the three runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He has a streak of five straight starts and seven of eight outings in which he's worked at least seven innings, and in nine starts on the year, he has a 5-1 record, 2.21 ERA, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.1 walks per nine, with Triple-A opponents hitting just .188 against him. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-4 LOSS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS) (BOX) -- Derrik Gibson, in his first start back in Portland following a brief promotion to Pawtucket at the end of the first half (Gibson was sent back to Portland during the break in time to participate in the Double-A All-Star Game), went 3-for-4 with a walk, and is now hitting .321/.411/.429 on the year in Portland. -- Third baseman Michael Almanzar went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, his third straight game with an extra-base hit. Prior to the streak, the 23-year-old had just two extra-base hits in his first 13 games back with Portland. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-2 LOSS VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES) (BOX) -- Right-hander Joe Gunkel pitched a career-high 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits (one double) while walking two and striking out three. In six starts with Salem following his promotion, Gunkel hasn't been as dominant as he was in Greenville -- opponents have a .270 average against him in the Carolina League, in contrast to a .149 mark in the South Atlantic League; his strikeouts per nine have dropped roughly in half from 10.9 to 5.5; his ERA is up from 2.28 to 3.86 -- but he's been consistently solid at the higher level, attacking the strike zone and permitting just 2.5 walks per nine, keeping the ball in the yard (1 homer in 32 2/3 innings) and often on the ground and competing well. -- Nick Moore, serving as DH in his first game since a promotion from Lowell, went 1-for-4 in his High-A debut. The 21-year-old hit .254/.275/.492 with three homers and nine extra-base hits in 17 games with the Spinners. SINGLE-A GRENVILLE DRIVE: RAINED OUT VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES) SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 11-2 WIN AT BATAVIA (MARLINS) (BOX) -- For the third straight start of his pro career, right-hander Kevin McAvoy delivered a pair of scoreless innings. The fourth-rounder, who turns 21 on Monday, tossed a pair of perfect innings with two strikeouts. In six professional innings, McAvoy has allowed three hits, walked none, struck out five and gotten nine groundball outs. -- Sam Travis had his second three-hit game in three contests and his third multi-hit day out of his last four games, going 3-for-6 with a double. The 20-year-old has reached base in 11 straight games, boosting his season line to .297/.333/.405. -- Danny Mars went 3-for-5 with a double. The 20-year-old has hits in 14 of his 17 games en route to a .386/.463/.557 line. Though the switch-hitter's double on Friday came against a lefty, he's produced more robust numbers against righties (.447/.500/.617, compared to .261/.393/.435 against lefties). ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-2 LOSS VS. GCL TWINS (BOX) -- Ryan Lavarnway, on the 60-day disabled list after suffering a fractured hamate in June, went 1-for-3 with a double while serving as DH. -- First-round pick Michael Kopech tossed two no-hit innings, allowing a walk and striking out two. The hard-throwing right-hander has recorded nine outs in his first two pro games, four by strikeout and four by groundball. -- Javier Guerra saw his 14-game hitting streak come to an end when he struck out as a pinch-hitter for Lavarnway. The 18-year-old is hitting .325/.342/.494. -- First baseman Josh Ockimey went 2-for-4 with a double, his fourth multi-hit game in 10 contests this month. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 10-2 WIN AT DSL CARDINALS (BOX) -- It was Groundhog's Day for left-hander Jhonathan Diaz, who had his second straight start of five shutout innings in which he allowed two hits on two walks while striking out five. The 17-year-old is now 4-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 2.2 walks per nine innings along with 7.2 punchouts per nine. -- Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and walk. Both extra-base hits came against right-handers, with the 17-year-old switch-hitter now in possession of a .315/.462/.568 line against righties and a .179/.219/.179 line against lefties. -- Center fielder Yoan Aybar went 2-for-5 with a steal. He now has three multi-hit games in his last four contests, helping to boost the 17-year-old's line to .314/.369/.475 with 14 extra-base hits in 31 games.