Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman's Triple-A debut; Bryce Brentz keeps slugging; Xander Bogaerts is unstoppable; Keury De La Cruz's impatience

June 10, 2013 - 8:47 am
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN AT SYRACUSE (NATIONALS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Brandon Workman claimed the win in his Triple-A unveiling, scattering eight hits (seven singles and a homer) over 5 2/3 innings while giving up three runs, walking three and striking out four. He threw 60 percent (59 of 98) of his pitches for strikes, his lowest strike percentage of the season (Workman threw an impressive 68 percent of pitches for strikes in Double-A prior to his promotion), something that underscores the notion that pitch efficiency becomes more challenging at the most advanced levels. Still, it was a solid debut that featured eight swings and misses, offering a foundation. "It wasn't my best start. I could've been a lot sharper," Workman told MILB.com. "But this was a good way to start out here, something to build on and keep working from." Indeed, the fact that Workman worked into the sixth on a day when he did not have his best stuff underscores the reasons why the Red Sox felt comfortable having him advance to Pawtucket after 16 outings in Portland in 2012 and 2013. "Brandon has pitched well all year, showing us an extended period of consistent performance and affirming our belief that he is ready for the next level," Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett wrote in an email after Workman was promoted. "His fastball command has been excellent and the cutter and curveball have been even more effectively involved. After a few challenging and grinding outings with positive results, he hasn't relented with several dominant outings in a row." -- Bryce Brentz had his first three-hit game since the season opener, going 3-for-5 with a double and his 11th homer of the season. He continues a streaky season that has seen him endure fits and starts (prior to going 4-for-7 in his last two games, he was 4-for-28) over his previous six contests, but that has continued to suggest a player with an ability to one day be a middle-of-the-order run producer. His 11 homers rank are tied for ninth in the International League, while his 44 RBI are tied for fourth. -- Will Middlebrooks, in the fifth game of his rehab assignment, went 1-for-5 with a single and a walk. He's hitting .294/.429/.647 with two homers, four walks and three strikeouts. -- Infielder Brock Holt bounced back from his hitless Saturday (a contest that snapped his 15-game hitting streak) by going 2-for-5 with his first homer of the season. Holt is up to a .289/.359/.322 line. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-1 WIN AT AKRON (INDIANS) (BOX) -- Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk, giving him five multi-hit games in seven contests in June. The 20-year-old is now hitting .308 (11th in the Eastern League) with a .403 OBP (sixth) and .507 slugging mark (11th). -- Third baseman Michael Almanzar went 2-for-3 while driving in a pair. The long-limbed 22-year-old continues to show a surprising ability to make consistent contact -- while his frame suggests someone who might be vulnerable to strikeouts, Almanzar hasn't struck out in four games. Since the beginning of May, he has nearly as many walks (14) as strikeouts (17). -- Right-hander Keith Couch, in his first start of the year, logged five innings in which he gave up just one run on three hits with three punchouts and a walk. On the year, the 23-year-old has a 4.43 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 17 walks in 42 2/3 innings. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-1 LOSS, 7-4 WIN AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES) (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- Keury De La Cruz went 2-for-4 in the first game and 1-for-4 with a double in the nightcap, as the 21-year-old extended his hitting streak to nine games during which he's hitting .455 with four doubles and a triple. However, he's now gone 11 straight games without a walk, and he's taken just one free pass in his last 27 games. He's hitting .308 with a .311 OBP and .433 slugging mark during that time, showing the ability to hit for average with some pop, but the 18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate suggests some necessary refinement in approach. -- Garin Cecchini went 2-for-4 in Game 1 and 1-for-3 with a walk in the second game. Cecchini's .464 OBP ranks second in all of minor league baseball. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-3 LOSS (RAIN-SHORTENED 7 INNINGS) VS. HICKORY (RANGERS) (BOX) -- Daily Feats of Mookie: Greenville'€™s offense was stifled by the Hickory Crawdads'€™ pitching, through seven innings, with second baseman Mookie Betts notching the only hit for the Drive. Betts drove in his 18th run of the season with a line-drive double to center, while coming around to score one of Greenville'€™s three runs thanks to a throwing error. Betts ended his streak of seven games without a strikeout, fanning in his first at-bat of the game. The second baseman has only 26 strikeouts on the year as opposed to 43 walks. -- Alex Hassan did not have any hits, but did reach base twice with two walks as he continues to rehab from a stress fracture in his foot that sidelined him for the first two months of the season. Hassan is 7-for-14 with seven walks and no strikeouts in five games. -- Starter Jacob Dahlstrand was hit hard by Hickory, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits while walking four and striking out five (all season highs for Dahlstrand). In three starts and one relief appearance for Greenville, Dahlstrand owns a 5.59 ERA. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: OFF