Red Sox minor league roundup: Dan Butler, Christian Vazquez offer Sox catching depth; a pair of 17-year-olds show promise

July 24, 2013 - 9:40 am
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A brief look at the activity in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-7 LOSS, 5-1 LOSS AT NORFOLK (ORIOLES) (BOX GAME 1, GAME 2) -- Dan Butler had an interesting day. His error in the first inning allowed the inning to continue on what should have been the third out, but he gunned down a runner trying to steal third to record that final out of the first. (Butler has caught 29 percent of runners stealing this season). He then really made up for the error by clubbing not one, but two home runs and driving in three runs. The home runs brought his total to nine on the season, equaling his total through 95 games last season. It also marks the first time this season he's hit two home runs in a game and the second time he's done it in his time with Pawtucket. The 26-year-old has been hitting at a torrid pace in his last few games, going 9-for-14 with three home runs and a double in his last four contests. The catcher, who has been receiving more at-bats since becoming the PawSox primary catcher with the promotion of Ryan Lavarnway to the majors, is batting .264/.367/.472 in 58 games. -- Steven Wright was hammered in the first game of the twin bill, giving up a season-high eight runs (though two were unearned after Butler's error) on 12 hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. Four of the hits allowed were doubles while the rest were singles. Prior to Tuesday, Wright had given up only four runs in his last 24 2/3 innings for Pawtucket (with a major league stint in between). The outing raised the righty's ERA to 4.25 through 18 starts for the PawSox this season. -- First baseman Drew Sutton had two hits in the second game of the double-header, going 2-for-3 with two singles after finishing the first game 0-for-4. Sutton, who had batted only .133/.257/.167 over eight games earlier his month, is 7-for-20 in his last five contests, though all of those seven hits have been singles. Sutton is batting .255/.359/.343 with 19 doubles, a triple and a home run in 76 games for Pawtucket. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 9-8 WIN AT NEW BRITAIN (BOX) -- Butler wasn't the only catcher with a home run on Tuesday. Christian Vazquez belted his fifth round-tripper of the season and finished the day 2-for-4. The 22-year-old may not be showcasing the same kind of power he has in years past (like when he had 18 home runs and 27 doubles in 105 games with Greenville in 2011), but he's cut down his strikeout numbers significantly, striking out 33 times in 275 plate appearances while also drawing 33 walks. With the two hits on Tuesday, Vazquez extends a six-game hitting streak, and is hitting .381/.435/.524 over that stretch. After batting a modest .217/.247/.319 in June, Vazquez is enjoying his best month yet, batting .328/.400/.414 in 16 games in July. Overall, he's compiled a .262/.354/.384 line in 68 games this season. -- For the third straight day, Garin Cecchini had two hits for the Sea Dogs, going 2-for-5 with two singles on Tuesday. The third baseman has now hit safely in five straight. What's unusual, however, is the fact that Cecchini hasn't drawn a walk in six games, his second-longest drought of the season, and longest since going seven games without a free pass way back in April. The 22-year-old, who drew 43 walks while striking out only 34 times in 65 games with Salem this season, has fanned 25 times while drawing 17 walks in his time in Double-A. Despite that, Cecchini is still an on-base machine, batting .333/.422/.486 in 29 games with Portland. -- Outfielder Ronald Bermudez also had a home run for Portland, his first of the season. The 25-year-old, who has bounced between Portland and Pawtucket all season, is batting .268/.316/.363 in 47 games between the two clubs. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 3-0 LOSS AT POTOMAC (NATIONALS) (BOX) -- Mookie Betts had one of Salem's only three hits on the afternoon, going 1-for-4 with his second triple since being promoted to High-A. Betts now has an even two doubles, two triples and two home runs in 14 games with Salem. Although Betts has drawn only two walks in 55 plate appearances since the promotion (to be fair, the second baseman has only struck out three times), he's been holding his own with Salem, hitting .275/.296/.510 with six RBI and six stolen bases. -- Left-hander Miguel Pena turned in another solid outing for Salem, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks in seven innings, marking only the second time this season he's gone that deep into a game, but received his fifth loss of the season. Pena's posted a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts and 20 innings, allowing four earned runs while issuing seven walks and striking out 12. In that time, opponents are batting only .167 against the 22-year-old. Pena has done a good job of keeping hitters in the park, allowing only four home runs on the season and none in his last five starts. A couple rough outings early this season leave Pena with a 4.91 ERA on the season through 11 starts, while he's averaged 2.8 walks and 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings. -- Shortstop Deven Marrero has been cool at the plate recently, batting only .163/.234/.233 over his last 11 games, but the 22-year-old was the only Salem player to reach base more than once on Tuesday, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. The double was only Marrero's second extra-base hit in his last 36 plate appearances, and his 19th double of the season. In 72 games with Salem this season, Marrero is batting .258/.339/.337 with a home run and 14 RBI, drawing 18 walks while striking out 33 times in 314 plate appearances. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-4 WIN VS. LEXINGTON (ROYALS) (BOX) -- Anuery Tavarez only had one hit on the day, but it was the most important one: a single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the winning run. The outfielder is batting only .233/.273/.383 with runners in scoring position and .152/.188/.239 in the same situation but with two outs. Tavarez, who is having a solid month, has cooled off a bit recently, with only three hits in his last 21 at-bats. Tavarez has also gone 10 straight games without drawing a walk, striking out 12 times in that span. Overall, the 21-year-old is batting .259/.296/.397 with 23 doubles, six triples and four home runs in 89 games with Greenville this season. -- Third baseman Mario Martinez had three hits and three RBI, going 3-for-5 with a double, his eighth with Greenville. Prior to Tuesday, Martinez was hitting just .157/.189/.176 in his last 14 games after batting .344/.384/.538 in his first 23 games in the Red Sox organization. The 23-year-old has driven in 30 runs in 39 games with Greenville, batting .296/.335/.428 with twelve extra-base hits. -- Dreily Guerrero, who has struggled in his second year with the Drive, had his first multi-hit game of the season, going 3-for-5 with a double (his third of the year) and two runs scored. Guerrero, a versatile 22-year-old who has played every position but pitcher and catcher for Greenville this season, is batting .152/.223/.185 in 34 games this season. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 2-1 WIN VS. BROOKLYN (METS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Mario Alcantara submitted a dominant outing, allowing one run in five innings while punching out seven and walking two. The seven punchouts represented a season-high for the 20-year-old with a mid-90s fastball. Alcantara has 23 strikeouts and just 12 walks in seven starts (31 2/3 innings) this year. He's been inconsistent but shown promising signs. It was Alcantara's fourth outing of at least five innings and one or no runs allowed. -- Ninth-rounder Kyle Martin tossed two shutout innings, and he now has 13 punchouts and two walks in 18 innings with a 0.50 ERA. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 3-0 WIN VS. GCL ORIOLES (BOX) -- Wendell Rijo just continues to hit. The second baseman went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk, bringing his total to six doubles in his last six games. In those six contests, Rijo is batting .500 (11-for-22) with a .577 OBP, drawing three walks while striking out only once. The only blemish in those six games is that Rijo attempted a stolen base three times, but got caught twice. He's swiped eight bags while being thrown out four times on the season. The 17-year-old has shown extra-base power in his 22 games in the GCL, clubbing nine doubles, though he has yet to knock one out of the park. Rijo is batting .333/.457/.453 with 15 walks and only nine strikeouts in 96 plate appearances in his first professional year. -- Lefty Luis Ortega pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Edwar Garcia, giving up only two hits and a walk while striking out four. Ortega has given up only one run in his last 9 1/3 innings, good for a 0.96 ERA over that span (three appearances), striking out seven while issuing five free passes. The 20-year-old has posted a 3.63 ERA in six games and 17 1/3 innings this season, striking out 12 but walking nine. -- First baseman Nathan Minnich finished the day going 2-for-4 with his first triple of the season. Minnich, 23, is batting .267/.400/.467 with 10 doubles and seven RBI in 21 games this year, while he's batting .300/.481/.550 with four extra-base hits in his last seven games. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-2 LOSS VS. DSL RAYS (BOX) -- Third baseman Victor Acosta went 1-for-3 with a homer and two walks. The 17-year-old continued what has been an excellent season in which he's hit .248/.323/.396 with 17 walks, just 11 punchouts and five homers (tied for fifth in the DSL, a league where the ability to hit the ball over the fence is a considerable rarity).

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