Red Sox minor league roundup: Milestones for Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini; silver lining in Will Middlebrooks' slump; Wendell Rijo impressing

July 19, 2013 - 9:57 am
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN AT DURHAM (RAYS) (BOX) -- Fresh off an impressive performance at the All-Star Futures Game, Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-3 with an RBI-double and a walk. The two-bagger was actually Bogaerts' first Triple-A extra-base hit that wasn't a home run (he has seven of those). "Where have all the doubles gone?" he lamented jokingly at the Futures Game. The walk was Bogaerts' second in as many game after a five-game drought. The 20-year-old shortstop is hitting .262/.358/.467 with 16 walks, 21 strikeouts and 20 RBI in 30 Triple-A games. -- Will Middlebrooks, who has been scuffling recently, finished the day 0-for-4 with a walk. Over his last eight games, he's batting .125/.176/.219 with a home run, two RBI, two walks and seven strikeouts. Since that big game in which he drove in eight runs with a grand slam and a three-run home run, Middlebrooks is batting only .167/.216/.229 with nine strikeouts, three walks and only one extra base hit. The third baseman is batting .231 with a .277 OBP since being sent to Triple-A with five home runs, though he has only one double. He's drawn five walks as opposed to 14 strikeouts. Despite the low average and OBP, Middlebrooks has been productive for the PawSox when it counts, driving in 17 runs in 19 games. For Pawtucket (and this includes his brief rehab stint in early June), the third baseman is batting .382/.462/.853 with runners in scoring position. -- Reliever Brock Huntzinger gave the PawSox three innings of shutout ball in relief of starter Steven Wright, giving up just two hits and a walk in the outing while striking out two. Huntzinger earned his second win with the PawSox, improving to 2-0. The 25-year-old righty has been extremely solid between Portland and Pawtucket this season, posting a 2.31 ERA in 37 appearances between the two and a 2.29 ERA in 12 games since being promoted to Triple-A. Huntzinger has allowed only 12 hits in his 19 2/3 innings with the PawSox, fanning 21 and allowing nine walks. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-5 LOSS AT READING (PHILLIES) (BOX) -- Stephen Drew began his rehab assignment with the Portland Sea Dogs on Thursday, playing nine innings and serving as the DH. Drew went 1-for-4 with a double and a RBI. He also struck out swinging, popped to the shortstop, and grounded to second. Drew, who has been on the disabled list since July 5 (retroactive to June 29) with a right hamstring strain, will continue his rehab assignment on Friday, playing shortstop for the Sea Dogs. Drew expects to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. -- Michael Almanzar has been struggling as of late, hitting only .100/.122/.100 in 10 games from July 4 to July 15. But the third baseman, who was manning first base for the Sea Dogs on Thursday, has two two-hit days in a row after going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI on Thursday. The 22-year-old is enjoying a solid season for Portland, batting .271/.332/.441 with 11 home runs, two triples, and 22 doubles with 56 RBI through 91 games. -- Garin Cecchini, who was one of the Red Sox' three representatives at the All-Star Futures Game in New York on Sunday, went 1-for-3 with a triple, his first with the Sea Dogs, a walk, and two runs scored. The third baseman has slowed down after beginning his Double-A career hitting at a torrid pace, batting .192/.323/.385 over his last seven games. Despite the decrease in production, Cecchini is still getting on base plenty. The 22-year-old has drawn 17 walks, which is only three less than his total number of strikeouts in Double-A. Cecchini has hit .341/.451/.518 through 23 games since being promoted. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS AT FREDERICK (ORIOLES) (BOX) -- Left-hander Miguel Pena looked sharp for the second outing in a row, going six innings (his second longest start of the season) and allowing only one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five. Pena has now allowed only one earned run over his last 13 innings. The 22-year-old has been hot and cold all season for Salem, occasionally stringing together impressive performances before falling apart. On the year, Pena owns a 5.06 ERA in 10 starts and 48 innings pitched, allowing 14 walks while striking out 35 batters. -- Henry Ramos continues to hit, but did not notch a multi-hit game for the first time in three contests. However, the right fielder went 1-for-3 with a double (his 15th of the season) and a walk while scoring a run. Ramos is 7-for-15 over his last four games and batting .302/.373/.623 with four home runs and five doubles over his last 13 games, bringing his line on the year to .278/.356/.456 through 90 games in the 21-year-old's first year with Salem. -- Cody Koback enjoyed his first three-hit game since being promoted to Salem, reaching base safely four times with three singles and a walk in four plate appearances. Prior to Thursday, the center fielder had been 3-for-18 in his last six games. Since being promoted in late June, the 23-year-old is batting .247/.316/.306 with three doubles, a triple and four RBI, drawing six walks while striking out 12 times in 24 High-A games. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-2 WIN, 4-2 WIN VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES) (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- Shortstop Jose Vinicio went 2-for-3 with a double and a steal, ending a stretch of 14 straight games without an extra-base hit. The strong game represented a departure from recent norms, as the 20-year-old has been falling back into a free-swinging pattern, with one walk and 20 strikeouts in his last 20 games. -- Outfielder Kendrick Perkins, promoted back to Greenville (where he started the year) after a stretch in Lowell, went 0-for-6 with a steal in the doubleheader. -- Right-hander Justin Haley delivered a solid performance in Game 2, allowing two runs in five innings while striking out six and walking three. While his 5-8 record and 3.79 ERA won't turn heads, Haley -- drafted in the sixth round in 2012 -- has seen his numbers improve in every month of the season, with his ERA going from 4.74 in April to 4.56 in May, 3.27 in June and now 2.57 in July. He has 79 strikeouts (and 62 walks) in 78 1/3 innings this year. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-3 WIN AT STATE COLLEGE (CARDINALS) (BOX) -- Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin went 2-for-4 with a walk and a steal. It was his first multi-hit game since July 5. Still, though he's been going through a stretch where his hits have come infrequently, Lin has shown a sound plate approach, explaining why his OBP (.342) is 100 points higher than his average (.242). -- Manuel Margot went 1-for-5, as the 18-year-old outfielder extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 27. He's hitting .280/.370/.340. -- Left-hander Corey Littrell, a fifth-round selection out of Kentucky, tossed his third straight outing of two shutout innings to start his pro career. He has four strikeouts and one walk in six innings. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-2 WIN, 7-0 WIN VS. GCL ORIOLES (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- Second baseman Wendell Rijo went 1-for-3 with a walk in the second game of the doubleheader, and he's now reached in nine straight contests. The 17-year-old is hitting .452/.538/.645 during that stretch. -- Outfielder Jordon Austin went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a pair of steals in the first game. In 12 games, he has 15 walks (against 12 strikeouts), resulting in a .465 OBP despite a .194 average. The sixth-round pick has been successful on all six of his stolen base attempts. -- Right-hander Edwar Garcia, 20, tossed five shutuout innings while striking out five and walking one. Since giving up five runs in one inning in his first start, he's been excellent, allowing just two runs while striking out 19 and walking eight in 19 innings spanning seven appearances. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 10-1 WIN (COMPLETION OF SUSPENDED GAME), 4-0 LOSS VS. DSL DODGERS (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- The 16-year-old Basabe twins continue to produce interesting performances even as they play against older competition. In game one, center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a pair of RBIs before going 0-for-3 in the second contest. He's showing the occasional ability to drive the ball and take his walks. His brother, Luis Alejandro Basabe, went 1-for-4 with a triple in the first game and 0-for-2 in the second contest. He's hitting .235/.367/.353 with seven extra-base hits and seven steals in 33 games. Alex Speier contributed to this report.

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