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After going 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts in debut with Sea Dogs, Michael Chavis remains confident

Vincent Gallo
July 08, 2018 - 11:27 am
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HARTFORD A pop of Yard Goats catcher Dom Nunez’s glove. A swift call of “strike three” by home plate umpire Aaron Higgins. Michael Chavis’ 2018 Sea Dogs debut was over. But the 22-year-old didn’t miss a beat.

With a hint of confidence, he folded his batting stance into a brisk stride toward the dugout. The Eastern League’s leader in saves, Matt Pierpont’s dart of a pitch into the inside pocket of the zone? His golden sombrero of four strikeouts on the night? None of that mattered. After serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs, Chavis was just glad to be back in Double-A.

All night, his swing, fast and leveled, looked similar to what prompted the Red Sox to draft him as a high schooler out of Marietta, Georgia. with the 26th overall pick in the 2014 draft. But the cuts were out of sync. An 0-for-4 evening had followed a four-game, 2-for-12 stint with five strikeouts in short-season Single-A Lowell.

“Obviously [there’s been] a little bit of a timing issue, [I’m] just still trying to get at-bats back … I’m just trying to get comfortable and see pitches at the moment,” Chavis explained. “The timing is the main thing. My swing feels good, everything in BP, everything before the game, I even told the other guys, the swing itself feels good. The biggest issue [right now] is having the timing to let that swing work. If you’re off time, if you’re late on the fastball, it’s kind of tough trying to catch up to everything, it just gets you out of sequence.”

There will be more opportunities for MLB.com’s No. 1 Red Sox prospect. Prior to his suspension, Chavis had completed a 2017 campaign with the Sea Dogs where he hit .250 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs. Right now, at-bats are all that he’s wishing for. An 80-game ban had ended the Red Sox No. 1 prospect's hope to follow up 67 Double-A games with a full season campaign. Saturday was the beginning of the 22-year-old’s expedition in making up for lost time.

In the minors, opportunities to prove oneself as worthy for limited spots at the higher levels is crucial. Chavis is beyond the suspension. His main focus now is reviving his swing by understanding that it hasn’t left him.

“[Believing in myself is] going to be huge,” he said. “Like tonight, even in the most successful times you’re going to have struggles. So I think trusting myself and trusting my ability is going to be key just to get through this little blip in the road. I think by staying true to myself, I’m going to hopefully shorten it.”

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