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Pawsox In Action 2014

March 26, 2014

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Getting to know the new skipper
By BRENDAN MCGAIR Sports writer
PawSox hitting coach, outfielder hold Kevin Boles in the highest regard
PAWTUCKET — To enlighten the masses regarding the kind of manager and person the Pawtucket Red Sox are getting in Kevin Boles, we engaged in a background check that conjured all sorts of positive vibrations. In essence, this is a “getting-to-know-you-better” exercise, an opportunity to view through the lens of those who know and understand Boles best and have more insight into his roots than any introductory press conference ever could. In PawSox hitting coach Dave Joppie, you have a veteran baseball sort who actually managed against Boles during two consecutive minor-league seasons before going on to work with Boles for two year in Double-A Portland. In Pawtucket outfielder Bryce Brentz, here is someone who was informed by Boles that the time had come to trade in his Sea Dog shoes for PawSox ones. Joppie and Brentz have had close, personal dealings with Boles, the kind that can help Pawtucket baseball followers better understand the new sheriff in town. Here stands a coach – a familiar lieutenant might be a better way to describe the value and worth Joppie brings to a Boles-led staff – who can relate to the rigors and pressures that go with handling minor-league talent. “I’m just here to take some of the load off Kevin’s shoulders that you have as a manager, especially in a place like Pawtucket,” said Joppie. “We competed against each other across the field while sitting in our respective dugouts as managers and I’m excited to get an opportunity to work under him again as his hitting coach.” Conversely, you have a player in Brentz who can attest to the benefit of once again serving as a charge for a familiar face. “Kevin loves being at the ballpark. It’s good to have a manager who puts a lot into every single day. He takes it very seriously and he’s a hard worker,” said Brentz. “I think that’s something that all the players like to see because he really takes to leading by example.”
New Pawtucket Red Sox manager Kevin Boles, left, addresses the crowd during a press conference held at McCoy Stadium in January. To his right is Bruce Crabbe, who will serve as Pawtucket’s bench coach in 2014.
*** Formal introductions between Joppie and Boles were not needed when Boles succeeded Arnie Beyeler as Portland’s skipper in 2011. As Joppie went on to explain, his baseball relationship with Boles dates back to the 2004 and 2005 seasons. At the time, Joppie was piloting the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, Kane County.
Stationed in the same league under the Minnesota Twins’ minor-league umbrella, Boles spent 2004 with Quad Cities, located in Davonport, Iowa. In 2005, the Twins shifted their port-of-call in the Midwest League to Beloit, Wisconsin. Boles factored into the relocation plans. The ’05 campaign in The Badger State featured a See BOLES, page 4
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expected of them. That comes from seeing a familiar face when you walk into the clubhouse and by creating a good environment for them to develop in,” Joppie said. “I think that’s something we establish at every level and it starts with someone like a Kevin Boles.” *** As a Red Sox farmhand on a mission to reach the sport’s pinnacle, Brentz appreciates how Boles helped him understand the game’s finer points all while guiding him through the big adjustment from Single-A to Double-A ball. What stood out to Brentz was that Boles had an uncanny knack for even the slightest details, i.e. knowing when to throw over to first base or call for a pitch out. As a former pro catcher and the son of an ex-big league manager, Boles understands the importance of surveying the whole picture. Such a trait came across loud and clear during the course of the 122 games that Brentz played for Boles in 2012. “He’s really into working hard and has a great eye,” Brentz relayed. “Some managers let you play the game and allow you to figure out things kind of on your own, but some of the things that Boles noticed were pretty impressive. “I enjoyed my time with him and I’m excited for the chance to play for him again,” Brentz continued. Brentz shared the story of how Boles informed him that he was Pawtucket-bound. “He looked at me dead serious – he’s very serious, but I kind of loosened him up a bit – and told me, “Bryce, I think you probably should have gone up a little earlier, but we feel like you’ve mastered this league. There’s nothing more you can do here. You’re getting called up to Triple-A and we want you to be proud,’” was how Brentz said the last official conversation at the Double-A level went down. “I couldn’t tell who was more excited, me or him.” Given that Brentz was recently added to Boston’s 40man roster, chances are he will make his big-league debut at some point in 2014. When that day and announcement officially comes, the same person who told him to pack his bags and head for McCoy Stadium will be the one telling Brentz to stop by his office for a chat. How’s that for familiarity?
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Boles comes to PawSox highly regarded
Continued from page B2
Pawtucket twist for Boles as native son Jay Rainville made 16 starts for the Snappers before shoving off to High-A Fort Myers. The two once again were linked in 2007 with Boles managing Fort Myers while Rainville was attempting to come back from a significant shoulder procedure. Now that the background story regarding the first time Joppie and Boles crossed paths on the diamond has been established, let’s pass the baton off to Joppie and let him take it from here. “You don’t always get along with opposing managers; there’s ones you sometimes don’t care for. That wasn’t the case with Kevin Boles. The first time I met Kevin, we had a mutual respect for each other,” Joppie shared. “I have a picture of my son Casey — Pawtucket OF when he was two weeks old [Casey is Bryce Brentz on new now eight years old]. I brought him out to home plate and there’s manager Kevin Boles a picture of that home plate meeting where I’m holding Casey, and Kevin is on the other side of home plate with the umpires.” By Joppie’s estimation, the transition from friendly managerial adversaries to Sea Dog co-workers was a seamless one. He was a key voice in Boles’ Portland cabinet in 2011 and 2012 before going on to become Pawtucket’s hitting coach. “There’s obviously a trust factor that’s been established between the two of us,” Joppie pointed out. “Outside of the personal relationships we have, we have a great working relationship. We have a lot of respect for each other and what the other person does.” Joppie feels such awareness comes from knowing chapter and verse what the primary mission of a coach in the Red Sox’ system entails. “The players have the tools, but they all know what’s
“I enjoyed my time with him and I’m excited for the chance to play for him again.”
“To have that chance to work with the same crew,” said Brentz, referencing this season and the opportunity to once again work with Boles and Joppie simultaneously, “it makes everything so much easier.” *** Boles emerged as the top choice to succeed Gary DiSarcina not long after the ex-PawSox skipper left to take a coaching job with the Los Angeles Angels last November. While working with the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks can certainly do wonders for one’s coaching portfolio, Boles has a reputation as a hard worker and someone who understands the importance of putting players in a position to succeed at the next level. Case in point, the Opening Day roster that Boles began with in Portland this past season was bursting at the seams with talent. By season’s end, many of them ended up with the PawSox with several going on to have key roles with the parent club. “From Double-A on up, you start to see what a future major leaguer looks like,” said Boles. “The biggest challenge is to make them understand that things can move very quickly. We as coaches have to do everything we can on a daily basis to make sure they are prepared. Last year was a perfect example with (Brandon) Workman, (Xander) Bogaerts and (Drake) Britton.” The son of a former big-league manager, Boles mentioned that he planned to reach out to Arnie Beyeler, the former Pawtucket bench boss who also made the jump from Double-A to the front lines of the minor-league system. “Arnie definitely knows what is expected there. He’s been through it and is a resource I will tap into,” said Boles. To go from Single-A Greenville and Salem to Portland and now Pawtucket, Boles’ journey through the minors is not all that different from the one that the players go through. “The opportunity the Red Sox have provided for me, I couldn’t ask for a better organization. It’s definitely been a blessing and I feel very fortunate to be here,” said Boles before rattling off the primary creed of his mission. “Hopefully we get these players to continue to progress towards the major-league level.”
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Armed & Dangerous
PawSox catcher Christian Vazquez drawing raves
By BRENDAN MCGAIR Sports writer
PAWTUCKET — Bring up Christian Vazquez's name to Red Sox minor-league catching instructor Chad Epperson and the adjectives will start flowing like the Blackstone River located adjacent to historical Slater Mill. "Rising to the challenge has always been his M.O. There's nothing he doesn't get up for and that's a gift," gushed Epperson about the 23-year-old Vazquez. "The organic passion that he has to play this game is second to none." A number of catching-related clichés can be used to describe Vazquez. His lightning-quick release and cannon of a right arm have helped him earn notoriety during portions of big league spring training camp each of the past two season. Drafted by Boston in the 9th round in 2008, this native of Puerto Rico nabbed several would-be base stealers during Grapefruit League action in both 2013 & 2014. Spring training numbers are often taken with a grain of salt. To Epperson and undoubtedly every Red Sox official, what Vazquez has done leading up to his seventh professional season was far from eye popping. If anything, Epperson saw a preview of coming attractions the previous autumn when Vazquez created headlines at the prestigious Arizona Fall League, an end-of-season destination for some of the most acclaimed prospects in the game. "Here you are surrounded by some of the best in baseball and he rose to the challenge," stated Epperson about a choice of words that may sound familiar but didn't feature an echoing sound. "Growing as a player is extremely important, but every time I suit up, I want to win," said Vazquez, who reached
Christian Vazquez batted .287 with five home runs and 48 RBI combined last year for Portland and Pawtucket. The 23-year-old joined the PawSox at the tail end of last season and saw time during the Governors’ Cup playoffs.
Pawtucket shortly before the ball club embarked on the 2013 Governors' Cup playoffs. Such desire has paved the way for a youngster who, like any up-and-coming catcher, fights what must seem to be a never-ending battle to strike the proper dichotomy between
catering to the pitching staff's needs, while making sure he's not an offensive liability. Catch-and-throw ability alone won't get Vazquez to the majors, hence why the .376 onbase percentage - well above his career mark of .346 - and See VAZQUEZ, page 12
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Crabbe makes four of a kind
Former Lowell manager becomes fourth member of PawSox’s coaching staff
By BRENDAN MCGAIR Sports writer
PAWTUCKET — Bruce Crabbe’s official title with the Pawtucket Red Sox is coach. It sounds simple and straightforward, yet also vague in terms of what exactly his duties with the Triple-A ballclub will entail. The 51-year-old Crabbe could oversee the infielders, an area that is his forte. Perhaps he might be responsible for relaying signals from the dugout to the outfielders, reminding them where to position themselves based on the hitter at the plate. Maybe Crabbe will offer his in-game observations as he sits next to new PawSox manager Kevin Boles. Would it catch anyone off-guard to see Crabbe follow hitting coach Dave Joppie to the indoor batting tunnel located just outside the home clubhouse at McCoy Stadium? Inside are two full-length cages and with the prospect of an additional right arm joining Joppie, it only expedites the process of shuffling more players in and out. If anything, Crabbe likes the ambiguity of his Pawtucket role. It enables him to do a little of this, a little of that. He’s like a doctor who’s always on call and versatile in a Swiss Army knife sense. “I think I’m going to be that do-it-all guy. I plan on being there for whoever needs me whenever,” Crabbe explained. “A lot of that is going to depend on the players we have, but I’ve always been that guy. I like that role.” Said PawSox outfielder Alex Hassan, “Bruce is really good at teaching. Plus he’s always available.” Crabbe’s minor-league coaching career has pretty much run the full gamut. The 2014 season will mark his 10th in the Red Sox organization, the previous nine years including three separate managerial stints at Single-A Lowell, which is where he was based the past two seasons. He’s also been a batting coach and a roving infield coordinator. The number of titles that Crabbe has held in his affiliation with Boston’s minor-league system gives off that well-
Pawtucket Red Sox President Mike Tamburro, left, and Boston Red Sox Director of Player Development Ben Crockett, right, introduce new PawSox manager Kevin Boles, second from left, and coach Bruce Crabbe during the annual PawSox Hot Stove Media Day that took place at McCoy Stadium in January. Like Boles, Crabbe is a new addition to the PawSox’s coaching staff this season. versed aura of someone who understands the business of spring training. helping young players graduate from one level to the next. “Everybody in this organization is comfortable with each other. It’s not like they’re going to feel like I’m step“Nothing is new for me,” Crabbe smiled. That goes double for his fellow PawSox coaches. ping on toes,” Crabbe remarked. “It’s not a situation where Crabbe’s tenure with the Red Sox coincides with the years Boles is going to feel threatened. There are no egos here. spent in the organization by Boles and Joppie, while he The staff has a nice demeanor about it where there’s no counts Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur as one of pressurized hot stove so to speak.” Crabbe mentioned that the possibility of joining the his good golf buddies. No formal introductions were needSee CRABBE, page 14 ed when they all convened in Fort Myers, Fla. during
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Power-hitting PawSox outfielder knocking on Boston’s door
By BRENDAN MCGAIR Sports writer
PAWTUCKET — If Bryce Brentz was still unsure whether he was in the good graces of the Red Sox, all doubts were erased shortly before last Thanksgiving. The 25-year-old outfielder was one of three minor-leaguers in the organization - pitcher Anthony Ranaudo and third baseman Garin Cecchini being the others - placed on the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft that takes place every December at baseball's Winter Meetings. Once a player gets placed on the 40-man, the "one-call away" speech that is typically given to every ballplayer upon joining the Triple-A ranks resonates a little more. In Brentz's case, his newfound status helped bring closure to his roller coaster of a 2013 season. Indeed, it may have been the most challenging and chaotic year of his baseball life, one where injuries limited him to just 88 minor-league games. It was also one that featured a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow. "They had a lot of players that they could have chosen from, but it's a very humbling experience that I'm grateful for," expressed Brentz when asked about the good news he received during the off-season. "You sit there and don't know what's going to happen. All of a sudden they protect you and it's like, 'Okay, you have a foundation, time to get to work. "It gave me that mindset that now I have to be ready," Brentz added. That wasn't the case for Brentz heading into last season. Instead of parlaying his non-roster invitation to spring training into something substantial, Brentz spent time recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound sustained while cleaning a handgun. "You have that one moment where you get comfort-
Bryce Brentz had 17 home runs and 56 RBI for the PawSox in 2013. able and forget that, 'Oh my God, this thing can hurt you,'" said Brentz. "I lost respect for my firearm … it was the same one that I had for a while. People make mistakes. I was embarrassed and very sorry that I put myself, my family and the Red Sox in that situation, but I came back healthy." With the gun incident behind him, Brentz entered the season with the PawSox armed with one clear-cut objective - place himself in a position that would result in manager Gary DiSarcina informing him that he was off to Boston and the major leagues for the first time in his pro odyssey. A "serious knot in my throwing shoulder" limited Brentz to DH duties for a stretch in June, a month where he ended up batting .247 with an on-base percentage of
.304. For comparison, the 2010 supplemental first-round draft pick hit .287 the previous month and reached base at a .319 clip. Then the calendar flipped to July. Brentz came close to seeing his season go completely up in smoke after sliding awkwardly into second base during Pawtucket's July 5 contest at Rochester. Faced with surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, the procedure was delayed nearly two weeks after Brentz had a bout of food poisoning. Was Brentz resigned to the possibility that his season was over upon going under the knife? The thought never crossed his mind. He did make it back, hitting three homers (two in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League, one more back in Pawtucket) over 13 games, wrapping up the year with a .264 average and 19 homers, which was tied for the most in Boston's farm system. "You look at the time I missed and the injuries I had to come back from, it was a success to hit what I hit," said Brentz. "It was a challenging year, but it's something he had to persevere through," said Ben Crockett, Boston's Director of Player Development. "Overall, we saw a lot of good things from Bryce. There were times where he showed he can compete at the major-league level." Seeking to make up for lost time, Brentz participated in the Dominican Winter League. He ended up compiling 57 at-bats in 19 games. More importantly, he was able to lay the groundwork that has him believing that the sky is potentially the limit. "I thought I needed some more at-bats, but it's not the regular season. My whole thing (in the Dominican) was to see a lot more pitches and work on being selective," said Brentz. "I was excited to get back out and play and see how my knee was. That was important." While there's no doubting Brentz's ability to deposit See BRENTZ, page 14
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"It was fun to be around more veteran guys who can help me," said Vazquez about making the Portland-to-Pawtucket transition. "It's the same game but much different as far as atmosphere goes. There's also a lot more reports and videos on the opposing teams. That helped me to know the hitters better as far as which counts they'll be swinging at." Keeping his foot firmly on the pedal, Vazquez spent part of his January in Boston working out with a collection of rising stars in the Red Sox system. It was his second straight appearance at the organization's annual Rookie Development Program. The get-together featured several pitchers who Vazquez had already built strong relationships with. "He knows (Anthony) Ranaudo and (Matt) Barnes," said Epperson. "At every level, we have pitcher-catcher meetings on a daily basis. It's just another thing they're going to have to do when they get to the big leagues. They have to understand a pitcher's strengths and how to read swings. "That said, there is something to be said about the higher you climb, the more in-depth the information becomes," Epperson delved further. "It's all about continuing to get reps, whether that's game calling or working on your footwork." Perhaps the best compliment a catcher can receive is
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Vazquez understands the importance of running a staff
Continued from page 6
the 25 extra-base hits he compiled in 96 games for DoubleA Portland last season should be viewed as a significant step in his growth. When it was suggested that Vazquez's bat is catching up with his renowned glove work, he responded, "Last year I was more focused and patient. I would watch the opposing pitchers and concentrated more in the batter's box. Talking to (Portland hitting coach and former Red Sox backstop Rich Gedman), he made sure I was focused and looking for one spot to attack." Echoed Epperson, "He's done a great job in understanding that it's not only the result that counts. It's the quality of your at-bat. If you can give your team a quality at-bat regardless of the result, you're in a win-win and things are going to take care of themselves." Joining a new level when the minor-league team is participating in the postseason didn't seem to faze Vazquez. He wound up appearing in three playoff games for the PawSox, compiling a solid .273 average (3-for-11) with two RBI and three walks. Not wasting any time, he wound up logging a Puerto Rico Winter League-best 32 games behind the plate.
hearing a pitcher say that he enjoys throwing to him. To that end, Barnes can't say enough good things about Vazquez. The 2014 season marks the third straight year that the Pawtucket right-handed pitcher will have the opportunity to work with a catcher he's grown to depend on and trust. "The pitcher-catcher relationship is an unspoken necessity. It's one of those things where we have to be on the same page night-in and night-out whenever we're working together," Barnes explained. "To be able to build on that relationship coming up through the minors has made the transition to each new level that much easier. "Vazquez is an extremely hard worker. He's one of those guys who will get to the field and not stop until the game is over," Barnes continued. "It's a treat to work with someone I have a great relationship with." Judging by Vazquez's burning desire to keeping on improving coupled with his spot on Boston's 40-man roster, he could end up pressed into major-league duty for the first time ever at some point this season. He admits not being caught up at the prospect of being just one phone call away. True to his quiet disposition, he prefers to let his play do all the talking. "At every level he's gone to, he's held his own," said Epperson.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Last season, the Pawtucket Red Sox adopted the slogan “Champions Rise” in tribute to capturing the 2012 Governors’ Cup. Judging by the display that recently went up at McCoy Stadium, the popular saying has returned for the 2014 campaign. This time, “Champions Rise” is being used to pay homage to the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox and the number of PawSox ties to the memorable ballclub. The display includes from left, Will Middlebrooks, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz and Xander Bogaerts.
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The Pawtucket Red Sox open the 2014 season on Thursday, April 3 at McCoy Stadium against Lehigh Valley. The PawSox will usher in the new campaign with a seven-game homestand.
Brentz could make his big-league debut this season
Continued from page 10
souvenirs over the fence - he's hit 71 home runs in his first four pro seasons - questions have been raised whether he can become patient and selective enough to compliment his raw power. To that point, Brentz drew just 21 walks in 368 minor-league at-bats last season. He doesn't see cause for alarm because of a perceived breakthrough that took place prior to injuring his
knee. "One day I had a talk with (ex-Red Sox outfielder) Dwight Evans and (PawSox hitting coach) Dave Joppie. We didn't see results right away, but eventually I started to see more pitches per at-bat," he pointed out. "I'm never going to be a work-the-count kind of guy, but I'm staying back and not getting fooled on off-speed pitches as often. I think that goes a long way and you need to build on it."
Healthy and free of drama, Brentz made quite the splash during his time in major-league camp this past spring. He totaled three homers and seven RBI in 25 atbats before getting reassigned to the PawSox. Certainly it's an encouraging step for a player who thanks to his 40-man distinction - is officially knocking on the door that leads to the majors. "I'm looking to make a good impression, play hard and keep my nose down," said Brentz.
Crabbe figures to be major help to Pawtucket’s infielders
Continued from page 8
PawSox coaching staff was brought to his attention shortly after another managerial vacancy was created when Gary DiSarcina left to become the Angels’ third-base coach in early November. His promotion to the front lines of the farm chain comes at a time when a number of
position-player prospects – most notable third baseman Garin Cecchini and shortstop Deven Marrero – appear destined to dock in Pawtucket at some point in 2014. “It’s not going to be your typical veteran Triple-A clubhouse where you say ‘Slap it on and go get ‘em’,” Crabbe pointed out. Along those same lines, Red Sox farm
director Ben Crockett said that Crabbe’s status in Pawtucket, “will allow us to continue to emphasize teaching. Bruce will definitely make an impact with the infielders, but I think he can have an impact in a lot of other areas as well.” Crabbe understands that his stay in Pawtucket could include this year and this year only. If the Red Sox want him to take
his versatile approach to another affiliate, he’s totally onboard. Regardless of the level, the goal will always remain the same, which someone of Crabbe’s revered status totally gets. “You want to give the players a good working base where they feel comfortable at this level before, boom, they’re off to someplace else,” Crabbe said.
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PAWSOX 2014 Top prospects Ranaudo, Webster fill out PawSox’s starting rotation
In essence, Doyle’s caravan through the upper tiers of the Red Sox’ farm system did more than put additional strain on his car. He had a front row seat to an organizational wave that was awash with so much pitching upside that one conclusion became fairly obvious – the opportunity cupboard for a career minor leaguer looking for work with Boston was bare. “Coming into the organization last year, I knew they had a couple of prospects who were going to be in Portland between Britton, (Matt) Barnes, (Anthony) Ranaudo and (Brandon) Workman, but I didn’t realize how good those guys were and how good the guys in Triple A were in Webster and (Rubby) De La Rosa,” said Doyle. “It’s a bright future, for sure. The depth the Red Sox have with their pitching is amazing. You’ve got eight potential big-league pitchers between Triple and Double A that it’s only a matter of time before they reach the top.” The typical Triple-A rotation is a mix of experienced veterans and youngsters on a fast track to the majors, but this season’s Pawtucket Red Sox could end up heavily stocking up on one critical ingredient as opposed to barely batting an eyelash in the other’s See PROSPECTS, page 17
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
PAWTUCKET — Terry Doyle’s 2013 minor-league season featured as much shuffling as a blackjack dealer. The 27-year-old Warwick resident spent the first three months with the Pawtucket Red Sox, where he started 11 times and made seven appearances in relief, before getting transferred to Portland on July 5. Doyle went on to spend the rest of the summer in the Double-A ranks, starting 10 games. He rejoined the PawSox on the eve of the Governors’ Cup playoffs and was a bystander during the firstround series against Rochester. But for the finals against Durham, Doyle was recalled to action for Pawtucket, coinciding with the summoning of Allen Webster to Boston. It wasn’t the first time Doyle’s fate was intertwined with the organization’s transactions of its high-ceiling pitching prospects. In July, his PawSox spot went to 24-year-old Drake Britton, who is similar to Webster, 23, in that both are viewed as building blocks of future Boston pitching staffs.
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One player Boston came to terms with is John Ely, a 27year-old former Pacific League Coast Pitcher of the Year who did not toss a single inning last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Ely has made 133 appearances spanning seven minor-league seasons, 131 coming in a starting role. Given the right-hander’s situation, the Red Sox could end up stashing him in extended spring training with an eye toward giving him additional time to re-build his strength. Other than Ely and 27-year-old Cuban signee Dalier Hinojosa, the pitchers inked by the Red Sox this winter appear better suited to work out of the bullpen. Two fresh recruits, Tommy Layne and Shunsuke Watanabe, could end up joining forces with familiar faces and holdovers such as Alex Wilson, Chris Hernandez, Brayan Villarreal, Chris Hernandez and Rich Hill. The Red Sox seem to feel that their sheer abundance of pitching prospects in the high minors will alleviate their need for veteran arms, whether for duty as AAA rotation starters or in call-ups to the major-league club. “When you bring in older guys, it’s to provide majorleague depth and less about filling out the Triple-A rotation. You want guys who can help the major-league team and are ready to do that early in the season,” said Red Sox farm
Prospects aplenty in Pawtucket’s rotation
Continued from page 17
direction. The PawSox’s past strategy of stocking up on minor-league free agents, such as those walking a career path similar to Doyle’s, appears to be on hold this season, as well as possibly next. “With free agency, guys take a look at that,” said Doyle, who ended up signing a minor-league deal with the White Sox, the same franchise that selected him out of Boston College in 2008. “The Red Sox have those homegrown guys with so much ability that it’s going to defer guys with less talent to signing with them such as myself.” The possibility of the PawSox featuring an exclusively prospectdriven rotation seems to be gaining Matt Barnes traction long before spring training began. The best evidence for that observation is to look at the paucity of journeyman starting pitchers the Red Sox have signed this winter.
director Ben Crockett. “We hope we’re in a position this season where we can use young players to fill that depth.” On paper, Pawtucket’s rotation figures to include Webster, Barnes, Ranaudo and De La Rosa with Steven Wright joining the fray sometime in June (he underwent sports hernia surgery in the offseason). Of the group, only Barnes is not Boston’s 40-man roster. And Crockett confirmed at last month’s PawSox Hot Stove gathering that De La Rosa is still viewed as a starting pitcher. “That Triple-A group is one that we hope can support the major-league team this year,” Crockett said. Of course if the Red Sox wish to return Workman and Britton to the rotation after both spent time contributing out of the bullpen at the big-league level, it’s not unthinkable that both could get stretched out post-spring training in Pawtucket. It’s also possible that at some point this summer, the PawSox could be rolling out the welcome mat for 21year-old Henry Owens, yet another top-flight pitching prospect and someone who Doyle got to see up close during his Portland stint last summer. “Henry might not be in Pawtucket until the second half of the year, but he’s got unbelievable pitching ability,” raved the former Red Sox minor leaguer.
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Levering, Maurer have all the bases covered
Pair to broadcast all 144 regular-season games on the PawSox Radio Network
PAWTUCKET — The Pawtucket Red Sox Radio Network, one of the largest in all of minor league baseball, will once again be led by 920 AM WHJJ talk radio which will serve as the flagship station for the eighth year in a row. WHJJ heads a list of at least 13 stations that will carry PawSox baseball throughout the 2014 season. WHJJ, along with other members of the network, will broadcast all 144 PawSox regular-season games along with any potential playoff games as well as the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16 and the Triple-A National Jeff Levering Championship Game on September 16. Jeff Levering will return for his second season in the PawSox radio booth in 2014 and will be joined by newcomer Josh Maurer. The pair will call all games both home and away bringing fans every pitch of the PawSox season. In addition, Jeff and Josh will host “PawSox Insider”, a one-hour radio magazine show that will air every Saturday on WHJJ from 2-3 pm through the post-season. Levering was chosen by the PawSox in February of 2013 from among more than 150 nationwide applicants to replace former Pawtucket broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, who in January of 2013 became a new radio voice for the Seattle Mariners. Levering, 30, was the lead Josh Maurer voice for the PawSox last season initially working with Bob Socci before Socci left the club in July to become the radio announcer for the
New England Patriots. During the final two and a half months of last season Jeff had a number of partners including local radio personality Steve McDonald and Boston Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher. Before joining the PawSox, Levering had spent the previous three seasons as the radio voice for the Springfield Cardinals, the Double- A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals in Springfield, MO. He was also the teams Manager of Public Relations. Prior to arriving in Springfield, Levering spent three seasons (2007-09) as Director of Broadcasting/ Media Relations for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Angels High-A affiliate in the California League. Levering began his professional broadcasting career in 2005 as a field reporter and associate producer for Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket in Los Angeles covering the Angels, Dodgers, and Lakers. See MAURER, page 19
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Maurer becomes newest addition to PawSox radio booth
Continued from page 18
Levering received his degree in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University in Orange, California where he also played baseball all four years and was the starting Designated Hitter on the 2003 D-III National Championship baseball team. He also played in summer baseball leagues as a teammate of Red Sox star second baseman Dustin Pedroia. In February, the PawSox named Maurer as a new radio broadcaster for the 2014 season. Maurer was chosen among more than 100 applicants to, in essence, replace Socci. Maurer, who turned 33 on February 20, has spent the past two seasons as the radio broadcaster for the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees in Trenton, NJ. He is also the radio voice for the football and men’s basketball teams at the University of Massachusetts — a position he has held since 2008. Maurer completed his sixth season with the Minutemen football and basketball teams in 2013-2014. He worked full time for UMass as their Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcasting from August 2008 until March of 2012 before he joined Trenton for the 2012 baseball season. He has maintained his role as radio play-by-play man and sometimes television voice of UMass football and basketball during the baseball off-season and will continue to do so once the 2014 PawSox season ends in September. Maurer broke into Minor League Baseball in 2005 as the radio play-by-play broadcaster of the Charleston RiverDogs, the Single-A affiliate of the Yankees in the South Atlantic League. He was with the RiverDogs for four seasons (2005-2008) and during the baseball offseason he also did radio work for the Charleston Southern University foot-
ball and men’s basketball teams (2006-2008). Maurer received his degree in Broadcast Journalism with a Minor in Sports Marketing from the University of Maryland in 2003. A native of Lower Merion, PA (just outside of Philadelphia), he has spent the past six falls and winters living in Amherst, MA while calling UMass games. While Levering and Maurer will be on the air for all 144 PawSox games this season, both will also continue the strong legacy of the PawSox blog, social media presence and provide new content to The PawSox are also pleased that all 144 games will be broadcast live online and archived on the internet. Those online broadcasts can be accessed by visiting *** Locally, PawSox games can be heard on WHJJ (920 AM), WNRI (1380 AM), WBLQ (1230 AM), WSAR (1480 AM) and WNBH (1340 AM).
DAY Wednesday Thursday Thursday Thursday Saturday DATE June 18 June 26 July 3 July 17 August 23 OPPONENT at Rochester vs. Norfolk vs. Rochester vs. Buffalo at Buffalo TIME 7:05 pm 7:05 pm 6:15 pm 7:05 pm 7:05 pm
Jeff Levering, PawSox radio broadcaster, moves to the TV booth to handle play-by-play of PawSox telecasts on NESN and is joined by former Red Sox catcher and broadcaster Bob Montgomery who does the color analysis for PawSox games on NESN.
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