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Red Sox announce Minor League awards

The Red Sox announced the winners of their 2008 Minor League awards on Thursday, with the recipients being honored during a pre-game on-field ceremony as Boston finishes up a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

Here’s a list of the recipients:

Pitcher
of the Year: RHP Daniel Bard, Greenville/Portland:
Combined to go 5-1 with a 1.51 ERA and
107 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in 46 relief appearances at Greenville and
Portland…Was 1-0, 0.64 with 43 strikeouts in 28.0 innings over 15 games
at Greenville and 4-1, 1.99 with 7 saves and 64 strikeouts in 49.2 innings in
31 outings with Portland…Was Boston’s April Minor League Pitcher of
the Month…Was the 28th overall pick in the 1st
round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft

Offensive
Player of the Year: 1B Lars Anderson, Lancaster/Portland:
Combined to bat .317 with 85 runs, 32
doubles, 18 homers, and 80 RBI in 118 games for Lancaster and
Portland…Had a .317 average with 13 homers and 50 RBI in 77 games with
the JetHawks and a .316 mark with 5 homers and 30 RBI in 41 games with the Sea Dogs…Had
the 3rd highest average and finished 2nd in runs among Boston minor
leaguers…Reached base in 36 of 41 games after promotion to Portland on
July 17…Was the Eastern League Player of the Week for period ending
August 17…Was Boston’s 22nd round selection in the 2006
First-Year Player Draft.

Defensive
Player of the Year: OF Che-Hsuan Lin, Greenville:
Had a .961 fielding percentage in 207
total chances in 88 games in the outfield for Greenville…Batted .249 with
5 homers and 37 RBI in 91 games for the Drive…Ranked 2nd among
Boston minor leaguers with 33 stolen bases…Was the Most Valuable Player
of the 2008 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium, going
2-for-2 with a home run…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free
agent in June 2007.

Base
Runner of the Year: OF Wilfred Pichardo, GCL Red Sox/Lowell:
Led the Red Sox organization with 43
stolen bases…Topped the Gulf Coast League with 42 stolen bases in 51
attempts, the most steals in the GCL since 1991…Batted .297 in 52 games
for the GCL Red Sox, finishing 3rd in the league in runs (36) and 5th
in hits (60)…Played in 3 games at Lowell at the end of the
season…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in July
2006.

Minor
League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: LHP Manuel Rivera, DSL Red Sox:
Was 4-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 58 strikeouts
in 52.1 innings in 13 starts…Is participating in the Florida
Instructional League.

Minor
League Latin Program Player of the Year:
1B Eddie Lora, DSL Red Sox/GCL Red Sox:
Hit .300 with 6 doubles, 5 homers, 26
RBI, 21 runs, 34 walks, and a .455 on-base percentage in 35 games for the DSL
Red Sox.

-Mark Remme

Red Sox sign two-year deal with Salem

Advanced Single-A Salem will officially be a member of the Boston Red Sox farm system in 2009, when the Avalanche begin their 42nd season of play in the Carolina League. That’s because the Sox signed a two-year Player Development Contract with Salem on Friday, effectively ending the Avalanche’s six-year affiliation with the Houston Astros.

“Salem in an ideal fit for the Boston Red Sox,” said Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen in a team news release. “The playing surface is one of hte best in the Minor Leagues, and the area’s commitment to baseball has created a great environment for top-notch players — both on and off the field.”

Salem made two postseason appearances as part of the Astros’ organization — in 2006 an 2007 — and were 416-418 overall.

The Sox are no stranger to the Carolona League, having fielded a team there in 43 of the league’s 63-year history. Boston has been part of six Carolina League teams during that span, including the Winston-Salem Red Sox from 1961 to 1984.

“We look forward to bringing Red Sox baseball back to the Roanoke Valley,” said Salem general manager John Katz, “and continueing the proud tradition of professional baseball in Salem.”

After two years on the west coast, the Red Sox’s top Single-A affiliate moved from Lancaster, Calif., where it took a 76-64 regular season record into the postseason, falling from teh California League Championship Series to the Stockton Ports.

-Mark Remme

Trading places

MIAMI — It’s official. The Dodgers are headed back to Albuquerque to play at Isotopes Park, meaning the Marlins will need to find a new place to field its Triple-A affiliate. Nothing has been set yet, but the Marlins are expected to place their Triple-A team in New Orleans, where the Mets previously were — before they moved to Buffalo.

As for the Marlins’ Double A affiliate, it was announced on Thursday that they signed a two-year agreement to move to Jacksonville, Fla. — making it a lot easier to transport players. The new affiliate is the Jacksonville Suns who have been the home of the Dodgers since 2001.

’09 candidates

With so many players being arbritration eligible for next season, the Marlins could field several new faces in Spring Training next year. We’ve already seen a little bit from Dallas McPherson, Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin, but Chris Coghlan (.298, 74 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 132 games for Double-A Carolina) figures to be a factor to start at second base if Dan Uggla isn’t brought back, and Mike Stanton (.293 with 39 home runs and 97 RBIs in 125 games for Class A Greensboro) has definitely opened up some eyes. Matt Dominguez (.296 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 88 games for Class A Greensboro) is still a little young, but he had a great year, too.

- Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Dodgers heading back to Albuquerque for Triple-A ball

Isotopes Park.jpgAfter eight seasons in Las Vegas, the Dodgers announced on Sept. 18 they will move their Triple-A affiliate back to Albuquerque, where they will be called the Isotopes.

The Dodgers played Triple-A baseball in Albuquerque from 1972-2000 — with Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Orel Hershiser, Davey Lopes, Mike Marshall, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, and Bill Russell all making stops — and the city hosted the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate from 1963-71.

“We’re very excited to be returning to Albuquerque,” player development director De Jon Watson said in a release. “Their top-notch facility will undoubtedly help us develop future Dodgers, and their fans have been following this franchise for many years.”

Albuquerque has built a new stadium, Isotopes Park, since the Dodgers were last affiliated with the city, and it is considered one of the finest facilities in Minor League Baseball. A franchise-record 593,606 fans visited the ballpark in 2008 to see the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate.

“It’s a lot more modern facility, clubhouses, weight room, amenities for us from a player-development standpoint,” Watson said in an interview with MLB.com. “It’s more of a unique ballpark that’s conducive to doing the things we need to do with our players from a development standpoint to get them ready to play up here.”

Albuquerque won eight Pacific Coast League championships as the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate and three Texas League titles while a Double-A affiliate of the Dodgers.

Watson added the Dodgers enjoyed their time in Las Vegas working with the 51s’ staff, but he looks forward to returning to the city Los Angeles Minor Leaguers called home for 38 years.

“It’s nice to be able to go back into the market,” Watson said. “I think we do have a strong fan base there. The fans in Albuquerque have some familiarity there and have had quite a few Major League players move on from that place. The fan base will be familiar with our brand of baseball and style of players.”

The Dodgers will also move their Double-A home to Chattanooga, Tenn., after an eight-year run with Jacksonville. The Lookouts, who play at AT&T Field, had previously been a part of the Reds’ organization.

“Our move to Chattanooga will continue to help bring all of our affiliates closer to home,” Watson said in a release. “We look forward to making an impact throughout the city as our Minor League players continue to hone their skills en route to the big leagues.”

The Dodgers signed two-year deals with both Albuquerque and Chattanooga.

The Dodgers’ final move also involves distance, switching their entry in the Gulf Coast League to the Arizona Rookie League. They will be called the “Arizona League Dodgers.”

Class A Advanced Inland Empire and Class A Great Lakes will remain Dodgers affiliates for a third straight season, and Rookie-level Class A Ogden will stay for a seventh consecutive year.

The Dodgers will also continue to field a Dominican Summer League team.

– Michael Schwartz

Champions

The Major League club may not be headed for the postseason, but the Yankees have to be impressed with the success and talent in their farm system. The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees dominated in a 20-2 win against the Durham Bulls on Friday to take home the Governors’ Cup title. It marked the most runs of the season for the club. Phil Hughes said the cup itself is much like the Stanley Cup and is passed around throughout the year, though people don’t drink out of it as it’s old and “falling apart.” After taking the championship, the Yankees fell to the Sacramento River Cats in the Bricktown Showdown, an exhibition game that decides the winner of the Pacific Coast League. Ian Kennedy got the start, and while he was disappointed in himself (thought he only gave up three runs), his club remains one of the top Triple-A clubs in the country.

Following his impressive 12-strikeout performance in the Governors’ Cup title game Friday night, Phil Hughes was recalled by the big league club. He will start Wednesday’s matchup against the White Sox, his first appearance in the Major Leagues since April 29. Hughes said his mechanics and location have improved during his time with the Yankees affiliates, and he is confident in his pitching.

Double-A Trenton also took home a championship, defending its Eastern League title in front of a home crowd with a 5-1 win over the Akron Aeros.

-Samantha Newman

Jammers lose, watch Muckdogs celebrate

MIAMI — The Jamestown Jammers, short-season A ball affiliate of the Marlins, saw their quest for a New York-Penn League title come to an end on Sunday, when the Batavia Muckdogs (pictured) defeated them, 9-3, to sweep the best-of-three championship series and win it all.

Going into the series, the Jammers had won seven in a row — outscoring their opponents by a combined 61-24. But in Game 1 on Friday, Jamestown saw Jermaine Curtis hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth to put Batavia up by one in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, the Jammers had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Brandon Turner struck out, and Justin Bass grounded out to end it.

After Saturday’s game was postponed, Sunday’s affair was never even close. The Muckdogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead, with all of those runs coming in the bottom of the third, and, after the Jammers made it a one-run game, Batavia had a five-run eighth inning to pull away.


muckdogs.jpgNew Marlins

While no Jammers are expected to be called up to the Marlins, four Mudcats were officially brought to the big club on Monday. Cameron Maybin, Ryan Tucker, Gaby Sanchez and Jesus Delgado will sport teal for the rest of this season. Because Sanchez isn’t on the 40-man roster, his contract had to be selected, and the Marlins will have to make a corresponding roster move on Tuesday. Read the full story here.

- Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com 

Nats’ Minor League numbers crunch, recap


mills cup.jpgMIAMI — The Nationals’ season may not be going ideally so far — and that’s being nice — but their farm system definitely had a good year.

Triple-A Columbus said goodbye to Cooper Stadium in grand style, as 16,777 were in attendance for its final game. Double-A Harrisburg finished off the season four games over .500 to accomplish its first winning season since 2002. Class A Potomac, of course, won it all by beating the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to take home the Carolina League title (pictured) – here’s a link to a story about how that title relates to what Nationals manager Manny Acta went through in 1999. Class A Hagerstown improved by six games compared to last year’s record. And the entire farm system has been stocked, reshelved and completely redone over and over again this year, as players went up the ladder at an incredible rate. The result: The Nationals have 16 players on their roster 25 years old or younger.

Ever since roster expasions beginning Sept. 1, Washington has called up 10 players. Here’s a look at how they’ve done since that point:

Roger Bernadina (OF): .214 BA (3-for-14), 1 RBI, 3 R in seven games

Kory Casto (INF): .318 BA (7-for-22), 3 RBIs, 1 R in nine games

Tyler Clippard (RHP): hasn’t played

Mike Hinckley (LHP): 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 Ks in 7 2/3 innings (eight appearances)

Shairon Martis (RHP): 0-2, 2.70 ERA in two starts

Luke Montz (C): 1-for-12, RBI, 2 BB

Mike O’Connor (LHP): hasn’t played

Levale Speigner (RHP): 2 R, 5 H, 2 BB in 3 1/3 innings (four appearances)

Ryan Wagner (RHP): hasn’t played

Lastly, let’s take a look at those really young guys — as if those weren’t young enough. Here’s a look at how the Nationals’ top nine Draft picks — first-round pick Aaron Crow went unsigned – performed in their first Minor League season:

LF Destin Hood (GCL): .256 BA, 14 RBIs in 25 games

SS Daniel Espinosa (A-):  .328 BA, 4 RBIs in 19 games

LHP Graham Hicks (GCL): 0 R, 1 H, 2 Ks in 2 IP

C Adrian Nieto (GCL): .217 BA, 3 RBIs in eight games

RHP Paul Demny (GCL): 4-0, 2.50 ERA in 11 games (six starts)

C Daniel Killian (GCL): .189 BA, 1 HR, 28 RBIs in 40 games

LHP Ricardo Pecina (A-): 1-5, 3.78 ERA in 12 games (eight starts)

LF John Higley (GCL): .346 BA, 16 RBIs in 35 games 

LHP Tom Milone (A-/A): 1-6, 3.51 ERA in 13 games (10 starts)

Double A player in trouble




guzmanII.jpgGarrett Guzman
, an outfielder for the Harrisburg Senators, is being charged with a misdemeanor count of corruption of minors, according to The Associated Press. Guzman allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl in late July. The 25-year-old lefty was originally drafted in the 10th round by the Twins in the 2001 Draft. In Double A this season, Guzman hit .274 with nine home runs and 54 RBIs. Read the full story here. 

 

- Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com

Dunedin Jays swept in playoffs despite strong season

Despite owning the best overall record (85-53) in the Florida State League, the Dunedin Blue Jays could not translate their success into the playoffs. The Jays suffered a two-game sweep at the hands of the Fort Myers Miracle in the first round of the postseason, putting an abrupt end to their otherwise successful year.

Many positives emerged from the 2008 campaign for Dunedin. Perhaps the most important of which was manager Omar Malave netting the FSL’s Manager of the Year award. Malave led the Dunedin squad to the best record in the league this year, which translated into the Jays reaching the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Another positive for the club was that four of its players were named to the FSL’s 2008 Post-Season All-Star team. Among the players chosen were right-handed starter Reidier Gonzalez, second baseman Brad Emaus, outfielder Cory Patton and designated hitter Brian Dopirak.

*In other news from Toronto’s farm system, the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class A Midwest League were also eliminated from the playoffs following a two-game sweep in the first round. The Lugnuts dropped the first game of the series, 3-1, to the Dayton Dragons and then fell, 7-3, in game two.

– David Singh

Riders Roundup: Game 4 vs. Arkansas Live Blog

FRISCO – Good evening RoughRiders fans. I’m in the press box at Dr. Pepper Ballpark and you’d never know a storm was rolling through here 24 hours ago. Should be a good night for baseball and I’ll be here all night blogging the highlights for you.

— Shawn Shroyer

6:05 p.m.: First pitch (a ball from Derek Holland to Nate Sutton). Again, the weather couldn’t be more beautiful. 83 degrees, to be precise. Sutton ultimately reaches on a bunt single, which Holland made an errant throw on to first, allowing Sutton to advance to second.

6:11: Holland finally gets Wil Ortiz to fly out after an 11-pitch at-bat for the first out in the inning. Sutton still on second.

6:16: Holland gets out of the inning with Sutton on third, striking out Corey Smith in a seven-pitch at-bat. You could tell Holland wanted to win the battle bad with the emotions he showed after.

6:21: After his pitcher labored through the first frame, Julio Borbon did his job, working an eight-pitch at-bat, although he eventually flew out to center. Interesting note: both starting pitchers are southpaws who wear No. 36.

6:26: Chad Tracy flies out to the second baseman with Jose Vallejo on second, but at least Holland got a 10 minute break after tossing 23 pitches in the first inning.

6:32: Holland got his second strikeout of the game earlier in the inning and still needed only nine pitches to get out of the second inning.

6:38: The Riders get their second baserunner of the game as a Dustin Majewski sends a hot shot to first base that takes a bad hop off Mark Trumbo’s face. Majewski wouldn’t get past first on the play, though.

6:40: The Riders get their first stolen base of the night as Majewski swipes second with two out and Steve Murphy at the plate.

6:41: Murphy strikes out swinging to drop his playoff average to .154.

6:44: Holland’s feeling it. Strikes out Jordan Czarniecki to start the third frame.

6:45: Did I mention Holland’s feeling it? Six pitches. Two strikeouts in the third.

6:49: So, Holland didn’t strike out the side. He still needed just 12 pitches to bring his offense back to the plate, getting out of the inning on a 6-4 fielder’s choice.

6:50: Some in-game entertainment they have here at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. They were just force feeding (drinking?) lemon juice to babies on the field between innings. Thanks mom and dad.

6:52: With elimination at stake, I’m sure the Riders would rather be lucky than good. They just got really lucky. Tim Gradoville sent a dying liner to Ortiz at shortstop. Ortiz couldn’t get hit glove under it, then airmailed it to his own dugout to advance Gradoville to second base to lead off the inning.

6:58: Well, Ortiz’ double error wasn’t enough. Holland heads back out to the mound with the score still knotted, 0-0. Julio Borbon and Elvis Andrus are now a combined 0-for-4 on the night.

7:02: Strikeout number five for Holland. Got Brian Stavisky this time.

7:03: Arkansas got its first baserunner of the inning with Corey Smith reaching on a bloop single over first base.

7:06: Holland is in the zone. Strikeout number six. Hank Conger. 57 pitches through four.

7:10: Chad Tracy grounds out to Ortiz at short. Frisco’s top four hitters are now 1-for-8.

7:12: Seeing how it’s 0-0 heading into the fifth, I should give Daniel Davidson credit. He’s held the Riders to two hits through four and struck out four after getting Emerson Frostad and Majewski for the last two outs in the fourth.

7:17: Perfect, six-pitch fifth for Holland.

7:20: Could this be the beginning of a Riders rally? Thomas Berkery leads off the fifth with a single through the left side. However, Murphy and Gradoville are up next before the top of the order comes around.

7:26: Case in point: Murphy pop out to second. Gradoville swinging strikeout.

7:31: Borbon earned a walk and a Davidson wild pitch moved Berkery and Borbon up to second and third. That brought Andrus up, who dropped down a bunt. The bunt didn’t surprise the Travelers as much as Andrus had hoped. Davidson pounced on it and got Andrus at first to end the threat.

7:37: No strikeouts, but just eight pitches needed for Holland to complete his sixth inning.

7:42: Not to jinx it, but the Riders have a rally going. Tracy just singled on a blooper to left after a Vallejo walk. Now Frostad is up with no outs. and Vallejo on second.

7:48: Following the Tracy single: Frostad strikeout, Majewski groundout and Berkery strikeout. Score: 0-0 going into the seventh.

7:49: Clayton Hamilton has come in to replace Holland. Holland tossed just 71 pitches in six innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out six. His playoff ERA dropped from 0.61 to 0.44.

7:56: Perfect seventh for Hamilton.

7:59: Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but Murphy leads off the seventh with a bunt single and Davidson commits a throwing error to first, advancing Murphy to second. Gradoville up, then the top of the order.

8:02: Three mintues have passed and only one pitched has gone home. Arkansas is either stalling, or confused. Breaking up a team mound visit right now.

8:03: The team meeting did little good. Gradoville bunted to move Murphy over and third baseman Smith tried to nail Murphy to no avail. Now Murphy stands on third and Gradoville on first with no outs and Borbon up. Barrett Browning now in for Davidson on the mound.

8:09: The Riders post their first run and pull ahead, 1-0, as Murphy dashes home on an infield single by Andrus. The Travelers tried to get an out at second, but Gradoville slid in to beat the throw. Two on, one out and Vallejo up.

8:15: The Travelers have been living on borrowed time with their poor defense and a Smith throwing error, which would have gotten Browning out of the inning, ushered in Gradoville and Andrus for the Riders’ second and third runs of the game. Frostad up with two outs and Tracy on second.

8:19: To recap Frisco’s seventh-inning rally: Two hits, neither of which went out of the infield, one walk, which was inconsequential, a sacrifice bunt and a big, big, big throwing error. By my count, the Travelers gave the Riders three extra outs that inning.

8:27: After retiring the first batter of the inning, Hamilton walked Czarniecki and let him go to second on a wild pitch. He might have just lucked out. It appeared he hit Chris Pettit with a pitch, but Pettit offered at it for a foul ball.

8:28: Pettit strikes out swinging.

8:30: Sutton singles to left-center to drive Czarniecki home. 3-1. Hamilton on his way out. Beau Jones on his way to the mound.

8:34: Jones did what Hamilton could not – hit a batter (Ortiz). Two out, one on.

8:36: Stavisky flies out to center to end the inning with no further harm done.

8:37: Fernando Rodriguez in to pitch for the Travelers.

8:43: The Riders are now three outs away from taking the series to a fifth game.

8:44: Brandon Puffer in to pitch.

8:46: If Puffer wasn’t awake, he is now. Smith sent a line drive right at his head to lead off the inning and he snagged it. Two outs to go.

8:48: Puffer got Hank Conger swinging to finish a perfect ninth and earn the save. 3-1 final. Hamilton got the victory. Davidson took the loss. Game 5 tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Dan Denham is going for the Travelers and Neftali Feliz is going for the Riders. Thanks for hanging with me.

P-Nats claim Carolina League title

Advance Single-A Potomac finished off a marathon season of accomplishments on Friday with an 8-2 victory over Myrtle Beach in Game 4 of the Carolina League’s Mills Cup Finals. As a result, the P-Nats took the series, three games to one, and were crowned 2008 Carolina League Champions.

The P-Nats became the first team within the franchise to win a Carolina League title since the Prince William Cannons beat the Durham Bulls in 1989.

Potomac put two runs on the board in the first inning and never looked back. Despite a homer by Ernesto Mejia in the second, the Pelicans couldn’t muster any type of rally against starter Erik Arnesen. Arnesen went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs while striking out four in the victory.

Jhonatan Solano earned Mills Cup Finals MVP honors for his efforts in the series. Solano tied Game 3 with a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. He finished the four-game set with the Pelicans by going .429 (6-for-14) with two home runs, four RBIs and five runs scored.

-Mark Remme

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