Beckett Could Start Parade of Stars To Pawtucket

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no – Amy Winehouse

 

Fortunately for the PawSox, “saying no” to rehab is not an option for most of the 11 players currently on the Boston Red Sox disabled list and several of Boston’s biggest stars are likely to play at McCoy Stadium over the next two months.

 


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(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

 

Josh Beckett is slated to make his first rehab start for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Tuesday at noon in Sarasota.  If the game is rained out (and there is rain in the forecast), Beckett will throw a simulated game at Tropicana Field before the Red Sox play at Tampa Bay.  If all goes well, Josh’s next scheduled start would be on Sunday and it could be at McCoy Stadium where the PawSox host Syracuse at 1:05 in their final game before the All-Star break. 

 

Jed Lowrie, who missed the first half of the season after being diagnosed with mononucleosis in spring training, finally played in a game on Monday night as he went 1-for-2 with 2 walks as the DH for Class-A Lowell.  As some point, I assume that Lowrie will get promoted to Pawtucket.

 

Catcher Mark Wagner, who broke a bone in his left hand in late April, should be back at McCoy Stadium soon.  Wagner has played in three games for the GCL Red Sox, going 3-for-5 with 5 walks.  It probably makes sense to keep him in Florida for at least one more day to catch Beckett’s start on Tuesday.

 

Clay Buchholz probably won’t need a rehab stint before returning to the Red Sox rotation right after the All-Star break, but we could conceivably see Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Lowell suit up for the PawSox before the end of the season.    

 

Sorry Ms. Winehouse, but PawSox fans could be saying “yes, yes, yes” to rehab.

 

* * * * *

 

While three of Boston’s top young prospects have been promoted from Double-A Portland to Pawtucket this year in the trio of Lars Anderson, Felix Doubront, and Ryan Kalish, one youngster who isn’t likely to make the jump in 2010 is 20-year-old pitcher Casey Kelly.

 


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Kelly is among the youngest players in the Eastern League, and the Red Sox top-rated pitching prospect is 1-3 with a 5.05 ERA after his first 15 starts with the Portland Sea Dogs.  I asked Mike Hazen, Boston’s Director of Player Development, to assess Kelly’s progress.

 

“We think he’s doing really well,” Hazen said.  “I know that everybody wants to see the numbers that he put up last year (2.08 ERA), but it’s just not going to happen.  It may not happen for a majority of this season and it may not happen next season.  As a 20-year-old pitcher who is consistently facing lineups in the mid-to-upper 20′s, there’s an experience gap there that needs to get closed.  Casey is learning how to deal with that.  The most positive thing that we’ve seen is that he’s bigger and stronger than last year and the overall power in his stuff has improved tremendously.  The changeup has been swing-and-miss at times and the velocity of the fastball has been up to 95 mph.  He’s consistently been up to 94 mph in every outing since May and we didn’t see any of that last year.  He topped out at 92 mph last year and was sitting 89 to 90.  We feel good about the developmental things that don’t necessarily show up in the numbers.  We knew he was going to have his struggles.  We pushed him to an advanced level for a reason – he had basically beaten the levels below him so we needed to push him to a spot where he would face some stiffer competition and he’s found that.  It’s not an excuse – he’s got to learn how to deal with those things and continue to get better every time out, but in talking to him, he’s in a great place.  His ability to compete, him makeup, and his stuff are outstanding.  We really couldn’t be happier in where he is in his development right now.”

 

Hazen also said that 20-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias, who broke his right index finger when he was hit by a pitch in late May, should be back in action soon.

 


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“The broken hand was very unfortunate but I guess it goes along with the theme of our season so far,” Hazen said.  “But he’s healing nicely and he’s going to start doing some baseball activity hopefully within the next seven days.  He’s been running and he’s been able to field ground balls since it was his throwing hand, so gripping a bat and throwing the ball will be the things that will determine when he’s ready to go.”

 

Iglesias signed with the Red Sox with the reputation for being an exceptional fielder but he’s also hit well in his first professional season.  The Cuban defector was batting .306 in 40 games with Portland and Hazen says that the Red Sox never agreed with scouting reports that suggested that Iglesias was a “good glove, questionable bat” prospect.

 

“Not according to (International Scouting Director) Craig Shipley when he signed him,” Hazen said.  “Our expectation was that this guy was a pretty good bat as well as a glove.  I know that the industry may not have said that, but Craig said all along that this guy had a pretty good bat and don’t sell him short with the ‘defender’ tag.  He’s hit from day one whether it was the Arizona Fall League or Portland.  He still lacks a little bit of size and strength to really impact the ball, but he’s got some power, he just doesn’t show it consistently because he’s still really young and needs some time to physically mature.”

 

* * * * *

 

The PawSox will look to snap a 2-game losing streak as they face Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night at 7:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

 

I’d love to hear from you.  Please take a moment to tell me who you are and where you’re from in the comments section or you can e-mail me at dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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