It’s not likely to change the organization’s 2013 season but the Red Sox have made their first official move of the offseason. The Sox claimed reliever Sandy Rosario off waivers. Rosario, 27, has been working in the Marlins farm system since 2004. His big league record is not much to look at (10G, 7.2IP, 13ER, 22H, 3BB) but he has a good strikeout rate in the minors (403K in 391IP). Rosario posted a nice AAA line this season and could be maturing into a decent middle reliever as he approaches “baseball prime.”

To make room for Rosario on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox DFA Che-Hsuan Lin. This comes as no real surprise; the Sox had numerous opportunities to give Lin playing time this season and bypassed him at almost every turn. Lin is a gifted defender but his bat never developed to the point that he could be justified in an AL lineup. Lin could catch on quickly as a fourth outfielder with a National League club if he does not return to the organization.

1B/3B Travis Shaw has been called up to AA Portland according to his Facebook page.

In 99 games and 354 at bats for the Salem Red Sox, Shaw hit .305/.411/.545 with 16 home runs, 31 doubles, and 3 triples. He drove in 73 runs and stole 11 bases in 13 tries.

I interviewed him after he was drafted by the Red Sox in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB draft. Since then he’s done nothing but impress. In time split between Lowell, Greenville, and Salem, Shaw has hit .292/.398/.511 with 24 home runs, 45 doubles, and 3 triples in 157 games and 562 at bats.

It’ll be interesting to see how he does in Portland. Some scouts have concerns that he’ll struggle to adjust to AA pitching, but with the way he’s hammered the ball so far in professional ball, signs point to Shaw hitting well in AA. He has an advanced approach at the plate which bodes well for him.

Time: 5:00 PM ET

TV: ESPN2

USA Lineup

Billy Hamilton (Reds) SS
Kolten Wong (Cardinals) 2B
Wil Myers (Royals) RF
Mike Olt (Rangers) 3B
Jonathan Singleton (Astros) 1B
Michael Choice (A’s) LF
Nick Castellanos (Tigers) DH
Tommy Joseph (Giants) C
Anthony Gose (Blue Jays) CF

World Lineup

Jean Segura (Angels) 2B
Jurickson Profar (Rangers) SS
Oscar Taveras (Cardinals) RF
Alfredo Marte (Diamondbacks) LF
Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) DH
Wilmer Flores (Mets) 3B
Jesus Aguilar (Indians) 1B
Jae-Hoon Ha (Cubs) CF
Christian Bethancourt (Braves) C

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It’s getting to be that time of the year, folks! No, I’m not talking about the MLB All-Star Game, where baseball fans around the country can watch their favorite established Major Leaguers go head to head. I am, however, talking about an All-Star Game of sorts. The annual Sirius All-Star Futures Game, where some of the best up and comers that baseball has to offer meet and square off, is fast approaching. The Red Sox will have two of their prized prospects participating in this must-see spectacle: right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes, and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The game takes place on July 8th at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, the same site of the MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

For those unfamiliar with the game’s format, the players who take part in the Futures Game are split into two teams, with American-born players representing their country on the U.S. team, and foreign players making up the World team. So Barnes and Bogaerts, despite both being Red Sox prospects, will being playing against each other for a day, with Barnes on the U.S. squad, and Bogaerts playing for the World squad. Speaking of Bogaerts, our very own Andrew Rodriguez was able to score an interview with him back in June of 2011. See, we knew that he’d be on the fast track to stardom! Here’s a link to that conversation: http://www.bloodysox.com/2011/06/12/interview-with-xander-bogaerts/

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When the Red Sox went Dumpster Diving at the 99 cent store on May 2nd and signed Mark Prior, it generated some eye rolling and a few laughs.

Mark Prior had a seemingly long and bright career in front of him when he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA as a 22 year old for the 2003  Chicago Cubs that were prevented from getting to the World Series by Steve Bartman’s catch of a foul ball.  He threw 211 innings that season, but in the ensuing 3 seasons, he never came close to that mark.  Prior has seemingly been on a long term contract with the Disabled List since 2006.   He had shoulder surgery in 2008 and an assortment of other injuries that have derailed his comebacks for the last 6 or 7 years.  His most recent comeback attempt prior to signing with the Red Sox was last year (2011) with the New York Yankees and that attempt was ended by a groin injury.

Since being assigned to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox on June 2nd, Prior has made 5 appearances and pitched 6 2/3 innings.  He has not surrendered an earned run and  given up only 3 hits and 4 walks.  The real eye-popping stat is that out of the 20 outs he has gotten in the 6 2/3 innings, 15 of those outs have been strikeouts.  Granted, that it is a very small number of innings pitched, but no one on the PawSox has a strikeout ratio (20.25 k’s/9 innings) like that this season.  Andrew Miller in 11 innings for the PawSox struck out 23 for a ratio of 18.8 k’s/9 innings.  Is Prior finally healthy and able to contribute at the major league level?  We can hope, but how would the Sox use him– in the bullpen, possibly as a starter?

As a Red Sox fan of 45 years, I am hoping for Prior to have a comeback reminiscent of another Red Sox reclamation project of a premier pitcher from years gone by.  In 1971, the Red Sox took a chance signing a washed up, injured Luis Tiant who had been released by the Twins and the Braves that season.  The Sox initially used Tiant as a starter that season and the results were pretty uninspiring.  In 10 starts, El Tiante was 0-6 with a 6.46 ERA.  He seemed to be headed back to the scrap heap, but Boston put him in the bullpen where he found his old magic.  In 11 games in relief in 1971, he pitched to a 1.80 ERA and it was a foreshadowing of things to come.   He started 1972 in the Red Sox bullpen taking an occasional spot start.  He didn’t take a regular turn in the rotation until July 22nd after Ray Culp’s season ended with an injury.  It was in the second half of 1972 that Luis Tiant became El Tiante and a Red Sox legend was born.  In the second half of the season, El Tiante was 11-3 with a 1.36 ERA and 6 shutouts in 14 starts.

The chances that Prior has a Luis Tiant-type rebirth in a Red Sox uniform are slim, but his stats in AAA are starting to intrigue me.  He has my attention.

According to Nick Cafardo the Boston Globe, Ryan Sweeney has been placed on the 15 day DL with an injured toe. Ryan Kalish has been added to the major league roster to fill Sweeney’s roster spot.

Kalish had hit .378/.477/.757 with 4 home runs and 2 doubles in 9 games for the AAA PawSox. He missed a lot of last season with a shoulder injury, and some of this season, but he came back swinging this year and now he’s back with the big league club.

In 2010, he hit .252/.305/.405 with 4 home runs, 11 doubles, and a triple in 53 games with the big league club. Needless to say, Red Sox fans are hoping that Kalish can provide the spark that this team desperately needs.

Taiwanese shortstop and outfielder Tzu-Wei Lin has signed with the Red Sox and the deal is close to being official, according to Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe and a couple Taiwanese news sources.

Also, according to NextMedia in Taiwan, Lin apparently left on an 11 PM flight (no idea on what time zone) to Boston to finalize the deal and the signing bonus is $2,090,000. It is the biggest bonus ever for a non-pitcher out of Asia. Obviously the deal isn’t official yet, and it’s still unclear if he’s completed the physical yet. But all signs point to the deal being done very soon.

Lin was selected IBAF World Big League Championship held in Seoul, South Korea. The Yankees attempted to sign him a few years back, but they failed to as he was only 16 at the time and not allowed to sign yet.

Here is a scouting report, from Taiwan Baseball.

Scouting Report:
 

*Defense/Arm Strength:   60/65 – true MLB SS with plus defensive skill set and great range, also has the ability to play CF – was voted best defensive player at the 2010 World Junior Championships.   As a pitcher in HS, was clocked at a high of 89 mph.  

*Speed:  70/70 – lightning fast (top time to 1st base:  3.79 seconds), has shown the ability to get good reads and jump on pitchers, aggressive on the base paths, plus instincts with base running.
 
*Hitting/Approach:   35/65 – utilizes a quick and compact swing,  has tremendous hand/eye coordination, squares up on balls and makes hard contact consistently – utilizing all parts of the field, rarely strikes out with good patience and pitch recognition, strong wrists, has a high OBP.
 
*Power:   30/35 – below average at this time, has gap to gap power.
 
*Intangibles:   Profiles as a leadoff hitter, is fundamentally sound, has risen to the challenge during big games – performing well against top competition in major international contests, is mentally tough, demonstrating leadership skills,  plus athleticism and overall skill set has some comparing him to a younger and shorter version of Jose Reyes.

Pat Light is a hard throwing righty out of Monmouth University who was drafted by the Red Sox with the 37th pick of the draft this year. That pick was one of the compensation picks the Red Sox received when the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon.

Light is 6 foot 6 inches and weighs 200 pounds. In his most recent season, he went 8-3 with a 2.30 ERA in 14 starts for Monmouth. He struggled in his first two years there though, going 6-1 with a 4.94 ERA. He has made some big improvements since then, and should start the season with the Lowell Spinners once he signs.

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According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Daniel Bard has been sent down to Pawtucket. The Red Sox were expected to make a decision on Bard today, and they decided that Bard needs time in AAA. Darnell McDonald is expected to be added to the roster as a corresponding move, as he is done rehabbing with the PawSox.

The Red Sox had high hopes that Daniel Bard could become a great starter for the Red Sox, but the experiment has not gone well. Bard is 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 10 starts for the Red Sox this year. Even worse,  Bard has walked 37 batters in only 55 innings of work, while last year he walked 24 batters in 73 innings of work. He also has 3 more walks than strikeouts, which is very un-Bard like.

It is very likely that Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has a 3.33 ERA in 5 rehab starts with the PawSox, will be added to the roster this week (with Marlon Byrd likely being DFA’d) and he will fill Bard’s spot in the rotation. Dice-K was stellar in his last 2 rehab starts with Pawtucket, and seems like he’s in good shape to pitch for the Red Sox going forward. It is still unclear what the Red Sox are going to do with Bard in Pawtucket, but it seems likely they’ll shift him to the pen.

Lars Anderson was the Red Sox 18th round draft pick in 2006, and he used to be their top hitting prospect as well. A lot has changed since his breakout year (2008 in Portland) to say the least, but even though he’s not getting recognized as much these days, he’s still putting up impressive stats and showing off his talent.

So far this year, he’s hitting .238/.370/.443 with 6 home runs and 11 doubles in 42 games. His average isn’t there obviously, but his extremely low BABIP of .200 may have something to do with that. Even more impressive is that Anderson has handled his shift to the outfield (note: he’s still playing 1st base as well) very well so far.

If he can refine his outfield play, he could be a great trade chip or 4th outfielder for the Red Sox down the line.

Photo by George Campbell

 

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