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Roger Brown on Baseball: Organization shows its depth
When it comes to young talent at shortstop and third base, the Red Sox may be deeper than any other organization in baseball. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Garin Cecchini are among those young players, and Boles has managed each of the three.
Middlebrooks, 24, hit .288 in 75 games with Boston last year, but struggled at the major league level this season. He batted .192 in his first 53 games with the Red Sox — he struck out in 30 percent of his at bats — and is trying to rediscover his swing in Triple-A. Middlebrooks was hitting .255 in 24 games with Pawtucket.
“Some guys, it takes them a second or third time around to get acclimated and to get comfortable,” Boles said. “We’re talking about becoming an established big leaguer, not just having some success for a certain amount of time.
“We viewed him as a shortstop and hopefully that will continue.”
After Cecchini’s arrival, Portland moved 22-year-old Michael Almanzar from third base to first. Almanzar, who was named to this year’s Eastern League All-Star Game, has also been used at DH. He’s Rule V eligible and will be a minor league free agent after the 2014 season.
“He’s wonderful with the glove,” Boles said. “Above-average range. Arm strength. Footwork. Very athletic. He profiles as a major league shortstop, but he’s also shown some versatility at third.”
“Competition is good,” he said. “It’s the front office’s job to see what they do with us. It’s a healthy competition. It’s good for us.”
THE SEA DOGS entered Tuesday night’s game having been shut out in their three previous outings. … Monday night’s 5-0 victory extended New Hampshire’s winning streak to six games. It was Portland’s fourth consecutive loss. … Monday’s win also pushed the Fisher Cats (47-46) over the .500 mark for the first time since May 20, when they were 23-22. … New Hampshire first baseman Gabe Jacobo is 8-for-15 with three doubles, two home runs, four RBIs and a stolen base in four games with the Fisher Cats.
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