Minor League Camp Notes from 3/14/12

Good morning from Red Sox minor league camp! Finally got some WiFi access here, so I figured I’d briefly type up my notes from yesterday. I spent a solid 11 hours watching baseball between minor league workouts, minor league games, and the major league game. I’m back at it again one more time before I head back up to the tundra.

Yesterday, Double-A and Triple-A were home playing the Orioles affiliates, and the Single-A boys were up in Sarasota.

I spoke with Brandon Workman about his outing on Thursday. He said he felt good and was excited to be out there. He was pleased with his off-speed pitches for his first outing.

Jason Garcia said he felt good about his fastball. He kept it down for the most part, but left it up in the second inning.

Chris Hernandez told me he threw two innings for Portland and retired all six batters he faced. He felt good about his fastball on both sides of the plate, as well as his cutter on the inside. He also said that his change up felt good, and that he only left one curveball up.

Justin Erasmus said his shoulder his perfect and he is throwing today (Friday).

Derrik Gibson told me he went 1-2 for Portland (a single).

Portland’s lineup on Friday: Hissey DH, Meneses 6, Vitek 5, Brentz 9, Rodriguez 3, Ibarra 2, Pichardo 7, Gentile 4, Johnson 8. Chris Carpenter started the game followed by Manny Rivera, Yeiper Castillo, Pete Ruiz, and Robby Scott.

In his first inning of work, Carpenter threw about 10 of 18 pitches for strikes, giving up a run.

In his second inning, he threw nearly all nine of his pitches for strikes. He threw a lot of first pitch strikes and elicited a lot of foul balls.

Carpenter had a lot of balls hit sharply to him. He has great reaction time, and is a good fielding pitcher.

Pete Hissey had a multi-hit game, including a single and a triple.

Bryce Brentz hit a single up the middle. Should he and Vitek end up in Portland, that could be a very powerful 3-4 combination.

Manny Rivera looked solid in his two innings of work. He retired the side in order in his first inning, which included getting Manny Machado, the Orioles first round pick (and the third overall pick) in the 2010 draft.

When I walked over to the Pawtucket game, it looked like Mitch Dening was being taken off the field by a trainer. I’ll look into that a bit more today.

I was somehow able to acquire a VIP pass so that I could respectfully linger outside the clubhouse, which allowed me to get interviews with both Bryce Brentz and Kolbrin Vitek. I guess the security guard took sympathy on me after having seen me sit down in the grass on Wednesday and get victimized by the sprinklers.

I also spoke with Keith Couch briefly about his outing on Thursday. He said he felt comfortable on the mound, just that he was rushing things at first. He threw his change up and curveball for strikes, which he was pleased with because that’s what he focused on in the offseason.

Noe Ramirez told me that he has been temporarily shut down. He cryptically said that he would be back soon. I’ll try to get more on that today.

I caught up with Drake Britton today, who was cut yesterday and has since been assigned to the Portland club. He said that all his stuff was there last season, he just wasn’t there mentally. He concentrated on improving his mental game a lot in the offseason. He seemed pretty confident that he won’t be in Salem again (it’s probably just a toxic environment for him), and he could move up to Portland for the start of the 2012 season despite his poor season statistically. Look for a HUGE improvement in him.

Dick Berardino, a player consultant for the Red Sox (also a former player and coach), told me he was particularly impressed with Ryan Dent, who played for Pawtucket in Friday’s game. He hit a lead off home run, and also hit a double. Berardino commended him for his defensive range.

Henry Owens will be throwing today. I’ll have more updates when I get home later. I’ll be posting interviews here as they come out.

Also, if you haven’t seen this week’s Fort Report that I collaborated on with @SPWill, make sure you take it out. There are some more details there from my first-hand observations this week, and Will did a great job accumulating the biggest news from the beat writers.

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