Will Middlebrooks hit his third homer of the month on Wednesday. (AP)
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 LEAD (SUSPENDED IN FOURTH INNING) AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
– Before the game’s suspension, Will Middlebrooks went 1-for-2, slamming his third homer in 14 rehab games this month with the PawSox. He’s hitting .313/.358/.563 in July.
– First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-2 before the game was suspended. The 24-year-old has now reached base in all 19 games in which he’s played in July, hitting .324/.430/.544 during the stretch.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-2 LOSS VS. BINGHAMTON (METS)
– Sean Coyle launched his 12th homer of the year, snapping a 12-game homerless drought, as part of a 1-for-3 game in which he also elicited a walk. July has represented the first month of struggle for Coyle this year, as the 22-year-old is hitting just .220/.279/.407 in 18 contests this month. But he’s shown recent signs of emerging from the funk, as he’s 6-for-15 with the homer and two walks in his last four games, bringing his line back up to .326/.401/.562.
– In his third rehab game with Portland, Ryan Lavarnway went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles while playing first base for eight innings. He is now 3-for-11 with a homer in three games with the Sea Dogs.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 12-3 WIN AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
– Right-hander Joe Gunkel had one of his best outings since moving up from Greenville to Salem, allowing one run on seven hits (including a solo homer and a triple) while walking one and punching out seven. Until Wednesday, Gunkel had seen his strikeouts dip (5.5 per nine innings through his first six starts in Salem, after punching out 10.9 per nine innings in Greenville), but the 22-year-old has continued to attack the strike zone (2.3 per nine innings) and, interestingly, despite a low three-quarters arm slot that would seemingly give righties fits, he’s been dominant against lefties (.161 average in Salem).
– Catcher Jordan Weems went 4-for-5, achieving a new career-high in hits and continuing what has been the best offensive stretch of his career. The 2011 third-rounder is hitting .355/.420/.435 in 18 games since his promotion to Salem. In three years in Greenville, he’d never had an average above .204 or an OBP of better than .308.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-2 WIN AT LAKEWOOD (PHILLIES)
– Second baseman Wendell Rijo continued his most impressive power surge as a professional, going 2-for-5 with a double and triple. In his last three games, he’s 5-for-12 with two doubles, a triple and two homers while driving in six, boosting his season line to .267/.351/.434 with 31 extra-base hits in 79 games. In July, Rijo has a .291/.355/.618 line with 10 extra-base hits (his most in any single month of his two-year pro career) in 15 games, impressive numbers in their own right, but a standout line by an 18-year-old playing almost exclusively against older opponents.
– Left-hander Daniel McGrath tossed six innings in which he allowed three hits (a double and triple), walked four and punched out six. The 20-year-old has gotten better and more consistent over the course of the season. He’s pitched at least five innings in each of his last seven starts, allowing no more than three runs in any outing, posting a 2.93 ERA with 7.9 strikeouts and 4.0 walks per nine in that span. Opponents have hit just .214 against him during the run — in line with the .208 average to which the Australian has held southpaws on the year.
– Manuel Margot, playing in his first game since July 15, went 1-for-5. The 19-year-old is hitting .264/.329/.415.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 8-6 LOSS VS. VERMONT (ATHLETICS)
– Promising 18-year-old prospect Nick Longhi underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn UCL on his thumb on Thursday morning as a result of an injury incurred on a slide on Monday. Longhi was hitting .330/.388/.440 with 11 extra-base hits, 11 walks and 22 strikeouts in 30 games with Lowell before suffering his injury. It remains to be seen whether his recovery will permit him to take part in fall instruction league.
– Shortstop Mauricio Dubon went deep for the third time of the season and the second time in three games (though the prior one on Monday was of the inside-the-park variety). In his last eight games, the 20-year-old is hitting .367/.387/.567.
– With Longhi sidelined, Joseph Monge was promoted from the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League. The 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico has had one of the more intriguing performances among Red Sox GCL position players, hitting .274/.400/.468 with seven extra-base hits in 17 games. Monge, a 2013 17th-rounder, went 1-for-4 in his debut in Lowell.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-3 LOSS, 6-5 LOSS (10 INNINGS) VS. GCL RAYS
(BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2)
– Bryce Brentz, out since May 15 due to a hamstring injury, went 1-for-2 with a double in his first game activity in more than two months. He served as DH.
– First-rounder Michael Chavis went 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts. The 18-year-old is just 2-for-36 (.056) with four walks and 15 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances to date, and he’s 0-for-19 in his last six games.
– Shortstop Javier Guerra went 3-for-7 with a triple in the double-header. He now has 10 extra-base hits in 25 games this year, one more than he had in 60 games in the Dominican Summer League last year, with his slugging mark improving from .290 last year to .462 this season for the 18-year-old.
– Luis Alexander Basabe, a 17-year-old amidst a tremendous year in the DSL, was promoted to the GCL, going 0-for-3 with a sac fly in his debut in the States. The switch-hitter owned a .284/.408/.480 line in the DSL with 18 extra-base hits, 30 walks, 36 strikeouts and 13 steals (in 15 attempts) over 40 games. The Venezuela native, who was signed with his twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe (a second baseman), hit .225/.385/.321 in 60 games in his DSL debut in 2013 as a 16-year-old.
– Jake Cosart, a third-round selection of the Sox, made his pro debut, tossing a scoreless inning in which he worked around a pair of walks.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-2 WIN VS. DSL REDS
– Yoan Aybar left the game prior to the top of the fourth inning, after he’d been hit by a pitch in the bottom of the third. The 17-year-old is hitting .299/.357/.465.
– Catcher Roldani Baldwin went 2-for-4 with a walk, as the 18-year-old improved to .315/.400/.479 in July.
– Right-hander Daniel Gonzalez improved to 8-0 by tossing five innings in which he allowed two runs (both unearned) on five hits while walking one and punching out five. In 10 starts, he has a 2.76 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 49 innings and just 12 walks. The 18-year-old hasn’t walked more than two batters in any outing.