A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-24): Scheduled off day. Next action Friday vs. Louisville (Reds)
— In a reverse of a roster move on May 25, Boston swapped relief pitchers again as Heath Hembree was sent back to Pawtucket while Robbie Ross Jr. was recalled. In 14 games with Boston over two stints, Ross has a 5.14 ERA with a 9 K/6 BB ratio in 14 innings pitched. Ross had just one appearance in his recent stay with Pawtucket, a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and two walks. Hembree pitched just one inning as well during his three days away from the PawSox, a scoreless frame against the Twins in Minnesota on Monday.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (21-27): L, 2-0, at Binghamton (Mets)
— The tough luck for 6-foot-5 right-handed starter Justin Haley continues. Haley, 23, pitched his fourth straight game in which he allowed just two earned runs. However, he’s lost three of those four games to drop his record to 1-6. Haley’s line on Thursday: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. The first five innings were scoreless, before a two-run Binghamton double in the sixth inning ended Haley’s day. Over his last four starts (and since coming off the disabled list May 11) Haley’s ERA is 3.32. Last year in 17 combined starts between High-A Salem and Portland, Haley combined to go 10-6 with a 2.35 ERA.
— Lefty reliever Robby Scott continued his fine year with two scoreless innings in relief to lower his ERA to 2.75. Scott, 25, has thrown 7 1/3 shutout innings in his last four outings, and has been particularly tough on left handers, with southpaw bats hitting just .143 against him in Double-A. Scott has been up the ladder to Pawtucket three times already this season (3 ER/10 IP), and combined between the two levels has 28 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings of work.
— With an opposite-field double in the first inning, Portland third baseman Jantzen Witte pulled into an Eastern League tie for the most two-baggers, while Witte also recorded his 11th double in the month of May. A 2-for-4 day for Witte brought his average up to .329, good for fourth best in the league. The 25-year-old Texan now has an on-base percentage of .399, seventh best among his league peers. In the field it was Witte’s ninth start at third base, as he’s played most of the year (34 games) at first base.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (25-22): W, 7-2, at Frederick (Orioles)
— Salem jumped on Frederick with a three-run first inning, highlighted by Kevin Heller’s two-run home run, then tacked on two more in the second frame on its way to winning a fifth straight game. Heller, playing right field and batting cleanup, was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored, raising his Salem average to .345. It was Heller’s second homer in as many days. The 25-year-old Amherst College grad has reached base in 16 straight in High-A since being demoted from Portland, where in 13 games he hit just .132.
— The early lead was plenty enough for Salem starter Ty Buttrey as the 6-foot-6 righty faced the minimum with just one hit allowed through his first five innings. Buttrey surrendered two runs in the sixth but earned the victory to improve to 4-0. Since his promotion from Low-A on May 1, Buttrey has won four of his five outings and surrendered just eight earned runs in 30 innings (2.40 ERA), with a .243 opponent batting average and no home runs allowed.
— Deiner Lopez had a three-hit night in his first appearance in the leadoff spot for Salem. Lopez, a 20-year-old switch-hitting Venezuelan, cracked two doubles and scored two runs. Lopez is off to a 6-for-14 (.463) start in High-A since being promoted from Greenville on May 19. With Salem he has started three games in left field, with most of his work as a second baseman during his time in Greenville. Last year Lopez made just two errors in 142 attempts (98.6 percent) playing second. Wendell Rijo has been anchoring second base for Salem so far this season.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (28-19): W, 5-4, at Lexington (Royals)
— Rafael Devers, at ESPN the Red Sox’ No. 2 prospect and MLB’s No. 14 prospect, had three more hits to raise his average to .342 and extend his hitting streak to nine games. The 18-year-old Dominican, signed as an international free agent in the summer of 2013, has become one of the most exciting bats in the Boston system. Last year Devers had a fantastic .322/.404/.506 slash line split between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League in his first professional action.
— With the excitement around Devers and Boston’s top prospect Yoan Moncada (1-for-5 on Thursday), another talented teenager has flown under the radar as 19-year-old Javier Guerra has excelled in Greenville. Guerra, another international signee (July 2012) by Boston, was 3-for-4 on Thursday to raise his average to .310 and his on-base percentage to .375. A shortstop, Guerra has been consistently slotted in the seven-hole of the Greenville lineup and recently was ranked Boston’s No. 16 prospect at MLB.com.
— Four of Greenville’s five RBIs came off the bat of Nick Longhi (Boston’s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) on Thursday, as the right fielder had two-knock singles in the fifth and sixth innings. Longhi, who was born in Springfield, Massachusetts (but moved to Florida as an infant) is hitting .257 this year in Low-A after hitting .330 last season in the New York Penn League. Longhi’s 2014 season in Lowell ended early as he tore a ligament in his thumb while sliding.