Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one

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Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one

According to Baseball America, the Red Sox have lost several of their minor league free agents, including a former first-round pick, while signing one.
 
The Sox added outfielder Mitch Maier earlier this month. Maier, 30, was a first-round (30th overall) pick of the Royals in 2003 out of the University of Toledo. He made his big league debut with the Royals in 2006. In parts of six seasons with the Royals, he appeared in 360 games, batting .248, with a .327 on-base percentage, and .344 slugging percentage, while playing all three outfield positions 209 games in center, 101 in right, and 38 in left. Maier, who bats left and throws right, also pitched in two games for the Royals, and appeared in one at first base.
 
Right-hander Billy Buckner, 27, has signed with the Angels organization. Buckner, a  second-round pick of the Royals out of the University of South Carolina in 2004, was in the Sox organization for one season. He made 27 combined starts for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2012, going 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA.
 
Right-hander Caleb Clay has signed with Washington. He was a first-round (supplemental, 44th overall) pick of the Sox in 2006 out of Cullman High in Alabama. In six seasons in the Sox organization, he appeared in 120 games, making 51 starts, posting a combined record of 15-28 with a 4.70 ERA and 13 saves. But Clay, who turns 25 in February, did not advance beyond Double-A.
 
Right-hander Michael Olmsted signed a major league contract with the Brewers and was added to their 40-man roster.  Olmsted, 25, was a ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2007 out of Cypress College in California. He had been in the Sox system for two seasons.  He split 2012 between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. In 47 total games he posted a record of 1-4 with a 1.52 ERA and 19 saves. In 14 games with Portland, spanning 20 innings, he did not allow an earned run, recording 31 strikeouts with seven walks.
 
Third baseman Marquez Smith signed with Cincinnati. He was an eighth-round pick of the Cubs in 2007 out of Clemson. Last season was his first in the Sox organization.  Smith, who turns 28 in March, appeared in 71 games for Portland, 55 at third, 13 at second, and serving as the designated hitter in three. Smith hit .293 with eight home runs, 37 RBI, a .358 on-base percentage, and .413 slugging percentage.
 
Infielder Nate Spears has signed with Cleveland. Spears, 27, was a fifth-round pick of the Orioles in 2003 out of Charlotte High School, in Florida, just north of Fort Myers. He had been in the Sox organization since 2010. He made his major league debut in 2011. In the last two seasons, he appeared in seven big league games, playing three games in left field, two at second base, and one at third. In four big league at-bats he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Former Sox manager and new Indians manager Terry Francona was always quick to praise Spears in their time together.
 
Also, right-hander Will Inman tweeted over the weekend that he has signed with the Rays. Inman, who turns 26 in February, had been with the Sox for just one season. In 33 appearances with Pawtucket, he posted a record of 1-3 with a 2.23 ERA and six saves. Inman was a third-round pick of the Brewers in 2005 out of Tunstall High in Danville, Virg.
 
The Sox have several other minor leaguers who became free agents after the season, including pitchers  Yeiper Castillo, Nelson Figueroa, Mike MacDonald, Tony Pena Jr.,  Jason Urquidez, and Leonel Vasquez; catcher Mike Rivera; first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez; and third baseman Andy LaRoche.

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


 

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre