Red Sox happy with first three picks in MLB Draft

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Red Sox happy with first three picks in MLB Draft

The financial structure and signing bonuses may be different, but when it comes to the baseball end of the first-year draft, the Red Sox stayed with a traditional approach, focusing on the middle of the diamond and the pitcher's mound.

The Sox had three of the first 37 picks in the first round and sandwich round and used them to select shortstop Deven Marrero No. 24 from Arizona State, lefthander Brian Johnson from the University of Florida at No. 31 and righty Pat Light from Monmouth University at No. 37.

Marrero profiles as a superb defender, but there are questions about his bat after his average plummeted from .397 as a freshman to .315 as a sophomore and .284 this season.

Still, the Red Sox, who scouted him in high school and extensively in the Cape Cod League, aren't worried about his offense.

"We've gotten a chance to know him," said Amiel Sawdaye, the Red Sox' scouting director. "He's got a flat swing and he sprays the ball around the field. I don't think the offensive decline was much of a worry for us. I'm sure he expected to have a better year statistically, but it's not something that's a concern for us."

Marrero was the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year in the PAC-10 and made the conference's first-team All-Star team this year.

Johnson isn't overpowering, though he can hit 92 mph with his fastball. He has exceptional command and might be able to move up the minor league ladder quickly because of his secondary pitches.

"He has a repeatable delivery and throws strikes," said Sawdaye. "He's super competitive and (playing for a national power), someone who has pitched on the big stage."

Johnson also played first base and showed plus power at times which Sawdaye termed "intriguing. But he's definitely a pitcher for us."

Light, who was 20-0 in high school, is more of a classic power pitcher, with a big, lanky frame (6-foot-6, 210 pounds). He was 7-3 with a 2.81 ERA and struck out 87 in 86 innings while walking just 12 this season.

His fastball reached 97-98 in his junior year.

Sawdaye said the Red Sox, as a rule, like to select big pitches and both Johnson and Light fit that mold. Johnson is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds.

Both pitchers were selected with compensation picks awarded to the Red Sox for losing free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies last November.

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

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Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.