Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

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Notes: Pimentel tosses two scoreless innings

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the seven-inning afternoon game against Boston College, Stolmy Pimentel tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts on 13 pitches.

In addition to the three-run homer from Youkilis, the Sox got a run-scoring single from Ryan Kalish and sacrifice flies from Lars Anderson and Alex Hassan.

The game also featured an annual rite of spring: a plate appearance by staff member Ino Guerrero. Guerrero made a pinch-hit appearance in the sixth and drew a walk.

During Guerrero's at-bat, every player and coach in the home dugout was on the first step, watching intently.

"He's the first player now to get into a game in nine decades,'' cracked Francona. "We wanted him to swing, believe me. There was a lot of money riding on the fact that he was not going to get a hit.''

Dennys Reyes, who signed a deal with the Red Sox earlier this month, finally arrived in camp, delayed somewhat by visa issues in his native Mexico.

"He's had two or three long days trying to travel and obstacles in getting here,'' said Francona. "We'll just try and gauge where he is. He looks good. He tested his shoulder and that came out fine. We haven't even watched him throw yet. We'll see. Obviously, the sooner the better. But we don't want to do it too soon, because that doesn't help anybody. As soon as he gets ready, and not before, we'll throw him right into the mix.''

Said Reyes: "I've been pitching for a long time and I know what to do. I'm going to do my best every time out.''

Reyes said the battle for the final two spots in the bullpen will result in "a great competition. There's nothing you can do. I know most of the guys competing and I respect them. It's not going to be our decision; it's going to be the (team's) decision and you just have to do the best you can.''

Reyes has been in a spring training competition a few times before and the toughest part of the process is the mental aspect.

"Thinking about what if you're not (chosen for the roster),'' said Reyes, "that's the hardest part.''

Though he was held up in arriving in camp, Reyes has already thrown three bullpens and three simulated games in his native Mexico.''

A mechanical flaw resulted in Reyes being ineffective against lefties last year, but he thinks he corrected it at the end of last season.

"Throughout his career,'' said Francona, "he's gotten lefties out. That's what the hopes are.''

Felix Doubront, who was shut down last week with tenderness in his left elbow, said he felt "the normal tightness'' he usually feels at the start of spring training.

Doubront had an MRI, which showed no structural damage to the elbow.

"I feel it every year when I start throwing,'' he said. "When I threw my first live BP, there was something there. It wasn't right. I talked to the trainers. It's a little frustrating, but it could have been worse. It's nothing to worry about it. It's just minor.''

The Red Sox beat Northeastern in the nightcap, 13-2, after beating Boston College in the first game, 6-0. Northeastern had more errors, seven, than the Red Sox had hits, six. Milton, Mass., Rich Hill earned the win, going one inning giving up a run on hit with one strikeout.

Mike Cameron, who was limited to 48 games last season with a lower abdominal strain, served as the designated hitter against Northeastern, going 0-for-2. It was his first game activity since July 30, with season-ending surgery on Aug. 27.

It was good, Cameron said. You just never know how the game is going to transpire. It was good. I got a chance to get out there and get in the box. The jitters kind of went away. I dont know if it was the guy who was throwing or what, but I felt kind of comfortable out there. Well continue the work in progress.

Manager Terry Francona said the original plan had been for the infield to play in the first game of the doubleheader against Boston College, and the outfield play against Northeastern. But that was scuttled when left fielder Carl Crawford was excused from camp to return to his Houston home for personal reasons. Still, Francona was happy to see Ellsbury and Cameron return to the lineup healthy.

It was nice to see them both in action, he said.

Northeasterns Ryan Maguire, of Arlington, Mass., opened the game with a first-pitch home run off Kyle Weiland. In 128 13 innings over 25 starts for Double-A Portland last season, Weiland allowed just 13 home runs.

Flashy shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias with 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI.

He took a nice swing, Francona said. The big thing for Jose will be not his swing. I think hes got a pretty swing. Its just swinging at strikes, trying to work counts, and learning that aspect of it because he can hit. He can get the barrel on the ball.

Peter Hissey and Che-Hsuan Lin also had two RBI each.

Adrian Gonzalez took 25 swings off the tee, then hit 25 flips early Saturday morning. "He had a real good morning. Everything went really well. He was really pleased with us . . . Among the players scheduled to play against Minnesota in the Grapefruit League opener tonight: Jarrod Saltalmacchia; Jed Lowrie; David Ortiz; Kevin Youkilis; Mike Cameron; Darnell McDonald; Jose Iglesias; and Ryan Kalish . . . Infielder Hector Luna scratched from the second game with a tight groin, which he has battled all spring...Francona said Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek would alternate the catching duties over the first four Grapefruit League games. Four Red Sox pitchers threw an inning each in a simulated game on the back field: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Alfredo Aceves and Bobby Jenks. After Brent Dlugach drilled a pitch from Jenks off the wall, he got the next pitch in his backside . . . Francona explaining his decision to announce that Marco Scutaro would be his starting shortstop at the start of the season: "If I was a player and went through what Scutaro did (playing hurt last year) and then had to come to camp and base my playing time on 40 at-bats, I wouldn't want to play for a guy like me. I don't think that makes a lot of sense.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A baseball lesson: There’s trading a top prospect because you know he’s not as good as everyone thinks (a la the Atlanta Braves back in the day with Andy Marte) and then there’s straight-up dumping out the treasure chest because you’re Dave GD Dombrowski and you’ll be damned if “promise” is going to get in the way of you making a zillion trades… a la Dave Dombrowski.  

Since the start of the 2016 season, Dombrowski has traded four of his top 10 prospects by Baseball America’s rankings, and three of his top five. The group is led by Yoan Moncada, who was considered the team’s best prospect before he was shipped to Chicago in Tuesday’s blockbuster trade for Chris Sale. 

All in all, the Sox sent out six prospects in two trades Tuesday, and they’ll join the likes of Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot and others with whom Dombrowski has willingly parted since taking over as Boston’s president of baseball operations. 

Here’s a look at the players the Sox gave up Tuesday: 

YOAN MONCADA, 2B 
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 1
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 1

Moncada’s eight games in the Major Leagues to this point haven’t been impressive, but using that as rationale (as some may have when the Sox traded a young Hanley Ramirez in the Josh Beckett trade) is likely wishful thinking. 

The Cuban infielder was ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball by Baseball America last season. The outlet projects him as a five-tool player whose potential to hit for average and power will outweigh strikeout concerns. 

From August: 

Built like a running back at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Moncada is an explosive athlete with true five-tool potential. A switch-hitter, Moncada has electric bat speed, which combined with his strength allows him to smash hard line drives all over the field. He has at least plus raw power, with that power starting to translate more in games thanks to mechanical adjustments he’s worked on this season.  

MICHAEL KOPECH, RHP
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 5
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 5

A first-round pick of the Sox in the 2014 draft, Kopech has yet to reach Double A, but, per two radar guns, has reached 105 miles an hour with his fastball. If that number is accurate, it ranks just one tenth of a mile-per-hour behind Arolis Chapman’s 2010 fastball for the fastest pitch recorded. 

Regardless of the pitch’s exact speed, it does damage. Pitching in High-A Salem last season, Kopech struck out a whopping 82 batters in 52 innings. 

LUIS ALEXANDER BASABE, OF 
Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 9 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 8

The switch-hitting outfielder spent most of last season in Single-A Greenville, hitting .258/.325/.447 in 105 games with 12 homers and 52 RBI. The Venezuela native is considered a decent fielder with a very good arm. 

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same first and last name as twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dombrowski also traded him over the last year when he shipped the second baseman to Arizona in the Brad Ziegler trade. 

MAURICIO DUBON, SS/2B
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 17

Maybe the kind of guy you want to keep on the same day you trade Yoan Moncada. 

Dubon is considered a very solid infield prospect, so much so that The Boston Globe noted Tuesday that “teams were absolutely drooling over Dubon’s defense and his offensive potential.” He finished the season at Double-A Portland, hitting .339/.371/.538 with six homers, six triples and 40 RBI. 

VICTOR DIAZ, RHP
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
 MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 28

The hard-throwing righty reportedly hit triple digits with his fastball this season and, like Kopech, used his fastball to his advantage. He struck out 63 batters in 60.1 innings for Single-A Greenville

JOSH PENNINGTON, RHP 
(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: N/A

This is an interesting one. He was drafted as a project in the 2014 draft after learning that he would need Tommy John Surgery. He was starting to make good on his potential this past season, posting a 2.86 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings for Short-Season A Lowell. 

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dave Dombrowski has jumped in. All in. With both feet.

MORE ON THE TRADE

For an executive with a reputation for making bold moves, Dombrowski may have made his boldest one yet Tueday by shipping arguably the organization's best position player prospect (Yoan Moncada) and its best pitching prospect (Michael Kopech), along with two others, to the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Chris Sale.

Adding Sale to a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price gives the Red Sox the American League's best rotation and makes the Sox the team to beat in the A.L.

Hired 17 months ago with a mandate to make the Red Sox winners again after three last-place finishes in the span of four seasons, Dombrowski has acted aggressively and decisively.

Since then, he's obtained Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale. That translates into three lefty starters and three back-end power arms in the bullpen.

Of course, all those moves have come at a significant cost. Dombrowski has gone through the Red Sox' minor-league system and shredded it, sacrificing Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and now, Moncada and Kopech.

The pitching, in particular, has been stripped bare, with Espinoza and Kopech representing the two best arms in the system. And in Moncada, the Sox gave up on arguably the single most talented propsect in the entire sport.

At a time when teams protect their best young players as though their existence depends on them, Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingess to move them for a chance to win now.

In exchange, the Sox have now built a super rotation, with three front-line starters, augmented by two other lefties (Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez) along with Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.

It's a virtual certainty that the Sox will move one of those arms now, in a market where there's virtually no quality free-agent starters available.

Buchholz, who stands to earn $13.5 million in 2017, would give them payroll relief, while Rodriguez, because of his youth and upside, might give the team its biggest return.

Dombrowski's moves create a window for the Red Sox. Sale's deal runs through 2019, while Price has an opt-out in his deal after 2018.

That creates some urgency for the Red Sox to capitalize on the strength of their rotation and a nucleus of young position players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi -- and win multiple titles in the next few seasons.

Anything less will be considered a failure.

It's championship-or-bust time at Fenway.