Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
TAMPA -- The heat and humidity are the same. The palm trees still sway in the wind.
And March in Florida still means baseball games that don't count, in terms of wins and losses.
Of course, they mean something, in terms of teams getting ready, and figuring out who is on the roster.
A few former Sea Dogs are having intriguing springs.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias figured to be headed to Pawtucket. But his fielding continues to be electric, and his batting is said to be improved, although the average is still .235 (as of Friday).
Right-hander Daniel Bard wants to be a starter, but the Red Sox have not committed to the idea just year. Bard gets the start today in Dunedin (which is why I'm staying in the Tampa Bay area, before heading to Fort Myers).
Lars Anderson is not going to make the major league club this spring, even though he is batting .400 (10-for-25), with a 1.123 OPS (as of Friday). Everyone naturally considers Anderson trade bait because of Adrian Gonzalez. And Anderson certainly could be gone by the end of July if not sooner.
But Anderson is only 24 and he has minor league options this year and next. He provides insurance and could be a DH/back-up in the future.
Then again, if the Red Sox need another arm in the stretch run ...
Alex Hassan is batting only .200, but he has a .448 on-base percentage because, as Hadlock fans found out last year, Hassan is not afraid to take a pitch. He leads the major league team with nine walks. It will be interesting to see Hassan, who batted .291 last year for Portland (.404 on-base percentage), adjust to Triple-A this year.
There are plenty more stories to follow in this final week of March. Check back to this space daily for reports.
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Elsewhere, two lefties who pitched at Hadlock Field last year are trying to stick in the bullpens of their respective major league teams.
Tommy Hottovy, 30, signed as a minor league free agent with the Kansas City Royals. He has pitched six scoreless innings so far, allowing five hits and no walks, striking out eight.
Cesar Cabral, 22, was claimed by Kansas City in the Rule V draft and traded to the Yankees. Because this is Cabral's second time as a Rule V draft pick, he can become a free agent if he does not stick on New York's major league roster.
Cabral just might make it. Through Friday's action, he had a 2.16 ERA in 81/3 innings, and 11 strikeouts. He struck out six in two innings on Wednesday.
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Ryan Khoury has hooked up with another independent league team. Khoury, who returned to the Sea Dogs mid-season last year from the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League, has signed on with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association. Khoury, 28, batted .239 in 61 games for Portland last year.
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Bubba Bell, the popular Sea Dogs outfielder (2007-09) has landed in the independent leagues, with the expansion Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters of the Atlantic League.
The Red Sox had no room for Bell at the end of last year's spring training and traded him to Cleveland. The Indians sent him to the Mets, where he played in Triple-A and Double-A.
Bell, 29, broke through in 2007 when he was the California League Player of the Year (batting .370 with 22 home runs before his promotion to Double-A). Slowed by injuries, Bell batted .278 over 166 games for Portland, with 22 home runs.
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