Roster Moves, Retirement, & Doubleheader Notes

Good afternoon from LewisGale Field,

If you haven’t seen the Q & A with Garin Cecchini posted earlier today, check it out!

With the Red Sox and Mudcats poised to play two tonight, there’s a lot of news to share from the Salem clubhouse.

Roster Shuffle
Players who have left Salem’s roster: RHP Kyle Kaminska, OF Matty Johnson, INF Nick Natoli

Players who Salem has added: RHP Chris Balcom-Miller, INF Matt Gedman

2013 Red Sox Minor League Headshots Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox)

RHP Kyle Kaminska

Lots of news here. Firstly, Kyle Kaminska decided to retire from professional baseball, leaving Salem on Wednesday after pitching pretty well as the Sox starter on Tuesday night. Kaminska, a 24-year-old from Illinois, made two starts for Salem after beginning the year with Double-A Portland. While he accounted himself well in his short time with Salem, the righthander made the call to hang it up. Drafted out of high school by the Marlins, Kaminska pitched for 10 different minor league clubs for three different organizations over the last seven seasons. He made 141 appearances and 71 starts, enjoying some success in A-ball but struggling at Double-A and above. The Red Sox acquired him from the Pirates last December as the player to be named in the Zach Stewart deal.

I only knew Kyle for a week, but enjoyed a few good chats with him and very much respect his decision to try something else. He’s getting married this fall, and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

In other news, Matty Johnson went up to Pawtucket a couple days ago, and Nick Natoli followed him today. These seem like roster-filler moves, with Johnson and Natoli providing depth for the Triple-A club. It is worth noting that Natoli has become a reliable utility man for Salem, especially over the past couple weeks. Since April 22, Natoli owns a .400 OBP, with 11 hits and 12 walks in his last 13 games.

2013 Red Sox Minor League Headshots Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox)

RHP Chris Balcom-Miller

Salem has received two players from extended spring, both of which are noteworthy. Chris Balcom-Miller has been hampered by a back injury, but the righthander arrives in the Roanoke Valley eager to reestablish himself as a dominant Carolina League pitcher. In 2011, Balcom-Miller went 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in seven impressive starts to begin the season, earning a quick promotion to Double-A. This time around, he’ll work out of Salem’s bullpen in search of rediscovering that 2011 form.

Matt Gedman also arrives from Fort Myers, becoming the second Gedman in as many years to be a part of the Salem Sox. Matt’s dad, Rich, a former Boston Red Sox backstop, was Salem’s Hitting Coach last year and is currently serving in that same role with Portland. The younger Gedman, a 45th round pick in 2011 out of UMass, has spent most of the last two seasons with Lowell. It’s hard to know how long Matt will hang around here in Salem, but if nothing else, he’ll likely get to come along to Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Marrero1

SS Deven Marrero

Other News
Shortstop Deven Marrero has been on the disabled list since April 23 with a tweaked hamstring. He is getting closer to returning, as evidenced by his extended baserunning simulation on the field earlier today. It’s not completely clear when Marrero will be back, but barring a setback, I’d be surprised if he did not play by the end of the Myrtle Beach series.

Heri Quevedo will make his first start as a member of the Red Sox organization in game two of the twin-bill tonight. That will push William Cuevas to Friday, with Henry Owens scheduled for Saturday and Kyle Stroup for Sunday. Though not official yet, it’s likely that the versatile Mike McCarthy will return to the to the rotation and pitch on Monday in Kaminska’s slot.

Salem and Carolina’s twin-bill commences at 5:30. Two seven-inning tilts, both heard live on ESPN Radio, AM 1230 WGMN and online at salemsox.com.

The game notes (mostly repeats from yesterday’s rainout) are below.

UPDATED: Here’s Salem’s game one lineup

  1. Coyle 2B
  2. Garcia DH
  3. Cecchini 3B
  4. De La Cruz RF
  5. Jacobs LF
  6. Renfroe 1B
  7. Ramos CF
  8. Blair C
  9. Johns SS

*****

May 9, 2013 5:30 PM Carolina Mudcats (11-20) vs. Salem Red Sox (15-14) Doubleheader Games #30&31

LewisGale Field                      Salem, VA                   Home Games #14&15

Probable Starters: Game One: RHP Cody Anderson (3-1, 3.18) vs RHP Mike Augliera (3-0, 4.13)

Game Two: RHP Rob Nixon (0-1, 7.43) vs RHP Heri Quevedo (0-1, 6.52)

Extra Success: For just the second time this season, the Salem Sox failed to register any singles in a game. But on Tuesday night, four timely extra-base hits provided all the punch that Salem would require in its 6-4 victory. Carolina outhit Salem 10-4, but the Sox went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position, while the Mudcats went 1-for-10 in similar situations. With 63 doubles and 15 triples, the Red Sox are first in the league in both categories. It was the second straight Tuesday without a single for the Red Sox, as Salem recorded five hits, all for extra bases, eight days ago against the Blue Rocks in a 10-3 loss.

Emerging Strength: In 2012, Garin Cecchini possessed an impact bat, hitting .305 and finishing fourth in the South Atlantic League with 38 doubles. But everything about his first month of the 2013 season has exceeded his past performance, especially in the power department. Whereas Cecchini hit just four home runs in 455 at-bats last year, he has already matched that total in less than 25% of the opportunities in 2013. His two-run blast on Tuesday came in his 103rd at-bat of the season and brought his batting average to .379. If you exclude his 0-for-7 start over his first two games to the year, Cecchini has hit .406 (39-for-96) in his last 25 games, with 18 extra-base hits, 16 walks, 22 runs scored, and 19 RBI.

Extending Starters: Entering Wednesday, only seven starting pitchers in the Carolina League who’ve been in the rotation all season have gone at least five innings in every one of their starts. Two of them will be on the mound this morning at LewisGale Field. With 34 innings pitched in six starts, Carolina’s Cody Anderson trails Winston-Salem’s Chris Bassitt by just three frames for the league lead in innings pitched. Anderson has gone six innings in four starts, working five frames in his two other starts. Meanwhile, Salem’s Mike Augliera has pitched between five and seven innings in each of his first five starts. With a 3-0 record, Augliera is looking to join Bassitt as the only pitchers in the league with four wins.

Explaining Struggles: While Carolina enters Wednesday with a league-worst 11-20 record, the Mudcats do own three of the league’s top five hitters. Nineteen-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor is second behind Cecchini with a .362 average, while Jerrud Sabourin is fourth at .327 and Tyler Naquin sits fifth at .308. In fact, Carolina is hitting .272 as a team, tops in the Carolina League after 31 games.  Despite this offensive prowess, the Mudcats are an appalling 2-8 in one-run games and 5-13 in games decided by three runs or less. Salem will host Carolina for three this week before heading to Zebulon for a three-game series next week.

Extraordinary Stillness: For the second straight game, the Salem Red Sox were without a stolen base on Tuesday night. The Sox had stolen at least one base in 23 of the first 27 games before failing to do so at all in the last couple. With 51 thefts in 29 games, the Red Sox are still tops in the circuit in the stolen base department. Salem has stolen more than twice as many bags as Carolina, who has just 23 steals in 31 games.

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