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Minor League notebook

Reddick still seen as not quite ready

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 18, 2010

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Going into last night, Darnell McDonald had appeared in 48 games for the Red Sox this season and had nearly 160 plate appearances. Bill Hall had started 25 games in the outfield and now Daniel Nava is getting regular at-bats.

Where does this leave Josh Reddick, who at the start of the season was the third-ranked prospect in the organization, according to Baseball America?

It leaves him in Pawtucket, which is right where the Red Sox want him.

Reddick, 23, has had two stints in the majors this year, playing eight games. But on both occasions, the promotion was temporary.

“It’s pretty simple: He needs to play,’’ said assistant general manager Ben Cherington. “The default position is to have him play every day. He’s got talent and he’s going to get regular at-bats in Pawtucket.’’

With Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list and Mike Cameron getting regular rest because of a lower abdominal strain, the Sox have used a rotation of players for two outfield spots. But they view Reddick as being better than a fill-in and don’t want to sidetrack him from meeting that potential.

“You have those conversations with players and try to explain the situation,’’ Cherington said. “Josh understands.’’

The other factor is that Reddick hasn’t proven he can hit Triple A pitching yet. He has played only 70 games for Pawtucket, 18 of them last season. He has hit .188 with a .241 on-base percentage. Through Wednesday, he was hitting only .210 for Pawtucket this season with 41 strikeouts in 200 at-bats.

“I haven’t been consistent yet,’’ Reddick said. “I’ve had a few good days in a row but I need to string more of those together.’’

Had Reddick gotten off to a hot start, Cherington said, the Sox would have been tempted to give him regular at-bats in the majors. But for now, he is back on the development path.

Waiting on Ibarra
It has been nearly two months since the Sox agreed to terms on a five-year, $3 million deal with Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra. But he has not yet officially signed.

Ibarra, 23, has established residency in the Dominican Republic but does not yet have a visa to the United States and as a result cannot sign his contract. There are layers of government bureaucracy to navigate, a process made even more complicated because Ibarra started that journey in Cuba.

For now, Ibarra is working out at the Sox’ facility in the Dominican Republic. He is not eligible to play in any games, however.

Once Ibarra is cleared — the Sox are hopeful that will be sometime this summer — he will report to Fort Myers and then be assigned to a team.

Ibarra has an advanced approach offensively but is somewhat raw as a catcher. The Sox had hopes of playing him in Portland at some point this season. But the delay in getting him signed could prevent that in 2010.

Wilson promoted
Righthander Alex Wilson, a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M last June, was promoted to Portland Tuesday.

Wilson had 13 dominant outings for Single A Lowell last season, allowing two earned runs and 10 hits over 36 innings while striking out 33. The Sox sent Wilson to High Single A Salem this season and he responded well, posting a 3.40 ERA over 11 starts.

Wilson had a rough debut for Portland, giving up seven runs on eight hits, two of them home runs, in three innings against Erie Wednesday.

If Wilson does make it to the big leagues, he would be only the second major leaguer born in Saudi Arabia. Craig Stansberry, who broke in with the Padres in 2007, is the first.

On the rise
The start of the short-season leagues will give the Sox a chance to see some promising young players who have been playing on dusty fields in front of no fans in extended spring training.

Here are four intriguing players headed for Lowell:

Brandon Jacobs: The Sox took the outfielder in the 10th round last June and gave him $750,000 to pass up a football scholarship to Auburn. Jacobs played in only eight games in the Gulf Coast League. A 6-foot-1-inch, 225-pound athlete with raw power and speed, Jacobs is only 19.

David Renfroe: The Sox invested $1.4 million in this infielder, who was considering playing quarterback at Ole Miss before he was taken in the third round last year. Like Jacobs, he’s one of the athletically gifted, high-ceiling high school players the Sox targeted in recent drafts.

Felix Sanchez: The switch-hitting outfielder, who turns 21 this month, was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. He spent his first season in the Dominican Summer League, then last year hit .246 in the Gulf Coast League.

Madison Younginer: The righthander went in the seventh round last season and signed too late to play. The Sox gave him nearly $1 million. Curiously, he was used as a reliever in high school despite a fastball in the mid-90s. He needed a lot of work mechanically but the 19-year-old has reportedly looked very good in Florida.

Here and there
Michael Bowden slipped down the prospect rankings after a rough start this season. But he has allowed only five earned runs in his last 24 innings and on Tuesday threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Louisville, allowing four hits without a walk. Keep in mind, he is only 23 . . . Pawtucket broadcaster Dan Hoard, whose “Heard it from Hoard’’ blog is terrific reading, reports that PawSox manager Torey Lovullo is a huge Lakers fan. Forgive the skipper, who grew up in Santa Monica and attended UCLA . . . Four players will represent Single A Salem in the All-Star Game between the Carolina League and the California League June 22: catcher Ryan Lavarnway, second baseman Oscar Tejada, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and righthander Brock Huntzinger. Wilson was selected to the team as well.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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