Pawtucket (45-25, IL North 1st place) – The PawSox maintain their hold atop the International League North Division after sparking up a five-game winning streak which started after their only loss of the week last Monday against Gwinnett. They will open the week with four games in Syracuse as Aaron Cook returns to the mix to kick off his rehab. Cook was 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA with the PawSox before being called up to Boston where he was spiked on a play at home plate in his only start with the big club. Monday night's game will be televised on NESN where you should also be able to catch the rehabbing Cody Ross who is expected to continue his stint with the PawSox (unless the Podsednik injury expedites things) after returning to the field this the past weekend. While we are on the subject of guys working their way back, Mark Prior has made five relief appearances for Pawtucket and has not allowed a run in 6 2/3 innings while striking out 15 batters. Prior has not pitched in the Majors since 2006, but after numerous comeback attempts, he may have finally found the comfort zone that gets him back.
Portland (28-40, EL Eastern 5th place) – A 1-5 week has the Sea Dogs at 6-9 for the month of June as they head home to Hadlock for a quick three game set against Harrisburg starting on Tuesday night. Anthony Ranaudo and Drake Britton will be the bookends to Chris Hernandez, who despite a 3-6 record, carries a 2.89 ERA into the game, eighth best mark in the Eastern League. The Sea Dogs were shut out twice last week and have been held scoreless eight times this season. They have had only one shutout go in their favor, a 4-0 win against Binghamton on May 18th. Portland has given up a league-high 315 runs while scoring 247 runs, second lowest mark in the EL. The Sea Dogs took two of three games in Harrisburg at the end of May and they are 2-8 against Trenton this season, where they will travel to for four games at the end of the week.
Salem (41-28, CL Southern 2nd place) – The Salem Sox found themselves three games back of snagging the playoff spot that comes with the league’s best record in the first half of the Carolina League season. On Tuesday night Jackie Bradley, Jr., Travis Shaw, Xander Bogaerts, and Mike Olmsted will be on the Carolina League All-Star team as they face off against the California League All-Stars in Winston-Salem. Former Red Sox first base prospect, and current A's third base prospect, Miles Head, who went to Oakland in the offseason as part of the trade that brought Andrew Bailey to the Red Sox, will take part in the Home Run Derby for the California League. Salem will open up the second half on the road with three games in Lynchburg followed by a four-game set in Winston-Salem starting on Sunday.
Greenville (34-36, SAL Southern 5th place) – The Drive find themselves well back of first place Ashville at the All-Star break. Keury De la Cruz, Garin Cecchini and Miguel Pena will represent Greenville in the Sally League’s 53rd annual mid-summer classic. The Drive kick off the second half by hosting the Charleston River Dogs for four games. De la Cruz will take an 11 game hitting streak into the second half.
Lowell (0-0, NYPL) – Spinners season is finally upon us with LaLacheur Park in Lowell ready to go after a 6-inning exhibition on Friday against the FCBL’s Nashua Silver Knights. David Chester, a 6’5”, 270 pound first baseman, showed off his power in that game by stroking one over the high scoreboard in left field, marking his presence as a “must watch” guy whenever he is swinging a stick. Francisco Taveras, a lefty who spent the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, will be the first Spinners pitcher out of the gate. Last season he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 12 games with the GCL Sox. Lowell hosts the Connecticut Tigers on Monday and Tuesday night, with Connecticut returning the favor on Wednesday and Thursday, before the Spinners return home for three against the Vermont Lake Monsters over the weekend.
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