A third straight trip to Portland was not the way that Derrik Gibson had it mapped out.
Starting his seventh season as a pro, the 24-year-old did not flinch, stayed positive, and finally produced the breakout season he knew he could.
“It’s finally come all together,” said Gibson. “There’s still days where I get away from some of the stuff I’ve been doing well at the plate. I just try to limit those days.
“It’s been great. I’m just trying to work hard, take it one day at a time. I’ve learned a lot this year … I really anticipated a good year this year and it’s worked out.”
Gibson hit a combined .235 in his prior two seasons in Portland and his high water mark for average, .290, came while with Short Season Lowell in 2009.
The outfielder openly admits to his struggles and the pressures he felt coming into professional ball directly out of high school. He was afraid of failure. It was something he was unfamiliar with, so when it started seeping in, he struggled at times to control it.
But Gibson was still enjoying the game and relishing the opportunity to come to the ballpark every day, so he made sure to continue to work as hard as he could while given the chance.
“When you’re young, coming out of high school, there wasn’t as much failure as there is here,” Gibson said. “It’s tough to handle that at first. Yet, at the same time it was fun to come to the ballpark every day. I kept coming and saying maybe this will be the day that it clicks.”
He worked hard through the offseason, worked with Red Sox hitting director Tim Hyers and Portland hitting coach Rich Gedman, and things started clicking.
In working with Hires, Gibson started to stay short on his swing, putting more bat than body into it, getting better direction toward the ball.
In 85 games with the Sea Dogs, Gibson hit .302 and was named to the Eastern League All-Star Game.
Earlier this month, he earned his first trip to Pawtucket, where he has collected 11 hits in his first nine Triple-A games.
“All-in-all, it’s by far been one of the best years offensively,” said Gibson. “It’s been parts of seven seasons with the Red Sox and this one’s been good. The Red Sox have done a good job, I commend them for sticking with me. I try to give them everything I got. ”
Henry Owens – His scoreless debut with Pawtucket marked the eighth game this season in which the left-hander had not yielded an earned run. In his career, Owens has pitched 25 games without giving up an earned run, which covers 35 percent of appearances.
Squeezing the system
Pawtucket (AAA) – Outfielder Alex Hassan is batting .328 since his two-day stint with the big club back in early June. The Milton native leads the team in doubles (28), RBIs (47), and runs (54).
Portland (AA) – Brian Johnson has gone winless in his last three starts despite allowing just two earned runs on eight hits and five walks over 21 1/3 innings. The Sea Dogs lefty has allowed just three earned runs over his last 41 1/3 innings.
Salem (A+) – Outfielder Matty Johnson has hit safely in 10 straight games and 20 of his last 23. He has not collected a hit since Aug. 7 as the team has suffered four consecutive rain outs and an off day over the past week.
Greenville (A) – Following a four-game stretch in which he went 0-3 with a 8.27 ERA, pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz has gone six-innings plus in his next five starts, posting a 3-0 mark with a 1.99 ERA. The 2013 second-rounder has struck out 27 and allowed just 23 hits and six walks over his last 31 2/3 frames.
Lowell (Short Season A) – The Spinners, who are 7-2 in August, will be sending four representatives to the New York-Penn League All Star game in Brooklyn next week. Third baseman Jordan Betts (22 extra base hits, team high 30 RBIs), shortstop Mauricio Dubon (.290 batting average, team high 29 runs), outfielder Danny Mars (league leading .335 batting average), and pitcher Carlos Pinales (league leader with 13 saves) will play for the North squad on Coney Island.
Gulf Coast (Rookie) – Pitcher Javier Rodriguez has appeared in eight games and picked up the win in seven of them. The 19-year-old lefty has allowed just three earned runs over 36 innings. The team holds a game and half lead over the Rays in the South Division.
Dominican (Rookie) – Three of the five pitchers on the staff with over 50 innings of work have ERAs under 2.00; Jhonathan Diaz (61 1/3 IP, 1.61 ERA), Gerson Bautista (56, 1.13), and Algenis Martinez (54 1/3, 1.99). The team holds a three-game lead in the Boca Chica South Division, with 10 games left to play.