Tag Archives: Jeremy Kehrt

Xander Bogaerts and Gerrit Cole sighted in Portland as Sea Dogs edge Altoona Curve, 2-1

Jackie Bradley streaks home with the eventual game-winner for Portland in the sixth inning.

Xander Bogaerts

(Portland ME) I went to get my first look at Boston’s #1 prospect (Xander Bogaerts) and have the pictorial evidence to show that I succeeded.

And as it turned out there was more for me on this special Thursday night at Hadlock Field:
(1) I saw the Sea Dogs win a close one (2-1) over Altoona,  (2) I got a look at the baseball’s top draft pick in 2011 (Gerrit Cole), and
(3) I spent several innings in conversation with The Curve’s engaging closer Vic Black.

The weather turned good about 5PM for the 6PM game and superb collective effort the Sea Dogs’ staff removed the infield coverage and everything started as if it hadn’t rained most of the day.

Since the Eastern League All-Star break the Sea Dogs have thrived at Hadlock (16-4) and their current overall record (58-65) can only reflect on how poorly they played in the first half.

In this game Portland got some more great pitching as starter Jeremy Kehrt and reliever Jason Urquidez who combined for one run/six hits/eleven K’s.  Urquidez, the 30-year-old from the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, hit the first batter he faced but went on dominate Altoona in three innings of work.

The Sea Dogs scratched out the two runs they needed in the sixth inning off of Gerrit Cole to offset Christian Marrero’s solo homer in the second inning.

The speed of Jackie Bradley was huge in the two runs scored.  After Christian Vazquez singled, Jackie hit a chopper over the mound.  Shortstop Oscar Tejeda (former Sea Dog) charged the ball and tried for the short-hop pickup (because of Jackie’s speed) and ended up with a deflection into the outfield.  Jackie was awarded a hit and went to second on the error (deflection) while Christian moved on to third.

With the Altoona infield back, Marquis Smith’s grounder to second brought in Christian with the Sea Dogs’ first run and Jackie moved to third.  A two-out wild pitch by Gerrit Cole allowed Jackie to easily score what turned out to be the winning run.

Gerrit was not a bit pleased at the end of that inning.  I was at the end of the Altoona dugout and heard him yell, “that was not the time for that,” referring to the wild pitch.  He also punished his glove and the dugout bathroom door shortly after that.

He had reason to be frustrated because of his 3-5 record with Altoona and because he deserved a better result for his evening‘s work.  In this game, without the Oscar Tejeda error, Marquis Smith’s grounder to second could have been an inning-ending double play.  And without his wild pitch the inning would have ended tied 1-1.

Gerrit Cole pitched very well in a tough loss for Altoona.

There were some take-away positives for Gerrit in this game.  He retired the first fourteen and ended striking out nine in six innings.  His heat was impressive.  He hit above 95 a couple of times in the early going and I asked a coach in the Portland dugout if the readings were accurate.  He told me they were and that Cole can reach 100.  Sure enough, he hit that mark a number of times during the innings he pitched.

That same Portland coach was keeping track of some hitting stats for the team.  I heard Bryce Brentz jokingly tell him after one of the early innings to forget about those stats because we had no batting practice (rain) and now we’re facing a guy who throws 100.

By the way, Bryce made the defensive play of the game with a diving, stretched-out catch of a line drive to right.  That ball was heading to the wall and Altoona had a runner on first at the time.

Another defensive play of note was left fielder Peter Hissey’s throw to the plate that nailed Charlie Cutler in the fifth.  Christian Vazquez applied the tag.

Charlie Cutler about to be tagged out on a throw from left fielder Peter Hissey to catcher Christian Vazquez in the fifth inning.

And then there was the very engaging Vic Black.  He was sitting down in the photographers’ end of the Altoona dugout when I switched over there after a few innings in the Portland dugout.

My instincts tell me not to be any kind of a distraction to players but Vic was friendly and we chatted for several innings.

I did not realize who he was at first and mentioned that the last time I had seen Altoona was in New Britain. That was game the Rock Cats’ Chris Colabello hit a 3-run, 2-out walkoff homer in the ninth off an Altoona reliever.  Vic immediately pointed at himself and smirked.  The homer was off him!  He explained to me what he had been trying to do in that situation and that he learned more in that outing than he had in the numerous good outings he has had.  He added with a laugh that after the walkoff gopher pitch he was so stunned that he waited for another baseball not realizing that the game was over.

The 24-year-old said that he was really enjoying the minor leagues but hoped next year to bypass Indianapolis (AAA) and make the Pirates.

I did a little research on Vic after the game and learned that he was drafted in the supplemental first round in 2009.  In mid-2010 he developed shoulder problems and his velocity dropped.  It seemed to me that he had been very inactive since then until this season.

He told me that the long bus rides didn’t bother him because he was glad to be with the team contributing after being unable to pitch for so long.  His velocity is now 96 and up and he said he’s feeling good.

I assumed that he wasn’t going to be pitching in the game we were watching since he was in the dugout.  He said, however, that he’d rather hang in the dugout because he could watch the game better.  He said that he had only thrown thirteen pitches the night before could be used.  When The Curve went behind in the sixth, and never caught up, there was no call for Vic the closer.

Vic told me that the hardest part of the minors is the ups and downs that teams go through.  He said that you want to come back positive after streaks of losses but it’s hard.  Altoona has now lost ten straight on the road with their last win on July 24th in Reading.  They are 21-40 on the road this season.

Xander Bogaerts

As I mentioned at the top, my main reason for arranging this Portland visit with Media Relations boss Chris Cameron was to see Xander Bogaerts (pronounced Zander Bowgarts).

Xander looks young (he turns twenty in October) but is not out of place with AA Portland.  The 6-3/175 shortstop can hit (had double off Gerrit Cole) and field.  I suspect he will fill out some and probably play in the outfield at the next level.

Xander is from Aruba and received a $510,000 signing bonus in 2009 as a 16-year-old.  I learned, doing some homework on Xander, that he only played baseball on the weekends in Aruba but obviously that was enough to impress the Red Sox scouts.

Incidentally Xander was the first teenager to make the Portland Sea Dogs since they have been a Red Sox affiliate.  Another teenager played in Portland in 2002 when they were a Marlins’ affiliate and that was Adrian Gonzalez.

Again, my thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.
(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Xander Bogaerts

Bryce Brentz

race against the mascot

Xander rounds third

Matt Curry

Jason Urquidez

Xander Bogaerts

Jackie Bradley

off comes the tarp

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Bryce Brentz and Jackie Bradley Jr. sighted in Portland Sea Dogs visit

Bryce Brentz

Jackie Bradley Jr

(Portland)  Huge games by anyone named Jeremy as they led the Portland Sea Dogs to a 12-0 rout of the Reading Phillies on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

Jeremy Kehrt pitched a perfect five innings and Jeremy Hazelbaker had three hits including two home runs and drove in five runs.

After catching Bryce Harper, Derek Norris, and Tyler Moore in August last year when Harrisburg played at Hadlock, I was intent on getting pictures of potential major leaguers.

The top prospects in the game, as far as I could figure, were: Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, Sebastian Valle, and  Trevor May for Reading and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz for Portland.

It was a bright day most of the time so unfortunately for a picture taker, many of the players wore sunglasses.  I got two players I was after (Darin Ruf and Bryce Brentz) to remove their shades for pictures.  Cesar and Trevor didn’t wear sunglasses.  The toughest one was Jackie Bradley.  However, he didn’t wear shades when he was hitting so I got my best shots when he was on the bases or returning to the Portland dugout.

Trevor May

Trevor May had a very rough afternoon.  The Phillies #1 prospect (6-5/250) had serious control issues giving up eight walks.

There was a nice ceremony before the game welcoming  some new citizens.

There were over six thousand fans on hand and the afternoon was filled with entertainment for them.

Portland shortstop Ryan Dent made several terrific plays.

Marquez Smith also had a home run for Portland.  There is a lighthouse in centerfield that shoots off fireworks after a Portland home run.

Chris Cameron (Director of Media Relations) once again made my visit a smooth one.  Being allowed on the field before the game and in the dugouts during the game certainly increased my chances of getting some good pictures.

(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

lighthouse fireworks

Bryce Brentz

Jackie Bradley Jr

new citizens sworn in

Sebastian Valle

Peter Hissey, Jackie Bradley Jr, Bryce Brentz

Jeremy Kehrt

Jeremy Hazelbaker homer trot

Chris Cameron

Darin Ruf

Cesar Hernandez

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Filed under Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Phillies

Bryce Harper Sighting (Harrisburg Senators Defeat the Portland Sea Dogs)

Bryce Harper watches from the dugout.

(Portland ME)  I’ll admit that I looked at the Portland Sea Dogs schedule after Bryce Harper had been promoted to AA Harrisburg in July.

I found that the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals farm team) were in Portland, August 22-24, with a noon game on the 24th.  Looking for daylight photo opportunities, I chose that noon game as my target date and made arrangements with Sea Dogs media relations director Chris Cameron.

I had been to Hadlock Field in June of 2009 to do a story on Newburyport’s Todd Jamison, who was on staff then.  Chris had set up the press credentials for me then as well.

The goal was to get some photos of baseball action and possibly a picture or two of 18-year-old phenom Bryce Harper.

Imagine my chagrin when I read on August 19th that Bryce was injured the night before in Akron, the series before the Sea Dog series.  He had pulled a hamstring and had to be helped off the field.  Say goodbye to seeing him in Portland on the 24th……….so I thought at the time.

I assumed Bryce would return to Harrisburg for treatment and sit out the rest of the season.  Imagine my delight to find out that he was with the team in Portland.  I learned that in the Portland Press Herald notes.  So at least there might be a chance to catch him.  However, I had every intention of attending the noon game whether Bryce was there or not.

I checked in with Chris Cameron after I took a walk around the perimeter of the field.  He helped me identify some pictures of Sea Dog players I had taken on my visit to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in June.  I also asked him about Bryce and he said that Bryce had signed briefly before and after the Monday game and had been in the bullpen during the Tuesday game.

If this is starting to sound like a scavenger hunt you’re right, it was for me.  This was my version of “Where is Elmo!”

I was inside Hadlock Field before the players arrived and I was in a position to see any players coming and going on the field.  However, the players I started seeing had workout clothes on and I couldn’t identify any of them without a number.

So I decided to escape to the press box to get out of the sun – it was a beautiful day.  In a while I became aware of a group of autograph seekers gathering near the Harrisburg dugout.  My gut told me that they were looking for Bryce.  I figured that if he showed up I would go onto the field and get a picture or two of him signing.  He never showed up.

As time went on, the players working out departed, and the field became empty.  Then a few players, now in uniform trickled back onto the field as game-time approached.  That was when I made my move to get into the photographer’s spot in the Harrisburg dugout.

Let me tell you about being a photographer at Hadlock.  Chris gave me the specs on it.  Each dugout had a small space down the outfield end of the dugout where you stand.  You could also get out of the dugout into a small space further along.  Great view of the game in either spot BUT neither spot had any protection from a batted or thrown ball!  As Clint Eastwood said, “Are you feeling lucky??”

I decided to chance it.  My survival strategy was to not take any pictures of batters in case they ripped one my way while I was taking a picture.  My suspect reflexes were never tested.  I did, however, see a fast grounder put a camera man on the Portland dugout side into a duck-or-die situation.

Bryce Harper arrives just before game starts.

As the start of the game got closer, I wondered if Bryce was down the left field line in the bullpen or was not going to appear at all.  But then, just about five minutes before the game was to start a lone figure strolled across the field behind home plate……..my intended target had arrived!

The Harrisburg dugout area had long been cleared of autograph seekers by now and Bryce slipped into the dugout virtually unnoticed.  Without a number on his back and buried in a dugout, it would be tough for anyone to know he was there.  I had seen a few pictures of him so I knew.

Harrisburg (73-57) had several talented players, so I followed the action on the field and shot selected players on the field and as they came toward me at the end of an inning.

Erik Arnesen - Harrisburg pitcher graduated from Grove City College.

I wanted to get pitcher Erik Arnesen and I did.  Not only is he pitching well this season but he is a graduate of Grove City College – my nephew Stephen Hagberg’s alma mater.  I mentioned it to Erik and got him to pose for a picture.

I also wanted to be sure to get first baseman Tyler Moore.  Tyler helped matters by getting his Eastern League-leading 28th homer in this game and getting his league-leading 81st RBI as well.  Only 6-2/185, the 24-year-old generated some serious power in this game.

Another picture I sought to get was of Derek Norris. This catcher is the Washington Nationals 2nd ranked prospect according to Baseball America.  The 22-year-old didn’t play but he did warm up pitchers before most innings so I had that chance to get his picture.

Speaking of pitchers, the starter for Harrisburg was Oliver Perez.  Yes, that Oliver Perez!  10-7 with the NY Mets in 2008 and 15-10 the year before.  His career fell apart in 2009-10 and the Mets released him.  He signed with the Senators as a minor league free agent in March of this year.  In this game, he went 4 2/3 but a high pitch count (102) and runners on base put an end to his afternoon and kept him from getting the win.

Not surprisingly, based on my initial goal, I did get a number of shots of Bryce.  He spent most of the game down the other end of the dugout which made it easier to for me to take non-intrusive pictures.

Tyler Moore - Leads Eastern League in homers (28) and RBI (81)

Harrisburg won the game, 9-3, riding three homers (Tyler Moore, Tim Pahuta, Chris Rahl) and solid relief pitching.  The teams combined for 23 hits and both teams had applause-deserving plays in the field.

This has been a struggle of a year for the Portland Sea Dogs (53-77).  The loss today mathematically eliminated Portland from the Eastern League playoffs. The franchise started in 1994 with an inglorious 60-81 season that set the substandard until now.  The 2011 Sea Dogs will be fortunate to get to 60 wins the rest of the way.  In this one, the Sea Dogs were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded thirteen runners.  Tough to win doing that!

One of the features at Hadlock Field, is a picturing of current Red Sox players who have played for Portland.  It’s quite a list with Ryan Lavarnway not yet added.

Jeff Morris homered for Portland.  The 28-year-old catcher was picked up from the Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs of the independent American Association a few days ago.  His long one had to make him feel good.

Jimmy Barthmaier - winning pitcher

Jimmy Barthmaier relieved Oliver Perez in the 5th with two runners on and two out.  He hit the first batter (Reynaldo Rodriguez) but got a ground out from Morris to end the threat.  Jimmy would eventually pitch three innings and get his fifth win.

Third baseman Tim Pahuta (6-4/225) hit the longest ball of the game.  The left-handed batter creamed a Jeremy Kehrt pitch into a US Cellular banner beyond the right field seats.  It’s 330 feet down the line.  Tim’s blast was heading for Fitzpatrick Stadium beyond right field until the banner interfered.

The best memory of the visit may have been the Sea Dog mascot chasing a 6-year-old boy around the bases.  Despite missing a few front teeth, the delighted young man got to the plate first.

My second visit to Hadlock was terrific – just like the first.  The arrangements to see the game were easily put together and the folks on hand at Hadlock couldn’t have been more helpful.  They even provided good weather!  A special thanks to Media Relations Director Chris Cameron.

(I take my own pictures and create my own captions.  Mistakes are unintentional.  If anyone wants to use any of these pictures in another place I agree to it as long as I get credit for the picture.  By the way, if any of the pictures are clicked on they become larger.  Enjoy.)

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

Tyler Moore into home run trot

Tim Pahuta in home run trot

Reynaldo Rodriguez

Jeff Howell in home run trot

#2 Nationals prospect Derek Norris

steal of second base

young boy outruns Sea Dog mascot

Oliver Perez

steal attempt - Jeremy Hazelbaker

Current Red Sox who have played at Portland

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Filed under Bryce Harper, Tyler Moore