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Minor League Update: 8/5

Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)

Don't look now, but Charlie Zink is making a comeback in the Red Sox system. Zink, who pitched friday, is an eye-boggling 7-1 with a 3.81 earned run average. What has clicked for Zink? Odds are it's his knuckleball, but he still is walking way too many batters (44 walks, 39 strikeouts in 75.2 IP). But the important thing is he's keeping runs down. Maybe Zink's prospect-status has been resurrected.

Also, Chris Smith debuted with Pawtucket this week. He was impressive, going seven innings, allowing just three hits, a walk and striking out eight. Smith missed most of the 2002 season after an ATV accident. He's been trying to rebound ever since and it looks like 2006 is his year.

Portland Sea Dogs (AA)

The Sea Dogs have been pretty bad since the All-Star break. The Dogs have lost seven in a row and are 1-7 on their 10 game road-trip.

There are bright spots for the Sea Dogs, however. Jacoby Ellsbury continues to hit and cement himself as a top 100 prospect in the country. Ellsbury is hitting .322/.378/.400 with nine stolen bags. He hasn't hit a home run yet, but he has just as many doubles (seven) as he did in Wilmington in 154 less at-bats.

Edgar Martinez continues to be a solid closer for the club. Martinez has a club-leading nine saves. Martinez's right-hand man is Randy Beam who Baseball America says has the best changeup in the system. Beam hasn't been seen in any top prospects list, but maybe after 2006 he'll be there. Beam is 3.67 ERA in 49 innings of work. He's only walked nine batters all season (1.04 WHIP).

Greenville Drive (A+)

I really wished I lived in Greenville so I could watch this team. The pitching staff is a good enough reason along to pack my bags, clear my bank account, and buy an apartment down south. It must be fun to watch Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Michael Rozier now-a-days. That's not even mentioning the relievers doing damage.

Bowden and Buchholz have just been fantastic. Bowden has a 3.43 ERA in 97 innings, while striking out 111 and walking just 27. Buchholz is even better, notching a 2.81 ERA in 93 innings while striking out 106 and walking just 28. Talk about a duo you do not want to face.

Wilmington Blue Rocks (A-)

Bryce Cox is the new face in Wilmington. Cox, a third-round pick this year, is setting 'em up and knockin' 'em down as a reliever. Cox has allowed no runs in 9.2 IP, struck out 10, walked four and only given up three hits.

Jeff Corsaletti and Ian Bladergroen are providing the power for the Drive. If you remember, Bladergroen is who we acquired when we traded Doug Mientkiewicz to the Mets. Since then he's been injured and a little dissapointing, but 2006 has been a better year for him. "Blade" is hitting only .241, but he has a .344 OBP and a .756 OPS. He leads the Drive with eight dingers.

Lowell Spinners (Short-Season)

Think Justin Masterson is good? Ehh. I guess he's human.

Masterson allowed his first run this past week. He now has a very Papelbon-like 0.53 ERA in 17 innings. Maybe he isn't human, though: Masteron hasn't allowed one walk since joining Lowell and has struck out 22. Masterson will be a fun pitcher to watch.

Speaking of Papelbon, brother Josh Papelbon is putting together a fine rookie season with the Spinners. Josh has a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings. He has struck out 18 while only walking two batters.

Put Kris Johnson into the "unhuman" category. Johnson has started seven games, pitched 15.2 innings, and has allowed only one run. His ERA sits at a nifty 0.57 with a dandy-little 0.96 WHIP (do I sound like Don Orsillo?)

Rookies Leagues

Felix Doubront, 18, continues to pitch well down in the Gulf-Coast League (2.48 ERA, 40.0 IP, 26 H, 4 BB, 30 SO) ... Carlos Fernandez-Oliva is a name you may not have heard of. Fernandez, 19, is one of the names providing power for Doubront (105 AB, 2 HR, 9 2B, .305/.395/.467) ... Jonathan Egan, 19, is another catcher in the system. Egan is improving over his 2005 GCL numbers in a big way (76 AB, 2 HR, 7 2B, .329/.386/.536). John Sickels gave Egan a grade C in his 2006 Prospect Handbook ... Jose Capellan, 20, is putting together a terrific GCL season (2.00 ERA, 36.0 IP, 24 H, 5 BB, 37 SO). I'd like to see Capellan in Lowell before the season is out.