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Red Sox Minor Lines: Blake Swihart returns

Blake Swihart comes back and Bryan Mata debuts

Pawtucket W 5-4 (F/12)

Blake Swihart: 0-5, 1 BB, 2 K

Pablo Sandoval: 0-5, 2 K

Steve Selsky: 1-5, 1 BB, 1 K

Kyle Kendrick: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Austin Maddox: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Noe Ramirez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Swihart is back! The young catcher had been out since April 29 with a finger injury, and what seemed like it should be a short stay on the minor-league disabled list wound up lasting almost a month. His debut was not very impressive, obviously, but that’s not the important thing here. The most exciting player on Pawtucket’s roster is back in action, and that’s a reason to celebrate.

Portland L 6-8

Danny Mars: 1-5, 1 RBI, 4 K

Tzu-Wei Lin: 0-4

Rafael Devers: 0-4, 2 K, 2 E

Nick Longhi: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 K

Josh Tobias: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Trey Ball: 5.2 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Can we just end the Ball-as-a-starter experiment? It’s pretty clear at this point that it’s just never going to work. Even with slightly improved peripherals this season — although not in this start — he’s been hit consistently hard by Double-A lineups. I’m not sure how they’d fill his spot in Portland’s rotation, but there’s gotta be a way somehow. Use the rest of the season to see if there’s hope that his stuff will play up in shorter stints out of the bullpen. If so, great. There’s some value to be squeezed out of Ball. If not, then figure out the next step this winter.

Salem L 4-5

Tate Matheny: 0-5, 2 K

Michael Chavis: 2-5

Josh Ockimey: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K

Trenton Kemp: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K

Austin Rei: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K

Kemp is an outfielder who was taken in the 15th round in the 2014 draft. He’s understandably been under-the-radar during his career, having never really put up big numbers as he’s slowly climbed the ladder. In fact, he started this season in extended spring training. He was eventually placed on Salem’s roster, though, and after Friday’s home run he’s hitting .373/.429/.587 in 22 games. It’s probably not going to last, but right now he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Kemp is at least worth keeping an eye on for now.

Greenville L 1-2 (F/13)

Tyler Hill: 0-4, 2 K

Lorenzo Cedrola: 2-5, 1 2B

Bryan Mata: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K

It was an exciting day down in Greenville, with the 18-year-old Mata making his Low-A debut. He is easily the youngest player on the Drive’s roster and the only younger player in the league is Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (Yes, Vlad’s son is playing professional baseball. Death is coming for us all.) Mata is arguably the most exciting pitching prospect in the system, and the organization is understandably going to limit his workload to start his time in full-season ball. He had some efficiency issues in this one — 69 pitches in just three innings — but overall it was a fine enough start for someone his age.