FORT MYERS, Fla. — Three prospects who had impressive performances in camp — outfielder Bryce Brentz, third baseman Garin Cecchini, and righthander Anthony Ranaudo — were among the 12 players the Red Sox reassigned Thursday morning.
That trio was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket along with outfielder/first baseman Alex Hassan and righthanded reliever Alex Wilson.
Righthanders Matt Barnes, Miguel Celestino, and Noe Ramirez, lefthander Henry Owens, first baseman Travis Shaw, catcher Blake Swihart, and infielder Heiker Meneses were reassigned to the minor league camp.
With the cuts, the Red Sox now have 46 players in camp. That includes injured pitchers John Ely and Steven Wright.
“I thought guys showed very well,” said manager John Farrell. “I think it speaks loudly [to] the unity that major league and minor league has. I thought guys came in and handled themselves well and handled the environment well. On the field, there were a lot of positive signs.”
Farrell was particularly impressed with Brentz, Hassan, and Swihart among the position players.
“Not that we’re overevaluating our own players, but there’s a lot of talent that was just sent out of camp,” the manager said.
Brentz was 9 for 22 in nine games with three home runs and seven RBIs. The 25-year-old former supplemental first-round pick is developing better plate discipline to complement his power.
“When he was in a two-strike situation, there was more of a pronounced two-strike approach where he looked to go the other way,” Farrell said.
Brentz was approached by several veterans as he packed up his locker.
“I’m getting there,” Brentz said. “I felt like I had some good at-bats and put the ball in play and did something positive. I can build on that. The big thing for me is to stay healthy and I think I’ll be fine.”
Cecchini was 3 for 16 but impressed the coaches with his play in the field and general approach. Ranaudo allowed three earned runs over 5⅓ innings but showed a fastball that produced some weak swings.
“He’s had a very good development year and is moving in the right direction,” said Farrell. “He’s getting close. There’s a lot of good going on there.”
Barnes, a first-round pick out of UConn in 2011, pitched an inning against Northeastern Feb. 27 and has been out since then with a sore shoulder. Barnes has started throwing but is not expected to get back on the mound until the end of the month.
Barnes did not have an MRI, and the injury is not serious. But he will not be ready to start the season with Pawtucket.
Up for challenge
Farrell asked for a replay during Thursday’s 4-3 victory over Minnesota — a first for him — but lost the challenge.
In the sixth inning, Minnesota’s Darin Mastroianni was called safe on a close play at first base and Farrell asked for a review. The call stood.
A fifth umpire stationed in the television truck handled the replay. During the regular season, calls will be reviewed in New York and relayed to ballparks. The teams also don’t have access to video in spring training, something they will have during the season.
“It was there, choose to use it,” Farrell said.
The umpires decided to look at a long foul ball down the left-field line by Mike Napoli in the sixth inning. It was called foul on the field and that call stood.
A little assistance
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Little League, the Red Sox Foundation and HP Hood will partner with Massachusetts Little League to support the 200 leagues throughout the state.
The program will assist with uniforms and support the division tournament in Beverly from July 24-27. The Massachusetts Little League Volunteer Coach of the Year award will be presented at Fenway Park.
Approximately 5,628 teams and 67,500 children will play Little League baseball and softball in Massachusetts this season.
The Red Sox Foundation will be at the At Bat’s Training Center in Boxborough Saturday to launch the partnership. The Red Sox’ three World Series trophies will be available to the public for photos from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Will Middlebrooks was 1 for 3 Thursday and is 7 for 15 in his last five games. “Couple of really good swings again,” said Farrell. “He looks very confident at the plate.” . . . The Red Sox are likely to have Felix Doubront pitch four innings in relief during Monday’s game against the Cardinals rather than have him face the Yankees in Tampa Tuesday. That also will allow Doubront to stay on a five-day schedule . . . Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill is scheduled to appear in his first game Friday . . . Jonny Gomes was showing off an acoustic guitar signed by heavy metal legend Vince Neil. They met in Las Vegas.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.