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PawSox' Ranaudo looks to paint a minor-league masterpiece

August 3, 2013

Anthony Ranaudo, pictured here pitching in a spring training game, was recently called up to Pawtucket. As one of the most highly-touted arms in the Red Sox system, Ranaudo has lived up to his promise thus far this season after an injury-plagued 2012. PHOTO BY KELLY O'CONNOR

PAWTUCKET – Rich Sauveur can’t wait to see Anthony Ranaudo go all Pablo Picasso on the blank canvas that will represent his tenure at Triple-A Pawtucket after his promotion here on Friday.

“From what I heard, he was throwing the ball extremely well down in Portland and I can’t wait to see him throw,” stated Sauveur, Pawtucket’s pitching coach. “(Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper) sent me some information on Anthony, and I was just reading up on it. Kipper thinks that he’s an outstanding person and a great student of the game.

“He said that we’ll really like this kid,” Sauveur added. “It’s another step in the goal to get to the major leagues and I think he’s up for it.”

The 23-year-old Ranaudo, who is lauded as one of top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system, is in line to make his AAA debut Sunday night at Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field. The former LSU star closed out his Portland stay on Tuesday night, tossing with 6.2 innings of four-run ball and seven strikeouts against Richmond.

All told, he went 8-4 in 19 starts at the Class AA level. A 2010 sandwich pick, Ranaudo ranked third among Eastern League pitchers in ERA (2.95), seventh in strikeouts (106 in 109.2 innings) and first in WHIP (1.09).

Ranaudo becomes the 13th Portland player to get summoned to Pawtucket this season. More specifically, he’s following in the footsteps of Brandon Workman and Drake Britton, two pitching contemporaries who started 2013 standing on the same platform as Ranaudo. The trio made up three-fifths of Portland’s starting rotation before the band began breaking up, starting with Workman’s promotion to Pawtucket on June 5 with Britton following suit on July 5.

“It’s great to be here because it’s another step in my career and a step in the right direction,” said Ranaudo.

Ranaudo’s status as “Lucky 13” befits someone who has smoothed out the rough edges after his 2012 campaign was short-circuited due to an elbow injury that played a factor in the 6.69 ERA he posted in nine starts with Portland.

Ranaudo gladly pointed out that his health is not a cause for concern while standing a few feet away from his McCoy Stadium locker. Given his history, it wouldn’t register to see the Red Sox tread carefully Ranaudo down the stretch.

Listed at 6-foot-7 and 231 pounds, Ranaudo tossed 37.2 innings during his injury-marred 2012 season. His first full season in pro ball was 2011, where he logged 127 innings between Single-A affiliates Greenville and Salem.

“I feel great, everything is going well for me. I feel strong and hopefully I can keep that going and stay on the field and keep throwing the ball well,” Ranaudo said. “I feel better than I’ve really ever felt. Just being the age that I’m and the things I’ve learned and the hitters I’ve faced … going through the injuries I went through last year made me a lot better and stronger. I think I’m in a better place this year than I have been in a long time.”

The Red Sox elected to have Ranaudo start the second half the season with Portland after getting roughed up during a pair of mid-summer exhibition showcases. He drew the start at the Eastern League All-Star Game, held July 10 in New Britain, Conn. and ended up walking three in a one-inning stint.

At the Futures Game as part of MLB’s All-Star festivities, Ranaudo took the mound at New York’s Citi Field. His stint as a reliever for Team USA did not go smoothly as Ranaudo was lifted after recording two outs and allowing two runs on two hits – one a home run – while walking two.

Ranaudo ended up making three appearances for Portland following the All-Star break. “I had to get back in a routine and knock the rust off,” said Ranaudo. “It was definitely good to get my feet back underneath me.”

Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler has a history with Ranaudo that dates back to their time together as Double-A teammates.

“He’s got that late action at the bottom of the zone and a power, 12-to-6 curveball that allows him to get guys out on the high fastball because of it,” Butler pointed out. “It’s a fastball that stays true and jumps through the zone.

“I’ve heard that he’s had a successful year and is doing well,” Butler continued. “It’s great to see him bounce back after what he went through last year.”

Added Sauveur, “I think everyone in the organization is impressed with how he’s done.”

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

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