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Allen Lessels' On Baseball: Cecchini's star rises
THAT MUST have been quite the A.M. Barbe High School Buccaneer middle infield back in Lake Charles, La., in 2009.
It featured senior Garin Cecchini at shortstop and freshman Gavin Cecchini at second base, playing for their Dad, Glenn.
Garin was a fourth round pick of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft despite missing all of his senior season of high school with an ACL tear in his right knee. He's 22 and the third baseman in Portland in his second week of Double-A after tearing up Single-A Salem to start the season.
"He's an unbelievable player," Garin said of his little brother. "He's so young in his career and he's accomplished a lot of stuff. I feel like if he stays humble and keeps working hard, he's going to have a long career."
"It is kind of unique," Garin said of chasing a baseball dream alongside his brother. "You don't see that a lot, but you see it sometimes. It's pretty cool."
"Just watching him offensively, he looks like he has an idea at the plate," said Portland manager Kevin Boles. "He looks like he has real good hands at the plate he's and he's playing well at third base. He had a lot of success in Salem and he's translating that into here. He's been terrific for us."
He's learning, too.
"I thought it gave us the best opportunity to win," Cecchini said. "It was on my own. They want me to hit there and now I know."
"We talked about that afterwards," he said. "He will be asked to bunt eventually. But we want to see him swing the bat. It's a credit to him, he wanted to give himself up for the team. But you see the offensive potential he has and the numbers he put up down in Salem and we want him swinging it, absolutely."
Right-handed power thrower Anthony Ranaudo, a top Red Sox prospect and perhaps on his way to Pawtucket soon, goes for the Sea Dogs against Fisher Cat righty Ryan Tepera today at 1:35 in the finale of the four-game series.
"He needs to move up to the next level, in my opinion," Allenson said. "Don't be afraid (to move him up)."
Ranaudo went seven innings against the Fisher Cats on May 29 in Portland and allowed one hit, struck out eight and walked no one.
Kevin Pillar, the outfielder out of Division II, played the first half of the season with the Fisher Cats like he wanted to move up quickly in the organization.
Pillar had 12 hits in his first eight games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bison through Friday night. Seven of those were doubles.
He was a one-man wrecking crew in a 5-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday night. Pillar had five of Buffalo's seen hits - four of them doubles - and scored the tying and winning runs.
Pillar, 24 and drafted in the 32nd round out of Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2011, was hitting .364 through Friday night.
He hit .313 with five home runs and 30 runs batted in and had 15 stolen bases in 71 games with the Fisher Cats.