Future Red Sox thrilled to get glimpse of Fenway
Facial injury to first-round pick Johnson puts damper on mood
BOSTON -- Futures at Fenway got off to a rocky start on Saturday afternoon.
In the first game of a doubleheader featuring some of the Red Sox's up-and-coming prospects, Class A Lowell left-hander Brian Johnson -- taken 31st overall in June's First-Year Player Draft -- left the game on a stretcher after being hit in the face by a line drive on his second pitch.
Johnson suffered multiple orbital bone fractures on the left side of his face but did not show signs of a concussion. The incident sucked some of the energy out of the Spinners, who lost to the Hudson Valley Renegades, 6-5.
"Absolutely -- it's a tough thing to watch, and when something happens like that, it's trying on you, no doubt," Lowell manager Bruce Crabbe said.
Jacob Dahlstrand relieved Johnson, who was taken to a nearby hospital. Dahlstrand, a right-hander, allowed five runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"I'm sure it was a little trying for him, too, expecting to be in a situation where he has time to warm up," Crabbe said of Dahlstrand. "It's new to these kids when they come into a game like that. It's a situation that hasn't happened to us this year, but I thought he bounced back well and gave us a nice outing."
Outfielder Aneury Tavarez led the Spinners with three hits, including an RBI double. Lowell scored four runs in the ninth, but the comeback bid came up just short.
"These guys never give up; they really don't," Crabbe said. "They haven't given up all year. They know nothing but to go after it, and I'm really proud of them today."
Shortstop Deven Marrero, Boston's first pick this June, singled to right on the first pitch he saw and went 1-for-4.
"I'm trying to get used to playing every day and it's tough, but I'm having fun and that's the best part," Marrero said. "I'm learning so much -- just little things about the game that I never knew."
While Fenway Park is not foreign to Marrero -- he played there last year with Team USA -- the ballpark offered a new experience to the majority of the Spinners. The 100-year-old venue is far different from the typical Minor League field.
"Pulling up to the stadium, I got chills," outfielder Matty Johnson said. "It's my first time playing in a big league stadium. It's really cool."
In the nightcap, Triple-A Pawtucket fell to Buffalo, 2-0.
But the day was more about the experience for the young players than the results.
"I think it's a lot of fun," PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said. "A lot of the guys who haven't been here before or played in this, it's really neat for them to play in a big league ballpark. We just have a good time, experience the atmosphere and go out there and see all the fans and play in a big league ballpark."
The PawSox featured four players who spent time with the Red Sox earlier this season: Che-Hsuan Lin, Jose Iglesias, Jason Repko and Nate Spears. They were a combined 2-for-15.
Outfielder Ryan Kalish, who has had two stints with the Red Sox this season, did not play. Right-handed reliever Daniel Bard did not pitch in his first time back at Fenway since he was demoted in early June.
Bard and Kalish figure to be among several PawSox players who will join the big league club in September, when rosters expand.
"I'd be surprised if I wasn't," said Bard, who's 2-2 with a 7.45 ERA in 28 appearances for Pawtucket. "I know the results haven't been what I want, but ultimately, I think that's where I belong. Just getting in that environment is going to instantly make me a better pitcher."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.