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Ryan Sweeney is still a prospect

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Ryan Sweeney is still a prospect. Seems like a simple statement, but a couple of factors have led to divergent views of Sweeney's status.

  1. He hit 1 HR in 429 ABs at AA Birmingham last year.
  2. He has looked very good in 35 ABs this spring.
That first fact has soured many in the "Saber" community on Sweeney's status, while the second has others thinking Sweeney can make the Sox roster right now. The truth, as is usually the case, lies somewhere in between.

True, one home run in over 400 at-bats is a bit troubling, but Sweeney still hit for a high average while being among the youngest players in the league. Oh, and he had a nagging wrist injury too.

Sweeney suffered from torn cartilage and a sprained tendon in his right wrist, making it painful for him to swing the bat. The injury did not require offseason surgery, but Sweeney received a cortisone shot and the wrist was immobilized in a cast for six weeks.
Solid information regarding minor league injuries is generally difficult to find. While I knew Sweeney had problems with his wrist last season, I never heard anything more than the Wannstedtian, "He's got a wrist." Seeing it print somehow makes it more real.

The wrist -- the aforementioned immobilization, really -- also caused him to skip out on the Arizona Fall League, with the Sox sending Chris Young in his place.

Almost everyone who has ever seen Sweeney swing a bat will call him an excellent prospect. He has a swing sweet enough to draw comparisons to Olerud. Still, Sweeney and his .375 slugging percentage in 900+ at-bats above rookie ball have no business sniffing the major league roster out of camp. If there's one thing that Sweeney needs right now, it's at-bats. And that's the one thing he won't get if he's sitting on the Sox bench.

At just 21, there's no reason for Sweeney, who hasn't even been placed on the Sox 40-man roster yet, to be getting only limited at-bats. He should get his 500 at-bats in Charlotte, forget about the lack of HRs, and concentrate on being a bit more patient at the plate.

The power will come. At 6'4" and over 200 pounds, with that swing, the power will come. The quickest way to speed that process is to be more selective. 250 at-bats in the bandbox at Charlotte won't hurt either.

* * * * *

Matt Thornton did not pitch on Friday. He still walked 4 and gave up 3 runs.

* * * * *

Dustin Hermanson is still gimpy. Even though he had his most productive outing of the spring, allowing just one run in an inning of work, Hermanson was visibly distressed following yesterday's game with the M's. He refused to talk to reporters, and Coop & Ozzie didn't talk to him about how he felt after throwing just 13 pitches. He is scheduled to throw again on Sunday, but still figures to start the year on the DL.