PAWTUCKET — Among prospects in the Red Sox organization, 22-year-old Darwinzon Hernandez is not just ranked the No. 3 prospect overall, but the top-ranked pitcher in the system.
However, in his second starting assignment for the Pawtucket Red Sox Monday night at McCoy Stadium, Hernandez labored through a 33-pitch first inning, walking two batters and surrendering a two-run homer.
Another walk and another two-run homer in the third inning lent more woes for PawSox pitching coach Kevin Walker in a 10-6 loss to the Buffalo Bisons.
Through three innings of work before being sent to the showers, Hernandez continued to ink incomplete on his scorecard — throwing 81 pitches, issuing five walks, allowing three stolen bases, four hits and five runs.
There’s no question that Hernandez, a lefthander with a live-wire fastball in the mid- to upper-90’s, has potential.
“He went to stretch to help try to get his delivery repeatable, eliminate the thought process,” PawSox manager Billy McMillon said.
“He pitched around the zone a little too much, got deep in the counts, got some balls up,” McMillonadded. “But some positives were his breaking balls, his velocity was high, he just has to work on him being consistent and throwing strikes –— he’s young.”
In his first appearance at the Triple-A level while pitching out of a windup, Hernandez allowed only two hits and one earned run over five innings, but he walked seven batters and threw 95 pitches over that span, being extricated from further danger by inducing four double play balls.
Hernandez wasn’t exactly stellar in 10 games, nine of them starts with the Double-A Portland, going 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA.
However, Boston summoned him for some spot duty, making his MLB debut April 23 against Detroit. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Then he was recalled again for a spot start June 11 against Texas, yielding three hits and five walks over three innings.
The rugged (6-2, 245) Hernandez has virtually no pickoff move to first base, shot-putting balls to the bag. An errant toss there in the third inning was wild into foul territory, allowing a Bison runner to advance to second base.
FOUL BALLS – A solo HR by Sam Travis in the fourth inning was his sixth extra-base hit over the past eight games since being returned by Boston, hitting 13-for-31 over that span with the PawSox … Rehabbing Boston reliever Tyler Thornburg yielded a three-run homer and a solo homer in a five-run sixth inning … The PawSox rank next to last in the IL in hitting (.251) and stolen bases (37; 13 by Gorkys Hernandez) and are only ninth best in HR’s (81) … Rusney Castillo (No. 8) and Bryce Brentz (No. 14) socked back to back solo HR’s in a four-run sixth inning … Buffalo starting pitcher Thomas Pannone, a R.I. native and graduate from Bishop Hendricken High, pitched five scoreless innings, allowing five hits, striking out five … PawSox 1B Josh Ockimey has drawn an IL-best 50 walks … Steve Pearce (back strain) made his fifth straight start on a rehab assignment, has 9 strikeouts in 20 at-bats, popping out with the bases loaded in the third inning and drawing a bases loaded walk in the sixth inning.