Red Sox Organization Report

Hansack-ing The EL




BOSTON--Few have followed a stranger path to the upper levels of the minor leagues than Devern Hansack.

The 28-year-old Nicaraguan righthander hadn't pitched in the states in three years when Red Sox executive Craig Shipley spotted him at a tournament in Holland late last fall. Shipley liked Hansack's live arm and, since he would come cheaply as a minor league free agent, the Red Sox took a flier and signed him in December.

Hansack has rewarded their gamble at Double-A Portland, going 6-7, 3.75 in 28 games, 17 of them starts. He struck out 105 in his first 115 innings and looks like a keeper.

"He's not going to be a surefire major leaguer, but he has pretty good stuff and is competitive with guys at the upper levels," farm director Ben Cherington said. "If he continues to learn how to execute, he has a chance of pitching in the big leagues."

Hansack's birth date was once listed as 1982, but a visa check revealed he was actually born on Feb. 5, 1978. That makes him older than the average prospect, but the average prospect doesn't spend two full seasons barnstorming around Nicaragua, as Hansack did after being released by the Astros in 2003.

He spent four years in the Houston system, going 16-15 in 50 appearances. Cherington said Hansack believes he has matured since then.

"His explanation was that he hadn't really figured things out yet and had just matured a lot since then," Cherington said. "He felt more prepared to pitch professionally here. We did some background checks on him and felt comfortable signing him."

Hansack features a fastball that touches 93 mph and a good slider. He'll be a minor league free agent at the end of the season, and the Red Sox have seen enough to want to retain him.

"We certainly have interest in bringing him back," Cherington said. "He's a little bit older, but he's got the live arm and an opportunity to keep getting better."

SOX YARNS

• Knuckleballer Charlie Zink got on track at Triple-A Pawtucket in July and August, going 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in seven games, improving to 7-2, 3.87 in 19 appearances.

• Needing a middle infielder at Pawtucket after the retirement of Enrique Wilson, the Red Sox promoted 12th-round pick Ryan Khoury from short-season Lowell. Khoury became the first 2006 draftee to reach Triple-A.