Red Sox's Tejeda Healthy, Getting Back In Form





BOSTON—In mid-June, lefthander Felix Doubront became the first Latin American amateur signed under Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to reach the major leagues with Boston. But Doubront—who signed out of Venezuela in 2004—is not the only Latin American player in the Red Sox system to take a major step forward in his career this season.

Oscar Tejeda signed with the Sox out of the Dominican in 2006, and enjoyed a strong debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and short-season New York-Penn League as a 17-year-old in 2007. But over the next two years, he struggled with injuries, and his performance reflected that fact.

This year, however, the now 20-year-old Tejeda has been a force with high Class A Salem. In his first three minor league seasons, Tejeda hit eight homers in 267 games. This year, he matched that total by the end of May. He has been impacting the ball consistently, resulting in a .337/.358/.518 line through 249 at-bats.

"He impacts the heck out of the ball," farm director Mike Hazen said. "It is screaming off of his bat."

While his walks totals (12) were less than ideal, he was showing greater discipline in June, when he had seven walks and six strikeouts through 14 games. Overall, he has performed at his highest level since 2007, when he was a dynamic player facing far older competition with Lowell. 

After spending almost all of his first three minor league seasons as a shortstop, he has taken well to his conversion to second base. More importantly, after having dealt with a succession of injuries—including surgery to repair a hole in his heart a couple of years ago—he's now healthy and adding muscle to his once wiry frame.
 
"An opposing manager, said, 'Boy, look how Oscar is filling out,' " Salem manager Kevin Boles said. "It is definitely noticeable."

With that strength, the ball has started jumping off his bat.

"He has a better foundation with his lower half, and it looks like he has more life with his hands. His bat speed has really increased these first couple of months here from what I saw in spring training until now," Boles said. 

Sox Yarns

• A CT-scan revealed that Portland shortstop Jose Iglesias fractured his right index finger when hit by a pitch on May 29. He will be sidelined at least through June.

• Felix Maldonado, who spent 47 years with the Sox as a player, scout and in a variety of player development roles, died at the age of 73.