Darren Fenster Enters First Season As Sea Dogs Manager

The Portland Sea Dogs are entering their 25th season in the Eastern League with a new skipper. Darren Fenster is taking over as Portland’s 13th manager and is riding a hot streak.Fenster SeaDogs

Fenster lead the Class A Greenville Drive to the South Atlantic League championship in 2017, his fourth season at the helm. He immediately followed that title run by taking the Peoria Javelinas to the Arizona Fall League championship.

Greenville went 79-60 and overwhelmed the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) 3-1. Fenster left with a record of 316-301 (.512). During his four years, Fenster coached current Red Sox stars Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.

A Look At The Sea Dogs’ Coaching Staff

Fenster reunites with Paul Abbott, who was the pitching coach during his first year at Greenville in 2014. Abbott spent the last three seasons in Single-A Salem Red Sox. He started his coaching career at the short-season Single-A ranks with the Lowell Spinners in 2011.

Abbott spent 11 years in the Major Leagues. His best season was in 2001, where he went 17-4 with an ERA of 4.25 on a Seattle Mariners team that set the American League record with 116 wins. His final year came in 2004, split between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies during Citizens Bank Park’ inaugural season.

Lee May Jr. is the only returning member of the Sea Dogs coaching staff. His first season saw Devers and fellow infielder Tzu-Wei Lin shoot up the big leagues. With top prospect Michael Chavis returning to Portland this season, the third baseman may be the next to go from May to Fenway.

Outfielder Danny Mars has said during Sea Dogs media day that he can do a great impression of May Jr.

Luke Montz joins the Sea Dogs in his first year as a minor league coach. The Montreal Expos drafted Montz in the 17th round of the 2003 MLB Draft and he made his big league debut with the Nationals in 2008. He played a few more games for the Oakland Athletics in the early part of the 2013 season.

Montz was previously the head coach for the Acadiana Cane Cutters of the Texas Collegiate League in 2017.

PawSox Catchers Have Diverse Roles

PawSox catchers

Before Ryan Hanigan fractured a knuckle and went on the disabled list, the Pawtucket Red Sox had four catchers, all of whom served the team in different manners.
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Now that Blake Swihart is out of the picture and up with the big league club it is a little different, but no two PawSox catchers are alike.pawsox catchers

Of course Swihart was the big-time prospect and the one fans knew most by name, but he was not the only one getting his work in for the PawSox.
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“All four of us do our catching stuff on a daily basis,” veteran catcher Matt Spring said before Swihart’s call-up. “You know, catching bullpen sessions and all that. Whenever my role changes back to that, I’ll be ready.”

The three catchers down in AAA right now are Matt Spring, Humberto Quintero and Luke Montz. Of the three, Quintero has the most big league experience and is the only one of the three that has caught a game this season.

On paper, Quintero is the first guy Boston would call up because he has so much big league experience. Montz on the other hand has a little bit of big league time and an injury prematurely ended his fight for a roster spot with the Oakland A’s last spring training. Now Montz is in a reserve role which consists of playing first base and left field.
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People might see 30-year-old Matt Spring as a career Minor League catcher, but as of late he has taken over the PawSox starting first base role. He has a hit in all but one of his ten games this year.

For the first time in his career, Spring has a chance to really make a name for himself as a regular contributor to the PawSox lineup.
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“I think that’s what all of us want to do,” Spring said. “Go out there and do whatever we can do to help and if it’s going out there and playing first base right now, I’ll fill that role whenever I can— whatever opportunity I have to get my name in the lineup.”