Red Sox notebook

Draft picks played beat the clock

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 16, 2011

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The Red Sox hit nearly all of their targets last night, signing their four first-round draft picks before the midnight deadline.

Catcher Blake Swihart of Rio Rancho, N.M., received a bonus of $2.5 million. He was the team’s second pick in the first round and planned to attend the University of Texas before a visit to Boston helped change his mind. In franchise history, only Casey Kelly ($3 million) and Anthony Ranaudo ($2.55 million) received more coming out of the draft.

The team’s first pick, UConn righthander Matt Barnes, received $1.5 million.

The Sox also signed their two supplemental first-round picks. Lefthander Henry Owens of Huntington Beach, Calif., landed a bonus of $1.55 million, and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., of two-time NCAA champion South Carolina, got $1.1 million.

“I want to thank Boston for the opportunity,’’ said Bradley. “It really means a lot to see how much faith they have in me. I’m excited to be a part of such a great nation.’’

The first player to agree to terms yesterday was righthander Noe Ramirez of Cal State Fullerton. Ramirez agreed to a bonus of $625,000, well over the $180,000 recommended by Major League Baseball.

“Officially part of the Red Sox. So blessed to have an opportunity to play in an amazing organization!’’ Ramirez wrote on Twitter. “Let it begin.’’

The Sox also signed their seventh-round pick, lefthander Cody Kukuk of Lawrence, Kan., for $800,000. He turned down a scholarship to Kansas.

The Sox signed their fifth-round pick, Tennessee high shortstop Mookie Betts, who many expected would attend the University of Tennessee. But the team lost out on eighth-round pick Senquez Golson, who was in Boston yesterday but decided to stay at Mississippi, where he will play football and baseball.

The team’s 50th-round pick, righthander John Gorman of Catholic Memorial, elected to attend Boston College. Two picks, Georgia high school pitchers Jarrett Brown (23d round) and David Sosebee (48th round), will reportedly enroll at the University of Georgia. Infielder Austin Davidson (21st round) decided on Pepperdine.

Locally, righthander Tyler Beede of Lawrence Academy turned down the Blue Jays and will attend Vanderbilt. He was a first-round pick, No. 21 overall. Jordan Cote of Sanbornton, N.H., agreed to terms with the Yankees on a $725,000 deal. The 6-foot-5-inch righthander from Winnisquam Regional High was a third-round pick.

Cram session The Red Sox had a day off yesterday, but a busy schedule awaits.

Starting at 1:05 this afternoon at Fenway, the Sox have three games scheduled with the Rays in a span of about 24 hours.

The teams have a day-night doubleheader today and then a day game tomorrow. The unusual schedule is the result of a rainout April 13.

“We’ve got to grind through it,’’ second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “Not much else you can do.’’

The Red Sox will start Jon Lester and Erik Bedard today as Tampa Bay goes with James Shields and Jeff Niemann. It will be the third start for Bedard since he was acquired from Seattle. Bedard did not have a decision in either of his starts. He gave up five runs on 10 hits over 10 innings, with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

Bedard, who spent much of July on the disabled list with a knee injury, threw 90 pitches in his last start.

“I should be on a regular pitch count now, whatever they need,’’ he said after his start in Minnesota last Tuesday. “I’m pretty much all caught up. I feel pretty good.’’

Rolling along David Ortiz enters the doubleheader having hit safely in seven straight games (13 for 26) with 3 homers, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. That has improved his batting average from .286 to .300 . . . Carl Crawford is hitting .320 (16 of 50) with an .858 OPS this month. He is 3 for 18 in five games against the Rays, his former team.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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