Left-hander Trey Ball, the Red Sox's No. 7 prospect, threw five scoreless innings Tuesday, but Class A Greenville lost to Asheville, 5-2.
Ball, ranked No. 78 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, was nearly perfect. He held Asheville to just one hit -- a ground-rule double in the second inning -- and no walks. He struck out three batters and threw 73 pitches. It was his second scoreless outing of the season.
Greenville led, 2-0, when Ball exited the game, but the bullpen was unable to hold the lead. As a result, he remains winless since April 27, his first start of the season.
The Red Sox selected Ball with the seventh overall pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but his first full professional season has not been an easy one. He is 1-7 with a 6.52 ERA in 12 starts. He has struck out 32 batters and walked 17 in 48 1/3 innings.
Ball's struggles are not atypical, however. He celebrated his 20th birthday Friday and is still getting used to pitching every fifth day. He was considered the top two-way player in last year's Draft class and would have pitched and played the outfield for the University of Texas this spring had he gone to college instead of signing with Boston.