The first triple play of the season highlighted a night where Randy Johnson took a step closer to getting back to the big leagues, Kevin Slowey continued to paint the black and Yunel Escobar turned a game around by scoring from second on a sacrifice fly.
Kevin Slowey’s amazing command was on display again on Thursday. The Twins righthander threw 61 strikes in 88 pitches. The Pawtucket Times’ Jon Baker reported that he was sitting at 91 mph with his fastball as he struck out nine and walked no one in six scoreless innings. Pawtucket came back to beat Matt Garza and Rochester in the nightcap of the doubleheader. Brandon Moss went 2-for-3 with a home run to lead Pawtucket. There was a scary moment, as a Matt LeCroy liner hit Mike Burns in the cheek, forcing the PawSox fill-in starter to head to the hospital for a CT scan. [...] Continue Reading »
Marlins outfielder Jose Campusano landed on the disabled list today, retroactive to April 18. One of the more exciting players in the organization, the converted infielder just started playing left field a year ago.
A 70 runner (on the 20-80 scouting scale), Campusano was hitting .290/.290/.355 with four steals over his first 11 games this season at Double-A Carolina. He hasn’t controlled the strike zone very well, with 10 strikeouts and no walks in 31 at-bats.
“Heâ€™s the Louie Castillo type, but faster,” Marlins hitting coordinator John Mallee said. “He slaps the ball, he puts it in playâ€”he doesnâ€™t put many balls in the air. [...] Continue Reading »
When Cuban defector Yoslan Herrera signed with the Pirates for $1.92 million in the offseason, the Pittsburgh brass knew his secondary pitches were all more or less in the rudimentary stages of development.
But Herrera’s struggles in his last start–he allowed four runs on seven hits over four innings on Tuesday–had little to do with the sharpness of his curveball or slider or even the depth to his changeup or the bite on his splitter. For the 25-year-old righthander, it’s about learning to attack with his fastball, especially commanding it over the inside part of the plate. [...] Continue Reading »
Rangers righthander Edinson Volquez is starting over.
Volquez, who ranked as the organization’s top prospect a year ago, has pitched well through the system since he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001.
It’s been the level that matters that’s caused him fits.
Volquez’s career 9.20 ERA is the highest in baseball’s modern era for a pitcher with at least 10 career starts. The 23-year-old went 6-6, 3.21 with 130 strikeouts in 121 Triple-A innings last season, earning his second promotion to the big leagues in as many years.
That’s where everything fell apart. Volquez went 1-6, 7.29 and allowed 27 runs in just 33 big league innings.
So the Rangers got serious with Volquez this spring, and wound up sending him to high Class A Bakersfield to start the season–a level he hadn’t pitched at since early in 2005–to get back to the basics. [...] Continue Reading »
Few organizations handle player development as well as the Twins, and six of their finest prospects were found on Triple-A Rochester’s Opening Day roster.
Glen Perkins was quickly recalled to the big leagues to provide a second bullpen lefty behind Denny Reyes, but the Twins still view him as a starter long-term. Speedy, switch-hitting middle infielder Alexi Casilla was added to the big league team during the season’s second week to give the Twins a solid contact hitter off the bench and a high-percentage base stealer (he’s 153-for-188 for his minor league career). [...] Continue Reading »
Rangers’ outfielder Anthony Webster is expected to be back on the field at Double-A Frisco Thursday when the Roughriders play at home against Corpus Christi.
The 2001 15th-round pick missed nearly all of spring training with lower back issues, so the club kept him in extended spring training to at least get some at-bats in before sending him out.
“There was nothing structurally wrong . . . just more of a muscle strain,” Texas director of player personnel Scott Servais said.
Webster split last season between Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma, batting .269/.317/.384 with the RedHawks before finishing up the year in the Arizona Fall League.
The Rangers lost first baseman Nate Gold for up to three weeks with a dislocated finger. The 10th-round pick in 2002 out of Gonzaga, who hit a career-high 34 homers at Frisco last season, was hitting just .194/.293/.306 in 36 at-bats at Oklahoma.
Considering the circumstances, the Tigers might expect Michael Hollimon to scuffle.
But the 2005 16th-round pick out of Oral Roberts has handled everything Detroit has thrown at him this season with aplomb, hitting .323/.476/.516 at Double-A Erie.
That might not seem like a big deal for a 24-year-old at that level, but Hollimon is not only adjusting to Double-A after playing all last season at low Class A West Michigan. He’s also learning a new position: second base. [...] Continue Reading »
Yung-Chi Chen, the Mariners’ top middle infield prospect, will have surgery on his left shoulder and is slated to miss approximately five months.
The 23-year-old Chen hit .295/.365/.443 in a 40-game stint with Double-A San Antonio to close the 2006 season. Signed out of Taiwan in 2004, Chen represented his country in both the World Baseball Classic and Futures Game last season.
Philip Hughes and David Purcey dominated. Dayton stayed undefeated and Kane County and Rome keep losing.
Philip Hughes watched as Chase Wright skipped Triple-A to join the Yankees rotation thanks to injuries and his spot on the 40-man roster. If Hughes pitches like he did on Wednesday, the injury-stricken Yankees may not wait too long before calling him up as well. Hughes faced only two batters above the minimum in six innings while striking out 10 as he outdueled Dustin McGowan. Matt Michael’s game story notes that Hughes command was near perfect on Wednesday. Syracuse manager Doug Davis was impressed.
“I saw him all last year, and for a six-inning stretch that’s the best I’ve seen him throw,” Davis said. “When he gets to the point where he can throw his curveball for a first-pitch strike, work his changeup in there when he needs to for strikes, and keep the ball down, he’ll be very tough.”
Erik Threets has been one of the minors hardest throwers for years. But he’s also been proof that a near 100 mph fastball is not enough by itself to shackle hitters. He finally started to find the ability to control his amazing stuff last year, but a late season lat injury has carried into this season. Threets couldn’t make it out of the third inning for the second consecutive start on Wednesday–he gave up eight hits and three runs to actually drop his ERA to 12.96. Outfielders Adam Jones and Justin Reed provided big hits to help Tacoma to a 4-2 win. [...] Continue Reading »
Tuesday night, the baseball world saw just how good Luke Hochevar can be.
And the good news for Royals fans was that the 2006 first overall pickâ€™s third start at Double-A Wichita was simply worlds apart from his first two outings.
The 23-year-old righthander, who came in with a 6.14 ERA after allowing six runs on 10 hits over his first seven innings, was simply brilliant in the Wranglersâ€™ 4-0 shutout against San Antonio. Hochevar, who is working on a strict pitch count early this season, allowed a pair of hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out 11 and did not issue a walk.
â€œIn the short time Iâ€™ve been around Luke, this was the best heâ€™s been,â€ Wichita pitching coach Larry Carter said. â€œHe used all his pitches and was aggressive inside, which I think helped him outside. He repeated his delivery well and kept the ball down in the strike zone.â€ [...] Continue Reading »
Royals righthander Carlos Rosa is off to a fast start at high Class A Wilmington, going 1-1, 0.53 over his first three Carolina League starts. In 17 innings, the 22-year-old struck out 12 and walked just two and opposing hitters are batting just .206 against him.
Those numbers include a strong performance in Wilmingtonâ€™s 4-1 home loss to Kinston, where Rosa was ultimately out-dueled by Indians righthander Frank Herrmann.
But not by much. [...] Continue Reading »
High Class A Salem announced today that the club will continue to pay respects to fallen Virginia Tech students and faculty for the remainder of the 2007 season.
Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium is located just 26 miles from the Hokies’ campus, and a large part of the team’s fan base, as well as game staff, has direct ties to the university. Avalanche players will be adding a commemorative Virginia Tech logo to their batting helmets and front office members will wear a VT lapel pin on their gameday uniforms as well.
“We have many current and former gameday staff and interns that either go to Tech, went to tech or have family at Tech,” Avalanche general manager John Katz said. “This is our way to quietly show our support for them as they work through this difficult time.”
Devil Rays shortstop Reid Brignac returned to the lineup Tuesday after sitting out for back-to-back games with some tightness in his right hamstring.
The 2004 second-rounder went 1-for-4 with a singled in Double-A Montgomery’s 10-1 loss to Birmingham in his first action since Saturday.
“We just wanted to give him a couple days as a precautionary measure,” Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said.
This season, Brignac is hitting .390/.390/.500 in 36 at-bats.
Two of the top pitchers in last year’s draft showed their stuff on Tuesday as Tim Lincecum and Luke Hochevar turned the knob to 11 in dominating outings. Lincecum struck out 11 Tacoma batters while evoking comparisons to Pedro Martinez and Felix Hernandez while Hochevar shut down San Antonio with 11 strikeouts of his own.
Augusta finally lost, but Dayton won its ninth straight, so there’s still one unbeaten team in the minors, and Clearwater and Tampa played forever on an interesting Tuesday around the minors. [...] Continue Reading »
Rockies infielders Corey Wimberly and Matt Macri were left behind when camp broke this spring, both staying in Tucson nursing hamstring injuries.
Farm director Marc Gustafson said the club hopes to get both out to Double-A Tulsa by the end of the month.
In other Rockies news, righthanded reliever Juan Morillo has still been clocked at 100 mph early this season, though his command is still something to be desired. Morillo is 0-1, 9.00 in three innings for the Drillers.
“We changed him a little bit with his front side,” Gustafson said. “We lowered his leg kick some to take any extra motion out of his delivery. It’s a minor adjustment to get him more downhill and keep him online to the plate more consistently.”
As anticipated, this week’s transactions were not nearly as hectic as the post-spring training maneuverings. This installment looks at all the moves made between April 7-13.
Last week’s transactions available here.
Rehabilitation assignment: LHP Randy Johnson (high Class A Visalia)
Johnson plans to make one more rehab start before returning to Arizona. Interestingly, the 6-foot-10 Johnson wasn’t even the tallest Visalia player. Righthander Ryan Doherty, a nondrafted free agent from Notre Dame, is listed at 7-foot-1. Thanks to our Diamondbacks’ correspondent Jack Magruder for that one. [...] Continue Reading »
Sarasota righthander Carlos Fisher finally allowed a run on Monday in his third start of the season, but that’s about the only negative that you could point to as the 24-year-old saw his ERA rise to a still miniscule 0.47 in 18 innings of work.
Fisher could prove to be an interesting sleeper for the Reds. He went 12-5, 2.76 at low Class A Dayton last season in his first full pro season, and he’s built off that this year. Most importantly, he’s succeeding while showing solid stuff–he mixed a 91-92 mph fastball that touches 94 with a developing slider and changeup. [...] Continue Reading »
An outfielder over his first two seasons, the Devil Rays have moved Sergio Pedroza behind the plate.
A 2005 third-round pick of the Dodgers out of Cal State Fullerton, Pedroza came over to the Rays last July in the Julio Lugo trade. While he has a live bat–Pedroza batted .313/.447/.545 at high Class A Visalia after the trade last season–he’s a below-average runner and is no better than an adequate defender on either corner outfield spot. [...] Continue Reading »
Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Zeringue . . . and even Carolina third baseman Lee Mitchell might have all stolen the show, but don’t forget about Mark Reynolds.
Gonzalez, Zeringue and Mitchell combined for five home runs in Double-A Mobile’s 10-9 win against the Mudcats on Monday, while Reynolds was technically an underachiever. The 23-year-old only went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles, but will ultimately play a role in whatever success the BayBears will have this season.
Playing all four infield spots will do that to a guy.
[...] Continue Reading »
Minor League Baseball still has two undefeated teams nearly two weeks into the season, and Andrew Miller was reminded that a great outing doesn’t always mean you won’t pick up a loss.
No one would have blinked if Carlos Gomez struggled in his first month in Triple-A. After all, he’s a 21-year-old in a league filled with former major leaguers. But don’t worry about Gomez; he’s not having any trouble. Gomez went 3-for-3 with a triple on Monday. He has a hit in every game this season and is now hitting .419/.468/.651 with six stolen bases. Gomez’ hitting helped Philip Humber pick up the win on Monday. Humber struck out four and allowed one run in six innings. [...] Continue Reading »
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