Mets righthander Lino Urdaneta was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, the office of the commissioner of baseball announced today
Urdaneta, 27, has spent much of the season with Triple-A New Orleans, but received a brief big league callup in early May when Orlando Hernandez went on the disabled list. Urdaneta also pitched for the Tigers in 2004, though he didnâ€™t record an out.
Signed by the Dodgers out of Venezuela in 1996, Urdaneta was taken by the Tigers from the Indians in the 2003 major league Rule 5 draft. The Indians had signed him just a month prior. He’s gone 29-32, 4.01 with 292-162 strikeouts-walks in 476 minor league innings coming into the year.
Everyone knows minor league games can be unpredictable–whether it’s on the field, in the stands or on the concourse, strange things often happen.
One of those events occurred at high Class A Kinston on Tuesday before the game even began. Public address announcer Patrick Johnson, who was filling in for regular announcer Jeff Diamond, couldn’t figure out how to pipe the National Anthem through the loudspeaker system.
With both teams lined up, the K-Tribe on the field and all 706 fans standing and waiting for a few moments, 14-year major league veteran righthander Tim Belcher decided to take matters into his own hands. [...] Continue Reading »
With Chad Tracy headed to the disabled list with an injured rib cage and Alberto Callaspo stuck on the restricted list, the Diamondbacks promoted Mark Reynolds from Double-A Mobile to the majors on Wednesday.
Reynolds made his name last year as versatile utilityman who would hit wherever he played. And he played everywhere, seeing time at first, second and third base, left field and shortstop. But this year, the Diamondbacks have worked to get him settled at third base–he’s played 31 of his 36 games there. The results haven’t been spectacular–his .882 fielding percentage will not fly if he keeps it up in the big leagues–but he has continued to hit. He was hitting .306/.394/.537 at the time of the promotion, and was 12 for his last 22 (.545).
It was a night for prospect injuries Tuesday, as Phillies righthander Carlos Carrasco left his start with a groin pull after facing just three batters.
Carrasco, who has been up and down over the first six weeks of the season with 4-1, 4.28 numbers in 40 innings, allowed two hits and walked one in high Class A Clearwater’s 10-inning, 4-3 loss to Fort Myers.
“He’s got a little bit of a strain,” Phillies farm director Steve Noworyta said. “He might miss a start, but right now it looks like he’s going to be OK.”
Devil Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Tuesday’s game after being hit in the left elbow by Double-A West Tenn righthander Doug Fister. Though the hit by pitch extended Longoria’s on-base streak to 33 games, the elbow swelled throughout the game and forced the third overall pick in 2006 to the bench after the third inning.
In other prospect injury news, Deolis Guerra is currently shut down with minor shoulder tendinitis. Though he is only expected to miss posibly two turns in the high Class A St. Lucie rotation, the Mets are being understandably cautious with the 18-year-old righthander.
“He came up with a little tendinitis in the shoulder and we decided to be careful with it,” Mets vice president of player personnel Tony Bernazard said. “We’re going to take our time.”
Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun’s wrist and groin injuries appear to be worse than originally expected. Braun, Milwaukee’s 2005 first-rounder, hasn’t played since May 5. The 23-year-old was hitting .358/.426/.716 with eight homers in 95 at-bats before going down.
Justin Upton’s hot hitting continued with a two home run game and Neil Walker is finding that giving up catching has helped his bat.
Kevin Slowey actually walked a batter on Tuesday–his third of the season, but he still pitched well enough to improve to 4-2, 1.46 as he allowed one run in seven innings.
Bryan Bullington has one of his worst starts of the season, but still improved to 6-1. [...] Continue Reading »
This week’s installment considers all transactions reported between May 5-11.
Last week’s transactions available here.
Released: RHP Matt Wilkinson
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Dustin Nippert
Placed on minor league disabled list: LHP Dana Eveland
Reinstated from disabled list: SS Matt Oxendine
Rehabilitation assignment: RHP Juan Cruz (Triple-A Tucson)
Eveland hit the shelf with a partially torn tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand. Cruz was recovering from shoulder soreness. The 6-foot-7 Nippert had by far his most successful big league stint, going 1-0, 3.86 with eight strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings. He had received callups in both 2005 and 2006, and was sent down this time to make room for Cruz. [...] Continue Reading »
The Diamondbacks promoted outfielder Justin Upton to Double-A Mobile and the first overall pick in 2005 will make his debut for the BayBears on Monday against Jacksonville.
Upton was hitting .341/.433/.540 with five homers in 126 at-bats at high Class A Visalia and now joins outfield prospects Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Rahl in the Mobile outfield.
â€¢ The Red Sox promoted Michael Bowden to Double-A Portland on Monday. The 2005 first-round pick was 2-0, 1.37 with 46 strikeouts in 46 innings at high Class A Lancaster.
â€¢ In another promotion–and no, I’m not trying to steal Matt Eddy’s weekly transaction breakdown (I couldn’t do that if I tried)–but the Marlins promoted infielder Brad McCann to Double-A Carolina Monday also.
A 2004 sixth-round pick, McCann batted .277/.288/.485 in 101 at-bats at high Class A Jupiter this season.
The 21-year-old Gomez, who at this time two years ago was in low Class A, hit .286/.363/.414 with two homers and 17 steals (in 21 attempts) for the Zephyrs. Gomez collected hits in his first 14 Triple-A games this season, and had shown impressive command of the strike zone early, drawing 15 walks against 23 strikeouts.
Pelfrey struggled mightily to establish his pitches in the majors, going 0-5, 6.53 with more walks (17) than strikeouts (13) in 30 1/3 innings, and a demotion seemed all but inevitable. Despite a strong spring training, the 23-year-old Pelfrey, the ninth overall pick out of Wichita State in 2005, showed below-average command of all his pitches, including even his mid-90s sinker, his bread-and-butter offering. [...] Continue Reading »
With reliever Joel Zumaya expected to miss up to three months and Jeremy Bonderman banged up, the Tigers called up righthander Virgil Vasquez from Triple-A Toledo to start Sunday against Minnesota.
Vasquez, a seventh-round pick in 2003 out of UC Santa Barbara, went 4-2, 2.88 with 50 strikeouts in 41 innings this season for the Mud Hens. While the 24-year-old righthander struggled last season at times at Double-A Erie (7-12, 3.73), Vasquez turned it up a notch in the Arizona Fall League.
In the AFL, Vasquez got hammered in his first start when he tried to pitch through flu-like symptoms, but then threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings and ultimately earned the league championship win for Phoenix.
According to Detroit Free Press writer and Baseball America correspondent Jon Paul Morosi, Tigers manager Jim Leyland asked about 2006 first-round pick Andrew Miller and minor league officials confirmed that the young lefthander was not yet ready. [...] Continue Reading »
HIGHS: Two weeks ago, Reds farm director Terry Reynolds said there was nothing wrong with Louisville first baseman Joey Votto, that he was just going through an adjustment period in his first taste of Triple-A. Looks like that periodâ€™s coming to a close. Votto went 3-for-4 with a homer in the Batsâ€™ 4-3 win against Syracuse, and is hitting .521 (12-for-25) over his last six games . . . Indians righthander Adam Miller pitched well enough to win, but instead took his first loss of the season in Buffaloâ€™s 8-1 loss to Rochester. Miller allowed two runs on nine hits over seven innings . . . The Pirates first-round comeback stories continue as righthander John Van Benschoten allowed a run on seven hits over seven innings in Indianapolisâ€™ 5-2 win against Ottawa.
LOWS: While Miller took the loss for the Bisons, righthanded reliever Juan Lara blew up, giving up five earned runs on two hits and walked threeâ€”lasting just 1/3 of an inning . . . For all the talk about Reds righthander Homer Bailey being called up this weekend, well, that never happened. And after walking four over 5 1/3 innings, it doesnâ€™t appear that Baileyâ€™s phone will be ringing anytime soon. The righthander allowed three runs on six hits and struck out six . . . Diamondbacks righthander Dustin Nippert left Tucsonâ€™s 7-3 loss to Oklahoma with a no-hitter after 2 1/3 innings, but walked four and wound up giving up three earned runs. [...] Continue Reading »
HIGHS: Good news for White Sox fansâ€”righthander Lance Broadway made his first start since April 29 when he left that game after three pitches with a back strain. And Broadway was impressive, allowing just one run on five hits over six innings of Charlotteâ€™s 7-1 win against Norfolk . . . Omaha pitching limited Sacramento to just two hits in the O-Royalsâ€™ 3-0 win against the River Cats. Lefthander Tyler Lumsden walked five and struck out four over 5 2/3 innings, and righthander Billy Buckner picked up where he left off, striking out four over 2 1/3 more shutout innings.
LOWS: In theory, it should have been one of the better pitching matchups, as Nashville righthander Yovani Gallardo faced Colorado Springs righty Ubaldo Jimenez. But of course it didnâ€™t turn out that way. Gallardo went into survival mode in the thin Colorado air, allowing four runs on five hits, walking three and whiffing four over 5 2/3 innings. Jimenezâ€™s 2007 struggles continued, allowing six earned runs on eight hits over just four innings . . . Speaking of struggles, Dodgers lefthander Greg Miller didnâ€™t make it out of the third inning in his last start, but the 22-year-old was even worse in Oklahomaâ€™s 19-5 win at Las Vegas. Miller only managed to get one out in the first inning, walked four and wound up giving up five earned runsâ€”on zero hits . . . Oklahomaâ€™s offense recorded 24 hits on Friday, one more than Columbus managed in its 13-7 win against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And righthander Ross Ohlendorf wore most of the onslaught for the Yankees. Ohlendorf allowed seven runs on nine hits, exiting before the end of the third. [...] Continue Reading »
Jeff Clement was perfect on Thursday. Edwar Ramirez has piled up an amazing strikeout-to-walk ratio in Double-A and Brandon Hynick finally gave up some runs, but he’s winning anyway.
Yorman Bazardo got the better of Kevin Slowey in an outstanding pitcher’s duel. Bazardo allowed two hits in eight scoreless innings, while Slowey gave up two runs on only three hits in a complete-game effort. Bazardo kept Rochester off balance by mixing his fastball and an impressive changeup. Although Slowey got the loss, he was pretty amazing once again. Slowey threw 80 strikes in 104 pitches while once again walking no one–he’s now walked two batters in 38 innings.
Mitch Talbot has had three very solid starts this season with Durham. It’s the other four starts that have gotten him in trouble and left him with an 8.71 ERA. Talbot allowed two runs and three hits in six innings to pick up his second win of the season.
Phil Dumatrait lowered his ERA to 1.99 by allowing one run in six innings. Edwin Encarnacion joined the Bats as Jeff Keppinger was sent to Cincinnati. The Reds will have another roster move in the near future after placing Eric Milton on the disabled list. Dumatrait or Bobby Livingston appear ticketed to make the start for Cincinnati on Sunday. It won’t be Homer Bailey, as Wayne Krivsky explained yesterday. [...] Continue Reading »
The Giants called up Triple-A Fresno outfielders Fred Lewis and Dan Ortmeier on Thursday, replacing the injured Dave Roberts (15-day DL) and Todd Linden. The 26-year-old Linden was designated for assignment, effectively ending his Giants career and reinforcing the reputation the Giants have as an organization that cannot develop hitters. [...] Continue Reading »
Indians lefthander Chuck Lofgren allowed a run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings of Double-A Akron’s 4-1 win against Binghamton on Tuesday, facing Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez three times.
Lofgren walked Martinez, got him to ground out and struck him out. But it’s probably better if we leave the details of facing the 18-year-old phenom to Lofgren: [...] Continue Reading »
Dodgers lefthander Marlon Arias tossed a complete game no-hitter in high Class A Inland Empire’s 2-0 win against Bakersfield on Wednesday.
Arias, who was signed by Los Angeles out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, threw 99 pitches, 68 for strikes. The 22-year-old struck out 10 and walked two. [...] Continue Reading »
Inland Empire’s Marlon Arias threw a no-hitter, Jared Goedert became the minors’ home run leader, and Gio Gonzalez retook the minors’ strikeout lead.
The Louisville Bats’ bats were anything but clutch on Wednesday. Louisville went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-4 with runners on third and less than two out in the team’s loss to Ottawa. Joey Votto did double twice for Louisville. Matt Childers threw six shutout innings for the win for the Lynx. [...] Continue Reading »
Rangers righthander Francisco Cruceta has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Cruceta has twice led his minor league in strikeouts, finishing second in the minors last season with 185 for Tacoma, the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate. While a member of the Indians organization, he struck out an Eastern League-leading 134 batters in 2003 for Double-A Akron. He’s gone 61-49, 3.84 in 909 minor league innings.
The Dodgers originally signed Cruceta in 1999 then traded him to the Indians in a deal for righthander Paul Shuey in 2002. The Mariners then claimed him on waivers in 2005, and he signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent following the 2006 season.
Indians third baseman Jared Goedert hit two home runs in Lake Countyâ€™s 5-3 win at Lexington on Wednesday, taking over the minor league lead with 13 bombs this season in the process.
The 2006 ninth-round pick has three homers over his last two games against the Legends, and is hitting .380/.508/.830 overall in an even 100 at-bats.
Goedert draws comparisons to former Indians third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, at least defensivelyâ€”thereâ€™s nothing flashy about him, but he makes all the routine plays and has an above-average arm for the position. [...] Continue Reading »
As minor league teams clear the 30 games played mark, five of them had failed to win even 30 percent of their games. It’s no coincidence that four of the five are low Class A clubs stocked with inexperienced players, and two of those teams have had to make due in the miserable conditions of the Midwest League.
A look at the early-season laggards:
1. Kane County Cougars (Athletics) â€¢ low Class A Midwest League
Gory details: 5-23, .179, 13 games out of first
Run differential: 100-143 (-43)
Longest losing streak: 8 games
2006 draft picks: 12. OF Matt Sulentic (3rd round), OF Jermaine Mitchell (5), RHP Andrew Bailey (6), SS Christian Vitters (10), RHP Jason Fernandez (11), OF Toddric Johnson (14), LHP Branden Dewing (16), SS Mike Affronti (17), 1B Greg Dowling (19), C Jake Smith (21), RHP Scott Moore (23), OF Larry Cobb (27)
The Cougars are a miserable 2-14 on the road and rank dead last in the MWL in ERA (4.69) and next-to-last in runs scored. Sulentic (.170/.243/.202) and Mitchell (.256/.356/.308), two of the Athletics’ finest hitting prospects, have had a tough time getting it going in the cold Midwest. [...] Continue Reading »
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