Shooter Hunt, rhp, Twins: Hunt’s season has been downright miserable, and now he can add a trip to the seven-day disabled list with a strained groin to his struggles. We knew Hunt was going to have control problems as he rose through the minor league ranks when the Twins made him the 31st overall pick last year, but I’m not sure anyone expected Hunt to walk nearly two batters per inning. In 17 2/3 innings with low Class A Beloit, Hunt has allowed 23 runs (21 earned) for a 10.70 ERA, with 33 walks, four hit batsmen, seven wild pitches and 18 strikeouts. Not all hope is lost for Hunt, who can look at Daniel Bard’s turnaround for inspiration. Hunt doesn’t throw as hard as Bard does, but his fastball and curveball are plus pitches when they’re on, so a move to the bullpen could be in Hunt’s future.
Josh Fields, rhp, Mariners: Things are not going well in West Tenn. Seattle’s Double-A affiliate has already lost Carlos Triunfel to injury, while Greg Halman is on pace for a 200-strikeout season and a sub-.300 OBP. Now Fields, the Mariners’ first-round pick last year out of Georgia, hasn’t played since May 5, with farm director Pedro Grifol telling the Everett Herald that Fields has a "dead arm."
"He hit a little bit of a wall and we just shut him down a little bit. He’s on a throwing program and he’ll be back pretty soon."
Fields, 23, has been a mixed bag in Double-A. In 10 appearances out of the bullpen, Fields struck out 15 batters in nine innings, though he also walked nine, hit one, threw a wild pitch and allowed 11 runs (six earned), leaving him with a 6.00 ERA.
Chia-Jen Lo, rhp, Astros: Lancaster is the most difficult park in the minors for pitchers to tame, but Lo was off to a good start before hitting the seven-day disabled list with a shoulder injury. Lo, a 23-year-old signed for $250,000 in October, had a 1.78 ERA in 12 appearances out of the JetHawks’ bullpen, with 36 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. With 13 walks, he was offering too many free passes, but Lo is showing the ability to miss bats in A-ball.
Daryl Thompson, rhp, Reds: Thompson’s career has been one long battle with staying healthy. After starting 2008 strong before wearing down at the end of the year, Thompson has been neither effective nor healthy this season, landing on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Thompson, who last pitched on May 19, has a 6.59 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Louisville, with 21 runs (20 earned) allowed in 27 1/3 innings, six walks and only eight strikeouts. With durability proving to be such a factor for the 23-year-old Thompson, a move to the bullpen might help keep him out of the trainer’s room.
Lucas May, c, Dodgers: After a down year in 2008, May was off to a solid start for Double-A Chattanooga before hitting the disabled list with a fractured wrist. May, 24, is hitting .298/.391/.468 in 27 games with 11 walks and 23 strikeouts. Defense is still a work in progress for May, who has thrown out 12 of 27 basestealers (44 percent) but who also has committed 11 passed balls.
Quick Hits: Athletics righthander Henry Rodriguez left extended spring training to make his 2009 debut with high Class A Stockton. Rodriguez, who has been recovering from double hernia surgery in the offseason, has been excellent in three relief appearances (though with the caveat that the 22-year-old might have started the year in Triple-A had he been healthy). In five innings, Rodriguez has 11 strikeouts, one walk and has yet to allow a run . . . The Yankees placed righthander Dellin Betances on the DL. Betances, 21, is 2-4, 4.87 in 40 2/3 innings for high Class A Tampa. No word yet on the injury . . . The Mariners placed high Class A righthander Michael Pineda on the DL, his second stint there this season. Pineda missed two and a half weeks in late April and early May with tightness in his right elbow. He returned to make two relief appearances this month, but hasn’t pitched since May 16.
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