See also: Tuesday’s Daily Dish
See also: Today’s Baseball America Prospect Report
The Wednesday trade of third baseman Aubrey Huff allowed the Devil Rays to address something they had put off for two years: Where to play B.J. Upton, who now becomes the club’s third baseman.
The athletic but error-prone shortstop had spent all of 2004 and ’05 at Triple-A Durham to work on defensive improvements, but the results were inconsistent. Upton had committed 28 errors this season in 88 games, and 172 in 455 minor league games.
With Huff out of the picture, the Devil Rays will install Upton at third base as soon as he’s deemed ready. He’ll be working with minor league instructors Jimy Williams and Jim Hoff on the conversion.
“This is not us giving up on (Upton) as a shortstop,” Devil Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the Bradenton Herald. “He still sees himself as a shortstop, and this is great. But he’s willing to help the team.”
“They’ve made us aware of the situation,” Upton’s agent Larry Reynolds told the St. Petersburg Times. “Our goal is to get B.J. to the big leagues as soon as possible.”
Upton, 21, spent the final two months of the 2004 season with the major league team where he played both spots on the left side of the infield as well as the outfield, hitting .258/.324/.409 in 159 at-bats.
Cordier Comes Along Slowly
Since being a second-round pick in 2004, Erik Cordier has not had much to get excited about. An abnormal bone formation in his knee required surgery and kept him out of the 2005 season. The Royals have brought him along slowly this season, and the results are starting to come.
The righthander threw five scoreless innings last night and earned the win as Burlington defeated Kane County in the low Class A Midwest League. It was his second start for Burlington and he is now 1-1, 1.64 with three strikeouts and five walks in 11 innings.
Prior to joining Burlington, the 20-year-old made three starts for Rookie-level Idaho Falls and had a 19-3 strikeout-walk ratio on 16 innings for the Chukars. The organization has been careful in stretching him in his first season coming off of surgery.
“He allowed to go into the upper 90s (on his pitch count), he was doing 85-90 before he came here,” Burlington pitching coach Steve Luebber said. “He’s throwing 88-94, averaging about 92. Change has been more consistent, curveball can be good, but he pulls it a little to the left. Sometimes he changes his arm slot on the breaking ball.”
When the Royals drafted Cordier out of Southern Door High in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., he was the highest drafted player out the Badger State since Jarrod Washburn went 31st overall to the Angels in 1995.
• Upton isn’t the only player changing positions, as the Angels are converting outfielder Warner Madrigal and infielder Travis Schlichting to the mound. Both have been listed on the disabled list for the last month, as the club prepared to reassign them to the Rookie-level Arizona League. Schlichting, a 2003 fourth-round pick of the Devil Rays, came over from Tampa Bay for catcher Josh Paul last December. He had been on the DL since May 27 after hitting .242/.356/.404 with three homers in 99 at-bats at low Class A Cedar Rapids. Madrigal, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, crushed Rookie-level Pioneer League pitching in 2003, hitting .369 with 28 doubles and 51 RBIs. He had surgery to remove the hook of his hamate bone below his left wrist in early 2004, and only played in 26 games that season. Madrigal had two plus tools as a position player–power and arm strength–so the move to the mound isn’t that surprising, especially after he hit .235/.278/.348 in 115 at-bats this season . . . Mariners outfielder Adam Jones was in Toledo Wednesday for the Triple-A all-star game, but his next trip will be across the Canadian border to Toronto to join the big league club as its starting center fielder on Friday. Jones, who converted from shortstop to center in the Arizona Fall League last year, was hitting .277/.332/.470 with 14 homers in 328 at-bats at Triple-A Tacoma . . . The Padres called up a trio of catchers Wednesday, as George Kottaras was sent to Triple-A Portland; Colt Morton was promoted to Double-A Mobile; and Nick Hundley heads to high Class A Lake Elsinore. Kottaras, who starred for the World Team in Sunday’s Futures Game, was hitting .276/.394/.451 with eight homers in 257 at-bats for the BayBears; Morton was hitting .227/.374/.398 in 176 at-bats for the Storm; and Hundley was hitting .274/.355/.474 in 215 at-bats at low Class A Fort Wayne . . . In another callup Wednesday, the Red Sox promoted center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to Double-A Portland. Ellsbury, missed nearly a month in May with a strained hamstring, was hitting .298/.378/.413 in 242 at-bats at high Class A Wilmington . . . The Braves activated outfielder Josh Burrus Wednesday. Burrus had been on the DL since May 30 with a shoulder strain. The 2001 first-rounder was hitting just .181/.230/.219 in 105 at-bats at Double-A Mississippi . . . Yankees farm director Pat Roessler is taking over the helm as field manager at low Class A Charleston for the remainder of the season. Roessler replaces Bill Mosiello, who announced his resignation late Monday.