See also: Thursday’s Daily Dish
See also: Today’s Baseball America Prospect Report
The jump from A-ball to Double-A is supposed to be the first big test for prospects.
Thursday night, Matt Garza passed with flying colors.
Garza, a righthander who was a first-round pick out of Fresno State last June, continued his dominant season with a stellar effort for Double-A New Britain last night. He pitched into the eighth inning and missed the club record for strikeouts in a 4-1 victory against New Hampshire.
Garza yielded only one hit over 7 2/3 innings and set a season-high with 13 strikeouts to win his Double-A debut. He improved to 6-1, 1.38 overall between New Britain and high Class A Fort Myers. The only hit he allowed was a leadoff single to Miguel Negron in the first inning. In between walks in the second and eighth innings, he retired 19 straight Fisher Cats.
“He was so aggressive with all his pitches,” New Britain manager Riccardo Ingram told Ken Lipshez of the New Britain Herald. “You throw a fastball for strikes, but he was throwing them in the bottom of the zone which makes it hard for the hitters. Most guys with his velocity are up around the belt area, but he was at bottom of the strike zone and it was exploding downwards.
”The thing that was so impressive is that all three pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) were in the strike zone so they couldn’™t sit on one particular pitch.”
One of the Twins’™ top hitting prospects, third baseman Matt Moses, helped support Garza with his sixth home run of the season.
Maybin Aggravates Finger
The Detroit Tigers have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, but not everything is peaches and cream in Tigers land. They got some bad news yesterday when Cameron Maybin, their first-round pick last June, was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 16.
The 19-year-old has not played since May 6 when he aggravated his right index finger. He had not initially been placed on the DL because it was not deemed serious, but the organization ultimately decided that it was not worth taking any chances.
Maybin did not sign until after the 2005 season, so the Asheville, N.C., native’™s early success had been a revelation. In 100 pro at-bats, Maybin is hitting .330/.409/.510 for low Class A West Michigan, and joins two other ‘˜05 first-round outfielders in their assault on the league.
Arizona’™s Justin Upton, the No. 1 overall pick, is hitting, .348/.425/.489 after going 3-for-4 with a homer last night. Upton has missed time this season with a hamstring injury. The Reds’™ Jay Bruce, taken 12th overall, went 2-for-6 with a homer in a Thursday doubleheader, and is hitting .289/.347/.592.
Maybin will not be able to come off of the disabled list until June 1.
Norfolk manager Tony Tijerina had to turn to two unexpected sources in Thursday’™s 8-2 loss to Toledo. Burdened by an overtaxed bullpen, the Tides called on two position players to pitch the game’™s final three innings. Perhaps the most unexpected of it all was catcher Joe Hietpas and infielder Ray Navarrete gave up just one run.
Hietpas pitched consistently in the 90s and even hit 93 mph on the stadium’™s speed gun.
“Everything that happened today was odd,” Hietpas told the Virginian-Pilot. “I had no idea I could throw 93. The last time I pitched, I was 15 and playing junior varsity American Legion ball in Wisconsin.”
Starter Brian Bannister, making a rehab start for the Mets at Triple-A, came out of the game after throwing just five pitches, the result of tweaking his strained hamstring. It is believed that Bannister suffered a cramp, but he’™ll have an MRI today and is expected to make another Triple-A start.
The offensive stars for Toledo were left fielder Ryan Raburn, who connected for two home runs to give him eight on the season, one off the IL pace, and third baseman Mike Hessman, who also hit a pair of homers.
Dodgers righthander Justin Orenduff returned to the rotation at Double-A Jacksonville and clearly is over the elbow soreness that forced him to leave his last start on May 8 after only one inning. Orenduff, who missed one turn in the rotation, struck out four and walked three in six no-hit innings against the struggling Mississippi Braves in a 13-2 Suns victory. Mississippi is just 15-26, and the game dropped the team batting average to .245 . . . Orioles righthander Hayden Penn, 21, continued his mastery for Triple-A Ottawa, tossing seven shutout innings Thursday against Syracuse, striking out seven and walking one. Penn could be in line for a promotion to Baltimore because righthander Daniel Cabrera, whose next start coincides with Penn’™s next, was placed on the disabled list. “I don’™t think (yesterday) was a tryout by any means,” Ottawa manager Dave Trembley told the Ottawa Sun. “I think everybody knows what Hayden Penn is all about and what he can do.” . . . Not to be outdone, Pirates lefthander Tom Gorzelanny, the International League’™s hottest pitcher, extended his scoreless innings streak to 16 with eight shutout innings against Charlotte. Gorzelanny, 23, lowered his ERA to 2.56 and took over the league lead for strikeouts with 55. Opponents are hitting an unseemly .189 against him . . . Angels prospect Jose Arredondo will return to the mound on Sunday, and when he does the Angels will be looking to see that he shows more focus. In his last start on Tuesday, he was lifted after two innings. “He wasn’t struggling. He had just lost interest,” Rancho Cucamonga manager Bobby Mitchell told the Ontario Daily Bulletin. “We’re not going to have a guy pitch who doesn’t want to be out there.” . . . The Fort Myers Miracle tied a franchise record for worst loss with a 17-0 drubbing at the hands of the Palm Beach Cardinals.