Daily Dish: May 2

Delmon Young has been quietly tearing apart Southern League pitching, but his emotions got the best of him Friday night.

The Double-A Montgomery right fielder was suspended for three games
after bumping an umpire during a 13-0 loss to Carolina at Riverwalk
Stadium.

Young, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Devil Rays,
was ejected and appeared to intentionally chest-bump home-plate umpire
Jeff Latter in the ninth inning, according to the Montgomery
Advertiser. The feud between Young and Latter then carried over into
the runway leading to the clubhouse after the game.

“He shouldn’t have done what he did,” Biscuits manager Charlie
Montoyo told the Advertiser. “It was a bump, but it wasn’t like he
pushed him to the ground. It was just one of those bumps and that was
it. It wasn’t like he kept bumping him.”

The incident took place after Young was called out on strikes for
the third time Friday. He sat out the remainder of the series against
the Mudcats and will finish up the suspension tonight.

Young, who is hitting .282/.364/.459 with four homers and 16 RBIs in
85 at-bats, has apparently been aggravated by umpires of late. Last
Saturday against Birmingham, he was nearly ejected after being hit by a
pitch by Barons righthander Dwayne Pollok. Young turned his back to the
mound and flung his bat high in the air, landing about 20 feet from
Pollok.

“The kid is 19 years old and he’s got to grow up and mature,”
Mudcats manager Gary Allenson said. “What the kid has to learn is that
sometimes people make mistakes–but I’m not saying the umpire made a
mistake. It’s one thing to get in an argument and to get thrown out,
but you have to stay away from contact.”

– CHRIS KLINE

DISH PIECES

• It doesn’t get much hotter than Double-A Altoona first baseman Brad Eldred.
Eldred, the Pirates’ sixth-round pick in 2002, homered in his fifth
straight game Sunday, a 9-5 loss to Trenton. “Big Country” is batting
.321/.371/.802 with a minor league-leading 11 homers and 23 RBIs in 81
at-bats.

• Staying in the Eastern League, Akron first baseman Michael Aubrey
is heating up. Aubrey, a first-round pick of the Indians in 2003 out of
Tulane, went 7-for-15 with six RBIs in a weekend series with
Harrisburg. After he moved up to Double-A last July, Aubrey was limited
to DH duties due to nagging hamstring problems, but he’s been healthy
and playing first base this season. Overall, Aubrey is hitting
.304/.345/.494 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 79 at-bats.

• Double-A Bowie righthander Hayden Penn picked up his second
win of the season against Reading Friday night. Penn, a fifth-round
pick in 2002, went seven innings, allowed one earned run on seven hits,
struck out 10 and walked one. On the season he’s 2-1, 1.55 with 40
strikeouts and six walks in 29 innings. Baysox righthander Chris Ray
has moved to the bullpen full time this year and has been impressive.
In eight appearances, the Orioles’ third-round pick in 2003 is 0-2,
0.87 with four saves. He has allowed just one earned run, struck out 10
and walked three in 10 innings.

• Double-A New Hampshire righthander Josh Banks rolled off
his fourth straight win Friday night, allowing three runs on eight
hits. He struck out four and did not issue a walk. On the season, Banks
is 4-0, 2.05 with 25 strikeouts and two walks in 25 innings.

• Triple-A Norfolk leads the International League in homers with 35,
though you wouldn’t have known it Saturday night. Braves righthander
Zach Miner held the Tides to four singles in six innings, winning his
Triple-A debut. “I just wanted to make a good first impression,” the
23-year-old told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I was definitely
excited. Being a baseball fan, they have a bunch of guys (Brian Daubach, Mike DiFelice, Benji Gil)
that you know who they are. They’ve had success in the big leagues.
That was one of the coolest things, getting to face those guys.”

• Double-A West Tenn lefthander Rich Hill has been
untouchable over his last two starts. In 14 innings, Hill has allowed
just two hits, struck out 26 and walked three. Hill had control
problems in the past, walking 72 in 109 innings at high Class A Daytona
last year. But this season, his 88-93 mph fastball, 12-to-6 curve and
changeup have been all over the zone. “It’s a great feeling to know
that you’ve got three pitches working very well out there on the
mound,” Hill told the Jackson Sun.

• Class A Lynchburg righthander Wardell Starling was perfect
through 6 1/3 innings against Myrtle Beach Friday. Starling, a Pirates
fourth-rounder in 2002 out of Odessa (Texas) Junior College, allowed
just one hit over eight innings and struck out seven. Starling’s
fastball was in the 88-92 mph range, complemented by a darting changeup
and a 70 mph curveball that was consistent all night long. “I’ve never
really thrown that (curveball) hard,” Starling told the (Myrtle Beach)
Sun News. “It looks like a ball, but then it drops in for a strike.
That makes it pretty tough to hit.” On the season, Starling is 3-1,
2.36 with 23 strikeouts and six walks in 27 innings.

• Also emerging in the Carolina League is Wilmington righthander Jose Vaquedano.
The 23-year-old Red Sox prospect earned his second win of the season
after shutting out Winston-Salem over six innings. He allowed three
hits and struck out five. Vaquedano is 2-0, 3.00 with 15 strikeouts in
21 innings.

Casey Kotchman is finally above the Mendoza line. With a
2-for-4 performance against Tacoma on Sunday, the Angels’ top prospect
raised his average to .207. Kotchman has managed 18 walks, so his
on-base percentage is still a formidable .363, but his slugging
percentage is .244.

Adam Wainwright continues to impress at Triple-A Memphis.
The 6-foot-8 righthander allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings against
Iowa yesterday. He did not figure in the decision but has a nifty 2.10
ERA in 34 innings while striking out 27 and walking four.

Jerome Williams was sent down to Triple-A Fresno after
going 0-2, 6.48 in three starts with the Giants, and his first start in
Fresno was not encouraging. He lasted 4 1/3 innings on Saturday while
allowing five earned runs, nine hits and four walks and striking out
two. Williams gave up four extra-base hits, and his fastball rarely got
over 90 mph. Of the 92 pitches he threw, 57 were strikes and he often
fell behind early in counts. “The velocity, I’m not so concerned,”
Grizzlies manager Shane Turner told the Fresno Bee. “It’s the
command. You can’t get behind in the count at any level. His ego is
probably bruised a bit. He’s got to keep his head up. Coming in here,
we knew there were things he needed to iron out. And we’ll do that.”

• With three stolen bases on Saturday, Marcus Sanders now
leads the minors with 15 on the season. Sanders isn’t just a speed
player, either. After going 5-for-13 with two walks on the weekend, the
Giants second-base prospect is now hitting .351/.402/.485 at low Class
A Augusta.

• Some scouts were concerned with Philip Hughes’ lack of
velocity in the early going, but it wasn’t a problem yesterday. The
Charleston righthander threw six no-hit innings while fanning eight to
raise his record to 2-1, 1.06. The Yankees pitching staff has looked
mediocre and old this season, so fans should be encouraged by the
performance of this young arm.

• Astros shortstop prospect Ben Zobrist looked shaky in the
SAL early on, but with a 2-for-3 performance yesterday, he is now
hitting .250/.376/.321. His .376 on-base percentage is encouraging,
particularly if he continues to steal bases at a 90 percent clip. He
now has nine swipes in 10 attempts.

• Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick continues to put up
great numbers at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Kendrick went 6-for-12
over the weekend, including a two-home run game yesterday in the
Quakes’ 5-2 win against Inland Empire, raising his season totals to
.413-7-20 in 104 at-bats. Kendrick leads the minor leagues in hits
(42), runs (32) and total bases (74).

• Athletics righthander Dallas Braden may be a trick pitcher,
but it’s one nasty trick. A 24th-round pick last year out of Texas
Tech, Braden had 63 strikeouts over 42 innings in his pro debut last
year thanks to a devastating screwball, and put an exclamation mark on
the season by striking out 15 in the Midwest League playoffs. Bumped to
the California League for 2005, Braden struck out 11 last night over
seven innings in Stockton’s 6-3 win over Lancaster, improving to 4-0,
3.14 with 42 strikeouts in 29 innings.

• Entering the season, the Cardinals were convinced that outfielder Cody Haerther
could hit, shown by his career .322 average. Now, he has added power to
his game, homering in all three games over the weekend while going
8-for-13 for high Class A Palm Beach. At .349-5-21, he has already
equaled last year’s home run total. Also raking for Palm Beach is
shortstop Brendan Ryan, who is 16-for-31 (.516) in his last eight games and batting .354-1-11 on the season.

• Look out, but 2004 No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush may be
getting into a bit of a groove. Bush hit his second home run of the
year in low Class A Fort Wayne’s 5-3 win against Beloit and is hitting
.310 in his last eight games with eight runs scored.

• Cubs righthander Sean Gallagher has been the most dominant
pitcher in the minors over the past two weeks. For the second time in
three starts, the 2004 12th-round pick pitched six no-hit innings for
low Class A Peoria, as the Chiefs topped Kane County 1-0 yesterday.
Gallagher also fired six no-hit innings against Fort Wayne on April 20,
and in his start in between the two no-hit outings, he struck out 10
over 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits. For the season,
Gallagher has yet to surrender an earned run, going 2-1, 0.00 with 37
strikeouts in 29 innings while allowing 10 hits.

Minors | #2005 #Daily Dish

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