See also: Thursday’s Daily Dish
See also: Today’s Baseball America Prospect Report
If you’re looking for a breakout prospect in the Midwest League thus far this season, look no further then the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia. He cemented that status last night by outdueling the Angels’ Nick Adenhart as Quad Cities defeated Cedar Rapids 1-0.
It was the second time the pair had squared off in a week, with Adenhart getting the best of Garcia in a 4-1 victory for Cedar Rapids six days ago.
“I was fired up because he got me the last game,” Garcia told The Quad-City Times. “The whole game I was not thinking of the score or what I was going to do; I just wanted to throw strikes. I threw pretty good. I was throwing my sinker for strikes, and my curve and my change were there.”
Garcia was the model of efficiency as the lefthander needed just 86 pitches to get through eight innings and he did not throw more then 10 pitches in any of his final four innings. He allowed just five hits while striking out five and walking none.
“That’s probably the best he’s thrown all year,” Quad Cities catcher Bryan Anderson told the paper. “He was getting ahead, keeping his sinker down in the zone and getting ground balls, and that was the key.”
Garcia induced 12 groundball outs last night to go with five flyball outs and that has been a vital part of Garcia’s success all season. The lefthander is now 3-3, 2.28 with a 2.32 groundball-flyball ratio. He also has 59 strikeouts to go with 14 walks in 55 innings.
What makes Garcia’s success so surprising is that he has come out of nowhere. The 19-year-old was born in Mexico and played high school ball at Mission (Tex.) High. The Cardinals drafted him in the 22nd round last June and he did not make his pro debut until this year, rebuilding his arm strength after he got out of shape. After outpitching Adenhart, the best pitching prospect in the league, you can be sure Garcia won’t be sneaking up on anyone else.
Where Have You Gone, Bill Evers?
First, Delmon Young was sentenced to a 50-game suspension for tossing a bat at an umpire and hitting him in the chest last month. Then the club suspended outfielder Elijah Dukes a day later, sending him home to Tampa for 10 days after he got into an argument with hitting coach Richie Hebner.
These certainly have been an interesting two months in Durham, and it became even more so Thursday, when the International League banged Bulls manager John Tamargo for 10 games and fined him an undisclosed amount for repeatedly bumping an umpire on Sunday.
Adding insult to injury, the Devil Rays announced that Tamargo would also be sitting out those 10 games without pay.
“He made a mistake,” Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics told the St. Petersburg Times. “He made a great mistake. He needs to serve his suspension, and we need to get back to developing players.”
Just as Young’s 50-game sit-down was the longest in the 123 year-history of the IL, Tamargo established a new record for a suspension by a manager with his 10-gamer.
IL president Randy Mobley told the paper the length of Tamargo’s tirade is what led to the double-digit suspension.
Thursday, Tamargo apologized for the incident.
“I’ve been in baseball 34 years and I’ve never done anything like that. I’m embarrassed . . . My actions were childish,” he said. “Umpires have been around forever and we should respect them. Regardless of what happened on the field, it should not have escalated to that level, and it was my fault. I’m supposed to respect the umpire, and I didn’t do a good job of that. If I see him again, I will apologize to him.”
The Constant Gardner
On the heels of his third-team All-America season at College of Charleston last spring, Brett Gardner was expected to move fast after being drafted by the Yankees in the third round. He spent last summer helping short-season Staten Island win the New York-Penn League championship, and he has had no difficulty skipping a level to high Class A Tampa this year. The 22-year-old outfielder hit his fifth triple of the year, stole his 18th base and drove in three runs in Tampa’s 10-5 win against St. Lucie on Thursday. He is now hitting .361/.482/.468 in 158 at-bats with 36 walks and 39 strikeouts. His 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale has translated into triples, steals, bunt singles and stellar defense in center field.
“There’s no doubt he’s the fastest guy that I ever managed. This kid is amazing,” Tampa manager Luis Sojo said. “He puts a lot of pressure on the defense–it’s nice to have him on my side.”
Gardner has impressed the Yankees not only with his speed, but also with his offensive approach and improved drag bunting. “He’s got some power–you see him taking BP, he’ll drive the ball, but he’s got a good plan,” Sojo said. “He’s always at 3-and-2, trying to hit the ball the opposite way, up the middle. I think it’s good for him–got to stay the other way. He’ll hit some balls in left-center with power. He’s a great leadoff hitter.”
Sojo said Gardner still needs to work a bit on picking the right times to steal bases–he’s been caught five times–and improving his outfield reads, but he asks a lot of questions and improves quickly. It seems only a matter of time before he moves quickly up the Yankees system, as well.
“You hate to lose guys like these, but whenever a guy gets promoted, it makes you happy, means you’re doing your job,” Sojo said. “He’s a young kid, they don’t need to rush him to another level. But we’ll see, I hope he’ll get promoted.”
• The Angels are expected to call up righthander Jered Weaver from Triple-A Salt Lake today. Weaver, BA’s 2004 College Player of the Year, went 4-1, 2.05 with 66 strikeouts in 57 innings for the Bees–tossing a complete game five-hit shutout in his last start Monday against New Orleans . . . Also on the callup list today are Giants lefthander Jonathan Sanchez and first baseman Travis Ishikawa from Double-A Connecticut to San Francisco. Sanchez went 2-1, 1.15 with a 46-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 31 innings. While he started the year in the Defenders’ rotation, the Giants moved him to the pen in hopes he could develop and move through the system more quickly. Ishikawa, a 21st-round pick in 2001, batted .256/.320/.410 in 117 at-bats and got his second callup to the big leagues of the year . . . Updating the status of Mariners righthander Yorman Bazardo, Seattle placed him on the seven-day disabled list on Thursday. Bazardo left Monday’s outing after one inning with elbow soreness, but MRI results were negative . . . Yankees righthander Jeff Marquez picked up his first win of the season for Tampa, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. The 2004 supplemental first-round pick out of Sacramento City College improved to 1-4, 4.88 with 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 48 innings. “He’s been on and off,” Sojo said. “He’s got a lot of talent, but still got to work with the breaking ball, keeping the ball down. He has to work on his command, but he’ll be all right–he’s got a good arm, a good changeup, just got to keep the breaking ball down.” . . . Bees second baseman Howie Kendrick collected five hits against the on Thursday, including a triple and a home run. The Angels infielder is hitting .350 since returning to the minors, and .373/.400/.591 in 110 at-bats overall . . . Triple-A Richmond righthander Anthony Lerew allowed 11 hits and six earned runs Thursday against Durham, and has allowed 21 earned runs in his last four starts, spanning 18 1/3 innings. Lerew was not tagged with the loss, however, as the Braves offense bailed him out by winning the game, 8-7 . . . In his first start since being reassigned from the Milwaukee, Ben Hendrickson held Triple-A Portland to just one hit over seven innings. Hendrickson allowed 16 runs in 12 innings with the Brewers, but his start on Thursday was the third time he has held the opposing team scoreless in five Pacific Coast League starts.
Contributing: Bryan Smith.