Futures Pre-Game Notes

 ST. LOUIS—A few quick observations and reminders from Busch Stadium batting practice:

• Follow BA’s coverage here on the prospects blog, but also on Twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballamerica). Also, I’ll be on Sirius XM Radio’s coverage from the U.S. dugout, with Scott Graham and Jim Kaat calling the action.

• I talked briefly with Charlie Montoyo, the Triple-A Durham manager and one of the coaches for the World team, and he was most impressed by Brett Lawrie (Brewers), who took a mean batting practice. "It’s fun to throw BP to guys with pop," Montoyo said, and then he surprised me by throwing Brewers shortstop Alcides Escobar into that mix. "He stung the ball," Montoyo said.

Jason Heyward put on a nice show for the U.S., showing easy power while hitting in a group with Tyler Flowers, his former Braves system teammate. Josh Vitters, another 2007 first-round pick (he went 11 spots ahead of Heyward) also had a nice round, finishing with a long homer to left-center field. Ben Badler also reports from the field that Mike Stanton (Marlins) and Brett Wallace (Cardinals) were among the U.S. players who had the best BP sessions.

• Montoyo reported excellent news on his son Alex, 20 months old, who had open heart surgery July 2 at UCLA medical center. He said Alex’s color in his extremities was much improved and that if his recovery continued apace, Alex could need only one more significant surgery. "The doctor told me that 10 years ago, the doctors would have looked at my son and said, ‘There’s nothing I can do.’ It makes all this (he then gestured with his arms the stadium) seem trivial."

• The starting pitchers are both from the American League East: Red Sox righty Junichi Tazawa (World) and Orioles righty Chris Tillman (U.S.).

Tazawa needed just 49 pitches to go five innings in his last start on Wednesday for Double-A Portland. Manager Arnie Beyeler said Thursday that Tazawa had excellent stuff that night, with a 91-94 mph fastball, a good forkball and command of his breaking ball and changeup.

• The starting lineups, with a quick note: Mets farmhand Wilmer Flores is going to start at second base. He has not played a pro game at second according to my quick research. The lineups:

WORLD

Alcides Escobar, ss

Tyson Gillies, rf

Alex Liddi, 3b

Barbaro Canizares, 1b

Jesus Montero, c

Nick Weglarz, lf

Brett Lawrie, dh

Wilmer Flores, 2b

Luis Durango, cf

Canizares replaced the injured Angel Villalona (Giants) on the roster on Friday, a disappointing development. No offense to Canizares, 30, a Cuban who made his big league debut this season and who’s having an outstanding year for Triple-A Gwinnett. But he’s 11 years older than Villalona, and having Villalona on the roster kept the Giants from sending other representatives, such as catcher Buster Posey or righthander Tim Alderson, as in the selection process, we’re limited to two players per organization in the selection process. It’s disappointing to not have Big V (or AnVil, if you prefer) here for that reason alone.

U.S.

Eric Young Jr., 2b

Desmond Jennings, cf

Brett Wallace, 3b

Chris Carter, 1b

Pedro Alvarez, dh

Chris Heisey, lf

Tyler Flowers, c

Jason Heyward, rf

Danny Espinosa, ss

Minors | #Futures Game

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