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Baseball America's Daily Dish
Complete Daily Dish Archive
Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
Although his velocity hasn't been what it was in April, Orioles' righthander Chris Ray is still lighting up radar guns everywhere and getting outs consistently at Double-A Bowie.
Ray, a third-round pick in 2003 out of William & Mary, has been terrorizing Eastern League hitters this season. Strictly used as a starter over his two-year pro career, Ray moved to the bullpen—his college role--this season and obviously made the adjustment well.
Through 21 innings, Ray is 1-2, 1.21 with nine saves for the Baysox. He's commanding the zone well, with a 25-6 strikeout-walk ratio and has been especially tough on lefties, who are hitting just .105 against him.
Ray's two losses came early in the season as he was making minor adjustments to his mechanics. The glitches in his delivery were throwing off his fastball command, as well as the bite on his splitter. The velocity was there, but the control wasn't quite what he showed last season at high Class A Frederick, where he went 6-3, 3.80 in 73 innings.
“The first few times out, he didn’t have the command he wanted," farm director Dave Stockstill said. "We made an adjustment in his windup, trying to get better balance, and that helped him get it together. He really wasn’t coming together at the top of his delivery, and he was going in two or three different directions.”
Since the mechanical adjustments, Ray is off and running--he's allowed just three earned runs since April 16. His fastball was hitting 96-97 mph over the first few weeks, and although he's now consistently 93-94, his power slider and splitter have become plus pitches.
"I never saw him throw that hard; when I saw him he was low-to-mid 90s," an NL scout said. "The fastball command was exceptional, but with his secondary stuff being what it is, he's a late-inning guy that can get you those outs. He throws everything for strikes, and that splitter just goes straight down. I think he's found his role."
• Mets 2004 first-round pick Philip Humber continues to look for his first win as a pro, dropping to 0-4, 5.35 last night by giving up seven runs on nine hits over just three innings in high Class A St. Lucie’s 9-7 loss to Tampa. In his last three starts, Humber has allowed 14 runs in 13 1/3 innings.
• Another 2004 first-round pick struggling in the Florida State League is Toronto’s David Purcey, who has given up 11 runs over 7 2/3 innings in his last two starts for Dunedin, raising his ERA to 4.20.
• Reds righthander Homer Bailey showed no signs of rust after missing two weeks with a sore arm. Bailey allowed only one hit over four innings, striking out five in low Class A Dayton’s 3-2 win over West Michigan. It was Bailey’s fourth consecutive scoreless start, and the seventh overall pick last year is 1-1, 1.91 in eight starts with 40 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
• Also on a roll in the Midwest League is Twins righty Anthony Swarzak, who struck out a career-high 13 in a career-high eight innings, allowing just two hits and an unearned run in low Class A Beloit’s 5-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Swarzak hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last five starts, and leads the circuit with 65 strikeouts in 54 innings.
• John Hudgins, the MOP of the 2003 College World Series, is enjoying similar success at the pro level. After striking out six over seven scoreless innings last night for Triple-A Oklahoma, the Rangers righthander improved his record to 2-2, 3.00. He has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.
• Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart continues to struggle after missing the first month of the season with a hamstring pull. Stewart went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in high Class A Modesto’s 6-2 win over Visalia last night, and is 5-for-31 with 15 strikeouts in his last eight contests. On the season, the 2003 first-round pick is batting .211/.279/.347 in 95 at-bats.
• From one Ian to another . . .When rain threatened to push back Triple-A Indianapolis' rotation in that final game of a four-game set with Durham, Indians manager Trent Jewett contemplated the situation. "I like (Ian) Snell to start the series--as many series' as possible, really. He just sets a tone and gets in hitters' heads early," Jewett said. It all worked out, as Snell delivered another solid performance, this time against Charlotte. The 24-year-old righthander allowed one run on three hits over seven innings to give Indy a 3-1 win in the opener. In his last three starts, Snell is 2-0, 0.81 with 21 strikeouts in 22 innings.
• By having Casey Kotchman and Jeff Mathis as teammates, Nick Gorneault might be an afterthought, but he isn’t playing like it. The UMass alum was 2-for-3 last night with two triples and a walk for Triple-A Salt Lake. He leads the team in hitting and boasts a season line of .328/.373/.635.
• After pitching fewer than nine innings since April 23 due to a pulled muscle in his side, Gio Gonzalez resumed dominating the South Atlantic League last night. The White Sox lefthander struck out nine over seven innings last night, but allowed two homers and three earned runs. The 19-year-old got the win to raise his record to 3-2, 2.15 and he now has 62 strikeouts in 37.2 innings.
• While we were giving Dave Haehnel all the love for his scoreless streak, the Nationals Brett Campbell was running up an even more impressive streak. With a shutout inning last night, the righthander has now not allowed a run in 22 2/3 innings. He has fanned 24, allowed 10 hits and nine walks and has 10 saves for low Class A Savannah.
• Orioles lefthander Adam Loewen pitched a complete game but still took the loss in high Class A Wilmington's 2-0 win against Frederick. Loewen, who has struggled with his control problems all year, went seven innings, allowed two runs on three hits, struck out eight and walked three. On the season, the 2002 first-round pick is 0-2, 3.08 with a 47-40 strikeout-walk ratio in 50 innings.
• Lake Elsinore first baseman Michael Johnson had surgery Tuesday to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his right hand. "(The doctor) said it went really good," Johnson told the North County Times. "It was everything he expected, which is good." Johnson, the Padres’ second-rounder out of Clemson in 2002, is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. He was having his best season as a pro, batting .308-.381-.624 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.