Daily Dish: April 18
See also: Monday's Daily Dish.
See also: Today's Baseball America Prospect Report.
The season might be still very young, but already Twins lefthander Glen Perkins is scuffling. Not that you'd notice by the numbers, since the 23-year-old is carrying a 2.38 ERA and has a 16-6 strikeout-walk ratio in 11 1/3 innings at Double-A New Britain.
But Perkins was lifted in the second inning from his start against Portland last week after catcher Jose Morales tried to approach the mound--and after Perkins had already thrown 55 pitches in two frames.
Perkins balked when he saw Morales coming toward him, and he quickly directed him to get back behind the plate. Manager Riccardo Ingram then made a trip to talk to the 2004 first-rounder, and allowed him to finish the inning before sending him to the clubhouse.
Perkins later apologized to his teammates for letting his emotions affect his poise on the mound, but he was obviously frustrated.
"He was pretty mad at himself--not at his catcher, not at anyone else--just himself," Twins farm director Jim Rantz said. "He was getting deep into counts and he was already approaching 60 pitches in just two innings. He didn't want to talk to anybody and the last thing on his mind was having to deal with someone entering his frustration. He didn't want that to carry over, but it boiled over after Morales went out there.
"Maybe it's a wake-up call."
That appears to be the case, as Perkins went out Monday night and tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings against the Sea Dogs in Portland's 3-0 win. But his control troubles continued--as he reached his pitch limit in the fifth inning.
"He hasn't been as efficient as we've seen in the past, but it isn't due to lack of stuff," Rantz said. "He's just had a tough time getting the ball rolling. He'll come around. It's tough when you're out there battling and things aren't going your way, but these are all things every young pitcher needs to learn how to work through."
-- CHRIS KLINE
• High Class A Fort Myers righthander Matt Garza has still given up just one earned run in three outings this year, but his start last night for against Tampa was nothing like his sparkling outing against the same club last week, when he allowed just two hits while striking out 10 over five shutout innings. To be fair, he might have been on his way to duplicating that performance before things went awry in the second inning.
Garza worked a 1-2-3 first inning and got a strikeout, then allowed a double to lead off the second. He recovered to strike out the side, but the third strike to Tim Battle was dropped, allowing Battle to reach first base instead of ending the inning. A couple of singles and a walk later, and Tampa had two runs in and the bases loaded. Eduardo Nunez hit a ground ball to shortstop Alexi Casilla, who tried to throw home but instead hit Garza in the back. He had to leave the game with a final line of 1 2/3 innings, four strikeouts and three runs (all unearned).
"They took him out for precautionary reasons and it probably just stunned him," Rantz said. "What I want to know is what was he doing in the middle of the field on that play? He must have had a brain cramp or something."
• Managers, coaches and players from both sides did plenty of griping about the replacement umpires in Monday's California League game between High Desert and Inland Empire--a 7-5 win for the Mavericks in 12 innings.
"I even talked to their manager over there about it and we both agreed that (the umpiring) wasn't the best we've ever seen," Inland Empire manager Gary Thurman told the San Bernardino County Sun. "If it wasn't the worst, I can't remember where I've seen that's been worse.
"I know I'm not supposed to say bad stuff about the umpires, but everybody knew. It's not something you can deny."
One coach told the paper that the umpiring was "pathetic." Players and coaches agreed that the biggest problem was a very inconsistent strike zone.
"The pitchers didn't know where they were supposed to throw the ball and the hitters didn't know what they were supposed to swing at," Thurman told the Sun.
• Fresno pitcher Brian Cooper incited a bench-clearing brawl in Tacoma last night when he plunked shortstop Jose Morban in the fifth inning. Tacoma righthander--and former Grizzlie--Jesse Foppert had hit three Fresno batters to that point, including Kevin Frandsen with the first pitch of the game. Five players--Tacoma's Morban and Sean Green and Fresno's Chad Santos, Erick Threets and pitching coach Trevor Wilson--were ejected. "When I put this uniform on, we're all family," Santos told the Fresno Bee. "And you're not going to disrespect me or my family. I guess they felt the same way."
Tacoma left fielder Shin-Soo Choo quickly restored order by homering in the at-bat immediately following the hubbub, and center fielder Adam Jones hit his first two Triple-A home runs in the fourth and sixth innings, both off Cooper.
• The Orioles are keeping righthander Hayden Penn, their No. 3 prospect, in extended spring training to build arm strength. A sore shoulder early in spring training kept Penn, 21, from getting enough innings at major league camp. He had been assigned to Triple-A Ottawa.
"I'd expect that within 10 days he'll be up to 85 or 90 pitches and he'll be at Ottawa," farm director David Stockstill told the Baltimore Sun. "He's making progress. He's throwing a lot. But we want to make sure his arm strength is where it should be because he's a very special pitcher."
• Dayton has one of the more prospect-laden rosters in the Midwest League, as it boasts six of the Reds top 30 prospects. The presence of prospects does not always lead to wins; however, as Dayton is currently 3-8. It is the worst record in the MWL and they sit in last place in the Eastern division. To open the season, they lost three of four to South Bend, a club that features none of the Diamondbacks' top 30 prospects.
It has not been the fault of the Dayton prospects; however, as outfielder Jay Bruce (No. 2) and shortstop Paul Janish (No. 14) are hitting .304/.347/.565 and .440/.423/.440. That is not a typo, by virtue of having no walks and one sacrifice fly, Janish has a lower on-base percentage than batting average.
Lefthanders Travis Wood (No. 3) and Philippe Valiquette (No. 20) and righthander Zach Ward (No. 13) have combined for a 2.27 ERA in 32 innings, with 26 strikeouts and 13 walks.
The outlier of the group has been outfielder B.J. Szymanski (No. 4), who is hitting .171/.227/.390 with 23 strikeouts in 41 at-bats. This is Szymanski's second time through the MWL as he hit .262/.332/.471 there last year in 191 at-bats before his season was cut short by a hand injury.
• Charleston's C.J. Henry was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. The Yankees' first-round pick last June is hitting .172/.294/.310 through 29 at-bats and thus far has been outshined by fellow prospects Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata who are hitting .310/.400/.429 and .356/.362/.489 . . . Indians righthander Fernando Cabrera is rehabbing a heel injury with Triple-A Buffalo, where he's scheduled to start Monday. He saw action as a reliever--his big league role--last night versus Columbus . . . Twins righthander Jay Rainville is expected to miss the majority of the season after having shoulder surgery to repair nerve damage. The Twins are hoping to get him back on the mound, possibly at Rookie-level Elizabethton, by August. Rainville, a first-rounder in 2004, went a combined 12-5, 3.35 between low Class A Beloit and high Class A Fort Myers last season.
Contributing: Matt Eddy, Aaron Fitt, Matt Meyers.