Daily Dish: April 27

See also: Wednesday's Daily Dish
See also: Today's Baseball America Prospect Report

High Class A Lancaster manager Brett Butler, a former all-star outfielder for the Dodgers, is scheduled to be released from the hospital today after being hospitalized Monday with chest pains. Butler, 48, felt the chest pains and felt his hands and feet go cold on the team bus after Monday's game at High Desert, according to the Antelope Valley (Calif.) Press, so the bus changed course and went to Antelope Valley Hospital. Butler had feared heart trouble, but doctors said he had suffered an infection, and there was nothing wrong with his heart, according to Diamondbacks farm director A.J. Hinch. The organization said the tentative plan is for Butler to rejoin the team for Monday's home game against Rancho Cucamonga, and JetHawks hitting coach Damon Mashore would manage the team in the interim.

Part of the reason for caution with Butler is his medical history, which includes two bouts with cancer. He had successful surgery to remove a cancerous lump from his throat in 1996, and he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003. He had radiation implant seed treatment, according to the L.A. Daily News, and that cancer is now in remission.


Another Slow Start For Lubanski

Double-A Wichita outfielder Chris Lubanski has a history of starting off slowly, so his 4-for-44 slump to start the season really didn't surprise anyone.

Last April, he started off hitting .160 at high Class A High Desert before turning his average up to .301 by the end of the season. He also had a strong second half at low Class A Burlington in 2004 after hitting .275 over the first three months.

It's been much of the same this season. After the 4-for-44 skid--a span that included a 1-for-26 slump--Lubanski is currently riding a seven-game hit streak, going 13-for-27 (.481).

"The first 12 games, yeah, it was 'Wow, (I'm only hitting) .081,' " Lubanski told the Wichita Eagle. "But I knew there were still 130 more games to play. I'll play in most of them.

"I'm not going to finish the season at .081. I knew how my at-bats were going, and I knew it would eventually pick up."

Lubanski has worked extensively with hitting coach Al LeBeouf and manager Frank White on correcting his swing and his overall approach at the plate.

"We're just trying to get him to keep his weight on the backside and rotate from there," White told the Wichita Eagle. "When he does things right, the ball jumps off his bat. On his homers, he's driven it well. He's a big guy and a powerful guy."

Curfew On The Jersey Shore

It took 17 innings, and the outcome was still undecided. Hagerstown and Lakewood played well into the night, and the South Atlantic League clash had to be suspended with the score tied 7-7 because league rules prevent any inning from beginning after 12:30 a.m.

It won't be a fun morning for the two teams, who had little chance to go home and recover. The two teams are playing an 11:05 a.m. game today as part of a school group promotion. Normally, a suspended game would be resumed the next day, but because of today's early start, and the necessity for there to be at least 30 minutes between games, last night's contest will be resumed before a May 6 tilt between the two teams.

It is surprising the game went that far at all considering Lakewood put up four runs in the bottom of the first behind a run-scoring triple from Greg Golson and a RBI double from Jeremy Slayden, playing in his first game of the year.

The BlueClaws tacked on two in the third to make it 6-0, but the Suns fought back with one in the fourth and five in the sixth to tie the score. They then took a 7-6 lead in the sixth on an RBI double from Fernando Martinez.

Lakewood went on to tie it in the seventh, and the two teams would then play ten scoreless innings before the game was suspended.

Last night's game featured some interesting box score lines. Every starter for each team got at least one hit, except for Suns shortstop Joe Castro, who was 0-for-7 and also committed his 10th error of the season. Martinez continued his impressive start with a 3-for-9 night with two doubles while Slayden was 3-for-8 in his debut. After his first inning triple, Golson went hitless in his next eight at-bats and his average sits at .153.

The best performance of the night was BlueClaws first baseman Clay Harris, who was 4-for-8 with his second homer of the year.

The pitching star was the Suns Brandon Nall who threw five scoreless innings in relief and was on the mound when the game was suspended. Coming into the game, his ERA was 9.39.

Maine Impressive In First Win As Met

Mets righthander John Maine has given up just one run in three of his four starts for Triple-A Norfolk this year, but until yesterday had little to show for it. He notched his first win last night, halting Scranton's win streak at 10 games and lowering his ERA to 2.63 in the process. Maine, 24, relied on fastball command to strike out nine and walk one Red Barons batters.

"I don't have great off-speed stuff, so I've got to locate my fastball," Maine told The (Scranton) Times-Tribune. "If I locate my fastball, win or lose, I'll more than likely keep it close and give us a chance."

Maine was acquired in the Mets-Orioles swap of righthanders Kris Benson and Jorge Julio.


Philllies lefthander and enigmatic No. 1 prospect Cole Hamels makes his Triple-A debut tonight for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Norfolk . . . Indians righthander Fernando Cabrera, who's rehabbing a bruised heel with Triple-A Buffalo, is expected to be activated from the disabled list Saturday . . . Athletics reliever Marcus McBeth did not return kicks at South Carolina, as reported in yesterday's Daily Dish. He was actually a kicker and did kick off in a few games for the Gamecocks.