Daily Dish: June 1

Register absorbs loss despite eight one-hit innings





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


Rockies' righthander Steven Register had his best outing of the season Wednesday, but still couldn't come away with the win.

The 2004 third-round pick out of Auburn allowed just one hit in a complete game performance, but Double-A Tulsa committed three errors in a 2-1 loss to San Antonio.

"He threw great and we were very pleased and encouraged by his performance," Rockies assistant GM Bill Geivett said. "He maintained his delivery well throughout the game and wound up throwing 94 pitches."

The Rockies are encouraged for two reasons. Register has been better than his 1-3, 4.68 numbers indicate, leaving four starts in April with the lead, only to get four consecutive no-decisions. He then went through a funk in early May, when his mechanics suddenly went out of whack.

"He was overthrowing, trying to be perfect," Geivett said. "He was just trying to power the ball by hitters and that's when you saw his command suffer and his walks went way up.

"But he's toned it down and the results were certainly there last night."

On the other side, Missions lefthander Travis Blackley scattered six hits, allowed one earned run, struck out four and did not issue a walk.

After missing all of last season due to shoulder surgery, the Mariners hope Blackley is back on track to what they saw in 2003, when the 23-year-old went 17-3, 2.61 in the Texas League and made his big league debut a year later.

"The consistency hasn't been there like it has been in the past," San Antonio manager Daren Brown said. "But that will come with more time and experience. His velocity has been close to where he was (before surgery) and his offspeed pitches have gotten a lot better even from where he was in spring training."

--CHRIS KLINE

McGowan Back In Starting Role

Entering the season, the Blue Jays believed they had solved the Dustin McGowan puzzle.

For years, McGowan's prospect status had ebbed and flowed between great results and arm soreness. An inflamed elbow in 2000 almost lost McGowan his signing bonus, which he then earned by striking out 163 batters in the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2002.  

McGowan had Tommy John surgery in May of 2004, but his stuff rebounded the very next season. Last September, the Blue Jays thought they had figured out the answer when McGowan had six fantastic relief outings in the major league bullpen.

Assigned to Triple-A to start the season, McGowan began in the bullpen, and was then brought to the majors after seven lackluster Syracuse outings. McGowan's return to the Toronto bullpen went poorly, as the righthander allowed nine hits and six walks in five appearances. A question mark again, the Blue Jays sent McGowan back down to Syracuse, this time with the promise of a starting spot.

McGowan proved the Blue Jays decision to be a good one on Wednesday, allowing just one hit in six innings--his longest outing of the season.

"He showed a real nice delivery and good stuff," Syracuse manager Mike Basso told the Syracuse Post-Standard. "He held a good hitting team to one hit, that speaks for itself."

McGowan also impressed the opposition. "He has four sharp pitches, and he made his pitches when he had to," Rochester third baseman Glenn Williams said.

With rotation problems in the big leagues, the Blue Jays are surely keeping close tabs on their 2000 first round pick. And for now, again, the Jays think they have Dustin McGowan figured out.

--BRYAN SMITH

QUICK HITS

• Of course, the return of The Rocket dominated the news Wednesday, but Roger Clemens will first make an impact in the Astros' farm system, with three scheduled starts already mapped out at low Class A Lexington (June 6), Double-A Corpus Christi (June 11) and Triple-A Round Rock (June 16). High Class A Salem is the only Houston affiliate to lose out on The Clemens Effect on the gate. "We're certainly disappointed not to have him, but I can understand the situation and I'm sure Roger knew where he wanted to go all along," Avalanche owner Kelvin Bowles said. "I thought he'd just do three (starts) all in Corpus, but he obviously wanted to be with his son. This isn't a slap in the face or anything like it. It's just the way it worked out." The most intriguing of these rehab starts is of course in Lexington, where Clemens' son Koby will likely catch his father when the Legends square off against Lake County on Tuesday. But that will depend on Koby's return from the disabled list. The 19-year-old third baseman/catcher dislocated his left pinky and hasn't played since April 23. In just 43 at-bats this season, the younger Clemens was hitting just .186/.327/.302 . . . Double-A Binghamton outfielder Carlos Gomez was slated to undergo an MRI on his back Wednesday in New York. Gomez has been hampered by back spasms over the last three weeks and left Friday's game against Trenton in the fifth inning. After opening a lot of eyes in the organization during spring training with his speed and ability to get on base, Gomez is hitting .211/.291/.311 in 161 at-bats for the B-Mets after skipping high Class A St. Lucie . . . Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie is getting closer to returning from a high ankle sprain that has kept him out since May 1. Lowrie played in his first game at the Red Sox extended spring camp in Fort Myers on Wednesday. The 2005 first-round pick was hitting .227/.310/.307 in 88 at-bats at high Class A Wilmington. In other Red Sox news, righthander Gary Galvez returned to the mound Wednesday for the first time in three weeks. The 22-year-old Dominican had been out with a shoulder strain, but pitched three innings of relief against Kinston, allowing two earned runs on three hits. This season, Galvez is 2-2, 3.29 in 38 innings . . . Twins third baseman David Winfree returned home to Virginia Beach after deciding he needed a break from the game in the middle of last month. Winfree, who is second on the organizational depth chart behind Double-A New Britain third baseman Matt Moses, had right shoulder surgery last December. "He's come back a little slower than we expected and he's still going through some things in his rehab," Twins farm director Jim Rantz said in spring training. "We'll see where he's at when camp breaks." But where Winfree was physically was a shadow of the player who batted .294/.329/.452, winning the organization's player of the year at low Class A Beloit. The 20-year-old played just six games--all as a designated hitter--before going on the DL with a thumb injury and then only played in a few games in the club's extended camp in Fort Myers. Winfree then asked for and received permission to head home and the Twins expect him back a week from now . . . Three callups of note on Wednesday: The Nationals brought up lefthanded reliever Bill Bray from Triple-A New Orleans, the Marlins called up righthanded reliever Taylor Tankersley from Double-A Carolina and in yet another roster move at Triple-A Columbus, the Yankees called up righthander Darrell Rasner. Bray, a first-rounder in 2004 out of William & Mary, went 4-1, 3.98 in 32 innings with five saves for the Zephyrs. Tankersley, also a 2004 first-round pick, was 4-1, 0.96 with 40 strikeouts in 28 innings for the Mudcats. Rasner, a second-round pick of the Expos in 2002, went 4-0, 2.56 in 53 innings for the Clippers . . . The Twins dealt Triple-A Rochester first baseman Jason Hart to the Rangers for a player to be named. Hart, a 1998 fifth-round pick of the Athletics, was hitting .225/.267/.425 in 80 at-bats for the Red Wings. This isn't Hart's first go-round with Texas. The 28-year-old infielder was dealt from the A's to the Rangers in 2002, along with lefthander Mario Ramos, outfielder Ryan Ludwick and catcher Gerald Laird for first baseman Carlos Pena and lefthander Mike Venafro. Hart spent five seasons with the Rangers before signing a free agent deal with Minnesota in the offseason.

--CHRIS KLINE