Daily Dish: Aug. 31

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

Athletics infielder Gregorio Petit usually stands out most for his defense, but he can surprise the imprudent pitcher with occasional pop. He showed that off in high Class A Stockton’s 5-4 loss against Visalia on Wednesday, swatting a pair of home runs and driving in four.

Petit, 21, has now hit safely in nine of his last 10 games and is hitting .303 in August to boost his overall numbers to .256/.309/.382 in 497 at-bats. He has eight homers, seven triples and 25 doubles on the season, not bad for a 5-foot-10, 160-pound infielder known for his slick actions at both shortstop and second base.

“I like him, he’s going to be a good utility guy in the majors,” San Jose manager Lenn Sakata said. “He runs well, plays short and second, has some skill there. He has some inconsistency with the bat, but he has a little bit of everything–sneaky pop. If you make a mistake with a fastball, he’ll hit it hard, and he can steal a base.”

Petit played shortstop in the low minors before moving to second base last year to accommodate Athletics first-round pick Cliff Pennington. He began 2006 at second base as well before sliding back over to shortstop when Pennington was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Petit has the range, actions and arm for either position.



• Tigers outfielder Cameron Maybin received probation in his underage drinking case, and was ordered to pay $285 on Tuesday by a Grand Rapids (Mich.) Magistrate. Maybin, the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2005, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 percent after a July 13 accident. Maybin was ordered spend one year on non-reporting probation and pay $125 in fines. He was also fined $160 after he admitted responsibility to careless driving.

“I understand that I failed to use good judgment in this particular situation. I apologize to the Tigers’ organization and my fans,” Maybin told the Grand Rapids Press. “I’ve put it all behind me and will move forward with my career.” On the field, it’s been an outstanding season for the 19-year-old, who played for the U.S. team in this year’s Futures Game and was hitting .315/.395/.476 through 368 at-bats at low Class A West Michigan.

For comparison’s sake, the last player with a higher slugging percentage while playing for the Whitecaps was 1999 first-round pick Eric Munson, who slugged .504 in 252 at-bats.

• The Boston Globe reported that Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester was having tests to determine the cause of the back pain he has been experiencing on Thursday morning. Lester, the club’s second-round pick in 2002, was involved in a car accident last week, which led to the initial tests to diagnose the cause of the 22-year-old’s back pain. During the process, doctors identified enlarged lymph nodes. “It’s something where he’s still going through tests and that’s likely to be an extensive process,” farm director Mike Hazen said. “We just don’t know anything right now, and it’s obviously a serious situation.”

• Two Triple-A pitchers picked up victories last night, but may have been just as valuable with their bats.

Richmond righthander Anthony Lerew came into the season ranked as the Braves’ top pitching prospect, but he struggled mightily in the season’s opening months (he went 1-4, 9.38 in April, May and June), and did not recover his form until a demotion to Double-A Mississippi. There, Lerew, 23, was paired with pitching coach Kent Willis, who fine-tuned Lerew’s mechanics. The results have been tangible during Lerew’s return to Richmond, as he’s gone 2-1 3.52 in four August starts.

Lerew picked up his third Triple-A win last night in a rain-shortened, five-inning complete game against Louisville. He allowed three runs, but struck out seven and walked one. Not a bad start, but he made more noise with his bat by going 2-for-2 with a home run.

In the Pacific Coast League, Tucson righthander Micah Owings improved 10-0 after giving up one run on four hits in six innings last night. He struck out five and walked zero. Owings, 23, was 3-for-4 at the plate–pushing his season average to .405–while driving in one and scoring a run.

• The jump to Triple-A can be tough for some prospects, but that certainly has not been the case for outfielders Adam Lind and Matt Kemp or second baseman Eric Patterson.

Lind, 23, is the Blue Jays’ best hitting prospect and he’s made short work of International League pitching. With a 1-for-4 night for Syracuse, he’s hitting .394/.496/.596 with five home runs and more walks (23) than strikeouts (18). Lind, who earlier this week took home Double-A Eastern League MVP honors, is hitting .402 in August.

Kemp came to Triple-A Las Vegas after starting the year with Double-A Jacksonville and getting an audition with the Dodgers from late May to mid July. The 21-year-old went 4-for-5 last night and has hit .368/.428/.560 with 14 stolen bases, 14 doubles and six triples for the 51s.

Patterson, 23, collected hits in his first nine games for Iowa, went hitless for two games, and went 2-for-3 last night. In addition to hitting .386/.442/.477 at Triple-A, Patterson is also a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases.

• Low Class A Asheville must be sad to see Kannapolis leave town. The day after battering the Intimidators for 21 runs, the Tourists once again put up double digits as they were victorious 10-2; they have third baseman Philip Cuadrado to thank for most of it. The 22-year-old switch-hitter hit grand slams home runs in each of the first two innings as the Tourists would score all of their runs in the first three innings. A 23rd-rounder in 2005 from Cumberland (Tenn.) University, Cuadrado is now hitting .306/.383/.499 with 15 home runs. In sweeping a four-game series from Kannapolis, Asheville outscored the Intimidators 48-13.

• Orioles third baseman Bill Rowell is living up to his draft status thus far. The ninth overall pick and the first high school position player drafted in June, Rowell was recently promoted to short-season Aberdeen and is picking up right where he left off in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. The 17-year-old went 3-for-4 yesterday with two doubles and is 5-for-12 in three games with the IronBirds. After hitting .266 in his first month with Bluefield in the Appy League, Rowell went on a tear and finished hitting .329/.422/.507 in 152 at-bats.

Contributing: Matt Eddy, Chris Kline, Matt Meyers.