Daily Dish: June 5

See also: Weekend Dish
See also: Baseball America Prospect Report

It would have been an elite pitching matchup in 2004, but Sunday it was
just a battle between a couple of former rising prospects trying to get
back on track. The edge went to lefthander Mike Hinckley, the
Nationals’ ex-No. 1 prospect, over Braves lefty Jake Stevens, although
both pitchers registered no-decisions in Sunday’s game between high
Class A Potomac and Myrtle Beach.

who slid from No. 6 on the Braves top prospects list after the 2004
season to No. 18 after he went 10-9, 4.93 at Myrtle Beach in 2005,
allowed two earned runs on six hits over five innings while striking
out four and walking three. He has now allowed two runs or fewer in
three of his last four starts after getting off to a brutal start in
April, when he went 1-4, 10.13 with 16 walks and 12 strikeouts in 21
innings. He was moved to the bullpen for two and a half weeks to work
on his control, and he has walked just six batters over his last four
starts (24 innings).

Hinckley went six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and
three walks while striking out three. He has thrown at least six
innings in his last four starts and is 2-1 over that stretch to improve
to 3-3, 4.76 overall.

“He’s been pitching very well lately,” Potomac manager Randy Knorr told
the Potomac News. “He threw a lot of strikes. We try to keep him around
a certain pitch count, but we feel he’s 100 percent right now. He kept
us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”

Nationals farm director Andy Dunn said Hinckley’s velocity has been
back to the low 90s like it was before he injured his shoulder last
season and had surgery to clean it up in the fall, and his breaking
ball has had a little more depth recently. The major issue is building
his confidence back up to where it was in 2004, when Hinckley went
11-4, 2.77 between the high Class A Florida State League and the
Double-A Eastern League.

“He’s a little more composed–his last couple of outings were a lot
better than he started off with,” Dunn said. “It’s a confidence issue,
getting back to where we hoped he would start the season. We’re working
towards it.

“He’s always been a pretty confident young man. He’s one of these guys
you’ve got to be patient with at times. He’ll respond, because he’s
going to have to respond. He’s got good stuff; we know he’s got good
stuff, it’s just a matter of showing up every outing with good stuff. I
think Mike needs to feel that people still have faith in him, and we
do, but we want him to prove to us (that he’s ready to advance).”


Colamarino Cycles Up

Brant Colamarino did everything he could to help Double-A Midland win
yesterday, and it still wasn’t enough as the RockHounds fell to
Arkansas 8-7. The slugging first baseman’s ninth inning homer not only
tied the game, but it also completed the cycle. Colamarino doubled in
his first at-bat in the second inning, singled in the fourth and
tripled in the sixth inning leading up to his dramatic home run.

“Actually, to be honest with you, the home run is probably the hardest
one to get,” Colamarino told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Especially
if that’™s the last one you have to hit because you go up there thinking
‘˜I have to hit one.’™

“I don’™t usually do that, but the situation came in the game where we
were down by a run and there were two outs and I’™m looking to hit a
home run there, swinging for it, and I connected.”

A seventh-round pick out of Pittsburgh in 2002, Colamarino is now
hitting .269/.353/.437 for the RockHounds. It is his second time
through the Texas League, and not going quite as well as the first. In
187 at-bats for Midland in 2005, the 25-year-old hit .321/.377/.594.

Colamarino is the second player to his for the cycle in the Texas
League this season. Springfield’s Josh Perry did it against Corpus
Christi on April 16, and capped off his day with a game-winning home


Clemens In Demand

With Roger Clemens scheduled to make his first rehab start tomorrow for
low Class A Lexington, it’s no surprise that the game is already sold
out. And according to the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, team President
Alan Stein has had been dealing with all sorts of requests that range
from sad to outrageous.

One man, who said he was dying of cancer, came to Stein with a plea for
two tickets so that he and his grandson could see Clemens pitch before
he passed away. Another man, who Stein deemed less genuine, called his
home and asked for “Uncle Alan.”

The most humorous request came from a mother who called and said that
because her son’s T-ball team, which is undefeated, uses the name
“Astros,” that wouldn’t it be nice for the star of the Houston Astros
to come and give a pep talk to the team while he was in town.

Lexington, which averages 5,178 in attendance at Applebee’s Park, is
expecting a crowd of over 9,000 tomorrow. Stein told the Herald-Leader
that he could have sold almost three times that many tickets if he had
a stadium large enough.



With Jeremy Sowers on the mound, Triple-A Buffalo thought the nightcap
of their Sunday doubleheader would be a quick affair. Not quite.
Sixteen innings later, the Bisons watched as catcher Einar Diaz
surrendered the go-ahead run, as Durham second baseman Fernando Cortez
drove home outfielder Rocco Baldelli who reached on his fifth hit of
the game.  DH Ryan Garko led the Bisons attack, collecting three
hits as he continues his torrid two-week run . . . Triple-A Rochester
righthander J.D. Durbin came within one out of throwing his first
complete game on Sunday, allowing just two runs in the contest. “It
would have been nice,” Durbin told the Rochester Democrat and
Chronicle. “I didn’t have my best stuff today. I didn’t have location
on my offspeed stuff or my fastball.” Durbin’s start was his six
straight successful outing, as the righthander has allowed just six
earned runs in his last 38 innings . . . The Mets Henry Owens, out
since April 30 with an elbow injury, returned to the mound for Double-A
Binghamton and struck out two while pitching a perfect ninth . . .
Mariners righthander Yorman Bazardo started Sunday for Double-A San
Antonio and threw one scoreless inning, then simulated one inning in
the bullpen as part of his rehab from inflammation in his right elbow.
Bazardo had been out since May 22 . . . Nick Adenhart got roughed for
the first time all season yesterday as the Angels righthander allowed
nine runs (seven earned) over two innings for low Class A Cedar Rapids.
Adenhart also had a hand in the unearned runs as he made three throwing
errors on pickoff attempts . . . The Mets Bobby Parnell had his first
strong outing of the season as the righthander allowed only one earned
run over seven innings while fanning six and walking none for low Class
A Hagerstown. He did surrender a home run, his second in 28 innings
this season. Last year, in 73 innings in the short-season New York-Penn
League he allowed only one.

Contributing: Chris Kline, Bryan Smith