Daily Dish: May 17

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

Entering Tuesday’s game against Augusta, low Class A West Virginia righthander Will Inman had not allowed a run in 23 innings dating back to Opening Day. He added four more innings to that streak before finally allowing a run in the fifth. He took a no-decision, but it was still another dominant performance as the 19-year-old allowed only one run while fanning six over five innings.

“As a model for young pitchers, this is one you want to look at,” pitching coach John Curtis told the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail. “He’s done wonderfully for us. He’s very aggressive, has supreme confidence in himself, and it shows.”

Drafted in the third round last spring out of Tunstall High in Dry Fork, Va., Inman was 6-0, 1.91 in 47 innings between the Rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer Leagues last season, and that dominance has carried over into this season.

After last night’s performance, Inman is now 3-0, 0.87 in 31 innings with 38 strikeouts and three walks. Inman works off a lively low 90s fastball and a slurvy breaking ball that is a plus pitch. Despite all his success, Inman is still not satisfied with his changeup.

“It’s weird, I’m hitting my spots pretty well with the fastball and the curveball is coming along pretty good, but at the same time, I’m having a horrible time with the changeup,” Inman told the paper. “It’s a pitch that I’ve never thrown. I’m trying to learn to throw it, and it’s something that I have to do to get out of this league.

“I have to throw it to succeed at higher levels of baseball. It’s not about numbers in this league, because you don’t want to be here forever. It’s about getting to the Major Leagues and putting good numbers up there. To do that, you have to have at least three pitches.”


Welcome Back

Jeremy Brown can now say he’s seen what it’s like to be a major
leaguer. But he can’t tell his Triple-A Sacramento River Cats teammates about
what it’s like to face a major league pitcher.

The Sacramento
catcher spent a week with the Oakland Athletics, but never got a chance
to play. He was called up to serve as the team’s backup catcher while
Jason Kendall served a suspension. But Adam Melhuse played every game
during Kendall’s suspension, and the situation never arose where Brown
was needed to pinch hit or replace Melhuse.

When he returned to Sacramento’s lineup on Tuesday, he showed that his bat hadn’t gotten rusty during the week-long layoff.

hit a home run and walked twice, going 1-for-2 in his River Cats
return. The home run helped Sacramento end a four-game losing streak
with a 5-2 win at New Orleans.

“I was just excited that I got a
chance to come back and play. It was a blast being in the big leagues
because that’s the ultimate goal, but I didn’t get a chance to play. I
wanted to get back out there and play,” Brown told the Sacramento Bee.

home run was yet another step toward Brown’s career resurgence. He had
spent the past three years stagnating at Double-A Midland, although he
showed signs of increased power last season that gave the Athletics
reasons for hope.

But after being promoted to Sacramento this
season, the former first-rounder is hitting .338/.417/.549. He also
leads the PCL in nabbing basestealers, as he’s gunned out 8 of the 16
runners (50 percent) attempting to steal.


On The Fritz

Even the best start of the year for Ben Fritz couldn’t stop the red-hot Corpus Christi Hooks. The Astros’ Double-A affiliate won its eighth straight game with a 13-inning, 1-0 blanking of Midland last night. Fritz, a member of Oakland’s 2002 “Moneyball” draft class, had his best start as a pro with eight shutout innings, but wasn’t around when the Hooks scored the game-winner. Josh Anderson walked off reliever Jeff Muessig, and moved to third when Muessig inadvertently kicked a popped-up bunt by Ben Zobrist, who reached second on the error. J.R. House drove in the game’s only run when he followed with a sacrifice fly.

For his part, Fritz struck out six and walked none. Mitch Talbot also took advantage of what apparently was a generous strike zone, as he didn’t walk anyone in six scoreless innings. Righthander David Rollandini, whom the Astros signed out of Italy’s professional league in the offseason, bailed out the Hooks in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the eighth inning, getting a strikeout and a double play to escape the jam.


Welcome Back, Part II

Chris Snelling returned to the outfield for the first time this season on Tuesday night, as he went 0-for-1 with two walks. He had no problems with his repaired knee. Snelling is trying to show he’s healthy after tearing his ACL last season. It’s another in a long line of injuries that have kept the Australian outfielder from playing a full season since 1999. In a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Snelling also revealed his new nickname. “I’m a little guy who gets hurt a lot,” he said. “That’s why they call me Seabiscuit.”


The Charlotte Knights won their 14th consecutive road game with a 3-0 win over Indianapolis as Heath Phillips allowed six hits in eight innings of work . . . The Richmond-Columbus game on Tuesday night started nine minutes late because Richmond’s starting pitcher, Ricardo Rodriguez, did not get warmed up in time. “That shouldn’t happen,” Richmond manager Brian Snitker told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The game’s supposed to start at 7 and it should start at 7.” . . . The Cubs demoted first baseman Brandon Sing and outfielder Adam Greenberg to Double-A West Tenn . . . Jeff Mathis had two hits on Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Mathis has hit in every game since being sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake . . . Jeremy Guthrie was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday when the Indians needed room to bring Rafael Betancourt off the disabled list. Guthrie went 0-0, 4.63 in 12 innings with the Indians . . . Another day, another umpire controversy. The Louisville Bats beat the Durham Bulls 6-5 when William Bergolla was ruled to have been hit by a pitch in the 12th inning, setting up Cody Ross’ RBI single that drove in Bergolla. Bergolla didn’t start to head to first base after the pitch, but when the umpire asked him if the ball hit him, he told him yes, and the umpire ruled that he should take first base. Durham Bulls manager John Tamargo was ejected arguing the call. Tuesday’s Sacramento-New Orleans game also had some controversy, as the game was played under protest after New Orleans manager Tim Foli disagreed with a base umpire’s ruling that a ball that hit the umpire was ruled a hit.