Daily Dish: June 19

Weaver finds Triple-A tougher than big leagues

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

Jered Weaver didn't see it coming. After four consecutive quality starts in the Major Leagues, the righthander thought he was up to stay. However, when Bartolo Colon returned from injury on Saturday, the Angels opted to send Weaver back to Triple-A Salt Lake.

His return did not quite go to plan. Weaver was roughed up over five innings in his return to the Bees, allowing 11 hits, three home runs and four earned runs against Las Vegas.

"You've got to expect a mental letdown," Salt Lake manager Brian Harper told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Even if you do well in the big leagues and have a mental letdown here, you're going to get hit."

After a throwing error by another demoted Angel, catcher Jeff Mathis, led to a Las Vegas run in the first, Weaver settled down with a quick scoreless inning. However, he would get hit hard in each of the next three frames, allowing eight hits and throwing away a pickoff attempt to spoil his return.

"It was obvious he was a little off," Harper told the newspaper. "But I know Jered. One of the biggest things that pleases me is he's young, but he's handling himself like a pro. His makeup is solid."

In his final inning, the fifth, Weaver sealed his fate by allowing back-to-back home runs to Las Vegas first baseman James Loney and outfielder Delwyn Young. After allowing just two homers in four major league starts, Weaver exceeded that total on Sunday.

While Weaver admitted to being disappointed, he is both understanding of the Angels decision and thankful for his time in the majors.

"I've been around this for five years, I understand how the business works," Weaver told the newspaper. "In my mind, the experience was mind-boggling for me. A confidence builder. It was definitely a dream come true."

Weaver may have not seen in coming, but he knows he will be back. Despite a bad return start in Triple-A, Weaver is still the Angels' sixth starter.


Ward Is Grounded

It's been a glorious month for the Reds' Zach Ward, and it's been all about staying grounded. After allowing one run over seven innings yesterday in outdueling Southwest Michigan's Wade Davis to get the win for low Class A Dayton, the righthander is now 3-0, 1.44 in June and 6-0, 2.89 overall.

All season, the Gardner-Webb product has done a fantastic job of inducing ground balls, and that was the case yesterday as he struck out seven and walked one while recording 11 groundball outs to just three in the air.

One the season, Ward has a 3.55 ground ball/fly ball ratio in 72 innings and has allowed only one home run while striking out 66 and walking 20. Despite his outstanding performance this season, the third-rounder in 2005 was left off the Midwest League all-star team.

"I looked it up when they chose the teams, and there were a lot of pitchers who had a lot better stats than I had," Ward told the Dayton (Ohio) Daily-News. "If they had picked the teams closer to the game, I might have had a better chance."

It certainly looks that way now.



The California League is headed for a playoff in the South Division . . . or is it? In their final game of the first half, High Desert won its ninth straight game to take a half-game lead in the division over Inland Empire, but no one's quite sure what the tiebreaker scenario is for the Cal League if Inland Empire wins Monday (in its final game of the first half) to tie the standings. High Desert's official game release after Sunday's victory said the team was still waiting to hear word from the league office on the tiebreaker. The two teams play Monday, and the San Bernardino Sun reported the Mavericks are taking the best approach they can. "We're just going to look at it as we have to beat (the 66ers today)," catcher Adam Donachie told the paper . . . Two of Triple-A's hottest pitchers stayed on fire in Sunday wins. Toledo righthander Humberto Sanchez earned his third win in as many starts with the team, allowing just two hits over 6 1/3 innings for the victory. In the Pacific Coast League, Round Rock righthander Jason Hirsh won his seventh consecutive decision with seven scoreless innings . . . Triple-A Pawtucket and Richmond clashed in a 17-inning contest on Sunday, with the PawSox finally winning the game with three runs in the 17th inning. The game was an endurance test for everyone, but Richmond catcher Brayan Pena deserves credit for staying behind the plate the entire contest. "I feel like I have to go home and put some ice on my legs," Pena told the Richmond Post-Dispatch . . . Double-A Harrisburg brought its power bats to Erie for a Father's Day showdown, as the Senators slugged eight home runs in a 17-8 drubbing of the SeaWolves. The attack was led by Tim Raines and Dan Dement who each hit a pair of home runs. Josh Whitesell, Kory Casto, Frank Diaz and Melvin Dorta also got into the action. Erie starter Bobby M. Jones (yes, THAT Bobby M. Jones) took the bulk of the abuse for the SeaWolves as he surrendered four home runs.