Mariner Minors
Saturday, June 05, 2004

Transaction Update:

The Mariners have called up former first-round pick C Ryan Christianson to San Antonio. To make room for him, 1B Ryan Balfe was placed on the DL with right shoulder injury.

Christianson, 23, was the 11th overall selection in the 1999 draft. He seemed to be progressing well, until 2002 when a series of foot and shoulder injuries derailed his status as a prospect. Christianson saw limitted time with Peoria and San Antonio last season.

Balfe, 28, was signed as a minor league free agent this winter. Despite having a career average of .270/.343/.425 coming into the season, Balfe has been downright awful with the Missions, hitting only .203/.245/.226.

Since Balfe was being used primarily as first baseman and a DH, his loss is no big one considering the Missions already have 1B/DH John Lindsey on the roster. This move also leaves the Missions with two legitimate catching prospects on the roster in Christianson and Luis Oliveros, plus a backup in Brian Moon. It's possible that to get enough playing time for both of them, on will be behind the plate and the other will be DHing in any given game.

Las Vegas 10 (LA), Tacoma 11
Both teams pretty much traded blows over the course of the game, and considering LHP Matt Thornton (6.26, E) was on the mound, that shouldn't really ocme as a surprise. Thornton went three and two-thirds tonight, giving up five earned on seven hits, four walks, a hit batter, and three wild pitches with five strikeouts along the way. Those Ks just keep on coming, but I wonder sometime how much longer he can keep this up without seriously losing management's favor. LHP Craig Anderson (6.75) went the next two and two-thirds innings, either a sign of desperation or that he's being pulled from the rotation, and he gave up two earned on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. LHP George Sherrill (2.01) was, unsurprisingly, the only Rainiers pitcher to not allow a run as he got out three straight right-handed batters (including a strikeout), which I believe reduces their batting average against to an even .250. In a note of divine intervention, a miracle happened and RHP Andy Shibilo (8.49, W) not only didn't give up a run in his inning an two-thirds, he picked up the win, with two walks against three strikeouts. Lots of multi-hits for the Rainiers offense tonight, as 2B Mickey Lopez (3B, 3 R, 3 RBI, .288) picked up three, and CF Jamal Strong (R, RBI, SB, E, .343), 3B Justin Leone (15th HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, E, .272), DH Bucky Jacobsen (3B, RBI, .316), SS Jose Lopez (2 2B, 2 RBI, .280), and newcomer LF Greg Jacobs (1st HR, 2 R, .286) had two each. RHP Gil Meche starts tomorrow, should be interesting.

San Antonio 9, Frisco 3 (TEX)
RHP Juan Done (4.94, W), who by all accounts looks like he's getting his act together, went five innings tonight and gave up two runs on four hits and four walks with a lone punchout. LHP Jared Thomas (2.00), perhaps the only good pitcher in the Missions pen right now, went an inning and a third to follow and allowed three hits, but no runs with a strikeout. RHP Rick Guttormson (5.04, S) pitched the final two and two-thirds with a run allowed on a homer (with another hit and a walk) to pick up one of those obscure saves that involves stranding baserunners who could get the lead (for reference, four of the Missions runs were scored in the top of the ninth). Three batters had three hits tonight; CF Dustin Delucchi (3 R, SB, .332), 3B Greg Dobbs (3B, 2 R, 4 RBI, .324), and DH Ryan Christianson (RBI, .600), coming up from extended spring training. It's early, of course, but I don't need to tell you how big of an asset Christianson would be if he could just stay healthy this time around. RF Shin-Soo Choo (2 R, RBI, .278) also picked up two hits. LHP Troy Cate tomorrow.

Inland Empire 11, Lancaster 12 (ARI)
I really don't know how the Sixers managed to lose this one, I'm sorry. LHP Bobby Livingston (3.43) continues to struggle like few others, going five innings this time and allowing eight runs on nine hits (2 HR!), a hit batter, and three walks against three strikeouts. Saeger said on the broadcast that Bobby's been throwing his fastball less and less and tried to rely mostly on the change-up and the slider. No idea why he started doing that though. RHP Darwin Soto (5.56) pitched the two and a third innings after that and gave up an earned run on three hits with a strikeout. LHP Melvin Pizarro (5.47, L), who seems to be returning to his Atlantic League form, pitched the final inning and a third and struck out three while throwing two wild pitches, but gave up a walk-off two run home run to end the game. The offense looks like it might be getting back on track though. Three Sixers, LF Jon Nelson (2 R, RBI, SB, .318), 1B Matt Hagen (HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, .215), and 2B Hyung Cho (R, RBI, .296), had three hits each, while 3B Jesus Guzman (2 2B, R, 2 RBI, .310) and C Rene Rivera (2 R, .261) had two each. Guzman is now tied with Rivera for the team lead in doubles with 13. RHP Felix Hernandez tomorrow.

Quad Cities 3 (MIN), Wisconsin 2
LHP Ryan Feierabend (3.53, L) went six and a third innings allowing two earned on nine hits (2 HR), a walk, and a hit batter with four strikeouts. Good, but not good enough. RHP Juan Ovalles (4.88) went the next two innings and struck out a batter before giving way to LHP Casey Abrams (11.12) who finished up the game with a strikeout. Not much offense tonight, C Chris Collins (.238) had two meaningless hits while 1B Jeremy Dutton (2B, R, .204) had the only extra-base knock. RHP Nibaldo Acosta Monday.

Tacoma Rainiers: 28-23, .549, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 24-32, .429, 14 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-25, .554, 3.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 24-31, .436, 9 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 8-7, .533 3 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 115-119, .491


Transaction Update:

To help out the injury-afflicted Tacoma pitching staff, the Mariners have signed LHP Tim Christman and RHP Jeff Harris to Triple-A contracts. To make room for them, LHP Bobby Madritsch has been placed on the DL after reinjuring his oblique and LHP Shawn Nottingham has been reassigned to short-season class A Everett.

Christman, 29, was originally an 11th round pick of the Rockies in 1996. Unlike a lot of indy leaguers, Christman did make it to the majors in 2001 with the rockies and allowed a run in two innings of relief. But in 2001, his pitching woes began, and after playing some time in the Florida system in 2002, he dropped off the affiliated face of the earth and went to go play elsewhere. With the St. Paul Saints this season, he has 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four appearances, two starts. An odd note, despite the fact that he was available to pitch three and two-thirds innings last night, Christman did not make a start when in the Rockies system or the Marlins system. Regardless, I'd say he's a better option in the rotation that RHP Jared Hoerman, but I wouldn't put it beyond the Rainiers to throw RHP Scott Atchison into the rotation again. This is what he's there for, after all.

Harris, 29, has been a non-prospect for so long that not even The Baseball Cube acknowledges his existence. Harris was a 28th round pick by the Twins in 1995, adn seemed to have dropped down to the independant leagues around 2000. Some may be upset with his debut, but he had pitched five innings on Wednesday and wasn't really ready, I'd expect. Harris had made two starts for the Quebec Capitales before being sent to Tacoma, and had an 0.75 ERA while there. He provides another potential option for rotation filler, if need be.

Madritsch, 28, was one of the strongest parts of the Tacoma rotation before this injury, and might have been in the big leagues right now if not for it. Overall, Mads pushes himself too hard at times, and this seems to be a clear example of that; he just wasn't ready to come back. Hopefully, he'll be able to recognize when he's fully healed this time around, both for his sake and that of the Rainiers/Mariners.

Nottingham, 19, was expected to be demoted anyway; it was just a matter of time. Used solely in relief, the 13th round pick of the M's last year might have a shot in the rotation for Everett, but with RHP Aaron Jensen, RHP Ivan Blanco, and LHP Robert Fagan likely taking up the first three spots, plus 2002 draftees such as RHPs Randall Frye and Terry Forbes and LHPs Kendall Bergdall and Vance Hall gunning for spots, not to mention whoever the M's draft on Monday, plus guys like RHP Ruben Flores who are helping out in the high minors right now, the competition looks to be pretty fierce.


News around the minors...

Down in San Antonio, they're trying to spruce up the eleven-year-old Wolff Stadium facility. The scoreboard is busted, the water seeps down into other parts of the stadium when it rains, all sorts of things need to be fixed. The problem? The Missions are the only team in the Texas League to not have control over their own stadium, and the city is more focused on improving that Alamodome. It sounds like some progress is being made though, so hopefully the lawmakers will hand over control to the ballclub this fall.

Inland Empire IF Michael Garciaparra had his cast removed and is looking to play in two weeks. The recovery shouldn't be too bad, considering the damaged ligaments were in his non-throwing wrist, but he shouldn't be able to hit for another week. It will be interesting to see how they change the lineup after his return, but there seems to be only one logical choice. Prior to his injury, the Sixers had Juan Gonzalez at third, Garciaparra at short, and Ismael Castro, now out for the season, at second. Since then they've had Jesus Guzman at third, Juan Gonzalez at short, and Hyung Cho at second. I'd prefer to see Cho go down and Garciaparra take his place at second, since I regard Gonzalez as a better prospect at short than Garciaparra is. Another route, which I hope they don't take, would be to put him at short again, move Gonzalez to third, then have current all-purpose utility player Matt Rogelstad take over at second, leaving Guzman as the generic infield sub. A role that he could fill, mind you, I'd just prefer that he get regular playing time at his natural position.
Also in the article, notes on RHP Ruben Castillo, SS Juan Goznalez winning Mariners Minor League Player of the Week, and RHP T.A. Fulmer's awful San Antonio debut.

Mike Saeger also sent me some interesting Sixers notes, among them... Rene Rivera's double last night was the first extra-base hit for the Sixers in 33 innings... Haven't held a lead in 34 innings... Last losing streak this bad (currently at four) was against Lancaster in 2001 when they hit six games... team batting average during the streak is at .189, while being outscored 23-6... team has lost 18 of 12 and 12 of 20 since sweeping High Desert in May... Sixers starts have won only two of their last ten decisions... bright spots in Balet (ten-game hitting streak), Guzman (ten-game road hitting streak, reached base in 21 of last 22), Nelson (.407-2-9 in last seven games), Jimenez (2 Er in last 19.1 innings), and the Gonzalez/Guzman duo (reached base in same inning thirty-one times and the Sixers have scored in twenty-five of those instances)... bad spots in Livingston (0-2 with 6.75 ERA in last three starts, .338 average against), Viane (11.09 ERA and .428 average against inlast five outings), Rivera (.118-1-3 in last fourteen games), Hagen (.059 in last six games), and Harris (.133 in four games since back-toback three hit performances).

On a sad note, we seem to have lost the Mariners coverage of Steve at Mariners Wheelhouse, for the time being at least. First The Safe, then the Optimist, now this. For a long time, I've regarded Steve's articles as among the most, if not the most, in-depth that the blogosphere has seen, particularly his exposé on the method by which the Mariners' minor league pitchers have been handled. It always felt like everything he wrote had a great depth of research that went into it. Steve, you will be missed.

Friday, June 04, 2004
Sacramento 8 (OAK), Tacoma 5
It was bound to happen. After weeks of injuries stacked up to deplete the higher levels of the pitching in the M's farm system, we are left asking ourselves: Who are these guys and what is happening? Madritsch aggravated his oblique, so RHP Jared Hoerman (9.64) made his first start in a number of years, going only two innings and giving up three runs on five hits (HR) and a walk. LHP Tim Christman (0.00), a former pitcher for the St. Paul Saints (there's your first indy leaguer of the year, jc), went the next three and two-thirds innings with five punchouts and no men reaching base. Another newcomer and former indy leaguer, RHP Jeff Harris (18.00) went the next inning and gave up two runs on three hits with a couple of strikeouts. LHP Randy Williams (2.61) had a scoreless inning, despite giving up three walks, before giving way to RHP Scott Atchison (4.54) who pitched the rest of the game and gave up three runs on two hits (HR) and a walk with a pair of strikeouts. CF Jamal Strong (2B, 3 R, .338) had two hits, but 3B Justin Leone (.268) hit his fourteenth home run. This was a continuing trend throughout the night, it seems. SS Jose Lopez (2 RBI, SB, .277) also had a productive night, but unfortunately, DH Greg Jacobs (R, .000) was 0-3, though he did walk once. LHP Matt Thornton tomorrow.

San Antonio 4, Frisco 5 (TEX) (ten innings)
Another heartbreaker for the Missions, only this time, in extra innings. LHP Chris Key (4.60) got another start and went five frams allowing three runs on five hits and two walks with five punchouts. LHP Jared Thomas (2.35) filled in with solid relief for the next two innings and allowed only a walk and a strikeout. RHP Renee Cortez (5.29) went the two innings after that and experienced some struggles again, giving up the tying run on three hits, a walk, and a balk with just one strikeout. In the bottom of the tenth, RHP Emiliano Fruto (6.46, L) gave up a walk-off home run to the first batter. Considering how overworked the Missions pen has been, I'll say it was intentional. DH Vince Faison (HR, .143) hit his first home run of the season, and 3B Greg Dobbs (2B, RBI, .315) has two hits, but nothing else to note aside from that. RF Cristian Guerrero (.216) left the game after being beaned in the head during a pickoff play. RHP Juan Done tomorrow.

Inland Empire 1, Lancaster 6 (ARI)
RHP Juan Sandoval (5.02, L) started and went six innings giving up four runs on nine hits, a walk, and two wild pitches with an impressive eight strikeouts. LHP Miguel Martinez (4.50) closed out the rest with two runs on two hits (HR) and a balk with three strikeouts. LF Carlos Arroyo (.319) had a typical two hits and 1B Jon Nelson (HR, .309) belted his sixth, but other than that, there wasn't much, save for C Rene Rivera's (2B, .256) thirteenth double. LHP Bobby Livingston tomorrow.

Wisconsin 2, Langsing 7 (CHC)
RHP Brandon Moorhead (6.03, L) got his first start in quite a while and showed considerable rust, going an inning and two-thirds and giving up four runs on three hits (2 HR!) and a walk with a strikeout. LHP Jason Mackintosh (2.90) pitched the rest of the game with three runs on eight hits (3 HR!!) with a walk and four strikeouts. Not much offense for the T-Rats tonight, 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (.274) and 1B Jeremy Dutton (2B, R, .201), but it was one of CF Wladimire Balentien's (HR, 2 RBI, .258) hits, his seventh home run, which gave them any marks on the scoreboard. LHP Ryan Feierabend tomorrow.

Tronconero #1 1 (PHI), Aguirre 10
Quite the opposite of yesterday's game. Becoming the first starter to go five innings and earn a win this season, LHP Jose Jimenez (3.27, 2 E, W) deserved it as he allowed nothing earned on three hits, three walks, and a hit batter. RHP Kelvin Alcaron (0.00) pitched the next three frames allowing three hits and striking out a batter. The finale was pitched by RHP Felix Correa (1.29), who picked up a strikeout along the way. 2B Terry Serrano (2 2B, 3 R, RBI, .333) the undeniable goat of yesterday's game after committing four errors, redeemed himself today with four hits. Picking up two hits each were 3B Luis Valbuena (2B, R, 2 RBI, .321), 1B William Ortiz (2 2B, RBI, .225), and C Antonio Marcano (R, RBI, .227). Aguirre gets the day off tomorrow, so RHP Marwin Vega on Monday, I'd expect.

Tacoma Rainiers: 27-23, .540, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 23-32, .418, 15 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-24, .564, 2.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 24-30, .444, 8.5 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 8-7, .533 3 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 113-117, .491

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Draft and Follows

One of the surest signs that the draft is approaching is the signing of last year's draft and follows. This time around the M's pick up RHP Jason Snyder and C Danny Santin. In addition, they have signed five-year senior SS Erick Monzon.

Snyder, 21, comes out of Dixie Junior College in Utah, joining the likes of LF Jon Nelson and IF Taylor Pullins as recent Dixie products signed by the M's. He was originally drafted in the 40th round of the 2001 draft by the Royals before being drafted again by the M's in the 17th round last year. He is described as having no real windup and a 89-90 mph sinking fastball. Snyder pitched for the University of Arizona in 2002, going 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in twelve appearances, two of them starts. I can't seem to figure out why he transferred from Arizona to Dixie for this season.

Santin, 18, played this season at Miami-Dade Community College in Florida. He was drafted by the M's in the 23rd round last year and is a left-handed batter. Santin comes from a baseball background, as his father Rudy is the international scouting director for the Devil Rays. Reader Larry Robinson has seen Santin play and described him as being well-built and athletic looking. He also describes Santin as being a rather passionate player who argued with an ump during the game and tends to push himself a bit.

Monzon played for the University of Tampa this season, hitting .312/.399/.495 in 202 at-bats. He also had fourteen stolen bases, thirty-seven RBI, and a .945 fielding percentage.

Sacramento 9 (OAK), Tacoma 7
RHP Gustavo Martinez (6.00) made his Triple-A debut for the season and went six innings allowing four runs on six hits and five walks with six strikeouts. RHP Scott Maynard (11.91) got some work in after that for an inning and a third where he gave up a run on two hits and a walk with a strikeout. That was enough to tie the game, but the Rainiers lost this one due to the RHP Andy Shibilo (9.90, L) Effect. Whenever they've brought him in, it seemed to be the equivilant of throwing in the towel, and today was no exception, in just two-thirds of an inning he gave up four runs on four hits (2 HR!) and a walk with a lone strikeout. On the plus side, LHP Shawn Nottingham (13.50) pitched through the ninth with two strikeouts and only one hit. The offense was hitting quite a bit tonight, with 3B Justin Leone (2B, R, .268) going 4-5, CF Jamal Strong (R, RBI, .331) and DH Bucky Jacobsen (2 HR, 3 RBI, .314) going 3-5, and LF Luis Ugueto (.293) going 2-5. C Ben Davis (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, PB, .239) also hit his first homer of the season. With Maynard getting his work in tonight, I have no idea who might be starting tomorrow. For now, at least.

Midland 9 (OAK), San Antonio 2
Midland continues to humiliate the Missions this season, this time, RHP Rich Dorman (4.43, L) was the victim as he gave up six runs on seven hits (two HR!), five walks, a hit batter, and a wild pitch, though he managed to strike out six in his five and a third innings. LHP Tim Rall (3.60) is returning to the form that made him one of the most dominant left-handed relievers in the Texas League, as he went two and two-thirds innings and struck out five. RHP Rick Guttormson (5.20) ran into trouble again as he pitched the final frame, allowing three runs on four hits (HR) with a strikeout. 3B Greg Dobbs (.313) and RF Shin-Soo Choo (R, .277) had two hits a piece, but neither amounted to much. SS Eddie Menchaca (2B, RBI, E, .202) hit the only extra-base hit for the Missions. RHP Juan Done tomorrow!

Rancho Cucamonga 9 (ANA), Inland Empire 0
Ugly, ugly game... RHP Aaron Taylor (13.50, L) made his 2004 debut as a starter and went just an inning and a third, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (3.93) followed him and pitched through the end of the sixth, allowing three runs on six hits (HR by Tim Salmon), four walks, and a balk as he punched out six. RHP Ruben Castillo (0.00) also made his 2004 debut and pitching debut, going two innings and allowing two hits and striking out one. Odd that he should be the only one to not allow a run. LHP Melvin Pizarro (5.01) continued his recent struggles by allowing three runs on a hit and three walks before giving way to RHP David Viane (5.29) who pitched the final two-thirds allowing only a hit. The Sixers offense was near non-existant tonight, only four hits total with ten Ks. 1B Pichi Balet (E, .306) had two of those hits, while LF Carlos Arroyo (.313) and 2B Matt Rogelstad (.265) picked up the others. RHP Juan Sandoval tomorrow.

Wisconsin 5, Lansing 3 (CHC)
LHP Thom Oldham (3.77, W) may be getting back on track, as he went seven and two-thirds tonight allowing three runs on six hits (2 HR!) with an impressive eight strikeouts. RHP Mike Hrynio (4.87) finished up the eighth with a walk and a strikeout before RHP Bryan Stitt (2.51, S) closed out the game with a strikeout and his twelfth save. The offense took advantage of their opportunities tonight with the top-third picking up all of the RBIs. LF Josh Womack (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .272) and 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (RBI, .268), breaking out of a long hitting slump, both went two-for. SS Adam Jones (2B, 2 RBI, .237) picked up his eighth double. RHP Brandon Moorhead will start tomorrow, pitch a few innings, then be followed by LHP Jason Mackintosh.

Aguirre 9, Venoco #1 11 (HOU)
RHP Alfredo Venaga (2.13) started and went four and a third innings giving up an earned run on four hits with a couple of walks and strikeouts. RHP Edgar Guaramato (9.00) had no control in the next third of an inning, allowing an earned run on a hit, two walks, and three wild pitches. RHP Ronald Uviedo (3.18) went the next inning and two-thirds and wasn't his usual stellar self, giving up two earned on five hits, a walk, and a wild pitch with two punchouts. LHP Hugo Castro (3.18, L) followed with an inning where he allowed two runs on a hit batter and a walk, but both runs were given up by RHP Diomny Gaetano (1.50) when he allowed a home run, along with two other meaqningless hits in two-thirds of an inning. This game was lost on defense, not lack of trying by the offense. LF Nicomede Gomez (3 R, .444) had a single-game season-high number of hits for the Aguirre team with four. In the two-hit club for the game were 2B Luis Valbuena (2B, 3B, R, 3 RBI, .314), 3B Deybis Benitez (2 2B, R, 2 RBI, E, .229) and SS Terry Serrano (R, 4! E, .,241). LHP Jose Jimenez tomorrow.

I may be getting some Dominican Summer League data in soon, as their season began today, I believe. I don't think the DSL Mariners played today, but I did find out that they have moved the team from the Cibao Division to Santo Domingo North. What that entails, I'm not certain, but I know that the Mariners teams in the DSL have been substandard of late. Information on what's happening over there is near impossible to come by, but I'll try to report what I can when I can find anything.

Tacoma Rainiers: 27-22, .551, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 23-31, .426, 15 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-23, .574, 1.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 24-29, .453, 7.5 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 7-7, .500 3.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 112-112, .500

Just a few notes today...

I was e-mailing Sid earlier and he said that the home run against George Sherrill last night came on a 90 mph cut fastball that didn't quite cut. Yes, he is learning a cutter now to go along with that fastball, slider, and change-up. Price suggested it, Borders is helping him to throw it. Even after the home run, he kept on throwing it, and the results spoke volumes of it.

Inland Empire SS Juan Gonzalez is the Mariners Minor League Player of the Week. This shouldn't be too surprising to those watching him play. Pretty soon, everyone's going to remember who was traded along with Santiago.

I've recalculated my stats to be May-specific, so I'll be working along on the Minor League Players of the Month for ITP and I hope to get that done pretty soon. Right now, Gonzalez and Guzman will get honorable mention, but I don't think they'll be the title players. The answer might surprise you. Interesting note though, Inland Empire DH Pichi Balet only struck out twice in 85 at-bats for the month. Wow.


Transaction Update:

InsideThePark confirms some recent theories. In response to UT Hiram Bocachica being called up and RHP Gil Meche being sent down, the Rainiers need a new outfielder; LF/RF Greg Jacobs has been called up from San Antonio. OF Vince Faison will move up from Inland Empire to replace him. In addition, C Jorge Maduro has been called up to Tacoma as well due to regular C Jim Horner going on the DL with a strained groin.

I suppose I should cover what I've missed first...

Meche, 26, has had his struggles well-documented by every media outlet in the region, including the blogosphere. Whatever theory you subscribe to about this, it's good that he took the initiative and decided to go to Tacoma.

Bocachica, 28, should've had McCracken's job out of spring training anyway. He hit .328/.391/.656 in May, and provides some right-handed pop in addition to being able to play every position.

Jacobs, 27, was the talk of the system for hitting .462/.491/.769 in April. He's since cooled down quite a bit to .310/.370/.503, but he still deserved every bit of this promotion.

Faison, 23, was just passing through in the California League and this promotion should come as no surprise. What is surprising, is that he was called up after aggravating his hamstring again, and I didn't know that he'd be back so quickly. But, whatever works, hopefully he'll be a useful player in San Antonio. Can't really be worse than Guerrero.

Maduro, 23, was signed as a minor league free agent last season after being release by Tampa Bay, possibly because he has a .226 career average.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Sacramento 5 (OAK), Tacoma 6
LHP Travis Blackley (3.02) was pretty solid through five, giving up a run on four hits (HR) with four each of strikeouts and walks. LHP Randy Williams (2.70) stepped in after that, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks overall. He pitched an inning and faced two batters in the seventh without recording an out (hit, walk) before LHP George Sherrill (2.08, W) came in, got a fielder's choice, then allowed a single, then a flyout, then a three-run shot, though I will add that the fielder's choice would have been a double play had 2B Mickey Lopez (RBI, .281) not fallen down. Sherrill would pitch three innings overall and allowed two runs on the single and homer with another two strikeouts along the way. Every Rainer had at least one hit tonight, CF Jamal Strong (R, RBI, .321) and C Ben Davis (.238) going two-for, Ben with a walk as well. RF Hiram Bocachica (2B, R, RBI, .299), now in the bigs again, DH Bucky Jacobsen (2B, R, RBI, .305), and 3B Justin Leone (2B, R, .250) provided the extra-base hits, as well as walking once each. RHP Gustavo Martinez tomorrow.

Midland 16 (OAK), San Antonio 1
It was a trial by fire in San Antonio tonight and RHP T.A. Fulmer (16.62, L) got scorched, eight earned on ten hits, four walks, and a wild pitch with seven strikeouts (!) in just four and a third innings. Those are some pretty crooked numbers right there. RHP Ben Christensen (9.82) came in through the end of the sixth and ended up giving another three runs onf four hits and a couple of walks. RHP Renee Cortez (5.40) pitched through the seventh with a hit, a walk, and a strikeout, but after that, the Missions bullpen was so thin that they had to send in RHP Rob Gandolfo (4.50) to pitch an inning where he allowed a walk, then RHP Eddie Menchaca (27.00) for an inning where he gave up three runs on three hits and two walks. Yikes. The Missions only had three hits on the night, 3B Greg Dobbs' (HR, .310) fifth homer, 1B John Lindsey's (2B, .307) tenth double, and a rather meaningless single by 2B/RHP/SS Rob Gandolfo (.248) but props to him for managing to play three positions in a game. Also, LF Greg Jacobs (.310) was pulled after one at-bat, but I haven't yet figured out what happened. RHP Rich Dorman had better give that bullpen some rest tomorrow.

Rancho Cucamonga 3 (ANA), Inland Empire 2
well, I was right on this one, LHP Cesar Jimenez (1.99, E, L) has pitched his way back into the rotation, I just hope he has the breaking pitches to stay there this time around. Cesar went four and two-thirds giving up two runs on five hits, two hit batters, and a walk with two punchouts. RHP Tanner Watson (5.40) pitched the rest of the game, and his only run scored went like this: hit batter, to second on passed ball, to third on wild pitch, scores on a double. Ouch. Watson also allowed five hits and rung up five. SS Juan Gonzalez (RBI, .340) and LF Jon Nelson (SB, .316) both went two-for, but the only other hit came by DH Pichi Balet (R, .298). LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith tomorrow.

Wisconsin 7, Lansing 5 (CHC)
LHP Eric O'Flaherty (5.75, W) was on his every-other-game upswing tonight and pitched seven innings allowing four runs on eight hits (2 HR!) and a wild pitch, though no walks and four strikeouts, which I'll take as a sign of progress. RHP Bryan Heaston (4.97) walked two batters without an out and one of them scored as RHP Bryan Stitt (2.60, S) recorded his eleventh save, third in the league, without allowing any sort of hit or walk of his own. Lots of offense for the T-Rats tonight, RF Chris Colton (3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, .240) led it with his sixth triple and his seventh homer, the fourth game out of five that he's homered in of late. 1B Brent Metheny (HR, 3 R, .217), who had two hits, and CF Wladimir Balentien (HR, .257) also added solo jacks of their own. On a painful note, SS Adam Jones (.235) was 0-5 with four strikeouts. LHP Thom Oldham tomorrow.

Cagua 6 (CIN), Aguirre 3
RHP Irvin Rodriguez (1.29, L) got a start and went three innings with it, but unfortunately he gave up a run on two hits and a hit batter and that was enough to account for the loss. He also struck out two. RHP Jorge Acosta (2.70) went the next five and third accounting for nothing earned on five hits and a balk with five strikeouts. RHP Diomny Gaetano (0.00) pitched the final two-thirds but gave up nothing earned on his two hits. Of course, there were five unearned runs between Acosta and Gaetano. Ack. Not a lot of offense either, CF Jose Graterol (2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, .349) provided most of hit with his two hits, but 3B Luis Valbuena (R, E, .298) had two as well. DH William Ortiz (2B, RBI, .206) had his third double of the season. I'm guessing LHP Jose Jimenez tomorrow, again.

Tacoma Rainiers: 27-21, .563, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 23-30, .434, 14.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-22, .585, 1 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 23-29, .442, 7.5 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 7-6, .538 3.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 111-108, .507

OnDeck Baseball has some new Texas League rankings for the month. Choo is still on first team; RHP Renee Cortez made his debut on the second; Jacobs (who dropped one) and Dobbs (who jumped one) join Delucchi on the third team; Oliveros remains on the fourth team; and Brown and Dorman debuted on the fifth team, joining Cate, Buglovsky, and Fruto, who is now ranked again. Overall, Choo dropped from seventh to ninth in the top 30 and Jacobs is no longer present on that list.


Transaction Update:

RHP Gustavo Martinez has been called up to Tacoma, RHP T.A. Fulmer has been called up to San Antonio, RHP Elvis Perez has been released, RHP Aaron Taylor has been assigned to a rehab stint in Inland Empire, and former shortstop turned RHP Ruben Castillo has been assigned to Inland Empire as well.

Martinez, 28, was caught in the age discrepancies post-2001 and suddenly aged five years. His status hasn't been the same since, but he's been reliable in San Antonio as an all-purpose swingman, going into the rotation after LHP Glenn Bott was foolishly traded to the Dodgers. Martinez had a 3.75 ERA in 50.1 innings with the Missions this year, along with a .202 opposing batting average.

Fulmer, 24, was one of the most dominant pitchers in the California League through the first month of the season, before running into som serious struggles of late. He had ten games started for Inland Empire with a 4.24 ERA, but a .242 opposing batting average.

Perez, 24, was pretty much asking for this release. The 7.56 ERA in Double-A speaks for itself.

Taylor, 26, was one of the first M's prospects to get the "closer of the future" tag, except he was actually unsuccessful as a starter first. Taylor has been out with a rotator cuff thing, or was it a labrum? Regardless, he's back now, and if he can eventually fill out a bullpen role, well, that will make the staff that much strong. Of course, him doing a rehab stint means he's not on the 60-day DL anymore, which means something needs to be done about that, most likely Looper being moved to the 60-day, if the M's are smart.

Castillo, 23, is best known as the light-hitting shortstop with a rocket for an arm. This move only seems to make sense considering that he has a career minor leage average of .222, but he isn't getting any younger so I hope he takes to pitching fairly quickly, for his sake.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Sacramento 14 (OAK), Tacoma 4
Ack, so many pitching changes. LHP Craig Anderson (6.75) started, went three and two-thirds, and gave up four runs on six hits, two hit batters and two walks. RHP Scott Atchison (3.96, L) followed, went an innning and two-thirds, one run on two hits and walk with two strikeouts. LHP Randy Williams (2.17) inadvertantly got back on track by allowing nothing earned in his next inning and two-thirds on two hits. RHP Andy Shibilo (6.75) had a typical outing for him, pitching through the eighth and givine up two runs on two hits and three walks. RHP Jared Hoerman (9.00) ran into a wall in the ninth and gave up five runs on five hits and three walks with a strikeout before LHP Shawn Nottingham (27.00) got the elusive 27th out. Despite the fact that SS Ramon Santiago (.165) was the only Rainier to go hitless, there was little offense to speak of, and no multi-hits. RF Hiram Bocachica (HR, .295) knocked out his seventh and C Ben Davis (2B, R, .217) had another hit. LHP Travis Blackley tomorrow?

Midland 12 (OAK), San Antonio 0
If that's not lopsided enough for you, I'll note that the Missions only had six hits tonight and the pitching staff only struck out one. LHP Troy Cate (6.38, E, L) has been pitching his way off the radar of late. This time around he went three and two-thirds giving up a total of TEN RUNS on twelve hits (2 HR!) and five walks with only one strikeout. LHP Chris Key (4.74) went a third of an inning (why?) before giving way to RHP Emiliano Fruto (6.16), who pitched thorugh the end of the seventh and gave up a run on five hits plus a walk. LHP Tim Rall (3.95) got through the eighth with only a hit, but RHP Rob Gandolfo (yes, you read it correctly, he does do this in blowouts, 9.00) pitched through the ninth with a run on a hit and two walks. CF Dustin Delucchi (.340) and 1B John Lindsey (.308) both went 1-2 with two walks and 2B Hunter Brown (2B, .279) did the same thing with one less walk. Don't see much else worth noting. RHP T.A. Fulmer tomorrow.

Rancho Cucamonga 5 (ANA), Inland Empire 3
Sad note, the Sixers fell out of first place today. RHP Felix Hernandez (3.47, L) started and was a little off again, going six innings and allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks with seven punchouts to show for it all. RHP David Viane (5.51) followed with two and a third innings where he gave up a run of his own on four hits and a walk. LHP Melvin Pizarro (3.91) pitched the final two-thirds with a strikeout. SS Juan Gonzalez (R, .337) was at it again tonight with three hits, as was RF T.J. Bohn (R, RBI, .304) who had two. There were no extra-base hits for the Sixers tonight. Don't know who's starting tomorrow, it might be LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith but LHP Cesar Jimenez seems reasonable as well.

Wisconsin 6, Lansing 10 (CHC)
I suppose I can't suggest that RHP Nibaldo Acosta (4.41, L) has bad luck now that he isn't pitching well either. Acosta would go five and a third and give up eight runs on eight hits (HR) plus two walks, two hit batters, a wild pitch, and three strikeouts. RHP Kenly Chang (5.04) pitched the rest of the game and gave two runs on two hits (HR) and a walk, with three strikeouts of his own. LF Josh Womack (R, .271), continuing his hot streak, and CF Wladimir Balentien (.257), returning after a couple of days off, both had two hits. RF Chris Colton (HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .234) has been pretty hot too, hitting his sixth out of the park. DH Eric Blakeley (2B, R, 2 RBI, .271) had a solid contibution too by going 1-2 with a couple of walks. LHP Eric O'Flaherty gets back on track tomorrow, I hope.

Aguire 12, Venoco #2 3 (BAL/MIL)
Sloppy, sloppy game tonight, eleven errors total. LHP Jose Escalona (4.91) had his best outing yet, allowing only one earned run (which scored after he left) in four innings on a hit and three walks agaisnt five strikeouts. RHP Daniel Yerovi (3.86, W) stepped in after that and went the final five innings giving up nothing earned on two hits, four walks, a wild pitch, and a strikeout. It seems like a lot of production is coming from behind the plat this season, as C Freddy Alvarez (2B, 3 R, RBI, .357) picked up two hits on the night. DH Dwight Britton (2B, 2 R, .282) and SS/2B Terry Serrano (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 E, .208) were in the two-hit club for the night. 2B Luis Valbuena (2B, .279) and RF Jose Graterol (2B, 2 R, SB, .333) contibuted doubles to the cause. LHP Jose Jimenez tomorrow?

Tacoma Rainiers: 26-21, .553, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 23-29, .442, 13.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-21, .596, 0.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 22-29, .431, 8 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 7-5, .583 2.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 109-105, .509

Nageotte FINALLY pitches and I get home too late to see it. Curses.

The Mariners site has a preview of the 2004 draft. What does it tell us? Little that wasn't already known. No specific names or position preferences, though it does suggest that they won't lean too far to either college or high school this time around and that this is a restocking draft, so draft-and-follow type players won't be common. Speaking of draft-and-follows, I haven't heard anything about the M's signing any of theirs, but Baseball America is planning on doing an update on such matters this Friday, and I'm looking forward to seeing who the M's picked up out of it. Also, the article suggests that second-round pick Jeff Flaig will miss all of 2004 with a torn labrum, which is certainly news to me. More information when and if I find it.

LHP Travis Blackley and RHP Felix Hernandez made honorable mentions on the newest Prospect Hot Sheet at BA, but I'm not making another post just for that without a name on the top 20.


News around the minors...

Joe Kaiser at the PI has a new minor league notebook up (wondered how the lack of off day would affect that) and this one details the recent talk of the system, Inland Empire 3B Jesus Guzman. It had a few expected quotes about him exceeding expectations, but it also notes that he has been displaying opposite field power, in addition to unusually good plate discipline for someone his age at this level. The article goes on to hint that it's more likely that 2B Hyung Cho will be sent down when Garciaparra comes off the DL, simply because Guzman can play third, shortstop, and second, a fact I've failed to mention until now. One more thing is that he's referred to as a right-handed batter, further confusing the point of whether or not he can/does switch-hit.
Also in the article are notes on T-Rats OF Chris Colton, Tacoma kuckler RHP Scott Maynard, other news in brief, and the top ten for the week.

The Times retorts with another article on Leone and Dobbs. For some reason, I get the strange sensation that I've read this one before. There's also a weekly review and a top ten + injury updates that seems a lot less detailed this time around. Hmmm....

The San Antonio Express-News has a brief Missions notebook with some details on the two recent pitching additions, but it looks like no one had to be sent down in the process.

The San Bernadino County Sun also has a notebook with some info on Jesus Guzman, this one with a feq short quotes from the man himself. Glad the kid is finally starting to get the attention he deserves.

InsideThePark now has the Minor League Players of the Week up. Kudos to Womack, Ugueto, and Felix. I'll be working on the player of the month article soon.

Monday, May 31, 2004
Tacoma 9, Las Vegas 11 (LA)
LHP Matt Thornton (5.74, L) started and still can't seem to get back on track, going five and a third and giving up three earned runs on seven hits, five walks, and wild pitch, striking out five. RHP Jared Hoerman (5.56) followed, pitching the rest of the sixth and running into a wall, giving up three runs on three hits and a hit batter. LHP Shawn Nottingham (40.50) made his Triple-A debut and did what one could expect given he was in high school this time last year, going two-thirds of an inning and allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. LHP George Sherrill (1.65) got Nottingham out of the jam without allowing any more runs to score and pitched the eighth after that with only a walk to show for it. Interesting note, all of his outs came against right-handed batters. CF Jamal Strong (R, RBI, SB, CS, .317) went 3-4 with two walks on the night, and 2B Mickey Lopez (R, RBI, E, .282) and 3B Jose Lopez (HR, E, CS, .278) both went two-for, but the hero were RF Hiram Bocachica (HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, .294), who hit a grand slam in the eighth. C Ben Davis (R, .214) also had a hit and a walk. LHP Craig Anderson tomorrow.

Midland 2 (OAK), San Antonio 6
Finally, the streak is over, and the win comes from an unusual source in RHP Juan Done (5.06, W), who went five innings and allowed only a run on five hits and two walks with a strikeout to show for it. LHP Jared Thomas (3.18) went the next three innings and had a run on a solo shot, plus two walks and two punchouts. RHP Rick Guttormson (4.39) finally managed to get back under control in the ninth, allowing a hit and striking out a batter. The offense was scattered, but sufficient. CF Dustin Delucchi (R, .339) and SS Eddie Menchaca (2B, R, RBI, .209) had two hits, 1B Hunter Brown (HR, .276) hit a solo shot, his fifth. LF Greg Jacobs (2 RBI, .312) was the only hitless Mission, though he was the only batter with more than one RBI. LHP Troy Cate tomorrow?

Rancho Cucamonga 7 (ANA), Inland Empire 8
I'm sure a lot of you will look at what I'm about to write and ask yourselves, "What happened to LHP Bobby Livingston (2.69)?" Well, I'll tell you one thing, I think he should have allowed two less runs than he did just because 1B Matt Hagen (.204) just barely missed a basket catch and then Livingston threw too high to get a much needed double play back in the fourth. Further proof that box scores don't tell the whole story, but I digress. Overall, he went six and a third innings giving up six runs on ten hits, a walk, a wild pitch, and three strikeouts. RHP Darwin Soto (5.75) stepped in after that and allowed a run on two hits, a walk, and a hit batter with two strikeouts, though it's worth noting that the run scored on a balk, which, oddly, I think was just before pitching change anyway. Curiouser and curiouser, don't ask me how THAT happened. LHP Miguel Martinez (4.00, S) got the save by pitching through the final two-thirds with only a walk. CF Gary Harris (2B, 2 R, .287) and DH Pichi Balet (2B, 3 RBI, .301) went three-for tonight, while LF Jon Nelson (HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB, .311) and C Brian Lentz (HR, 2 R, .243), finally spelling Rene Rivera and hitting his first homer, were in the two-hit club. 3B Jesus Guzman (R, RBI, .327) didn't get a hit, but walked once and Saeger mentioned that he's going to start qualifying for the batting title within the next few games. He would have been third in the league at the start of the game had he qualified. RHP Felix Hernandez tomorrow.

Wisconsin 18, Peoria 7 (STL)
Yes, you did read that correctly. LHP Ryan Feierabend (3.60, W) started and had a perfect game through four and a third and a no-hitter through five, finishing up with seven innings pitched, three runs, six hits, a walk, a wild pitch, and four strikeouts. Part of the reason he faltered was because Wisconsin sent twelve men to the plate in the fifth and fourteen in the sixth, otherwise he seemed like he could have gone complete game. RHP Bryan Heaston (4.66) allowed two runs on two hits, two walks, and wild pitch in the eighth, while LHP Casey Abrams (12.60) allowed two runs on a hit (HR) and walk in the ninth with one strikeout. On offense, 2B Eric Blakeley (2B, 3 R, RBI, .261) became the first T-Rat to have four hits in a game this season, and C/1B Chris Collins (2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .234), DH Brent Metheny (R, 2 RBI, .200), and CF Chris Colton (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .233) all had three hits. While he didn't get player of the week honors this past week, RF Josh Womack (3B, 3 R, 3 RBI, .266) went 2-4 tonight with a walk. RHP Nibaldo Acosta tomorrow.

San Joaquin 7 (PIT), Aguirre 4
Box score recap as it comes. RHP Marwin Vega (L) started the game. LHP Jose Escalona tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 26-20, .565, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 23-28, .451, 13 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-20, .608, 1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 22-28, .440, 7.5 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 6-5, .545 2.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 108-101, .517

Corey Brock, who also writes for the Tacoma News Tribune, got to write Baseball America's Daily Dish today. Guess what it's about? Choosing to ignore (and rightfully so, based on the numbers) the recent additions of Craig Anderson and Scott Maynard to the rotation, the piece focuses primarily on the progress of Madritsch, Nageotte, Blackley, Thornton, and Baek. Nageotte and Blackley seem to have a more certain immediate future, so the details end up being primarily on Madritsch, who has been making quite a few adjustments since joining the M's, Baek, who is trying to learn to best utilize his control, and Thornton, whose fastball has returned, though his change-up and breaking pitches are still works in progress.

Sunday, May 30, 2004
I goofed again, Aguirre's game was not rained out yesterday, they won it 9-7. Bask in its small sample size statistical glory (C Jair Fernandez is batting .462/.563/.592!.. in thirteen at-bats).

In the interest of giving a balanced view on what happened, I'm posting the link to an article written shortly after RHP Ben Christensen settled the case with Anthony Molina. I've been looking for something like this for a while, so thanks to the Top Forums guys for tracking it down. I'm not going to sit and rehash the matter, it's a heinous act no matter what, as James said recently, but he did settle with Molina despite the fact that the prosecution had no means of proving that Christensen threw with the specific intent of harming Molina. Personally, I don't know what's worse; the fact that the pitching coach endorsed the idea of brushing back on deck hitters, or the fact that Christensen went along with it, not considering the potential consequences. Regardless, I hope this is the last we have to hear of this unfortunate matter for a while. The media has a tendency to run with these things, McGrath among them, despite making a valid point shrouded in his decrying.

Tacoma 1, Las Vegas 6 (LA)
LHP Bobby Madritsch (3.15, L) showed some understandable rust, going four innings and giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a hit batter, and wild pitch with three strikeouts. RHP Scott Atchison (3.89) was nails for the next three innings, allowing only a walk and striking out four. LHP Randy Williams (2.30) had an uncharacteristically bad eighth, allowing a walk and then a home run for his two runs. On offense, SS Jose Lopez (2 2B, R, .274) was setting the table for the Rainiers with his twelfth and thirteenth doubles and is now hitting .274/.333/.518, though not much came of either. DH Bucky Jacobsen (2B, .307) had another two-bagger and 2B Ramon Santiago (.175) had two hits, but really, there wasn't much else happening. CF Hiram Bocachica (.296) stole his twelfth base, and I'm starting to wish we had that sort of speed in the big leagues. LHP Matt Thornton tomorrow.

High Desert 9 (MIL), Inland Empire 12
This was one of those games that seemed to go on. And on. And on. RHP Juan Sandoval (4.91, W) started and went six innings giving up five runs on ten hits (2 HR!) and hit batter with three strikeouts. Under normal circumstances, that would get you a loss during a day game, but this was hardly a normal game. LHP Melvin Pizarro (4.03) followed and went two innings, giving up three runs on four hits (HR) and two walks with a strikeout. He's certainly not going to get a pitcher of the month mention from me this time around. RHP Tanner Watson (6.10) gave up a run on a hit and a walk in the ninth, but struck out two and managed to preserve the win. The two through five hitters, 3B Jesus Guzman (R, RBI, .336/.445/.467), CF Gary Harris (3 R, RBI, .276), DH Jon Nelson (2 R, RBI, SB, .306), and 2B Matt Rogelstad (2B, R, 3 RBI, .277) all had three hits, while the six through eight hitters, RF T.J. Bohn (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB, .305), LF Carlos Arroyo (2 R, RBI, .324), and 1B Pichi Balet (RBI, .287) all had two hits. Guzman's starting to make a case for All-Star selection, but I don't think he'll beat out Jamie D'Antona of Lancaster or Jeff Baker of Visalia, both 22, in the running unless he starts slugging a little more. Maybe he could make it in as a utility IF anyway. C Rene Rivera (.269) went 0-5, but that's not too surprising, as he's caught the last ten games and is surely wearing down. LHP Bobby Livingston tomorrow.

Wisconsin 2, Peoria 3 (STL)
LHP Jason Mackintosh (2.65) had his best start yet, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits (HR) while striking out EIGHT. RHP Mike Hrynio (4.95) followed with an inning that saw a hit and a walk but no runs as he rung up two. In the ninth, LHP Casey Abrams (11.25, L) stepped in, gave up a walk, and was lifted for RHP Juan Ovalles (5.26) who recorded an out, but also allowed a hit and a walk to score the run and end the game. The T-Rats had almost no offense tonight; CF Chris Colton (HR, .223) hit a solo shot in the second and DH Evel Bastida-Martinez (R, .286) had two hits, but RF Josh Womack (.261) was the only other batter with a hit. LHP Ryan Feierabend closes out the series tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 26-19, .578, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 22-28, .440, 13 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 30-20, .600, 1st CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 21-28, .429, 8 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 6-4, .600 1.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 105-99, .515


News around the minors...

In response to the ongoing outrage at the signing of RHP Ben Christensen, John McGrath at the Tacoma News Tribune has a bold proposal: sign Anthony Molina, the hitter whose career was ended by a Christensen pitch, as a coach within the organization. An interesting idea, but I just hope that, if they do, Christensen and Molina are never on the same team. I'd support it, although I would like to know how good of a coach Molina is.

There's also a minor league notebook covering the Nashville Sounds' Biblical Bobblehead Promotion Nights. No comment. But in Rainiers news, former pitching coach Jim Slaton, now a special assignemtn coach for the M's, has been in town and is suggesting that the player development department is looking for a more permenant rotation spot for knuckeballer Scott Maynard in the lower levels of the minors, but above class A. Slaton also mentions the possibility of moving Gustavo Martinez to Tacoma, as well as some notes on Felix, Bobby L., and T.A. Fulmer. There are reports that Jeff Heaverlo and Aaron Taylor might be ready to return soon, and Ryan Anderson threw well on the side the other day.

Clint Nageotte watch is over for day, Melvin misused the bullpen again by sending out RHP J.J. Putz for the third consecutive inning and watching him serve up a two-run homer to end the game. Booooo.

As David from Sports and Bremertonians reminded me, Inland Empire OF Vince Faison was pulled from the game last night after aggrevating his hamstring early in the game. Faison, acquired form the Padres in the Cirillo trade, originally pulled his hamstring during spring training when he hit first base the wrong way while running out a grounder. If a move is to be made regarding this injury, I'll report back on it.

In other Inland Empire news, Bobby Livingston won the poll at Top Prospect Alert. Thanks to those who voted from here and the Top Mariners Forum, but huge thanks to Steve at Mariners Wheelhouse for finding out abuot this and setting up a link from his site to attract even more potential voters. When the profile is put up, I'll link to it.

The Appleton Post-Crescent has some advice on how to protect yourself when turning a double play from IF Eric Blakeley. There's also an article on former manager turned instructor Mike Goff, who managed Wisconsin in '95 and '96.


Nageotte Watch

Due to Melvin's peculiar bullpen usage and Guardado currently pitching two innings, Putz, Myers, and Nageotte will soon be the only pitchers available in the game as it heads to extra innings. Stay tuned for a chance to see that famous slider.


Transaction Update:

The Tacoma News Tribune reports in the recap of last night's game that the Mariners have called up LHP Shawn Nottingham to Tacoma to help out in the bullpen.

Nottingham, 19, was a 13th round pick in last year's draft and was one of high number of high school lefties drafted last year, it seems. He spent all of last season in Peoria, where he put up a 3.72 ERA in twelve appearances, striking out seventeen and walking eight. More likely than not, he'll be headed for Everett when their season opens.

A closer look at the minor league system of the Seattle Mariners baseball club.

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2003 Prospect Lists:
Rotoworld Top 100 Prospects
Rotoworld Top 10 Mariners Prospects
The Minors First Top 100 Prospects
Inside The Park's 21-30 Mariners Prospects
On Deck Baseball's Mariners Prospect Rankings
On Deck Baseball's Future 500
On Deck Baseball's Future 500 (AL Only)
Wait Til Next Year's Top 50 Prospects
Wait Til Next Year's 51-90 Prospects
The Sports Network's Top 10 Mariners Prospects
Creative Sports' Top 10 Mariners Prospects
CBS Sportsline's Top AL West Prospects's Top 10 Mariners Prospects's Top 50 Prospects
Seattle PI's Top 15 Mariners Prospects
2003 Runs Created (Current system players)
2003 Runs Created (New acquisitions)
2003 Secondary Avg. (Current system players)
2003 Secondary Avg. (New acquisitions)
2003 WHIP Charts (Current system players)
2003 WHIP Charts (New acquisitions)
2003 K/BB Charts (Current system players)
2003 K/BB Charts (New acquisitions)

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