Mariner Minors
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Tacoma 4, Tuscon 1 (ARI)
LHP Travis Blackley (2.72) did pretty much what you could expect from him tonight, going six innings and allowing a run on four hits and three walks with a couple of strikeouts. He's now second in the PCL in ERA. He only threw 69 pitches to get that far and would've gone longer, possibly finishing the game, but he was tossed by the home plate umpire for saying something after a questionable ball four that was followed by an RBI triple. Rohn came out to defend him, but he was ejected too. RHP Jeff Harris (3.24) pitched the next two and had a couple of strikeouts before giving way to LHP George Sherrill (1.82, S), who had a 1-2-3 night and struck out, surprise, another left-handed batter. Every hitter in the lineup tonight put up at least one hit, with 1B A.J. Zapp (HR, .286) and LF Greg Jacobs (R, .316) managing two. DH Bucky Jacobsen (HR, .303) also hit out his fourteenth, a solo shot in the ninth on what were to be back-to-back homers by Jacobsen and Zapp. RHP Gustavo Martinez tomorrow.

Frisco 2 (TEX), San Antonio 1
Well, the good news is that RHP T.A. Fulmer (8.80) CAN still pitch and has seemed to rediscover whatever it was he has been missing since the end of April. Fulmer went seven innings tongiht, allowing only one run on four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch with three strikeouts. LHP Jared Thomas (2.41, L) pitched the final two innings and allowed a runon three hits, a hit batter, and a walk against two strikeouts. Minimal offense for the Missions tonight. 3B Greg Dobbs (2B, RBI, .330) had his usual two hits and LF Vince Faison (2B, .207) had a double, but SS Eddie Menchaca (.225) was the only other San Antonio player to get a hit. CF Dustin Delucchi (SB, .323), however, reached base by getting hit and walking twice, going 0-1 overall. RHP Rich Dorman tomorrow.

High Desert 1 (MIL), Inland Empire 3
RHP Tanner Watson (4.22, W) got the spot start and went five innings of one-hit, on-walk ball with four strikeouts. LHP Melvin Pizarro (4.65) went the next three innings, allowing a run on four hits with three strikeouts. LHP Miguel Martinez (4.09, S) pitched through the ninth to pick up his fifth save with a hit and two punchouts. LF John Nelson (2B, R, .307) was the only Sixer to have two hits, but they also had good performances from 3B Jesus Guzman (HR, .297/.400/.448), whose homer was to the deepest part of the park, 1B Matt Hagen (2B, .224) and C Rene Rivera (2B, R, .267). LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith tomorrow.

South Bend 9 (ARI), Wisconsin 6
LHP Ryan Feierabend (3.86) pitched through six innings and had five earned runs on ten hits (HR) and a walk with a couple of strikeouts. It's been a tough past two days for guys named Bryan. RHP Bryan Heaston (5.85, L) normally fairly reliable, allowed three runs in his two and a third innings on four hits and a walk with a couple of strikeouts. RHP Kenly Chang (4.50) allowed one of those runs to score on a double, while hitting a batter and walking another in his two-thirds. Four of the Rattlers had two hits tonight, including two of the new guys, as 2B Hyung Cho (2B, 2 RBI, .714) and CF Michael Nesbit (CS, .545) are joining 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (2 R, CS, .278) and RF Chris Colton (HR, 3 R, .255) to help make the offense less of a joke. RHP Nibaldo Acosta tomorrow. Maybe he'll get some run-support this time.

Venoco #2 1 (PIT), Aguirre 2
The M's and the Sixers pulled off the ninth inning magic last night, and Aguirre did it today. RHP Marwin Vega (4.11) finally got his start this week and went six innings, giving up a run on four hits (HR) and a walk against four strikeouts, which actually left him on the hook for the loss. LHP Jose Escalona (2.84, W), making his first relief appearance, went the final three innings, allowing a hit and striking out five. Escalona's been one of the best pitchers for the team, but it's the VSL, and odd moves like this seem to happen all the time, with both pitchers and hitters. The offense had a lot of hits tonight, but not a lot to show for any of it. SS Deybis Benitez (2B, .254) had three hits, none of which did much of anything, and four others, 2B Terry Serrano (E, .347), 3B Humberto Espinoza (.286), C Jair Fernandez (.310), and CF Manuel Pinto (R, .273), had similar results with their hits. So what came through for the team? The pinch hitters, first in Antonio Marcano (2B, R, .286) going for DH Edzul Robles (.097) and sending Pinto to third, then, naturally, Luis Valbuena (2B, 2 RBI, .389) pinch-hitting for Serrano to drive in Pinto and Marcano. LHP Jose Jimenez on Monday, or maybe RHP Carlos Figueroa? No one knows.

New DSL stats, as of Thursday, with continued dominance by the Mariners team (6-1). UT Ronald Garth, who has also played in the VSL, is now leading the division with a .500, is tied four fourth in hits with ten, and is tied for second in doubles with three. Manelik Pimentel is now now tied for fourth in batting (with Juan Beltran) at .389 and has scored seven runs, second in the division. Eddy Fernandez is the division leader in strikeouts at twenty (four more than the next guy) and Jael Luna is third at fifteen. Sterling Soto is still tied for division lead in wins at two and Fernandez joins him there. They no longer have a leader in ERA, primarily because Colon and Zapata haven't pitched recently enough to qualify, but the team ERA is at 1.47.

Tacoma Rainiers: 33-24, .579, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 26-37, .413, 15.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 36-26, .581, 3 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 26-35, .426, 12 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 12-7-1, .625 1 GB in VSL Valencia
Seattle Mariners (DSL Santo Domingo): 6-1, .857, 1st Santo Domingo Norte
Organizational Record: 141-131-1, .518


Transaction Update:

The Mariners have added IF Nick Orlandos, 2B Hyung Cho, and OF Michael Nesbit to the Wisconsin roster to help bolster the offense. To make room for them, IF Oswaldo Navarro and OF Josh Ellison were sent to Everett, while UT Brent Metheny was released.

Orlandos, 24, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2003 after being released by the Yankees. He turned it around in Everett and was named team MVP after batting .317/.361/.419.

Nesbit, 22, I've already talked a little about before. Surgery, missed last season, etc. Wisconsin is more his speed and they seem to have him pegged as a center fielder right now, which could be a good move.

Cho, I've already covered fairly recently...

Ellison, 20, started out as the spark plug in the Wisconsin lineup but fell off after a few weeks. He was batting .209/.264/.327 at the time of his demotion. It's been an up-and-down career for Ellison, I don't know how to put it other than that. He repeated Peoria and now looks like he'll repeat Everett. Not good at all.

Navarro, 19, was given a pass to Wisconsin after hitting .258/.302/.318 in Everett last season. Though primarily a shortstop in Everett, Navarro saw time at every infield position, primarily second base, to make room for Adam Jones. He was batting .211/.248/.295 when he was sent to Everett.

Metheny, 23, was signed as a non-drafted last year. He saw some time in Wisconsin and Peoria last season, batting .304/.388/.436 overall and looking rather promising. This season, that dropped down to .196/.279/.359, a prime example of how Wisconsin can eat hitters alive. He'll probably find a team elsewhere that will sign him, but realistically, the Wisconsin roster just wasn't built to fit in a player of his abilities.

Friday, June 11, 2004
Tacoma 7, Tuscon 1 (ARI)
... RHP Gil Meche (2.25, W) is back in business. At least from the looks of it. Meche went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks, while striking out twelve. LHP Randy Williams (2.34) finished up the game with a hit in two innings. 1B A.J. Zapp (3 2B, 2 R, RBI, .282) had three hits, doubles ten through twelve, to lead the Rainiers offense tonight. CF Jamal Strong (R, .340), 2B Mickey Lopez (HR, 2 RBI, .289), and SS Jose Lopez (2B, HR, 2 RBI, .284) all went 2-5. Jose is now hitting .284/.338/.519, so why isn't he getting any attention? C Ben Davis (2 RBI, PB, .262) also had a two-run single in the first. LHP Travis Blackley tomorrow!

San Antonio 4, Arkansas 2 (ANA)
LHP Phil Devey (3.18) had a pretty solid Mariners debut, particularly considering the Missions staff. He went five and two-thirds and gaveu p two runs oan six hits (HR) and two walks while striking out nine. Two key members of the bullpen look like they're finally getting back on track; LHP Tim Rall (3.82, W) went two innings with two hits and a strikeout to pick up the win and RHP Rick Guttormson (4.68, S) went the last inning and a third with only a walk to pick up the save. 1B John Lindesy (2B, RBI, .298) and SS Eddie Menchaca (CS, .223) both were three-for. 3B Hunter Brown (3B, R, .288) and C Ryan Christianson (RBI, .321), who also walked and caught a batter stealing, had two hits each. Perhaps most impressive was how they won this without the aid of either of their All-Stars (Dobbs and Delucchi). RHP T.A. Fulmer tomorrow.

High Desert 2 (MIL), Inland Empire 3
RHP Felix Hernandez (3.31) started a great game tonight, going six innings and allowing an earned run on seven hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. RHP David Viane (4.74) followed for two innings, giving up two hits and striking out one before RHP Ruben Castillo (0.00, W) stepped in on eight days rest and pitched through an uneventful ninth to pick up the win. Well, uneventful from the Mavericks standpoint, because the Sixers took a page from the parent club's book and won the game in the final at-bat. SS Juan Gonzalez (2 RBI, .316) had two hits and drove in the first two runs, but it was 1B Matt Hagen (R, RBI, .222) who drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. RHP Tanner Watson starts tomorrow night in what will be a bullpen-pitched game for the Sixers.

South Bend 4 (ARI), Wisconsin 9 (seven innings)
LHP Jason Mackintosh (3.30) got the start and managed to pick up his first win since he was in the Indians system back in 2001. He went six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits (HR) and three walks with five strikeouts. RHP Mike Hrynio (5.24) pitched through the seventh, giving up a walk, throwing a wild pitch, and striking out two. The three through five T-Rats hitters, 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (2B, HR, 3 R, SB, .276), C Chris Collins (HR, 3 RBI, .244), and RF Chris Colton (HR, CS, .244), each went two-for with a home run. In an interesting note, LF Wladimir Balentien (R, .242), was 1-2 with an intentional walk (ha!). A couple of players made their Wisconsin debuts today; on the good side of things was CF Michael Nesbit (2B, R, RBI, SB, 1.000) goign 3-3, one the bad side was DH Nick Orlandos (.000) going 0-4 in his 2004 debut.

South Ben 7 (ARI), Wisconsin 5 (seven innings)
I listened to most of this game and the ending was definately a heartbreaker. Since Roadie doesn't like to use a starter in the second game of a doubleheader, RHP Juan Ovalles (4.15) started and had an impressive outing, four innings, one run on three hits, five punchouts. RHP Kenly Chang (4.59) went the next two-thirds and had a hit and a strikeout before giving way to LHP Casey Abrams (10.29), who allowed a run on a hit and two hit batters with a strikeout. That run, and five others, were allowed to score by closer RHP Bryan Stitt (4.02, L), who had his second blown save in the week. Two innings, seven hits, three strikeouts. The offense was led by another guy making his T-Rats debut, 2B Hyung Cho (R, 2 RBI, 1.000), who was 3-3. Going two-for in the lineup for the Rattlers were DH Josh Womack (R, SB, .267), SS Adam Jones (.244), and RF Chris Colton (R, RBI, SB, .249). LHP Ryan Feierabend tomorrow.

Aguirre 8, Cagua 8 (CIN) (eleven innings)
Does playing to an eleven-inning tie count as an end to a win streak? Hmmm... I don't know if they'll finish it up someday, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. The duo of RHP Alfredo Venaga (2.33, 2 E) and RHP Ronald Uviedo (3.14) pitched through the first six innings and put up near-identical lines; three innings, one earned, five hits, one walk. The only difference was Venaga struck out two (and allowed an unearned run and a balk) and Uviedo struck out three. The ususally-solid RHP Irvin Rodriguez (2.45) allowed what I believe to be his first runs of the season, going one inning and allowing two runs on two hits and a hit batter with a strikeout. The bullpen struggles continues as RHP Kelvin Alcaron (3.24) gave up three runs on three hits, a couple of walks, and a wild pitch with one strikeout over the course of an inning and a third. Luckily, RHP Diomny Gaetano (0.93) stepped in for the next two and two-thirds innings before the game was calle,d not allowing either of his inheritted runners to score and giving up only a hit and two walks of his own. The big night for the offense was had by seldom-used DH Humberto Espinoza (2B, 4 RBI, SB, .250), who went 3-6. Meanwhile, the hot streak continued for 2B Luis Valbuena (3 R, RBI, SB, CS, .380), who went 2-3. SS Terry Serrano (2B, 3B, R, E, .333) also seemed to have a good eye for the ball today (just not the glove, as usual for him). Three other batters, LF Dwight Britton (2B, R, SB, .258), C Jair Fernandez (2B, RBI, .282), and RF Manuel Pinto (2B, .241) had doubles for Aguirre. LHP Jose Jimenez or RHP Marwin Vega tomorrow.

I got my first bit of data in for the Dominican Summer League. The Mariners team, which has been moved from the Cibao Division to the more accessible Santo Domingo Norte Division, is doing something that is rather unusual in the first five games for a Dominican Mariners team: leading a division. Unfortunately, due to lack of data , I can't always tell you who plays where or bats what, and the sample size is rather small (not to mention the data is as of Tuesday), but here are the highlights so far... OF Eddy Hernandez leads the division in batting average at .438, tied for third in hits with seven, and is tied for the division lead in doubles with two, along with UT Ronald Garth. 1B(/C?) Manelik Pimentel is seventh in the division in batting with a .364 average and has scored five runs. He is also tied for the division lead in home runs (one, ha) with Arami Castillo. Juan Beltran, who doesn't quite qualify for the batting title yet, is hitting .455. Jairo Hernandez is tied for second in the league in stolen bases with three. Jael Luna, Eddy Fernandez, RHP Carlos Colon (why is he back in the DSL? I thought they had finally moved him to Peoria...), and Sterling Soto, who is also tied for the lead in wins with two, are 1-2-3-4 in strikeouts with nine, nine, and eight respectively. Colon, Fernandez, and Juan Zapata are all league leaders in ERA with 0.00. Luna, Fernandez, Colon, Zapata, Michael Mercedes, look to be the starters for the team. I'm assuming Soto isn't a starter because he's 2-0 and has pitched four innings in both outings, but he could be a starter eventually.

Tacoma Rainiers: 32-24, .571, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 26-36, .419, 15 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 35-26, .574, 3 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 26-34, .431, 11.5 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 11-7-1, .605 1 GB in VSL Valencia
Seattle Mariners (DSL Santo Domingo): 4-1, .800, 1st Santo Domingo Norte
Organizational Record: 136-129-1, .519

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Tacoma 13, Tuscon 8 (ARI)
Hmmm... well, I was right the first time and the papers turned out to be wrong. LHP Matt Thornton (6.35, E, W) started and went five innings allowing four runs on seven hits and six walks against three strikeouts. Damage control, I guess. RHP Kevin Jarv... er, Andy Shibilo (10.50) went the next third and gave up three runs on four hits and a walk, all on his own without any of that inheritted runner stuff. Speaking of which, RHP Scott Atchison (4.19, S) stepped in for the last three and two-thirds and was outstanding, giving up a run on three hits and punching out SIX. Lots of offense needed to dig Thornton and Shibilo out, and the Raineirs did just that. LF Luis Ugueto (HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 3 SB, .295) was 4-5 (!!!) on the night, with 2B Mickey Lopez (R, 2 RBI, .286) and SS Jose Lopez (R, SB, .281) going 3-5. Going one-for, but hitting extra-basers for the Rainiers were CF Jamal Strong (2B, R, .338), 3B Justin Leone (HR, 2 RBI, E, .263), hitting his sixteenth, 1B A.J. Zapp (2B, 2 R, E, .274), and C Ben Davis (2B, 4 R!!, .261). RF Greg Jacobs (R, 2 RBI, .267) was 1-2 before being pulled, hope it's nothign serious. RHP Gil Meche tomorrow, or LHP Craig Anderson? Pick your poison.

San Antonio 5, Arkansas 12 (ANA) (seven innings)
RHP Juan Done (5.84, L) started the doubleheader off on the wrong foot, going three and a third innings and giving up eight earned on ten hits (3 HR!!), a hit batter, and walk with three strikeouts. RHP Ben Christensen (9.35) conitnued the struggles with two and two-thirds where he gave up three runs on three hits, a hit batter, and two walks against a lone strikeout. The offense was a little above average for the Missions. RF Shin-Soo Choo (HR, 2 RBI, .290), 2B Hunter Brown (.278), and 1B John Lindsey (HR, 2 RBI, .289) all had two hits a piece. 3B Greg Dobbs (2B, R, .322) and LF Vince Vaison (2B, RBI, .200) also contributed doubles.

San Antonio 8, Arkansas 11 (ANA) (seven innings)
LHP Chris Key (5.36) had a start that was disappointing, to say the least. He went only two and a third innings and gave up five earned runs on seven hits (HR) and walk. RHP Emiliano Fruto (6.94) went the next two and two-thirds, giving up four runs on four hits (2 HR!) and three walks with two punchouts. RHP Renee Cortez (5.95) pitched the final, meaningless inning, giving up a homer and ringing up two, with a meaningless hit batter and wild pitch as well. The offense wasn't actually that bad tonight; four Missions, 2B Hunter Brown (R, .283), 3B Greg Dobbs (2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .326), DH Ryan Christianson (2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .292), continuing his hot-hitting, and LF Shin-Soo Choo (RBI, SB, .294) all went 2-4. RF Cristian Guerrero (HR, .214) also hit out his eighth. LHP Phil Devey tomorrow.

Modesto 7 (OAK), Inland Empire 6
I tell you, nothing uglier than a game lost in the ninth. LHP Bobby Livingston (3.54) still isn't back yet, but showed some progress tonight, going seven and two-thirds innings and giving up four earned on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts. LHP Cesar Jimenez (2.27, L), who I guess is NOT in the rotation again after all, went the next inning and allowed two runs on four hits and a walk with a couple of strikeouts. What's worse is that one of the runs scored on a passed ball. Not like it probably would have made a difference, considering RHP Darwin Soto (5.48) came in and gave up a hit before recording the final out of the game for the Sixers staff. With the bats, LF Carlos Arroyo (2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, .333), probably the best fourth outfielder in the league, was 3-5 on the night. C Brian Lentz (HR, 2 RBI, 2 PB, .262) also had a solid 2-4 contribution, though he did have a couple of defensive miscues. 2B Taylor Pullins (R, .000) made his Sixers debut, walking twice and striking out twice. I guess RHP Felix Hernandez starts tomorrow.

Wisconsin's game was postponed today. Lots of storms sweeping through the Midwest. Five of the seven games that were supposed to be played today were postponed due to it. If there's a doubleheader tomorrow, then Mackintosh and LHP Ryan Feieraben will pitch.

Aguirre 3, San Joaquin 0 (PIT)
No team in the VSL has been hotter lately than Aguirre has. Riding a four-game win streak, the pitching staff has not allowed a run for twenty-six innings. The team ERA is 2.66, compared to Tronconero #2's second best 3.32. That trend continued today when RHP Edgar Guaramato (4.91, E, W) took the mound, went five innings, and allowed only two hits, a hit batter, and a walk with five strikeouts. RHP Daniel Yerovi (3.68) got into some hot water in the sixth, allowing a hit and two walks while recording only one out, but RHP Jorge Acosta (2.13) stepped in and didn't allow any runs to score while giving up one hit of his own in two and two-thirds innings. LHP Hugo Castro (2.35, S) pitched the ninth, gave up a hit and a walk, but still recorded a save. For the offense, red-hot 3B/2B Luis Valbuena (HR, .368) had two hits, including his first home run of the season. It's early on, I know, but Valbuena seems like an early candidate for team MVP with a chance to make the jump to the US. RF Jose Graterol (2B, .323), C Jair Fernandez (2B, R, .278), and SS Terry Serrano (2B, RBI, .325), who only had one at-bat, all had doubles in the winning effort. I want to give up on suggesting who might pitch tomorrow, but it could be RHP Marwin Vega, or LHP Jose Jimenez, or RHP Alfredo Venaga. I might be partially right this time.

Tacoma Rainiers: 31-24, .564, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 25-36, .410, 15 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 32-26, .567, 3 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 25-33, .431, 11 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 11-7, .611 1.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 126-127, .498


Transaction Update:

The Mariners have signed LHP Phil Devey from the independant Southeastern League to take over in the San Antonio rotation for the injured LHP Troy Cate.

Devey, 27, is a former fifth-round pick of the Dodgers back in 1999. Oddly enough, he pitched for San Bernadino back when it was still a Dodgers affiliate in 2000. Devey doesn't look like he quite lived up to expectations, but for the Pensacola Pelicans this year he had a 3-1 record and a 1.46 ERA, best in the league. Early reports indicate that he will start on Friday, but near as I can figure, the Missions game is either delayed or rained out, so that may be postponed a bit.

Cate, 22, is the most recent pitcher to go down in the series of injuries that has left the farm system decimated. Except it wasn't an oblique pull this time, it was a tweaked groin. Cate has struggled this year, to put it lightly, posting a 6.35 ERA in twelve starts and allowing opposing batters to hit .323 off of him. Not good.


Transaction Update:

To get him more playing time, the M's have sent Inland Empire 2B Hyung Cho down to Wisconsin. To replace him on the roster, they have called up IF Taylor Pullins from extended spring training.

Cho, 21, was hitting around .300 for his entire stay in the California League, but I guess this is the answer to the question of Cho or Guzman and, personally, it's the answer I wanted. Wisconsin also hasn't really played an "everyday" second baseman yet this season, and Cho allows them that ability. What happens to Navarro, though, is up to debate.

Pullins, I've mentioned before. I don't know his exact age but I'd venture to guess around 25 or so. He comes from a recent trend of signing former Dixie junior College players and it's entirely possible that he knows Sixers LF Jon Nelson since they have the same hometown (there's your news angle there). He won't be a bad fill-in at all, may end up better than Cho, but he doesn't seem to be thought of as a prospect in the same way Cho is. He might be sent elsewhere once Garciaparra comes back. If nothing else, this gives Matt Rogelstad the second base job for now, which isn't necessarily a bad investment.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
The system is back to .500 tonight, as both affiliates that played won.

San Antonio 7, Arkansas 5 (ANA)
RHP Rich Dorman (4.97) started and had his worst outing thus far in Double-A, going only five innings and allowing four runs on four hits, three walks, and a hit batter with four strikeouts. LHP Tim Rall (4.05) went the next inning and allowed two hits, but nothing else. Continuing his rehab stint, RHP Aaron Taylor (5.40) went the next two-thirds and allowed a run on a walk and two hit batters with a strikeout, but that run was allowed by LHP Jared Thomas (1.59, W), who is otherwise pitching well, going two and a third innings allowing two hits, three walks, and striking out four.RHP Rick Guttormson (4.88, S) picked up the save in the tenth by allowing a hit and striking out a batter. For the Missions offense, 3B Greg Dobbs (2 RBI, E, .324) and LF Vince Faison (2B, R, 2 RBI, .176) had two hits, Faison driving in the winning runs in the tenth. Lots of doubles tonight, 2B Hunter Brown (2B, R, SB, .272), 1B John Lindsey (2B, 2 R, .284), and DH Luis Oliveros (2B, R, .228) all had two-baggers. Oliveros also walked, very good to see. LHP Chris Key and RHP Juan Done will start in the doubleheader tomorrow.

Modesto 1 (OAK), Inland Empire 3
RHP Juan Sandoval (4.63, W) was great tonight, going seven innings and allowing only a run on seven hits with three punchouts along the way. RHP Tanner Watson (5.00, S) pitched tow innings with a hit and a strikeout to pick up the save. With the bats, SS Juan Gonzalez (R, .314), finally breaking out of his slump, and CF Gary Harris (3B, R, RBI, .277) both had two hits. C Rene Rivera (2B, R, .265) also logged his team-leading fifteenth double. LHP Bobby Livingston tomorrow.

Aguirre, I believe, was rained out today. There was only one game in the log today, and it was shortened due to weather.

Tacoma Rainiers: 30-24, .556, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 25-34, .424, 15 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 32-25, .576, 3 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 25-33, .431, 11 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 10-7, .588 1.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 124-124, .500

Okay, so I've been lagging with the news lately. The draft sort of threw me off a bit, and I'm still trying to recover. Here's the May Minor League Players of the Month, finally up and published. Also, on the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, Travis Blackley came in at 19th...

19. Travis Blackley, lhp, Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners)
In his first two starts of the season, the Austrailian lefty was shelled for 11 runs at 19 hits in less than 10 innings. Since then, he's 5-1, 1.74 in nine starts, and clearly showing the form that won him Texas League pitcher of the year honors in 2003.

I'm not entirely certain how much of a draft review I'll have going here, but we're planning on putting some stuff together at ITP. I'm just swamped right now and can't come up with the time to commit to a draft review. I will note that a high percentage of the players drafted seem pretty eager to sign.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
In what has become an extreme rarity of late, all the M's affiliates that played won today.

Las Vegas 1 (LA), Tacoma 5
RHP Gustavo Martinez (3.55, W) got his second start and went six and two-thirds innings, allowing only one run on seven hits, a hit batter, and four walks with three punchouts. LHP Tim Christman (0.00) went the next third and allowed a hit and a walk, but nothing else. A two-inning save was picked up by LHP George Sherrill (1.87, S) who allowed only one hit along the way. All of those batters were righties too. 1B A.J. Zapp (2B, R, RBI, .276) and C Ben Davis (2B, .262) both had two hits for the Rainiers. 2B Mickey Lopez (HR, .276) hit a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth. CF Jamal Strong (2B, R, .342) also had a double, but how about that average? RHP Gil Meche on Thursday...

San Antonio was postponed due to rain. A large part of why the M's system didn't have a loss today.

Modesto 2 (OAK), Inland Empire 3
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (3.83) started and went five and two-thirds innings giving up two runs on three hits (HR) and three walks with an impressive seven strikeouts. Maybe the whole Cesar Jimenez pitching a few days ago was because of Monday's offday... LHP Melvin Pizarro (4.82, W) pitched three and a third innings with two hits and a strikeout to pick up the win. 1B Matt Hagen (HR, 2 RBI, .225) hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Sixers the lead and eventual win. C Rene Rivera (2B, R, .263) and 2B Hyung Cho (2B, R, .298) both went 1-3 with doubles. RHP Juan Sandoval tomorrow.

Quad Cities 3 (MIN), Wisconsin 8
LHP Thom Oldham (3.62) had a decent outing this time around, going five innings and allowing an earned run on five hits, two hit batters, a balk, and three walks against three strikeouts. RHP Juan Ovalles (4.40, W) had one of his amazing outings for the next three innings where he allowed only a walk and struck out six. LHP Casey Abrams (9.45) pitched the ninth and had a hit and a strikeout. The offense was rather impressive tonight, RF Chris Colton (2 R, RBI, .238) and C Justin Ruchti (2 2B, R, RBI, PB, .208) both had three hits, while 3B/SS Adam Jones (R, .238) and DH Chris Collins (2B, R, 3 RBI, .241) had two each. LHP Jason Mackintosh on Thursday?

Aguirre 5, Universidad 0 (FLA/SD)
Major props to the Aguirre pitching staff for throwing a no-hitter through eight and a third. LHP Jose Escalona (3.38, W) went five innings today, allowing a walk and striking out three. He was followed by RHP Irvin Rodriguez (0.90), who went another three innings and gave up a walk against a strikeout. The dubios distinction of giving up Universidad's only hit of the game goes to RHP Diomny Gaetano (1.29), who did nothing else worth noting. For the offense, 2B Luis Valbuena (3 2B, 2 R, CS, .359) tore it up by going 4-5 on the day. CF Jose Graterol (3B, R, RBI, .328) and 3B Deybis Benitez (.233) also logged two hits in the winning effort. LF Dwight Britton (HR, R, 2 RBI, SB, .286) also hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second. RHP Marwin Vega tomorrow? I don't even know anymore...

Tacoma Rainiers: 30-24, .556, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 24-34, .414, 16 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-25, .554, 3.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 25-33, .431, 11 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 10-7, .588 1.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 122-124, .496

Monday, June 07, 2004
Las Vegas 2 (LA), Tacoma 3 (ten innings)
Finishing up the suspended game from yesterday... RHP Gil Meche (9.00) started, went an inning, three hits turn into a run, one strikeout. LHP Travis Blackley (2.84) goes the next seven innings, allowing a lone run on two hits and two walks while ringing up EIGHT. Way to go, TB! RHP Scott Atchison (4.35) pitched the next inning and two-thirds, having three hits and a walks, before giving way to LHP George Sherrill (1.99, W), who picked up the win by King a right-handed batter. CF Jamal Strong (2B, R, .347) and C Ben Davis (HR, .253), who I think is riding a twelve-game hitting streak, both had two hits. 3B Justin Leone (3B, RBI, E, .273) and RF Elpidio Guzman (HR, .295) also had extra-base knocks for the Rainiers.

Las Vegas 1 (LA), Tacoma 0 (seven innings)
RHP Jeff Harris (4.26, L) has his first start for the Rainiers and went five and a third, giving up a run on three hits, a wild pitch, and a walk with three strikeouts. LHP Randy Williams (2.48) pitched the final inning and two-thirds, giving up two hits but nothing else. SS Jose Lopez (.277) had the lone hit for the Rainiers, but CF Jamal Strong (SB, .345) and 3B Justin Leone (SB, .269) both swiped bags. RHP Gustavo Martinez tomorrow.

San Antonio 4, Frisco 11 (TEX)
The Texas League wasn't any nicer to RHP T.A. Fulmer (15.12, L) in his second start. He went four innings and gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts. LHP Tim Rall (4.18) followed for two and a third innings and gave up three runs on five hits (HR) and a balk with three strikeouts. RHP Renee Cortez (5.79) finished off the game, allowing two runs on three hits, a wild pitch, and a balk with a couple of punchouts of his own. For the Missions offense, 3B Hunter Brown (R, RBI, .275) and LF Shin-Soo Choo (R, .286). RF Cristian Guerrero (HR, .218) also had a solo shot to left in the third. DH Ryan Christianson (.455) had another hit today, AND another walk. Good deal. RHP Rich Dorman tomorrow.

Quad Cities 3 (MIN), Wisconsin 2
I've said it before, and I'll surely say it again any number of times before the season's out: RHP Nibaldo Acosta (4.14) has the hardest luck of any pitcher in the system. He went EIGHT AND A THIRD tonight, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out seven, but RHP Bryan Stitt (2.76, L) gave up a three-run homer to finish up the ninth, which was what scored both of Acosta's runs, and well, that was the end of it. On offense, 3B Evel Bastida-Martinez (2B, R, .275) had two hits for the T-Rats while SS Adam Jones (HR, .237) had a solo shot in the sixth.

Quad Cities 8 (MIN), Wisconsin 0
Not a box score that you like seeing. RHP Brandon Moorhead (5.49, E, L) went three and two-thirds giving up only the unearned run on five hits, a hit batter, and a wild pitch with six strikeouts. LHP Eric O'Flaherty (6.12) seems to have been moved to the pen, probably in exchange for Mackintosh. The kid has good stuff, so I hope he gets things sorted out there. The current results don't look good though, one inning, three runs, four hits, two wild pitches, two walks, a strikeout. RHP Kenly Chang (4.68) pitched through the end of the seventh with two hits, a walk, a wild pitch, and a strikeout. RHPs Bryan Heaston (5.40) and Mike Hrynio (5.48) pitched an inning each to close the game, both giving up two runs, Heaston on two hits and a walk, Hrynio on a hit, a hit batter, and two walks, though he struck out the side. 2B Michael Cox (2B, .224) had two hits, including a double, but that was pretty much it for the T-Rats tonight. LHP Thom Oldham tomorrow.

Ciudad Alianza 1 (BOS), Aguirre 3
This game was apparently the completion of the suspended game that started the season on May 17th. RHP Carlos Figueroa (5.40) got a start, which I kind of figured would happen, though the results were rather strange; two innings, a run on a hit and four walks. RHP Felix Correa (0.69, W) pitched the six frames with three hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. LHP (2.70, S) picked up the save with two strikeouts in the ninth. In an odd note, there were no extra-base hits by either team for the game. LF Dwight Britton (R, RBI, .288) went 3-4, though. RHP Marwin Vega tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 29-24, .547, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 24-34, .414, 16 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 31-25, .554, 3.5 GB CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 24-33, .421, 11 GB MWL Western
Seattle Mariners (VSL Aguirre): 9-7, .562 2.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 118-124, .488

Sunday, June 06, 2004
Tacoma's game was suspended after one inning. It will be resumed tomorrow. This isn't so bad, because it gives the bullpen a chance to rest, though I wonder about Meche, who had been pitching. If he can't come back, it makes the whole matter worse. LHP Travis Blackley will be pitching tomorrow for certain.

San Antonio 2, Frisco 7 (TEX)
LHP Troy Cate (6.35, L) allowed a run on three hits with a strikeout in an inning and two-thirds before being pulled out of the game. Hope nothing tragic happened to his arm, because the M's just can't compensate for that right now, unless they want to toss another pitcher into the fire from Peoria or the draft. RHP Ben Christensen (9.00) filled in for the next two and a third innings giving up two runs on five hits (HR), a walk, and two strikeouts. RHP Aaron Taylor (0.00), migrating from San Bernadino, pitched the fifth with a strikeout. The rest of the game was pitched by RHP Emiliano Fruto (6.42), who allowed two earned on four hits (HR) and a walk with four strikeouts. Unfortunately, a performance like that lowers his ERA, which is rather sad, considering his arm. LF Shin-Soo Choo (3B, R, .282) was the only Mission to go two-for and hit his fourth triple. C Ryan Christianson (HR, .500) is showing promise by hitting a home run, catching a runner stealing, and getting a walk in his second game back. 3B Greg Dobbs (2B, RBI, .322) also hit his eleventh double. RHP T.A. Fulmer tomorrow.

Inland Empire 7, Lancaster 3 (ARI)
RHP Felix Hernandez (3.49, W) went five innings tonight, allowing two runs on eight hits, three walks, and a wild pitch with eight strikeouts. In an odd movie, LHP Cesar Jimenez (1.82) came out of the bullpen for the next three innings and allowed nothing earned on two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. LHP Miguel Martinez (4.29) pitched the ninth with a hit and a strikeout. On offense, a number of positive notes. For one, 3B Jesus Guzman (HR, 3 RBI, E, .313/.419/.458) hit his second homer, had two hits, and now qualifies for the batting title and is currently tied for 13th. CF Gary Harris (2 CS, .278), DH Carlos Arroyo (R, .323), and 1B Matt Hagen (R, RBI, .223) also had two hits each. LF Jon Nelson (HR, 2 R, SB, .316) also hit his seventh home run, but how about those stolen bases? He made his thirteenth swipe today, good for the team lead and tied for ninth in the league. Jimenez came out of the bullpen today, so it makes me wonder what they plan to do on Monday... One possibility might be RHP Ruben Castillo, which would seem to make sense, I guess.

Tacoma Rainiers: 28-23, .549, 1st in PCL North
San Antonio Missions: 24-33, .421, 15 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: 116-120, .492


News around the minors...

The Tacoma News Tribune has some added depth on Ben Davis' eleven-game hitting streak. It seems like the added playing time is helping him to get comfortable at and behind the plate, which is a good thing indeed. Also, as an added note at the end of the article, Wiki Gonzalez is out for the season with a torn ACL. Guess that experiment is over.

Also in the Tribune, there's a piece on the effect of previous San Antonio teams on Tacoma, in addition to the effects of the talent drain as various prospects are being called up. The president of the Missions seems to think that Delucchi and Choo could be promoted sooner or later. There's also a profile piece on the Tacoma fan base.

The San Bernadino County Sun notes that the Sixers are leading the league in a curious category: balks. I've noticed this before when I've been listening to the Sixers and checking the box scores. I honestly don't know how it keeps happening to them. The most curious instance of this was a few days ago when it seemed like Darwin Soto was called for a balk just as the Sixers were making a pitching change.

The Appleton Post-Crescent asks, "What do the T-Rats do on off-days?", an appropriate question considering they have today off. Chris Collins also gives advice on how to block a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, I'm busily working away at the player of the month article and have just started working on the pitching aspect of it. The June draft begins tomorrow, but don't expect me to be posting blog-type updates throughout the process to keep you informed. I'm going to be working with Joe and Jason at InsideThePark to bring in unparalleled Mariners draft coverage from that end, including whatever interviews, accounts, and testimonies we can get our hands on.

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

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2006 Minor League Splits
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