Mariner Minors
Saturday, April 23, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/23/05)

Tacoma 4, Colorado Springs 7 (COL)
Edit 4:14 pm:
With some help from g_moneyball, I managed to calculate some stats out and pull together an accurate Tacoma recap.
As for the Wisconsin game, I got sick of waiting for an easy route to the box score, so I punched a few numbers into the URL and got it together. That recap is down below.

As if things weren’t bad enough for the Rainiers pitching staff, RHP Jorge Campillo (5.96) had to leave the game after just three innings, due to some injuries suffered when he took consecutive liners off the arm and leg. Those came at the beginning of the third, and while he pitched the whole way through, it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going any further. His line read one hit and three strikeouts for his first two innings, and a single, a walk, and a home run for the third. Once again, RHP Masao Kida (8.59, L) got cleanup duties and was unspectacular, going three and two-thirds innings and allowing two runs on four hits (HR) and two walks against three strikeouts. One of those runs scored on the watch of RHP Chris Buglovsky (2.79), who went just a third of an inning and allowed a run of his own on three hits. LHP Melvin Pizarro (9.00), who was just promoted (see below), went one inning and allowed a run on one hit, two walks, and a strikeout. Notable on the offense was DH Ryan Christianson (R, 1.000), who returned from his suspension and was a perfect 3-3 with a walk. The Rainiers also got two hits from C Bryce Terveen (2B, 2 RBI, .231) and one double from SS Michael Morse (2B, R, RBI, .246).

Before the game, the San Antonio Missions activated RHP Renee Cortez and 3B Jesus Guzman, which meant two corresponding moves had to be made. The Rainiers, who needed an extra pitcher, benefited from this by picking up LHP Melvin Pizarro, who at 27, should have really be in triple-A by now anyway if not for injuries and a trip to the independent leagues. The Sixty-Sixers, who had use for a backup infielder or utility player with Garciaparra going on the DL, picked up UT Eric Blakeley, who really belongs in the Cal League anyway and showed that in brief appearances with the Missions.

Midland 5 (OAK), San Antonio 6
Gwaaaaah? The Missions actually BEAT the Rockhounds? Well, they had won every home game on the schedule up until yesterday, so I’d be more impressed if they’d done this on the road. Regardless, LHP Bobby Livingston (3.47, W) got five and a third innings in, allowing four runs on five hits (HR) and a walk with three strikeouts. Most of that damage came in the first, when he allowed all four of those runs on four hits. RHP Renee Cortez (6.75), coming off the suspended list, went the next inning and a third and had a little rust to work off, allowing a run on two hits and a walk, though he did strike out three. That run scored when LHP Cesar Jimenez (4.35) came in and gave up a hit and a walk, with two strikeouts in an inning and two-thirds. The broadcasters attributed the bit of good luck to this guy coming into the booth, but I’d prefer to say that the whole game’s luck was because another one of the suspended players came off the list. RHP Sean Green (6.75, S) got the final two outs, and one of them was a K. Now, I joked that 3B Jesus Guzman (E, .250), who hit a line drive to center in the second, is the reason why the Missions won this game, but really, the gameball goes to LF Jon Nelson (2 HR, 4 RBI, .250), who had two bombs in the game. RF T.J. Bohn (R, 2 SB, .333) and 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2B, R, 2 RBI, E, .327) also had two hits each, while the rehabbing SS Pokey Reese (R, .125) was 1-4 with a walk. For those wondering, yes, the DP combo of 2B Yuniesky Betancourt (.250) and Reese is just as good as it sounds.

Inland Empire 1, Bakersfield 7 (TEX)
LHP Ryan Feierabend (2.87, PO) certainly had a roller coaster start. On one hand, he had nine strikeouts in just four innings, but on the other, he lost his control that last inning and ended up giving up a run, with three hits and three walks total on the day. RHP Nibaldo Acosta (9.00) got tagged to keep it close, but instead got knocked out, giving up six runs on six hits (HR) and a walk with a K in his inning and a third of work. RHP Bryan Stitt (7.15) came in with two runners still on, but allowed neither of them to score as kept the Blaze hitless for the next inning and two-thirds, punching out two. RHP Mike Steele (3.52) would take the eighth, allowing a hit and striking out a batter. The Sixers were four-hit in this game, so really all I can note is that LF Eric Blakeley (HR, .250) hit a jack in his first Cal League at-bat and CF Wladimir Balentien (SB, .317) continued his streak. DH Matt Roglestad (.467), however, did not.

Beloit 2 (MIN), Wisconsin 5
RHP Mark Lowe (4.03, W) had another solid outing, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits (HR) and a walk against two strikeouts. LHP Kendall Bergdall (0.96) went the next two, allowing a hit and two walks against a K, then LHP Eric O’Flaherty (0.00, S) had a hit, a walk, and a strikeout in the ninth. On offense, SS Oswaldo Navarro (2B, 2 RBI, SB, .308) and C Rob Johnson (2B, .348) had two hits each, Navarro walking twice, and DH Jack Arroyo (3 R, .258) was also impressive, going 1-2 with a couple of walks.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Felix Hernandez, at Colorado Springs, @ 12:05 pm PT
San Antonio: RHP Juan Sandoval, in San Antonio, @ 2:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: RHP Brandon Moorhead, at Bakersfield, @ 1:05 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Aaron Jensen, in Appleton, @ 11:05 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 7-10, .412, 4 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 9-7, .563, 2 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 5-11, .313, 5 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 12-4, .750, 1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 33-32, .508

Friday, April 22, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/22/05)

Sacramento 6 (OAK), Tacoma 3
RHP Rich Dorman (10.24, L) continues to struggle a bit at the triple-A level, going just three and a third innings tonight and allowing five runs on three hits and four walks against two strikeouts. Two of those runs scored when they were inherited by LHP Damian Moss (0.00), who is now off the suspended list and seems a likely candidate for taking the rotation spot left by RHP Cha Seung Baek, who is now on the DL with a strained flexor bundle in his elbow. Moss would go four and two-thirds innings, allowing no runs of his own on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. LHP Jared Thomas (3.60) took the ninth and allowed a run on a hit and two walks against a K. The offense had 1B Aaron Rifkin (2B, R, .241) and 2B Hunter Brown (2B, 2 RBI, .162) getting two hits each and RF Abraham Nunez (3B, R, .286) tripling, but only one hit from the other six guys in the lineup.

Midland 8 (OAK), San Antonio 3
(groans) Do I have to write another Midland recap?… Right, so RHP Jon Huber (6.28, L) started, retiring everyone in order for the first three innings, then started to get hit hard. Quite literally, as he would allow five hits (3 HR!!) and three of them would leave the park. After walking the first batter of the sixth inning, he was pulled. Huber did get a couple of strikeouts along the way, but really, this wasn’t a good start for him. Nor was it a pleasant outing for LHP Tim Rall (6.35), who allowed that run to score along with two of his own on two hits and three walks with a K as his only out in the inning. RHP Jeff Harris (0.93), who has really been a savior out of the ‘pen, allowed his first run of the season after two and two-thirds innings that saw a couple of hits (HR) and a couple of strikeouts. RHP Sean Green (7.50) pitched a meaningless ninth. The offense had plenty of good hits, including two apiece from SS Yuniesky Betancourt (SB, .269), C Rene Rivera (2B, R, RBI, .293), and LF Jaime Bubela (3B, RBI, .192) and doubles from RF T.J. Bohn (2B, .327) and CF Gary Harris (2B, R, RBI, .250), but they just couldn’t do anything with them. Rehabbing DH Pokey Reese (.000) went hitless.

Inland Empire 2, Bakersfield 4 (TEX)
Well, I was wrong, the Sixers did have a game and the schedule on their site was just off. RHP Aaron Trolia (4.26, L) had an off start, giving up all four runs in four frames of work on eight hits and two walks against five Ks. LHP Nick Bourgeois (0.00) went the next three innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. RHP Greg Wear (1.12) closed out the eighth allowing two hits, but nothing else. On offense, CF Wladimir Balentien (2B, HR, 2 R, .322) had two hits, including his first double of the season. He’s also second in the minor leagues in home runs right now with seven, so enjoy that while it lasts. DH Matt Rogelstad (.500) also continued his streak with another single.

Burlington 4 (KC), Wisconsin 5 (eleven innings)
RHP Mumba Rivera (4.20) had four good innings and one bad one. Between the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings, he allowed just one hit and one walk, but in the third, he gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk against a strikeout. RHP Cibney Bello (0.79, E) came in for four innings of relief after that, giving up his first run on the season after four hits, two walks, and one strikeout. RHP Craig James (0.00) pitched the extra innings and was solid again, allowing just two hits and punching out three. The offense had 1B Brandon Green (3B, .240) and CF Josh Womack (R, SB, .327) and DH Matt Tuiasosopo (R, RBI, .438) with two each. Womack also walked twice while Tui got one free pass, which was intentional. RF Mike Wilson (2B, RBI, .208) and LF David Hall (2B, RBI, .237) also doubled.

If anyone’s interested as to whatever happened to LHP Scott Maine, a highly regarded prep pitcher taken by the M’s in the 15th round of the 2003 draft, but not signed, I found an article on him in the local Florida papers. According to this piece, he went down with Tommy John surgery late in 2003 and hasn’t pitched professionally until this season.

We're on the edge of dropping below .500 yet again, so let's see some wins, guys.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Jorge Campillo, at Colorado Springs, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Bobby Livingston, in San Antonio, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Ryan Feierabend, at Bakersfield, @ 7:05 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Mark Lowe, in Appleton, @ 3:05 pm PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 7-9, .438, 3.5 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 8-7, .533, 3 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 5-10, .333, 5 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 11-4, .733, 1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 31-30, .508

Thursday, April 21, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/21/05)

Sacramento 5 (OAK), Tacoma 3 (eleven innings)
What is it with M’s affiliates and A’s affiliates? LHP Andrew Lorraine (5.19) went five innings and allowing just the five hits and a walk while striking out three. The guy who may be replacing him in the rotation soon, RHP Albie Lopez (9.00), didn’t have a great debut, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits (HR) and two walks against a K. RHP Jeff Heaverlo (5.40, E, L) would end up taking it to the end of regulation and into extra innings, three and a third innings total, though he would end up giving up the two winning runs in the eleventh, after four hits, a hit batter, and three walks. LHP George Sherrill (4.26) tried to save it a bit too late, striking out a batter for one of the two outs he got. Hit machine LF Chris Snelling (R, RBI, .476) had another three on the night, while SS Michael Morse (SB, .264) and 2B Ramon Santiago (R, .224) had two each. Santiago ended up getting pulled at the end of the game after a play at the plate, so it's possible that he hurt himself sliding into home. RF Abraham Nunez (HR, 2 RBI, .283) and 3B Justin Leone (2B, SB, .333)also showed off some power, but they were the only ones and the lineup was pretty much lacking in that area.

Frisco 5 (TEX), San Antonio 4
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (2.84) had an uncharacteristically shaky start, going just four innings and allowing a run on four hits and five walks. One of those came at the top of the fifth, and after that manager Dave Brundage decided to pull him in favor RHP Emiliano Fruto (2.00), who proceeded to let that run and one of his own score after a couple of hits. In Fruto’s defense, he shut down Frisco immediately after that and didn’t allow any other runners to reach, striking out three in his three frames of work. LHP Cesar Jimenez (5.19, L), who has run into trouble rather frequently in the young season, pitched the next two innings and gave up three runs on three hits (HR), while striking out just one. Three Missions, RF T.J. Bohn (2 2B, RBI, .340), CF Gary Harris (R, .273), and C Brian Moon (2B, R, RBI, .333), had a couple of hits, and 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2B, R, .312) had a double. Bohn also threw out a runner at home. Get used to it, Texas League.

Lancaster 6 (ARI), Inland Empire 4
Look at the line and you’ll see that Lancaster had thirteen hits (HR) on the night, but all thirteen of those hits came off starter LHP Jason Mackintosh (5.03), which no doubt contributed to the six runs, along with three hit batter against a couple of strikeouts. LHP Chris Key (2.70) and RHP Mike Steele (4.05) would combine to no-hit the Jethawks in the next two innings, with Key striking out one and Steele walking two. The offense was highlighted by two hits apiece from CF Wladimir Balentien (HR, 2 RBI, .309), 2B Matt Rogelstad (.519), and C Chris Collins (.343), though DH Adam Jones (3B, R, RBI, .278) had his third triple already, which means he could be challenging Gary Harris’ mark from last year. Rehabber SS Pokey Reese (.250) was hitless in four at-bats.

I took a look at the Sixers roster earlier today and it looks like RHP Oliver Arias has been moved down to extended ST in favor of LHP Nick Bourgeois, who was recently demoted from San Antonio. Take note, if you feel so inclined.

I don’t have a box score for the first game of the doubleheader because, unsurprisingly, they don’t have the game listed anywhere save from when it was suspended on Tuesday. I did listen to it though, and I can tell you this much. They won 6-5, just barely holding on to it, LHP Casey Abrams got the win (somehow), LHP Eric O’Flaherty saved it, and Yung Chi Chen was pulled early after a sore quad. That’s about it. I might link up a box later if the local paper posts one.

Burlington 4 (KC), Wisconsin 2 (seven innings)
RHP Roman Martinez (2.70, L) has started to show why he was named Peoria’s pitching MVP last season, which is good since I wasn’t particularly aware. Roman went four innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out seven. That’s right, seven in just four innings. LHP Kendall Bergdall (1.23, PO) came in for the next inning and a third, allowing three hits, a wild pitch, and a walk, then RHP Stephen Grasley (5.40) came in and gave up a run on two hits, a wild pitch, and a walk over the next inning and two-thirds. 3B Oswaldo Navarro (R, .298) was a perfect 3-3 with a walk in this one, and 1B Brandon Green (2B, RBI, .196) doubled, but that was about it for the offense.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Rich Dorman, in Tacoma, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: RHP Jon Huber, in San Antonio, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: Day off
Wisconsin: RHP Mumba Rivera, in Appleton, @ 4:35 pm PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 7-8, .467, 2.5 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 8-6, .571, 2 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 5-9, .357, 4 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 10-4, .714, T-1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 30-27, .526

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/20/05)

Sacramento 6 (OAK), Tacoma 7
It was a mixed day for the Rainiers; on one hand, they did pull off a come from behind win, but on the other RHP Cha Seung Baek (3.75) was pulled after just seven batters with an injury. The reigning PCL pitcher of the week was not on his game this time around, and gave up three runs on three hits (2 HR!) and a walk against a strikeout in just an inning of work. RHP Chris Buglovsky (1.93, PO) went the next two frames, allowing a run on three hits and a walk, then RHP Masao Kida (9.82) entered the game and, surprisingly, did not self-destruct and got through two more innings with just a run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. RHP Brett Evert (4.00) pitched the next two and two-thirds innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and two wild pitches with four strikeouts. LHP George Sherrill (4.76, W) allowed that inherited runner to score, giving up two hits in the last third of the inning, but shut the Rivercats down in the ninth to nail down the win. LF Chris Snelling (2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, .438), getting his first game on the field, continued his hot streak with another three base hits. 3B Justin Leone (RBI, E, SB, .346) and 2B Ramon Santiago (2 R, .200) had two hits as well, and RF Abraham Nunez (2B, R, .286), 1B Aaron Rifkin (2B, 2 RBI, .220), and DH Dustin Delucchi (2B, RBI, SB, .300) all doubled.

Frisco 4 (TEX), San Antonio 7
LHP Thom Oldham (2.37, W) had another effective outing, going six and a third innings and giving up three earned runs on seven hits (HR) and two walks with a K. RHP Juan Done (0.00) allowed one of those runs on the only hit he gave up in his inning and a third of work, and punched out two before LHP Tim Rall (0.00) got the final out of the eighth on a strikeout. RHP Sean Green (9.00, S) allowed a hit but nothing else in the ninth. The trio of SS Yuniesky Betancourt (2B, R, RBI, SB, .259), RF T.J. Bohn (R, .326), and 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (3 RBI, .318) had three hits each, while the duo of DH Nate Espy (3B, 2 R, RBI, .271) and 3B Eddie Menchaca (2 R, .269) had two hits. C Rene Rivera (HR, PB, .270) also hit his first bomb of the season. On another injury note (and there were a few of them today), 2B Ismael Castro (.234) was pulled after just one at-bat in the game. I don’t know the nature of the injury, but a runner was caught stealing at second to end the inning before he was pulled, so there could have been a collision. There’s nothing in the paper there tonight, so I’m guessing that it isn’t serious.

Today’s Daily Dish at Baseball America highlights the play of Yuniesky Betancourt as well.

Lancaster 2 (ARI), Inland Empire 7
In his first Cal League start, LHP Shawn Nottingham (4.00, W) was going strike one on most of the batters and retired the first six in a row. At the end of six innings, his line read two runs on six hits and two hit batters with three strikeouts. Not bad for a guy who was slated for Wisconsin to start the season. LHP Miguel Martinez (10.67, S), rebounding from getting knocked around last time, was also in attack mode and got through three innings just hitting and walking a batter with a couple of Ks along the way. As has become a trend, 2B Matt Rogelstad (R, E, .521) was the star again tonight, with three hits, though SS Adam Jones (2B, 3B, R, RBI, SB, .280) and RF Chris Colton (2 R, RBI, .179) had two hits each as well. 3B Erick Monzon (HR, 2 RBI, .250) also had a home run in the game. CF Wladimir Balentien (R, .290) did not have a hit in three at-bats, but he did walk and turned a double play with Rogelstad. Rehabbing DH Pokey Reese (2B, 2 RBI, .375) went 1-4. Michael Garciaparra is now out for four weeks or so with knee surgery, continuing his trend of having some kind of month-long+ injury just about every year. Yuck.

Burlington 0 (KC), Wisconsin 2
This was the kind of start I expected out of RHP Jason Snyder (2.41, W) when I was making a big deal about listening to him early in the season. Snyder tore through Burlington, retiring eleven straight at one point, and pitching seven and two-thirds innings and allowing just three hits and two walks while punching out seven. RHP Cibney Bello (0.00) struck out the final batter of that inning, then walked one in the ninth before being pulled for RHP Craig James (0.00, S), who struck out one batter and earned the save. C Robert Johnson (2B, RBI, 2 PO, .343) is living up to his draft position early on his season, getting another three hits in the day and picking off two runners at first. LF Brent Johnson (.295) had two hits, while CF Josh Womack (2B, .316) and SS Matt Tuiasosopo (HR, .450) had extra-base hits, Tui’s home run going into some serious wind.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: LHP Andrew Lorraine, in Tacoma, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith, in San Antonio, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Jason Mackintosh, in San Bernadino, @ 7:11 pm PT
Wisconsin: TBA, in Appleton, @ 3:35 pm PT
Second game: LHP Casey Abrams, in Appleton, @ 5:30 pm PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 7-7, .500, 2 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 8-5, .615, 1 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 5-8, .385, 2.5 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 9-3, .750, T-1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 29-23, .558

  Choo to Seattle?

There's a report out that Scott Spiezio has been placed on the 15-day DL and OF Shin-soo Choo has been called up.

While it's nice to get Choo a cup of coffee, I can't say I completely understand this one. Granted, we have Dobbs on the bench who can basically do what Spiezio does, so it might not make a ton of sense to call Leone up (if he's just going to sit there again), but then again our outfield is pretty much set and Ibanez is the DH when all's going well. The only way this would seem to make sense is if Sexson is still out with the flu and they're planning on using Ibanez at first with whomever at DH, in which case an additional OF might be needed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/19/05)

Sacramento 4 (OAK), Tacoma 2
RHP “King” Felix Hernandez (1.59, L) wasn’t quite up to his old tricks. I suppose that means that we can consider six innings in which he gives up three runs on four hits and hour walks with eight strikeouts an “off” day for him, but it was the walks that got him into trouble in both the innings the Rivercats scored against him. He did manage to pick off a runner trying to steal second late in the game, and he was also pretty much on a roll innings two through five. LHP Jared Thomas (3.00) pitched the last three innings of the game and allowed a run on three hits (HR) and two walks with three strikeouts. The offense featured three different positive signs, LF Shin-soo Choo (R, .304) walking twice, 3B Justin Leone (HR, .318) showing some valuable power, and SS Michael Morse (2B, RBI, .250) getting a couple of hits.

I just took a quick look at the Rainiers roster and it appears that RHP Dan Reichert has been released and replaced by RHP Albie Lopez. I haven't heard a scouting report yet, nor have I given anything more than a cursory glance at the stat lines, so no comment at this time.

Frisco 2 (TEX), San Antonio 3 (eleven innings)
RHP Juan Sandoval (2.70) is still solid in the Texas League this year, going six and two-thirds innings and allowing a pair of runs on six hits, two wild pitches, and a walk against four strikeouts. LHP Cesar Jimenez (2.70) stepped in after that and went two and a third innings with just two hits, a wild pitch, and a strikeout to show for it. RHP Jeff Harris (0.00, W) took it into extra innings again, pitching two frames and striking out two. 1B Nate Espy (HR, E, .244), with two hits on the night, was one of the heroes for hitting a bomb and sending it to extra innings to begin with, but the guy who won it was, once again, DH Jon Nelson (RBI, .255) with a game-winning hit in the eleventh. RF T.J. Bohn (2B, R, RBI, .293) and 2B Ismael Castro (2B, .239) also doubled.

Lancaster 9 (ARI), Inland Empire 6
RHP Brandon Moorhead (3.93, L) was roughed up, but wasn’t really helped by his defense either, allowing seven runs, four earned, on eight hits (HR) and two walks with five strikeouts in five and a third innings. RHP Nibaldo Acosta (4.66), who would be appear to be bumped out of the rotation in favor of Nottingham, went the next two and two-thirds and allowed a couple of runs on three hits and a plunked batter with two strikeouts. RHP Greg Wear (1.29) pitched a rather uneventful ninth. The offense saw three hits from C Chris Collins (2 RBI, SB, E, .333), and two each from rehabbing SS Pokey Reese (2B, 2 R, RBI, .500), who also walked twice, 1B Bryan Lahair (RBI, .233), and CF Wladimir Balentien (2 R, E, .312). The watch for 3B Matt Rogelstad (2B, 2 RBI, E, .500) had him with another hit on the night, though he was a little rusty on the field and made an error.

The Wisconsin game was suspended with the score at 2-2 in the second inning due to rain. It will resume as part of a doubleheader on Thursday.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Cha Seung Baek, in Tacoma, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Thom Oldham, in San Antonio, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Shawn Nottingham, in San Bernadino, @ 7:11 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Jason Snyder, in Appleton, @ 9:35 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 6-7, .462, 2 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 7-5, .583, 1 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 4-8, .333, 3 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 8-3, .727, T-1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 25-23, .521

  Transaction Update (4/19/05)

I've been informed by a reader who sent a link to this story that the San Antonio Missions have called up RHP Juan Done and CF Gary Harris to the active roster and sent OF John-Austin Emmons and LHP Nick Bourgeois to extended spring training. The article also notes that RHP Renee Cortez and 3B Jesus Guzman will be activated on Saturday, but let's save that to go with the rest of the reactivated suspensions.

Done, 24, has been getting hit harder and harder over the past few years and while striking out less and less. Sometimes he's on and mows down the opposing lineup, and sometimes he lets the game get completely out of control. He'll probably be working mostly out of the 'pen this season, and that could help things a bit.

Harris, 24, isn't actually a stranger to San Antonio because, if I remember correctly, he's been called up to their playoff roster a few times in past seasons. He has some decent speed, which Brundage should put to good use, and he's been consistently around .280/.330/.420 for his career, so he should be a fairly reliable hitter. The Missions offense should be considerably better with him in the lineup.

Emmons, 23, was one of the better hitters in Peoria last year, but that should only make sense considering his age and experience compared to the competition. He was signed out of a tryout camp in San Antonio and is a local there, so his time on the roster was probably just a reward for a solid season until Harris was ready. I'd expect him to start in Everett, but if there's an injury higher up, he'll be on the short list for another call up.

Bourgeois, 24, dominated in one start with the Missions and completely fell apart the next. It's somewhat unusual to see a player of his experience sent down, so I'm wonderign if they didn't see something off in his mechanics or something of the sort. Either way, Ryan Rowland-Smith will be getting another well-deserved rotation audition, so it's hard to complain.

Monday, April 18, 2005
  Game recaps (4/18/05)

Fresno 2 (SF), Tacoma 3
Another solid start from RHP Jorge Campillo (3.20), though he wasn’t quite as dominant as he’s been before. Campillo went seven innings and allowed a couple of runs on seven hits (HR) and two walks while striking out five. RHP Chris Buglovsky (1.23, W) would pick up the win, going the final two innings and allowing just a hit and striking out two. SS Michael Morse (HR, .225) hit his second home run, and LF Shin-soo Choo (RBI, 2 SB, CS, .302) and RF Abraham Nunez (2 SB, .294) both had a couple of hits, but it was DH Chris Snelling (RBI, .364) driving in 2B Ramon Santiago (2 R, .184) that won the game in the ninth. RHP Felix Hernandez makes his first start in Tacoma tomorrow. As if you weren’t already aware.

Frisco 3 (TEX), San Antonio 13
Last week, LHP Bobby Livingston (2.50, W) pitched one of his best games and still got tagged with the loss. This time around, he didn’t pitch nearly as well by his own high standards, but still got the win. The good doctor went five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. RHP Emiliano Fruto (1.50) came in for three innings after that and two-hit the Roughriders, striking out one along the way. Could this be the year he puts it together? LHP Melvin Pizarro (2.57) took the ninth, and gave up a hit but nothing else. The Missions offense got three hits from 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .275) and CF Jaime Bubela (HR, 5 RBI, .195), and two hits apiece from the trio of 2B Ismael Castro (2B, 2 R, .238), 1B Nate Espy (2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, .214), and LF Jon Nelson (2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, .262). RHP Juan Sandoval takes the hill tomorrow.

Lancaster 3 (ARI), Inland Empire 4 (ten innings)
Playing in an early game today, LHP Ryan Feierabend (3.09) pitched five innings, holding the Jethawks to two hits and striking out two, but walking four in a rather short span. RHP Brian Stitt (8.38) allowed Lancaster to come back and tie it up over the next two and a third innings, giving up three runs overall on five hits with three strikeouts. Luckily, RHP Mike Steele (4.76, W) came in and shut it down, stranding two runners and allowing just one hit over the next two and two-thirds innings while striking out three. SS Adam Jones (2B, R, RBI, .275) had three hits in the game and CF Wladimir Balentien (.295) had another two (both Ks and hits). The DH Matt Rogelstad (2 R, .525) watch has him with another hit and a couple of runs scored. RHP Brandon Moorhead tomorrow.

Wisconsin 5, Peoria 10 (CHC)
After twelve scoreless innings, RHP Mark Lowe (4.41, L) had his luck run out today. He only made it through four and a third innings today, allowing eight runs on ten hits (2 HR!), a wild pitch, and three walks with three punchouts. RHP Stephen Grasley (5.40) mopped up after that, going an inning and two-thirds and allowing two runs on a hit (HR) and a walk with a couple of strikeouts. All the home runs in the game came off the bat of Cubs prospect RF Ryan Harvey, their first round pick in 2003. LHP Eric O’Flaherty (0.00) continued his impressive relief work by pitching a couple of innings and allowing a pair of hits and striking out one. The T-Rats offense had a decent night, with RF David Hall (2B, R, .261) logging three hits and 2B Yung Chi Chen (RBI, .362), DH Matt Tuiasosopo (RBI, .472), and LF Jack Arroyo (3B, 2 R, .227) getting two each. SS Oswaldo Navarro (2B, R, 2 RBI, .283) also had a nice performance, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. RHP Aaron Jensen tomorrow.

Tacoma Rainiers: 6-6, .500, 1.5 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 6-5, .545, 2 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 4-7, .364, 3 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 8-3, .727, 1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 24-21, .533

Sunday, April 17, 2005
  Game Recaps (4/17/05)

Fresno 6 (SF), Tacoma 2 (seven innings)
Edited: 10:26 PM
For one reason or another, RHP Rich Dorman (8.53, L) only went two and a third innings tonight, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one. He was pulled after making the first out of the third, though he hadn’t allowed any baserunners that inning. A reader informed me that Dorman was hit in the arm by a line drive, and that's why he was pulled. Stepping in for relief (and putting the game out of reach), RHP Masao Kida (11.00) went four and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs on four hits (HR) and a walk with four strikeouts. This actually lowered his ERA, and I am thisclose to starting an over-under on when he’ll be released. CF Dustin Delucchi (HR, .303) and C Wiki Gonzalez (HR, .273) both homered, 3B Justin Leone (2B, E, .500) doubled, but that was pretty much it.

Fresno 9 (SF), Tacoma 1 (seven innings)
Catching the bug that’s been going around with the pitchers, LHP Andrew Lorraine (12.27, L) gave up five runs in two and two-thirds innings on six hits (HR) and three walks with a couple of strikeouts. The guy who came in to relieve him, RHP Jeff Heaverlo (5.40), didn’t exactly fare better, allowing two of his inherited runners to score, then allowing four of his own on six hits, a wild pitch, and a walk with one strikeout in two and a third innings. RHP Brett Evert (5.68), who seemed to be immune to the bug, went two innings and allowed just a couple of hits while striking out two. LF Shin-soo Choo (2B, RBI, CS, .268) and DH Chris Snelling (.429) both had a couple of hits, so that’s good to see. RHP Jorge Campillo takes the hill tomorrow.

Frisco 2 (TEX), San Antonio 4
Was this the same RHP Jon Huber (4.82) who pitched last week? Huber went seven innings, three-hitting the Roughriders and allowing no earned runs and striking out five. LHP Cesar Jimenez (4.15, W), however, would get the win after an inning of relief in which he punched out one. “Closer” RHP Sean Green (11.25, S) came in for the ninth, allowing a run on a hit and a walk, but notching the save nonetheless and getting a strikeout along the way. Every starter on the team got one hit and exactly one hit, so it’s hard to nail down a notable performance, but I’ll go with the double by 1B Nate Espy (2B, R, RBI, .184) and the two walks from DH Jesse Hoorelbeke (.222). LHP Bobby Livingston starts tomorrow.

Modesto 10 (COL), Inland Empire 7
RHP Aaron Trolia (2.08) continues to prove that he deserved the unexpected promotion, going four innings and allowing just a run on six hits and a walk while he struck out four. But instead of this fine performance leading to an easy win, the game was quickly put out of reach by LHP Miguel Martinez (17.36, L), who faced six batters and retired none of them, allowing four hits (HR) and a walk, with all six runs scoring. After the grand slam, LHP Chris Key (3.00) mopped up with two innings of work in which two unearned runs scored on three hits with one strikeout. RHP Oliver Arias (5.40) would continue the effort over the next three innings, with one run scoring on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Some familiar faces yet again in the notables, as CF Wladimir Balentien (HR, 2 R, .275), RF B.J. Garbe (HR, 3 RBI, .275), and LF Michael Nesbit (2B, R, RBI, E, .467) had two hits apiece. Hammer’s five home runs are still tied for the league lead, and yes, he still struck out in both of his other appearances (though he does not lead in that category). Also, something rather startling happened, and that was DH Matt Rogelstad (.571) getting just one hit in five appearances. I’m guessing it will be LHP Ryan Feierabend on the mound tomorrow.

Wisconsin 10, Peoria 5 (CHC)
RHP Mumba Rivera (5.40, W) didn’t have anything resembling his good stuff today, but the T-Rats still pulled it out. Mumba would go five innings and allow five runs on four hits (HR), a hit batter, and five walks as he struck out three. RHP Chad Fillinger (1.13) went the next three, allowing just two hits, then RHP Craig James (0.00) took the ninth, gave up one hit, and struck out a batter. SS Matt Tuiasosopo (R, RBI, E, .469) had another four hits today, but made his fourth error, which is good to see. Not that the M’s will be moving him at least for a little while. Other notables included three hits from 3B Yung Chi Chen (2B, R, 2 RBI, .349) and CF Brent Johnson (3 R, RBI, .306), and two each from the trio of 2B Oswaldo Navarro (RBI, SB, .286), LF Josh Womack (2B, R, .321), and 1B Marshall Hubbard (HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .207). RHP Mark Lowe hopes to continue his string of impressive starts tomorrow.

We’re teetering on the brink of dropping below .500 right now, so let’s see some good games tomorrow, guys.

Tacoma Rainiers: 5-6, .455, 2.5 GB in PCL Pacific
San Antonio Missions: 5-5, .500, 3 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 3-7, .300, 3.5 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 8-2, .800, 1st in MWL West
Organizational Record: 21-20, .512

  News Around the Minors (4/17/05)

First one of the season, isn't it?

The Everett Herald has a piece on bullpen coach Jim Slaton and his choice to return to the Mariners, after they eliminated his roving instructor position and offered him a different role in the offseason. He was rather close to signing on to be the Padres' triple-A pitching coach in Oregon, which he's certainly qualified to do, but the M's came back with a better offer and the rest is history.

The Skagit Valley Herald got in touch with RHP Rick Guttormson after his flight to Japan. Guttormson's working on getting his visa, so he hasn't been pitching in any games yet. He remains fairly upbeat about the season, and will be making 30 million yen this year, which translates to about $277,000, which is under league minimum for the MLB, but a lot better than triple-A pay. Yakult is planning on using him as a starter for the time being. He says he wouldn't be opposed to coming back to the Mariners after the season either.

Chris Snelling took a note from the '95 M's slogan and has declared that he refuses to get hurt. I wonder how that will work out for him... it helps to have that kind of attitude about things, but you don't want to keep playing hurt and make it worse. The trainers will still have to keep a close eye on him.

Via USSM, there's a story in the San Antonio Express-News that reaffirms the idea that the M's decision to release RHP Rett Johnson was made at the last minute, after the team was already in Texas. Well, the story is mostly about Brundage having to give out the bad news, but it reiterates what we've already heard whispers of, mental block, not a physical issue, couldn't get around it. Cheers to Jim Thomsen for finding this one initially.

To provide a better answer to "what happened to rule 5 pick Aaron Herr?", I found this press release that picked up on his signing with the Lancaster Barnstormers, who are, not so coincidentally, managed by Aaron's father, Tom Herr. Aaron reportedly got his release after he was informed that the Mariners planned on using him in a backup infielder role in San Antonio. So instead of playing a lesser role in double-A, he'll be playing in the independant Atlantic League and probably waiting it out until some other team takes interest. Go figure.

There's a general 66ers notebook up at the San Bernadino County Sun. Among other notes, we find out that RHP Kevin Olore tore some ligaments in his arm on opening day and should be out for the season, which is awful news for him seeing as how, up until then, he hadn't thrown a pitch in a game since mid-2003. We also discover that RHP Austin Bilke has retired from professional baseball after a recent hip injury. For a laugh, read on to find out what Sixers broadcaster Mike Saeger did to try to get the attention of the Padres' and Dodgers' offices and see if there were any openings at the major league level. Keep at it Saeg, there has to be a big league club out there that will appreciate your talents.

Also in the County Sun, from a week earlier, there is a feature on Adam Jones, who informed Willie Bloomquist that he was gunning for his job in a few years back when he was drafted. Kid certainly has confidence, and as a bonus, we got through an entire article without any comparisons to other big shortstops.

On the note of former Sixers, the independant Northern League has decided to honor the punishment handed down by Major League Baseball, but will reduce Darwin Soto's suspension to seven days. The commissioner has also sent down an order that Soto be randomly tested three times during the next season.

Finally, in Timber Rattlers news, we have two feature stories, one on Matt Tuiasosopo and one on Yung Chi Chen, which was published about ten days earlier. Where does Manu Tuiasosopo, famed NFL player, take his baseball-playing son when he visits him in Wisconsin? Brett Favre's steakhouse in Green Bay. The article on Chen takes a much different tone, however, and tends to focus on Chen's adjustment to playing ball in the U.S., as a new wave of Taiwanese baseball players are opting to go to MLB farm systems instead of playing in Japan. Expectations are high, but Chen's certainly off to a solid start.

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

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