Mariner Minors
Saturday, May 21, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/21/05)

Nashville 3 (MIL), Tacoma 6
RHP Cha Seung Baek (4.21, W) did a lot better in this outing, going five and two-thirds innings and allowing two runs on five hits and two walks against five Ks. RHP Chris Buglovsky (9.00) struck out the last batter in the sixth, but walked the first two of the seventh and was promptly replaced by RHP Masao Kida (4.32, S). Kida would let one of those turn into a run, but only allowed two hits in his three innings of work and striking out five. He would’ve earned the save either way. For the offense, LF Abraham Nunez (R, 2 RBI, E, .244) and 1B Aaron Rifkin (R, RBI, .255) both had two hits, and 3B Hunter Brown (2B, 2 RBI, E, .222) had a double, but it saddens me to note that DH Chris Snelling (R, .404) not only had his eleven-game hitting streak snapped, but he was also hit by two different pitches. After the last one, a knock on the right wrist, he was removed for a pinch runner, and was later seen icing down the hand in the dugout.

San Antonio 9, Corpus Christi 3 (HOU)
San Antonio, blah blah blah, Corpus Christi, yadda yadda, victory, thank you and g’night. LHP Bobby Livingston (3.38, W) had a good curve going on tonight, going seven innings and giving up three runs on eight hits (HR) and a walk with three strikeouts. Three of those hits and one of the walks came in the sixth , but the whole thing was spared any run scoring by a rather slick play, but more on that later. LHP Cesar Jimenez (2.92) pitched the last two frames, striking out two, but he also had to be saved by the defense as he gave up two hits and a walk in the ninth. There were five guys in the lineup with two hits apiece tonight, but I’ll single out SS Yuniesky Betancourt (HR, 2 RBI, .262) who, in addition to hitting his fourth home run, stopped a hot shot with the bases loaded in the sixth and turned it into a 6-4-3 double play. The other guys with the hits were RF T.J. Bohn (2B, 2 RBI, .318), LF Jon Nelson (3B, 2 R, .245), 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB, .244), who hit out his sixth, and 2B Eddie Menchaca (2 R, SB, .203), who pulled himself above Mendoza, but really, Yuniesky’s defense is wow.

Inland Empire 14, High Desert 3 (KC)
The Sixers’ answer to RHP Brandon Moorhead (5.31, W) and his starting woes? Fourteen runs, eleven of them in the first three innings, and twenty-one hits. But first, let’s talk about Moorhead’s solid outing, as he went six innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on eight hits, a wild pitch, a hit batter, and a walk with six Ks. Rehabber RHP Aaron Looper (0.00) pitched the seventh, walking a batter, then RHP Greg Wear (2.84) pitched the final two, giving up a run on three hits and two walks against three Ks. Even though 2B Eric Blakeley (2 2B, 3B, R, 4 RBI, E, .271) had four hits as well an incredible performance in his own right, I’m giving the game ball to CF Wladimir Balentien (3B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, .302), who went 4-4 with a sac fly, hit his tenth home run, and came up a double shy of the cycle. That’s no knock on the three-hit performances from SS Adam Jones (2B, HR, 3 RBI, .275) and C Chris Collins (R, RBI, .277), or the two hits by 3B Matt Rogelstad (2 R, RBI, .343) and DH Carlos Arroyo (R, RBI, .425), but Hammer just flat out dominated this game.

Clinton 4 (TEX), Wisconsin 2
Another fine start by RHP Aaron Jensen (3.97) gone to waste. Jensen went seven innings and allowed two runs on just four hits and a walk against five punchouts. He also retired the first TEN batters he faced. RHP Chad Fillinger (2.73, L) came in for just two-thirds of an inning and walked one batter, who would score as LHP Eric O’Flaherty (4.34) gave up a home run. The offense only had three hits in this one, so we’ll go with CF Josh Womack (.274) going 1-2 with a couple of walks and 3B Yung-Chi Chen (2B, R, RBI, .258) getting a double. I listened to parts of this one and Mehring believes that Chen is recognizing the pitches, but just hasn’t been able to do anything with them lately.

Aguirre 2, Universidad 4 (FLA-WAS)
Not exactly the same situation as yesterday, as Aguirre gave a team their first W of the season. P Karlin Taylor (0.00) went the first four innings and allowed just three hits while punching out four, but LHP Jose Jimenez (7.71, L) had some errors behind him in the next two and a third innings, giving up all four runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks, and two Ks. RHP Alejandro Gutierrez (0.00) kept the game from getting more out of hand by retiring the last five batters, including a strikeout, but the damage was done by then. DH Gerardo Avila (.292) and 2B Terry Serrano (2B, R, E, .444) both had two hits, and there were doubles by both CF Nicomedes Gomez (2B, RBI, .250) and C Franklin Tua (2B, R, .231).

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Rich Dorman, at Tacoma, @ 1:35 pm PT
San Antonio: RHP Juan Sandoval, at Corpus Christi, @ 12:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: TBA, at High Desert, @ 3:05 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Jason Snyder, at Appleton, @ 11:05 am PT
Aguirre: Off day

Tacoma Rainiers: 19-22, .463, 4.5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 23-19, .548, 4 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 17-25, .405, 6 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 23-19, .548, 3 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 4-2, .667, 0.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 86-87, .497

Friday, May 20, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/20/05)

System sweeeep! Well, except the M’s…

Minor edit 10:40 am, see below Sixers recap
Nashville 1 (MIL), Tacoma 5
LHP Damian Moss (3.23, W) did well despite giving out six free passes, giving up one run on three hits, a hit batter, and the walks over six innings, striking out two along the way. Next up was RHP Jeff Heaverlo (9.55), who finally got his ERA back to the single digits, going three innings and allowing just a hit and two walks. The ninth went to LHP George Sherrill (1.93) pitched the ninth, walked a batter, and struck out the other three. Sherrill’s K per nine is now over twelve and a half. To reiterate what I’ve been saying since before spring training in 2004, Sherrill belongs in Seattle. One of the other guys that might deserve a look is RF Chris Snelling (2B, R, RBI, .412), who had another three hits tonight and recently started qualifying for the batting average race. Guess where he is on that list. 3B Hunter Brown (2B, R, RBI, .221) and 2B Ramon Santiago (2B, R, RBI, .218), two guys who are both starting to turn it around, had two hits apiece.

For anyone curious (and I'd guess that there aren't many), RHP Albie Lopez was released a while ago after refusing to join the team on a trip to Albuquerque. I have no idea what's going on with that.

San Antonio 4, Corpus Christi 0 (HOU)
Spot starter extraordinaire RHP Jeff Harris (2.10, W) went seven innings and allowed the only four hits for the Hooks, and struck out seven along the way. The scheduled starter, RHP Jon Huber, has come down with a nasty case of strep throat, or so I’ve heard. RHP Emiliano Fruto (3.30) went the last two, walked one, and punched out two. CF Gary Harris (HR, .257) hit one out of the park in the fifth, and that alone would have been enough to win, but it ended up being the last run scored in the game. 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2 RBI, .236) also had a couple of hits and RBI.

Inland Empire 9, High Desert 5 (KC)
Getting his first win of the season, LHP Ryan Feierabend (6.31, E, W) went five and a third innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits and three walks against four Ks. LHP Chris Key (1.86) let two of those runs score and an unearned of his own over the next two and two-thirds, giving up five hits along the way. RHP Mike Steele (2.84) pitched an uneventful ninth. LF Carlos Arroyo (R, RBI, SB, .429) and RF B.J. Garbe (2B, HR, 2 RBI, .229) both had three hits in the game, and the trio of DH Michael Nesbit (R, SB, .299), 1B Bryan LaHair (2B, R, 2 RBI, .291), and CF Wladimir Balentien (2B, RBI, .283) all had two hits. LaHair walked his other three times up, so he reached base in all five of his at-bats. Could the M’s finally be developing a legitimate first base prospect?

I think I forgot to mention this here, but recently, LHP Shawn Nottingham went on the DL with some pain in his elbow, and he was replaced on the roster by C Brian Schweiger, who will be filling in a bit as C Justin Ruchti recovers from a sore ankle. Don't ask me, I just report the news. It's possible that Schweiger might go back to extended ST soon and be replaced by another pitcher. Ruchti has just been placed on the DL as of the end of last night's game and will be replaced on the roster by RHP Aaron Looper on a bit of a rehab stint.

Clinton 0 (TEX), Wisconsin 4
RHP Mark Lowe (5.92) said he was good to pitch and you’d better believe it, as he went four innings and allowed just a walk while striking out three. RHP Cibney Bello (1.75, W) took over after that for the next inning and a third and got himself into a bit of trouble, giving up a hit and walking three, but RHP Stephen Grasley (2.63) got him out of it and pitched two and a third innings overall, striking out three. LHP Kendall Bergdall (2.65), on the other hand, got himself out of trouble, going an inning and giving up a hit and two walks, but not allowing a run to score. Bergdall has been averaging almost a walk per inning, and that my friends, is scary. Luckily, Mr. Automatic, RHP Craig James (0.00, S) got the final out of the game to earn his third save. 3B Asdrubal Cabrera (2 RBI, .389) and C Omar Falcon (R, .304) both had two hits, but Drubie got picked off two of the times he reached. From the top of the order, CF Josh Womack (R, SB, .271) and LF Sebastien Boucher (R, SB, .278) both walked twice, but Boucher also added a hit to that.

Venoco #2 0 (BAL), Aguirre 2
The Orioles are winless, the Mariners have only lost one game, throw them together and this happens. RHP Ronald Uviedo (0.00) threw four innings and allowed only one hit while striking out three, and then RHP Kelvin Alarcon (1.93) pitched the next four and gave up two hits, a balk, and two walks while striking out four. RHP Jorge Acosta (1.93, W) pitched the ninth, walking one and striking out two, and got the win as Aguirre rallied in the bottom of the ninth. 1B Gerardo Avila (HR, 2 RBI, .250) hit the walk-off, two-run bomb with two outs in the ninth to win the game, and SS Cesar Fuentes (R, .385) had the only two-hit performance for the team. 2B Jetsy Extrano (SB, .444) and RF Greyson Berroteran (CS, .143) both went 1-3.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Cha Seung Baek, at Tacoma, @ 1:35 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Bobby Livingston, at Corpus Christi, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: RHP Brandon Moorhead, at High Desert, @ 7:05 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Aaron Jensen, at Appleton, @ 11:05 am PT
Aguirre: TBA, at Universidad, @ 6:30 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 18-22, .450, 5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 22-19, .525, 5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 16-25, .390, 7 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 23-18, .561, 2 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 4-1, .800, 1st in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 83-85, .494

Thursday, May 19, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/19/05)

Nashville 9 (MIL), Tacoma 5 (fourteen innings)
If you’re wondering why this was delayed until midnight, well, here you go. LHP Andrew Lorraine (5.14) went only three innings tonight, leaving the Rainiers with a very sad bullpen. Over those three innings, he gave up a couple of runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. LHP Tim Rall (13.50) went the next three frames, giving up just two hits and striking out a batter, and then LHP Jared Thomas (3.13) went the next two frames and gave up a run on a hit and two walks with two Ks. The guy who really should be in Seattle right now, LHP George Sherrill (2.04), was perfect through the next two and struck out three, and after that, RHP Masao Kida (4.75) was excellent over the next three, walking one and striking out three. It was RHP Chris Buglovsky (4.91, L) who lost it in the fourteenth, giving up four runs on five hits, a walk, and two Ks in the inning. With the bats, you had CF Jamal Strong (R, RBI, .276) and RF Chris Snelling (R, RBI, .398) who both had three hits, Strong walking twice and Snelling walking once, and there were two hits each from 2B Jose Lopez (2 2B, 2 RBI .391) and SS Michael Morse (2B, 3B, R, .266), but none of the really crooked numbers you usually start to see in games that go on this long.

San Antonio 6, Corpus Christi 4 (HOU)
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (4.29) had a bit of trouble in this one, going five innings and allowing four runs on seven hits (HR) and three walks against four Ks. Coming on next was RHP Renee Cortez (4.80, W), who did everything he could to earn the win, walking one batter but striking out five. LHP Cesar Jimenez (3.18) and RHP Sean Green (3.26, S) would split the last two and post identical lines: one inning, one walk, and one K. The hero of this one had to be 3B Jesus Guzman (2B, HR, 3 RBI, .318), who went 4-5 and brought his average above .300. Don’t expect it to go back below that too often for the rest of the season. Also contributing for the Missions with two-hit performances were SS Yuniesky Betancourt (R, .264), CF Jaime Bubela (2 R, RBI, .263), and C Luis Oliveros (RBI, .500). Since I’m now cross-checking Yuniesky’s streaks with the quality of pitching he’s facing, I will note that the Hooks have given up the least number of hits in the league by a margin of nineteen coming into the game, but they are winless against the Missions for the season.

High Desert 7 (KC), Inland Empire 0
RHP Aaron Trolia (4.81, L) took some punches in the early game, allowing five runs in five innings on seven hits (HR), a wild pitch, and three walks with just two Ks. RHP Nibaldo Acosta (5.40) followed him for three innings and gave up a couple (one earned) after four hits, a hit batter, and a pair of strikeouts. RHP Brian Stitt (6.64) would get out of the ninth with a strikeout to his credit. Not much hitting for the Sixers, so I guess I’ll have to go with DH Bryan LaHair (2B, .282) doubling or maybe LF B.J. Garbe (.212) having a two-hit night.

Clinton 1 (TEX), Wisconsin 3
For the first time in seven starts, RHP Mumba Rivera (2.45, W) did not give up exactly four hits, but, for the sixth time in those seven starts, he pitched the T-Rats to the win. Mumba went seven innings and allowed just the one run on six hits and two walks with five Ks. Though his strikeouts have been a bit off of last season’s numbers, I really don’t think Mumba has much business being in the Midwest League: he belongs at Inland Empire. RHP Chad Fillinger (2.45, S) would pick up the save in two innings with a couple of strikeouts. On offense, I’ll go with 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.379) and 1B Marshall Hubbard (R, .275), who both had two hits, though LF Brent Johnson (R, .227) and SS Matt Tuiasosopo (.319) a couple of walks apiece. Asdrubal got picked off twice, but that aside, I’d like to see him in Inland as well.

Aguirre 9, San Joaquin 5 (PIT)
Same situation as last night; I just don’t know right now who is throwing what. P Gerardo Esparza (0.00) went four and two-thirds today, just one out shy of qualifying, giving up three runs, none of them earned, on three hits and a walk against five Ks. Following him was P Edlando Seco (0.00, E, W), who pitched three innings and gave up two runs, neither earned (the defense made five errors in this one), after a hit and three walks, though he struck out six. RHP Dionny Gaetano (0.00) gave up three hits and a walk in an inning and a third, but managed to keep the Pirates from scoring and struck out two of them. Every starter had a hit in this one, but the clear standout was veteran 1B Gerardo Avila (2 R, .250), who had three of them. But, if you’re going to press me for a few more names, I’ll go with veteran LF William Ortiz (2B, R, 3 RBI, .143), who had a double, and recent favorite here, rookie SS Jetsy Extrano (HR, 2 RBI, 2 E, .500), who was 1-2 with a walk and his second bomb, though he did make two of the errors.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: LHP Damian Moss (?), at Tacoma, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: RHP Jon Huber, at Corpus Christi, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Ryan Feierabend, at High Desert, @ 7:05 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Mark Lowe, at Appleton, @ 9:35 am PT
Aguirre: TBA, at Aguirre, @ 8:00 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 17-22, .436, 5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 21-19, .513, 6 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 15-25, .375, 7.5 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 22-18, .550, 3 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 3-1, .667, 0.5 GB in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 78-85, .479

  ITP's Prospect Handbook Out

As some of you may already be aware, the Mariners Prospect Handbook has hit the shelves.

If you're seriously interested in Mariners prospects, but don't have the money to invest in the subscription to ITP, this will provide you with all of the Top 40 Prospect Profiles plus some extra goodies.

I contributed to one of the sections, so I already have my copy in .pdf format, but you can also purchase it as an actual handbook.

Check it out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/18/05)

San Antonio 3, Corpus Christi 2 (HOU) (ten innings)
LHP Thom Oldham (3.45, E) had an effective outing, going six frames and allowing two runs on seven hits (2 HR!) while striking out two. By the way, if you haven’t been reading his journals at ITP, you ought to be. RHP Emiliano Fruto (2.54) rebounded next, going two perfect frames and striking out a batter, but it was RHP Jeff Harris (2.63) got the W, with a ninth where he allowed only one hit. RHP Sean Green (3.44, S) got the save with a perfect ninth. On offense, you had RF T.J. Bohn (SB, CS, .324) and C Luis Oliveros (2B, R, RBI, .500), in his first game back, both had two hits, but you have to give the gameball to CF Gary Harris (HR, 2 RBI, .257), who had a homer to break the tie in the tenth.

High Desert 2 (KC), Inland Empire 5
LHP Jason Mackintosh (2.59, W) went seven innings and allowed a couple of runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out nine. RHP Greg Wear (2.65, S) would get the save with a two-inning stint where he gave up a couple of hits and struck two out. 1B Bryan LaHair (R, RBI, .283), LF B.J. Garbe (2B, R, RBI, CS, .202), and RF Chris Colton (2B, 2 RBI, .194) all had a couple of hits, and CF Wladimir Balentien (2B, PO, .287) doubled in the game. How about SS Adam Jones (R, CS, .275), who was 1-2 with a couple of walks? Seems like he’s getting himself back on track.

Tronconero #2 3 (NYM), Aguirre 2
Here’s where I’m running into a bit of trouble with the preliminary roster because I don’t know what hand some of these new pitchers throw with… so, P Kervin Montbrum (6.00, L) got through just three innings tonight, struggling with his control and allowing two runs on three hits, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and three walks against five Ks. P Carlos Sanchez (2.25) took the next four innings and allowed only a run on three hits and a walk against a lone K, and then RHP Alejandro Gutierrez (0.00) pitched the final two frames, walking one and striking out three. The standout on Aguirre’s offense was Aruban CF Edzul Robles (2B, HR, 2 RBI, .375), but C Jair Fernandez (.400) did his part too, going 2-2 with a walk.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: LHP Andrew Lorraine, at Tacoma, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith, at Corpus Christi, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: RHP Aaron Trolia, at San Bernadino, @ 11:00 am PT
Wisconsin: RHP Mumba Rivera, at Appleton, @ 4:35 pm PT
Aguirre: TBA, at San Joaquin, @ 8:00 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 17-21, .447, 4.5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 20-19, .513, 7 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 15-24, .385, 7 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 21-18, .538, 4 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 2-1, .667, T-1st in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 75-83, .475

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/17/05)

Tacoma 2, Albuquerque 5 (FLA)
RHP Felix Hernandez (3.03, L) left after just and inning and a third, due to a liner off his shin. In that timeframe, he gave up four runs on three hits and a walk while striking out three, but three of those runs scored after RHP Chris Buglovsky (3.65) game in. Felix’s runs and one against Bugs scored after Bugs gave up a single and a double on his way to finishing the inning. Overall, in two and two-thirds innings, he gave up four hits and a walk with one strikeout. RHP Jeff Heaverlo (11.09) went the next two and a third innings and did not spontaneously combust or anything of the sort, but despite striking out three, he handed out free passes to three others and cranked out a wild pitch. The last inning and two-thirds went to RHP Masao Kida (5.27), and he struck out two. The game ball has to go to 2B Jose Lopez (2 HR, .438), who wasn’t told that hamate injuries might sap his power, as he hit two bombs. LF Shin-soo Choo (.289) also did well, going 1-2 with two walks, and DH Greg Jacobs (.267) had two singles.

San Antonio 7, Frisco 11 (TEX)
RHP Juan Sandoval (3.83, L) went five innings tonight, allowing eight runs to score on twelve hits (2 HR!) and three walks with just two Ks. Newcomer RHP Phil Wilson (9.00) had a rough landing next, going three innings but allowing three runs to score on three hits (HR), a wild pitch, and four walks against one K. Wilson spent five years in the Halos system until he was picked up by the D-Rays in the minor league part of the Rule 5 draft in the winter. He seems to have been released since that time and now he’s with us. On offense, there were two-hit nights from CF Gary Harris (2B, R, RBI, .260), SS Yuniesky Betancourt (2B, HR, 2 R, .262), and 3B Jesus Guzman (HR, 2 RBI, .289). LF Jaime Bubela (2 R, RBI, .254) was 1-2 with a couple of walks, and DH Nate Espy (3B, .303) and C Brian Moon (2B, R, .262) added some extra-base knocks. This is going to be a theme that you’ll see repeating itself all through tonight’s recaps, as the offensive production was, on the whole, pretty balanced in its attacks.

High Desert 3 (KC), Inland Empire 5
LHP Shawn Nottingham (3.86, W) wasn’t brilliant, but got the job done, going five innings and allowing a run on six hits and four walks with five Ks. Nottingham couldn’t get an out after facing three batters in the top of the sixth, but the LHP Nick Bourgeois (1.84) pulled it out of the fire and held the Mavericks to two hits, a wild pitch, and three Ks over the next two and two-thirds. Finishing up the game, RHP Mike Steele (3.00) was a bit wild, giving up two runs (one earned) on a hit, three wild pitches, and three walks against two Ks. 1B Bryan Lahair (2 2B, R, 2 RBI, .277) has been heating up of late and had another three hits in this one. CF Wladimir Balentien (HR, 3 RBI, .288) seems to be getting out of his slump as well, hitting his ninth home run and getting another outfield assist to nail a runner at third. There were also doubles from 3B Matt Rogelstad (2B, R, .374), SS Adam Jones (2B, 2 R, E, .272), and DH Carlos Arroyo (2B, SB, .400), along with the token 1-2 with two walks from LF Michael Nesbit (SB, .313).

Wisconsin 17, Lansing 8 (TOR)
Well, this was a clobbering. LHP Casey Abrams (5.45) started this one and went four and a third innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks against two Ks. LHP Eric O’Flaherty (4.15, W), not closing for a change, let two of those runs and two earned of his own score in two and third innings, where there were four hits, four walks, and a strikeout. RHP Stephen Grasley (2.88) came in for an inning and a third after that, giving up a hit and punching out a batter, then RHP Craig James (0.00) had an uneventful ninth. The biggest performance, and the best game of his young career, came from 1B Marshall Hubbard (2 HR, 7 RBI, .261), who terrorized the Lugnuts pitchers with a 5-6 performance. Also having big nights were 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (3 R, .373), who was 3-4 with two walks, LF Sebastien Boucher (2 2B, R, 3 RBI, .269), who was 2-6, and RF Mike Wilson (R, 2 RBI, .228) and SS Matt Tuiasosopo (3 R, .325), who were both 2-5 with a walk.

Aguirre 5, Cagua 3 (CIN)
RHP Alfredo Venagas (0.00), whose name was apparently misspelled for the duration of the 2004 season, went four innings and allowed just two hits, a hit batter, and two walks while punching out five. LHP Jose Jimenez (7.71, W) came in for the next two and two-thirds innings and would give up two runs after three hits and three walks against two Ks, but RHP Kelvin Alarcon (13.50) let both those runs score along with one of his own after two hits, two walks, and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. One of the hits and two of walks got that run across the plate as Alarcon failed to get an out in the seventh, but LHP Hugo Castro (0.00, S) saved him and the game from further trouble, going the rest of the way and allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five. There were three heroes in the game in SS Cesar Fuentes (2 RBI, .400), who drove in two, LF Rayon Lampe (2 R, SB, .333), who was 2-3, but got plunked, and 2B Jetsy Extrano (HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .500), who was 1-3 with a walk and his first pro homer.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: Off day
San Antonio: LHP Thom Oldham, at Corpus Christi, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Jason Mackintosh, at San Bernadino, @ 7:11 pm PT
Wisconsin: Off day
Aguirre: TBA, at Aguirre, @ 8:00 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 17-21, .447, 4.5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 19-19, .500, 7 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 14-24, .368, 8 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 21-18, .538, 4 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 2-0, 1.000, 1st in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 73-82, .471

Monday, May 16, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/16/05)

Tacoma 2, Albuquerque 3 (FLA)
RHP Cha Seung Baek (4.50, L) got through five inning in his first start since coming back, giving up three runs on three hits (2 HR!) and a walk with four strikeouts. The last three frames went to LHP Jared Thomas (3.00), who gave up a hit and a walk while striking out two. Notable for the Rainiers offense was 2B Jose Loepz (R, .417) getting another two hits, SS Michael Morse (2B, .271) going 1-2 with a walk, and RF Chris Snelling (HR, .398) homering, again.

San Antonio 1, Frisco 2 (TEX)
LHP Bobby Livingston (3.30, L) got a tough loss in this one, going six innings and giving up both runs after two hits and three walks, though he did strike out seven. Both hits and two of the three walks came in the sixth, when the runs scored. RHP Renee Cortez (5.54) went the next inning giving up a hit and throwing a wild pitch while striking out a couple, then LHP Cesar Jimenez (3.32, PO) gave up a hit and punched out a batter in the ninth. Again, not too much from the Missions offense tonight and this game was mostly a pitching duel. There were no extra-base hits on the night, but CF Gary Harris (RBI, .253), CF Jaime Bubela (R, .250), and C Brian Moon (.256) all had two hits.

Lake Elsinore 9 (SD), Inland Empire 7
Take what I said last week about RHP Brandon Moorhead (5.68, L) and his starts for the Sixers, copy, and paste it. Moorhead went only four innings tonight, giving up seven runs on nine hits (HR) and three walks with just two Ks. LHP Miguel Martinez (5.95) followed him and had a mixed two and third innings, striking out four but allowing a run on four hits. RHP Bryan Stitt (6.98) let that run score, and couldn’t get any outs in the seventh as he gave up a hit, hit a batter and walked another before LHP Chris Key (2.05) came in. Key would allow Stitt’s run to score, but otherwise hold the Storm to four hits and three strikeouts for the rest of the game. Kudos to the Sixers offense for not phoning it in after coming into their half of fourth down 7-3. 3B Matt Rogelstad (3 R, RBI, E, .378) had another three hits (and a walk), while RF Chris Colton (RBI, .184) had two hits and nailed a runner at third. It’s been a good year for outfield assists in the system. Also notable was SS Adam Jones (2B, R, .272) going 1-4 with a double and a walk, and DH Carlos Arroyo (R, .423) going 1-2 with two walks.

Wisconsin 3, Lansing 5 (TOR)
RHP Jason Snyder (3.31, L) appeared to be cruising on his way to his fifth win, but then came the seventh inning, where he faced five batters and retired none of them, three hits and two walks. His end line reads six innings, five runs (four earned) on nine hits (HR), four walks, and a strikeout. RHP Chad Fillinger (2.66) allowed only one of those runs to score, and had two hits to two strikeouts in a couple of frames of work. The T-Rats got two-hit performances from 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (2B, R, RBI, E, .354), RF Mike Wilson (RBI, .221), and 3B Brent Johnson (CS, .231), and a double off the bat of CF Josh Womack (2B, RBI, .275).

Ciudad Alianza 4 (BOS-SD), Aguirre 5
First game of the season, and already, Aguirre has a walk-off victory. LHP Jose Escalona (2.45, E), who I had figured for a U.S. debut this season (maybe midseason), went three and two-thirds innings and gave up a run after six hits, striking out just one. Following him was RHP Jorge Acosta (2.45), who’s a bit old for the level, and he went the same span but allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out five. RHP Dionny Gaetano (0.00) pitched the last inning and two-thirds and gave up a hit, but four of his five outs came via the K. DH Pablo Orfila (HR, 2 RBI, CS, .500) had a couple of hits in the game, and 1B Gerardo Avila (2B, RBI, .250) and SS/3B Deybis Benitez (2B, R, E, .250) both had doubles, but I’d pass the game ball to SS Cesar Fuentes (2 RBI, 1.000), who came in late in the game as a defensive replacement and hit the walk-off, two-run single to give Aguirre the win in a four-run outburst at the bottom of the ninth. For those curious (and I know there’s at least two of you out there), LF Rayon Lampe (.000) the Aruban prospect who had a rough start in Peoria last year, is now in the VSL and played left field today, going 0-3 with three strikeouts and reached base twice, once by walk, once when he was hit. Right now, I’m trying to decide whether my favorite name from this year’s team is PH Greyson Berroteran (.000), who struck out in his only appearance today and is usually an outfielder, PH Jetsy Extrano (1.00), who singled and is usually an infielder, or pitchers Kervin Montbrum and Edlando Seco. I’m leaning towards Extrano, which is quickly moving up my list of favorite baseball player names.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Felix Hernandez, at Albuquerque, @ 11:05 am PT
San Antonio: RHP Juan Sandoval, at Frisco, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: LHP Shawn Nottingham, at San Bernadino, @ 7:11 pm PT
Wisconsin: LHP Casey Abrams, at Lansing, @ 7:40 am PT
Aguirre: TBA, at Cagua, @ 8:00 am PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 17-20, .459, 5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 19-18, .514, 6 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 13-24, .351, 8 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 20-18, .526, 5 GB in MWL West
Aguirre Mariners, 1-0, 1.000, T-1st in VSL Valencia
Organizational Record: 70-80, .467

  News Around the Minors (5/16/05)

Around the beginning of the season, I started getting questions about former Rainier OF Vince Faison and where he had gone. The Mariners released him at the end of spring training, presumably because of the packed outfield in Tacoma, but he has now turned up with the Jackson Senators in the independent Central League. That link goes to a story on him recently published in a local paper, and covers his journey as a minor league player.

The recent off day for the Missions brought a feature on minor league journeyman RHP Jeff Harris, that details a little more of his career, bouncing back and forth between independent teams. For example, I didn’t know that he once had a contract with a Taiwanese team, and after he was released, headed over to mainland China to pitch for a club there and help them prepare for the 2008 Olympics. It doesn’t go into too much detail, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

The San Bernadino County Sun has been running a number of features lately in their paper. There’s one on UT Matt Rogelstad, the Vancouver B.C. native who turned down hockey for the baseball life, one on RHP Greg Wear, who bounced between three different levels in each of the past two years, and one on minor league hitting coaches that has some info on Sixers coach Henry Cotto, along with some tidbits on how he’s tried to help IF Erick Monzon.

It just wouldn’t be a minor league season without a story or two on roving pitching instructor Norm Charlton, who most recently made his rounds in Wisconsin. I’d be interested in what he had to say about the guys up there, but the article doesn’t cover that, unfortunately.

Anyone interested about Pat Gillick’s continued involvement in the Mariners organization and the signing bonus 2004’s 11th round pick Michael Saunders got can kill two birds with one stone using this article. Gillick, apparently, was the one who signed Saunders for a bonus of about $260,000.

I have a new transaction register up at InsideThePark, and I seem to have snagged a few things that haven’t been noticed quite yet. Par exemple, did you know that the Mariners signed former White Sox right-hander Dan Wright to a minor league contract, and he’s on the DL on the Rainiers roster right now? It’s only been noted on their transactions page for a week or so now, but watch as the local papers pick up on it in the next couple of days and make some reference to it in their notebooks, possibly accompanied by a quote or two from the man himself.

Finally, because I like to occasionally close with some weird thing I’ve stumbled on in recent weeks, I present to you a link to a message board community devoted to the knuckleball. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 15, 2005
  Game Recaps (5/15/05)

Tacoma 2, Albuquerque 10 (FLA)
LHP Damian Moss (3.51, PO, L) is still struggling with his control a bit, going six innings tonight and allowing four runs (just two earned) on three hits (HR) and four walks against just a couple of strikeouts. Two of those walks came at the beginning of the seventh, then RHP Jeff Heaverlo (12.67) came in and turned only one of those into a run, after a hit batter and a single in the inning. If you’re wondering how the heck that happened, well, there was a 5-2-3 double play, and then a caught stealing at home, which is an interesting way of getting out of a jam. But Heaverlo couldn’t get out of the eighth, giving up a double and a walk, and here’s where things get ugly. LHP Tim Rall (36.00) came in and allowed six runs to score in the inning, two of them credited to Heaverlo, after four hits and two walks against a K. On offense, there was LF Shin-soo Choo (2 SB, .294) and SS Michael Morse (2B, RBI, E, .267) both going two-for, and RF Chris Snelling (HR, .405) and 2B Jose Lopez (2B, R, .375) adding extra-base hits.

San Antonio 5, Frisco 3 (TEX)
RHP Jon Huber (4.26) was brilliant through six innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while punching out six. Just like his last outing, RHP Emiliano Fruto (3.81) got knocked around a bit over the next inning and a third, allowing three runs (two earned) after three hits (2 HR!) with two Ks. RHP Sean Green (3.63, S) finished it up, allowing a hit and striking out one the rest of the way. A lot of hits for the Missions today, namely, extra-base hits, as SS Yuniesky Betancourt (2B, .265) was the only one to multi-hit on the night, and DH Jon Nelson (2B, .256), 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke (2B, 2 R, RBI, E, .224), 3B Jesus Guzman (2B, R, .284), and C Brian Moon (HR, 3 RBI, .229) all got good pitches to hit. I’ve heard that with Rene Rivera catching a flight to Seattle, C Luis Oliveros will be reactivated from the activated and join the Missions to replace him.

Inland Empire 3, Lake Elsinore 10 (SD)
LHP Ryan Feierabend (6.49, PO, L) was giving up hits again, going five innings today and giving up six runs on nine hits (2 HR) and two walks against four Ks. Only one of those hits came after the first three innings, where he gave up a two-spot in each. LHP Nick Bourgeois (2.25) jumped in next and had four unearned runs score against him in two innings of work after four hits, a walk, and a strikeout. RHP Greg Wear (3.00) struck out a batter in the eighth. RF Carlos Arroyo (2B, .417) had another three hits on the night (someone get this guy a ticket to San Antonio…) and LF B.J. Garbe (2 2B, 2 R, .184) and 2B Eric Blakeley (.226) both added two. CF Wladimir Balentien (HR, .282), after a bit of a power outage, had his eighth home run AND walked in another one of his plate appearances.

Wisconsin 4, Lansing 12 (TOR)
RHP Aaron Jensen (4.20, L) got yanked early, giving up five runs on six hits, a hit batter, and two walks against two Ks. LHP Kendall Bergdall (2.81) saved three more runs from scoring right there, but would go on to allow three runs (two earned) of his own to score after four hits, three wild pitches, and three walks in his two and third innings of work. RHP Roman Martinez (4.30) pitched the last three frames and let four runs score on six hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Four of those hits and two of the walks came during the four-run outburst by the Lugnuts in the eighth, as if the coffin wasn’t securely enough at that point. The T-Rats got their lone extra-base hit from C Omar Falcon (2B, .267), but I kind of liked the performances by 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.347), who was 1-2 with three walks, and CF Brent Johnson (R, RBI, .216), who was 2-2 with two walks.

Venezuelan Summer League starts up tomorrow. I’ll cover what I can, but all they have up right now is their announcement for the 2005 season, which has the league remaining the same size for the first time in a few years and the addition of the new rules regarding players remaining in the batter’s box and not being allowed to fraternize with other teams. I haven’t even seen a roster yet.

Tomorrow’s Schedule:
Tacoma: RHP Cha Seung Baek, at Albuquerque, @ 6:05 pm PT
San Antonio: LHP Bobby Livingston, at Frisco, @ 5:05 pm PT
Inland Empire: RHP Brandon Moorhead, at San Bernadino (?), @ 7:11 pm PT
Wisconsin: RHP Jason Snyder, at Lansing, @ 5:05 pm PT

Tacoma Rainiers: 17-19, .472, 4.5 GB in PCL Pacific North
San Antonio Missions: 19-17, .528, 5.5 GB in TL West
Inland Empire 66ers: 13-23, .361, 7 GB in CAL South
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: 20-17, .541, 4 GB in MWL West
Organizational Record: 69-76, .476

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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