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6/19 Minor League Wrap-Up

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Before we get started, here is an amusing video where Staten Island Yankees switch pitcher Pat Venditte makes his pro debut and, after getting two outs and allowing a single to center, runs into the inevitable dilemma:  pitching to a switch hitter.  The switch hitter in question is Ralph Henriquez of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a meh catcher making his 2008 debut as well.  Even the coaches on both sides are unsure how to handle this. gave the story some cursory press afterward, citing that the NY-Penn League thankfully isn't about to go nuts and do anything stupid like ban switch pitching over this issue.

Meanwhile, another busy day in the org is capped by another appearance from PHAT ANDY 22.  Standard disclaimers apply.

On to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Phillies 6, VSL Mariners 0
VSLMs:  19-12... VSL Phils:  17-13
(League:  267/347/361... 3.78 ERA)

Reynaldo Sabala:  4.2 IP, 6 H, (4 R) 1 ER, 3 walks, wild pitch (5 GS +3, 4.82 ERA, 28 IP, 1 HR, 12/18 BB/K)
Angel Raga:  3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 walks, wild pitch (7 app, 4.40 ERA, 14.1 IP, 16/6 BB/K)
Ricardo Pereira:  one out (5 app, 0 ER, 3.1 IP, 8/2 BB/K)
Roberto Velasquez:  2-3, walk (307/440/409)
Jorge Agudelo:  2-4 (324/431/382)
Larry Gonzalez:  2-4

Mulligan.  Reynaldo Sabala watched the Phils take advantage of a Carlos Ramirez error at 2B to lead of the 5th for 3 runs, assisted by a couple of untimely walks, that chased Sabala... and the VSLMs never managed to get a run across despite 9 hits. They also, curiously enough, didn't strike out any VSL Phils batters.

Dominican:  The DSLMs had Thursday off.

Rk+:  Pulaski 2, Princeton 1
(League: 256/342/381... 4.16 ERA)
(For new Pulaski faces, last year's club or last draft position parenthetically listed)

Jose Jimenez:  5 IP, 4 H, 2 walks, 8 K (VSLMs closer)
Jordan Alvis:  1 IP, 2 H (21st rd 2008)
Blake Nation:  2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K (22nd rd 2008)
Andres Esquibel:  1 IP, walk, wild pitch (38th rd 2008)
Juan Fuentes:  1-4, RBI, K
rest of PMs lineup:  5-28, 2 R, 2 walks, 6 K

Not often do you see a closer converted into a starter with effective results, when the closer has no previous pro starting experience.  Jose Jimenez racked up a team-leading 15 saves in 2007 with the VSLMs, yet netted a slot in the rotation with Pulaski and showed he was up to the task, whiffing an impressive 8 batters while pitching a shutout minimum.

The PMs got little going, but what little they got was ultimately enough.  Mario Martinez led off the 5th with a lined single, stole 2nd, took 3rd on a Guy Welsh groundout, then scored as Juan Fuentes beat out a grounder to short to make it 1-0 PMs.

They got more in the 6th, though it wasn't expected.  Anthony Phillips lined to the shortstop and Jacob Shaffer flew out to left... but Jose Rivero laced one up the middle to get on, stole 2nd just like his teammate Mario, then turned 3rd and scored as Kalian Sams' grounder got past 1B Eli Sonoqui to make it 2-0.

Jimenez called it a night after 5, and reliever Jordan Alvis promptly ran into trouble.  Mayobanex Acosta and Ramon Novas both got grounders into left to get on.  Justin Reynolds grounded to 3rd, wher 3B Mario Martinez took the easy out at 2nd for one out, but put runners at the corners.  Fortunately, Jeremy Beckham, the brother of #1 overall 2008 draft pick Tim Beckham, grounded into the 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

The PMs had a couple runners on in the 7th and 8th, but could not add to their 2-0 lead.  In the 8th, with two outs, Mayobanex Acosta blooped a single into center, and Ramon Novas smoked one up the middle for a base hit.  Pinch hitter DJ Jones, a sparkplug on Tuesday but empty-handed Wednesday, smoked a grounder into right to cash in Acosta and cut the lead to 2-1 with runners on the corners and two out... but Jeremy Beckham killed another rally by striking out.

Reliever Andres Esquibel came on to finish for the PMs, walked Diogenes Luis with one out, uncorked a wild pitch to move Luis over, and had Luis take 3rd on an Elias Otero groundout to 3rd for two outs with... our friend Burt Reynolds coming to the plate.  After his impressive Tuesday, Burt flatlined on Wednesday, had nothing today... and still had nothing, grounding harmlessly to 2nd to end the game.

A-:  Everett 7, Spokane 6

Brett Lorin:  2 IP, 2 K, hit batter (5th rd 2008)
Robbie Dominguez:  1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, walk, K, 2 hit batters (Peoria)
Eddy Fernandez:  3 IP, 2 H, 4 K, balk
Aaron Brown:  1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, 3 K, 4 wild pitches, hit batter (Everett)
Javier Martinez:  1.1 IP, 2 H, K, wild pitch (Peoria)
James Davenport:  2-5, double, 2 R, K, SB
Welington Dotel:  2-4, double, R, RBI, SB
Kevin Reynolds:  2-4, R, RBI, 2 SB
Luis Nuñez:  2-4, double, R, K
George Soto:  2-4, 2 RBI

As one of the top 2008 picks, the org's going to take it easy with Brett Lorin, letting him pitch two good innings before lifting him.  1st inning:  Jacob Kaase flew out, Lorin plunked David Paisano, then picked Paisano off at 1st before striking out Jared Bolden to end the frame.  2nd inning:  Lorin struck out Justin Pickett, got Matthew West to ground to short, but SS George Soto threw YIKES AND AWAY to put him on... but Lorin got Eric Fry to ground into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

In the 4th, James Davenport and Nate Tenbrink both reached on infield errors, then Brandon Fromm ALSO reached on an error at 2B by Donnie Ecker, his 2nd straight, to cash in a run.  Welington Dotel then doubled home Tenbrink, 2-0, but Fromm only got to 3rd on a good through in from RF, and Beef Roids, caught off guard by Fromm slaming on the brakes, was far enough past the bag at 2nd for the infield to tag him out.  Kevin Reynolds, the Human Temp Agency, grounded to 2nd, and Donnie Ecker once again failed to get anyone out, putting runners at the corners as he went home to prevent Fromm from scoring... but allowed Reynolds to reach.  Reynolds then swiped 2nd before Luis Nuñez struck out, but George Soto singled to right to cash in Fromm and Reynolds to make it 4-0 Aquasox.

But reliever Robbie Dominguez ran into trouble in the bottom 4th.  Jacob Kaase beat out a grounder to 3rd.  David Paisano doubled to left to move Kaase to 3rd, and Jared Bolden beat out a grounder to 3rd, though he did in part because 3B Nate Tenbrink held the runner at 3rd from scoring.  Dominguez felt the heat, and walked Justin Pickett to force in a run, before plunking Matthew West and forcing in ANOTHER run, before plunking Eric Fry and forcing in YET ANOTHER run.  Brent (aka etowncoug) isn't kidding when he says that MWL ball is sloppy.

Dominguez was done after that, and his replacement was a surprise: opening day starter Eddy Fernandez, two days removed from a disastrous opening day start that obviously didn't see him get far.  But he was fresh, Brett Lorin wasn't supposed to go far, Robbie Dominguez was, he sucked, and now they needed innings, but more importantly, the Aquasox needed three quick outs to get out of this terrible jam and keep what was now a narrow 4-3 lead.  Though Eddy was far from the best man for the job, this was a chance for redemption.

Timothy Rodriguez popped up for the first out.  Michael Ortiz watched strike three for two outs, and the 2B of many gaffes, Donnie Ecker, grounded ironically to 2nd for the easy 3rd out, and Eddy was on the road to redemption by bailing the Aquasox out of a no out, bases loaded jam.

Everett had a couple good chances to score, but didn't get a break until the 7th.  Ryan Royster walked with one out, James Davenport snuck a grounder into right, but RF Eric Fry threw out Royster at 3rd for two outs, and despite Davenport taking 2nd on the throw, it looked like more runners left on base for the Aquasox.

But Nate Tenbrink beat out a grounder to 2nd as Davenport took 3rd, and with Brandon Fromm up, Nate Tenbrink broke for the steal of 2nd.  Catcher Justin Pickett took the pitch, and as his throw headed for 2nd, Davenport took off for home.  DOUBLE STEAL!  Donnie Ecker cut off the throw short of the bag and made a redemption throw home to get Davenport at the plate and end the inning... except his throw was YIKES AND AWAY and Davenport was safe, 5-3 Aquasox, as Tenbrink went ahead and took 3rd for fun.  Donnie Ecker's boarder might have been wise to get all the sharp objects out of sight and reach before he got home last night.

Having held the fort through the 6th, Eddy Fernandez called it a night before the bottom 7th, as Aaron Brown came in to pitch and worked a 1-2-3 7th.  The Aquasox piled on again in the 8th.  Beef Roids led off with a lined single to left that got past LF Tim Rodriguez for an extra base.  Beef Roids swiped 3rd base before the Human Temp Agency smoked a grounder into right to easily cash in Dotel, 6-3 Aquasox.  Luis Nuñez blasted a double by Rodriguez to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs.  George Soto grounded to short, but SS Jacob Kaase astutely threw home to get Reynolds for the 1st out with runners now at the corners.  Henry Contreras grounded to 2nd, and Donnie Ecker managed to successfully toss to Kaase for one, but they did not have a 2nd out at 1st, and Nuñez scored to make it 7-3.  It'd be easy to find a way to blame Ecker for a slow transfer that screwed up the double play or something, but I think we've piled on him enough for one game.

Spokane didn't go quietly.  Jared Bolden led off the bottom 8th with a double, and took two bases on two Aaron Brown wild pitches to score and cut the lead to 7-4.  Brown couldn't find the plate to save his life, and walked Justin Pickett and Matthew West back to back, before Eric Fry struck out.  I'm willing to guess he swung at a couple of bad pitches.

But then Brown threw two MORE wild pitches to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd, and strike three to Tim Rodriguez hit the dirt.  Though catcher Henry Contreras threw out Rodriguez at 1st, Pickett scored to make it 7-5 as West took 3rd.

Then Michael Ortiz got plunked, and even the most patient of managers has to say that was enough.  Jose Moreno went and got Brown, bringing in Javier Martinez.

Donnie Ecker channeled his infield failures into a smoking grounder that got into left to cash in West and make it 7-6 Aquasox, with runners at the corners and two out.  And speaking of failure, catcher Henry Contreras caught pinch runner Cody Podraza off the bag at 3rd, and the subsequent rundown got him for the 3rd out.

The Indians gave the Aquasox another scare in the bottom 9th.  Jacob Kaase led off with a single up the middle, and took 2nd on a wild pitch with one out.  Jared Bolden tapped back to the mound for two outs as Kaase took 3rd, but Justin Pickett's grounder did not get past SS George Soto, as Soto threw him out to end the game.

A:  Burlington 9, Wisconsin 3
(League:  249/321/369... 3.61 ERA)

Edward Paredes:  1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 walks (13 GS +1, 4.67 ERA, 61.2 IP, 6 HR, 28/43 BB/K)
Keith Meyer:  no outs recorded, 1 H, wild pitch (20 app, 3.29 ERA, 27.1 IP, 3 HR, 12/28 BB/K)
Natividad Dilone:  3 IP, walk, 3 K
Joe Kantakevich:  2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, walk, K
Ryan Moorer:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (23 app, 4.10 ERA, 26.1 IP, 1 HR, 12/19 BB/K)
Justin Souza:  1 IP, walk (23 app, 4.25 ERA, 29.2 IP, 3 HR, 8/30 BB/K)
Jake Wild:  1 IP, 2 H, 3 K (17 app, 2.65 ERA, 37.1 IP, 2 HR, 10/38 BB/K)
Maximo Mendez:  2-4, double, R, RBI, 2 K (268/355/391)
Juan Diaz:  1-4, double, 2 RBI, K (237/281/299)
Alex Liddi:  2-3, R (240/298/350)

Thanks to Edward Paredes doing his Big Brown impression with help from an inability to locate, the T-Rats fell quickly into a 4-0 hole, and failed to record an out in the 2nd before ceding to Keith Meyer, who along with Joe Kantakevich was making his untriumphant return (aka 'Welcome back home, losers') to Wisconsin.  Meyer ALSO failed to record an out in the 2nd, hurting his arm after two batters as this game quickly took on the appearance of a flaming bag of feces for the T-Rats, and replacing Meyer was the much more triumphant return of Natividad Dilone, who got the Bees to pop out, strike out, strike out to end the frame.

Dilone pitched much better, not allowing a hit in the 3rd either, as the T-Rats awoke in the bottom 3rd.  Alex Liddi bunted him aboard, then turned for 2nd as pitcher Alexander Cabrera threw YIKES AND AWAY past 1st base.  With one out, Blake Ochoa got on after Cabrera elected to throw his tapbacker to 3rd to try and get Liddi, who instead stayed put at 2nd. Maximo Mendez then doubled down the RF line to cash in Liddi, 5-1 Bees, and put runners at scoring position.  Juan Diaz doubled over David Lough in left to cash in both runners and cut the lead to 5-3... but Edilio Colina and Ronald Garth both grounded to 1st to kill the rally dead.

Joe Kantakevich's untriumphant return did not end with an arm injury, but he did get shelled for 3 more Burlington runs in the 6th that put this game on ice.

A+:  Stockton 19, High Desert 7
(League:  267/338/400... 4.44 ERA)

Keith Renaud:  4 IP, annihilated (14 GS +1, 7.68 ERA, 72.2 IP, 12 HR, 49/40 BB/K)
Julio Santiago:  1.1 IP, OH THE HUMANITY (22 app, 4.83 ERA, 31.2 IP, 1 HR, 21/27 BB/K)
Austin Bibens-Dirkx:  2.2 IP, MAKE IT STOP (24 app, 6.42 ERA, 33.2 IP, 7 HR, 11/22 BB/K)
Michael Wagner:  1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, walk, and that's far better than the others (28 app, 5.02 ERA, 33.2 IP, 9/26 BB/K)
Carlos Peguero:  3-5, double, 2 R, RBI, K (307/328/488)
Chris Minaker:  2-3, double, R (291/327/462)
Jose Yepez:  1-3, double, R, RBI, walk (267/328/400)
Erick Monzon:  1-3, triple, R, 3 RBI (186/250/280)

This was an awesome game.

AA:  West Tenn 4, Huntsville 3, 11 innings
(League:  260/340/393... 4.16 ERA)

Craig James (!): 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER (HR), walk, K (1st start, 4.75 ERA, 30.1 IP, 3 HR, 14/32 BB/K)
Roman Martinez:  1.2 IP, 1 ER, walk, K (19 app, 5.48 ERA, 23 IP, 1 HR, 13/19 BB/K)
Jason Mackintosh:  no outs recorded, 1 H (23 app, 3.71 ERA, 26.2 IP, 1 HR, 6/14 BB/K)
Shawn Kelley, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 K (6 app, 0 ER, 7 IP, 3/9 BB/K)
Mumba Rivera:  2 IP, 1 H, 4 K (26 app, 2.43 ERA, 29.2 IP, 1 HR, 9/33 BB/K)
Marwin Vega:  1 IP, K (24 app, 4.85 ERA, 39 IP, 2 HR, 29/24 BB/K)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-5 (229/294/294)
Mike Wilson:  2-4, RBI, walk (272/355/534)
Adam Moore:  4-5, solo HR, K (311/383/473)
Greg Halman:  1-4, solo HR, K
Luis Valbuena:  2-4, R, walk (305/378/488)

So surprise, surprise, Craig James got the start, and I suppose we shouldn't be surprised given that the rotation's thin with Rich Dorman promoted and, even with Anderson Garcia getting promoted to AA, they wanted someone who was ready to go.  James, having not worked more than 2-3 innings at a time, wasn't exactly an obvious choice to go, but he went ahead and gave the DIAMOND JAXX a solid effort.

One blemish was the first run of the game, in the 2nd, when Angel Salome took him deep to make it 1-0.  Matt LaPorta immediately doubled over Mike Wilson in RF to spell trouble, but Cole Gillespie flew out, Chris Errecart grounded out harmlessly and Mike Bell struck out, a strong response from James and Co to the big blasts.

The DIAMOND JAXX got it back anyway in the 3rd.  Luis Valbuena led off with a single, Brent Johnson got plunked, Jeff Dominguez bunted them over for one out, and Mark Kiger's groundout to short got Valbuena in for two outs before Mike Wilson lined a single to left to cash in Brent and make it 2-1 JAXX.

Adam Moore led off the 4th with a solo shot to straightaway center to make it 3-1, and James found little trouble until the 5th.  Mike Bell grounded to 3rd, and with Bell close to beating it out, Mark Kiger rushed the throw and threw YIKES AND AWAY to give Bell 2nd.  Freddy Parejo bunted Bell to 3rd for one out, and Michael Brantley's groundout to first cashed in Bell to make it 3-2.  Alcides Escobar beta out a grounder to short, but Mat Gamel's liner found Greg Halman in center for the 3rd out, and that was that for Craig James.

Groundballs:  9 (plus 1 bunt)
Flyballs:  4 (1 HR)
Line Drives:  5
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  1

Roman Martinez ran into trouble in the 7th.  Mike Bell drew a one out walk, but ran into the 2nd out on a Freddy Parejo grounder to short.  Roman took a seat for lefty Jason Mackintosh, who watched LHB Michael Brantley line a single to right to put runners at the corners, and he got pulled for Shawn Kelley, who hadn't allowed an earned run since his initial promotion to High Desert from Wisconsin.  Alcides Escobar lined a single to right to cash in Parejo and tie the ballgame, but Mat Gamel struck out to end the frame, and technically, the run was charged to Roman since he put the runner on, and so Kelley's innings streak without an earned run ultimately ran to 19, as he pitched the 8th without trouble.

Jeff Dominguez lined a single with one out in the 9th, stole 2nd, took 3rd on Mark Kiger's groundout for two outs... and watched as Mike Wilson grounded out to short to end the top 9th.  Closer Mumba Rivera then struck out the side (!) to send us to extras.

Adam Moore lined a single with one out in the 10th and got lifted after a 4 hit game for pinch runner Ronnie Prettyman (with Valbuena playing 3rd for Mangini, it looks like the JAXX are done for now with the punchless Prettyman playing 3B everyday)... only for Jon Nelson to ground into the 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.

Luis Oliveros came in to catch for Mumba Rivera in the bottom 10th.  Michael Brantley's liner found Brent Johnson in LF, Alcides Escobar flew to center but Greg Halman camped under it for the 2nd out, and though Mat Gamel smoked a single into right, Angel Salome struck out to end the 11th.

Greg Halman, hitless in his first 8 AA at bats, came up to lead off the 11th and took Robert Hinton deep for his first hit, first run, first RBI, first home run and first game changing impact play in AA, giving the DIAMOND JAXX a 4-3 lead in the top 11th.  Jeff Dominguez did single with two outs, but got caught stealing to end the frame.

With Mumba Rivera extended beyond comfort from two innings of work, Marwin Vega came in to close the bottom 11th, and pitched a 1-2-3 11th for his 2nd save of the season to seal the deal.

AAA:  Tacoma 8, Las Vegas 1
TAC:  37-36... LVG:  41-34
(League:  273/345/433... 4.70 ERA)

Andrew Baldwin:  6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, walk, 3 K, hit batter (15 app, 10 GS, 6.10 ERA, 59 IP, 4 HR, 20/36 BB/K)
Cesar Jimenez:  1 IP, 1 H, K, hit batter (25 app, 3.67 ERA, 34.1 IP, 3 HR, 8/44 BB/K)
Jon Huber:  2 IP, 2 H, K (25 app, 6.25 ERA, 31.2 IP, 1 HR, 9/24 BB/K)
Tug Hulett:  2-5, R, walk, SB (278/349/428)
Yung Chi Chen:  2-6, double, RBI (248/307/326)
Victor Diaz:  2-5, double, R, 3 RBI, 2 K (296/378/479)
Shawn Garrett:  2-5, R, RBI (282/323/410)
Michael Saunders:  3-5, 2 run HR, 3 R, K
Oswaldo Navarro:  4-5, double, K (290/367/366)

Phat Andy 22:  You know... it happens every time.  You haters think I'm done for.  And then you come to the plate and I catch you napping AGAIN.  And then I got to own you boys again- HEY.
Jason Repko:  [gets plunked]
Phat Andy:  That's for sucking, and hating on the Phatman.
Jason Repko:  WHAT
Phat Andy:  Hey, check me out...
Phat Andy:
The haters say, "PHAT ANDY, you phat front running maggot
Nice ERA, Moyer bait, you're pitching like a [COATHANGER]
We never hear your shit unless you pitch into the 6th...."
I tell them when I pitch like crap I like to plead the 5th
Cause I know when to run my mouth, unlike you stupid bitches
Who runs your mouths after hacks crap all on your suck pitches
Like Jarrod Washburn ruuning Kenji over with the bus
But I go to the pen and fix my shit without a fuss
Today, it's hot in Vegas and my offspeed's even hotter
I shut em DOWN in the desert like my name's Aaron Cotter
But this ain't no High A league: This is triple A
And I ain't here to pitch BP: Phat Andy's here to play
Repko took one on the arm to teach his ass a lesson
That all you Dodger bitches rallies all look so depressing
This is all you got?  I thought this was a launchpad
But I make Cashman look like McAfee the way you hit that
I left for Cesar Jimenez, he said E tu Brute?
And stabbed your rallies in the back and sent your ass away
The Rainiers grabbed their bats and blew your pen up like Godfather
WLAD and Victor grabbed their bats and took you to the slaughter
Victor Diaz and Shawn Garrett pounding RBIs
Your ERA is 51, your bullpen's catching flies
Pass a ball, Rene Rivera!  Nice play, waste of space
Michael Saunders came on home and stuck it in your face
Act III, Inning 9... STOP!  HUBERTIME
Finishing what Phatman started, end of the line.

Word to your mother... JASON REPKO.  I'll plunk you again, boy, don't try me.

Michael Saunders:  Do I get to rap? I had a really good game-
Michael Saunders: 

Groundballs:  12
Flyballs:  4
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  3
Walks:  1 (plus 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  3