Saturday, April 28, 2007

Minor Leaguer suspended

I'm all in favor of cracking down on "performance enhancing" substances. For example, I think Barry Bonds should be banned and all his home run records are fraud.

But every now and then, this whole "performance enhancing" thing hits close to home.

My local team was, until this year, an affiliate of the Dodgers. So, I've followed many of the Dodgers minor leaguers that played for the Columbus Catfish.

The Dodgers have suspended a former Catfish player for 50 games.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Jonathan Figueroa was suspended Friday for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Figueroa wasn't one of the Catfish players we got to know well, but he was still one of the Catfish. I hope he gets his situation straightened out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catfish End Augusta Unbeaten Streak

Columbus Catfish logoAfter opening the season with 12 straight wins, the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing to the Columbus Catfish Tuesday night, 5-1.

Augusta got on the board first in the top of the 3rd. 2B Marcus Sanders singled to center, then moved to second on LF Tyler Graham's single.s on a ground ball to center fielder Desmond Jennings. Marcus Sanders to 2nd. With one out, Sanders and Graham executed a double steal. Sanders then scored when 1B Brett Pill hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Catfish came back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, CF Desmond Jennings singled, and moved to third on a ball four passed ball that put RF Maiko Loyola on first. 3B Cesar Suarez doubled, driving in Jennings. DH Nevin Ashley sacrificed Loyola home, but the inning ended when Suarez was tagged out at second.

Augusta threatened in the 4th and 6th innings, putting runners in scoring position, but were unable to convert.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Catfish padded their lead, knocking Augusta starter Daniel Griffin from the game. Loyola led the inning with a short double that Augusta SS Brian Bocock couldn't handle. Suarez was hit by a pitch. Loyola scored on Ashley's double to center. That's when Griffin was lifted for reliever Benjamin Snyder. LF Quinn Stewart singled, bringing home Suarez. 2B Brett Grandstrand sacrificed Ashley home on a bunt to the pitcher.

Augusta put a runner on 3rd in the 7th, but again couldn't convert. Catfish reliever Brian Baker set down Augusta in the 8th, and Ryan Owen got three straight ground ball outs in the 9th to secure the win.

Griffin fell to 2-1 with the loss. Catfish starter Ryan Morse improved to 2-0, striking out 3 and walking 2 in 6 innings work, and now has an even 1.0 ERA.

The Catfish managed to strand 8 Greenjackets, 5 in scoring position.

Augusta drops to 12-1, with a 4-game lead. The Catfish are in 4rd place, a game out of second.

The 4-game series continues Wednesday night.

More: Columbus Catfish

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Augusta, Georgia just ain't no place to be

According to the old song by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Augusta, Georgia just ain't no place to be." *

And, apparently, neither is anywhere else the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) are playing.

The South Atlantic League (Class A) team improved their record to 10-0 Saturday night, with a 2-0 win over the visiting Charleston River Dogs (Yankees).

Starter Kevin Pucetas worked five shutout innings for the win and waited out a 28 minute rain delay while catcher Dayton Buller drove in both runs.

Pucetas (1-0) allowed five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four in his first start of the season for Augusta.

More: Augusta Greenjackets,
The Greenjackets were held to just 3 hits in the game, but 2 came in the 5th inning and, along with a walk, produced the games only runs.

The only other undefeated team in the minors is the Midwest League (Class A) Dayton Dragons, who are still 5-0 after having their 4th postponement of the season Saturday night.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Whitesell goes 5-for-5

Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 1B Josh Whitesell went 5-for-5 at the plate, including slamming two doubles and a home run, driving in 5 runs and scoring 3 times, as the Senators beat the Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 16-3 Saturday night.

The Senators amassed 23 hits in the attack.
Roger Bernadina, Juan Melo, and Seth Bynum all had three hits in the game. The Senators had three or more hits in five innings.

The offensive juggernaut started in the second inning when Whitesell had his two-run home run. They scored four in the second, three more in the fourth, two in the seventh and then five in the eighth.

In the eighth inning, Tony Blanco capped the evening off with a grand slam, his second hit of the night.

More: Harrisburg Senators,
The Senators and SeaWolves play in the Eastern League (Double-A).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Snow Day for the Midwest League

Every game scheduled ... all seven games involving all 14 teams ... Wednesday night in the Midwest League (Class A) was called on account of cold or cold-related weather issues.

The game between the Peoria Chiefs (Cubs) and the Swing of the Quad Cities (Cardinals) was delayed because of "heavy overnight rains and predicted cold temperatures."

The game between the visiting Burlington Bees (Royals) and the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Angels) was wiped out on account of snow.

The game between the Clinton LumberKings (Rangers) and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Mariners) was postponed on Wednesday because of snow, and finally cancelled on Thursday for the same reason.

The Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers) at the Fort Wayne Wizards (Padres) was called on account of rain, and was part of a Thursday double-header.

The Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) had to postpone their game with the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) when the snows hit.

The Dayton Dragons (Reds) game at the South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks) was snowed out Wednesday ... and the scheduled Thursday doubleheader makeup was also scratched.

The Kane County Cougars (Athletics) couldn't host the Beloit Snappers (Twins) Wednesday ... or Thursday ... because of the snow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Abreu 5-for-5, Bigbie 4-for-5 in 51s win

Las Vegas 51s (Dodgers) 2B Tony Abreu was perfect at the plate last night, helping lead the visitors to a 10-2 blowout of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies). Almost as perfect was CF Larry Bigbie, who was 4-for-5.

Abreu and Bigbie each scored three runs, although LF Delwyn Young led the team in RBIs, thanks to his 3-run homer in the 7th inning.

"Every year, I struggle at the beginning of the season. It seems like this is a good year and I'm going to continue to work hard," Abreu said through teammate and translator Luis Gonzalez. "Today was a good day. I'm going to keep trying with two singles and three singles a day. I'm seeing the ball pretty good."

Abreu clubbed a solo homer in the fifth inning to go with four singles. Bigbie was a home run shy of the cycle, collecting two singles, a double and a triple. Both players scored three times.

More: Las Vegas 51s
Las Vegas and Colorado Springs play in the Pacific Coast League (Triple A).

Lester blanks Catfish in rehab start

Boston Red Sox P Jon Lester pitched 4 shutout innings for the Greenville Drive (South Atlantic League, Class A) Tuesday, in his second rehab start.
Lester retired the first eight batters he faced, striking out five in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Catfish.

This was Lester's second rehab start for the Drive as he attempts to return to Boston's rotation after an offseason of cancer treatments.

In his first start in Charleston on Thursday, Lester shut out the New York Yankees' affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs, on two hits over four innings.

More: Boston Globe,, Columbus Catfish
Lester is scheduled to make two more starts for Greenville before the next Red Sox evaluation.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Two four-homer games

Two games in the minors on Sunday featured four home runs.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Bats (Reds) 1B Joey Votto, 3B Aaron Herr, and CF Dewayne Wise all hit home runs, as did Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) CF Timo Perez. The Bats bats came alive in the 3rd inning of the International League (Triple A) contest.

The Louisville Bats used a 10-run third inning, highlighted by a Joey Votto grand slam and home runs by Aaron Herr and Dewayne Wise, in a 13-3 rout over the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday. RHP Homer Bailey picked up the win in his first Triple-A start.

More: Louisville Bats, Toledo Mud Hens

In Adelanto, California, home of the High Desert Mavericks (Mariners), the home team and the visting Inland Empire 66ers (Dodgers) each hit a pair of homers.

For the 66ers, Blake DeWitt and Lucas May each hit homers for the second game in a row, while the Mavs' Jesus Guzman and Adam Moore also hit round-trippers.
Lucas May homered, tripled and doubled for Inland Empire, which scored four times in the 11th inning and beat host High Desert, 15-11, on Sunday.

In a game that featured four home runs and five hit batters, May came up huge with his go-ahead two-run triple. He doubled in the third and hit his third home run of the season in the fourth.

Gabriel Gutierrez doubled home Jamie Hoffman with the final insurance run. Hoffman went 3-for-5 with four RBI and Blake Dewitt drove in three for the 66ers.

More:, High Desert Mavericks, Inland Empire 66ers
The Mavericks and 66ers play in the California League (Class A Advanced).

Iowa, Round Rock pitchers combine for one-hitters

Round Rock Express
The good news for the Iowa Cubs was that pitchers Ryan O'Malley and Cory Bailey allowed the Round Rock Express (Astros) just one hit. The bad news was that Express pitchers Chad Reineke, Philip Barzilla, and Jose Rodriguez held the Cubs to a single hit, too. The worse news was that the Express scored on a wild pitch, while the Cubs never got a runner past first base. The Pacific Coast League (Triple A) game ended with Round Rock 1-0 winners over Iowa.
Reineke and Iowa starter Ryan O’ Malley each worked no-hitters into the fifth inning. Round Rock picked up its first and only hit when Barry Wesson drew a two-out walk in the fifth and Danny Ardoin followed up with a double.

Corey Bailey, who replaced O’Malley after the double, threw a wild pitch, allowing Wesson to score the game’s only run. Reineke worked 4 1/3 innings without allowing a walk or a hit before Scott Moore singled to right-center with one away in the fifth.

More: Round Rock Express, Iowa Cubs
The double one-hitter occurred in game two of a doubleheader.