Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sonnanstine on league list, but ???

Montgomery's Andy Sonnanstine was picked to the Southern League's postseason All-Star team Thursday. Sonnanstine is the league's top right-handed pitcher, but another right-hander is the league's most outstanding pitcher.

Jacksonville's Spike Lundberg, 29, is 14-2 with a 2.36 ERA. Sonnanstine is 15-7 with a 2.77 ERA.

Chattanooga's Joey Votto, to no surprise, won the most valuable player award. Jacksonville's John Shoemaker won the manager of the year award. Shoemaker is the first two-time winner of the award.

No other Biscuit landed on the postseason All-Star team, which is picked in a vote of the league's managers, broadcasters, general managers and beat writers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Delmon takes flight

Delmon Young started what should be a stellar career Tuesday.

The Chicago White Sox welcomed him to the majors by hitting him with the first pitch of his first at-bat. (I wonder if Ozzie Guillen stood at the top step when it happened and held his hands high in triumph. What a glory hog.)

Delmon may have struck out in his next at-bat, but responded with the first of many, many home runs in the sixth inning.

He could have made a first-inning catch that would have taken away a Chicago home run. He looked like he didn't jump, but I think an unfamiliarity with Comiskey Park (or whatever it's called now) and the fence aborted Delmon's effort. One thing about him, he goes all-out.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Delmon a major-leaguer

Delmon Young will make his major-league debut Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, according to the good folks at The St. Petersburg Times.

UPDATE: Rick Vaughn, Tampa Bay's vice president of public relations, has confirmed that Young has been promoted.

Niemann wins award

The Southern League picked Montgomery's Jeff Niemann for its weekly pitching award Monday. Niemann allowed one run in 13 innings and won twice last week. He allowed six hits, walked five and struck out 14.

Niemann's seven shutout innings last Monday at Jacksonville helped the Biscuits pull into a first-place tie with the Suns in the South Division. He beat Birmingham on Saturday with a six-inning, three-hit victory.

He's 5-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 13 starts. He has 78 strikeouts and has allowed 52 hits in 72 innings.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday's Shaggy update

Chairon Isenia left the hospital Sunday after a two-day stay and resting at his Montgomery apartment following Friday's concussion.

The Biscuits put Isenia on the disabled list, but the catcher is expected to return to Riverwalk Stadium on Monday. He won't play until at least late in the week.

Delmon to be in ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine is planning a story on Delmon Young. You've been warned.
(How do I know? Unfortunately, they interviewed me.)

Despite his troubles, Delmon deserves to make his major-league debut next month when the major-league rosters expand. Look for his April bat throw at an umpire to be a big subject when the Rays play at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 12-14 and at Fenway Park on Sept. 26-27.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shaggy update

Biscuits catcher Chairon Isenia will spend a second night at Baptist South after leaving Friday's game. Isenia is doing well, coaches and teammates said, but doctors are keeping him one more night for observation.

Isenia doesn't remember the eighth-inning collision that left him with a concussion, one main reason doctors extended his hospital stay. X-rays revealed no broken bones.

Birmingham's Cory Aldridge, the player who ran over Isenia, is out of the lineup Saturday with a neck strain suffered in the collision.

System check

International League South
RF Delmon Young has a .320 average, eight home runs and 57 RBIs in 84 games. He's 22-of-26 on steals.
RHP Brian Stokes has been removed from the rotation. He has allowed five hits in three shutout relief appearances. Stokes is 7-7 with a 4.19 ERA.
1B Wes Bankston is hitting .321 in his last 13 games with eight runs scored and six RBIs. He has a .293 average for the season.
LHP Chris Seddon gave up one earned run over six innings to win Thursday. He's 9-7 with a 4.92 ERA.
C Shawn Riggans has a .291 average, 11 home runs and 54 RBIs.
SS Matthew Maniscalco has a .196 average in 17 games.

California League North
C John Jaso is hitting .303 with 22 doubles and seven homers. He's knocked in 48 runs and scored 52.
LHP Jon Barratt has allowed hitters a .235 average. He's 8-6 with a 3.07 ERA.
3B Patrick Cottrell has a .419 average and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games. He has a .264 average this year.
1B Chris Nowak is 15-for-44 with 14 RBIs in his last 11 games. He has a .309 average, 10 home runs and 97 RBIs.
CF Fernando Perez has scored 113 runs in 124 games. He has a .299 average with 69 walks and 125 strikeouts. He's 32-of-47 on steals.

Midwest League East
RHP Wade Davis threw six shutout innings in a no-decision Friday. He gave up three hits, walked none and struck out eight. He has 158 strikeouts in 139 innings.
RHP Matt Walker is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in four August starts. He's 5-4 with a 2.75 ERA this season.
LHP Michael Wlodarczyk lost Friday despite allowing one run over six innings in the second game of a doubleheader. He has 120 strikeouts and 54 walks this year.

New York-Penn League McNamara
RHP Jeremy Hellickson allowed one earned run over 6.2 innings Friday, lowering his ERA to 2.00 in 67.2 innings. Hitters have a .191 average against Hellickson, who is 2-3.
RHP Woods Fines threw six shutout innings Wednesday in a no-decision. He's 5-3 with a 2.78 ERA.
CF John Matulia is 7-of-18 in his last four games, pushing his average to .248.

Appalachian League East
CF Desmond Jennings knocked in four runs Wednesday. He has 10 hits in his last seven games.
RHP Tyree Hayes has a 3-0 record and a 2.65 ERA in 34 innings. He's walked eight and struck out 23.
RHP Chris Andujar is 3-4 with a 5.40 ERA.

Those who strayed from the Rays
RHP Jose Veras has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances with Class AAA Columbus (Yankees). He's saved 21 games and allowed hitters a .227 average.
2B Fernando Cortez has a .378 average in his last 10 games for Class AAA Omaha (Royals). He's hitting .261 in 57 games.
RHP Carlos Hines put together four straight shutout appearances before Thursday's two-run, two-inning outing at Class AAA Fresno (Giants). He's 2-4 with two saves and a 4.91 ERA.
IF Dan DeMent had three RBIs Friday with Class AAA New Orleans (Nationals), but is hitting only .204 in 13 games.
RF Brian Martin is 0-for-21 since Aug. 7 at Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals). His average has dipped to .239.
RHP John Webb is 6-11 with a 4.51 ERA for Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals). He's allowed 196 hits in 161.2 innings.
RHP Jose Diaz picked up his first win with Class AAA Omaha (Royals) last Sunday. He's 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA in nine appearances.
RHP Travis Minix, by allowing only one run in his last 10 games, has a 2.17 ERA in 38 appearances for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Phillies).
C Robinson Cancel is slugging .455 and has swiped 28 bases for independent Edinburg. He's hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs.
RHP Willie Glen has 104 strikeouts in 22 starts with independent Gary. He's 9-5 with a 3.91 ERA.
LHP Yorkin Ferreras is 4-6 with a 3.13 ERA at independent San Angelo. He has struck out 65 in 69 innings.

Shaggy stays overnight

Biscuits catcher Chairon Isenia spent the night at Baptist Medical Center South after leaving Riverwalk Stadium in an ambulance Friday.

Isenia was knocked unconscious for in an eighth-inning collision. X-rays at the hospital came back negative, but Isenia will miss at least a few days, the team's trainer said.

"It's tough to say right now," Mark Vinson said late Friday. "I think he'll be back before the end of the year. It's obviously going to be a few days before he plays again."

Isenia was unconscious for "about 15-20" seconds, Vinson said. The injury caused a 21-minute delay in the game and emergency personnel drove onto the field to tend to Isenia.

Vinson said Isenia was responsive and talking at the hospital, "but I don't think he remembers a lot about what happened." Isenia, who stayed overnight for observation, is one of the most popular players in the clubhouse and with Montgomery's fans.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Move coming?

The Biscuits scratched Mike Prochaska from Friday's start and turned to Tony Peguero. Manager Charlie Montoyo said it was because there is the possibility of a move involving Class AAA Durham.

Prochaska said he was supposed to throw out of the bullpen Friday night, but (as of the eighth inning) he hasn't.

I don't know yet, but could Prochaska be on deck to start Saturday and Jeff Niemann is getting promoted?? Maybe Andy Sonnanstine is moving up and Prochaska starts Sunday??

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MVP Brignac

Biscuits shortstop Reid Brignac won a league's most valuable player award Tuesday.

The Class A California League picked Brignac, who was promoted early this month from the Visalia Oaks to the Biscuits. Brignac spent the day basking in the honor -- he had the night off for Montgomery's win at Jacksonville.

Brignac's MVP award is like Delmon Young's last season with the Biscuits. Young left for Class AAA Durham just after the All-Star Game but left enough of an impression to be the MVP. Brignac played in 100 games for the Oaks and still ranks among the league leaders in several offensive categories.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Arizona roster

I went 2-for-5 on my "Arizona guesses."

Here's the seven Devil Rays headed to the Arizona Fall League ...
RHP Jeff Niemann -- said during the last home series he was going.
LHP Jeff Ridgway -- said last week he's going, after the Olympic qualifier.
RHP Jeremy Flanagan -- I missed this guess and, honestly, can't remember my pick at the moment. (I cheated and looked. I had guessed Juan Salas. I'll bet he's lined up a winter gig instead.)
LHP Brian Henderson -- thank you, thank you very much. I picked correctly.

1B Wes Bankston -- again, thank you very much. Another one correct.
OF Fernando Perez -- speedy outfielder at Visalia who needs to cut down on strikeouts. So much for my John Jaso guess.
SS Ben Zobrist -- already in the major leagues. I had pegged Reid Brignac.

They'll be playing for the mighty Phoenix Desert Dogs.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Arizona guesses

The Arizona Fall League rosters are due out Monday and each major-league team, I'm told, will send seven players (four pitchers, three position players). Two pitchers have already told me they're headed to the desert, but who will be the others?

Jeff Niemann missed the first half of the year after offseason surgery. He could sip on a cup of major-league coffee in September before heading to Arizona.

Jeff Ridgway made 50 relief appearances between Montgomery and Durham before his country called. He's playing for Team USA in an Olympic qualifier in Havana that starts late this month, but said he's bound for the AFL, too.

As for the guesses, I have three position players and two pitchers to work with.

Wes Bankston went last year, but his extended stay on the disabled list might mean a return trip. Bankston missed six weeks with an oblique injury, though he's since been promoted from the Biscuits to Durham. He also played in the AFL last year.

Juan Salas has had a dominating year with Montgomery and Durham and has 46 appearances combined, but he's also not a highly experienced pitcher. Salas converted from third base to the mound barely two years ago. He'll probably be in the majors next year, so the AFL would be a good step.

I don't see Elliot Johnson or Shawn Riggans going. Johnson was tremendous the first half of the year and has tapered off lately. He has a hip injury that he said needs some extended rest. He also has a wedding. Riggans has put up stout numbers with Durham and has (from what I can tell) stayed healthy. He should be in Tampa Bay's plans for next year and the Rays shouldn't risk it.

I also don't see Evan Longoria going, but it's a chancy guess. Of course, if Longoria went, he'd finish his run through the time zones within four months of being drafted. He's already played for teams in the Eastern, Pacific and Central time zones, so a little Mountain time would finish it. Longoria has also been playing meaningful games since Long Beach State's season started and has had a whirlwind first pro season. The Rays have said they plan to try him at some other positions than his native third (specifically second). They'll do that in their instructional league.

Reid Brignac, on the other hand, could be on board. Brignac wasn't projected to stay at shortstop, but has continued to hit and hasn't been a defensive liability. The Rays may need to make a final decision on his future. So far, to my untrained eye, he hasn't shown a strong arm at short. He also hasn't missed any plays he should have made because of that arm.

John Jaso has played a mere 20 games at catcher because of surgery last offseason. He's clubbed the ball all season at Visalia. Arizona will be a good place to see if he will stay a catcher and how well he does against top-notch pitching.

In order to cast as broad a net as possible (and hedge my bets), I'll say Jason Pridie would also be a distinct possibility. Pridie has had a disappointing year with the Biscuits, but his speed and aggressive play make him intriguing. The Twins took him in the major-league Rule V draft last year.

That leaves me one pitcher.

Andy Sonnanstine would be ideal (his lack of overpowering "stuff" hasn't stopped him from getting hitters out), but he's also put up a lot of innings. With three scheduled starts left, he's on pace to exceed last year's 180 2/3.

Oh, I've got it. I'll go with Brian Henderson. He hasn't thrown a lot this season (41 2/3 compared to 55 last year and 63 1/3 in 2004). Henderson has 12 holds and hasn't had a heavy workload. Though this is his third season with the Biscuits, Henderson is only 24 years old.

Now I'll wait and see how wrong I am.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

System check

International League South
C Shawn Riggans has 15 hits and eight RBIs in his last nine games, running his season numbers to .297 with 53 RBIs. He's hit 24 doubles and 11 home runs.
1B Kevin Witt homered again Friday, giving him 36 this season. He's set Tampa Bay's minor-league record and is three shy of a 76-year-old Durham franchise record. Witt is hitting .293 with 97 RBIs.
RHP Jason Hammel struck out a season-high 13 in a no-decision Wednesday. He allowed four hits and one run over seven innings. In his last two starts, Hammel has struck out 23 and walked none.
RF Delmon Young has a .321 average, eight homers, 54 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. He's homered twice in his last five games.
LHP J.P. Howell is 2-0 with three walks and 14 strikeouts in two starts since returning from Tampa Bay.
RHP Jim Magrane is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA after allowing six earned runs in 4.2 innings Friday.

California League North
C Josh Arhart is 11-for-24 with eight RBIs and six runs scored in his last five games. He's hitting .313 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs.
1B Chris Nowak has 17 RBIs in his last 12 games and has 91 this year. On Friday, Nowak was 2-for-3 with three walks, three RBIs and three runs scored.
CF Fernando Perez, who has scored 107 runs, scored twice and knocked in three runs Friday.
RHP Chris Mason is 0-3 with a 9.64 ERA in his last three starts. He's 11-9 with a 4.78 ERA this season.

Midwest League East
LHP Michael Wlodarczyk and RHP Celso Rondon combined on a no-hitter in Friday's 12-0 home win over Peoria.
Wlodarczyk threw eight innings to win for only the third time since May. Wlodarczyk, who walked three and struck out seven, is 8-9 with a 3.45 ERA this year.
Rondon struck out the side in the ninth in his Southwest Michigan debut. He had a 1.93 ERA in 14 appearances at Hudson Valley when he was promoted.
CF Jackson Brennan was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, three runs scored and three RBIs Friday. He's hitting .271 with 31 walks in 53 games.
LHP Jake McGee, who has a league-high 157 strikeouts, went on the disabled list Thursday with a tired arm.
RHP Wade Davis has 150 strikeouts in 133 innings. He's 7-11 with a 3.32 ERA and has allowed hitters a .247 average.

New York-Penn League McNamara
OF William Stewart has a .273 average, 17 RBIs and 15 runs scored in 38 games.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw a perfect inning in Wednesday's league All-Star Game. He's 2-3 with a 2.25 ERA and a .174 average against.
OF Ryan Royster was 1-for-2 with a run scored in the All-Star Game. Royster has a .251 average.

Appalachian League East
3B Michael McCormick is hitting .287 with 33 walks and 22 strikeouts.
RHP Aneudi Cuevas has an 0.84 ERA in 11 appearances.
C Nevin Ashley is hitting .326 with 25 RBIs and 22 runs scored.

Those who strayed from the Rays
2B Fernando Cortez has eight hits in his last four games at Class AAA Omaha (Royals). He has a .262 average. After playing five straight games in center field, Cortez has played four straight in the infield.
3B Rico Washington was 2-for-5 in each of his last two games with Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals). He's hitting .230.
IF Dan DeMent is hitting .150 in six games since being promoted to Class AAA New Orleans (Nationals).
C Iker Franco is hitting .243 with eight homers and 40 RBIs for Class AA Springfield (Cardinals). He's 3-for-28 since returning to the active lineup.
RHP Carlos Hines is 2-4 with two saves and a 4.84 ERA for Class AAA Fresno (Giants).
RHP Franklin Nunez has been released at Class AAA Richmond (Braves). He had a 1-6 record, two saves and a 6.09 ERA.
LHP Sam Walton allowed two runs in one inning Tuesday for Class AA Midland (A's). He's 1-4 with a 2.42 ERA, 15 walks and 19 strikeouts in 22.1 innings.
RHP Jose Diaz gave up three runs in one inning Friday with Class AAA Omaha (Royals). He's 0-3 with a 10.57 ERA in seven appearances.
RF Brian Martin has a .254 average for Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals).
RHP Travis Minix has allowed one run in his last nine appearances at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Phillies). He has a 2.22 ERA.
RHP Willie Glen has allowed hitters a .225 average for independent Gary. He's 8-4 with a 3.88 ERA.
RHP Josh Parker is 5-7 with a 4.86 ERA with independent Amarillo.
C Robinson Cancel is hitting .290 with 41 walks and 26 steals at independent Edinburg.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Longoria has "minor" injury, nothing more

With how quickly Evan Longoria has risen through Tampa Bay's system, I admit I thought something might be up when Longoria suddenly left Wednesday's late game.

Of course, it was nothing.

Longoria fouled a ball off his left leg in the opener, but stayed in the game. He hit a bloop single in the nightcap, went station-to-station and scored a run. An inning later, Gabriel Martinez suddenly was in the game at third and Longoria was nowhere to be found.

He's supposed to miss Thursday's game and could return just in time for a major test. Chattanooga's Homer Bailey pitches Friday and is supposed to be the real deal. Friends have asked me the last two weeks about which game of this series might be the best to see. I've told all of them: "The one Homer Bailey is pitching."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ridgway on Team USA

Former Biscuits pitcher Jeff Ridgway is playing for Team USA in an Olympic qualifying tournament that starts late this month in Havana, Cuba.

Ridgway started the year with Montgomery, moved up to Durham in May and will be in Communist Cuba for the end of the minor-league season. The 12-team qualifier starts Aug. 26 and the top two teams secure spots in the 2008 Beijing Games.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Longoria wins league honor

The Southern League picked Biscuits third baseman Evan Longoria for its weekly hitting award Monday.

Longoria was 10-for-25 with three home runs and seven RBIs over the last seven days. He homered twice Sunday at Mobile. Longoria jumped to Class AA Montgomery on Aug. 4 and has a .378 average, four homers and 12 RBIs in nine games.

He was Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick two months ago and has hit 16 homers in 45 professional games.

What a Dirtbag!
(Reference to his college team, Long Beach State.)

Glad I missed that one

Sure, if you've sat there from the beginning, there's something to be said for resilience when you hunker down for a extra-large, extra-inning game.

But, there are those times you laugh and thank a higher power that you weren't in attendance, too.

Jacksonville beat West Tenn 5-2 in a mere 20 innings Sunday -- Montgomery native Craig Brazell ended it with a three-run home run -- and I couldn't be happier that I wasn't at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Diamond Jaxx tied the game in the eighth inning and looked to win it in the 19th. West Tenn scored a run and surely celebrated with glee. Too bad Jacksonville answered in the bottom of the 19th and extended the agony.

Brazell's game-ending blast didn't end either team's day. The game was the completion of a game suspended Saturday night. Sunday's regularly scheduled game was only seven innings long, but it didn't start until 8:23 p.m.

West Tenn's 4-1 victory ended at 10:07 p.m. (That pulled the Biscuits to within a game of the division-leading Suns.)

Let's give the Diamond Jaxx an hour to shower, eat, dress, pack the bus and leave. According to, it's a mere 720 miles back to Jackson, Tenn. Considering the time of day, let's say it's a 10-hour drive. Remembering the change to Central time, that puts the Diamond Jaxx back home about 8 a.m., just in time for an off day.

Ah, the plush life of minor-league baseball.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

System check

International League South
C Shawn Riggans is 9-for-28 in his last seven games. He's hitting .293 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs this year.
RHP Jason Hammel struck out a season-high 10 and walked none over 5.1 innings in a no-decision Friday. He gave up two earned runs.
RF Delmon Young was 3-for-5 Friday to extend a hitting streak to nine games. In the streak, he has seven RBIs. This year, Young has a .339 average, six homers and 51 RBIs in 69 games.
RHP Chad Orvella is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA. He's struck out 51 and walked nine in 36.1 innings.
LF Joel Guzman has eight hits, including three solo homers, in his last five games.
RHP Juan Salas gave up his third earned run Thursday on a solo homer and picked up his first loss. He's 1-1 with two saves, a 1.27 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.
RHP Doug Waechter is 1-8 with an 8.48 ERA.

California League North
C Josh Johnson was 2-for-3 in his Oaks debut Thursday. Johnson has played at four levels this season (in order): Montgomery, Durham, Princeton and Visalia.
C Josh Arhart has a .305 average, 21 doubles, 13 home runs and 54 RBIs.
CF Fernando Perez has scored twice in each of his last three games, giving him 100 runs scored in 112 games.
OF Sergio Pedroza is hitting .261 with one homer after eight games.
RHP Jarod Matthews is 0-7 with a 5.06 ERA.

Midwest League East
RHP Greg Dupas allowed three runs in one inning last Sunday, matching the runs he allowed in his previous 21 appearances. He's 4-2 with 24 saves and a 1.76 ERA.
RHP Kevin Lynn is 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 40 relief appearances. Lynn has 65 strikeouts and eight walks in 65 innings.
3B Cesar Suarez is hitting .305 with 39 runs scored and 30 RBIs in 69 games. He has 21 doubles.

New York-Penn League McNamara
1B Matt Fields knocked in 16 runs in a 12-game stretch that ended Friday. He has three homers, all in his last eight games, 23 RBIs and a .269 average.
LF Ryan Royster has at least one hit in 17 of his last 18 games. He's hitting .266.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson is 2-3 with a 2.12 ERA. He's walked one and struck out 20 in his last three starts.
RHP Woods Fines allowed one earned run and walked a season-high two over seven innings of a no-decision Friday, snapping a four-start win streak. He's 5-2 with a 3.05 ERA.
CF John Matulia has a .257 average, no homers and 12 RBIs in 40 games.

Appalachian League East
C Nevin Ashley is 15-for-24 in his current seven-game hit streak. He had three hits and four RBIs Wednesday. Ashley has a .345 average and 22 RBIs this year.
RHP Tyree Hayes' 19-inning shutout streak ended Wednesday with a five-run, five-inning no-decision. He's 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA.
CF Desmond Jennings is 25-for-29 on steals and has scored 37 runs. He's hitting .281.
RHP Aneudi Cuevas has an 0.93 ERA in 10 appearances. He's allowed seven hits, walked six and struck out nine.

Those who strayed from the Rays
2B Fernando Cortez has a .249 average for Class AAA Omaha (Royals). He's started his last three games in center field and has played five different positions since joining the team.
RHP Jose Diaz has given up seven earned runs in four appearances with Class AAA Omaha (Royals).
C Iker Franco is 1-for-12 in three games since coming off the disabled list at Class AA Springfield (Cardinals).
2B Dan DeMent has a .234 average, 18 home runs and 114 strikeouts for Class AA Harrisburg (Nationals).
RHP John Webb is 5-10 with a 4.63 ERA at Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals).
3B Rico Washington has a .225 average with Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals).
RF Brian Martin is 2-for-15 in his last five games at Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals), lowering his average to .268.
RHP Carlos Hines has a 2-4 record, two saves and a 4.98 ERA with Class AAA Fresno (Giants).
RHP Travis Minix is 0-3 with three saves at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Phillies). He has a 2.32 ERA.
RHP Dewon Brazelton is 4-4 for Class AAA Portland (Padres). He gave up five runs in seven innings in a loss Wednesday.
C Robinson Cancel has a .292 average and is 23-for-26 on steals at independent Edinburg.
RHP Josh Parker is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 90.1 innings for independent Amarillo.
RHP Willie Glen has a 7-4 record and a 4.04 ERA with independent Gary.
RHP Cam Smith is 4-5 with a 5.20 ERA at independent Lancaster. He's walked 57 and struck out 47 in 53.2 innings.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Morton rubs salt in it

Mobile catcher Colt Morton had five RBIs on Friday in the BayBears' 13-2 pasting of the Biscuits.

Morton hit a two-run double and a three-run home run to tie his career high for RBIs. He was promoted to the BayBears a month ago.

On July 5, 2003, in Morton's sixth professional game, he knocked in five runs for Eugene of the short-season Northwest League. He hit two home runs that day against Everett.

Mobile's 13 runs were the most surrendered by the Biscuits this year. The BayBears' 15-hit shelling tied Montgomery's worst night, joining Carolina (July 14), Mobile (June 17) and West Tenn (May 12).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Aren't scoring changes fun?

Apparently, someone has some sway with the scorekeeping in Mobile -- and it's not the official scorekeeper.

The Biscuits lost two hits late Wednesday, at least an hour after their 15-2 win over the BayBears. Elliot Johnson's triple and a Patrick Breen single disappeared.

I say it was at least an hour after the game because I typed the box score in for our Thursday edition about 10:45. At that point, Johnson and Breen both had two hits, which meant every Montgomery batter had at least two, and the BayBears had allowed only one unearned run. The changes also stripped Johnson of two RBIs and Breen of one.

After further review, the BayBears' pitching numbers improved and the defense was tagged with ~three~ additional errors. And it's not like Montgomery's offense has hits to spare.

Hopefully, Gabriel Martinez won't lose any of his team-record seven RBIs from the game. One of his two home runs might turn into an E-1.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oh baby, baby

Gina Peguero, the wife of Biscuits pitcher Tony Peguero, had the couple's second child today.
Brandon was born about 2 p.m., the coaches and players said. Tony isn't with the team tonight for obvious reasons.

"The guy came into the world a lucky guy: He doesn't look like his dad," Biscuits hitting coach Mako Oliveras cracked. "Thank God he doesn't look like Tony Peguero and looks like his mom."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Umpires' delay?!?

Sunday's game started 19 minutes late for an odd reason: The umpires were late.

The game was scheduled to start at 5:05 p.m., but the umpires had barely arrived at that point. By the time they dressed and scampered to the field, it was 5:24.

"We don't have time to talk right now," crew chief Ria Cortesio said as she headed to the field.

I've never seen an umpires' delay before. I'm sure it happens at the high school level when a coach moves a game time and forgets to inform the association that provides the school's umpires.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sonnanstine's streak over

Andy Sonnanstine won't win his 10th straight start tonight and stands a good chance of losing.

He's out after 5 1/3 innings, just after giving up a three-run triple to Michael Rosamond. Mississippi would have scored in the first had Biscuits center fielder Jason Pridie not made a spectacular catch at the right-center wall. Sonnanstine squirmed out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth when the Braves committed a mental error.

With one out, Josh Burrus flied out. Right fielder Justin Ruggiano made a strong enough throw that Luis Hernandez, the runner at third, decided to go back to third. Brandon Jones, the runner on second, had ventured too far toward third and was thrown out.

Heck of a run for Sonnanstine, though.

System check

International League South
SS Matthew Maniscalco was 1-for-4 with an RBI single in his debut Friday.
RHP Chris Flinn walked three in two-thirds of an inning and allowed a run in his debut Friday.
1B Kevin Witt hit his 32nd home run Friday and is two shy of Tampa Bay's minor-league single-season record. He has a .295 average and 89 RBIs.
RF Delmon Young has a .331 average, six home runs and 45 RBIs. He's 20-for-23 on steals.
1B Wes Bankston was 2-for-3 with two doubles Friday, pushing his average to .276 in 23 games.
RHP Juan Salas has a 0.93 ERA in 19.1 innings with eight walks and 24 strikeouts.
LHP Jeff Ridgway is 1-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 34.1 innings.
LF Joel Guzman is 2-for-11 in three games.

California League North
LHP Jon Barratt pitched 6.2 shutout innings to win Wednesday. He walked none and struck out eight. In his last five starts, he's 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA, five walks and 35 strikeouts.
CF Fernando Perez's .377 on-base percentage has led to 92 runs scored. He's 30-for-42 on steals and has 109 strikeouts.
C John Jaso has a .314 batting average and 33 RBIs. He hit his sixth homer Thursday.
RHP Chris Mason is 11-6 with a 4.23 ERA.
RHP James Houser has won his last four starts, allowing 18 hits in 23.2 innings. He's 10-4 with a 4.06 ERA and has won nine straight decisions.

Midwest League East
LHP Jacob McGee gave up two hits over five shutout innings to win the opener of a doubleheader Friday. He walked two and struck out 10. It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game. He's 7-8 with a 2.63 ERA.
RHP Matt Walker worked 6.1 shutout innings to win Friday's nightcap. He's 4-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 starts.
LHP Mike Wlodarczyk allowed one run over seven innings to win last Sunday and had a quality no-decision start Friday. He's 7-8 with a 3.13 ERA.

New York-Penn League McNamara
RHP Woods Fines is 3-0 with an 0.90 ERA in his last three starts, including seven shutout innings Tuesday. Fines is 4-2 with a 3.75 ERA this year. He has walked six and struck out 37.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson pitched five shutout innings in a win Wednesday. He's 2-3 with a 1.96 ERA, 10 walks and 52 strikeouts in 46 innings.
1B Matt Fields has 13 hits and 10 RBIs in his last seven games. He hit his first homer Friday.
OF Josh Hamilton hasn't played since July 29 because a left knee injury that will be checked out in Birmingham this week. He has a .260 average.

Appalachian League East
RHP Tyree Hayes threw a seven-inning, two-hit shutout Friday. He has not allowed a run in 19 innings and is 2-0.
OF Andrew Lopez, who hit a grand slam Tuesday, is hitting .285 with 19 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

Those who strayed from the Rays
RHP Willie Glen took a no-hitter into the ninth inning Tuesday for independent Gary. He gave up one hit on a bunt where his team failed to cover first base.
2B Dan DeMent hit two solo home runs Wednesday for Class AA Harrisburg (Nationals). He's hitting .239 with a career-high 18 home runs.
2B Fernando Cortez has a .322 average in his last 14 games at Class AAA Omaha (Royals). He has a .248 average.
3B Rico Washington was 11-for-24 in a seven-game hit streak that ended Wednesday for Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals). He's hitting .227.
RHP Dewon Brazelton has won his last three starts for Class AAA Portland (Padres). He's 4-3 with a 2.67 ERA.
LHP Sam Walton is 1-3 with a 1.59 ERA at Class AA Midland (A's).
RHP Jose Diaz gave up two runs in two innings of his debut Thursday with Class AAA Omaha (Royals).
RHP Carlos Hines has gotten a loss in four of his last five appearances with Class AAA Fresno (Giants).
RHP Jesus Colome is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA at Class AAA Columbus (Yankees).
RF Brian Martin is 4-for-24 in his last seven games for Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals), lowering his average to .277.
RHP John Webb is 5-9 with a 4.17 ERA at Class AAA Memphis (Cardinals).
RHP Travis Minix worked a perfect inning Friday, his first outing since July 17 at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Phillies).
LHP Yorkin Ferreras gave up no earned runs and registered 13 strikeouts in a loss Friday for independent San Angelo.
RHP Josh Parker struck out 13 over seven innings Tuesday for independent Amarillo. Parker (3-7) gave up two runs and lost.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Flinn to Durham, too; Leandro TIA

Pitcher Chris Flinn has been promoted to Durham, marking the second Biscuit in three days to move up to Class AAA. The AP lists Flinn and Matthew Maniscalco's promotions in their daily transaction list.

Flinn hasn't pitched since June 27 and has been on Montgomery's inactive list. I'm not sure why he went up, unless someone at Durham got hurt or was headed to the majors, or maybe Flinn will be on the inactive list there. He was 1-6 with a 5.49 ERA this year with the Biscuits.

Flinn is a sixth-year pro who was a third-round pick in the 2001 draft. This will be his first experience at Class AAA.

To adjust for Evan Longoria's arrival, the Biscuits have put outfielder Francisco Leandro on the inactive list.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Brignac, Longoria staying together

Third baseman Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick this year, is also coming to Montgomery.

He and shortstop Reid Brignac, who are scheduled to debut with the Biscuits on Friday, will arrive in town today.

I didn't think the Rays would be this aggressive with Longoria, who has played only 36 pro games. He starred at Long Beach State this spring and was this year's top-rated position player. Tampa Bay picked him third overall.

He does have the numbers, combined between short-season Hudson Valley and high-Class A Visalia: .350 average, 12 home runs, 39 RBIs. He also has a decent walk-to-strikeout ratio: 18 walks and 24 whiffs.

This gives the Biscuits a revamped left side of the field Friday: Longoria at third, Brignac at short and Patrick Breen in left. If those guys can give Montgomery some needed offense, the Biscuits are easily in line to make noise in the playoffs. They already stood a good chance of reaching the postseason.

Sonnanstine league's top player for July

Biscuits pitcher Andy Sonnanstine won the Southern League's Player of the Month award for July, the league announced Thursday.

He was only 6-0 in his six starts with a 1.35 ERA and two shutouts. In his first start of the month, the right-hander was one out from a third complete game. In his last, which was July 30, he threw seven shutout innings.

Sonnanstine (12-6) has won his last nine starts. In those 70 2/3 innings, he has a 1.15 ERA, has allowed 38 hits, walked eight and struck out 50.

Sonnanstine, who leads the league in victories, is scheduled to go for his 10th straight win Saturday.

Bye, Maniscalco; Welcome, Brignac

Shortstop Reid Brignac will make his Biscuits debut Friday and Matthew Maniscalco is moving up to Class AAA Durham.

Maniscalco learned of the promotion after Wednesday's loss at Birmingham. I'll assume Brignac learned of the move after Visalia's win over Lancaster.

Brignac is one of Tampa Bay's top prospects, while Maniscalco is one of the system's best people. It's obvious how good of a guy Maniscalco is when you see how many people made their way from his hometown to see him play and the way he treats each person. Sometimes, it made you think Oxford is a suburb of Montgomery.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Knox released

Outfielder Patrick Breen is headed to Montgomery from Class A Visalia, but the move doesn't involve the Biscuits sending an outfielder to short-handed Durham.

Ryan Knox was released instead.

Knox bounced between the Biscuits and Bulls this season. When he was with Durham, he didn't get much playing time and hit .184 in 34 games. With Montgomery, he had a .149 average in 25 games.

Knox was here to start the season, but the Rays promoted him before the first game. He returned in late April and was in six games before Delmon Young's bat throw. To adjust the rosters for Young's 50-game suspension, Knox went back to the Bulls and Francisco Leandro jumped from Visalia to Montgomery.

Breen was primarily a left fielder with Visalia. He had a .282 average, 21 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dukes gone

The Devil Rays have suspended Elijah Dukes indefinitely.

Major-league talent with major personality issues. In the Baseball America story, he says he was misquoted in Friday's USA Today when he complained about conditions in Durham and having to shower in "sewer water."

He's tried to backtrack before. Last year, he turned down a belated invitation to the Southern League All-Star Game because he was picked as a replacement. I was on vacation after that and another reporter quoted him saying he turned it down and giving his reasons why. When I got back, he said he was misquoted and wasn't speaking to the media any more that season (thus denying himself the best chance of refuting the earlier story). Too bad the story was true.

This spring, about 20 minutes after I arrived in St. Pete, Delmon Young and I were talking and Delmon was talking about the media troubles he had that spring with a Montgomery TV station. Dukes walked by on his way to the shower.

His first words to me concerned all media: "I hate all of you m----- f-----s." My first words to him: "Hi, Eli. How you doing?"

A day or two after that, he started ranting in the clubhouse when he saw me about the stories saying Delmon's troubles last year were because they were roommates. Too bad I never wrote about them being roommates. I didn't care who they roomed with.

Later that week, Dukes was gone for a few days. One of the players said Dukes was out because he had a root canal ... "four of them," the player said. FOUR? I've never had a root canal -- knock on wood -- but I've heard enough that I sincerely felt bad for the guy. (And would for anyone with four root canals.)

The day Dukes returned, I was walking by his locker and didn't have a notepad up or anything because I predicted he wouldn't talk about it. Me: "Hey, Eli. Hope you're feeling better." I have trouble describing the look he gave me. It was one of pure disgust that I had even spoken to him.

He's good at baseball and good with children, but he's also a powderkeg who makes everyone around him uneasy. Maybe this will cause him to get his act together, but that's been said many, many times before.

2007 Biscuits schedule

The Southern League released the 2007 schedule today. The Biscuits open at home, the NCAA Division II tournament is coming back to Riverwalk and the AHSAA finals face a conflict.

The AHSAA says it will consider other cities for its championship series, while the city said it wants to keep them here. There will be a doubleheader June 2 with the Biscuits and the NCAA championship game.

April 5-9 -- West Tenn (Thursday opener)
April 11-15 -- at Chattanooga
April 16-20 -- at Birmingham
April 21-25 -- Huntsville (Saturday opener)
April 27-May 1 -- at Jacksonville

May 2-6 -- Mississippi (Wednesday opener)
May 7-11 -- Tennessee (Monday opener)
May 12-16 -- at West Tenn

May 17-21 -- Birmingham (Thursday opener) -- AHSAA finals run May 16-19
May 23-27 -- at Mississippi -- NCAA Division II starts May 26
May 28-June 1 -- at Huntsville

June 2-6 -- Carolina (Saturday opener) -- NCAA Division II ends June 2
June 7-11 -- at Mobile
June 13-17 -- Jacksonville (Wednesday opener)
end of first half

June 18-23 -- Mobile (Monday opener), six-game series
June 24-29 -- at Mississippi, six-game series
June 30-July 3 -- Birmingham (Saturday opener), four-game series

July 4-7 -- at Mobile, four-game series
July 9 -- Southern League All-Star Game at Mississippi
July 11-15 -- Mississippi (Wednesday opener)

July 17-21 -- at Carolina
July 23-27 -- Mobile (Monday opener)
July 28-Aug. 1 -- at Birmingham

Aug. 2-6 -- at Tennessee
Aug. 8-12 -- Chattanooga (Wednesday opener)
Aug. 14-18 -- Jacksonville (Tuesday opener)

Aug. 20-24 -- at Birmingham
Aug. 25-29 -- Carolina (Saturday opener)
Aug. 30-Sept. 3 -- at Jacksonville