Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Greetings from Fort Myers

Finals: Rays win 5-4 in Triple-A and 8-1 in Double-A.

Dubs, 8th: OK, I'm not doing this on purpose. Jennings hit a bloop hit-and-run single. Matt Hall follows with a two-run double.

2:10: I asked one of the Boston minor-leaguers about Prattville's Austin Bailey. He said Bailey has been out for a few days with pink eye.

2:03: Ken Rosenthal of Fox sports adds the Indians, Rangers and Nationals to the pile of suitors for Jason Hammel and/or Jeff Niemann. I'll link later. (I'm definitely a minor-leaguer on the Blackberry.) Here's the link, third item.

Dubs, 6th: Jennings up again in "big" situation. Two on, one out, Sox bring in new pitcher. Shortstop needed a nice play in the hole to get the runner at second. Otherwise, it's a single.

Bowers follows with double, easily scoring Jennings from first. Might Jennings break camp with Biscuits?

Dubs: Rollins hits pitch limit in fifth. Wlodarczyk finds runners on second and third with two outs, records K to end it. Rays lead 2-1.

Dubs: Jennings hits two-run single. Dance card potential with Paul Phillips, Mike Wlodarczyk and Ryan Reid.

Trips: Rashad Eldridge launches two-run homer.

Triple-A dance card includes Chris Mason and Neal Frontz ... and Eduardo Morlan.

Double-A, 2nd inning: Mollicone doubled. With two outs, Pedro Powell beat out an easy grounder to third. Jennings F-7 ends threat.

We're at the Red Sox complex in Fort Myers for the afternoon.

Check back for sporadic updates.

Starting pitchers: Calvin Medlock (Triple-A) and Heath Rollins.

Double-A: Desmond Jennings starts game with double off the CF wall. Stranded at third.

Houser moved to extended spring work list

The Rays have updated their work lists for spring training and they include one surprise.

Pitcher James Houser, seemingly slated to go to Triple-A Durham this year, is now on the extended spring roster. For someone of Houser's experience, that would hint that he's injured, but he said he's not.

"I feel good," Houser said. "I feel good."

Houser has been limited by injuries the past two seasons with the Biscuits.

One other thing that stood out on the updated work lists: pitcher David Newmann. He missed all of last season after tearing a knee ligament late in spring training and has yet to make his professional debut. He's on the high-Class A Charlotte work list. The left-hander was a fourth-round draft pick from Texas A&M in 2007.

Four former Biscuits among Tuesday releases

A new Tampa Bay minor-league spring roster doesn't include five names that were in camp Monday.

The five released today include four former Biscuits: pitchers Chuck Tiffany, Jon Barratt and Jeff Kamrath, and infielder Patrick Cottrell. Infielder Michael Ross is the fifth player no longer in camp.

Tiffany came to the Rays in a 2006 trade from the Dodgers and played in Montgomery in 2006. He made four starts before suffering a shoulder injury that shelved him until last year. The left-hander made 21 appearances last season at high-Class A Vero Beach.

Barratt and Kamrath were with the Biscuits last year. Kamrath suffered an early-season elbow injury, while Barratt left the team in April because of mental exhaustion. (Barratt was to be the subject of my main story Wednesday, too.)

Cottrell hit .223 for the Biscuits last season and won Tampa Bay's minor-league community service award.

Ross was a 35th-round draft pick in 2006 and played last year at short-season Hudson Valley.

**??: Infielder Drew Anderson doesn't appear on the roster but is on the newly updated work lists. Infielder Joseph Callender is the opposite (on roster, not on work lists).

[[I'm obviously discombobulated today since I keep writing that it's Monday.]]

Tuesday's slate: Rays vs. Red Sox

The Rays face the Red Sox in minor-league exhibitions today. The Double- and Triple-A games are in Fort Myers, while the others are here in Port Charlotte. The pitching dance card wasn't posted, but here are Tampa Bay's hitting/defensive lineups ...

Johnson, 2b
Brignac, ss
Ruggiano, rf
Hughes, 1b
Eldridge, cf
Suarez, 3b
Hall, lf
Asanovich, dh
Pedroza, dh
Spring, c
(Jamieson on bench)

Jennings, cf
Bowers, ss (Hall in sixth inning)
Fronk, rf
Fields, 1b
Gautreau, 3b
Chavez, 2b (Anderson in sixth)
Albernaz, c (Paxton in eighth)
Mollicone, dh
Powell, lf
Torres, dh

Salem, cf
O'Malley, ss (dh in sixth) (rules relaxed in minor-league spring)
Sexton, 3b
Wrigley, 1b
Vogt, c (dh in eighth)
Luna, 2b (ss in sixth)
J. Beckham, dh (2b in sixth)
Biell, rf
Williams, dh (c in eighth)
Reynolds, lf -- but he won't hit

Scelfo, cf
T. Beckham, ss (Luis in sixth)
Jefferies, c (dh in eighth)
McCormick, dh (c in eighth)
Sheridan, 1b
Corder, rf
Kang, dh
Velasquez, 3b
Estrada, 2b
Jones, lf

Morrison, lf
Otero, 2b (Marchena in sixth)
Reynolds, 3b (Cedeno in sixth)
Sonoqui, 1b
Acosta, c (Thomas in sixth)
Genoa, dh (Hauschild in sixth)
Francisco, dh
Novas, rf (Jacobo in sixth)
Cuello, ss
Bryles, cf

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ridgway no longer with Braves

I missed this Sunday. Former Biscuits pitcher Jeff Ridgway has been released by the Atlanta Braves.

The left-hander missed the last month with inflammation in his pitching elbow. He had bone chips removed from the same elbow last year.

Ridgway went to Atlanta in a January 2008 trade that brought major-league infielder Willy Aybar and minor-leaguer Chase Fontaine to the Rays. Fontaine was released last week by Tampa Bay, but Aybar is still swinging in the majors.

I think we can call that trade in favor of the Rays.

Report: Rays, Padres talk Niemann or Hammel trade

Either Jeff Niemann or Jason Hammel could be headed to the San Diego Padres in a trade, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Add Pittsburgh to the list for Niemann.

De Los Santos reporting late, had surgery

Pitcher Richard De Los Santos, after offseason elbow surgery, won't report to camp until Tampa Bay starts its extended spring training program late next week.

De Los Santos was 5-5 with a 3.42 ERA with the Biscuits last year and re-signed with the Rays this offseason. Wade Townsend, a former first-round pick who will miss all season after shoulder surgery, also is not yet in camp.

"Wade and Richard obviously are not proficient right now," farm director Mitch Lukevics (right) said. "With that, we're keeping them home until April 8 when we can give them more one-on-one attention."

And, if you missed it, here's a link to today's John Jaso story. Tuesday's story is on Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, plus a notebook of assorted goodies.

Intrasquad final: Kiss your sister

The Doubles and Triples tied 4-4.

I didn't track the game closely, but I was impressed when John Matulia threw out Chris Nowak at the plate. Patrick Cottrell hit a flyball far enough that I thought Nowak, who is speedy for a big guy, would have easily scored. I was wrong.

Desmond Jennings missed one diving catch. Nice effort, but I don't think the Rays want that out of Jennings in spring training. He was plagued with back and shoulder injuries last year.

Jon Barratt, back with the Rays after spending time away last season, threw the final two innings and allowed one hit. Mitch Talbot came on after Jeff Niemann and threw a tidy five innings (72 pitches, Talbot said, though he wasn't pleased with his performance).

Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson threw in one of the other games. David Price had an extended side session before the games started. Why do I mention these? Today would be the day for Opening Night starters to throw.

Hammel, Niemann still friends; Ensberg released

Ran into Jason Hammel and he echoed what Jeff Niemann said earlier.

The two, though battling each other for Tampa Bay's fifth-starter job, are still friends. They've cheered each other this spring.

"We will always love each other," Hammel said.

Also today, the Rays released infielder Morgan Ensberg, dropping the major-league camp roster to 36.

Camp day, intrasquad games

The Rays play only themselves today in minor-league exhibition games. Jeff Niemann will start in one game in perhaps his final audition for the major-league fifth starter's job. He and Jason Hammel have battled all spring.

The Triple-A's face the Double-A's and the two Class A's square off.

Jennings, cf
Drew Anderson (fresh addition from Reds)
Hughes, 1b
Sexton, 3b
Albernaz, c

Upton, cf
E. Johnson, 2b
Brignac, ss
Ruggiano, rf
Nowak, 1b
Hall, lf

Jaso, c
Cottrell, 3b
Niemann, rhp

(They're mixing it up enough that I've given up on an order.)

Niemann F-8, K, K in 1st
2nd: perfect with a Kc, capped by a backhanded Brignac dive and throw from his knees.
3rd: Matulia single erased by 6-4-3.
5-out 4th: two hits, one erased when Jennings tried for a double. Niemann's day done.
Or not. Niemann back for 5th.
5-out 5th: 2 hits, including Mollicone double. Kc Jennings to end it.

5 innings, but 19 outs; 4 hits allowed, 6 Ks, no walks. "It was a good start," Niemann said. "I felt good with all my pitches."

Niemann also, once again, refused to acknowledge the greatness of the SEC. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Speaking of animals

No wild boars, yet, but I did have a personal first-time driving occurence on the drive from the park to the hotel. Never have I needed to swerve to avoid an alligator in the road. Thought I'd share. No, I did not stop and take the picture at left. I'll report later if the gator survived the crossing.

7, 8:30 p.m.: Neither live gator nor carcass seen, so we'll guess he survived.

Sunday comes to close

I'm calling it a day. Story is written for Monday's paper on John Jaso, so go buy a paper or at least read it at montgomeryadvertiser.com. So far, I like the arrangements here at the new complex. The minor-league clubhouse is quite smaller and split, but it's nice having the major-leaguers right here.

I'll be on the lookout for any wild boars (third item) this week. Maybe I'll get a picture of one, right?

Jeff Niemann, locked in battle with Jason Hammel for the No. 5 starter's spot with the Rays, is slated to pitch Monday in a minor-league game. Saw Niemann today and, regretfully, could think of nothing nasty to say about his beloved Rice Owls. For any Auburn fans out there, I told David Price that you said "thank you" for Vandy's part in Tommy Tuberville's departure.

Minor-league roster adjustments

Cross-referencing the latest minor-league spring roster (dated March 25) with the one from the start of camp (dated March 12, link and link), there are a few changes, mostly from players being demoted from major-league camp.

Pitchers -- Robert Della Grotta, Jino Gonzalez, Matt Long, Wilton Noel
Outfielder -- Quinn Stewart
Infielder -- Chase Fontaine

Pitchers -- Winston Abreu, Jason Childers, Randol Choate, Wade Davis, Dewon Day, Julio DePaula, Carlos Hernandez, Jake McGee, Eduardo Morlan, Elvin Perez, Mitch Talbot, Dale Thayer
Catcher -- Matt Spring
Infielders -- Tim Beckham, Chris Nowak

Pitcher Richard De Los Santos still isn't listed.

Sunday lineups

The Rays are supposed to play the Orioles in minor-league exhibitions today, but the severe rainstorm that is plaguing the area will have the final say. Don't look for these lineups to be used today.

Jennings, cf
Brignac, ss
Upton, dh
Ruggiano, rf
Johnson, 2b
Hughes, 1b
Eldridge, lf
Cottrell, 3b
Spring, dh (somebody has to catch)
Jamieson, dh

Salem, cf
O'Malley, ss
Sexton, 3b
Fields, 1b
Fronk, rf
Royster, dh
Gautreau, 2b
Wrigley, dh
McCormick, c
Powell, lf

Tweedy, 2b
T. Beckham, ss
Scelfo, cf
Corder, rf
Cipriano, 1b
Mollicone, c
Velasquez, 3b
Hall, dh
Biell, dh
Ross, lf

Morrison, dh
Cuello, 2b
Jefferies, dh
Reynolds, 3b
Genao, c
Francisco, 1b
Novas, rf
Bryles, cf
Jacobo, lf
Luis, ss

Roster guessing

Following tradition, here are a few Biscuits roster guesses before I first set foot in the spring complex. (Just to show you how little I know.)

Starters -- Jeremy Hellickson, Heath Rollins, Jason Cromer, Richard De Los Santos, Chris Mason
Relievers -- Ryan Reid, Neal Frontz, Mike Wlodarczyk, Eduardo Morlan, Brian Baker
Catchers -- Matt Spring, Craig Albernaz
Infielders -- Josh Asanovich, Patrick Cottrell, Rhyne Hughes, Greg Sexton
Outfielders -- Rashad Eldridge, J.T. Hall, Ryan Royster

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Off to Florida

Leaving now for Florida and spring training. I'll report to camp Sunday and start looking for blog entries then and stories in Monday's paper.

Heading south on U.S. 231. Dadgumit, no Rays game on XM.

2: Brundidge
2:25: refuel in Ozark, $1.99 a gallon
3: Dothan
3:45: Caught by train in Cottondale, Fla. I-10 is a few minutes away, at which point the pace shall quicken.
4:45 CDT: Tallahassee. Go Noles.
5:35-6:15: Food stop in Madison.
6:45: I-75
7:25: Gainesville. Chomp, chomp.
9:10: refuel in Tampa, $2.01
10: Sarasota. Sic 'em, Sailors.
10:33: Port Charlotte. 562 miles. I'm tired, dadgumit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Henderson headed to Atlantic League

Longtime Biscuits pitcher Brian Henderson has signed with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League.

Henderson first came to Montgomery in the middle of the 2004 season and stayed with the Biscuits through the end of 2007. The left-hander rejoined the team in 2008 after struggling at Triple-A Durham.

Henderson celebrated Southern League championships in 2006 and '07 and could have a shot at another. Somerset has won four Atlantic League champion ships.

Henderson, one of the smartest players in Biscuits history, made 198 appearances for the Biscuits and was 15-8 with a 3.02 ERA. He was a chemical engineering major at the University of Houston.

Somerset has also signed former Biscuits pitchers Jim Magrane and Travis Minix. Also in the Atlantic League, outfielder Jeremy Owens will rejoin the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and Steve Andrade is set to play for the York Revolution.

Outfielder Erold Andrus has signed with the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League.

It's official: Price to start year in Durham

Pitcher David Price was among five players sent to Tampa Bay's minor-league spring training today, culling major-league camp to 37.

Infielder Reid Brignac, catcher John Jaso, infielder Elliot Johnson and outfielder Justin Ruggiano were also assigned to Triple-A Durham's roster.

The Rays want Price to improve his change-up, which would give him three quality major-league pitches. He'll need three to be the dominant starter that Tampa Bay envisions.

Ruggiano's demotion makes it a possibility that Rashad Eldridge will return to Montgomery this year. The other three demotions are not a surprise.

Of the 37 survivors, there are eight non-roster invitees: pitcher Jason Isringhausen, catcher Michel Hernandez, infielders Morgan Ensberg, Adam Kennedy, Ray Olmedo and Chris Richard, and outfielders Ray Sadler and Jon Weber.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Longoria strikes out as WBC pinch-hitter

Evan Longoria struck out swinging as a pinch-hitter for Team USA in its WBC semifinal game with Japan. Longoria's whiff came with one out, a runner on third and the Japanese leading 6-4.

UPDATE: Japan wins 9-4 and will face South Korea in Monday's championship.

Rays set spring attendance marks

The Rays set a spring franchise record with an announced crowd of 7,621 today in a 5-0 win over the Yankees. Today's throng also gave Tampa Bay a spring total of 83,274, its best spring ever. The Rays have three home spring games remaining.

Perez update: He'll miss 4-5 months

Former Biscuits center fielder Fernando Perez, after a second exam on his broken wrist revealed further damage, will now miss 4-5 months, the Rays told the beat writers today. Perez went to Arizona for a second opinion on the wrist he broke diving for a ball March 10. He could miss the entire season.

Since B.J. Upton won't be ready for Opening Day after offseason shoulder surgery, it's likely Justin Ruggiano starts the season in the major leagues, which means Rashad Eldridge should open the year in Durham. After that, there's no obvious choice for Montgomery's center fielder.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Longoria to join Team USA for WBC semifinals

Former Biscuits third baseman Evan Longoria will be a part of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic semifinals. Longoria joins the Americans after injuries struck Chipper Jones and David Wright.

The United States plays Japan or South Korea at 7 p.m. Sunday in the single-elimination semifinals at Dodger Stadium. The championship is 8:30 p.m. Monday.

It will be a trip home for Longoria, who grew up in Downey, Calif., a part of the Los Angeles megalopolis.

Jones is off the roster after suffering a muscle strain. Wright was hobbled in Wednesday's loss to Venezuela but stayed in the game and remains on the U.S. roster.

Morlan back with Rays

Pitcher Eduardo Morlan cleared waivers and has returned to the Rays, according to the Tampa Tribune.

It cost the Brewers $50,000 to take him in December's Rule 5 draft. It cost the Rays $25,000 to get him back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Morlan won't stick with Brewers

Former Biscuits pitcher Eduardo Morlan, taken by the Brewers in December's Rule 5 draft, won't be on Milwaukee's Opening Day roster and could be headed back to the Rays.

The Brewers have designated Morlan for assignment, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Morlan has to pass through waivers before the Rays can reclaim him. Any team can claim him off waivers, but Morlan would have to stay on that team's major-league roster for the entire season.

If nobody claims him and he returns to the Rays, he can be sent to the minors. The Rays and Brewers could also work out a trade that would allow Morlan to stay with Milwaukee and go to the minors. (Last year, the Pirates and Rays did that, and Evan Meek stayed with the Bucs.)

The Journal-Sentinel reports the Brewers have already offered Morlan to the Rays, so he likely has already cleared waivers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

USA rally eliminates Puerto Rico, Montoyo

The United States scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth tonight to beat Puerto Rico 6-5 and eliminate the Puerto Ricans from the World Baseball Classic. The Americans advance to the WBC semifinals in Los Angeles.

Former Biscuits manager Charlie Montoyo is Puerto Rico's third-base coach. He hasn't been to Los Angeles since his son Alex was released from the UCLA Medical Center a year ago (a year ago last weekend, in fact).

U.S. third baseman David Wright hit a game-ending two-run single. The Americans, after losing Chipper Jones to an injury, will need another third baseman for the semifinals -- and Evan Longoria is a probable choice.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Minor-league spring roster -- pitchers

This doesn't include the players pruned today from the major-league camp.

Jordi Amargos, Princeton
Chris Andujar, Hudson Valley
Kyle Ayers, Princeton
James Bagley, Princeton/Hudson Valley
John Baird, Hudson Valley/Columbus
Brian Baker, Columbus
Nick Barnese, Hudson Valley
Omar Bencomo, VSL Rays
Kevin Boggan, Columbus
Angel Chapa, Princeton
Kevin Chavez, Princeton
Alex Cobb, Columbus
Alexander Colome, Princeton
Joseph Cruz, Princeton
Jesse Darcy, Columbus
Jairo De La Rosa, Vero Beach
Robert Della Grotta, Hudson Valley
Shane Dyer, Hudson Valley
Diego Echeverria, Hudson Valley
Marquis Fleming, Hudson Valley
Neal Frontz, Vero/Montgomery
Bradley Furdal, Princeton
Justin Garcia, Columbus
Matt Gorgen, Hudson Valley
Jeremy Hall, Columbus
Tyree Hayes, Hudson Valley
Jeremy Hellickson, Vero Beach/Montgomery
Austin Hinkle, Columbus
Craig James, West Tenn (Mariners)/Vero Beach
Jeff Kamrath, Montgomery DL
Chris Kelly, Vero Beach
Will Kline, DL
Matt Long, Princeton/Hudson Valley
Chris Mason, Durham
Jason McEachern, Princeton
Calvin Medlock, Durham
Jose Angel Mejias, Columbus
Wilton Noel, Vero Beach
Rayner Oliveros, Venezuela's Caracas Lions
Chad Orvella, DL
Paul Phillips, Dunedin (Blue Jays)
Thomas Rafferty, Hudson Valley
Ryan Reid, Vero/Montgomery
Travis Risser, Hudson Valley/Columbus
Heath Rollins, Vero/Montgomery
Douglas Salinas, Everett (Mariners)
Juan Santana, Princeton
Trevor Shull, Princeton
Albert Suarez, Princeton
Matt Walker, Vero Beach

Jon Barratt, Montgomery*
Jason Cromer, Montgomery
Frank De Los Santos, Hudson Valley
Jose DeLaCruz, Princeton
Joey Dettrich, Princeton
Darin Downs, Vero Beach
Brian Flores, Columbus
Glenn Gibson, Columbus/Hudson Valley
Jino Gonzalez, Montgomery
James Houser, Montgomery
Michael Jarman, Princeton
Kyle Lobstein, signed late
Brandon Mann, Vero Beach
Matt Moore, Princeton
Ryan Morse, Vero Beach
David Newmann, DL
Josh Satow, Hudson Valley
Neil Schenk, Hudson Valley
Shawn Smith, Princeton
Chuck Tiffany, Vero Beach
Mike Wlodarczyk, Vero/Montgomery

Rays cast aside 12 from big league camp

It's cut day at Tampa Bay's major-league camp. The Rays dropped 12 to the minors, none of which are a surprise.

Pitchers -- Wade Davis, Mitch Talbot, Dale Thayer, Jake McGee, Winston Abreu, Jason Childers, Dewon Day, Julio DePaula, Carlos Hernandez.

Position players -- Tim Beckham, Chris Nowak, Matt Spring.

The Rays still have 44 players in big league camp.

EDIT: Make that 13 out and 43 still in. Pitcher Randy Choate joined the exodus, according to the beat writers.

Rays minor-league spring roster -- position players

Back from a week's worth of mandated siesta, so here are the position players who started minor-league camp last week with the Rays. (Look for the pitchers, all 71 of them, later.)

Remember, this is the minor-league roster. Any player still in major-league camp won't be included here. I also listed the team they seemed to play the most last season.

Mayobanex Acosta, Princeton
Craig Albernaz, Vero/Montgomery
Nevin Ashley, Vero Beach
Tomas Francisco, Princeton
David Genao, Princeton
Tyler Hauschild, Hudson Valley
Alex Jamieson, Montgomery
Jake Jefferies, Hudson Valley
Christian Lopez, Vero Beach
Mike McCormick, Columbus
John Mollicone, Hudson Valley
Ian Paxton, Columbus
Mark Thomas, Hudson Valley
Alejandro Thomas, ????
Stephen Vogt, Columbus
Shawn Williams, Columbus

Dustin Biell, Princeton
Brian Bryles, Princeton
Jason Corder, Hudson Valley
Rashad Eldridge, Montgomery
Reid Fronk, Vero Beach
J.T. Hall, Vero/Montgomery
Astin Jacobo, AZL Royals
Desmond Jennings, Vero Beach DL
D.J. Jones, Princeton
K.D. Kang, Hudson Valley
Mike McKenna, Hudson Valley
John Matulia, Columbus
Michael McKenna, Hudson Valley
Ty Morrison, Princeton
Ramon Novas, Princeton
Sergio Pedroza, Montgomery
Justin Reynolds, Hudson Valley
Ryan Royster, Vero Beach
Emeel Salem, Columbus DL
Tony Scelfo, Hudson Valley
Quinn Stewart, Columbus

Josh Asanovich, Montgomery
Jeremy Beckham, Princeton/Hudson Valley
Jason Bowers, Altoona/Indianapolis (Pirates)
Joseph Callendar, Columbus
Julio Cedeno, VSL Rays
Brandon Chaves, Akron (Indians)
Cody Cipriano, Columbus
Patrick Cottrell, Montgomery
Juan Cuello, DSL Rays
Robi Estrada, Hudson Valley
Matt Fields, Vero Beach
Chase Fontaine, Columbus
Jake Gautreau, independent Fort Worth
Matt Hall, Hudson Valley
Rhyne Hughes, Montgomery
Diogenes Luis, Princeton
Omar Luna, Columbus
Luis Marchena, DSL Rays
Shawn O'Malley, Columbus
Elias Otero, Princeton
Burt Reynolds, Princeton
Michael Ross, Hudson Valley
Greg Sexton, Columbus
Michael Sheridan, Hudson Valley
Eli Sonoqui, Princeton
Cesar Suarez, Vero Beach
Jason Tweedy, Hudson Valley
Isaias Velasquez, Mahoning Valley (Indians)
Henry Wrigley, Columbus

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Perez to miss three months

Former Biscuits center fielder Fernando Perez will miss three months with a dislocates left wrist, the Rays told reporters in Port Charlotte, Fla., today. Perez suffered the injury Tuesday attempting a diving catch.

Monday, March 09, 2009

X wins Rays' organizational award

Former Biscuits pitching coach Xavier Hernandez, now at Triple-A Durham, was named the Rays' organizational man of the year today. Brad Matthews, who scouts North and South Carolina and east Tennessee for the Rays, was named scout of the year.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Listen to Laaser

Jon Laaser was about an hour outside Montgomery when I talked to him. He admitted he's a big golfer (shoots 78-85), first started broadcasting when he was a junior varsity high school basketball player (shooting guard) and has no college football allegiance.

"I never had one in my life of any relevance," he said. "I can be easily coerced into the Auburn bandwagon, if that's the right answer."

Look for some of Laaser's past baseball work HERE. If you want to hear some of his football and basketball, hit THIS.

And, if you're curious, Laaser is pronounced just like Laser Tag. Hence, the picture at the left.

Biscuits hire former Myrtle Beach radio voice

The Biscuits have hired their radio voice and picked Jon Laaser, who spent last season as the broadcaster of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Myrtle Beach announced that Laaser was leaving "to pursue advancement within minor league baseball" on Jan. 21.

Laaser, a Minneapolis native, spent one season with the Pelicans, the high-Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. He also broadcast Charleston Southern sports this offseason.

The 28-year-old was the voice of the Double-A Altoona Curve in 2007 and the short-season Yakima Bears in 2006. He has also broadcast games for the independent St. Paul Saints (2005) and the St. Cloud River Bats (2003-04) of the summer collegiate Northwoods League.

Laaser graduated from Brown College in Mendota Heights, Minn., in 2002.