Friday, November 27, 2009

Alabama-Auburn live blog

4:40: About time to head to the field, so I'll have to leave you with it.

4:36: Alabama will need a championship drive here.

4:29: Let's officially say this is an upset in the making. Auburn up one and has the ball in Alabama territory. If this holds up, there will be severe gnashing of teeth.

4:11: Auburn throws a long touchdown pass and Alabama answers with two field goals. Tigers up 21-20 late in the third. Call it a moral victory for Auburn. Gene Chizik will get credit for the effort. AU's defense is about due for its usual fatigue-laden collapse.

3:13: Halftime. Let us now pause for a moment of silence to remember Mark Ingram's Heisman hopes.

2:54: It's tied.

2:47: Auburn's last three drives: three three-and-outs, zero yards. This will be tied before long.

2:28: Touchdown, Alabama. Mark Ingram wasn't in on the final four plays of that drive. Not sure why. Trent Richardson got three carries, including the touchdown, and caught a pass on the final four plays.

2:22: End of one quarter. Auburn really stuffed it down Alabama's throat early, but that appears to be diminishing. Chris Todd missing an open Tommy Trott on two straight plays could turn things.

2:09: Didn't Auburn jump out to a 14-0 lead at Georgia two weeks ago? How did that one turn out?

2:05: Alabama's Justin Woodall may be drawn and quartered after his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty led to that touchdown. He personally turned a third-and-11 into a third-and-three for the Tigers. Easy to call that penalty, too.

2:03: Oh well. AU up 14-nil. Now, the Tigers need a safety before the Tide's 37-point run.

2:02: If Auburn misses this extra point and Alabama scores 37 straight points, my prediction might still be correct.

1:53: Auburn acts like it's Halloween -- trick or treat. Two straight trick plays after an onsides kick after taking a 7-0 lead. Gutsy.

1:37: The evil people have entered the field.

You've been spared such football crapola from this blog this year, but I can't hold off today. It's the Alabama-Auburn game where fans (of both sides) put their life's worth on the line watching a football game.

10:24: My prediction -- Alabama 37, Auburn 16.

Check back later for more musings on today's titanic tilt/annual Armaggedon.

12:21: Just got back from a walk around campus with Advertiser AU star reporter Jay G. Tate, who visited some fans of his blog, Ventured from there to see what interesting fans I could find. Within a block of each other, there was a surprise party for Atlanta's Dana Sweeney's 50th birthday and a 21st birthday party for Auburn junior Morgan King of Huntsville.

"I'm going out tonight, downtown, and go to bars I've never been able to go to," said King, who admitted she wouldn't let the game detract from her day.

"I hope Auburn wins, but I really don't care," she said. "I'm still going to have fun."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ashley homers in Phoenix's AFL title game loss

Former Biscuits catcher Nevin Ashley homered and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the Phoenix Desert Dogs' 5-4 loss to the Peoria Javelinas in today's Arizona Fall League championship game.

Peoria took the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run home run by C.J. Retherford, who was with the Birmingham Barons this year.

Biscuits shortstop-to-be Shawn O'Malley was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Former Biscuits pitcher Mitch Talbot, who started for Phoenix, allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in three innings

Friday, November 20, 2009

Biscuits to play for AFL championship

Former Biscuit Mitch Talbot will be the starting pitcher Saturday when the Phoenix Desert Dogs, whose roster includes several Biscuits, face the Peoria Javelinas for the Arizona Fall League championship Saturday.

The first pitch is at 1:35 p.m. and will be televised by the MLB Network.

Stats former Biscuits, current Biscuits and a future Biscuit who are on the Dogs' active roster ...
C Nevin Ashley -- .366 average, 14 RBIs in 18 games
SS Shawn O'Malley -- .313, 15 runs in 20 games
RHP Matt Gorgen -- 10.38 ERA in 8.2 innings
RHP Paul Phillips -- 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings
RHP Heath Rollins -- 8.03 ERA in 12.1 innings
RHP Mitch Talbot -- 3-0, 4.37 ERA in six starts/22.2 innings

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rhyne Hughes protected by Orioles

While we're at it, Baltimore has put former Biscuits first baseman Rhyne Hughes on its 40-man roster. He hit .279 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs between the Biscuits, Durham and Norfolk. Hughes was one of six added by the Orioles.

Torres also added to 40-man roster

Pitcher Alex Torres, who finished the season with the Biscuits after being traded from the Los Angeles Angels, has also been added to Tampa Bay's 40-man roster.

The Rays announced today that Torres, Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings were now on the major-league roster. That shields all three from next month's Rule 5 draft.

Torres made just two starts for the Biscuits and was a combined 13-6 with a 2.77 ERA between three teams this year.

That puts the Rays at the 40-man limit -- so no Rule 5 pick this year, barring a future move -- after they had 43 Wednesday. Take off two retiring pitchers, two pitchers who've filed for free agency and a pitcher and catcher whose options the Rays declined to pick up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hellickson, Jennings put squeeze on Rays' roster

Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and outfielder Desmond Jennings become members of the players union this week when the Rays finalize their 40-man roster and add them to it. The deadline is Friday.

Maybe I'm missing something, but the Rays will need to cull one more player from their list to have room for those two.

By Friday, they can have only 40 people on their 40-man roster. (Right now, there are 43 because players on the 60-day DL don't count against it. Starting Friday, they do count.)

The team has already declined options on pitcher Brian Shouse and catcher Gregg Zaun. Pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Troy Percival are likely to retire. (I've heard Isringhausen will help coach a high school team near St. Louis.)

That knocks it down to 39. Who else will go? (I'd guess Chad Bradford, but I know nothing, nothing. Bradford and Russ Springer have filed for free agency.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Montoyo wins Coolbaugh award

Former Biscuits manager Charlie Montoyo has won the Mike Coolbaugh award, given by Minor League Baseball in recognition of someone's work ethic, baseball knowledge and mentoring skill.

It's the second year for the award, which is named for Mike Coolbaugh, the minor-league coach killed after being struck by a line drive during a game. Montoyo will be honored at the winter meetings next month in Indianapolis.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Niemann fourth in AL rookie voting

Former Biscuits pitcher Jeff Niemann finished fourth in the American League rookie of the year voting.

Oakland reliever Andrew Bailey won with Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus -- brother of former Biscuits outfielder Erold Andrus -- second and Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello third. White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham, the former University of Georgia All-American who started the year with the Birmingham Barons, was fifth, behind Niemann.

Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan won the National League's rookie award. Coghland played last year for Double-A Carolina in the Southern League. Alabamian Colby Rasmus of the St. Louis Cardinals received one third-place vote.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Longoria wins AL Gold Glove

Former Biscuits third baseman Evan Longoria won an American League Gold Glove today for the Rays.

"It’s the one award that I’ve wanted to win since I started pro ball," Longoria said in a release. "I take a lot of pride in my defense, so this award is very special to me."

Longoria, who recently turned 24, is the second Tampa Bay player to win a Gold Glove: first baseman Carlos Pena in 2008. He's also the youngest Gold Glover since Oakland's Eric Chavez won it in 2001 as a 23-year-old.

Lookouts win award for promotions

The Chattanooga Lookouts have won the Larry MacPhail Trophy, which recognizes the team with the top promotions in the minor leagues. They'll receive the trophy next month at the winter meetings in Indianapolis.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Rays exercise option on Crawford, pick up Ramirez

All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford will be with the Rays in 2010 after the team today exercised its $10 million option for next season.

The Rays also claimed right-handed pitcher Ramon Ramirez off waivers from Cincinnati. The 27-year-old appeared in 11 major-league games this year with a 3.65 ERA in 12.1 innings. He was 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA at Triple-A Louisville.

The team also declined its options on relief pitcher Brian Shouse and catcher Gregg Zaun. Zaun came to Tampa Bay this year in a trade that sent former Biscuit Rhyne Hughes to the Orioles.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Gathright off Boston 40-man roster

Former Biscuits outfielder Joey Gathright has been outrighted by the Boston Red Sox, according to multiple reports. He'll likely become a free agent.

Jennings lands Topps award for Southern League

Former Biscuits center fielder Desmond Jennings has been named the Topps player of the year for the Southern League.

Jennings, who was the league's most valuable player, hit .316 with 37 steals and 69 runs scored in 100 games for Montgomery. He was promoted in late July to Triple-A Durham.

The Rays also had the top Topps player in the New York-Penn League. Right-handed pitcher Alex Colome was 7-4 with a 1.66 ERA in 15 starts. He gave up 46 hits and had a league-high 94 strikeouts in 76 innings. Colome, 20, was the only pitcher among the 16 league players of the year.

The Rays were one of three major-league teams to have multiple minor-league winners. The awards were announced today.

Rays make minor-league staff changes

The Rays will have extra roving instructors for their minor-leaguers next year.

r Bill Evers, former longtime manager at Triple-A Durham, will be a co-field coordinator with Jim Hoff.

r Matt Quatraro, who managed low-A Bowling Green this year, will be a co-hitting coordinator with Steve Livesey.

r Dewey Robinson has been hired as a co-pitching coordinator with Dick Bosman. Robinson has worked for the Houston Astros the last 13 years, including as the major-league pitching coach the last two seasons.

Skeeter Barnes and Jamie Nelson are back -- and will fly solo -- as the outfield/baserunning and catching coordinators, respectively.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Rays trade Iwamura to Pirates

Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Jesse Chavez.

Chavez, a right-hander, led all major-league rookies with 73 appearances last season. He was 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA. The 26-year-old had a 3.19 ERA before the All-Star break.

Iwamura missed three months with a knee injury this year and played three seasons with Tampa Bay. He hit .290 with 22 RBIs in 69 games this year.

The trade means the Rays will have an open spot in the lineup to be decided in spring training. The battle will include former Biscuita Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson and Sean Rodriguez, recently acquired from the Angels.

Rent payment finishes off down season for Biscuits

With the final rent payment for fiscal year 2009, the Biscuits marked the end of their worst season as far as revenue.

The team paid $133,399.87 to the city for the quarterly rent payment that was due at the end of October, according to city records. That brings the rent for the full year to $403.676.08.

Montgomery drew just 266,818 fans this year, the smallest total since the team came to town in 2004. That also led the team to have its worst year as far as concessions sales -- $1,160,365.86. Also, for the first time, the team's operating revenue in those areas covered by the rent agreement was less than $5 million.

The team has paid more than $3.9 million in rent since the $26 million Riverwalk Stadium opened in 2004. Rent is based on a percentage of sales and revenue at the stadium.