Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rays hire former Yanks pitching coach

Dave Eiland, after three years as the Yankees' pitching coach and five in the team's minor league system, will be a special assistant for Tampa Bay. He'll help the Rays in player development, pro scouting and amateur scouting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Newly acquired by Rays, infielder should be Biscuit

The Rays and San Diego Padres finally announced the Jason Bartlett trade and expanded on it. One of the new pieces should be headed to the Biscuits.

Infielder Cole Figueroa hit .303 in 124 games last year at high-Class A Lake Elsinore, which means he's in line to be at Double-A in 2011. Figueroa has a .296 average since being taken in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.

Figueroa and pitcher Brandon Gomes were added to the trade, which was first reported during the winter meetings last week. The Padres will also now receive a player to be named. The original deal had Bartlett to the Padres for pitchers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell.

Gomes was 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA at Double-A San Antonio this year.

The Rays also announced signing reliever Joel Peralta to a major-league, one-year contract. The 34-year-old right-hander made 39 appearances for the Nationals this year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pensacola Pelicans coming to Southern League

The owner of the Pensacola Pelicans has sold his independent franchise in anticipation of buying a Southern League team, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. The paper says the Carolina Mudcats are the likely frachise headed to Florida.

The Mudcats were in Columbus, Ga., before moving to suburban Raleigh, N.C., before the 1991 season. This year, Carolina averaged 3,811 fans to rank fifth in the Southern League.

The Pelicans, former rivals of the bygone Montgomery Wings, averaged 1,150 fans per game this year, but owner Quint Studer has plans for a new stadium at the city's Community Maritime Park.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And now the short-season coaching staffs

Freshly released by the Rays. And, again, no changes from 2010.

Jared Sandberg, manager
Jack Giese, pitching coach
Reinaldo Ruiz, hitting coach

Michael Johns, manager
Marty DeMerritt, pitching
Wuarnner Rincones, hitting

Joe Alvarez, manager
Darwin Peguero, pitching
Dan DeMent, hitting
Hector Torres, hitting

Trainer only change in Biscuits' dugout staff

Trainer Rodger Fleming (right) will join the Biscuits in 2011, marking the only change in the team’s dugout staff. Manager Billy Gardner will return for a fifth year, hitting coach Ozzie Timmons for a third season and pitching coach Bill Moloney for a second.

Fleming is expected to swap places with Lee Slagle, a Montgomery native who worked for the Biscuits for two seasons. Fleming, a Gordo native, was with Triple-A Durham the last two seasons.

Fleming, 38, was in the Southern League in 2005-06 as the trainer for the Tennessee Smokies.

"The Southern League, you can't ask for a better league," Fleming said. "When I was there, Montgomery was always a fun place with good crowds, and it's close to home for me."

The Fleming-for-Slagle swap will mean one significant change.

"He's an Auburn fan and I'm a Bama guy," Fleming said. "That's for sure."

Gardner, with 287 wins, will become Montgomery’s all-time winningest manager early in 2011. He’s currently 12 wins shy of Frank Carswell, who led the Montgomery Rebels in 1959 and from 1967-69.

The Biscuits announced their dugout staff today. Montgomery’s 2011 season opens April 7 against the Birmingham Barons.

"I don't think there's a better spot in minor league baseball," Gardner said. "Durham would be the only place that could be better because it would be a move up, but it's on the same level as Montgomery as far as being a premier spot. I'm really looking forward to going back.

"I've had four good years there and I'm looking forward to another good year."

Bulls, Crabs, Rods announce coaching staffs

Former Biscuits pitching coach Neil Allen, who spent this year at high-Class A Charlotte, is making the jump to Triple-A Durham. He'll replace Xavier Hernandez, now with the Houston Baptist Huskies. (The Biscuits are due to release theirs soon.)

Charlie Montoyo, manager
Neil Allen, pitching coach (Charlotte last year)
Dave Myers, hitting coach

Jim Morrison, manager
Steve Watson, pitching coach (high Class-A Jupiter, Marlins, last year)
Joe Szekely, hitting coach

Brady Williams, manager
R.C. Lichtenstein, pitching coach
Manny Castillo, hitting coach

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Astros snap up A-Rod in Rule 5; Rollins to Royals

Former Biscuits pitcher Aneury Rodriguez went to the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 draft today. He'll have to make Houston's major league roster coming out of spring training and remain in the majors all season or Tampa Bay can reclaim him.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5, Heath Rollins went to the Kansas City Royals and Justin Dowdy to San Francisco.

Rollins, who made a surprisingly long stay in major league spring training, was demoted from Triple-A Durham to Montgomery in late May. He had a 5.22 ERA in his third year with the Biscuits.

Dowdy joined the Biscuits from an independent league this season and has had a dominating winter. He has an 0.73 ERA in 16 appearances with the Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League.

The Rays also lost a player in the Double-A phase. Infielder Roan Salas, who played for the VSL Rays this year, went to Toronto. Salas hit .345 in 60 games.

Tampa Bay picked left-handed pitcher Cesar Cabral from Boston in the major league Rule 5. The 21-year-old had an 0.29 ERA in 17 games at low-Class A Greenville before a June promotion to high-A Salem where he had a 5.81 in 28 appearances.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Braves' Hudson coming to Montgomery

Come out Saturday to see (and get autographs) from Braves pitcher Tim Hudson and three other major leaguers.

St. Louis' Colby Rasmus, Florida's Wes Helms and Selma High grad Jai Miller, most recently with Kansas City, are scheduled to appear.

They're appearing from noon-2:30 p.m. at the new Capital City Sportsplex (map), which is operated by city native Rob Macrory, a teammate of Hudson's at Auburn. The Sportsplex will include a revamped Strike Zone, which Macrory opened two years ago.

There is an admission price -- $10 per family and all money goes to the Hudson Family Foundation.

Rays deal Bartlett, open door for Brignac

Former Biscuit Reid Brignac is the heir at shortstop for the Rays, who traded incumbent Jason Bartlett to the Padres today for two major league relievers.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

De Los Santos returns to Rays

Former Biscuits pitcher Richard De Los Santos is among five signings formally announced by the Rays today.

Also, former Biscuits trainer Mark Vinson is headed to he big leagues as Tampa Bay's assistant trainer.

The other signings include: infielders Russ Canzler and J.J. Furmaniak, right-handed pitcher Cory Wade and left-hander R.J. Swindle.

Furmaniak spent a little time in Montgomery last year. Canzler hit 21 homers for the Tennessee Smokies last year. Wade was part of the Dodgers' system.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Durham groundskeeper lands national award

Durham groundskeeper Scott Strickland won the sports turf manager of the year award today for Triple-A. Strickland has been in charge of Durham Bulls Athletic Park's field for the last six seasons.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crawford wins Silver Slugger

Outfielder Carl Crawford will have some extra packing to do when he leaves the Tampa Bay Rays and signs a big-bucks free-agent deal elsewhere. Crawford won his first career Silver Slugger award today.

Former Biscuit Evan Longoria won last year for the Rays, but Boston's Adrian Beltre unseated him this season at the American League third base spot.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Longoria adds another Gold Glove

Tampa Bay third baseman and former Biscuits MVP Evan Longoria also won a second straight American League Gold Glove today.

Hellickson picked for Topps Triple-A team

Durham pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was named to the Topps Triple-A all-star team today. Topps picks the top stars at each level, with the blessing of Minor League Baseball. Hellickson was 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA this season for the Bulls.

(On a side note, Baseball America has released its top prospects for the Rays. I will not look at the list until I do my own. That's so BA's opinion doesn't overly influence mine and, when I compare mine to theirs, I'll know how misguided I am.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Leslie Anderson an Arizona All-Star

First baseman/left fielder Leslie Anderson has been picked to play in the Arizona Fall League's All-Star Game, which is Saturday at 8 p.m. on MLB Network. Anderson has a .308 average in 16 games for the Peoria Saguaros.

In the other Biscuits/Saguaros department, Jose Ruiz is hitting .305, Alex Cobb is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA in four starts, Sergio Espinosa has a 2.35 ERA in seven appearances and Jeremy Hall made just one start, throwing 1 1/3 innings Oct. 13. Future Biscuit Neil Schenk has a 2.70 ERA in six games.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Elliot Johnson back on Rays' 40-man

Infielder Elliot Johnson was re-added to Tampa Bay's 40-man roster today. He was Triple-A Durham's most valuable player this year after being dropped from the Rays' 40-man in the spring.

Tampa Bay also declined their options on infielder Willy Aybar and reliever Dan Wheeler.

There are 41 players currently listed on Tampa Bay's 40-man roster at -- those on the 60-man DL don't count against the limit. The current roster (as of 5:35 p.m.) doesn't include today's moves.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Any headline ideas?

After San Francisco wrapped up the World Series with a 3-1 win over Texas tonight, let's hear yours ...

San Francisco feat
Say Hey Kids
Bearded wonders
They might be Giants
Golden gate greats
Giant earthquake

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Over/under on World Series rather than Auburn?

How many citizens of the great state of Alabama do you think are watching the World Series rather than Auburn vs. Ole Miss footbaw? I know of at least one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peers pick Price as top AL pitcher

Tampa Bay's David Price was the top pitcher in the American League this year, according to the Major League Baseball players association.

The union picked Price and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay as the top hurlers today, more than two weeks before the Cy Young Award is announced. The Cy Young Award is due out Nov. 16. Price ranked second in the AL with 19 wins and third with a 2.72 ERA this season.

Wade Davis was one of three finalists for the AL's outstanding rookie, won by Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

AUM, Faulkner in fall all-star game at Paterson

Experiencing some baseball withdrawal?

If so, you can head to Paterson Field on Saturday when AUM and Faulkner will participate in a Southern States Athletic Conference fall all-star game.

The Senators and Eagles -- along with their nine SSAC rivals -- are sending two pitchers and four position players. All players are eligible for the 2011 draft. Workouts, which begin at 10 a.m., for professional scouts are open to the public with two nine-inning games starting at noon.

All gate proceeds -- they hadn't settled on an admission price late last week, but it won't be much -- will be donated to charity.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Faulkner's Torbert top indy player for year

Faulkner University's Beau Torbert won Baseball America's independent league player of the year award, the magazine announced last week. He hit .394 for the Sioux Falls Pheasants of the American Association. Former Biscuits pitcher Willie Glen landed first-team all-independent honors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ALDS Game 5: Rangers 5, Rays 1

Cliff Lee again shined, leading the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Rays in today's decisive fifth game of an American League Division Series.

Lee pitched a six-hitter, walked none and struck out 11 for his second win of the series. Ian Kinsler had three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the ninth.

The Rays scored in the third when Ben Zobrist singled in Sean Rodriguez. Jason Bartlett had three hits and David Price took the loss, allowing three runs in six innings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ALDS Game 4: Rays 5, Rangers 2

Evan Longoria was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a two-run home run to lead the Tampa Bay Rays in a 5-2 playoff win over the Texas Rangers today in Arlington, Texas.

The best-of-5 American League Division Series is tied 2-2 with the final game at 7 p.m. Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Longoria's home run came in the fifth inning and gave Tampa Bay a 5-0 lead. Carlos Pena doubled, tripled, scored twice and had an RBI for the Rays.

Wade Davis allowed two runs over five innings for the win. Four relievers combined for four shutout innings.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

ALDS Game 2: Rangers 6, Rays 0

C.J. Wilson and two relievers combined on a two-hitter in the Texas Rangers' 6-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of an American League Division Series today in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Rangers have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series and go for a sweep Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Wilson threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing both hits, walking two and striking out seven.

The Rangers scored in the third inning on a throwing error by Rays starter James Shields and made it 2-0 on an Ian Kinsler homer off Shields in the third.

Tampa Bay has eight hits and one run in two games against the Rangers. In Game 2, Jason Bartlett singled to start the bottom of the first and Willy Aybar doubled with none out in the seventh.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

ALDS opener: Rangers 5, Rays 1

Cliff Lee overwhelmed the Tampa Bay Rays and led the Texas Rangers in a 5-1 victory today in the opening game of an American League Division Series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Lee gave up one run on five hits and struck out 10 over seven innings. The run came on a Ben Zobrist home run with one out in the seventh.

Game 2 of the series will be Thursday afternoon.

Tampa Bay starter David Price surrendered nine hits, including two home runs, in 6 2/3 innings.

Nelson Cruz went deep off Price in the third to make it 3-0. Bengie Molina homered in the fourth. Texas took a 2-0 lead in the second. Jeff Francouer doubled in Ian Kinsler and scored on a Molina single.

Alabama has 3 on postseason rosters

Alabama has three players looking for a World Series championship, all pitchers in the American League: Tampa Bay reliever Lance Cormier, Texas starter Tommy Hunter and New York Yankees reliever David Robertson. Robertson has three prior World Series titles, tying him with Joe Sewell on Alabama's list. (That may be the only time you see Robertson's name mentioned with Sewell.)

Rays' ALDS roster boasts 9 Biscuits

Nine Biscuits festoon Tampa Bay's roster for the American League Division series. The Rays and Rangers start their series this afternoon.

Your list ...
Wade Davis
Jeff Niemann
David Price
James Shields

John Jaso
Reid Brignac
Evan Longoria
Desmond Jennings
B.J. Upton

The Twins also feature former Biscuit Delmon Young.

Rocco Baldelli is also on Tampa Bay's roster. He was with the Biscuits in 2008 only for a rehab assignment. Texas' Jorge Cantu and San Francisco's Pat Burrell are in the same rehab-only category.

Faulkner's Torbert wins indy league MVP award

Beau Torbert, formerly of Faulkner University, won the American Association's "star of stars" award -- aka most valuable player -- recently for the Sioux Falls Pheasants. He set league records with a .394 average and 155 hits. He also led the league with 100 RBIs, 269 total bases and 64 extra-base hits. He was second with 24 home runs and a .684 slugging percentage.

Montgomery's Dew part of Golden League title

Josh Dew, formerly of Jeff Davis High and Troy University, helped the Chico Outlaws to a Golden League championship last month. Chico swept three games from the expansion Maui Na Koa Ikaika. (Don't ask me for the pronunciation.) Dew was the winning pitcher in the series opener and pitched two-thirds of an inning in the finale.

2 Biscuits on York championship team

Former Biscuits Vince Harrison and Erold Andrus were part of the York Revolution's Atlantic League championship celebration. Both started the year with other teams -- Harrison was a late-season pickup from the Northern League -- but ended it with a title. Auburn native Michael Nix recorded the final out of the final game.

Knowing Harrison, he'll be on hand to cheer the Big Blue of Kentucky on Saturday against Auburn. How bad will the Wildcats get beat?

Meek inherits Pittsburgh media hand

Former Biscuits reliever Evan Meek won an award from Pittsburgh media for his availability and cooperation this season with the Pirates. Can I take some credit for this one? I did hound Meek throughout the 2007 season, just before Pittsburgh grabbed him in the Rule 5 draft. (He was already a nice guy, so I guess not.)

Hellickson, Dickson duel for your vote

A online poll could split the Montgomery metro area. Let's hear how you'd vote: for a former Biscuit or for a local native? Jeremy Hellickson and Marbury native Brandon Dickson are both among the six choices. Voting continues through Monday.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Rays clinch AL East with Yankee loss

The Rays sealed their first American League East championship and second all-time playoff berth with New York's 8-4 loss at Boston.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Tide-Gators showdown causes schism within Rays

Got word tonight from the St. Petersburg Times that the Alabama-Florida rivalry has (again) infected the Tampa Bay Rays' clubhouse.

Pitcher Lance Cormier, who played for the Tide, and clubhouse/equipment manager Chris Westmoreland, an avowed Gators fan, are placing (another) friendly wager on the game.

The two did so last season and Westmoreland had to wear an Alabama shirt all through spring training this year. For this week, Cormier has prophesied a 31-17 Alabama victory with Westmoreland foreseeing a 24-20 Florida win.

Also, outfielder Desmond Jennings, a former Alabama football signee, is also picking the Tide, but he didn't give a score.

“The only question is which Florida team shows up,’’ he told intrepid reporter Marc Topkin. “If it’s the one from a couple weeks ago that was fumbling the snaps, then it’ll probably be a blowout. But just a W would be fine.’’

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rays wrap up postseason berth

Tampa Bay, with a 5-0 win over Baltimore tonight, sealed a playoff spot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Young, Twins seal AL playoff spot

Former Biscuits outfielder Delmon Young and the Minnesota Twins celebrated a playoff spot tonight.

The Twins sealed the American League Central title. Young, a Biscuit way back in 2005, has a .299 average and 105 RBIs this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Glen wins second Northern League pitcher of year

Former Biscuit Willie Glen won the Northern League's pitcher of the year award today after going 11-2 with a 2.39 ERA for the Gary SouthShore RailCats. He also won it in 2007 and is the first two-time winner in league history.

Also, I didn't know Gabriel Martinez joined the league for the final two weeks. He was with the Kansas City T-Bones.

Suns finally reach Montgomery's level

The Jacksonville Suns, with a 3-1 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Saturday, finished off a four-game series victory and won their second straight Southern League championship.

The Suns have now won two straight Southern League titles, a feat last accomplished by the Biscuits in 2006-07. The Montgomery Rebels were the only previous team to do it. The Rebs won five championships in six years in the 1970s.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bulls emotional bidding Hernandez adieu

Xavier Hernandez had trouble reaching the door of Durham's clubhouse late Friday night to start a long drive home to Houston.

There were hugs at virtually every step between his locker and the exit, each wishing him good luck as he leaves professional baseball.

Durham's 13-2 loss to the Columbus Clippers marked the end of Hernandez's nine-year tenure as a pitching coach in the Tampa Bay system. On Monday, he starts his new job -- as the pitching coach at Houston Baptist.

"It's going to be tough without him because he's always been so good to us and we have a good relationship," said Richard De Los Santos, who led the International League in wins this year. "He was someone who always helped us out."

Hernandez, who was Montgomery's pitching coach in 2005-06 and has been with Durham the last four years, tried to quickly get out of the clubhouse in hopes he wouldn't get emotional.

It didn't work.

"He's going to do something he wants and it's on his terms," said reliever Dale Thayer, who has been with Hernandez since late in the 2007 season. "There were a lot of good tears."

Hernandez and Durham manager Charlie Montoyo, together since 2005 in Montgomery, shared a long hug at the start of Hernandez's trek.

"We're like brothers," Montoyo said. "I hope somebody gives him a chance someday in the big leagues.

"He deserves it."

Clippers down Bulls for International championship

Jared Head scored four runs and Jason Kipsis hit for the cycle to lead the Columbus Clippers in a 13-2 win over the Durham Bulls on Friday for the International League championship.

Josh Rodriguez had four RBIs for the Clippers, who last won a title in 1996. Columbus rolled up 20 hits for the second time in the four-game series. The Bulls allowed no more than 18 hits in any regular-season game.

Durham totaled 10 hits, two each for J.J. Furmaniak, Elliot Johnson and Rashad Eldridge. Furmaniak and Richard had RBIs. Bulls starter Paul Phillips gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Cobb fine with missing Tampa Bay ceremony

Pitcher Alex Cobb, Montgomery's Rays-named most valuable player this year, is OK with missing Tampa Bay's recognition ceremony tonight in St. Pete. Instead, he's in Durham with the Bulls and playing for an International League championship.

"I'd rather be here," Cobb said. "This is a chance to get a ring."

Cobb finished 7-5 with the Biscuits this season before a postseason promotion to Durham. His 2.71 ERA ranked fourth in the Southern League and his 128 strikeouts were third. Those numbers led to his Tampa Bay award.

"It's an honor, especially because there was a really good pitching staff down there," Cobb said. "When they told me, I was happy to hear it."

Bulls promise crimson carpet for Tide fans

The Durham Bulls have vowed to turn part of their park into a crimson palace tonight for their "Crimson Tide tailgate party." They presold 45 tickets and expect many more walk-up sales. The Alabama fight song shall be heard, the Bulls profess.

D. Johnson, Hellickson, Vogt win top awards

The Rays just announced their minor league organizational awards.

Top awards ...
Dan Johnson, player of year
Jeremy Hellickson, pitcher of year
Stephen Vogt, Erik Walker community service award

Team MVPs ...
IF Elliot Johnson, Durham
RHP Alex Cobb, Montgomery
LHP Matt Moore, Charlotte
IF Tyler Bortnick, Bowling Green
1B Phil Wunderlich, Hudson Valley
LHP Enny Romero, Princeton
RHP Pedro Silvestre, GCL
IF/OF Ariel Soriano, Dominican
OF Nahum Hernandez, Venezuela

Special awards ...
OF Desmond Jennings, best defensive player
OF Ty Morrison, best baserunner
RHP Zach Quate, best relief pitcher

Rays to give out organizational awards

Tampa Bay is scheduled to give out its minor league organizational awards today. They've yet to announce the winners, so there's time to share yours. (I'd say Matt Gorgen will not win.)

Jai Miller on his baseball life, life-changing accident

We've had several stories over the years at the Advertiser about Selma High's Jai Miller. If you've missed those, make sure to read this from the Kansas City Star.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Johnson: Can't play Game 5 without Game 4 win

Elliot Johnson, who scored Durham's winning run Thursday against Columbus, went through his "Bull Durham" cliches, right down to the sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains part.

There was one simple statement that summed up what the Bulls/former Biscuits face Friday: "We have to win tomorrow if we want to play the next day."

Paul Phillips, with the Biscuits until the final day of the regular season, is Durham's scheduled starter Friday.

The Bulls will benefit from a full night's rest. After Wednesday's Game 2 in Columbus, both teams jumped in a bus and drove all night. Durham got in about 6 a.m. It's the fourth time in the postseason the Bulls have made a long drive (to and from Louisville, to and from Columbus).

"It wasn't tough," Johnson said. "We have a job to do. Everyone knew we'd be playing today. We had to come out and do our job."

Well-soaked Cobb did leave with blister

Alex Cobb took an injury-filled path to the blister that brought him out of Thursday's game after four shutout innings.

His treatment for an aching back, aggravated by Durham's recent travels, led to him suffering the blister, he said. Cobb left a game earlier this year with Montgomery because of a blister and suffered from them last year as well.

"I had a little back ache, so I took a soak in the tub and it loosened up my skin," Cobb said. "I would liked to have gone at least one more inning."

Cobb was a postseason promotion from the Biscuits to Bulls. In two playoff starts, he's thrown 10 2/3 innings, allowed six hits and two runs and struck out 13.

That is similiar to the numbers he posted late in Montgomery's season. In his last eight starts, Cobb had a 2.32 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings.

"I felt I was throwing well in Double-A, but a couple of things were going my way," Cobb said. "Lately, I've been able to throw my stuff in the zone a lot better, in and out, where I want to."

Bulls avoid sweep with ninth-inning win

Elliot Johnson raced home on a Leslie Anderson flyout with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Durham Bulls a 3-2 win over the Columbus Clippers on Thursday.

Johnson led off the ninth with a walk and went to third on Justin Ruggiano's bloop single. The Clippers intentionally walked Chris Richard to bring up Anderson, who hit a line drive flyout to center.

Rashad Eldridge hit an RBI single and scored in the fifth to make it 2-0. His single brought home Angel Chavez from second. Eldridge ended up on third after center fielder Eziquiel Carrera's error and was in position to score on Fernando Perez's flyout.

The Bulls avoided a sweep in the International League championship series. Game 4 is Friday.

Cobb leaves due to injury (blister?) after four

Alex Cobb is out after four shutout innings due to an injury. It looked like he was nursing a blister, which is something that knocked him out of a game this year with Montgomery and something he dealt with last year at high-Class A Charlotte.

Cobb was also a lucky pitcher -- and likely wouldn't have stayed much longer anyway. He threw 82 pitches in his four innings, 44 for strikes.

More than Spring are pulling for Tide

Sure, Bulls catcher Matt Spring is pulling for an Alabama rout Saturday -- if he didn't his wife would hurt him -- but there's another Tide fan in the clubhouse.

Trainer Rodger Fleming is from Gordo and he even has tickets to the game. He obviously won't use them if he has to work Saturday. If he can't go, his fiancee is also a big Alabama fan and will go without him.

Montoyo receives IL manager's award

The International League just presented Durham manager Charlie Montoyo with its 2010 manager of the year award. Nice trophy. I'd guess Charlie will have to have it shipped home.

Greetings from Durham

We're here in Durham for Saturday's Alabama-Duke "footbaw" game, a little early so we don't miss Game 3 of the International League championship series.

The Bulls are trying to avoid being swept tonight.

Basic reaction from almost every former Biscuit: "What are you doing here?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bulls drop into 2-0 hole with 4-0 defeat

Zach McAllister threw seven innings and the Columbus Clippers hit three home runs to move within one win of an International League championship, beating the Durham Bulls 4-0 tonight.

The Bulls, who managed seven hits, host Game 3 on Thursday. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will also be in Durham.

Cord Phelps hit a solo home run in the first inning. Jared Goedert and Jerad Head went back-to-back off starter Aneury Rodriguez to make it 3-0 in the fourth.

Durham Bulls invite Alabama fans to IL title series

Alabama fans have been invited by the Durham Bulls to attend a tailgate party Friday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the fourth game of the International League championship series.

That fourth game is "if necessary" and it doesn't look good. The Bulls took an 18-5 shelling Tuesday in the opener of the best-of-5 series and trail 4-0 after six innings tonight.

Call 919-956-BULL during normal office hours or go to and order tickets. Enter “TIDE” in the special offer code. Select “Crimson Tide tailgate” in the “ticket type” dropdown.

It's $20 for a ticket and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Food line opens at 6 p.m. Eastern and the game starts at 7:05 -- if there's a game at all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clippers decimate Durham in opener

Jerad Head had six RBIs in Columbus' 18-5 clubbing of Durham in the opener of the International League championship series.

The Clippers led 17-1 after seven innings.

Justin Ruggiano's eighth-inning grand slam pulled the Bulls within two touchdowns.

Richard De Los Santos gave up five runs in the first and left with none out in the third at an umpire's behest. He was ejected after hitting a batter who had homered in the first.

Game 2 is Wednesday at Columbus.

McGee's debut one he can build on

Jake McGee had a shaky debut tonight with the Rays. He recorded one out (a strikeout), issued three walks and gave up a run to the New York Yankees. McGee mixed four strikes into his 17 pitches.

Lobaton starts rehab stint with Durham

Catcher Jose Lobaton begins a rehab assignment with Durham tonight in the opener of the International League championship series. Lobaton was hurt while with Durham, but the Rays moved him to the major league disabled list in late August to create flexibility for its potential playoff roster. Richard De Los Santos starts tonight for the Bulls at the Columbus Clippers.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yankees finish off Stone Crabs

Craig Heyer allowed five hits over six innings as the Tampa Yankees claimed a second straight Florida State League title, beating the Charlotte Stone Crabs 9-0 tonight.

Bradley Suttle's three-run home run highlighted a five-run fifth that made it 7-0 off Crabs starter Joe Cruz.

St. Pete: McGee going to major leagues

Jake McGee, who has had an agreeable tenure with the Durham Bulls, is set to hit the major leagues Tuesday, the St. Petersburg Times' Rays guru, Marc Topkin, reports. McGee's tolerable numbers in Durham: an 0.44 ERA in 20 1/3 innings, nine hits allowed, four walks and 32 strikeouts.

Suns in position to join Rebels, Biscuits

The Jacksonville Suns may soon join an exclusive club -- teams with back-to-back Southern League championships.

The Suns face the Tennessee Smokies in a rematch of last year's best-of-5 final series. If they get the same result, they'll be the first team to repeat since the Montgomery Biscuits won in 2006-07.

The Montgomery Rebels are the only other Southern League repeat offender. The Rebs won the first two SL playoff titles in 1972-73 and won three in a row from 1975-77.

Tennessee hosts Jacksonville for the first two games of the series Tuesday and Wednesday. After an off day, the Suns host the remainder of the series starting Friday. Both capped four-game semifinal series victories Sunday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sexton, Stone Crabs avoid Tampa sweep

Greg Sexton scored in the ninth inning on a Jake Jefferies flyout and the Charlotte Stone Crabs avoided a Florida State League championship series sweep with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Yankees.

Game 4 of the series is Monday at Tampa.

Matt Moore ran up 10 strikeouts and gave up one run over six innings. He walked four and gave up four hits. Moore uncorked two wild pitches in the fifth to bring in Tampa's run.

Neil Schenk was the winner with two shutout innings. Zach Quate worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth for the save.

Durham advances to league finals

J.J. Furmaniak hit the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and Durham advanced to the International League championship series with a 4-2 win over Louisville.

Furmaniak also made an over-the-shoulder catch for the final out.

The Bulls face the Columbus Clippers in the best-of-5 finals. Games 1 and 2 are Tuesday and Wednesday at Columbus. Games 3, *4 and *5 will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Durham. (*--If necessary.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Crabs on brink of being swept for FSL title

Bradley Suttle and Jack Rye had three RBIs each to lead Tampa in a 7-2 win over Charlotte tonight. The Yankees have a 2-0 lead on the Stone Crabs in the Florida State League championship series and can finish a sweep Sunday.

Bulls force decisive Game 5

Durham beat Louisville 8-1 to force a decisive fifth game in their International League playoff series. Chris Richard hit a grand slam and had five RBIs. Paul Phillips threw five shutout innings for the win.

Hot Rods, Rays renew affiliation

The Bowling Green Hot Rods and Tampa Bay Rays have extrended their player-development contract through 2012.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crabs kneel to Yankees in FSL opener

Jose Pirela scored twice, Myron Leslie had two RBIs and the Tampa Yankees took advantage of 11 walks in a 5-2 win over Charlotte tonight.

It was the opening game of the best-of-5 Florida State League championship series. Game 2 is Saturday.

Jake Jefferies and Matt Hall homered for the Stone Crabs, who did not draw a walk. Pirela and Leslie each walked three times.

Bats down Bulls in crucial Game 3

Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Louisville Bats a 2-1 win over the Durham Bulls in Game 3 of their International League playoff series.

The Bats have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series with Game 4 on Saturday.

Frazier's shot came off Alex Cobb, who took a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning in his Triple-A debut. Cobb allowed three hits, walked one and struck out 10.

Pat White (Alabamian, QB) signs with Royals

Pat White, a Daphne native who was a star baseball player before becoming a star quarterback at West Virginia, has signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals. He was drafted out of high school and while at WVU.

Gorgen greeted move with 'disbelief, at first'

Matt Gorgen's phone rang Thursday afternoon and has taken few breaks since.

The first call was from Tampa Bay farm director Mitch Lukevics informing Gorgen that he'd been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It set off emotions for Gorgen, who has been with the Rays since the 2008 draft through this year's All-Star season with the Biscuits. Gorgen's move completes the July 31 trade that sent Chad Qualls from Arizona to Tampa Bay.

"It was kind of disbelief, at first," Gorgen said today. "I knew they were looking for a player to be named. You see your friends get traded and you see people you know get traded all the time, but I never thought it would be me."

From there, as word circulated, friends and former teammates started calling and texting. So did some friends Gorgen already has with the Diamondbacks. Mixed in was one from interim Arizona general manager Jerry Dipoto.

"It's been a whirwind last two days," Gorgen said.

The move doesn't change Gorgen's offseason plans. He missed a month this season with tendinitis, but the Southern League still named him its top reliever. Gorgen is scheduled to rest until spring training, though that will now be in Arizona and not Florida.

"With the injury, the tendinitis, they felt my workload was sufficient," Gorgen said. "They want me to take time off."

Gorgen is expected to spend next season at Triple-A Reno.

Crabs haul out bubbly for celebration

Hey, guys, don't use it all yet. The Charlotte Stone Crabs got their party on after clinching a return trip to the Florida State League championship series. (Thanks to the Crabs and Nick Martinez for the photo.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Crabs advance to FSL title series

Frank De Los Santos threw 6 2/3 shutout innings of relief to lead the Charlotte Stone Crabs to a 2-1 win over Bradenton on Thursday in the decisive game of a Florida State League playoff series.

The Crabs advance to the best-of-5 league championship series and host the opener Friday. They'll face the Tampa Yankees in a rematch of last year's final won in five games by Tampa.

On Thursday, starter Alex Colome left after 1 1/3 innings (and a two-hour, 16-minute rain delay) before De Los Santos shut down the Marauders. Zach Quate worked the ninth to end it.

Down 1-0, Charlotte struck twice in the bottom of the second. Matt Hall singled home Mike Sheridan and Chris Murrill drew a bases-loaded walk to push in Jake Jefferies.

Gorgen to Arizona to complete Qualls trade

Biscuits reliever Matt Gorgen, who tied for the Southern League lead in saves this season, has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gorgen completes the deal that sent major leaguer Chad Qualls from Arizona to Tampa Bay on July 31.

Gorgen, 23, had 22 saves and a 1.65 ERA in 49 innings this season for the Biscuits. He was named the team's most valuable player by the Advertiser.

Last year, Tampa Bay named Gorgen the organization's top minor league reliever. He had 19 saves and a 1.17 ERA between high-Class A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.

Bullpen keys Bulls in win over Bats

Darin Downs and three other relievers held Louisville to one run over the final 6 1/3 innings in Durham's 6-2 win.

The Bulls evened the best-of-5 series 1-1. Game 3 is Friday in Durham.

Jake McGee, Joe Bateman and Winston Abreu worked the final four innings, giving up one hit and striking out seven.

Justin Ruggiano scored twice and Joe Dillon had two RBIs.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stone Crabs force third game with Bradenton

Stephen Vogt knocked in three runs and Tim Beckham scored three times in Charlotte's 10-2 playoff win over Bradenton.

The best-of-3 Florida State League series is tied 1-1 with the finale scheduled for Thursday.

Joe Cruz, the FSL's regular-season wins leader, worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs for the victory.

Durham digs hole, loses opener at Louisville

Mike Costanzo hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning and finished with four RBIs to lead the Louisville Bats in an 8-4 win over Durham tonight in Game 1 of an International League playoff series.

Leslie Anderson knocked in three runs to lead the Bulls, including a two-run homer in the seventh. Joe Dillon scored three times.

Richard De Los Santos, the IL regular-season wins leader, surrendered seven runs in five-plus innings. De Los Santos was 14-5 with a 3.52 ERA in the regular season.

Game 2 is Thursday at Louisville.

Cobb's Durham debut in Game 3 of playoffs

Alex Cobb will make his Triple-A debut Friday for Durham in the third game of the Bulls' playoff series with Louisville.

It's Richard De Los Santos in tonight's opener followed by Aneury Rodriguez, Cobb, Bobby Livingston and Paul Phillips.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Crabs fall in playoff opener

Charlotte's Matt Moore took a one-hit shutout into the seventh before Bradenton scored four times on its way to a 5-0 win over the Stone Crabs. It was the opener of a best-of-5 playoff series. Game 2 is Wednesday.

Shields is Tampa Bay's Clemente nominee

Former Biscuits pitcher James Shields is Tampa Bay's nominee for this year's Roberto Clemente Award. The award recognizes a major league player's community service. Shields started his Big Game James Club this year for two organizations in the Tampa Bay area that assist foster children. He's worked with both groups for four years.

Fans can participate in the award by voting at There's a seven-voter panel that includes Roberto Clemente's widow, Vera. The fan winner will count as an eighth vote.

Hellickson named Baseball America player of year

jeremy Hellickson, formerly of the Biscuits, was named Baseball America's minor league player of the year today.

Hellickson was 12-3 with an International League-best 2.45 ERA this year at Triple-A Durham.

Bass back in bigs with Pirates

Montgomery's Brian Bass is back with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who promoted him and seven others from Triple-A Indianapolis after Indy's season ended.

Burnside takes Pioneer League honor for week

Montgomery native Paul Burnside won his final two starts for the Rookie-level Great Falls Voyagers and also carried home the Pioneer League's final pitcher of the week award.

Burnside threw six shutout innings Wednesday and allowed three runs over five innings Monday. He finished 7-3 with a 4.14 ERA.

West Tenn's Scott Savastano was the Southern League's top hitter. He had nine RBIs in his last five games, including five Sunday.

Mobile left-hander Wade Miley was the SL's top pitcher after throwing five shutout innings Aug. 31 and an unearned run in five innings Sunday. He finished 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA.

Richard, Vogt win league's final weekly hitting honors

Durham's Chris Richard was the final International League hitter of the week and Charlotte's Stephen Vogt won the Florida State League's award. Vogt was 13-for-23 in Charlotte's final seven games. Richard had 15 RBIs in Durham's last eight games.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Gorgen, Torres league kings in saves, Ks

Montgomery pitchers Matt Gorgen and Alex Torres each were first in two Southern League categories this season. Torres was the league's strikeout king with 150 Ks but also its top traffic cop with 70 walks. Gorgen tied with Birmingham's Anthony Carter with 22 saves and was first with 37 games finished.

Also, former Carolina outfielder Dave Sappelt wins the batting title. He was six plate appearances shy of the season minimum to qualify, but there is a provision in the rules (see rule 10:22 (a)) where he can be charged with those needed at-bats. That drops his .361 to .354, which is still good enough for a 10-point lead on Tennessee's Brandon Guyer. Sappelt won the league's most valuable player award last week.

And I'll share that Brett Lawrie's 16 triples for Huntsville were the most in the league since Huntsville's Luis Polonia hit 18 in 1985. The record is 19 set by 1977 Montgomery Rebels infielder Alan Trammell.

7 Biscuits head off to Durham

While the Biscuits ended their season today, seven players are headed to Durham for the International League playoffs.

Pitcher Paul Phillips left before Montgomery's loss at Jacksonville and will be on the Bulls' active roster.

It's unknown whether the other six -- catchers Craig Albernaz and Matt Spring, infielder Drew Anderson, outfielder Rashad Eldridge and pitchers Dane De La Rosa and Alex Cobb -- will be active.

Biscuits cap season with loss, finish 72-66

Montgomery's 7-6 season-ending loss at Jacksonville today gave the Biscuits a 72-66 overall record. The Biscuits now sport an overall 488-484 record.

We've added a countdown to Opening Day 2011 link to the right.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

AU's Shuman jumps from Rods to Crabs

Pitcher Scott Shuman, formerly of Auburn U., and catcher Mark Thomas have been promoted from Bowling Green to Charlotte. That makes them eligible for the Stone Crabs' playoff run.

Vogt wins batting title in a landslide

Charlotte's Stephen Vogt was 2-for-3 in today's season finale and finished with a .345 average, easily the best in the Florida State League. The Stone Crabs beat Bradenton 4-1 for their league-best 80th win. Charlotte runs Matt Moore to the mound Tuesday in the opener of a best-of-3 semifinal playoff series at Bradenton.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Crabs make victory speech for Vogt's batting title

Stephen Vogt, after a three-hit Friday left him with a .342 average, has "essentially clinched" the Florida State League batting crown, the Charlotte Stone Crabs say.

Vogt has a 20-point lead over Brevard County's Erik Komatsu with two games to play.

So, a batting champ, a wins leader (Joe Cruz) and a strikeout maestro (Matt Moore) are due to be Biscuits in 2011.

Crabs make victory speech for Vogt's batting title

Stephen Vogt, after a three-hit Friday left him with a .342 average, has "essentially clinched" the Florida State League batting crown, the Charlotte Stone Crabs say.

Vogt has a 20-point lead over Brevard County's Erik Komatsu with two games to play.

So, a batting champ, a wins leader (Joe Cruz) and a strikeout maestro (Matt Moore) are due to be Biscuits in 2011.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Biscuits just short of 270K in attendance

By the way, the Biscuits finished with an announced attendance total of 269,840 this season, which will be third in the Southern League.

2010 -- 269,840 in 67 dates (4,027 average)
2009 -- 266,818 in 66 (4,043)
2008 -- 292,181 in 65 (4,495)
2007 -- 311,872 in 68 (4,586)
2006 -- 313,795 in 68 (4,615)
2005 -- 303,054 in 67 (4,523)
2004 -- 322,946 in 67 (4,820)
Overall -- 2,080,506 in 468 dates (4,446 average)

Montgomery's playoff possibilities

The Biscuits are in a tricky situation if they want to make the playoffs. They need to win this weekend at Jacksonville, but not too much.

Jacksonville won the South Division first-half title. The Suns are also leading the second half by a game over Mobile. If Jacksonville wins both halves, the South Division team with the second-best overall record qualifies for the playoffs.

In that department, the Biscuits trail.

So, the Biscuits need to win to catch Mobile in overall record, but any win by the Biscuits helps Mobile in the second-half race.

Current standings ...
Second half
Jacksonville 38-28, .576
Mobile 36-28, .563
Montgomery eliminated

Mobile 72-60, .545
Montgomery 71-63, .530

The Biscuits and Suns start a four-game series tonight. Mobile finishes the season with five games at Huntsville -- there's a doubleheader Saturday.

Your scenarios ...
If the Biscuits sweep and Mobile wins twice, Mobile passes Jacksonville for the second-half title (Mobile will have a .551 second-half winning percentage and Jacksonville will be at .543). Montgomery goes home.

If the Biscuits win three games and Mobile wins twice, Jacksonville wins the second half and Mobile has the next best record. (Mobile will have a .540 overall winning percentage. Montgomery will be at .536).

If the Biscuits win three and Mobile wins just one, Jacksonville wins the second half and Montgomery goes to the playoffs (Montgomery .536 overall, Mobile .533).

If the Biscuits and Suns split and Mobile wins just one, Jacksonville wins the second half and Mobile goes to the playoffs (Mobile .533, Montgomery .529).

If the Biscuits and Suns split and Mobile gets swept, Jacksonville wins the second half and Montgomery goes to the playoffs (Montgomery .529, Mobile .526).

There is no way Montgomery can lose the series at Jacksonville and pass Mobile on overall record.

Mobile has to win two more games than Jacksonville to win the second half. Montgomery has to win two more games than Mobile to have a better overall record.

Oh, if Montgomery does squirm into the playoffs with the second-best South Division record, the Biscuits will host just one game of a best-of-5 series with Jacksonville. That home game would be Sept. 11 -- a Saturday, aka the second week of college football.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lobstein puts nice polish on season finale

Kyle Lobstein threw six shutout innings in his final start to lead Bowling Green in a 5-1 win at Dayton. Lobstein (9-8) gave up two hits and struck out seven. He finishes with a 4.14 ERA.

Biscuits, Rays staying together

The Biscuits and Tampa Bay Rays have renewed their vows, agreeing to a four-year extension to run through 2014.

The Biscuits announced it before their home finale tonight. The player development contract that bound the two was set to expire at the end of this season.

Montgomery has been a Tampa Bay affiliate since the Biscuits started play in 2004. With Desmond Jennings' debut Wednesday with the Rays, there have been 45 former Biscuits who have reached the majors.

The Biscuits-Rays' move leaves one Southern League team without formal arrangements for 2011: the Huntsville Stars.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Huntsville's parent club since 1999, are likely to seek other affiliation. Arkansas (currently Angels), San Antonio (Padres), Erie (Tigers) and Richmond (Giants) are the other Double-A teams whose 2011 affiliation is unsettled.

More end-of-year awards

Jacksonville had the best trainer and groundskeeper, while Mississippi sported the best visiting clubhouse attendant, according to more Southern League awards announced today. Dustin Luepker is the trainer and is in his second year with the Suns. Ed Attalla is the groundskeeper and he's now a six-time SL award winner. Destin Smith has now won the clubbie award for two straight years.

Dancy wins SL manager of year award

Tennessee's Bill Dancy, whose team won both North Division halves this season, has won the Southern League manager of the year award. The Smokies are 83-51 entering tonight, which is the best record in Double-A. The .619 winning percentage ranks third of all full-season teams (Triple-A Durham is at .623 and low-Class A Great Lakes at .642).

Auburn-Alabama game at Riverwalk on March 15

Not sure if this has already been out there, but the third annual Auburn-Alabama game at Riverwalk Stadium will be March 15, 2011. Auburn released its schedule today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

'Special announcement' Thursday

The Biscuits are promising a "special announcement" before Thursday's home finale.

Cruz in control for Crabs

Joe Cruz went six innings in Charlotte's 6-0 win at Jupiter, improved to 13-6 and all but sealed the Florida State League wins title tonight.

Cruz, who allowed three hits and struck out 10, has a two-win lead in the victory department. Last year, current Biscuit Jeremy Hall had a league-high 14 wins for the Stone Crabs.

Sappelt MVP, Koehler top pitcher in Southern League

Carolina outfielder Dave Sappelt, the Southern League's leading hitter, won its most valuable player award and Jacksonville's Tom Koehler was named the top pitcher today.

Sappelt enters today with a .361 average and 62 RBIs in 89 games. His average is 26 points ahead of second place.

Koehler is 16-2 with a 2.71 ERA and has one start left. He's already the league's first 16-game winner since Dave Borkowski in 1998. and the league hasn't had someone hit 17 since a 19-game winner in 1989.

If Sappelt holds his current average, he'll have the highest since Jason LaRue's .365 in 1998.

Colome sent from Hot Rods to Stone Crabs

Pitcher Alex Colome, one of Tampa Bay's top prospects, has been promoted from low-Class A Bowling Green to high-A Charlotte.

The Hot Rods also sent Wilking Rodriguez to Hudson Valley and added Shane Minks and C.J. Riefenhauser from Princeton. Riefenhauser starts tonight.

Colome was 6-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 22 starts this year. He was Tampa Bay's No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, before the season after compiling a 1.66 ERA in 15 starts at Hudson Valley last year.

Moore first in minors to reach 200 Ks since 2002

Matt Moore's 200-strikeout season is not only the first in the Florida State League since 1971. It's the first in the entire minor leagues since 2002, according to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Also, the Crabs broke the FSL team record for whiffs on Tuesday. They have 1,137 to eclipse the record held by the 2001 Tampa Yankees.

Gorgen only Biscuit on Southern League team

Right-hander Matt Gorgen was named the Southern League's top reliever today when the league released its end-of-season All-Star team.

Gorgen, after a save Tuesday, is 3-2 with a 1.72 ERA and 20 saves. He's allowed 33 hits in 47 innings.

C: Robinson Chirinos, Tennessee
1B: Johan Limonta, West Tenn
2B: Brett Lawrie, Huntsville
3B: Matt Dominguez, Jacksonville
SS: Osvaldo Martinez, Jacksonville
OF: Tony Campana, Tennessee
OF: Collin Cowgill, Mobile
OF: Brandon Guyer, Tennessee
OF: Dave Sappelt, Carolina
DH: Corey Smith, Chattanooga
Utility: Vinny Rottino, Jacksonville
Best hustler: Tony Campana, Tennessee
RHP: Elih Villanueva, Jacksonville
LHP: Tom Cochran, Carolina
Reliever: Matt Gorgen, Montgomery

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moore eclipses 200-Ks

Matt Moore struck out 11 over six innings for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in a 3-2 win over Jupiter in the opening game of a doubleheader tonight.

Moore finishes the regular season with 208 strikeouts. He's the first Florida State League pitcher since 1971 to reach 200.

Recently drafted Jacob Thompson, just up from Hudson Valley, pitched five innings and got the win in the Crabs' 3-1 victory.

Baker wins again; McGee still doing OK

Shutout maker Brian Baker threw five shutout innings and Jake McGee, the Reno rabbit, followed with two in Durham's 5-2 win over Charlotte.

McGee has been acceptable sine his promotion from Montgomery. He hasn't allowed an earned run, has issued one walk and has totaled 23 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

Desmond Jennings going to big leagues

Former Biscuits center fielder Desmond Jennings is among the throng being called up by the Rays when rosters expand Wednesday.

It's Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Rocco Baldelli, Dioner Navarro and Brad Hawpe, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

It will be Jennings' debut. He was the Southern League most valuable player last season. This year, he's hitting .278 with 82 runs scored in 109 games for Durham.

If you're bored, check out my new Alabama blog

Row Todd, right? They have me blogging about the mighty Crimson Tide. It make take me a while to get to my freewheeling Biscuit Crumbs best, but you can check it out. We've named it Fit to be Tide. I plan to keep the Biscuit Crumbs alive -- as much as I can -- until they tell me otherwise.

Hellickson, Montoyo land major International honors

Durham's Jeremy Hellickson was named the International League's pitcher of the year and Charlie Montoyo won the manager of the year award today. Both are former Biscuits.

Dan Johnson, now in the majors, won the most valuable player award. Johnson, who has been with the Rays since early August, still leads the IL with 30 home runs and 95 RBIs.

Hellickson was on pace for the IL Triple Crown with 12 wins, a 2.45 ERA and 123 strikeouts when he was promoted to the majors. He's now in high-Class A Charlotte to learn how to be a reliever.

Under Montoyo, the Bulls have won four straight division championships and have the league's best record.

Durham's Elliot Johnson, another former Biscuit, landed on the end-of-season All-Star team. Through Monday, Johnson has a .314 average, which ranks fourth in the league, and 30 steals, which ranks fifth.

MiLB head on Huntsville: 'We can force the club to leave'

The president of Minor League Baseball, Pat O'Conner, piles on about Huntsville's Joe Davis Stadium in the Huntsville Times, saying "they need a ballpark."

5 Crabs named to FSL end-of-season All-Star team

Left-handed pitcher Matt Moore leads a group of five Charlotte Stone Crabs named to the Florida State League's end-of-season All-Star team.

Starting pitcher Joe Cruz, reliever Zach Quate and leading hitter Stephen Vogt join Moore on the team. Jim Morrison was named the league's manager of the year.

Vogt leads the league in hitting, Cruz has a league-best 12 wins and ranks second with a 2.98 ERA, and Quate has 23 saves and has held hitters to a .191 average. Morrison has the Crabs back in the playoffs for a second straight year.

Moore leads the entire minor leagues with 197 strikeouts and is on the cusp of being the first since 1971 from the FSL to reach 200. He was also a four-time FSL pitcher of the week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Biscuits schedule

Released today by the Southern League, and the AHSAA baseball championships are cleared for a full week at Riverwalk. The Biscuits are on the road.

7-11 Birmingham
13-17 at Tennessee
18-22 West Tenn
23-27 at Mississippi
28-30 Jacksonville

1-2 Jacksonville
3-7 at Carolina
9-13 Chattanooga
14-18 at Birmingham
19-23 at Huntsville (AHSAA baseball championships end May 21)
25-29 Jacksonville
30-31 at West Tenn

1-3 at West Tenn
4-8 Mississippi
9-13 Jacksonville
15-19 at Mobile
end of first half (All-Star Game on June 21 at West Tenn)
23-27 West Tenn
28-30 at Mobile

1-3 at Mobile (end six-game series)
4-7 Tennessee (four-gamer)
8-11 at Jacksonville
13-18 Huntsville (six-gamer)
20-23 at West Tenn (DH on 23rd, followed by two off days)
26-30 Tennessee
31 at Jacksonville

1-4 at Jacksonville
5-9 Mobile
11-15 at Carolina
16-20 at Birmingham
21-25 Mississippi
26-30 Carolina

1-5 at Chattanooga

Marbury's Dickson top hurler in PCL

Marbury native Brandon Dickson snapped an eight-start winless streak with two straight victories and earned the Pacific Coast League's weekly pitching award.

Dickson, who is with the Memphis Redbirds allowed two runs over 8 2/3 innings Tuesday to win at Omaha. On Sunday, he gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and struck out a season-high nine to win at Round Rock.

Alex Torres week's top pitcher in Southern League

Biscuits left-hander Alex Torres has been named the Southern League's pitcher of the week.

Torres allowed one run on four hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings Sunday. He threw six shutout innings Tuesday at Huntsville. With the two wins, Torres is 11-6 and his 3.33 ERA ranks eighth in the league.

Birmingham's Cole Armstrong won the hitter's award.

Moore wins FSL award again

Charlotte's Matt Moore has yet again won the Florida State League's weekly pitching award.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ashley promoted after Lobaton went on DL

Durham added catcher Nevin Ashley from the Biscuits after the Bulls needed to put Jose Lobaton on the disabled list.

Ashley helps Durham set team Triple-A wins mark

Durham's 8-5 win at Charlotte today -- which included a two-run home run by Nevin Ashley in his debut -- gave the Bulls a Triple-A team-record 84th win. Durham is 84-51.

Richard De Los Santos had his seven-start win streak end. He was in position to pick up his 15th victory, but the bullpen blew a save. De Los Santos allowed one run over five innings and has a 3.36 ERA.

Durham needs five wins in its final eight games (all at home) to tie the 1962 team's record of 89 wins.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ashley promoted to Durham

Biscuits catcher Nevin Ashley has been promoted to Triple-A Durham. Ashley, out of the lineup tonight, hit .255 in 92 games with the Biscuits. He had seven home runs and 45 RBIs.

He gives the Bulls three active catchers, which is a sign Dioner Navarro will return to the majors Wednesday when rosters expand.

Saturday: Biscuits 6, Diamond Jaxx 3

Jeremy Hall threw six shutout innings, Jose Ruiz knocked in three runs, and the Biscuits beat the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 6-3 on Saturday.

Hall (6-8) gave up four hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Ruiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning and an RBI groundout in the four-run seventh. Matt Fields’ 12th homer led off the seventh.

The Jaxx scored three times with two outs in the ninth off reliever Sergio Espinosa. Heath Rollins recorded the final out for his second save.

Reid unsure who made $1K jersey bid

Biscuits pitcher Ryan Reid is in the dark about who bid $1,000 on his jersey. He ruled out his family. Other than that, "I have no idea," he said. Reid has asked some of the Biscuits front office people, but they didn't cough up the info.

Cobb, Schenk also on Rays' AFL list

Biscuits pitcher Alex Cobb and Charlotte reliever Neil Schenk round out the Tampa Bay contingent headed to the Arizona Fall League. Cobb confirmed his and Schenk's invitation today.

Reid leader in clubhouse in jersey auction

Online bidding has ended for the Biscuits' annual jersey auction. It will continue at Riverwalk Stadium tonight with a silent auction, but I'll guess that one jersey is safe.

Nobody exceeded the early bid of $1,000 for pitcher Ryan Reid's No. 33. The second-highest bid was a $280 pittance put forth for Jake McGee's No. 21.

Saturday lineups

It's the second game of a four-game series between the Biscuits and West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. Today is also the final Saturday home game of the year and it's Charities Night at the park. Lineups ...

Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Jose Ruiz 1b
Henry Wrigley 3b
John Matulia rf
Drew Anderson ss
Matt Fields dh
Craig Albernaz c
Shawn O'Malley 2b
Jeremy Hall rhp

Matt Lawson 2b
Nate Tenbrink 1b
Alex Liddi dh
Johan Limonta rf
Guillermo Quiroz c
Carlos Peguero cf
Leury Bonilla 3b
Joe Dunigan lf
Carlos Triunfel ss
Luis Munoz rhp

System check

With college football starting in earnest next week, this is the final system check of the year.

International League South

(83-50, first place, 16 GA)
RHP Richard De Los Santos threw six shutout innings Tuesday and set a team Triple-A record with his 14th win. He’s won seven straight starts and is 14-5 with a 3.42 ERA.
LHP Jake McGee, in 12.2 shutout innings, has allowed four hits, walked one and struck out 20.
IF Elliot Johnson, who has 25 hits in his last 15 games, is hitting .321, which ranks fourth in the league. He’s scored 66 runs.
1B-LF Leslie Anderson has a .354 average in 20 games.

Florida State League South

(31-29, third place, 2 GB)
LHP Matt Moore needs three strikeouts in his final start to become the first in the league to reach 200 for a season since 1971. He threw six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts Thursday to improve to 5-11 with a 3.50 ERA.
C Stephen Vogt’s 330 average still leads the league.
SS Tim Beckham, hitting .319 since July 1, has pushed his average to .258.
LHP Neil Schenk is 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA.

Midwest League Eastern

(24-36, seventh place, 17 GB)
RHP Tyree Hayes threw two perfect innings Tuesday and has a 3.25 ERA in 10 appearances.
OF Ty Morrison has a .317 average and nine RBIs in his last 10 games.
OF Burt Reynolds, promoted after hitting .224 at Hudson Valley, is 3-for-10 in four games.

New York-Penn League McNamara

(33-31, second place, 10 GB)
3B Nick Schwaner, who knocked in five runs Wednesday, has 45 RBIs in 57 games.
RHP Nate Garcia, after throwing 3.1 perfect innings Monday, has a 1.71 ERA.
LHP Zach Rosscup struck out 10 over 5.2 innings Monday.

Appalachian League East

(29-34, fourth place, 7 GB)
LHP Matt Gilson allowed one hit in 3.1 innings Monday and has a 1.62 ERA.
LHP Enny Romero is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 12 starts.

Gulf Coast League South

(33-26, first place, 1.5 GA)
LHP Jose Molina allowed one hit in four shutout innings Friday in his first start.
RHP Pedro Silvestre is 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA.

Those who strayed from the Rays

LF Delmon Young has a .306 average and 91 RBIs for the Minnesota Twins.
RHP Evan Meek has a 2.13 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
RHP Mitch Talbot has lost five straight decisions and is 8-11 with a 4.44 ERA for the Cleveland Indians.
RHP Jose Veras has a 3.34 ERA with the Florida Marlins.
OF Johnny Raburn is hitting .264 with Triple-A Nashville (Brewers).
RHP Willie Glen is 10-2 with a 2.59 ERA and 104 strikeouts at independent Gary SouthShore.
RHP Jim Magrane ranks third in Taiwan with 94 strikeouts. He’s 9-5 with a 2.60 ERA.
IF Vince Harrison is hitting .269 at independent Winnipeg.
RHP Chris Mason is 10-6 with a 2.31 ERA for La New in Taiwan.
OF Jeremy Owens is hitting .218 for independent Southern Maryland.
OF Joe Gaetti has a .220 average with independent Lancaster.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hawpe signs minor deal with Rays

Outfielder Brad Hawpe, released by the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, has signed a minor-league deal with the Rays and will join Class A Charlotte. Hawpe had a .255 average in 88 games with the Rockies this year.

Crabs' Moore near nice feat

The fine folks with the Charlotte Stone Crabs just shared this.

Matt Moore, after a 10-strikeout Thursday left him with a minors-high 197 Ks this year, can become the Florida State League's first 200-K pitcher since 1971. Moore has one start left in the regular season.

Strasburg likely headed to operating table

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is likely to have Tommy John surgery, according to reports. He left a game last weekend with forearm pain. He'll miss 12 to 18 months.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stone Crabs, Rays extend PDC

The Charlotte Stone Crabs and Tampa Bay Rays have extended their player development contract through 2012.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cobb near mark; Joe Davis (Stadium) sets mark

Biscuits pitcher Alex Cobb had 13 strikeouts in today's 5-3 loss at Huntsville. That's one shy of the team record of 14 set by Mitch Talbot in a playoff win over Jacksonville on Sept. 9, 2006.

Huntsville fans clearly set another mark, filling Joe Davis Stadium to the tune of an announced crowd of 504 today for the smallest gathering in Biscuits history. That clipped the 595 from Monday. Those eclipsed the 630 that turned out to see Montgomery on June 20 ... at Huntsville. In Biscuits history, there have been 24 announced crowds of less than 1,000. Huntsville has a 14-10 lead over West Tenn in that category.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

De Los Santos sets Durham wins record

Richard De Los Santos set Durham's Triple-A wins record in style tonight.

De Los Santos and two relievers combined on a 1-0 home win over Norfolk for Durham's ninth straight victory.

De Los Santos (14-5) gave up six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Jake McGee followed with 1 1/3, including striking out the side in the eighth. Winston Abreu worked the ninth for his 21st save.

McGee, in 10 2/3 innings since leaving the Biscuits, has 19 strikeouts and hasn't allowed an earned run.

Xavier Hernandez leaving Rays for Houston Baptist

Durham pitching coach Xavier Hernandez has been named an assistant coach at Houston Baptist and will leave the Tampa Bay organization at the end of the season.

Hernandez is in his fourth year with the Bulls after a two-season stay with the Biscuits. His last five teams, including this year's, have advanced to the playoffs. Hernandez has been with the Rays since 2002.

Hernandez lives in the Houston suburbs, so the move will allow him to spend more time with his wife and four children. He was the pitching coach at Houston Baptist from 1999-2001 and received dual degrees in psychology and sociology from the school.

The right-hander, who turned 45 last week, played in the major leagues from 1989-98.

Houston Baptist, previously an NAIA school, started the move back to NCAA Division I three years ago. The Huskies had a 6.64 team ERA this spring and finished 28-31.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spring hits Montgomery's first grand slam since '08

Catcher Matt Spring hit a first-inning grand slam tonight in Montgomery's game at Huntsville. It's the first for the Biscuits since Gabriel Martinez hit one May 31, 2008, and the 15th in team history. Spring also hit a grand slam in his first game in a Biscuits uniform, which was May 24, 2007, at Mississippi.

Longoria shares AL player of week award

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has been named the co-American League player of the week, along with Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. Longoria was 11-for-28 with three home runs and 12 RBIs over the last week. Cano knocked in 13 runs and was 9-for-27 with four homers.

Get your bids in now for Biscuits jerseys

Bidding has started for the Biscuits' annual jersey auction. The minimum bid is $135. Online bidding continues through noon Saturday. On Saturday night, the highest online bid will be the beginning bid for a silent auction at Riverwalk Stadium. In other words, those at the stadium get the last shot, like the home team in the bottom of the ninth.

Durham releases 2011 schedule

The Durham Bulls are making their game at the old home an annual thing. The Bulls released their 2011 schedule today and will return to the old Durham Athletic Park to play Indianapolis on May 9. The Bulls will also host the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament May 25-29.

For any Biscuits fans looking for the easiest way to see them, the Bulls play three series at the Gwinnett Braves. Durham opens the season at Gwinnett with a four-game series April 7-10. The Bulls also are there June 16-19 and July 4-5.

Lobstein rakes in Midwest League award

Bowling Green's Kyle Lobstein, on the strength of his start Wednesday, won the Midwest League's weekly pitching award today. Lobstein threw seven shutout innings in a 6-2 win over Lake County. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked none and struck out seven to improve to 8-6 with a 4.20 ERA.

Streaking Steve Clevenger of the Tennessee Smokies and Birmingham's Deunte Heath won the Southern League's weekly honors. Clevenger has hits in nine straight at-bats, two shy of the league record. He also had nine RBIs and five extra-base hits the last two days. Heath threw five shutout innings in two relief appearances.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

McGee notches first career save

Jake McGee picked up his first pro save tonight with a perfect, five-pitch ninth inning to finish Durham's 9-8 win at Norfolk.

Sunday: Biscuits 9, Lookouts 2

Nevin Ashley knocked in a career-high five runs, Paul Phillips and three relievers combined on a three-hitter, and the Biscuits downed the Chattanooga Lookouts 9-2 on Sunday.

Phillips gave up one hit -- a bunt single with one out in the fourth inning -- over five shutout innings. Matt Gorgen (one inning) and Dane De La Rosa (two) followed.

Craig Albernaz, normally a catcher, worked the ninth in his second career pitching appearance. Jerry Sands hit his 32nd home run off the scoreboard against Albernaz, who surrendered two hits and a walk. Albernaz struck out two.

Ashley has career-high five RBIs

Biscuits catcher Nevin Ashley has knocked in five runs through six innings today and the Montgomery leads 8-0. He hit a two-run homer in the third, an infield RBI single in the fourth and a two-run single in the sixth. Ashley also singled and scored in the second.

He had four RBIs in three previous career games, one for Columbus in August 2007 and two for Rookie-level Princeton in July and August 2006.

Ashley is the 16th player in Biscuits history to reach five RBIs and the second this year (Chris Nowak on May 31). Gabriel Martinez's seven RBIs on Aug. 9, 2006, is the record, followed by Elliot Johnson's six on April 26, 2006.

Ashley should get another at-bat.

UPDATE: Ashley walked in the eighth. Biscuits lead 9-1, so that should be his final at-bat.

Trainer Lee Slagle also going to AFL

Biscuits trainer Lee Slagle, a Montgomery native, will also take part in the Arizona Fall League this year.

Bortnick promoted to Stone Crabs

Second baseman Tyler Bortnick has been promoted from low-Class A Bowling Green to the high-Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs. He was hitting .303 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs. He led the team with 32 doubles, 72 runs scored and 63 walks.

(Speculation: Charlotte second baseman Anthony Scelfo did leave Saturday's game after just one at-bat, so he may be hurt.)

Mudcats re-up with Reds through 2012

The Carolina Mudcats and Cincinnati Reds have extended their player development contract through 2012. They announced it Saturday. That leaves three Southern League teams without formal arrangements for beyond this season: Montgomery, Huntsville and West Tenn.

Sunday lineup

It's the series finale between the Biscuits and Chattanooga Lookouts.

Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Jose Ruiz 1b
Nevin Ashley c
John Matulia rf
Henry Wrigley 3b
Drew Anderson ss
Matt Spring dh
Shawn O'Malley 2b
Paul Phillips rhp

Dee Gordon ss
Elian Herrera lf
Trayvon Robinson cf
Jerry Sands 1b
Corey Smith 3b
Matt Wallach dh
Kyle Russell rf
Jaime Pedroza 2b
Alex Garabedian c
Jesus Castillo rhp

2 p.m.: They're preparing to pull the tarp. Obviously, we'll have a delay.
2:20 p.m.: Announced start time 2:35.

Piniella retiring after today's game

Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who is a minority owner of the Biscuits, is retiring after today's game with Atlanta. Piniella, who is citing family reasons, had already said he was retiring at the end of the year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday: Lookouts 6, Biscuits 1

Brent Leach fired seven shutout innings, retiring the last 13 men he faced, to lead the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 6-1 win over the Biscuits on Saturday.

Matt Wallach hit a two-run home run in the second and Corey Smith’s three-run blast in the third made it 6-0. The Biscuits, who have lost a season-high five straight, scored in the eighth when Drew Anderson came home on an Emeel Salem groundout.

Leach (6-3) gave up an infield single in the first and a line single in the third. He walked one and struck out five.

Saturday: Alabama 27, Auburn 18

Alabama snapped a two-year losing streak in the Biscuits' Auburn/Alabama Night, disgracing the Tigers 27-18 on Saturday.

Your all-time scores ...
2004: Alabama 46, Auburn 24
2005: Auburn 34, Alabama 21
2006: Alabama 26, Auburn 24
2007: Alabama 31, Auburn 12
2008: Auburn 25, Alabama 18
2009: Auburn 38, Alabama 18
2010: Alabama 27, Auburn 18

Shutout maker Brian Baker strikes again

Brian Baker gave up one hit over a season-high seven innings in Durham's 1-0 win at Norfolk tonight. Baker (8-4), R.J. Swindle and Winston Abreu combined on a two-hitter. Baker, who walked four and struck out four, has a 3.34 ERA.

Riverwalk sports 11th marriage proposal

We just had the 11th successful marriage proposal -- of 11 known attempts -- at Riverwalk Stadium. The last was July 4 and it's the third one this season.

At least 4 Biscuits headed to Arizona Fall League

Third baseman Henry Wrigley, pitcher Jeremy Hall, first baseman Jose Ruiz and pitcher Sergio Espinosa confirmed today that they've been invited to play in the Arizona Fall League.

First baseman Leslie Anderson, formerly of the Biscuits and now with Triple-A Durham, is also going, they said. The Tampa Bay Rays' contingent, based on past years, should be four pitchers and three position players, so there are two pitchers still to go.

Saturday lineups

Alabama fans Emeel Salem and Matt Spring are searching for something crimson to go with their Biscuits uniforms, which feature both blue and orange.

Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley dh
Henry Wrigley 3b
John Matulia rf
Matt Fields 1b
Drew Anderson ss
Craig Albernaz c
Shawn O'Malley 2b
Rayner Oliveros rhp

Dee Gordon ss
Elian Herrera 3b
Trayvon Robinson cf
Jerry Sands lf
Eddy Perez dh
Corey Smith 1b
Matt Wallach c
Kyle Russell rf
Jaime Pedroza 2b
Brent Leach lhp

Auburn/Alabama showdown scoring schedule

The winner of the on-field promotions scores six points for their team and has the opportunity for an "extra point."

Here are some of the scheduled events ...
Middle first -- spirit cam.
End of first -- fight song singoff
Middle third -- Iron Bowl triathlon
Middle fourth -- fan faceoff
End fourth -- tug of war
Middle fifth -- equipment ract
End of seventh -- sumo challenge
End of eighth -- a winner is declared, losing fans feel shame

Oh, joy. Oh, joy. It's Auburn/Alabama Night

It's that most wonderful of days when you can show those other heathens that support the other squad just how superior your team is. But get ready. I took the pictures above just outside Riverwalk Stadium of fans from the other side, and they look prepared. Gird thyself for Riverwalk's annual Armeggedon.

Feel free to count the teeth among those who support your enemy. Ask them how many buildings not related to the athletic department they can name on their team's campus. Ask them what classes they most enjoyed while attending.

Fans will not be segregated tonight. You may have to sit amongst your enemy, which shall provide a golden opportunity to proselytize.

Whether you're a Bammer or a Barner, it's your night to shine.

Hellickson finds tough crowd with Rays

Jeremy Hellickson, after his first career major league loss, has been demoted by the Rays ... to Class A Charlotte ... and told to go to the bullpen. OK, the move is mostly so he can have an impact in this year's race. He's expected back in the majors when rosters expand Sept. 1. Hellickson was the first player in the modern era to start a major league career with three straight quality starts. He won all three before losing a no-decision Friday at Oakland.

System check

International League South

(79-47, first place, 17.5 GA)
IF Elliot Johnson, who was 4-for-4 with two home runs and a double Tuesday, is hitting .316. He has a .377 on-base percentage, 64 runs scored and 52 RBIs.
CF Desmond Jennings has a .338 average in August. His 32 steals are second in the league.
RHP Richard De Los Santos, with wins in six straight starts, is 13-5 with a 3.59 ERA. He’s tied the team’s Triple-A record for wins.
LHP Darin Downs is 6-1 with a 4.88 ERA.

Florida State League South

(27-28, third place, 4.5 GB)
RHP Joe Cruz is 12-6 with a 3.07 ERA and leads the league in wins. He’s won his last five starts.
LHP Matt Moore gave up three runs in five innings to lose Wednesday. He’s 4-11 with a 3.66 ERA and leads the minors with 187 strikeouts.
RHP Zach Quate has a 1.42 ERA and a .197 average against.
C Stephen Vogt is hitting a league-best .334.

Midwest League Eastern

(22-31, seventh place, 15 GB)
LHP Kyle Lobstein allowed four hits over seven shutout innings Wednesday and improved to 8-6 with a 4.20 ERA.
RHP Alex Colome threw three no-hit innings Monday in his first appearance since July 22. He had been out with a clavicle injury.
RHP Scott Shuman is 0-3 with an 8.25 ERA in seven August appearances.

New York-Penn League McNamara

(28-30, third place, 11 GB)
C Mayo Acosta is 11-for-27 with three home runs and seven runs scored in his last seven games.
1B Phillip Wunderlich has a .335 average to rank second in the league.

Appalachian League East

(27-29, third place, 5 GB)
LF Cesar Guillen has nine hits and eight RBIs in his last five games, giving him a .322 season average.
LHP Braulio Lara is 5-3 with a 2.62 ERA after giving up one run in six innings Monday.

Gulf Coast League South

(31-22, first place, 2 GA)
RHP Eduar Quinonez threw five shutout innings Wednesday and has a 3.69 ERA.
C Luke Bailey has a .318 average and two home runs in August.

Those who strayed from the Rays

3B Gabriel Martinez hit .316 with nine RBIs to lead Saltillo in a five-game series win over Puebla for the Mexican League championship. He had 22 RBIs in 19 playoff games.
RHP Jean Machi has allowed one earned run in his last nine appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis (Pirates).
2B Fernando Cortez is hitting .303 at Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox).
1B Chris Nowak has a .265 average and 26 RBIs in 34 games with Double-A Huntsville (Brewers).
RHP Eduardo Morlan has a 2.68 ERA in 29 games with Double-A Huntsville (Brewers).
LHP James Houser has a 3.60 ERA in 18 games for Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins).
LHP Brandon Mann has been released at Class A Inland Empire (Dodgers). He had a 4.13 ERA.
OF Sergio Pedroza has a .339 average with independent Orange County. He has 12 homers and 59 RBIs.
C Josh Arhart is hitting .341 with 15 homers and 51 RBIs for independent Victoria.
LHP Jeff Ridgway has a 3.06 ERA at independent Southern Maryland.
LHP Ryan Morse has a 4.99 ERA with independent St. Paul.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Durham clinches fourth straight division title

The Durham Bulls, with tonight's 3-1 win at Norfolk and Gwinnett's 4-3 loss to Charlotte, wrapped up a fourth straight International League division championship. Jake McGee picked up the win with 1 2/3 shutout innings of relief.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moore loses, still leads minors in K's

Matt Moore fell to 4-11 with Charlotte's 5-0 loss at Fort Myers tonight. Moore gave up three runs (two earned) on a measly three hits and a walk in five innings. He did whiff five, sits at 187 for the season and leads the entire minor leagues.

Lobstein rolls in zeroes

Kyle Lobstein threw seven shutout innings tonight to lead Bowling Green in a 6-2 win at Lake County. Lobstein allowed four hits, walked none and struck out seven. Seven innings ties a career high. In his last five starts, Lobstein has 30 K's and four walks.

Jai Miller getting Royal treatment

Selma's Jai Miller has been promoted to the Kansas City Royals from Triple-A Omaha.

The 25-year-old was hitting .267 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs at Omaha. Miller has one day of previous major league experience. He was 0-for-1 for the Florida Marlins on June 22, 2008, in a game at Oakland.

Miller started the year in the Florida organization before being designated for assignment. He was claimed by the Oakland A's and spent less than a month in their organization before being DFA'd again and claimed by the Royals.

Biscuits shuffle O'Malley off, Garcia on DL

Shortstop Shawn O'Malley has been activated from and pitcher Justin Garcia has been put on Montgomery's disabled list. O'Malley hasn't batted since July 28 due to a shoulder injury. Garcia started Friday at Mississippi. His injury was not announced.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

De Los Santos ties Durham wins mark

Richard De Los Santos tied a Durham Triple-A record with his 13th win tonight in the Bulls' 6-2 win at Charlotte. De Los Santos gave up two runs over six innings to win his sixth straight start.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gorgen activated from DL

Biscuits stopper Matt Gorgen, who spent the last month on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, has been activated.

Gorgen collected saves July 14 and 15 to start the Biscuits on a five-game win streak coming out of the All-Star break. After that, with Gorgen on the shelf, the Biscuits lost 17 of their next 24 and turned a 1 1/2-game division lead into a seven-game deficit.

Montgomery won the last two days and is six games out entering tonight's series finale at Mississippi.

'Scoreboard' Stanton top NL player for week

Mike Stanton, he of the strength to clear the scoreboard at Riverwalk, won the National League's player of the week award. He was 14-of-24 with five doubles, four home runs and eight RBIs for the Florida Marlins last week.

Sheridan wins FSL award

Charlotte's Mike Sheridan won the Florida State League's weekly hitter's award.

Sheridan was 9-for-24 with six RBIs and eight runs scored for the week that ended Sunday. He's hitting .254 this season.

Carolina's Kris Negron was the Southern League's top hitter and Jacksonville's Elih Villanueva the top pitcher.

Villanueva threw a five-inning no-hitter Sunday and is 13-4 with a 2.15 ERA this year. Negron was 10-for-20 and scored eight times in five games. He has a 14-game hitting streak and is 16-of-31 in his last eight games.

Crabs start selling playoff tickets Tuesday

Get in line now. The Charlotte Stone Crabs begin selling playoff tickets Tuesday. Their home semifinal round games are Sept. 8-9 with the last if necessary. If they advance, the Crabs would host the first two games of the championship series Sept. 10-11.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Suns, Marlins extend relationship

The Jacksonville Suns, pleased with last year's Southern League championship and headed back to the playoffs this year, and the Florida Marlins will be together for two more seasons.

The two agreed to extend their player development contract through 2012, the Suns announced today. The Marlins and Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs extended theirs last week.

The Mobile BayBears and Arizona Diamondbacks re-upped last week, while the Chattanooga Lookouts and Los Angeles Dodgers did it (through 2014) this month. Montgomery, Carolina, Huntsville and West Tenn are the only Southern League teams who have yet to extend their PDCs.