Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3 Bulls on International League team

Former Biscuits infielder Elliot Johnson is one of three Durham Bulls who will play for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. The others are Dan Johnson and Joe Dillon.

4 Biscuits picked for All-Star Game

Pitchers Matt Gorgen, Jeremy Hall and Alex Torres and second baseman Drew Anderson have been named to the Sotuhern League's South Division All-Star team. The game is July 12 in Huntsville.

Gorgen has a 1.59 ERA and is among the league leaders with 14 saves. He's allowed 22 hits in 34 innings. Hall is 4-4 with a 3.01 ERA and had a 35-inning scoreless streak this season. Torres leads the Biscuits in victories. He's 7-3 with a 2.61 ERA. Anderson has a .293 average in 54 games this season.

Pitcher Darin Downs was also voted to the team, but won't play since he's been promoted to Triple-A Durham.

(Reminder: This roster will change as players are promoted -- and they will be. Heck, the North Division roster released Tuesday has already been amended. I won't be listing every change as they happen.)

C: Orlando Mercado, MIS; Konrad Schmidt, MOB
1B: Bryan Byrne, MOB
2B: Drew Anderson, MGM
3B: Matt Dominguez, JAX
SS: Jake Elmore, MOB

4 outfielders
Willie Cabrera, MIS
Evan Frey, MOB
Ollie Linton, MOB
Brandon Tripp, JAX

DH: Cody Johnson, MIS
Utility IF: Tim Torres, JAX
Utility OF: Salvador Sanchez, BHM

Brandon Beachy, MIS
Anthony Carter, BHM
Josh Collmenter, MOB
Matt Gorgen, MGM
Jeremy Hall, MGM
Dan Jennings, JAX
Tom Koehler, JAX
Miguel Socolovich, BHM
Alex Torres, MGM
Elih Villanueva, JAX

Voted in, can't play
Darin Downs, MGM, pitcher (promoted)
Barry Enright, MOB, pitcher (promoted)
Osvaldo Martinez, JAX, shortstop (Futures Game)
Mike Minor, MIS, pitcher (promoted AND Futures)
Brent Morel, BHM, third base (promoted)
Matt Peterson, JAX, pitcher (promoted)
Alex Sanabia, JAX, pitcher (promoted)
Mike Stanton, JAX, outfield (promoted)

According to the Southern League, Stanton and Morel weren't eligible in the voting because they weren't on a Southern League roster as of June 11. I would have voted for both.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paxton, Gamecocks celebrate national title

Former Biscuits catcher Ian Paxton is surely smiling at the moment. Paxton played in college for South Carolina and the Gamecocks just won their first national championship. USC beat UCLA 2-1 in 11 innings to sweep the CWS championship series.

Jennings messes with bull, doesn't worry about horns

Durham center fielder Desmond Jennings finally took a leisurely stroll around the bases tonight.

Jennings hit his first home run -- off the bull at Durham Bulls Athletic Park -- in a 7-5 win over Louisville. The bull sign promises a free steak if you hit the bull. Hit the grass and you get a salad.

Pitcher Virgil Vasquez also made his first appearance since an April wrist injury. He worked five innings.

O'Malley continues to shine with Crabs

Biscuits shortstop Shawn O'Malley did well again tonight in a rehab game for the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

O'Malley tripled twice, had four hits and scored three runs in a 6-0 win at Palm Beach.

Southern League All-Star North Division roster

The North Division roster for the Southern League All-Star Game. (The roster will change. It always does.)

C: Robinson Chirinos, TEN; Steve Clevenger, TEN
1B: Johan Limonta, WTN
2B: Jake Kahauleho, CAR
3B: Corey Smith, CHA
SS: Carlos Triunfel, WTN

4 outfielders
Lorenzo Cain, HSV
Tony Campana, TEN
Sean Henry, CAR
David Sappelt, CAR

DH: Blake Lalli, TEN
Utility infield: Mike Costanzo, CAR
Utility outfield: Trayvon Robinson, CHA

Austin Bibens-Dirkx, TEN
Ryan Buchter, TEN
David Cales, TEN
Hung-Wen Chen, TEN
Tom Cochran, CAR
Steven Hensley, WTN
Kenley Jansen, CHA
Matt Klinker, CAR
Amaury Rivas, HSV
Anthony Varvaro, WTN

Voted in, can't play
Jesus Castillo, CHA, pitcher (promoted)
Dee Gordon, CHA, shortstop (Futures Game)
Brandon Kintzler, HSV, pitcher (promoted)
Brett Lawrie, HSV, second base (Futures)
Alex Liddi, WTN, third base (Futures)
Carlos Peguero, WTN, outfield (Futures)
Michael Pineda, WTN, pitcher (promoted)
Ty Wright, TEN, outfield (promoted)

Cortez returning to Triple-A Charlotte

Former Biscuits infielder Fernando Cortez has been promoted from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox organization. Cortez hit .380 in 23 games for the Barons after starting the season in the independent Atlantic League.

Cortez was with Charlotte for the 2008 season. He won't have to wait long to see old friends. The Knights play their next seven games against Norfolk, which features outfielder Joey Gathright, a former Biscuit and friend of Cortez. Charlotte hosts Durham for two games after that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chattanooga, Carolina sport league's award winners

Chattanooga first baseman Jerry Sands and Carolina right-hander Matt Klinker won the Southern League's weekly awards today.

Klinker allowed two earned runs on eight hits in 13 innings over the last week to improve to 5-4 with a 1.75 ERA. He's recorded eight straight quality starts for the Mudcats.

Sands was 7-of-15 with three home runs in four games. He was promoted last week to the Lookouts after hitting .333 with 18 homers in 69 games at low-Class A Great Lakes.

My Southern League All-Star vote

The Southern League All-Star vote deadline was Friday and here's the ballot I cast.

Remember, a player had to be on the roster June 11 to be eligible. Hence, no Mike Stanton. I did end up voting for five Biscuits. "Winners" get to spend a few days in Huntsville next month. The game is July 12.

2 catchers: Konrad Schmidt, MOB; Nevin Ashley, MGM
first base: Bryan Byrne, MOB
second base: Jacob Elmore, MOB
third base: Matt Dominguez, JAX
shortstop: Osvaldo Martinez, JAX

4 outfielders
Collin Cowgill, MOB
Willie Cabrera, MIS
Brandon Tripp, JAX
Evan Frey, MOB

DH: Mauro Gomez, MIS
utility infielder: Cody Cipriano, MGM
utility outfielder: Emeel Salem, MGM

2 pitchers: Tom Koehler, JAX, Elih Villanueva, JAX
2 starters: Alex Torres, MGM; Alex Sanabia, JAX
1 reliever: Darin Downs, MGM
1 closer: Matt Peterson, JAX

2 catchers: Robinson Chirinos, TEN; Mike Rivera, CHA
first base: Johan Limonta, WTN
second base: Brett Lawrie, HSV
third base: Corey Smith, CHA
shortstop: Dee Gordon, CHA

4 outfielders
Ty Wright, TEN
Carlos Peguero, WTN
Lorenzo Cain, HSV
Trayvon Robinson, CHA

DH: Alex Liddi, WTN
utility infielder: Zelous Wheeler, HSV
utility outfielder: Caleb Gindl, HSV

2 pitchers: Matt Klinker, CAR; Austin Bibens-Dirkx, TEN
2 starters: Mike Pineda, WTN; Hung-Wen Chen, TEN
1 reliever: Robert Rohrbaugh, WTN
1 closer: David Cales, TEN

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Durham's game Monday on MLB Network

If you fear withdrawal while the Biscuits head off on a road trip, don't miss Durham's game Monday on the MLB Network. The Bulls host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs with coverage starting at noon. Richard De Los Santos is scheduled to start for Durhamm.

Decide on All-Star team only from Rays minor leaguers

All the leagues are naming their All-Stars, so has developed a fine idea and is naming an All-Star team of Tampa Bay minor leaguers. Online voting is open through July 5.

Jim Donten of the site wrote that if all goes well with this, they'll do a team for the short-season teams and a full-system postseason team, too.

They're going to list the vote totals periodically, just like the major league All-Star vote. Give me a few days and I'll list my own vote. (I'll say now that little hellion Jeremy Hellickson might deserve to be the starting pitcher.)

Upton, Longoria fight in Rays' dugout

After B.J. Upton didn't hustle after a ball today, Evan Longoria confronted him in the dugout. Here's a story about it and you can watch the video below.

Sunday: Biscuits 6, Diamond Jaxx 2

Matt Sweeney’s two-run double in the sixth inning gave the Biscuits the lead in a 6-2 win Sunday over the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

Sweeney’s hit came with the bases loaded. A third run scored on the play due to an error. Sweeney scored on a Chris De La Cruz single to cap a four-run inning.

Montgomery won four of six games in the series with West Tenn.

Sunday lineups

The finale of a six-game series.

1:51: The tarp was out and then pulled off with a 2:05 start still planned. BUT now they're pulling the tarp out again and it's raining and players are moseying off the field. Doesn't look like it'll start on time.

2:16: Scheduled for a 2:45 start.

Emeel Salem dh
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson lf
Cody Cipriano 2b
Matt Sweeney 3b
John Matulia rf
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Torres lhp

Dustin Ackley 2b
Leury Bonilla cf
Alex Liddi 3b
Johan Limonta 1b
Scott Savastano dh
Jose Yepez c
Nate Tenbrink lf
Kuo Hui Lo rf
Carlos Triunfel ss
Steve Bray rhp

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wrigley promoted to Biscuits; Fields sent down

Henry Wrigley is being promoted from high-Class A Charlotte to the Biscuits, while first baseman Matt Fields is being demoted to the Stone Crabs.

Wrigley, who has played mostly third base and left field, had a .292 average for the Stone Crabs. He led Charlotte with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Fields was hitting .232 and led Montgomery with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs.

Saturday: Biscuits 5, Diamond Jaxx 3

Alex Cobb, after giving up three runs within the game’s first four batters, retired 14 straight and worked into the seventh inning, leading the Biscuits in a 5-3 win over West Tenn on Saturday.

The Diamond Jaxx went triple-double-lineout-Johan Limonta home run to start the game and led 3-0.

The Biscuits tied it on Leslie Anderson’s three-run homer in the third. Matt Sweeney doubled and scored on John Matulia’s single to put Montgomery ahead in the fifth. Chris Nowak singled in Rashad Eldridge in the sixth.

Cobb (3-2) left after the first two hitters in the seventh reached. Paul Phillips worked a perfect two innings and Matt Gorgen pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Baker wins again with shutout effort

Brian Baker is slipping. After throwing five no-hit innings in a spot start Monday, Baker gave up two hits today while throwing five shutout innings in Durham's 10-3 win over Indianapolis. He improved to 6-0.

Saturday lineups

Running a little behind today, but I think it's worth it. I've talked to two proud grandmothers today -- Doris Jackson of Wetumpka and Julia Maxie of Millbrook -- who were as giddy as schoolgirls Friday night watching grandson Edwin Jackson throw a no-hitter. Look for the story in Sunday's Advertiser.

Tonight at Riverwalk, it's the fifth game of six between West Tenn and the Biscuits.

Emeel Salem rf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Cody Cipriano 2b
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson lf
Matt Sweeney 3b
John Matulia dh
Craig Albernaz c
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Cobb rhp

Dustin Ackley 2b
Carlos Peguero lf
Alex Liddi 1b
Johan Limonta dh
Scott Savastano rf
Nate Tenbrink 3b
Ralph Henriquez c
Carlos Triunfel ss
Brandon Haveman cf
Dan Cortes rhp

System check

You know the drill.

International League South

(44-30, first place, 8 GA)
RHP Jeremy Hellickson allowed no earned runs in six innings Friday, improving to 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA. He’s 4-0 with a 1.01 ERA in his last seven starts.
RHP Brian Baker threw five no-hit innings in a spot start Monday to improve to 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA. He walked the leadoff hitter and retired the last 15 batters he faced.
CF Desmond Jennings has a .387 on-base percentage and has scored 22 runs in 20 June games.
LHP Darin Downs allowed two runs on three hits over 2.1 innings in his debut Wednesday.

Florida State League South

(0-2, tied for fifth, 2 GB)
RHP Zach Quate has thrown 15 straight scoreless innings, giving him an 0.49 ERA. He’s 13-for-14 on saves, has allowed 19 hits and totaled 51 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.
C-LF Stephen Vogt, with eight hits in his last four games, has a .377 average.
RHP Joe Cruz threw an eight-inning complete game in a loss Thursday. It was the first complete game of his career.
RHP Nick Barnese allowed one run on three hits in a seven-inning complete game Tuesday.

Midwest League Eastern

(1-0, tied for first place)
RHP Scott Shuman has allowed six hits, walked four and struck out 33 while throwing 16 straight shutout innings.
LHP Kyle Lobstein threw seven shutout innings in his last start and is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four June appearances.
RHP Alex Koronis threw three no-hit innings Friday and has a streak of 12.1 scoreless innings.

New York-Penn League McNamara

(4-3, second place, 0.5 GB)
RHP Steve Hiscock threw two perfect innings to win his pro debut Wednesday.
RF Burt Reynolds was 3-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBIs Monday.

Appalachian League East

(0-4, fourth place, 4 GB)
LHP Enny Romero threw six shutout innings in a no-decision Tuesday. He allowed three hits and walked three.

Gulf Coast League South

(2-3, third place, 2 GB)
C Luke Bailey hit his first pro home run Wednesday. He is 2-for-11 in three games.
RHP Virgil Vasquez threw five shutout innings Thursday in a rehab start. He was with Durham when he suffered two broken wrists in April.

Those who strayed from the Rays

IF Fernando Cortez had a 19-game hitting streak snapped Friday for Double-A Birmingham (White Sox). He’s hitting .402 in 20 games.
RHP Evan Meek gave up two runs in an inning Thursday and had his ERA balloon to 1.07 in 35 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s allowed 27 hits in 42 innings.
RHP Jason Hammel of the Colorado Rockies had a 25.2-inning scoreless streak snapped Thursday.
CF Joey Gathright is hitting .183 with Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles).
2B Johnny Raburn has a .219 average at Triple-A Nashville (Brewers).
2B Josh Asanovich is hitting .171 for independent Winnipeg.
OF Erold Andrus has a .295 average and three home runs in 14 games with independent York.
OF Jeremy Owens has a .217 average at independent Southern Maryland.
LHP Jino Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA for independent Victoria.
IF Cesar Suarez is hitting .177 at independent Camden.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday: Biscuits 6, Diamond Jaxx 4

Emeel Salem and Rashad Eldridge each hit RBI singles in the eighth inning to lift the Biscuits to a 6-4 win over the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx on Friday.

Salem hit a blooper to center to score Matt Sweeney with the tiebreaking run. Eldridge followed with a bunt single that brought in Chris De La Cruz with an insurance run.

Salem and Eldridge also scored twice, while Chris Nowak and Nevin Ashley each had two RBIs.

Edwin Jackson no-hits Tampa Bay

Arizona's Edwin Jackson, whose dad is a Wetumpka High graduate, threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. He issued eight walks in the Diamondbacks' 1-0 victory and threw 149 pitches, 79 for strikes.

Jackson's grandmother and some aunts and uncles still live in the area, including uncle Lewis Jackson, the Alabama State men's basketball coach.

McGee hits 10-K level

Jake McGee has 10 strikeouts through four innings tonight. It's the second time this season he's reached double figures and the 13th time a Biscuits has reached 10 Ks.

He's thrown 83 pitches, which is close to his recent limit, and may not return for the fifth. (Sergio Espinosa is warming up in the bullpen at the moment.)

UPDATE: McGee out after four shutout innings, three hits and 10 strikeouts.

Friday lineups

It's a bright day at the moment, but the forecast has led the Biscuits to pull out the tarp. Check back for updates.

UPDATE: Tarp off the field. No rain.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem rf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson lf
Cody Cipriano 2b
Matt Sweeney 3b
John Matulia dh
Chris De La Cruz ss
Jake McGee lhp

Dustin Ackley 2b -- first time in the field this series
Johan Limonta 1b
Alex Liddi 3b
Carlos Peguero lf
Jose Yepez c
Steve Savastano dh
Nate Tenbrink rf
Kuo Hui Lo cf
Carlos Triunfel ss
Steven Hensley rhp

Montoyo named to Futures Game coaching staff

So much for Charlie Montoyo's All-Star break. The former Biscuits manager, already picked to manage the July 14 Triple-A All-Star Game in Pennsylvania, has been named to the All-Star Futures Game coaching staff for a second straight year. The Futures Game is July 11 in Anaheim, Calif.

Houser DFA'd by Marlins

James Houser, after making his major league debut Thursday, has been designated for assignment by the Florida Marlins.

Kline suffers rotator cuff tear

Pitcher Will Kline, who missed the last two seasons due to a torn labrum, won't pitch this year after an MRI revealed a slightly torn rotator cuff.

The tear was small enough that Kline hopes to avoid surgery. Dr. James Andrews gave Kline a plasma rich protein injection this week in Birmingham. Kline won't pick up a ball for another four or five months, he said. Surgery would likely have cost him a full year.

"It's better than surgery, obviously," Kline said. "Now, I have to give the shoulder time to heal."

Kline was enthusiastic this spring over potentially returning this year. But he started having problems in May, he said. He rested his shoulder and tried to start a throwing program three times -- "all pretty unsuccessful" -- before having an MRI.

The right-hander was a second-round draft pick out of Ole Miss in 2007. He had enough promise that he made his pro debut at low-Class A Columbus. Kline made nine starts and, now 25, is still waiting for a 10th.

"(My career) hasn't been great up to this point," Kline said. "At some point, I think I'll be able to look back on it and think it's a blessing, though I can't right now."

Kline, after making the trip to Birmingham, is spending a few days at home in Mississippi before returning to Tampa Bay's rehab program. He said he's trying to keep a positive outlook -- and has been successful so far.

"I could sit around with my head down all the time or I can sit up and smile," Kline said. "I can only have a good attitude."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Satow headed to Biscuits

Reliever Josh Satow has been promoted from high-Class A Charlotte to the Biscuits.

Satow, a Florida State League All-Star, had a 4-1 record, was 9-for-9 on saves and owned a 1.76 ERA in 22 appearances. The 24-year-old left-hander was drafted in 2008 from Arizona State University.

Rayner Oliveros has been demoted to the Stone Crabs. He threw two innings tonight, allowed three runs and had a 7.26 ERA.

Thursday: Diamond Jaxx 11, Biscuits 1

Nate Tenbrink and Dustin Ackley both homered to lead West Tenn in an 11-1 win over the Biscuits on Thursday.

Tenbrink hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and finished with four RBIs. Ackley had a three-run blast in a five-run third that gave the Diamond Jaxx a 6-1 lead.

The Biscuits totaled four hits, including Matt Fields’ 10th home run in the second inning.

O'Malley makes rehab start for Crabs

Biscuits shortstop Shawn O'Malley made a rehab start for the high-Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs tonight. He started at second base, was 0-for-2, was hit by a pitch and stole a base before leaving in the sixth inning of the Crabs' 3-1 loss at Fort Myers.

O'Malley went on the DL in April with an elbow injury. He went to Tampa Bay's extended spring program in May to finish rehabbing the elbow, only to hurt his hamstring.

And Houser makes 43

Former Biscuits pitcher James Houser made his major league debut tonight for the Florida Marlins. He gave up three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Houser is No. 43 on the Biscuits-to-big leagues list and the third to debut this year. Houser played for Montgomery in 2007 and 2008. The '07 team now has 11 players who made the majors and the '08 team has five.

Bankston released by Rangers

Former Biscuits infielder Wes Bankston has been released by the Texas Rangers. He had played for Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Frisco this year.

Rays demote Navarro, call up Joyce

Catcher Dioner Navarro has been demoted to Triple-A Durham by the Rays, who promoted outfielder Matt Joyce from the Bulls.

Thursday lineups

The Biscuits throw Leslie Anderson into the cleanup spot for the first time.

Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Leslie Anderson dh
Cody Cipriano 2b
Matt Sweeney 3b
Matt Fields 1b
John Matulia rf
Drew Anderson ss
Jeremy Hall rhp

Brandon Haveman cf
Dustin Ackley dh
Alex Liddi 3b
Carlos Peguero rf
Johan Limonta 1b
Nate Tenbrink lf
Ralph Henriquez c
Leury Bonilla 2b
Carlos Triunfel ss
Jarrett Grube rhp

Clouds loom on summer horizon

We're speaking figuratively at the moment. Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine was waiting today in my office mailbox. Always a helpful magazine, but it's also a sign.

Woods Fines retires

Pitcher Woods Fines, who hasn't pitched since October 2008 surgery for a stress fracture in his elbow, has retired. Fines was in Tampa Bay's rehab program coming out of spring training and has been listed on Bowling Green's disabled list. A 14th-round draft pick in 2004, he topped out at low-Class A.

Bowling Green also added pitcher Albert Suarez to its DL. Suarez threw three innings Monday for the GCL Rays. The Hot Rods also shifted catcher Mayo Acosta and infielder Diogenes Luis to Hudson Valley.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday: Diamond Jaxx 11, Biscuits 6

Scott Savastano walked four times, falling one short of the Southern League record in West Tenn’s 11-6 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Wednesday.

Savastano had a shot at tying the record but hit an RBI single in the Diamond Jaxx’s five-run eighth inning.

Leury Bonilla finished with three RBIs, knocking in Savastano with a flyout in the fifth and with a two-run double in the eighth.

Nevin Ashley and Matt Fields each homered for Montgomery. Ashley hit a three-run blast in the third and Fields a leadoff shot in the ninth.

Biscuits pitching dished out a season-high 10 walks.

Wednesday lineups

Dustin Ackley, the No. 1 prospect in the Seattle organization, hits leadoff today after a few days off. He was the second overall pick in last year's draft out of the University of North Carolina.

Emeel Salem cf
Drew Anderson lf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 3b
Leslie Anderson 1b
Cody Cipriano 2b
Matt Fields dh
John Matulia rf
Chris De La Cruz ss
David Newmann lhp

Dustin Ackley dh
Johan Limonta 1b
Alex Liddi 3b
Carlos Peguero lf
Jose Yepez c
Scott Savastano rf
Brandon Haveman cf
Leury Bonilla 2b
Carlos Triunfel ss
Mauricio Robles lhp

Meek: 'We stunk, but we rocked'

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles former Biscuits reliever Evan Meek and his wild ride to the major leagues.

Wesley Wright sent back to Round Rock

Montgomery County native Wesley Wright has been demoted to Triple-A Round Rock from the Houston Astros. The left-handed pitcher allowed six earned runs in six appearances, covering 9 2/3 innings, with Houston.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday: Biscuits 4, Diamond Jaxx 3

Leslie Anderson and Emeel Salem homered to help the Biscuits beat the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 4-3 on Tuesday.

Anderson’s homer came in the sixth and Salem’s in the seventh, giving Montgomery a 4-2 lead. West Tenn’s Johan Limonta homered in the eighth to make it a one-run game.

Heath Rollins (1-0) worked a perfect two innings and recorded his first win since returning to the Biscuits. Matt Gorgen pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

The Jaxx led 2-0 after a half-inning. Biscuits starter Alex Torres issued walks to the first two hitters and both scored. Montgomery answered in the bottom of the first. Nevin Ashley hit an RBI triple and scored on a Chris Nowak flyout.

Hellickson, Jennings going to Futures Game

Durham's Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings, the top stars on last year's Biscuits team, are headed to the MLB Futures Game next month. (They'll be two of the "elder statesmen" in the game, Biscuits official scorekeeper Kyle Kreutzer has exclaimed.)

The Diamond Jaxx have two players going: third baseman Alex Liddi and left fielder Carlos Peguero.

Hellickson and Jennings will be on the U.S. team, along with infielder Drew Cumberland of the San Diego organization. He's the younger brother of former Biscuits outfielder Shaun Cumberland.

Liddi of Italy and Peguero of the Dominican Republic suit up for the World.

Tuesday lineups

It's the opener of a six-game series between the Biscuits and West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

The Jaxx no longer have right-hander Michael Pineda, he of the 8-1 record and the 2.22 ERA and mentioned in today's print edition, after Pineda was promoted to Triple-A Tacoma. Also, top prospect Dustin Ackley is taking the day off.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak dh
Leslie Anderson 1b
Matt Sweeney 3b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia rf
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Torres lhp

Brandon Haveman cf -- Big Ten batting champ in '08 and '09 at Purdue
Carlos Peguero lf -- has 15 HRs this year, hit 31 last year in Cal League
Alex Liddi 3b -- played for Italy in 2009 World Baseball Classic
Johan Limonta dh -- in third season with Jaxx
Jose Yepez c -- formerly of the independent Gary SouthShore Railcats
Nate Tenbrink 1b -- played at Kansas State (K-State has a baseball team??)
Kuo Hui Lo rf -- on Taiwan Olympic team for Beijing Games
Leury Bonilla 2b -- has played at every position but catcher
Carlos Triunfel ss -- first game at Riverwalk since breaking ankle here in April '09
Steve Bray rhp -- hasn't lost since losing to Biscuits on May 23

Cast your vote for Triple-A All-Stars

Here's the link to the Triple-A All-Star Game ballot. Since I'm not in the mood to enter my name, e-mail address and birthdate, I'm not sure of the cadre of former Biscuits/current Bulls/general riffraff who await your support, but there is a means to write-in anyone you like.

Voting ends Friday and you can vote up to 25 times. The fan voting makes up one-third of the selection process.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baker, Bulls with excellent effort

Brian Baker, making a spot start for the Bulls, tossed five no-hit innings in Durham's 2-0 win at Indianapolis tonight.

Mike Ekstrom gave up a hit to the first batter he faced -- quickly followed by a double play -- and worked two innings. R.J. Swindle tossed two perfect innings to finish it.

Baker (5-0) walked one and struck out five. He issued a leadoff walk in the first and retired the last 15 hitters he faced. Baker has a 3.15 ERA this year and was making his first start.

Baker started in place of Carlos Hernandez, who had a right quad strain. Baker hadn't pitched in nine days.

Houser also called up by Marlins

Former Biscuits pitcher James Houser has been promoted to the Florida Marlins from Triple-A New Orleans. The left-hander had a 3.26 ERA in 11 appearances for the Zephyrs.

Houser is in line to be No. 43 on the Biscuits-to-big leagues list.

Wayward Biscuits also win weekly awards

Former Biscuits Chris Seddon and Mike Wlodarczyk also won weekly awards today with Seddon honored by the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Wlodarczyk by the independent Can-Am League.

Seddon threw 14 shutout innings in two victories, including a four-hit shutout last Tuesday, for the Tacoma Rainiers in the Seattle organization. Wlodarczyk was 2-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings for the Brockton Rox.

Seddon is 8-3 with a 3.43 ERA this year. Wlodarczyk is 3-1 with a 4.13.

Oliveros to replace Downs on roster

Rayner Oliveros, who was deactivated Sunday, will move back to the active roster in place of Durham-bound Darin Downs. The Biscuits activated Paul Phillips from the disabled list Sunday and deactivated Oliveros.

Here's Chuckie: Caufield best in Southern League

Huntsville outfielder Chuckie Caufield won the Southern League's hitting award after feasting on the Biscuits.

Caufield had a six-RBI game Friday and added three Saturday against Montgomery. He's 12-for-25 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in his last seven games.

Tennessee right-hander Hung-Wen Chen was the top pitcher after not allowing a run in two starts, covering 12 innings. He's won five straight starts and is 8-5 with a 2.27 ERA.

Two from Rays win minor league weekly honors

Two Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguers won their league's weekly awards today.

Charlotte's Matt Moore was the top pitcher in the Florida State League and Bowling Green's Tyler Bortnick was the top hitter in the Midwest League.

Moore (left) was 2-0 over the week with 20 strikeouts and seven hits allowed in 13 innings. His seven-inning, one-run effort Sunday included 11 punchouts and helped the Stone Crabs clinch a first-half division title.

In his last three starts, Moore is 3-0 with an 0.93 ERA. He turned 21 on Friday.

Bortnick was 9-for-21 over the week with two home runs and six runs scored. The second baseman is hitting .295 this year.

Rays owner: Team will consider non-St. Pete stadium

The Tampa Bay Rays' pursuit of a new stadium won't stop at the St. Petersburg city limits.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said today that the team will consider options for a new ballpark within the Tampa Bay market -- and not just inside St. Petersburg or Pinellas County.

"Our ability to compete and, quite frankly, to survive rests on our ability to attract people and businesses to our ballpark," Sternberg said, according to a team release. "Our customers are our fans. And like any other business, we need to be in a location that is convenient for our fans to reach us."

The team's lease at Tropicana Field with the city of St. Petersburg runs through 2027. The Rays hatched plans for a new retractable-roof stadium to be built near the St. Pete waterfront in November 2007. Those plans met resistance and were shelved.

(Here's a Tampa Bay geographic primer -- Pinellas County is basically the peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is where St. Petersburg is located. Hillsborough County includes the city of Tampa and is the east side of the bay. The people on both sides aren't known to be cooperative. Tropicana Field is near the tip of the peninsula.)

"Baseball in the Tampa Bay area does not belong to Stu Sternberg, just as it doesn’t belong to St. Petersburg or Tampa, Pinellas or Hillsborough. It is a regional asset," Sternberg said.

"It belongs to our fans throughout the region. For this asset to be preserved, a comprehensive process to explore a new ballpark must begin. That process needs to consider all possible locations throughout Tampa Bay -- meaning Tampa and Hillsborough as well.”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Downs, Garcia promoted to Durham

Biscuits pitchers Darin Downs and Justin Garcia have been promoted to Triple-A Durham.

Garcia is scheduled to join the Bulls for Monday's game at Indianapolis. Downs, who pitched 2 1/3 innings Sunday and wouldn't be available Monday, said he will drive with wife Christy to Durham and then he'll fly to Indy.

Downs (left) was 6-2 with a 1.69 ERA this season. Last year, he won the Florida State League's ERA championship and finished the season with the Biscuits. Downs suffered a season-ending -- and life-threatening -- injury in his second appearance for Montgomery. He was hit on the head by a line drive.

"I'm just happy to be playing this year after what happened last year, and I think I was doing really good," Downs said. "You really can't control what goes on. All you can do is what you can do and let the rest take care of itself."

Garcia was 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games for the Biscuits, but he last pitched June 2 and hasn't been on the active roster since June 6. The Bulls recently added infielder Omar Luna because of an injury and may have more.

Stone Crabs clinch playoff berth

Matt Moore struck out 11 over seven innings and Greg Sexton hit a three-run home run in a 3-1 win over Jupiter.

With the win, the Stone Crabs clinch the Florida State League's South Division first-half title.

Moore (3-7) allowed a run in the sixth and won his third straight decision. He combined with Marquis Fleming on a five-hitter.

Lobstein shines again for Hot Rods

Kyle Lobstein worked seven innings in Bowling Green's 2-0 win over West Michigan today, combining with Alex Koronis and Scott Shuman on a five-hitter. This month, Lobstein is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA, eight walks and 21 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.

Suns lose star pitcher Sanabia to big leagues

Jacksonville, in the midst of celebrating a first-half division title, also celebrated another player being promoted to the major leagues.

Pitcher Alex Sanabia learned after the Suns' win that he's going to the Marlins. He was 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 14 starts.

"There was a lot of celebrating going around," pitcher Jeff Allison said. "It's a great feeling."

Allison threw 6 2/3 shutout innings today and his teammates "dumped beer all over me" after the game, he said.

Sunday: Suns 5, Barons 0

Jeff Allison threw 6 2/3 innings and the Jacksonville Suns clinched a Southern League playoff berth with a 5-0 win over the Birmingham Barons.

Sunday: Stars 4, Biscuits 3

Caleb Gindl’s RBI single in the seventh inning pushed the Huntsville Stars to a 4-3 win over the Biscuits on Sunday and likely deprives Montgomery of a first-half South Division championship.

With Montgomery’s loss, the Biscuits need the Jacksonville Suns to also lose Sunday. The Suns led the Birmingham Barons 5-0 in the seventh inning.

The Biscuits frittered away two leads Sunday. They scored twice in the top of the fifth before giving up two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Fields homered in the top of the sixth, but Huntsville scored another unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to tie it.

Montgomery had three errors Sunday and totaled 14 in the final four games -- all losses -- of the Huntsville series.

Rays announce that major announcement coming

Something to keep an eye on -- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg "will make an important announcement regarding the future of the Rays franchise" at a news conference at Tropicana Field on Monday, according to a team release.

Sunday lineups

Catcher Nevin Ashley is back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a sore foot. It's the final day of the first half of the season and the Biscuits can clinch a division title with a win (or a Jacksonville loss).

The Biscuits said last night they would wear their silver jerseys today and it looks like they're holding to that plan.

Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 3b
Leslie Anderson 1b
Matt Fields dh
John Matulia rf
Cody Cipriano 2b
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Cobb rhp

Brett Lawrie 2b
Lorenzo Cain dh
Zelous Wheeler 3b
Steffan Wilson 1b
Caleb Gindl rf
Chuckie Caufield lf
Lee Haydel cf
Andy Machado ss
Sean McCraw c
Chris Cody rhp

Saturday, June 19, 2010

With Barons win, Biscuits control own destiny

Birmingham beat Jacksonville 4-3 in 12 innings in their second game Saturday, meaning the Biscuits and Suns are in a virtual tie for first place.

However, Montgomery will control its own destiny Sunday in the final game of the first half and can clinch a playoff berth with a win.

If the Biscuits and Suns both win Sunday, Montgomery will have a higher winning percentage (.573-.571) and gets the playoff berth. If both teams lose Sunday, Montgomery also wins (.558-.557).

If the Suns win and Biscuits lose, Jacksonville gets to party.

Saturday: Stars 15, Biscuits 8

HUNTSVILLE -- The Biscuits’ first-half championship hopes suffered a critical blow Saturday.

Montgomery’s 15-8 loss at Huntsville, combined with a Jacksonville win Saturday at Birmingham, left the Biscuits a half-game out of first. The Suns and Barons were tied in their second game Saturday night at Birmingham.

The Biscuits trail Jacksonville by a half-game in the Southern League’s South Division. Each has one game remaining on the first-half schedule Sunday.

On Saturday, the Biscuits crumbled early. Huntsville turned a 3-0 lead into a two-touchdown advantage with an 11-run fourth.

Brett Lawrie finished 5-for-6 with three RBIs and four runs scored, capped by a solo home run in the eighth. Steffan Wilson knocked in four runs, including an RBI double and two-run single in the fourth inning. Chuckie Caufield had three RBIs.

Lawrie homers off Anderson

Huntsville's Brett Lawrie welcomes Drew Anderson to the mound and takes the first pitch. The second one landed way over the left-field wall. It was well struck.

Biscuits call on Drew Anderson to pitch

Drew Anderson is adding to his resume in the bottom of the eighth with the Biscuits down 14-4. Already proficient at second base, shortstop, third base and left field, Anderson is headed to the mound.

Salem homers; yes, Emeel Salem (seriously)

It's been a tragic night for the Biscuits. The Stars dropped an 11-spot in the fourth inning, leaving the Joe Davis Stadium scoreboard with a gap-toothed look. (There's a blank spot in that inning because the board can't handle double digits.)

However, one highlight just came for Emeel Salem.

Salem hit his second career home run, a two-run blast in the seventh inning that pulled Montgomery within 14-3.

Suns cut Biscuits' lead to percentage points.

Vinny Rottino's three-run home run with two outs in the seventh -- and final -- inning gave the Jacksonville Suns a 4-3 win over the Birmingham Barons. The Biscuits (at .576 entering tonight) now lead the Suns (.574) by mere percentage points. Jacksonville and Birmingham still have a game to play.

Ashley out with ailing foot

Biscuits catcher Nevin Ashley is out of the lineup for a second straight day after hitting a foul ball off his left foot Thursday. Ashley said he's "A-OK, ready to go," but manager Billy Gardner said Ashley may also miss Sunday's game. The foul was severe enough that Ashley went to have his foot checked for a potential fracture. X-rays came back negative.

Saturday lineups

With the Biscuits in position to possibly clinch a playoff berth, we're here in Huntsville at what's called "historic" Joe Davis Stadium.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Leslie Anderson dh
Chris Nowak 1b
Matt Sweeney 3b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia rf
Craig Albernaz c
Chris De La Cruz ss
Jake McGee lhp

Brett Lawrie dh
Lorenzo Cain cf
Zelous Wheeler 2b
Steffan Wilson 1b
Taylor Green 3b
Chuckie Caufield rf
Andy Machado ss
Dayton Buller c
Lee Haydel lf
Josh Butler rhp -- formerly with Tampa Bay

System check

The Hudson Valley Renegades opened their season Friday, but we're waiting a week to include the short-season teams with this.

International League South

(40-27, first place, 9.5 GA)
CF Desmond Jennings has 17 hits and 11 runs scored in his last nine games. He’s hitting .279 with 31 runs scored in 44 games.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson gave up one run on two hits in six innings of a no-decision Monday. He’s 8-2 with a 2.42 ERA.
RHP Richard De Los Santos is 3-1 in his last four starts and is 6-3 with a 4.46 ERA this season.
RHP Dale Thayer gave up five runs in one inning in a loss Monday. He’s 0-1 with three saves and a 3.86 ERA.
LHP Heath Phillips is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA in his last four starts.

Florida State League South

(40-25, first place, 4 GA)
RHP Joseph Cruz totaled 11 strikeouts in eight innings Friday, allowing one run on five hits in a no-decision. He had won his two previous starts.
LF Stephen Vogt is 9-for-21 with five RBIs and five runs scored in five games since the FSL All-Star break. He’s hitting .376.
LHP Matt Moore threw six shutout innings Tuesday to win his second straight start. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out nine. Moore is 2-7 with a 5.54 ERA.
CF Isaias Velasquez has a .276 average and 23 steals.

Midwest League Eastern

(29-38, tied for sixth, 13 GB)
SS Tyler Bortnick, by going 12-for-27 in his last eight games, has a .290 average. He has a .390 on-base percentage and 18 steals.
LHP Kyle Lobstein threw his first career complete game Tuesday, allowing one run in seven innings. He’s 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA, seven walks and 16 strikeouts in his last three starts.
RHP Scott Shuman has thrown 14 straight shutout innings and has allowed just two runs in his last 26.2 innings. He has a 1.75 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 36 innings this year.
RHP Alex Koronis hasn’t allowed a hit in his last five innings, covering two appearances.

Those who strayed from the Rays

RHP Jason Hammel, with 7.1 innings Friday, has thrown 22.2 shutout innings over his last three starts for the Colorado Rockies.
LF Delmon Young is hitting .375 in June. He has a .302 average, eight home runs and 41 RBIs this year.
LHP Chris Seddon threw his second shutout of the season -- and his career -- Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners). He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out six. His previous shutout was June 4.
OF Wes Bankston has a .308 average in eight games at Triple-A Oklahoma City (Rangers).
RHP Mitch Talbot is 7-5 with a 4.21 ERA with the Cleveland Indians.
LHP James Houser has a 3.26 ERA in 11 games for Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins).
RHP Jean Machi has 10 saves at Triple-A Indianapolis (Pirates).
OF Jesus Feliciano is 3-for-14 in five games with the New York Mets.
RHP Jose Veras has a 5.13 ERA in 21 games for Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins).
LHP Mike Wlodarczyk has a 4.91 ERA in 16 games with independent Brockton.
SS Brandon Chaves is hitting .246 for independent Bridgeport.
OF Jason Perry has a .319 average, six homers and 42 RBIs at independent Lancaster.
OF Sergio Pedroza is hitting .281 for independent Orange County.
OF Cody Strait has a .133 average in 11 games at independent Lake County.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Biscuits' lead still stands at half-game

After Friday's rain and a little rain, Montgomery still leads Jacksonville by a half-game with two days remaining in the Southern League's first-half race.

The Biscuits lost 9-6 at Huntsville tonight, while the Suns lost 3-1 at Birmingham in the completion of a game suspended in April. However, the regularly scheduled Suns-Barons game was suspended in the bottom of the second with Birmingham up 2-0.

The Suns and Barons have to complete that seven-inning game Saturday and then will play another seven-inning game, while the Biscuits continue a series at Huntsville.

The Biscuits' magic number is three. If the Barons sweep and Montgomery wins, the Biscuits clinch a playoff spot.

Your Hudson Valley Renegades

Back from Atlanta just in time to learn of this year's Renegades, who open their season tonight at Aberdeen. They're listed with either the round they were drafted this year or where they played last year.

Wilmer Almonte -- GCL Rays
Kyle Ayers -- Hudson Valley
Omar Bencomo -- Princeton
Kevin Chavez -- Hudson Valley
Joey Dettrich -- Princeton
Robert Dickmann -- 36th rounder this year
Devin Fuller -- Hudson Valley
Nate Garcia -- 16th
Hunter Hill -- Hudson Valley
Stephen Hiscock -- NDFA from Rollins College
Austin Hubbard -- 14th from Auburn U.
Adam Liberatore -- 21st
Miguel Sierra -- minor-league Rule 5 from Cubs

Kyle Holloway -- NDFA from Lynn U.
Alejandro Torres -- Princeton
David Wendt -- Princeton

Bennett Davis -- Hudson Valley
Derek Dietrich -- second round
Geno Glynn -- Princeton
Elias Otero -- Hudson Valley
Robby Price -- 13th
Nick Schwaner -- 30th

Brian Bryles -- Princeton
Craige Lyerly -- 19th
Burt Reynolds -- Hudson Valley
Chris Winder -- 27th

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Biscuits' lead cut to half-game

Biscuits lose 13-4 at Huntsville, Jacksonville wins 6-5 at Birmingham and -- with three days left in the first-half race -- Montgomery's lead is back at a half-game.

On Friday, there's the potential for a 1 1/2-game swing.

The Biscuits play one game, but the Suns have two. They and the Barons have a suspended game from April to complete -- Suns lead 1-0 in the fourth -- and then the regularly scheduled game.

Rays pitchers snap hitting skid

James Shields hit a fifth-inning single, snapping an 0-for-12 start to the hitting season for Tampa Bay pitchers. The crew did have batting practice Wednesday that manager Joe Maddon supervised.

"Shields has a good reputation," Maddon said before Thursday's game. "I'm not expecting much out of (Matt) Garza. I worked with him yesterday. I'll put that out there."

Maddon declined to describe his Garza work as a tweak or an adjustment, calling it "minor surgery." Garza starts Friday at Florida.

Before Shields' hit, Tampa Bay pitchers were hitless in their last 18 at-bats. Andy Sonnanstine had the last hit -- a third-inning single -- in a 5-3 loss at the New York Mets on June 19, 2009.

Chipper: Retirement decision will wait until offseason

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones just shot down reports that he has decided to retire, saying that any decision will wait until the offseason.

"Honestly, I have not made a decision either way. Obviously, we know which way I'm leaning," Jones said at a news conference at his locker.

"Somehow, the cork got taken out. I'm putting it back in."

He said he won't make a decision now because he doesn't want to take away from Bobby Cox's final season or distract teammates from a pennant chase.

"I'm on a first-place ballclub," he said. "I'm hitting third and playing third for a first-place ballclub, which is where I like to be. I'm going to focus on that and helping Bobby go out the right way.

Early reviews not good on white-clad Rays

Shortstop Reid Brignac admits the Rays' themed trips draw attention at airports. Tampa Bay has wore hockey jerseys -- supplied by the Chicago Blackhawks -- to Toronto two weeks ago and World Cup jerseys -- of their own -- to Atlanta.

For the Atlanta-to-Miami leg of the trip, they were on their own to find white clothes and white accessories.

Maybe they'll be a hit tonight at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International and draw attention like the others.

"Sometimes, but it's all good," Brignac said. "We all dress the same, pretty much. It's not just one person. It's everybody."

Brignac went to Lenox Square in Atlanta for his stuff, which he said cost "hundreds of dollars." Catcher John Jaso and pitcher Jeff Niemann went the more miserly route.

Jaso said his whole suit cost $4 and came from Goodwill. Such an admission may get him hauled before the team's kangaroo court.

"Even if I do, it will still be the cheapest suit here," Jaso said.

Niemann already had some white pants and added a shirt while he was here. He also added a pair of sunglasses, a watch, a hat, shoes and belt -- all for $5 each.

Shealy, after leaving Durham, lands with Red Sox

Infielder Ryan Shealy opted out of his contract with Triple-A Durham this week and has already landed another job. He's signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. That could mean a promotion is coming for a Biscuit.

Shealy played first base for the Bulls and hit .238 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in 48 games. His last game was Sunday and his release reported Tuesday.

White fright: Rays dress up for Miami getaway day

The Rays finish a three-game series today at Turner Field and head off to Miami for a weekend series. To get in the spirit of things, players and team personnel had to wear all white to the ballpark today -- and will need to for the charter flight south.

Me thinks they'll have problems pulling off this look and me dearly hopes they don't try anything like this.

Montoyo to manage Triple-A All-Stars

Durham manager Charlie Montoyo, formerly of the Biscuits, will manage the International League team in the Triple-A All-Star Game. The game is July 14 at Lehigh Valley.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Biscuits add to division lead

Montgomery beat Huntsville 9-4 tonight and, with Jacksonville's 11-5 loss at Birmingham, now leads the Suns by 1 1/2 games in the Southern League South Division first-half race.

Also, the title of this post would have sounded like this at Joe Davis Stadium tonight: "Biscuits add to division lead, lead, lead."

The announced ~throng~ of 724 is the third smallest to see a Biscuits game. Huntsville owns the "top" four spots in that category and nine of the "top" 12.

Riverwalk biscuit one of baseball's top foods

Adam Richman hosts a show on the Travel Channel called "Man v. Food." Well, he appeared on ESPN's "First Take" and revealed the top five ballpark foods. One Riverwalk delicacy ranked fourth.

1. Garlic fries at Yankee Stadium
2. Philly cheesesteak nachos in Sauget, Ill., home of the Gateway Grizzlies
3. Italian sausage (no specific stadium given)
4. Chicken biscuit with syrup at Riverwalk Stadium
5. Hot dog with kraut and mustard (no specific stadium given)

To watch, click here and look under video to the right.

Florida fan Davis deals with FSU cheer

Just thought of this, as the Braves lead the Rays and Wade Davis 3-0 in the third inning and the Turner Field crowd enjoys a Tomahawk Chop: Davis is a big Florida fan. Real big. He's also very intense on the mound. It's unlikely he even hears the Florida State, but -- if he does -- he probably seeths a little more.

Jaso, deep in book, spurts out 'Jaso-ism'

Rays catcher John Jaso was back reading his book today when a television sportscaster asked for an interview.

Jaso peaked up from Harlan Coben's "The Woods" to greet him and had a strange question in response:

"On camera?"

The story caused Rays manager Joe Maddon to laugh about the catcher he calls "Mikie."

"He's got a little Tim Salmon in him," said Maddon, who coaches Salmon with the Angels. "He always had what we called 'Salmon-isms.' I think this was one of those 'Jaso-isms.'"

Maybe, one day at Tropicana Field, they'll introduce Jaso as "Mikie."

"Mikie just has a playful ring to it," Maddon said.

Rays-Braves go late, but Rays win 10-4

Game just ended. At 1 a.m. Eastern.

David Price picked up his AL-leading 10th victory and still leads the league with a 2.31 ERA.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lobstein worth a mention, too

Bowling Green's Kyle Lobstein threw his first career complete game, a seven-inning eight-hitter in a 6-1 win at Lansing in the opening game of a doubleheader. The Hot Rods won the nightcap 5-2.

Moore starting to hit stride?

Matt Moore won his second straight start tonight, allowing two hits over six innings in Charlotte's 4-0 win at Jupiter.

Moore (2-7) combined with Marquis Fleming and Zach Quate on a four-hitter. Moore walked just one and struck out nine.

Tim Beckham had three RBIs. He hit a sacrifice fly in the third and a two-run double in the ninth. The three RBIs are his second highest total of the season. Beckham is 9-for-29 with seven RBIs in his last eight games.

Don't forget this about the Crabs' relief corps, from the team's release: "The Charlotte bullpen has now thrown 46 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since May 27."

Price fans out en masse

David Price's dad, Bonnie, organized a trip to Turner Field to see his son. There are 275-300 people here -- all wearing Price's Rays replica jersey -- from his hometown, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Using only word of mouth, they ended up taking three buses and "a lot of people chose to drive themselves," Bonnie said.

The group definitely was against a rainout, which would have meant a doubleheader likely Wednesday, because they're going home tonight. The scheduled start time is 8:30 Central, more than two hours late.

“We might be late, but we’re going to play,” Bonnie said during the delay. “We want to play. We’ll just be late getting home. We may not get there until early in the morning, but we want to play.”

Bartlett rehab interrupted by rain

Durham's game at Gwinnett was rained out and that was to be the second game of shortstop Jason Bartlett's two-game rehab.

The Bulls are a little light in the roster right now. Pitcher Jason Cromer and infielder Elliot Johnson are on the DL. Also, Ryan Shealy has opted out of his contract.

Rain streams down; tarp is out

No announced delays (yet), but there's a pretty nice thundershower expressing itself all over Turner Field right now.

5:09 CDT: Tarp is being pulled.
5:58: No rain, but there's a treacherous cloud approaching, so the tarp is back out.
8:07: Game scheduled to start at 8:30 Central.

Ruggiano holds on, focuses on being ready

Former Biscuits outfielder Justin Ruggiano has been back with the Rays for three days, but today may be his last.

With shortstop Jason Bartlett to play a second (and final) rehab game tonight for Triple-A Durham, the Rays will likely send Ruggiano back down and activate Bartlett. Ruggiano says he doesn't obsess with those possibilities. He can't, or he won't be ready for his next at-bat.

"I can only focus on keeping myself ready to play," Ruggiano said.

He hasn't played since being promoted over the weekend. He has a .200 average in 52 major league games from 2007-08.

Rays check out Turner Field

We're at Turner Field today through Thursday for Tampa Bay's first series here of the Biscuits era.

Planning stories on John Jaso and Jeff Niemann, for starters.

Crabs hosting benefit golf tournament

For our Port Charlotte readers ...
The Stone Crabs will have a golf tournament June 23 to benefit Charlotte County's YMCA scholarship fund. It costs $75. Call 941-206-4487.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday: Barons 4, Biscuits 2

Salvador Sanchez snapped a tie with a long seventh-inning home run and the Birmingham Barons beat the Montgomery Biscuits 4-2 on Monday.

The Biscuits had a five-game winning streak snapped, while the Barons stopped a six-game skid.

Sanchez’s homer made it 3-2 and John Shelby III added a solo homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning. Montgomery scored on Matt Fields’ two-run homer in the sixth, an opposite-field shot.

The loss cut Montgomery’s lead in the first-half South Division race to a half-game over the Jacksonville Suns.

Phillips expected to return soon

Pitcher Paul Phillips threw a simulated game today and appears close to returning to the active roster. He's been out since May 27 with biceps tendinitis.

Cromer has more trouble with elbow

Left-handed pitcher Jason Cromer has had his elbow flare up on him again and he's left Triple-A Durham for Tampa Bay's minor-league rehab complex in Port Charlotte, Fla. Cromer missed the first seven weeks of the season and last pitched June 6.

Monday lineups

It's the final game of the series, final game of a 10-game homestand and final home game of the first half for the Biscuits.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 1b
Matt Sweeney 3b
Matt Fields dh
John Matulia rf
Cody Cipriano 2b
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Cobb rhp

Miguel Negron dh
Fernando Cortez ss
C.J. Retherford 2b
Christian Marrero 1b
Jim Gallagher lf
Cole Armstrong c
Salvador Sanchez rf
Dale Mollenhauer 3b
John Shelby III cf
Brandon Hynick rhp

Biscuits lead drops to one game

Jacksonville beat Mobile 8-7 in 11 innings this afternoon, cutting into Montgomery's lead in the South Division's first half. The Biscuits have a one-game lead heading into tonight's series finale with Birmingham.

By the way, the Suns still have six games to play when they finish the half at Birmingham. On Friday, the teams have to finish a suspended game from April 23. They'll start in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Suns leading 1-0. After that, they'll play seven innings for the regularly scheduled game.

Jaxx, Smokies carry Southern League honors

West Tenn third baseman Alex Liddi and Tennessee right-hander Chris Carpenter won the Southern League's weekly awards. Liddi was 9-for-23 with seven runs scored and 11 RBIs this week. Carpenter was 1-0 with two runs and seven hits allowed in two starts. He walked four and struck out 11 in 12 1/3 innings.

Former Auburn star Mike Bianucci was the top hitter in the California League. He was 8-for-27 with four homers and 10 RBIs for the Bakersfield Blaze, including a 4-for-5, two-homer game Saturday. Bakersfield is a Texas Rangers affiliate.

Jennings wins International award

Durham outfielder Desmond Jennings has won the International League's weekly hitting award.

Jennings was 14-for-26 with nine runs scored and 11 RBIs over the last week. He also had four doubles and three triples. For the season, Jennings has a .286 average in 41 games.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hot Rods combine on two-hitter

Kirby Yates (four innings), Alex Koronis (three) and Scott Shuman (two) combined on a two-hitter for Bowling Green in a 3-1 win at Beloit tonight.

Yates and Shuman gave up the hits. Koronis (4-2) was perfect and Shuman picked up his seventh save.

Biscuits gain game on Suns, lead by 1 1/2

Jacksonville lost 6-3 in 12 innings today to the Mobile BayBears, so the Biscuits now have a 1 1/2-game lead in the Southern League's first-half South Division race. There are six games remaining in the half.

Sunday: Biscuits 3, Barons 2

Chris De La Cruz and Matt Sweeney homered to help the Biscuits beat the Birmingham Barons 3-2 on Sunday for their fifth straight win.

De La Cruz hit a solo homer in the third and Sweeney a two-run shot in the fourth. De La Cruz has three homers this year. It was Sweeney’s first with the Biscuits.

Jake McGee (2-4) gave up a run over six innings and is 2-0 with an 0.76 ERA in his last four starts. Jim Gallagher doubled and scored on Greg Paiml’s two-out single in the fifth inning.

Heath Rollins worked the final three innings for his first save. He surrendered a two-out homer in the ninth to Gallagher.

Sunday lineups

It's about 96 degrees -- with a heat index around 105 -- before this afternoon's game between the Biscuits and Barons.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem dh
Drew Anderson 2b
Rashad Eldridge cf
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson lf
Matt Sweeney 3b
John Matulia rf
Craig Albernaz c
Chris De La Cruz ss
Jake McGee lhp

Miguel Negron cf
Fernando Cortez 3b
C.J. Retherford 2b
Salvador Sanchez rf
Jim Gallagher dh
Christian Marrero 1b
John Shelby III lf
Jared Price c
Greg Paiml ss
Matt Long rhp

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday: Biscuits 3, Barons 2 (10)

Chris Nowak drove home Chris De La Cruz with the winning run in the 10th inning, lifting the Biscuits to a 3-2 win over the Birmingham Barons.

Nowak’s flyout to right with the bases loaded brought in De La Cruz and gave the Biscuits first place to themselves in the Southern League’s first-half South Division race.

Jacksonville split a doubleheader with Mobile on Saturday, leaving the Biscuits a half-game ahead of the Suns.

De La Cruz walked to lead off the inning and went to second on Emeel Salem’s bunt. After the Barons intentionally walked Rashad Eldridge, Nevin Ashley singled to load the bases and bring up Nowak.

Crabs pitchers get win, save in FSL All-Star Game

Josh Satow was the winning pitcher and Zach Quate picked up the save in the South Division's 5-4, 10-inning win over the North Division tonight in the Florida State League's All-Star Game in Viera, Fla.

Satow pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings and Quate had a perfect bottom of the 10th. They were two of seven Charlotte Stone Crabs to play.

Henry Wrigley was the starting third baseman and was 1-for-5 with an RBI. Isaias Velasquez also started at shortstop and was 0-for-4. Catcher Stephen Vogt came off the bench and was 2-for-2.

Neil Schenk walked two in an inning of relief, while Marquis Fleming surrendered two runs on two hits in his inning.

Hall's scoreless streak ends at 35

Jeremy Hall's scoreless streak is over. C.J. Retherford singled home Fernando Cortez with two outs in the sixth, so Hall's shutout streak ends at 35 innings.

(No, Hall does not get credit for the two outs and a 35 2/3-inning streak. If that were the case, Orel Hershiser's streak would be 59 2/3 innings -- and it's not. Those thirds only count when they're in the middle of a scoreless streak.)

Hall sets Biscuits record for scoreless streak

Jeremy Hall threw a three-up, three-down first for his 31st straight scoreless inning, snapping the 30-inning mark set last year by Brian Baker.

Saturday lineups

Jeremy Hall needs a scoreless first inning to break the Biscuits record for consecutive scoreless innings. He's currently tied with Brian Baker, who set the mark last year.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem rf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson lf
Matt Sweeney 3b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia dh
Chris De La Cruz ss
Jeremy Hall rhp

Miguel Negron cf
Fernando Cortez ss
C.J. Retherford 3b
Jim Gallagher 1b
Christian Marrero rf
Cole Armstrong c
Salvador Sanchez dh
Tyler Kuhn lf
Dale Mollenhauer 2b
Johnnie Lowe rhp

System check

Stats through Friday, etc.

International League South

(38-24, first place, 10.5 GA)
CF Desmond Jennings was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs on Friday. He is 10-for-18 in his last four games, pushing him to a .273 season average. He is 14-for-15 on steal attempts.
C Jose Lobaton, who hit a grand slam Thursday, has a .303 average and five home runs.
IF Angel Chavez has eight RBIs in his last four games and is hitting .305 with 31 RBIs this season.
OF Fernando Perez is hitless in his last 26 at-bats and has a .209 average.
RHP Mike Ekstrom allowed his second run of the season Thursday and has an 0.75 ERA in 16 appearances.

Florida State League South

(35-25, first place, 2 GA)
LHP Matt Moore picked up his first win Tuesday, allowing one run on four hits in 6.1 innings. He’s 1-7 with a 6.08 ERA, 37 walks and 78 strikeouts in 60.2 innings.
3B Henry Wrigley has a .313 average, 12 home runs and 43 RBIs.
RHP Zach Quate has an 0.59 ERA and has held hitters to a .155 average in 30.2 innings.
LHP Josh Satow has a 1.63 ERA and has held hitters to a .163 average in 27.2 innings.
SS Tim Beckham is hitting .212.

Midwest League Eastern

(25-35, sixth place, 14.5 GB)
OF Brett Nommensen is 10-for-25 with 12 RBIs in his last six games and has a .289 season average.
RHP Scott Shuman has struck out seven of the nine hitters he’s faced in his last two appearances, covering three no-hit innings.
C Mark Thomas had six RBIs Wednesday, hitting a three-run homer and a three-run double. He homered again Friday and is hitting .258.
LHP Aaron Dott allowed one hit and two runs over five innings in a no-decision Thursday. He’s 1-2 with a 3.22 ERA.

Those who strayed from the Rays

RHP Evan Meek has allowed one hit and no runs in his last eight appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has an 0.76 ERA in 29 games.
3B Gabriel Martinez is hitting .462 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in his current 10-game hitting streak for Saltillo of the Mexican League. He’s hitting .372 in 40 games this year.
RHP Jason Hammel threw 7.1 shutout innings in a win Monday for the Colorado Rockies.
RF Rhyne Hughes is 11-for-29 with seven runs scored in his last seven games at Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles). He’s hitting .290.
LF Delmon Young has a .283 average and seven homers for the Minnesota Twins.
RHP Travis Minix is 6-7 with a 5.94 ERA for Saltillo of the Mexican League.
RHP Eduardo Morlan picked up his first save for Double-A Huntsville (Brewers) on Thursday. He has a 3.12 ERA in seven appearances.
CF Jason Pridie is on the disabled list at Triple-A Buffalo (Mets).
OF Francisco Leandro has a .336 average at independent Pensacola.
LHP Ryan Morse is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA for independent St. Paul.
C Robinson Cancel is hitting .306 with independent Long Island.
C Josh Arhart has a .261 average for independent Victoria.
RHP Willie Glen is 1-2 with a 4.07 ERA for independent Gary SouthShore.
OF J.T. Hall is hitting .246 at independent Traverse City.

Friday, June 11, 2010

First place flows throughout Tampa Bay organization

With the Biscuits winning tonight, the Tampa Bay organization has something that deserves note.

The major league team is in first place, Triple-A Durham is in first place, the Biscuits are in a first-place tie and high-Class A Charlotte is in first place. (Low-A Bowling Green is in sixth.)

Friday: Biscuits 6, Barons 5 (11)

Matt Sweeney’s infield single brought home Rashad Eldridge in the 11th inning to give the Biscuits a 6-5 victory over the Birmingham Barons on Friday.

Montgomery pulled into a tie with Jacksonville for first place in the Southern League’s first-half South Division race. Jacksonville’s home game Friday with Mobile was rained out.

Sweeney’s hit came with one out and the bases loaded against a drawn-in infield. Second baseman Dale Mollenhauer made a diving play to stop the ball but was unable to record an out.

The Biscuits scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Chris Nowak’s two-out two-run double tied the game. Montgomery had a chance to win with the bases loaded and two outs, but Sweeney’s foul fly ended the threat.

Eldridge reached base five times and Leslie Anderson homered for Montgomery. Drew Anderson hit a two-run triple.

WSFA webcasting Saturday's game

The fine folks at WSFA will webcast Saturday's game between the Biscuits and Barons, sports caster Derek Steyer said. The station will also air one of its "Batter Up" specials starting at 6:30 p.m.

Who deserves my Southern League All-Star vote?

The Southern League sent out ballots for its All-Star Game to the league's radio announcers, coaching staffs, general managers and beat writers today.

I'm open for suggestions, so let me hear who deserves one. I won't be voting Jacksonville slugger Mike Stanton! (Only players who are on a Southern League roster today are eligible, so Stanton is out.)

The All-Star Game is July 12 in Huntsville. The voting deadline is June 25.

The ballot, for each team ...
2 catchers, 1 first baseman, 1 second baseman, 1 third baseman, 1 shortstop,
4 outfielders, 1 DH, 1 utility infielder, 1 utility outfielder,
2 pitchers, 2 starting pitchers, 1 reliever, 1 closer.

Friday lineups

Tonight's lineups ...

Emeel Salem cf
Rashad Eldridge dh
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 3b
Leslie Anderson lf
Matt Fields 1b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia rf
Drew Anderson ss
David Newmann lhp

Miguel Negron cf
Fernando Cortez 3b
C.J. Retherford 2b
Jim Gallagher rf
Salvador Sanchex dh
Christian Marrero 1b
John Shelby III lf
Jared Price c
Greg Paiml ss
Justin Edwards lhp

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday: Biscuits 13, Barons 5

The Biscuits banged out 20 hits -- their most in 6 1/2 years at Riverwalk Stadium -- in Thursday’s 13-5 win over the Birmingham Barons.

Leslie Anderson, Cody Cipriano and John Matulia had three RBIs each. Cipriano hit a two-run home run to tie the game 4-4 in the fourth inning. Chris Nowak scored three times and Emeel Salem had four hits.

With Jacksonville’s 6-5, 13-inning home loss to Mobile, Montgomery pulled within a half-game of the Suns in the first-half South Division race. There are nine games remaining in the half.

Fleming, Schenk added to Crabs' All-Star list

Stone Crabs pitchers Marquis Fleming and Neil Schenk have been added to the Florida State League's All-Star party. That gives Charlotte nine players picked for the game, which is Saturday in Viera, Fla. Starters Chris Andujar and Nick Barnese won't be able to participate because the game falls between their starts.

Schenk, with two innings tonight, has a streak of 15 scoreless innings. He has a 2-0 record and a 1.14 ERA in 19 games. Fleming is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 appearances.

City, Biscuits, Red Cross: Friday is Red Day

The city of Montgomery, the Biscuits and the American Red Cross of Central Alabama have proclaimed Friday as Red Day to spread awareness of the local Red Cross. Fans are being encouraged to wear red attire to Friday's game and donate $1 or more when buying their tickets.

Thursday lineups

With the Rays apparently about to sign a first- and second-round pick (not to mention a 26th-rounder), the Biscuits start a home series with the Birmingham Barons tonight.

Lineups ...
Emeel Salem lf
Rashad Eldridge cf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak 1b
Leslie Anderson dh
Matt Sweeney 3b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia rf
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Torres lhp

Miguel Negron cf
Fernando Cortez 3b
C.J. Retherford 2b
Jim Gallagher, 1b
Cole Armstrong c
Salvador Sanchez rf
Tyler Kuhn dh
John Shelby III lf
Greg Paiml ss
Charlie Shirek rhp

Tide's Woodall ready to play for GCL Rays

Justin Woodall, the Alabama football player taken in this week's baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, said today that he and the team have tentatively agreed to a deal and he'll play this summer in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Woodall has been throwing for about three weeks and showed off a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a slider in pre-draft workouts for scouts from Tampa Bay, the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. The Rays took him in the 26th round.

"My breaking ball doesn't have the break back in it yet," Woodall said. "My slider was all right."

Woodall last pitched competitively when Lafayette High of Oxford, Miss., won a state championship when he was a senior. The left-hander was a 19th-round pick of the Mets coming out of high school, but passed on that and played four years of football at Alabama.

"I had committed to Alabama and I wanted to follow through on that commitment," he said.

Woodall was a defensive back for the Crimson Tide, so he can cover Desmond Jennings if the need arises.

Jennings, before signing with the Rays, was a star football receiver who had signed with Alabama. Woodall said Jennings is a good friend and the two spoke Wednesday about Woodall coming to the Rays.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday: Biscuits 6, Suns 0

Alex Cobb and two relievers combined on a three-hitter in the Biscuits’ 6-0 win over the Jacksonville Suns on Wednesday.

Montgomery won the rubber game of the five-game series and pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Suns in the first-half Southern League South Division race.

Cobb (2-1) gave up three hits over 6 2/3 innings, Darin Downs retired the four men he faced and Heath Rollins pitched a perfect ninth. Montgomery leads the league with nine shutouts.

Emeel Salem was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Rashad Eldridge doubled twice, scored twice and had two RBIs. Chris Nowak also knocked in two runs.

Jesus Feliciano promoted to Mets

Former Biscuits outfielder Jesus Feliciano is in the major leagues with the New York Mets, who were rained out tonight. He's yet to debut. When (if) he does, he'd be No. 42 on the Biscuits' list. Feliciano was hitting .385 in 53 games at Triple-A Buffalo.

Wednesday lineups

Lineups for tonight's series finale between the first-place Suns and the Biscuits who trail them by 2 1/2 games ...

Emeel Salem rf -- one previous start in right this season, last week at Mississippi
Drew Anderson 2b
Rashad Eldridge cf
Chris Nowak lf
Leslie Anderson 1b
Matt Fields dh
Matt Sweeney 3b
Craig Albernaz c
Chris De La Cruz ss
Alex Cobb rhp

Kevin Mattison cf
Osvaldo Martinez ss
Vinny Rottino c
Jason delaney dh
Mark Saccomanno 1b
Brandon Tripp rf
Matt Dominguez 3b
Tim Torres lf
Ryan Curry 2b
Jeff Allison rhp

Full Tampa Bay draft list

To keep up with the signings, I heartily endorse's signing board. Those guys always do a great job keeping up with it.

I've put a permanent link to it and taken off the 2009 list.

By position

4 catchers, 6 first basemen, 3 second basemen, 3 shortstops, 2 third basemen, 7 outfielders
28 pitchers, including 1 defensive back (9 left-handers, 19 right-handers)
By origin
20 high schools, 10 junior colleges, 23 senior colleges

First round (17th overall):
Josh Sale, of, Bishop Blanchet HS, Seattle
First round (31st): Justin O’Conner, c, Cowan HS, Muncie, Ind.
Supplemental first (42nd): Drew Vettleson, rf, Central Kitsap HS, Silverdale, Wash.
Second (66th): Jake Thompson, rhp, Long Beach State U.
Second (79th): Derek Dietrich, ss, Georgia Tech
Third (98th): Ryan Brett, ss, Highline HS, Burien, Wash.
Fourth (131st): Austin Wood, rhp, St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC
Fifth (161st): Ian Kendall, rhp, Ashland (Ore.) HS
Sixth (191st): Jesse Hahn, rhp, Virginia Tech
Seventh (221st): Michael Lorenzen, cf, Fullerton Union HS, Fullerton, Calif.
Eighth (251st): Merrill Kelly, rhp, Arizona State U.
Ninth (281st): Jake DePew, c, Granite City (Ill.) HS
10th (311th): Deshun Dixon, cf, Terry (Miss.) HS
11th (341st): Travis Flores, 1b, Desert Ridge HS, Mesa, Ariz.
12th (371st): Phil Wunderlich, 1b, U. Louisville
13th (401st): Robby Price, 2b, U. Kansas
14th (431st): Austin Hubbard, rhp, Auburn U.
15th (461st): Brandon Henderson, lhp, Chesnee (S.C.) HS
16th (491st): Nate Garcia, rhp, Santa Clara U.
17th (521st): Cody Anderson, rhp, Feather River CC (Calif.)
18th (551st): Jimmy Patterson, lhp, Arizona State U.
19th (581st): Craige Lyerly, 2b, Catawba College (N.C.)
20th (611th): C.J. Riefenhauser, lhp, Chipola (Fla.) JC
21st (641st): Adam Liberatore, lhp, Tennessee Tech
22nd (671st): Matt Koch, c, Loyola Marymount
23rd (701st): Kevin Patterson, 1b, Auburn U.
24th (731st): Daniel Poncedeleon, rhp, La Mirada (Calif.) HS
25th (761st): Matt Spann, lhp, Columbia (Tenn.) Central HS
26th (791st): Justin Woodall, lhp-db, U. Alabama
27th (821st): Chris Winder, cf, Odessa (Texas) CC
28th (851st): Julio Espinoza, ss, Rialto (Calif.) HS
29th (881st): Scott Lawson, 2b, U. Miami
30th (911th): Nick Schwaner, 3b, U. New Orleans
31th (941st): Kevin Kiermaier, rf, Parkland JC, Champaign, Ill.
32th (971st): Bryan Fogle, of, Erskine College (S.C.)
33th (1,001st): Scott Simon, rhp, Central Valley HS, Spokane Valley, Wash.
34th (1,031st): Steve Tinoco, 1b, Long Beach State
35th (1,061st): Spencer Davis, rhp, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
36th (1,091st): Robert Dickmann, lhp, Pepperdine U.
37th (1,121st): Demondre Arnold, rhp, Creekside HS, Fairburn, Ga.
38th (1,151st): Will Anderson, rhp, Foothill HS, Palo Cedro, Calif.
39th (1,181st): Parker Markel, rhp, Yavapai JC (Ariz.)
40th (1,211st): Wade Broyles, rhp, Belhaven College (Miss.)
41th (1,241st): Chris Rearick, lhp, North Georgia U.
42th (1,271st): Preston Overbey, 3b, University School of Jackson (Tenn.) HS
43th (1,301st): Ryan Hornback, c, San Jacinto (Texas) CC
44th (1,331st): Mickey Jannis, rhp, Cal State Bakersfield
45th (1,361st): Blake Freeman, lhp, Sunnyslope HS, Phoenix
46th (1,391st): George Jensen, rhp, Des Moines Area CC (Iowa)
47th (1,421st): Hector Montes, 1b, Bonita Vista HS, Chula Vista, Calif.
48th (1,451st): Blake Barnes, rhp, Howard College (Texas)
49th (1,481st): Paul Hoilman, 1b, East Tennessee State
50th (1,511st): Cory Maltz, rhp, Weatherford JC (Texas)

Mr. Irrelevant: Western Kentucky's Matt Rice

The final pick of the draft -- the 1,525th overall -- was Western Kentucky catcher Matt Rice. He went to the Yankees. Rice hit .369 with 10 home runs and 65 RBIs to win the Hilltoppers' Triple Crown. He's from Johnson City, Tenn., which is where Biscuits pitcher Jeremy Hall grew up.

State's Mr. Baseball goes in 46th round

Fairhope High's Daryl Norris was the 46th-round pick of the Texas Rangers. Norris stood out as an infielder at Fairhope and was the state's Mr. Baseball, but the Rangers took him as a pitcher. Norris has signed with Mississippi State.

He went 12 picks after San Diego grabbed St. Paul's outfielder Dominick Francia.

Here's the updated state draft list.

State's Mr. Football drafted by Orioles in 41st round

Coty Blanchard, the state's Mr. Football award last fall at Cherokee County High School, was a 41st-round draft pick today by the Baltimore Orioles.

Blanchard had committed to play baseball at Mississippi State before starring on the gridiron last fall, which led him to sign to play football at Jacksonville State. The O's drafted him as a shortstop.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tuesday: Suns 4, Biscuits 2 (10)

Mark Saccomanno doubled in the go-ahead run and scored on a wild pitch to lift the Jacksonville Suns to a 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Montgomery Biscuits on Tuesday.

The Suns stretched their South Division lead over the Biscuits to 2 1/2 games. The teams play the rubber game of their series Wednesday night.

Montgomery pitching took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but the Suns did more than register a hit. Jacksonville also scored to tie the game 2-2 on a Vinny Rottino single.

The Biscuits scored twice in the second. Chris Nowak and Leslie Anderson hit consecutive doubles to make it 1-0. John Matulia’s two-out single scored Anderson. In the third inning, the Suns scored without benefit of a hit.

Moore finally a winner for Stone Crabs

Matt Moore picked up his first win at high-Class A Charlotte tonight, allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings in the Stone Crabs' 3-1 victory over Clearwater. Moore (1-7) gave up only four hits, struck out four and walked three.

Joseph Sanders a South Atlantic All-Star, too

Joseph Sanders -- suddenly renamed Joe on the South Atlantic League's release -- has also been named a midseason All-Star. He's a Stanhope Elmore grad who was drafted out of Auburn last year by the Rockies. He plays for the Asheville Tourists.

Biscuits catcher Paxton retires

Catcher Ian Paxton, who has been with the Biscuits all season but has rarely been on the active roster, retired today.

Paxton mainly served as Montgomery's bullpen catcher. He played in three games this year and was 2-for-7. This was the 26-year-old's fifth professional season.

"He did a great job for us," Biscuits manager Billy Gardner said. "It's a thankless job, but he came to work every day and prepared like he was going to be in the game. That's how he went about his business."

Alabama football player taken by Rays

Alabama defensive back Justin Woodall went in the 26th round of today's baseball draft to the Tampa Bay Rays. Woodall was taken in the baseball draft (19th round) by the Mets coming out of high school, too, but decided to focus on football. He's a left-handed pitcher who had three interceptions and 45 tackles last year.

3 Hot Rods named All-Stars

Bowling Green outfielder Chris Murrill and pitchers Alex Colome and Wilking Rodriguez have been named Midwest League All-Stars. The game is June 22 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Tuesday lineups

We'll take a break from this draft flood to bring you the lineups for tonight's game between the Biscuits and Jacksonville Suns, the fourth in a five-game series. With 12 games remaining, Montgomery has pulled within 1 1/2 games of Jacksonville in the first-half South Division race.

Emeel Salem cf
Drew Anderson lf
Nevin Ashley c
Chris Nowak dh
Leslie Anderson 1b
Matt Sweeney 3b
Cody Cipriano 2b
John Matulia rf
Chris De La Cruz ss
Jake McGee lhp

Ryan Curry 2b
Osvaldo Martinez ss
Vinny Rottino lf
Jason Delaney dh
Mark Saccomanno 1b
Matt Dominguez 3b
Brandon Tripp rf
Tim Torres cf
Chris Hatcher c
Alex Sanabia rhp

Prattville's Norwood picked by Padres

Tyler Norwood, formerly of Prattville High and now at Southern Union Community College, was the 19th-round selection of the San Diego Padres. The right-hander was 4-2 with three saves and 73 strikeouts in 71 innings. He held hitters to a .186 average.

Stanhope grad/Auburn catcher grabbed by Royals

Stanhope Elmore graduate Ryan Jenkins, a catcher at Auburn, went in the 17th round to the Kansas City Royals. Jenkins hit .365 this season and ranked third among the Tigers.

Prattville native picked by Brewers in 16th round.

Prattville native Andrew Morris passed on the Milwaukee Brewers after being picked in the 44th round of last year's draft. The Brewers are back again, this time taking the right-handed pitcher in the 16th round.

Morris just finished his sophomore season at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida.

As a freshman, he finished 10-2 with a 2.78 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 65 hits allowed in 94 innings. As a Prattville High senior, he was a 10-game winner for the Lions, honorable mention Class 6A All-State and the Advertiser’s Class 5A-6A All-Metro player of the year.

Whitley first drafted from Troy

Troy's first player went in the 15th round when the New York Yankees snared right-handed pitcher Chase Whitley. He's the 475th overall pick.

Complete state draft list

Check back later for more. (4:40: updated with rounds 14-20. 6:50: updated with rounds 21-30, which completes Tuesday. 3:50 p.m. Wednesday: updated through the end.)

Second round
53. Atlanta Braves: Todd Cunningham, cf, Jacksonville State U., Jacksonville native
64. Milwaukee Brewers: Jimmy Nelson, rhp, U. Alabama
65. Chicago Cubs: Reggie Golden, cf, Wetumpka HS, U. Alabama signee
Third round
107. Colorado Rockies: Josh Rutledge, ss, U. Alabama, Cullman native
Fourth round
118. Baltimore Orioles: Trent Mummey, cf, Auburn U., Pinson native
129. Milwaukee Brewers: Hunter Morris, 1b, Auburn U., Huntsville native
Seventh round
211. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jeff Shields, rhp, Chattahoochee Valley CC
10th round
308. Chicago White Sox: Ross Wilson, 2b, U. Alabama, Hoover native
313. Detroit Tigers: Cole Nelson, lhp, Auburn U.
11th round
347. Florida Marlins: Grant Dayton, lhp, Auburn U., Madison native
12th round
364. San Diego Padres: Chris Franklin, rhp, SE Louisiana U., Oneonta native
14th round
431. Tampa Bay Rays: Austin Hubbard, rhp, Auburn U., Homewood native
15th round
471. Philadelphia Phillies: Jake Smith, 3b, U. Alabama, Shannon native
475. New York Yankees: Chase Whitley, rhp, Troy U., Ranburne native
16th round
489. Milwaukee Brewers: Andrew Morris, rhp, Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC, Prattville native
17th round
509. Kansas City Royals: Ryan Jenkins, c, Auburn U., Millbrook native
18th round
539. Kansas City Royals: Brian Fletcher, lf, Auburn U.
543. Houston Astros: Josh Magee, cf, Hoover HS
19th round
574. San Diego Padres: Tyler Norwood, rhp, Southern Union CC, Prattville native
585. Minnesota Twins: Matt Arguello, lhp, Davidson HS
20th round
602. New York Mets: Luke Stewart, 1b, UAB
603. Houston Astros: Daniel Adamson, cf, Jacksonville State U., Center Point native
613. Detroit Tigers: Tyler White, rhp, U. Alabama
21st round
644. Atlanta Braves, William Beckwith, 1b, Wallace-Dothan CC
22nd round
662. New York Mets: Brandon Brown, ss, U. South Alabama
23rd round
701. Tampa Bay Rays: Kevin Patterson, 1b, Auburn U., Shelby County native
24th round
742. Los Angeles Dodgers: Andrew Edge, c, Jacksonville State U., Gadsden native
26th round
791. Tampa Bay Rays: Justin Woodall, lhp, U. Alabama (football)
27th round
819. Milwaukee Brewers: Alex Jones, rhp, Jacksonville State U., Hoover native
30th round
907. Cincinnati Reds: Bradley Hendrix, rhp, Auburn U., Shelby County native
31st round
927. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jason Townsend, rhp, U. Alabama
32nd round
973. Detroit Tigers: Clay Jones, 1b, U. Alabama, Brent native
33rd round
1,012. Los Angeles Dodgers: Brett Lee, lhp, Bishop State CC
35th round
1,070. Colorado Rockies: Justin Fradejas, of, Auburn U.
37th round
1,114. San Diego Padres: Chase Marona, rhp, Northwest-Shoals CC, New Market native
38th round
1,139. Kansas City Royals: Nick Graffeo, rhp, UAB
39th round
1,186. Texas Rangers: Ryan Woolley, rhp, UAB
41st round
1,228. Baltimore Orioles: Coty Blanchard, ss, Cherokee Co. HS
1,233. Houston Astros: Bryce Lane, rf, Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC, Phenix City native
44th round
1,317. Pittsburgh Pirates: Cory McGinnis, rhp, Shelton State CC
45th round
1,362. Seattle Mariners: Stephen Kohlscheen, rhp, Auburn U.
46th round
1,384. San Diego Padres: Dominick Francia, cf, St. Paul’s HS
1,396. Texas Rangers: Daryl Norris, rhp, Fairhope HS