Monday, December 26, 2011

Sonnanstine lands with Cubs

Former Biscuits pitcher Andy Sonnanstine is headed to the Chicago Cubs after being non-tendered by the Rays.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jai Miller dropped by A's

Outfielder Jai Miller, a Selma High graduate with lifelong ties to Montgomery, has been removed from Oakland's 40-man roster. Miller hit .276 with 32 home runs at Triple-A Sacramento this year. He ended the season with the A's and was 3-for-12 in seven games.

Biscuits raid Barons for new clubbie

Jeff Perro, the clubhouse manager for the last three years for the Birmingham Barons, has been hired by the Biscuits and Tampa Bay Rays. Perro, who has also worked with the Mobile BayBears and Augusta GreenJackets, announced the hiring on his blog and Twitter feed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Sox appear to pass on Allen as pitching coach

Reports out of Boston say the Red Sox will hire Bob McClure as their pitching coach and pass on Durham's Neil Allen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moore DQ'd from my list of top Rays prospects

I'm going to step out on a limb yet again and go against the grain. You won't find Matt Moore atop my list of Tampa Bay's top prospects

Without looking at Baseball America's top 10 (due out today), here is my list Tampa Bay's top 30 prospects ... not named Matt Moore.

I fully admit that my list is skewed toward the higher-level players because those are the ones I've seen. I also didn't feel educated enough (blame football) to include any of the 2011 draftees, except for Mikie Mahtook and Cameron Seitzer.

That made things tough because, to me, a lot of depth in the organization is now in the lower levels. The first 10 went easily before it got tough.

(To reminisce at my idiocy a year ago, click here. And here's 2009 and 2008.)

Once again, allow me to open mouth and insert foot (last year's rank in parentheses) ...
1. SS Hak-Ju Lee (8)
2. RHP Alex Colome (4)
3. RHP Alex Cobb (11)
4. LHP Alex Torres (9)
5. RHP Chris Archer (5)
6. CF Mikie Mahtook (NR)
7. RF Drew Vettleson (NR)
8. SS Tim Beckham (12)
9. RHP Matt Bush (NR)
10. RHP Nick Barnese (7)
11. LHP Chris Rearick (NR)
12. OF Brandon Guyer (16)
13. 2B Tyler Bortnick (27)
14. SS Derek Dietrich (21)
15. C Stephen Vogt (28)
16. LHP Enny Romero (NR)
17. RHP Dane De La Rosa (15)
18. C Robinson Chirinos (13)
19. IF Cole Figueroa (17)
20. C Oscar Hernandez (NR)
21. LHP Kyle Lobstein (10)
22. 1B Jeff Malm (NR)
23. RHP Jason McEachern (NR)
24. 1B Cameron Seitzer (NR)
25. IF Shawn O'Malley (NR)
26. RHP Jake Thompson (14)
27. C Josh Sale (NR)
28. LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (NR)
29. OF Cody Rogers (NR)
30. C Justin O'Conner (NR)

RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1), graduated
LHP Matt Moore (2), ineligible since he's named Matt Moore
CF Desmond Jennings (3), graduated
LHP Jake McGee (6), graduated
RHP Jeremy Hall (18), retired
C Nevin Ashley (19)
1B-LF Leslie Anderson (20)
C Luke Bailey (22)
RHP Brandon Gomes (23), graduated
RHP Marquis Fleming (24)
RHP Zach Quate (25)
LHP Neil Schenk (26)
2B Cody Cipriano (29), released
3B-1B-LF Henry Wrigley (30)

Here's Baseball America's list ...
1. LHP Matt Moore
2. SS Hak-Ju Lee
3. RHP Chris Archer
4. RHP Taylor Guerrieri
5. RHP Alex Colome
6. LHP Alex Torres
7. SS Tim Beckham
8. LHP Enny Romero
9. OF Drew Vettleson
10. CF Mikie Mahtook

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reliever Peralta, Rays agree on 2012 contract

Relief pitcher Joel Peralta have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year contract. Peralta made 71 appearances this year to rank second among AL relievers. The 35-year-old was 3-4 with a 2.93 ERA and six saves.

Monday, December 19, 2011

SEC changes baseball tournament format

Southeastern Conference baseball tournament fans get an extra day of play starting next year. The SEC announced today that it's expanding the tournament to 10 teams, which also causes a revamped format and an earlier start.

It's still a two-bracket format with the bracket winners playing one Sunday game for the championship. It's still in Hoover, too.

The tournament will start on Tuesday (that's May 22 next year) with four games. There are also four games Wednesday and Thursday and two games Friday and Saturday. Yes, the bracket championships will be a one-game showdown.

Now, for the confusing part.

The top-seeded team in each bracket (the two divisional winners) won't play until Wednesday. The four other teams in each bracket start Tuesday. The highest-seeded Tuesday winner will have a Wednesday bye. The other Tuesday winner plays the bracket's top seed Wednesday.

Is that explained decently enough? It took me a few minutes to digest it, too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Allen interviews for Red Sox pitching coach job

Neil Allen, the former Biscuits pitching coach now at Triple-A Durham, has interviewed for the vacant position with the Boston Red Sox, according to reports. (Here's the Boston Globe, which cites a SiriusXM interview of Boston GM Ben Cherington.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bulls announcer going to big leagues

Durham announcer Neil Solondz has been called up to the majors. Solondz has been hired by the Tampa Bay Rays to host the team's pregame and postgame shows. He has been with the Bulls since 2004 and has filled in for the Rays the last two years.

(One wonders if they had Durham manager Charlie Montoyo give him the news or at least called him into the manager's office for it.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Salem shows more game through song

Biscuits outfielder Emeel Salem may have missed all of the 2011 season, but it wasn't a total loss.

Salem, while rehabbing an injured knee, also jumped into the recording studio and recorded some of the songs he wrote long ago.

"This year, I had time to focus on it more because I was hurt," Salem said. "I was able to spend time fine-tuning them."

Now, four of the songs are available through iTunes. (Salem's site is The four -- "What You Need," "Don't Stop," "All About You" and "Down to Love" -- are completely Salem's creations.

"There's no rhyme or reason I chose those songs," Salem said. "They're four very different songs and they just happen to be the ones I chose for the EP."

Salem, who said he's "confident" he'll be ready for the 2012 season, has been a longtime music fan. It's one of the things he uses to relax off the baseball field.

He also said he doesn't have a preference between these four songs.

"All the lyrics are real lyrics and situations that happened in my life," Salem said. "All are unique."

Salem, a native Alabamian who starred at the University of Alabama, used his talents last spring to be crowned champion of the Tampa Bay Rays' annual talent show. He said he's confident releasing the songs won't jeopardize his opportunity at a repeat.

"It better not," Salem said. "I'm pretty sure sure there are no rules for that. Actually, I'm positive of that."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Former Biscuit Veras dealt from Bucs to Brewers

Former Biscuits pitcher Jose Veras, who has been with the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been traded to Milwaukee for infielder Casey McGhee. Veras was with the Biscuits for a short time in 2004.

Jefferies traded to Miami Marlins

Catcher Jake Jefferies, who spent part of this year with the Biscuits, has been traded to the Miami Marlins for relief pitcher Burke Badenhop.

Badenhop, 28, was 2-3 with a 4.10 ERA in 63 2/3 innings with the Marlins. The right-hander has spent parts of the last four seasons with the Marlins.

Jefferies opened the year with the Biscuits and played in just six games, hitting 5-for-19, before a demotion to high-Class A Charlotte. The 24-year-old hit .235 in 59 games with the Stone Crabs.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friedman high on Moore's future

Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, according to a team release, said at a news conference, that Matt Moore is an asset to the team.

“Matt is one of the most talented young players in baseball and exactly the type of person we look to build around,” Friedman said. “For us, making a long-term commitment to a player is not only a question of his ability, but also his work ethic, competitive drive and character. Matt excels in each of those aspects and we’re thrilled that he’ll be part of our core for many years.”

Matt Moore, Rays agree to long-term deal

Former Biscuits pitcher Matt Moore and the Rays have agreed to a long-term contract that will cover at least five years, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

It's worth a guaranteed $14 million over five years and as much as almost $40 million over eight.

That would cover all of his arbitration years -- and a few free agent years, too -- and erases the biggest drawback to Moore opening the 2012 season in the majors.

Moore started last season with Montgomery, reached the majors in September and started for the Rays in the American League playoffs. Tampa Bay has been successful with giving long-term deals to players with little major league experience.

Third baseman Evan Longoria signed a long-term contract a week after getting to the Rays in 2008 and he has been a major force the last four years. The contract is considered one of the most team-friendly in baseball.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sweeney to Orioles in Rule 5 draft

Biscuits infielder Matt Sweeney has a new home after the Baltimore Orioles picked him today in the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Sweeney, who came to the Rays as part of the Scott Kazmir trade with the Angels, hit .154 in 82 games for Montgomery this year.

Tampa Bay also lost catcher Gerardo Olivares in the Triple-A phase to Boston. Olivares had a .298 average at short-season Class A Hudson Valley this year.

The Rays weren't a factor in the major league Rule 5, except their pick from last year was picked again. Left-handed pitcher Cesar Cabral of the Red Sox went to the Yankees. He didn't make Tampa Bay's team last year and returned to the Boston organization.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tampa Bay's top foreign scout retires

Andres Reiner, one of the first scouts to tap into Venezuelan talent who has been with the Rays for the last six years, has announced his retirement.

Reiner helped Tampa Bay tap into Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. The team dedicated its Venezuelan facility, which opened in 2007, to him. The 76-year-old, when he worked for the Houston Astros, was credited with discovering such stars at Johan Santana and Bobby Abreu, among others.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Rays sign 4 to minor league contracts

Right-handed pitchers Jhonny Nunez and Ricky Orta, infielder Matt Mangini and first baseman Juan Miranda have signed minor league contracts with the Rays that include major league spring training invitations.

Orta was with Tampa Bay this year but pitched in only four games with the GCL Rays while recovering from elbow surgery. He officially was on Montgomery's disabled list for much of the year.

Nunez was at Triple-A Charlotte with the Chicago White Sox for some of this year, his sixth professional season. Miranda has been in the majors for parts of the last four seasons, playing 65 games with Arizona this year. Mangini was at Triple-A Tacoma with the Seattle Mariners this year and hit .336 in 58 games.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Astros get OK to talk to Rays GM

The Astros have received permission to talk to Tampa Bay's Andrew Friedman about their GM vacancy and he's Houston's top choice, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Report: Astros have asked to talk to Friedman

The Houston Astros have "made the call" to ask the Tampa Bay Rays for permission to speak with Andrew Friedman about their vacant general manager's position, according to Jim Bowden on SiriusXM's Inside Pitch today. Bowden said he didn't know what the answer was.

Rays, free-agent catcher finalize contract

The Rays have formally announced signing catcher Jose Molina to a one-year contract with a club option for 2013. The 36-year-old is a 12-year major league veteran, hit a career-high .281 this year with Toronto and is known for his defense.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jaso traded for reliever who was accused of rape

Former Biscuits catcher John Jaso has a new major league home. The Rays traded Jaso, who was with Montgomery in 2007-08, to the Seattle Mariners for relief pitcher Josh Lueke and a player to be named or cash considerations.

Jaso has been with Tampa Bay for parts of the last four seasons. The 28-year-old had a .224 average, five home runs and 27 RBIs in 89 games this year. In 2010, the first where he saw considerable playing time, Jaso hit .263 with 44 RBIs and 59 walks in 109 games.

Lueke, who turns 27 on Dec. 5, went to the Seattle organization last year as part of the trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers. Lueke finished with a 6.06 ERA in 25 major league appearances. He started the year with the Mariners before spending three months in Triple-A. Lueke had a 3.41 ERA in Seattle from July 18 through the end of the season.

Lueke, while part of the Texas system, pleaded no contest in 2009 to rape and sodomy charges in Bakersfield, Calif., stemming from a May 2008 incident while he was in Class A. (Details here.)

“Josh has the stuff to get hitters out in the American League East and began to show that during the second half of last season,” Rays general manager Andrew Friedman said in a release. “We believe he can be an important part of our success here for many years."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Iron Bowl time, yet again

We're here at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl. Just before kickoff, let's remember ...

Once again, on this day of our state's annual apocalypse, let me assure you: Neither side has a monopoly on the unwashed, heathen, redneck, snaggletooth morons. Both sides have heaping helpings.

Here are a couple of pictures I took before the game. The flier was at Toomer's Corner and the other was on the walk between Toomer's and the stadium (forgive the orientation) ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bortnick on Topps Class A list

Future Biscuits second baseman Tyler Bortnick was named to the Topps Class A all-star team today.

Bortnick had 43 steals and a .428 on-base percentage this year for Charlotte and led the Florida State League in both categories.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Former D-Jaxx slugger stabbed to death

Greg Halman, a former top prospect of the Seattle Mariners and Southern League All-Star who played 35 games in the majors this year, has been stabbed to death in the Netherlands.

He was 24.

Halman was stabbed to death and his brother has been arrested, according to the Seattle Times. Halman hit 35 home runs for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx between 2008-09 and was a Southern League All-Star in 2009. He first reached Seattle in 2010.

Mark your calendar for Rays' spring training

The Rays will have 16 home spring training games, the most in the team's history, in 2012. The team released its spring schedule today. Tickets cost between $9 and $27 with individual game tickets to go on sale in January.

All games 1:05 p.m. Eastern unless noted.

20 pitchers, catchers report
25 position players report
3 at Twins
4 Twins
5 Orioles
6 Twins
7 at Yankees
8 (split squad) host Tigers, at Twins
9 Orioles
10 at Red Sox
11 Pirates
12 Twins
13 at Orioles
14 Marlins
15 Phillies
16 at Blue Jays
17 at Pirates
18 Red Sox
19 off
20 at Marlins
21 Yankees
22 at Pirates
23 Blue Jays, 7:05
24 at Twins, 3:05
25 Marlins
26 at Twins
27 at Red Sox, 7:05
28 Pirates, 7:05
29 at Phillies
30 at Pirates
31 Red Sox
1 at Orioles
2 Twins
3 at Twins
4 TBA (at Tropicana Field)
6 Opening Day

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Biscuits to open holiday store at EastChase

The Biscuits are adding a second gift shop for the holiday season. The "other" Biscuit Basket will open its doors Monday at the Shoppes at EastChase and stay open through Christmas Eve. The location at Riverwalk Stadium will also be open for holiday shopping.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surprise falls in AFL championship game

Surprise's bid for the best record in Arizona Fall League history fell short today with a 9-3 loss to Salt River in the league championship game.

Future Biscuits outfielder Mikie Mahtook had two of Surprise's eight hits and scored a run. Former Biscuits shortstop Tim Beckham doubled. Future Biscuits reliever Adam Liberatore gave up a hit in 1 1/3 innings.

The Saguaros finished 26-11. The .703 winning percentage was just shy of the .705 by Mesa in 1999 (31-13).

Crawford added to Toronto's 40-man roster

Prattville native Evan Crawford has gone on Toronto's 40-man roster, giving the left-handed pitcher an major league spring training invitation and a spot in the players' union.

Crawford, who played at Auburn, had a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He had a 3.35 ERA in 45 games at Double-A New Hampshire this year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

McWhorter's funeral today

Mack McWhorter, a longtime baseball figure in Montgomery on the diamond, in the dugout and in the front office, will be remembered today with a funeral service at 1 p.m. at Leak Memory Chapel.

McWhorter died Tuesday. He was 89.

McWhorter played for the Montgomery Rebels from 1948-51 and went on to both manage and own the team. He was the only person to fill all three roles. He was also a proponent of the Biscuits.

In 1974, McWhorter was the owner of the Rebels when they had Jim Leyland as their manager. Leyland went on to major league fame, won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and is now with the Detroit Tigers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saguaros one win from AFL's all-time best record

The Arizona Fall League team stocked with future and former Biscuits and led by Biscuits manager Billy Gardner is one win from league history.

The Surprise Saguaros, with a win in Saturday’s league championship game, will finish with the best record in AFL history.

The Saguaros, after a 12-2 win over Salt River in Thursday’s regular-season finale, are 26-10. They meet Salt River again Saturday for the league title and that game counts in their win-loss record. The 1999 Mesa team holds the AFL record with a .705 winning percentage (31-13).

Saturday’s championship will start at 2:05 p.m. and be televised by MLB Network.

40-man guessing: Rays to add 2

With the Rule 5 draft looming next month, the Rays could -- any day -- add some players to their 40-man roster and shield them from other teams.

The college draft picks from 2008 and high schoolers from 2007 are eligible for the Rule 5 for the first time. Also, Tampa Bay currently has five open spots on its 40-man, according to the roster at

Who will they protect? (And they don't have to fill every spot.)

I say two.

Pitcher Nick Barnese is eligible for the Rule 5 for the first time. Stephen Vogt, a catcher/first baseman/outfielder/hitter, is eligible for a second time.

I only looked at those players Tampa Bay originally drafted, so this list isn't conclusive, but the others I pondered were: Shane Dyer, Neil Schenk, Marquis Fleming and Shawn O'Malley.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rays' Maddon wins AL award

Rays manager Joe Maddon won the AL manager of the year award today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hellickson wins AL rookie award

Former Biscuits pitcher Jeremy Hellickson won the American League rookie of the year award today.

The 24-year-old right-hander, who was 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA this season for the Rays, is the second former Biscuit to win the rookie award (Evan Longoria in 2008) and just the second AL starting pitcher to win in the last 30 years (Detroit's Justin Verlander in 2006).

Atlanta reliever Craig Kimbrel, a Huntsville native, was the unanimous National League winner.

Hellickson, who received 17 of 28 first-place votes, finished ahead of Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova.

Hellickson was a combined 7-5 with a 3.27 ERA for Montgomery in 2008-09.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dyer removed from AFL roster

Right-hander Shane Dyer, who was with the Biscuits this year, was removed from the Arizona Fall League's Surprise roster Friday. Not sure why. He last pitched Nov. 2 when he won with five innings of two-run ball. Dyer was 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA in six starts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pittsburgh picks up Harrison

Former Biscuits infielder Vince Harrison has been hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league coach.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rays' AFL team clinches championship appearance

Biscuits manager Billy Gardner and his Surprise Saguaros clinched the Arizona Fall League West Division title Wednesday.

The Saguaros' 10-7, 10-inning win over the Peoria Javelinas gave them an eight-game lead with just seven games to play. Surprise will be the home team for the Nov. 19 AFL championship game.

The Saguaros are 21-8 and, if they win at least five of their last seven games, will have the top winning percentage in AFL history, according to The Mesa Solar Sox were 31-13 (.705) in 1999.

As far as the former/future Biscuits on the team ...
SS Tim Beckham .247-4 HRs-14 RBIs in 19 games
IF Tyler Bortnick .267-1-3 in 13
OF Mikie Mahtook .352-1-8 in 14

RHP Shane Dyer 2-1 record, 4.38 ERA in 24.2 innings
RHP Marquis Fleming 1-0, 4.76 in 11.1
LHP Adam Liberatore 1-0, 3.86 in 11.2
RHP Kirby Yates 0-0, 7.50 in 6

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Vickers wins MiLB award for top woman executive

Biscuits general manager Marla Vickers on Minor League Baseball's woman executive of the year award Wednesday, capping her first year as the team's GM.

MiLB will honor Vickers during December's winter meetings in Dallas.

The Biscuits, according to a minor league baseball release, increased their sales figures in several areas this year. That differs from figures filed with the city as part of the team's rent agreement.

The rent is compiled from nine categories: tickets, group tickets, group picnics, retail, suites, parking, concessions, catering services and sponsorship. Only one saw an increase from fiscal year 2010 to 2011.

Catering services had a 1.3 percent increase of $3,714. Two other categories had decreases of less than 1 percent. Three others decreased from 1.4-5.5 percent. The total operating revenue from the nine categories was down 4.4 percent to just more than $4.6 million.

7:18 update: Vickers said there were increases in some specific venues, like picnic areas, and admitted the press release was vague. Otherwise ...

On winning: "I was very surprised when I found out that I won. There are a lot of very hardworking and deserving women in minor league baseball. I was very honored to receive the award."

On what her staff can expect as a prize: "It's definitely a credit to all the staff, their hard work and their ideas. We'll have a nice little celebration around the office. To be determined."

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gardner to manage in Rising Stars game

Montgomery manager Billy Gardner will lead the West team in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars game Saturday. Gardner's Surprise Saguaros entered Friday with a seven-game lead in the AFL West. The Rising Stars game is at 6 p.m. Saturday on the MLB Network.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Biscuits hit low for yearly rent total

The Biscuits were at their weakest at the cash register this season, according to documents filed with the city as part of the team's quarterly rent payment.

The team paid $137,674 to cover the city's portion of stadium revenue for the months of July, August and September. The payment, which was due Monday, also brought an end to the 2011 fiscal year.

The team brought in a franchise-worst $4,641,100 for the year, just less than the $4,678,245 total from 2009. The Biscuits also drew a franchise-low 257,268 in attendance.

The $4.6 million still exceeds pro forma projections for the year used by the city council when it approved construction of Riverwalk Stadium in 2002. The projections called for just more than $3.5 million.

Since the stadium opened in April 2004, the team's revenue exceeds $43 million, according to city documents. The team has paid almost $4.7 million in rent, including almost $366,000 this year.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

2 future Biscuits among AFL's 'Rising Stars'

One of next year's Biscuits -- and another who could be -- have been picked for this year's Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game.

Infielder Tyler Bortnick and outfielder Mikie Mahtook will play in Saturday's game, which starts at 6 p.m. and will be shown on the MLB Network.

Bortnick shined this season for high-Class A Charlotte. Mahtook was a first-round draft pick in June from LSU and, with the Rays sending him to the AFL for his debut, could rise quickly through the system.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Moore already working out to prepare for 2012

Former Biscuits pitcher Matt Moore, appearing today on Sirius XM's "Power Alley" show, said he has been given no indication if he'll start the 2012 season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Moore, who won the Topps minor league player of the year award Monday, will experience his first major league spring training next year. After the way he ended the 2011 season, he could break camp with the Rays.

"I'm going to show up in spring training and be ready to go," Moore said from Arizona, where he said he's in his second week of workouts.

"If I make the team, great. If not, I'm going to go down and pitch wherever they tell me to until it's time to go again."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rays keep Shields, Farnsworth, decline Shoppach

Pitchers James Shields and Kyle Farnsworth have had their options for the 2012 season picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays. The team declined its 2012 option for catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Moore wins Topps minor league player of the year

Pitcher Matt Moore, after going a combined 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA between the Biscuits and Durham, won the Topps minor league player of the year award today.

The left-hander finished the year in the major leagues with Tampa Bay and threw seven shutout innings to beat Texas in the AL Division Series. Moore is the second former Biscuit to win the Topps award after Delmon Young in 2005.

"After starting the year in Montgomery and then being a part of the playoffs with the Rays, this award is the icing on the cake for a season I'll never forget," Moore said in a release.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tampa Bay executive going to A's

Dan Feinstein, Tampa Bay's director of baseball operations, is leaving the Rays for the Oakland A's. He'll be Oakland's director of professional scouting and baseball development.

Feinstein, a California native, worked for the A's from 1994-2004. He joined the Rays in February 2006 from the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he was coordinator of baseball operations.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sporting News picks Rays manager

Tampa Bay's Joe Maddon won The Sporting News American League manager of the year award. He also won in 2008. Arizona's Kirk Gibson won the National League award.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hellickson wins magazine's rookie award

The AL Rookie of the Year award won't be out for another few weeks, but Baseball America has decided on its major league rookie award. Former Biscuit Jeremy Hellickson, after a 13-win, 2.95-ERA season with Tampa Bay, was named the winner today. Hellickson and outfielder Desmond Jennings landed on the all-rookie team.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Biscuits to buy new scoreboard

The Biscuits are starting the hunt for a new scoreboard with plans to debut it at Riverwalk's Auburn-Alabama game in March.

They're hoping to have the bids back around the end of October and will formally announce the new addition in early November. The team took ownership of the scoreboard in 2009 from the city in exchange for lower rent payments.

"We want it to have a big impact on the fan experience next year when they walk into Riverwalk Stadium," team president Greg Rauch said.

Biscuits owner Tom Dickson promises fans will notice. The current scoreboard has an LED display measuring 22 feet by 14 feet, which he said was impressive when the stadium opened in 2004. The new one will be bigger "by multiples of times," Dickson said.

"It's going to be huge," Dickson said. "There will be lots more bells and whistles and several more cameras. It will be amazing."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Former Biscuit on MLB team headed to Taiwan

Former Biscuits pitcher Jose Veras, now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will play on a major league all-star team headed to Taiwan.

The team will play five games against the Taiwan national team Nov. 1-6. MLB announced a tentative roster today.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nowak, Bankston, Harrison on Atlantic list

Three former Biscuits landed on the Atlantic League's postseason All-Star team, including two who tied for the league's top designated hitter.

Chris Nowak of the league champion York Revolution and Wes Bankston of the Bridgeport Bluefish were the co-DHs.

York's Vince Harrison, the most valuable player of the championship series, was the top third baseman.

The league's second-team all-star list includes Somerset shortstop Fernando Cortez and Southern Maryland outfielder Adam Godwin. Godwin is an Enterprise native.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Moore was top prospect in Southern League's year

Left-hander Matt Moore, with the Biscuits through mid-July, was named the Southern League's top prospect for the year by Baseball America today.

Right-hander Chris Archer, a late-season promotion to Triple-A Durham, ranked 11th.

League champion Mobile and Chattanooga had five players each on the magazine's Top 20 list, which included four Mississippi Braves. Tennessee, Huntsville, Carolina and Jackson had one each.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

ALDS, Game 4: Rangers 4, Rays 3

Adrian Beltre hit three home runs and the Texas Rangers eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays from the playoffs with a 4-3 win Tuesday.

Beltre hit solo home runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings to help the Rangers advance to the American League championship series. They won their AL division series with the Rays in four games.

Jeremy Hellickson surrendered Beltre's first two homers and one to Ian Kinsler that led off the game. Matt Moore gave up Beltre's final blast.

Sean Rodriguez doubled, walked twice and scored three times for the Rays, who were in the playoffs for the third time in four years. He scored and Tampa Bay had the potential tying run on base with one out in the ninth. A popout and groundout ended it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

ALDS, Game 3: Rangers 4, Rays 3

Mike Napoli's two-run home run in the seventh inning gave the Texas Rangers the lead in a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series with Game 4 coming Tuesday afternoon.

Napoli's homer and Josh Hamilton's two-run single gave Texas a 4-1 lead in the seventh.

Desmond Jennings hit two solo home runs for the Rays. After Jennings homered to lead off the eighth, Tampa Bay had two runners on base and one out. Johnny Damon and Ben Zobrist struck out to end the threat.

Longoria finalist for Aaron Award

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is Tampa Bay's finalist for the Hank Aaron award, which recognizes the top offensive player in each league. Fan voting is open at Longoria, who missed a month with an oblique injury that he rehabbed in Montgomery, hit .244 with 31 home runs and 99 RBIs in 131 games with the Rays this year.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Harrison top star in Revolution title run

Former Biscuits infielder Vince Harrison was the most valuable player in the York Revolution's run to a second straight Atlantic League championship. Harrison hit .529 with five doubles and five runs scored in nine games in the playoffs, which ended today with York's 6-3 win over the Long Island Ducks.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

ALDS, Game 2: Rangers 8, Rays 6

Mike Napoli singled twice, had two RBIs and scored twice to help the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 on Saturday in Game 2 of their American League Division Series.

The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 on Monday at Tampa Bay.

B.J. Upton doubled twice, singled and scored twice for the Rays. Evan Longoria hit a three-run home run in the seventh to pull the Rays within one, 8-7.

A Mitch Moreland homer in the eighth gave the Rangers a two-run advantage.

Rays announce Monday ALDS sellout

The Rays have announced a sellout for Monday's Game 3 of their AL Division Series against the Rangers. There are a limited number of tickets left for Tuesday's Game 4. The Rays have sold out every postseason home game in their history.

Friday, September 30, 2011

ALDS, Game 1: Rays 9, Rangers 0

Matt Moore's major league inexperience didn't matter in his first major league playoff start.
Moore threw seven innings of two-hit ball in just his second major league start to lead the Tampa Bay Rays in a 9-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday in the opening game of their American League Division Series.
Moore started the year with the Biscuits, jumped to Triple-A Durham in mid-July and hit the majors in mid-September. Friday marked just the fourth major league appearance for the 22-year-old. He had two walks and six strikeouts.
Kelly Shoppach homered twice, singled and scored three times for the Rays. Game 2 is 6 p.m. Saturday.

Delmon only other Biscuit on ALDS roster

Detroit outfielder Delmon Young, the 2005 Southern League MVP, is the only other Biscuit on a roster for the American League Division Series. The National League teams don't start their series until Saturday and only the Phillies, at this instant, have their playoff rosters updated at

Moore youngest Game 1 starter since 2000

Matt Moore's playoff start today will be unprecedented in major league history. It's the second start of his major league career. No pitcher has started a postseason game with such little major league starting experience.

Moore, at 22 years, 104 days old, is the youngest Game 1 playoff pitcher since Rick Ankiel, at 21 years, 76 days, did it for St. Louis in 2000. He's the youngest in the American League since the 1971 Oakland A's tossed out Vida Blue at 22 years, 67 days old.

Mark your calendars for Tide-Tigers

The annual Alabama-Auburn game at Riverwalk Stadium will be played March 6. That's a Tuesday.

Former Biscuits a majority on Rays' ALDS roster

Most of Tampa Bay's roster for the American League Division Series is made up of former Biscuits. There are 13 players with Montgomery on their resume among the 25 players who will suit up for the Rays against the Texas Rangers. Game 1 is today at Texas.

PITCHERS (6 former Biscuits/5 non-Biscuits)-- Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, Jake McGee, Matt Moore, David Price, James Shields (Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, Brandon Gomes, J.P. Howell, Joel Peralta)
CATCHERS (2/1) -- John Jaso, Jose Lobaton (Kelly Shoppach)
INFIELDERS (3/3) -- Reid Brignac, Elliot Johnson, Evan Longoria (Casey Kotchman, Sean Rodriguez, Ben Zobrist)
OUTFIELDERS (2/3) -- Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton (Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moore will start playoff opener for Rays

Matt Moore, after starting the season with the Biscuits, will start Tampa Bay's playoff opener Friday at Texas. It will be his second career start.

Longoria HR bat sent to Hall of Fame

Evan Longoria's bat, the one that hit Wednesday's playoff-clinching home run, is headed to Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame requested the bat and Longoria agreed to donate it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rays win AL wild card

Evan Longoria homered to lead off the 12th inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 8-7 to take the AL wild card.

The Boston Red Sox lost 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles, who scored twice with two outs in the ninth. Wednesday's finishes left the Rays one game ahead of Boston.

Tampa Bay, which faced a nine-game wild-card deficit in early September, trailed 7-0 in the eighth Wednesday. Longoria hit a three-run homer to highlight a six-run eighth.

In the ninth, pinch-hitter Dan Johnson hit a two-out, two-strike homer off Cory Wade, who started the year in the Tampa Bay organization. Wade was at Triple-A Durham -- where Johnson spent much of the season -- before opting out of his contract in June.

Stone Crabs GM honored by Florida State League

Charlotte Stone Crabs general manager Joe Hart has been named the Florida State League's executive of the year. Hart will be honored at an awards banquet Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Dallas. Hart has worked in baseball for more than 15 years and has been with the Stone Crabs since their inaugural 2009 season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vogt celebrates first child's birth

Former Biscuits catcher Stephen Vogt skipped out on today's luncheon where the Rays were to honor himas their minor league player of the year.

He had good reason.

Vogt was at the airport desperately trying to get a flight home after his wife gave birth to their first child this morning. Daughter Payton Diane was born two weeks early but healthy in Washington state.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vogt, Moore, Hall land Rays' top minor league awards

Catcher Stephen Vogt and left-hander Matt Moore, who started the season with the Biscuits before July promotions to Triple-A Durham, have been named Tampa Bay's minor league player and pitcher of the year.

Vogt hit .298 with 17 home runs and 105 RBIs in 128 games between the Biscuits and Bulls. Moore was a combined 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA.

Charlotte infielder Matt Hall, who played at Auburn, won the organization's Erik Walker Community Champion Award, which recognizes teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement. Erik Walker was a minor league pitcher for the Rays who died in October 2006 in a canoeing accident.

The Rays also named most valuable players for each of their affiliates.
Durham: utility Russ Canzler
Montgomery: Vogt
Charlotte: shortstop Hak-Ju Lee
Bowling Green: shortstop Derek Dietrich
Hudson Valley: first baseman Jeff Malm
Princeton: outfielder Drew Vettleson
GCL: right-hander Roberto Gomez
Dominican: infielder Adderly Rosa
Venezuela: catcher Oscar Hernandez

Best defensive player: Lee
Best baserunner: Charlotte infielder Tyler Bortnick
Best relief pitcher: Bowling Green left-hander Chris Rearick

Other Erik Walker nominees
Durham: Russ Canzler
Montgomery: Paul Phillips
Bowling Green: Austin Hubbard
Hudson Valley: Andrew Bellatti
Princeton: Drew Vettleson

All-time Erik Walker winners
2011: Matt Hall
2010: Stephen Vogt
2009: Ryan Wiegand
2008: Matt Spring
2007: Patrick Cottrell

Friday, September 23, 2011

A little Moore on lefty's first start

A few goodies in the Rays' Friday notes on the historical significance of Matt Moore's first major league start Thursday. He tossed five shutout innings and struck out 11 in Tampa Bay's 15-8 win at the Yankees.

Moore's 11 Ks were the most in a first start since Stephen Strasburg punched out 14 last year against Pittsburgh. They were the most in a first start by an American Leaguer since Tim Hudson totaled 12 for Oakland against San Diego in June 1999.

Also, since 1919, only one other pitcher making his first start had at least 11 strikeouts and held the Yankees scoreless. That was Cleveland's Luis Tiant over nine innings on July 19, 1964.

The 11 Ks were the most by a left-hander in his first major league start since San Diego's Bob Shirley had 11 at Cincinnati on April 10, 1977.

Moore, at 22 years, 97 days old, was the youngest pitcher to have double-digit strikeouts at the Yankees since Detroit's Hal Newhouser fanned 14 on May 27, 1943. Newhouser was 22 years, 7 days old.

Bowling Green radio voice jumping to Double-A

Tom Gauthier, the broadcaster for the Bowling Green Hot Rods the last three seasons, is leaving the team.

Gauthier has been hired to be the voice of his homestate New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Double-A team is owned by the same group that owns the Hot Rods.

Gauthier started his baseball broadcasting career in the Eastern League in 2008 with the Portland Sea Dogs. From 2005-07, he was an official scorer for New Hampshire with occasional duties as a fill-in broadcaster.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moore above decent in first Tampa Bay start

Matt Moore wasn't too shabby tonight in his first major league start. He threw five innings, allowed four hits and totaled 11 strikeouts against the Yankees. The Rays lavished him with run support and lead 13-0. The 11 Ks are the most for a Ray in his first start.

9:45 update: Moore picks up his first win with Tampa Bay's 15-8 victory.

Rays to name award winners Tuesday

The Rays are waiting until Tuesday to name their organizational awards and will do so at a sold-out luncheon that benefits their foundation.

Their minor league pitcher and hitter of the year will be named. Also, Tampa Bay's esteemed chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America will name a team MVP, the team's top rookie and a Paul C. Smith Champion Award winner.

The luncheon is at the Carillon Hilton in St. Petersburg and starts at 11:30 a.m. Eastern.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bortnick crowned 2011 BCS/RPI champion

All hail, infielder Tyler Bortnick, king of the inaugural full-season BCS/RPI rankings.

I admit it's a belated list -- I thought I'd already posted the final results -- but the Rays are expected to name their organizational awards Friday. With that, this is just in time.

Bortnick scored 75 points over the course of the season's daily rankings. He landed among the top five 24 times and drew a organizational-best seven first-place nods.

In all, there were 157 players who drew at least one vote in the Biscuit Crumbs Standings/Rays Performance Indicator daily lists.

Tyler Bortnick 75
Matt Moore 63
Cody Rogers 55
Russ Canzler 51
Alex Colome 48
Derek Dietrich 47
C.J. Riefenhauser 46
Stephen Vogt 44
Enny Romero 40
Hak-Ju Lee 38

Tyler Bortnick 24
Russ Canzler 19
Matt Moore 18
Cody Rogers 17

Tyler Bortnick 7
Matt Moore 5
Alex Colome 5
C.J. Riefenhauser 5

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Talbot absent from Columbus' Triple-A title win

Former Biscuits pitcher Mitch Talbot was scratched from his scheduled start in Tuesday's Triple-A championship game and didn't play a part in his Columbus Clippers' 8-3 win over the Omaha Storm Chasers. Dothan native and former Troy player Clint Robinson didn't play for Omaha, either.

Moore, Lee, Canzler on all-class all-star list

The Biscuits can lay claim to two players on Baseball America's all-classification minor league all-star teams.

Left-handed pitcher Matt Moore spent most of the season with Montgomery and was on the first team. Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, who ended the year with the Biscuits, was on the second team, along with Durham's Russ Canzler.

Moore was also the magazine's Double-A pitcher of the year.

The Mobile BayBears were the only team with two first-teamers: first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Talbot set to start in Triple-A championship game

Former Biscuits pitcher Mitch Talbot, a star in the team's run to the 2006 Southern League title, will be the starter in Tuesday's Triple-A national championship game.

Talbot takes the hill for the International League champion Columbus Clippers, who face the Omaha Storm Chasers at 7:05 p.m. The game is televised by Versus from Albuquerque's Isotopes Park.

Talbot is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a complete game in two playoff starts for Columbus. In 2006, he threw two five-hit shutouts in the playoffs for Montgomery.

This year, Talbot was 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA for Columbus and won his final three regular-season starts. He had a 6.33 ERA in 11 starts with Cleveland.

Omaha right-hander Sean O'Sullivan starts against Talbot. He threw eight innings in his only playoff start for the Pacific Coast League champion Storm Chasers. O'Sullivan was 8-2 with a 4.22 ERA in 14 regular-season starts.

The Storm Chasers also feature first baseman Clint Robinson, a Dothan native who played at Troy. He's hit .385 in seven playoff games after a .326 regular season that included 23 home runs and 100 RBIs.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BayBears win Southern League title

Josh Ford had three RBIs to help the Mobile BayBears win the Southern League championship with a 6-4 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Sunday.

He hit a two-run home run, singled twice and scored twice as the BayBears finished the best-of-5 series in four games.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hueytown's Jameis Winston on Baseball America list

Hueytown's Jameis Winston, an elite football recruit who has committed to Florida State, is one of three Alabama players on Baseball America's early 2012 top-50 draft list.

Winston, who was the star of July's North-South All-Star doubleheader at Riverwalk Stadium, ranks 47th nationally. Winston said in July, before announcing his college choice, that he would go with baseball if he were taken in the first round.

Outfielder David Dahl of Oak Mountain High near Birmingham is eighth, while Samford left-handed pitcher Lex Rutledge is 46th.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jai Miller 'savors experience' back in majors

Selma's Jai Miller, now with the Oakland A's, is enjoying his time back in the majors, so says the San Jose Mercury News.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Torres back with Rays, who release Buente

The Rays have promoted former Biscuits pitcher Alex Torres back to the big leagues along with first baseman Dan Johnson.

Torres made his major league debut July 18 against the Yankees before returning to Triple-A Durham, where he led the International League in strikeouts -- and walks -- this year. The Rays released right-hander Jay Buente, whom they claimed off waivers this season from Florida.

Rhyne Hughes draws drug suspension

Former Biscuits first baseman Rhyne Hughes, who played at Triple-A Norfolk in the Baltimore organization, has drawn a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Major League Baseball announced the suspension today. It will start at the beginning of next season.

Hughes, who turned 28 last week, had a .249 average in 92 games this year at Norfolk. He played in 14 major league games with Baltimore last year and was with Montgomery from 2007-09.

Rays below par in organizational standings

The Rays were a combined five games under .500 in their minor league organization this year. That number includes the Venezuelan championship and Dominican teams.

1. Texas Rangers 431-332 (.565)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 414-349 (.543)
3. San Francisco Giants 411-352 (.539)
4. Philadelphia Phillies 437-400 (.522)
5. St. Louis Cardinals 428-399 (.518)
6. Toronto Blue Jays 430-405 (.515)
7. San Diego Padres 393-370 (.515)
8. Cleveland Indians 392-369 (.515)
9. Oakland Athletics 392-370 (.514)
10. Pittsburgh Pirates 429-409 (.512)
11. Washington Nationals 387-370 (.511)
12. Chicago Cubs 421-409 (.507)
13. Los Angeles Angels 386-376 (.507)
14. Cincinnati Reds 420-415 (.503)
15. Chicago White Sox 386-386 (.500)
16. New York Mets 450-453 (.498)
17. Tampa Bay Rays 450-455 (.497)
18. Colorado Rockies 389-397 (.495)
19. Florida Marlins 375-383 (.495)
20. New York Yankees 412-422 (.494)
21. Kansas City Royals 408-418 (.494)
22. Boston Red Sox 376-392 (.490)
23. Minnesota Twins 372-387 (.490)
24. Arizona Diamondbacks 409-429 (.488)
25. Baltimore Orioles 374-394 (.487)
26. Seattle Mariners 437-467 (.483)
27. Atlanta Braves 356-400 (.471)
28. Detroit Tigers 390-445 (.467)
29. Milwaukee Brewers 355-406 (.466)
30. Houston Astros 337-488 (.408)

Best teams
DSL Angels 52-18 (.743)
AZL Giants 41-15 (.732)
GCL Marlins 38-16 (.704)
San Antonio, Double-A (Padres) 94-46 (.671)
Johnson City, rookie (Cardinals) 45-23 (.662)

Worst teams
DSL Blue Jays 20-49 (.290)
AZL Brewers 17-39 (.304)
Aberdeen, short-season A (Orioles) 24-51 (.320)
DSL Athletics 24-46 (.343)
DSL Diamondbacks 24-45 (.348)
full season: Corpus Christi, Double-A (Astros) 50-90 (.357)

Rays' instructional league schedule

The Rays will have an instructional league game at Tropicana Field -- playoffs permitting, of course. They'll host the Orioles on Oct. 4. Otherwise, their home games are in Port Charlotte, Fla.

All times Eastern
Monday, Sept. 19: Twins at Rays, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 20: Rays at Orioles, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 21: intrasquad games
Thursday, Sept. 22: Rays at Twins, 1 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 23: intrasquad games
Saturday, Sept. 24: Orioles at Rays, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25: off

Monday, Sept. 26: Red Sox at Rays, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 27: Mets at Rays, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 28: Rays at Twins, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 29: Rays at Red Sox, 1 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 30: intrasquad games
Saturday, Oct. 1: Orioles at Rays, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2: off

Monday, Oct. 3: Rays at Mets, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Orioles at Rays, 1 p.m. at Tropicana Field
Wednesday, Oct. 5: intrasquad games
Thursday, Oct. 6: Rays at Twins, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7: Orioles at Rays, 10 a.m.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shields is Tampa Bay's Clemente nominee

Pitcher James Shields, one of the Original Biscuits in 2004, is being nominated by the Tampa Bay Rays for this year's Roberto Clemente award.

The award, named for the Hall of Fame outfielder, recognizes a major leaguer for their positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. It's the second straight season Tampa Bay has nominated Shields.

Torres, Malm 2 of several Rays who led league

Alex Torres kept his dual-pitching category championships this year, despite moving from the Double-A Southern League to the Triple-A International League.

After leading the Southern League with the Biscuits in both strikeouts and walks last year, he did it again with Durham in the International League.

The Rays did have one home run champion: Jeff Malm hit 12 in the New York-Penn League. Pitchers also drilled Malm a league-high 13 times.

Here are the Tampa Bay minor leaguers who led their leagues in something, almost anything, this year:

DURHAM (International League)
Strikeouts: Alex Torres 156
Walks issued: Alex Torres 83
Slugging percentage: Russ Canzler .530
Extra-base hits: Russ Canzler 62
Sacrifice hits (tied): J.J. Furmaniak 15

MONTGOMERY (Southern League)
Games started (tied): Shane Dyer 28
Games finished: Zach Quate 45
Hits allowed (tied): Shane Dyer 191
Wild pitches: Chris Archer 18

CHARLOTTE (Florida State League)
Steals: Tyler Bortnick 43
On-base percentage: Tyler Bortnick .428
Hit by pitch: Tyler Bortnick 25
Sacrifice flies: Mike Sheridan 12
Sacrifice hits allowed (tied): Kyle Lobstein 8, Alex Colome 8
Hit batters: Alex Koronis 16
Balks (tied): Merrill Kelly 3, Alex Koronis 3

BOWLING GREEN (Midwest League)
Triples (tied): Cody Rogers 11
Walks taken: Robby Price 86
Games finished: Chris Rearick 43
Wild pitches: Braulio Lara 22

HUDSON VALLEY (New York-Penn League)
Home runs: Jeff Malm 12
Hit by pitch: Jeff Malm 13
Sacrifice hits allowed (tied): Jacob Partridge 5, Andrew Bellatti 5
Sacrifice flies allowed (tied): Jacob Partridge 5

PRINCETON (Appalachian League)
On-base percentage: Taylor Motter .436
Walks taken: Cameron Seitzer 43
Winning percentage (tied): Matt Spann .800 (4-1)

Caminero top hitter, Moore top pitcher among Rays

Tampa Bay's organizational leaders this year ...

Hitting -- Joel Caminero, Princeton: .330
Home runs -- Derek Dietrich, Bowling Green: 22
RBIs -- Stephen Vogt, Durham/Montgomery: 105
Steals -- Tyler Bortnick, Charlotte: 43

ERA -- Matt Moore, Durham/Montgomery: 1.92, was 12-3
Wins -- George Jensen, Bowling Green: 13-4, had a 4.28 ERA
Saves -- Zach Quate, Montgomery; Chris Rearick, Bowling Green: 20
Strikeouts -- Matt Moore, Durham/Montgomery: 210

BayBears, Smokies set for Southern League battle

The mighty Mobile BayBears needed all five games of their semifinal series to defeat the Birmingham Barons and advance to the Southern League championship series.

Mobile will face the Tennessee Smokies with Game 1 at Mobile on Wednesday.

The BayBears, after rallying in the ninth inning in a Game 3 win, beat the Barons 7-1 on Monday in the decisive fifth game. The Smokies swept Chattanooga in their semifinal series and are in the finals for a third straight year. They lost to Jacksonville the last two years.

Wednesday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: at Tennessee, 7:15 p.m. EDT**
Sunday: at Tennessee, 5 p.m., if necessary
Monday: at Tennessee, 7:15 p.m., if necessary

**--The Smokies regularly started Saturday games at 6:15 p.m. Eastern this season. However, the mighty Vols play at Florida at 3:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, so a 6:15 crowd might be slim.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Biscuits GM top woman in Southern League

Marla Terranova Vickers, after her first year as Biscuits general manager, has been named the Southern League's Woman of Excellence for a second time.

Vickers became only the fourth woman in the minor leagues -- and the first at Double-A or higher -- this season, her ninth in Montgomery. She came to the city in 2003 to prepare for the team's inaugural 2004 season.

Vickers, who was also the league's Woman of Excellence in 2006, will be the league's nominee for minor league Woman Executive of the Year. That award is presented by Minor League Baseball at the December Winter Meetings.

Rays cut Delaney to create Moore space

Reliever Rob Delaney was the 40-man sacrifice so the Rays could add Matt Moore.

Delaney had a 1.86 ERA in 50 games at Durham this year, though he allowed 12 of 23 inherited runners to score. The right-hander, who turned 27 last week, made four appearances with the Rays.

Moore is first major leaguer from Hot Rods

Didn't realize this until the Bowling Green release landed in my in-box, but left-hander Matt Moore will be the first former Hot Rod to reach the major leagues.

Bowling Green began play in 2009 with Moore on its original roster. The Biscuits had a five-year head start and Moore will be No. 52 on that list. He's in line to be the sixth to debut this year and the first from the 2011 team.

Tampa Bay instructional league roster

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee is the only Biscuit among 54 players who reported today for Tampa Bay's fall instructional league. They'll play their first game next Monday.

One name of note is catcher Oscar Hernandez, who had a record-setting, most valuable player season in the Venezuelan Summer League. He hit .402 with 21 home runs and 66 RBIs in 69 games.

Here's the full roster, sorted by position and where the player was for most of the season. Hence, Lee is listed as Charlotte, though he finished in Montgomery.

Charlotte -- Albert Suarez, Jake Thompson
Bowling Green -- Wilking Rodriguez, Victor Mateo, Eliazer Suero
Hudson Valley -- Lenny Linsky, Parker Markel
Princeton -- Jeff Ames, Ian Kendall, Eduar Quinonez, Matt Swilley
GCL -- Jacob Faria, Isaac Gil, Roberto Gomez
Did not play -- Taylor Guerrieri

Bowling Green -- Braulio Lara, C.J. Riefenhauser, Enny Romero
Hudson Valley -- Ryan Carpenter
Princeton -- Kevin James, Felipe Rivero, Matt Spann
GCL -- Blake Snell
Did not play -- Grayson Garvin

Bowling Green -- Luke Bailey
Hudson Valley -- Matt Rice
Princeton -- Jake DePew, Justin O'Conner
DSL -- Jesus Araiza
VSL -- Oscar Hernandez

Charlotte -- Hak-Ju Lee
Bowling Green -- Derek Dietrich
Hudson Valley -- Jeff Malm, Juniel Querecuto
Princeton -- Ryan Brett, Jake Hager, Cameron Seitzer
GCL -- John Alexander, Johnny Eierman, Brandon Martin, Cesar Perez, Riccio Torrez
Did not play -- Tyler Goeddel

Bowling Green -- Todd Glaesmann, Kevin Kiermaier
Princeton -- DeShun Dixon, Josh Sale, Drew Vettleson
GCL -- James Harris
Did not play -- Mikey Mahtook

Bowling Green -- Hector Guevara
Hudson Valley -- Kes Carter
GCL -- Granden Goetzman
Did not play -- Matt Ramsey

Tampa Bay's players, sorted by draft year

We did this at the beginning of the season, so it seems natural to do it again at the end. Here's a breakdown of Tampa Bay's players by draft (or how they were acquired) and where they were before the Sept. 1 roster moves.

There were some calls to make. Outfielder Craige Lyerly had left Hudson Valley but had not been activated at Bowling Green, so he's listed as Hudson Valley here.

*--Player was on the disabled list just before the Sept. 1 roster moves. **--Pitcher Felix Fuentes is on Charlotte's restricted list. Pitcher Wilmer Almonte is on Hudson Valley's reserved list.

Charlotte --
IF Riccio Torrez (4th round pick)
Bowling Green -- P Lenny Linsky (2nd), IF Taylor Motter (17th)
Hudson Valley -- P Jake Floethe (6th), P Ryan Carpenter (7th), C Matt Rice (9th), P Andy Bass (18th), P Charlie Cononie (24th), P Brooks Belter (25th), IF Raymond Church (26th), IF Jonathan Koscso (29th), P Theron Geith (39th), P Stayton Thomas (43rd)
Princeton -- SS Jake Hager (1st), P Jeff Ames (supplemental first), IF Cameron Seitzer (11th), P Garret Smith (20th), IF Ryan Terry (21st), P Lucas Irvine (27th), P David Kubiak (36th), P Shay Crawford (41st)
GCL -- Brandon Martin (supplemental first), James Harris (supplemental first), Kes Carter (supplemental first), Blake Snell (supplemental first), Granden Goetzman (2nd), Johnny Eierman (3rd), John Alexander (8th), Jacob Faria (10th), Isaac Gil (31st), Ryan Turner (32nd), Daniel Bream (33rd), Zach Butler (34th), Brandon Choate (38th), Michael Bourdon (42nd), Ian Tomkins (50th)

Charlotte --
P Jake Thompson (2nd), P Merrill Kelly (8th), P C.J. Riefenhauser (20th), P Adam Liberatore (21st)
Bowling Green -- SS Derek Dietrich (2nd), IF Phil Wunderlich (12nd), IF Robby Price (13rd), P Austin Hubbard (14th), P Nate Garcia (16th), P Jimmy Patterson (18th), OF Nick Schwaner (30th), OF Kevin Kiermaier (31st), OF Steve Tinoco (34th), P Chris Rearick (41st), P George Jensen (46th)
Hudson Valley -- OF Craige Lyerly (19th), P Justin Woodall (26th), OF Chris Winder (27th), P Robert Dickmann (36th), P Parker Markel (39th), P Mickey Jannis (44th),
Princeton -- OF Josh Sale (1st), C Justin O'Conner (1st), OF Drew Vettleson (supplemental first), IF Ryan Brett (3rd), P Ian Kendall (5th), C Jake DePew (9th), OF Deshun Dixon (10th), P Brandon Henderson (15th), P Matt Spann (25th)
GCL -- Jesse Hahn (6th), Travis Flores (11th)

Montgomery --
P Zach Quate (14th), C David Wendt (50th)
Charlotte -- OF Brett Nommensen* (8th), P Alex Koronis (11th), 2B Tyler Bortnick (16th), P Scott Shuman (19th), OF Chris Murrill* (35th), P Matt Stabelfeld (41st)
Bowling Green -- OF Todd Glaesmann* (3rd), C Luke Bailey (4th), OF Cody Rogers* (7th)
Hudson Valley -- 1B Jeff Malm (5th), P Andrew Bellatti (12nd), P Jacob Partridge (18th)
Princeton -- P Kevin James (9th), P Matt Swilley (21st), P Marcus Jensen (30th)

Durham --
SS Tim Beckham (1st)
Montgomery -- P Kyle Lobstein (2nd), P Shane Dyer (6th), P Neil Schenk (23rd), P Marquis Fleming (24th)
Charlotte -- C Jake Jefferies (3rd), OF Ty Morrison (4th), IF Mike Sheridan (5th), OF Anthony Scelfo (8th), IF Matt Hall (10th), P Josh Satow (25th), P Mike Jarman (26th)
Bowling Green -- P Jason McEachern* (13rd)
Hudson Valley -- OF Brian Bryles (12nd), P Trevor Shull (19th)
GCL -- P Shawn Smith (9th)

Tampa Bay --
P David Price (1st)
Durham -- P Matt Moore (8th), C Stephen Vogt (12nd)
Montgomery -- P Nick Barnese (3rd), OF Emeel Salem* (6th), IF Greg Sexton (10th)
Charlotte -- OF Dustin Biell (5th), OF Reid Fronk (7th), P Joe Cruz (30th)

Tampa Bay --
3B Evan Longoria (1st), P Alex Cobb* (4th), OF Desmond Jennings (10th)
Durham -- C Nevin Ashley (6th), P Ryan Reid* (7th)
Montgomery -- IF Shawn O'Malley (5th), OF Kyeong Kang (15th)
Bowling Green -- IF Robi Estrada (19th), C Mark Thomas (22nd)

Tampa Bay --
P Jeremy Hellickson (4th)
Durham -- OF John Matulia (10th)
Montgomery -- IF Henry Wrigley (14th)

Tampa Bay --
P Jeff Niemann (1st), IF Reid Brignac (2nd), P Wade Davis (3rd), P Jake McGee (5th)
Durham -- P Andy Sonnanstine (13rd)

Tampa Bay --
C John Jaso (12nd)

Tampa Bay --
OF B.J. Upton (1st)

Tampa Bay --
P James Shields (16th)

Waiver claims
Tampa Bay --
C Jose Lobaton*
Durham -- P Jay Buente, P Rob Delaney, P Mike Ekstrom

Tampa Bay --
OF Sam Fuld, P Brandon Gomes, OF Matt Joyce, P J.P. Howell, IF/OF Sean Rodriguez, OF Justin Ruggiano*, C Kelly Shoppach, IF/OF Ben Zobrist
Durham -- P Chris Archer, C Robinson Chirinos, OF Brandon Guyer, P Adam Russell, P Alex Torres
Mongomery -- IF Cole Figueroa, SS Hak-Ju Lee, OF John Shelby III, IF Matt Sweeney, OF Isaias Velasquez

Rule 5 minor league draft
Durham --
P Richard De Los Santos*

Non-drafted free agents
Tampa Bay --
IF Elliot Johnson
Durham -- P Brian Baker
Montgomery -- C Craig Albernaz
Charlotte -- P Kirby Yates
Bowling Green -- C Keith Castillo, IF Julio Cedeno, P Steve Hiscock
Hudson Valley -- IF Tanner Biagini, C Kyle Holloway, P Dave Laufer, P Drew Leary

Free agents
Tampa Bay --
P Juan Cruz, OF Johnny Damon, P Kyle Farnsworth, IF Casey Kotchman, P Joel Peralta, P Cesar Ramos
Durham -- IF/OF Russ Canzler, P Dane De La Rosa, IF J.J. Furmaniak, IF Dan Johnson, IF Daniel Mayora, IF Ray Olmedo

Montgomery -- P Matt Bush, P Ricky Orta*, P Jim Paduch, P Paul Phillips
Charlotte -- IF Omar Luna, RHP Albert Suarez, C Alejandro Torres

International free agents
Durham --
OF Leslie Anderson
Montgomery -- Alex Colome, Frank De Los Santos, Sergio Espinosa
Charlotte -- P Chris Andujar*, P Felix Fuentes**, P Deivis Mavarez
Bowling Green -- C Mayo Acosta, IF Omar Bencomo, P Jairo De La Rosa*, IF Hector Guevara*, P Braulio Lara, P Victor Mateo, P Wilking Rodriguez, P Enny Romero, P Eliazer Suero
Hudson Valley -- P Wilmer Almonte**, P Roque Colon, P Roberto Gomez, OF Cesar Guillen, C Gerardo Olivares, SS Juniel Querecuto, 3B Leonardo Reginatto, C Alejandro Segovia
Princeton -- OF Joel Caminero, IF Felix Gonzalez, P Reinaldo Lopez, P Jose Molina, P Eduar Quinonez, P Felipe Rivero, C Junior Rodriguez, P Pedro Silvestre
GCL -- OF Ismel Antunez, OF Edward Dorville, P Hugo Duarte, P Eli Echarry, IF Darryl George, P Joan Guerrero, P Stepan Havlicek, IF Julian Morillo, C Omar Narvaez, IF Cesar Perez, OF Jonathan Quinonez, IF Hector Rodriguez, OF Ariel Soriano, P Bruidlin Suero

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moore takes big league call from Rays

Matt Moore, the left-handed pitcher who started a star-filled season with the Biscuits, will end it in the major leagues.

The Tampa Bay Rays are adding him to their 40-man roster, and Moore will join the team Monday in Baltimore, wear No. 55 and work out of the bullpen.

The 22-year-old, who led the entire minor leagues in strikeouts in each of the last two seasons, was a combined 12-3 with a 1.92 ERA between the Biscuits and Triple-A Durham this season. He ranked second in the entire minors with 210 strikeouts -- seven off the leader -- and was also second in ERA.

Moore was the Southern League pitcher of the year, despite being promoted to Durham on July 18, and threw the first no-hitter in Biscuits history at Mobile on June 16. Tampa Bay will have to make another move to add Moore to the 40-man roster.

The move is a sign that Tampa Bay feels it is in good position for a playoff berth. After finishing a sweep of Boston today, the Rays are 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the AL wild card.

Normally, the Rays don't add top prospects this late because they accrue service time that affects their arbitration eligibility. They did it in 2008 with David Price and reached the World Series.

Rookies leave much to be desired on dress-up day

Well, it was the annual rookie dress-up day at Tropicana Field today. Click here to see the picture. I have one question and one comment.

Question: Is Jeremy Hellickson making it easier for everyone to admire his new, umm, attributes? He's fifth from the left, between the two lime-green outfits.

Comment: I sure wish I could see more of Desmond Jennings. He's behind the two Potato Heads.

Jai Miller back in major leagues with A's

Selma High grad Jai Miller has been promoted to the major leagues by the Oakland A's, though Miller's Triple-A Sacramento team is still in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Sacramento is play a decisive Game 5 of its semifinal series this afternoon.

Miller hit .276 with 32 home runs for Sacramento in the regular season. The 26-year-old played 20 games for the Kansas City Royals last year and one for the Florida Marlins in 2008.

UPDATE: Miller was 0-for-4 in his Oakland debut Sunday, an 8-1 loss at Texas.

Ekstrom out to create 40-man room for Canzler

To make 40-man roster space for Russ Canzler, the Rays designated reliever Mike Ekstrom for assignment.

It's the second time they've DFA'd Ekstrom this year. He moved off the 40-man at the end of spring training after Evan Longoria was hurt and Tampa Bay needed space for infielder Ray Olmedo.

Ekstrom moved back on the 40-man in late July when the Rays made seemingly daily moves between the majors and Triple-A Durham. He made one appearance, July 31 at Seattle.

Wetumpka, Tallassee beat major leaguer this spring

The Wetumpka and Tallassee baseball teams picked up victories this spring with a major leaguer in the other dugout.

Mariners reliever Steve Delabar was a coach for the John Hardin High (Ky.) Bulldogs before trying out for Seattle. The Seattle Times details Delabar's trek from a high school coach this spring to the major leagues this month.

The story mentions a 7 1/2-hour bus ride "to a tournament in Alabama" on which Delabar was working out tryout details with the Mariners. That tournament was in Wetumpka, where John Hardin lost 7-4 to Wetumpka on April 2 and 15-14 to Tallassee on April 4.

Delabar, 28, started the season at high-Class A before promotions to Double-A Jackson, Triple-A Tacoma and, just last week, to the majors. (He pitched at Riverwalk on June 25, recording two outs with a hit and two walks.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Canzler rewarded for IL MVP season

International League MVP Russ Canzler, after Durham's season ended Friday, is being promoted to the Rays.

Tampa Bay is also bringing up reliever Dane De La Rosa for his second stint with the team. Canzler has to be added to the 40-man roster. Corresponding move coming Sunday.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hot Rods swept by Fort Wayne

Mark Hardy tossed eight shutout innings for Fort Wayne in a 5-1 win over Bowling Green that ended the Hot Rods' season.

Hardy gave up four singles, walked none and struck out seven to finish a two-game sweep by the Tin Caps in the Midwest League series.

Clippers finish sweep of Durham

Nick Johnson doubled twice and had two RBIs as the Columbus Clippers beat Durham 5-2 on Friday and ended the Bulls' season.

Columbus finished a three-game sweep of the International League playoff series.

Stephen Vogt had three hits and Robinson Chirinos doubled twice for Durham.

Blue Jays, Rangers have most in minor league playoffs

The Blue Jays and Rangers tied for having the most minor league affiliates reach the postseason. Each had five teams make the playoffs in the 16 U.S.-based leagues.

The Rangers had their top four teams go, while the Blue Jays had their Double-A team and both full-season Class A's. The Rays had two: Triple-A Durham and low-Class A Bowling Green.

5: Blue Jays, Rangers
4: A's, Dodgers, Giants, Padres
3: Angels, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Mets, Nationals, Royals
2: Cardinals, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, White Sox, Yankees
1: Braves, Mariners, Red Sox, Twins
0: Astros, Brewers, Tigers

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Hot Rods fall in playoff opener

Matt Jackson surrendered an unearned run over six innings to help the Fort Wayne Tincaps beat the Bowling Green Hot Rods 6-3 on Thursday.

Fort Wayne took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 Midwest League playoff series with Game 2 Friday at Bowling Green.

Phil Wunderlich was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored for the Hot Rods. Starter George Jensen gave up three runs in five innings, including a home run to Mike Gallic in the fourth.

Talbot, Clippers take 2-0 lead on Bulls

Mitch Talbot, a postseason star for the Biscuits in 2006, threw seven solid innings for the Columbus Clippers in an 8-3 playoff win over the Durham Bulls on Thursday.

Talbot gave up two runs on seven hits as the Clippers took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 International League series. Game 3 is Friday at Columbus.

Durham's Chris Archer totaled 11 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks.

Dan Johnson had two RBIs and Matt Carson scored twice for the Bulls. Carson singled, doubled, walked and recorded an outfield assist.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Bulls lose playoff opener

Zach McAllister worked six innings to lead the Columbus Clippers in a 3-0 over the Durham Bulls in Wednesday's opener of their International League playoff series.

Matt Moore gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings for Durham, which managed just five hits. Ray Olmedo had two singles, while Stephen Vogt doubled and walked.

Olmedo's bunt single in the fifth gave Durham its final baserunner.

Columbus reliever Chen Lee worked a perfect seventh and eighth. Zach Putnam tossed a perfect ninth.

Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is Thursday at Durham.

Hot Rods' opener postponed; playoff schedule changed

Weather interrupted Bowling Green's playoff opener tonight at Fort Wayne. The postponement forces a change in the schedule for the best-of-3 Midwest League playoff series. The teams will play the opener Thursday at Fort Wayne. Game 2 will be at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Bowling Green with Game 3, if necessary, on Saturday at Bowling Green.

Trout outruns Moore for Baseball America award

Outfielder Mike Trout won Baseball America's minor league player of the year award, nudging out former Biscuits pitcher Matt Moore.

Trout spent most of the season with Double-A Arkansas in the Los Angeles Angels' organization. He hit .326 and scored 82 runs in 91 games. He had 42 extra-base hits and 38 RBIs.

Moore was among those highly considered for the award, which went to Jeremy Hellickson last year.

By the way, Moore is the first pitcher on record (since 1988) to record 200 strikeouts in consecutive seasons, according to MLB Advanced Media. He totaled 210 (131 with Montgomery and 79 with Durham).

Moore did fail at one thing this year. After winning the minor league strikeout title the last two years, he came in at a mere-mortal second this season. Class A Modesto's Edwar Cabrera had 217.

Durham Bull-ish on final month's BCS/RPI list

Durham sported the top position player and pitcher in the August/September BCS/RPI standings.

Infielder/outfielder Russ Canzler (top left) and little-known left-hander Matt Moore (top right) scored 17 points each, barely nosing out Charlotte second baseman Tyler Bortnick (bottom left) and Durham right-hander Matt Torra (bottom right). They each had 16 points in the Biscuit Crumbs Standings/Rays Performance Indicator standings.

Canzler, this year's International League MVP, had seven finishes in the daily top five, including one first place. His fifth-place spot for Sunday's play -- the final day of the season for the daily rankings -- pulled him into the tie. Moore was in the daily list five times with two first places.

17 points -- Russ Canzler, Matt Moore
16 -- Tyler Bortnick, Matt Torra
15 -- Cody Rogers, Enny Romero, Jake Thompson
14 -- Chris Rearick

13 -- Tim Beckham, Dan Johnson, Shawn O'Malley
12 -- Brandon Guyer, Craige Lyerly

April: 1. Derek Dietrich 15 points, 2. Greg Sexton 14, 3. Hak-Ju Lee 13.
May: 1. Robby Price 25, 2. Matt Moore 20, 3. Alex Cobb 17.
June: 1. Tyler Bortnick 24, 2. Cody Rogers 21, 3. Desmond Jennings 16.
July: 1. Drew Vettleson 21, 2. Matt Moore 16, 3. Jeff Malm 14.

Biscuits limp in at fourth in league attendance

The Biscuits finished a franchise-worst fourth in the Southern League attendance race this year. Their 257,268 averaged out to 3,783, which was behind Jacksonville (4,419), Tennessee (3,960) and Birmingham (3,847).

After the Biscuits, there was lame duck Carolina (3,699), Chattanooga (3,409), Mobile (3,057), Mississippi (2,738), Jackson (1,641) and Huntsville (1,582).

By the way, Minor League Baseball's number doesn't match the Biscuits' announced attendance, which is what is listed above. The differences ...
April 10: 2,236 announced that night; 2,326 recorded by MiLB.
June 4: 5,515 announced; 5,561 recorded.
June 7: 2,119 announced; 1,119 recorded. (1,119 would be the smallest crowd in team history by more than 300.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Wetumpka's Golden shines in Northwest

Wetumpka's Reggie Golden of the Boise Hawks was the Northwest League's top hitter for the season's final week.

Golden was 9-for-23 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last six games. He finished with a .242 average, seven homers and 39 RBIs in 64 games.

His surge helped Boise reach the playoffs. The Hawks lost the best-of-3 series opener Monday and play Tri-Cities tonight.

Chattanooga slugger best in league's week

Chattanooga's Brian Cavazos-Galvez, after a four-game feast on the Biscuits, won the Southern League's hitter of the week award today. Jackson's James Gillheeny was the pitching winner.

Cavazos-Galvez had 12 RBIs in his last five games of the season, with nine -- and three home runs -- vs. Montgomery. Gilheeney tossed seven no-hit innings Saturday in a win at Jacksonville.

Lookout league's top hitter; Star best in ERA

Chattanooga's Scott Van Slyke was the Southern League batting champion and Huntsville right-hander Wily Peralta the ERA titlist this year.

Van Slyke rolled at a .348 clip this year with 20 home runs and 92 RBIs. League MVP Paul Goldschmidt, promoted from Mobile to the majors Aug. 1, finished fifth in average (.306), tied for first in homers (30) and second in RBIs (94).

Peralta was 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA, which is the highest for a Southern League leader in 14 years. In 1997, Birmingham's Russ Herbert won with a 3.63, the highest winning number in recorded SL history. Peralta is Huntsville's first ERA champ. Biscuits left-hander Matt Moore had a 2.20 ERA, but he didn't have enough innings to qualify for the league crown.

Also of note, Chattanooga's Alfredo Silverio hit 18 triples, which was just one shy of the league record set in 1977 by Alan Trammell of the Montgomery Rebels.

Biscuits right-hander Shane Dyer tied for the league lead with 28 starts and led with 191 hits allowed. Chris Archer totaled a league-high 18 wild pitches.

Southern League semifinal playoff schedule

Of the four teams in the Southern League playoffs, the Chattanooga Lookouts have the longest championship drought. Chattanooga last won a title in 1988.

Birmingham last won in 2002. Mobile and Tennessee shared the championship in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan nixed the final series. Mobile's last outright title was 1998 and Tennessee's in 1978 as the Knoxville Sox.

The semifinal playoff series schedule ...
South Division
Mobile vs. Birmingham

Thursday: at Birmingham, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: at Birmingham, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: at Mobile, 2:05 p.m., if necessary
Monday: at Mobile, 7:05 p.m., if necessary

North Division
Tennessee vs. Chattanooga

Thursday: at Tennessee, 6:15 p.m. CDT
Friday: at Tennessee, 6:15 p.m.
Saturday: at Chattanooga, 6:15 p.m.
Sunday: at Chattanooga, TBA, if necessary
Monday: at Chattanooga, TBA, if necessary

Monday, September 05, 2011

Monday's Rays roundup

Norfolk 8, Bulls 5
Stephen Vogt
was 4-for-5 with a solo home run, double, two singles and two runs scored. Dan Johnson singled twice and walked. Brian Baker gave up six runs in the first inning and eight over five.

Stone Crabs
Season ended Sunday. Finished 64-75 overall.

Lake County 4, Hot Rods 1
Robby Price
singled, walked twice and scored. Wilking Rodriguez gave up an earned run in four innings. Steve Hiscock faced the minimum for two innings and Jimmy Patterson one. (Hiscock allowed a hit.) Chris Rearick, in an inning newsworthy because it was so rare this season, gave up two runs on three hits and a walk.

Season ended Sunday. Finished 37-39 overall.

3 Biscuits to join Bulls for playoffs

Two pitchers and one position player received postseason promotions from the Biscuits and will be with the Durham Bulls for the Triple-A International League playoffs.

Starter Jim Paduch, reliever Matt Bush and infielder Cole Figueroa are headed to the Bulls, though it's not known which of them (if any) will be on Durham's active roster.

Paduch made one start for Durham this season and threw seven innings for the win in an 18-3 victory at Rochester on July 21. Bush and Figueroa were with the Biscuits all year.

Playoffs start Wednesday for Bulls, Hot Rods

The Biscuits are heading for home after today's rainout at Chattanooga, but two of their brethren in the Tampa Bay organization have playoffs awaiting them.

Durham vs. Columbus (best-of-5)
Wednesday: at Durham, 6:05 p.m. CDT
Thursday: at Durham, 6:05 p.m. CDT
Friday: at Columbus, 6:05 p.m. CDT
Saturday: at Columbus, 6:05 p.m. CDT, if necessary
Sunday: at Columbus, 4:05 p.m. CDT, if necessary

Bowling Green vs. Fort Wayne* (best-of-3)
Wednesday: at Fort Wayne, 6:05 p.m. CDT
Thursday: at Bowling Green, 6:35 p.m. CDT
Friday: at Bowling Green, 7:05 p.m. CDT, if necessary
*--Fort Wayne beat West Michigan 7-2 today to clinch a playoff berth. Fort Wayne and Lansing tied in the second half, but Lansing was already in the playoffs due to its first-half success. Fort Wayne and West Michigan play today and the winner gets in.

Rain cancels season finale

Rainy weather claimed Montgomery's season finale today at Chattanooga and the Biscuits finish with a 65-74 overall record.

Ranking the Rays ... Thompson, Segovia, Torra

For Sunday ...
1. Jake Thompson, CHA: 5 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 5 K's
2. Alejandro Segovia, HV: 2 1b's, 2 walks, run
3. Matt Torra, DUR: 7 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 6 K's
4. Enny Romero, BWG: 5 shutout innings, 2 hits, 4 walks, 5 K's
5. Russ Canzler, DUR: 2-run 3b, 2 1b's

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday: Lookouts 10, Biscuits 5

Brian Cavazos-Galvez homered twice and had five RBIs in the Chattanooga Lookouts 10-5 win over the Biscuits on Sunday. He hit a three-run homer in the sixth and a two-run blast in the seventh.

Henry Wrigley had two RBIs and Cole Figueroa scored twice for Montgomery, which has lost six straight. The Biscuits can tie a franchise record (July 19-27, 2009) with a loss in Monday's season finale.

Sunday's Rays roundup

Bulls 3, Norfolk 2
Russ Canzler
was 3-for-4 with a go-ahead two-out, two-run triple in the seventh inning. Matt Torra tossed seven innings of four-hit, two-run ball. Dane De La Rosa finished with two shutout innings.

Bradenton 4, Stone Crabs 3 (10)
Tyler Bortnick
hit a solo home run and an RBI single, plus an error. Omar Luna was 3-for-5 with a run scored and a steal. Jake Thompson worked five innings with four hits allowed and one run. Albert Suarez, on in relief, went four innings and allowed two runs, including a tying one in the ninth. Matt Stabelfeld gave up an unearned run in the 10th.

Lake County 3, Hot Rods 2 (10)
Robby Price
singled twice, walked and scored. Derek Dietrich hit a two-run double in the fifth. Enny Romero threw five shutout innings, with two hits and four walks. Austin Hubbard gave up a tying run in the ninth and a game-ending run in the 10th.

Renegades 3, Aberdeen 2
Alejandro Segovia
singled twice, walked twice and scored. Brian Bryles singled, tripled, walked, stole and scored. Leonardo Reginatto singled home Matt Rice in the eighth with the go-ahead run.

Ranking the Rays ... Sheridan, Partridge, Scelfo

For Saturday ...
1. Mike Sheridan, CHA: 1b, 2b, walk, run, 4 RBIs
2. Jacob Partridge, HV: 6 shutout innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, 5 K's
3. Anthony Scelfo, CHA: 1b, 2b, walk, steal, run
4. Cole Figueroa, MGM: 1b, 2b, 3b, run
5. Alex Torres, DUR: 5 2/3 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 K's

Saturday's Rays roundup

Norfolk 7, Bulls 6 (10)
Matt Carson
hit a three-run home run, singled and scored twice. Alex Torres gave up one run over 5 2/3 innings. The Bulls led 6-1 going to the ninth. Jay Buente recorded an out and allowed four runs. Rob Delaney went 1 1/3 and gave up two.

Bradenton 10, Stone Crabs 9
Mike Sheridan
singled, doubled, walked, scored and had four RBIs. Anthony Scelfo singled, doubled, walked, stole and scored. Tyler Bortnick singled twice and stole. Joe Cruz went just two innings, allowing six runs.

Lake County 4, Hot Rods 3
Robby Price
singled and walked twice. Derek Dietrich hit his 22nd home run. Chris Rearick gave up two hits in a shutout inning.

Aberdeen 1, Renegades 0
Jacob Partridge
tossed six shutout innings with four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Cesar Guillen singled and walked.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Saturday: Lookouts 3, Biscuits 2

Chris Withrow gave up one hit and one run over six innings in the Chattanooga Lookouts' 3-2 win over the Biscuits on Saturday. He walked three and struck out seven.

Montgomery totaled four hits, including two in the ninth. The Biscuits had the potential tying run on base with one out.

Ranking the Rays ... Carpenter, Wunderlich, Bortnick

For Friday ...
1. Ryan Carpenter, HV: 4 shutout innings, 1 hit, walk, 4 K's
2. Phil Wunderlich, BWG: solo HR, 2 2b's, 1b, 2 RBIs
3. Tyler Bortnick, CHA: 3b, 2b, 1b, steal, 4 RBIs in DH
4. Matt Moore, DUR: 6 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 K's
5. Charlie Cononie, HV: 3 shutout innings, 1 hit, 2 walks, HBP, 5 K's

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday: Lookouts 8, Biscuits 2

Travis Denker was 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the Chattanooga Lookouts' 8-2 win over the Biscuits on Friday. Brian Cavazos-Galvez hit a three-run homer in the second inning to put Chattanooga ahead. Greg Sexton walked twice and scored for Montgomery, which totaled five singles.

Friday's Rays roundup

Bulls 4, Norfolk 1
Matt Moore
gave up one run over six innings and struck out 10 as Durham clinched a fifth straight division championship. Moore (4-0) allowed four hits and walked three. Dan Johnson hit a two-run home run and singled. Matt Carson walked twice and singled.

Bradenton 5, Stone Crabs 4 (completion of Thursday suspension)
Riccio Torrez
hit a solo homer and had two RBIs. Reid Fronk singled and walked twice. Kirby Yates struck out four over two shutout innings.

Bradenton 7, Stone Crabs 6 (Game 2)
Ty Morrison
doubled, walked twice and scored thrice. Tyler Bortnick doubled, tripled, stole and had three RBIs. Mike Sheridan also knocked in three runs.

Dayton 11, Hot Rods 5
Phil Wunderlich
was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a solo home run and two RBIs. Robby Price singled, hit a two-run homer and scored twice. Robi Estrada singled, doubled and scored twice.

Renegades 3, Aberdeen 0 (Game 1)
Ryan Carpenter
and Charlie Cononie combined on a seven-inning two-hitter. Carpenter gave up one hit in four innings with a walk and four strikeouts. Cononie (1-1) walked two, plunked one and whiffed five. Juniel Querecuto and Matt Rice each singled and walked.

Renegades 5, Aberdeen 4 (Game 2)
Kyle Holloway
doubled, RBI'd and scored. Stayton Thomas (3-0) threw 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Starter Robert Dickmann went 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, though just one earned.