Chris Rusin; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Monday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats extended their season-high winning streak to 11 games with a 4-3 victory in 12 innings over Columbus. Rehabbing Cincinnati Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson was 3-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored for the Bats.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored six runs in the fourth inning but still lost 9-6 to South Bend. Third baseman Julio Cedeno tallied three hits and shortstop Kyle Spraker slugged his third home run of the season.
- The Lexington Legends outhit Hagerstown 12-7 but still suffered an 8-5 loss to the Suns. Designated hitter Kody Hinze was 3-4 with a home run, two RBI and one run scored.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere had to leave his game for AA New Britain after being hit in the face by a pitch.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin took the loss in his debut with AA Tennessee despite surrendering just one unearned run in five innings. Rusin struck out four and walked three.
- Danville native and 2010 Tigers draftee Patrick Cooper took a no decision for low A West Michigan after surrendering two runs in eight hits in five innings.
- Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill was 3-5 with a double and RBI for AA Mobile.
- Former UK first baseman/outfielder Lance Ray was 2-3 with his third home run of the season, three RBI and two runs scored for low A Beloit.
- Former UofL infielder Chris Dominguez sent low A Augusta to victory with a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 15th inning.
- Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer was 2-3 with his seventh home run of the season, one RBI and two runs scored for high A High Desert.
- One game after snapping his 14-game hitting streak, former Morehead St. shortstop and 2010 White Sox draftee Drew Lee was 3-3 with a walk, double, RBI and run scored for rookie-level Bristol.
Seth Bynum; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Highlights from a short schedule Tuesday Kentucky MiLB action as many teams had the day off:
- The Louisville Bats pounded out 22 hits and scored 19 runs in a 19-6 blowout win over Charlotte. Four bats homered, four recorded at least three hits and first baseman Yonder Alonso was 4-6 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.
- Rehabbing Reds center fielder Chris Dickerson, outfielder Wladimir Balentien, designated hitter Daniel Dorn and second baseman Chris Valaika each homered for Louisville. Shortstop Zach Cozart, left fielder Todd Frazier and Balentien each tallied three hits in the game.
- After being shutout in back to back games, the Lexington Legends offense exploded for 13 runs in a 13-6 win over Savannah. Right fielder Jacob Goebbert was 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods were off Tuesday.
- Former WKU infielder and 2010 Phillies draftee Matthew Payton was 2-4 with a walk, three runs scored and one RBI for the rookie-level GCL Phillies.
- Former NKU right-handed pitcher Nathan Jones took the loss for high A Winston-Salem despite surrendering just one run in six innings.
- Louisville native Seth Bynum homered for the second consecutive game for AAA Syracuse.
Chris Rusin; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Thursday Kentucky MiLB action:
- The Louisville Bats slugged four home runs en route to an 11-7 win over Charlotte. First baseman Yonder Alonso, designated hitter Juan Francisco, outfielder Chris Dickerson and outfielder Wladimir Balentein each homered for the Bats.
- Lexington Legends closer Kirk Clark set the new Legends career and single-season saves record with his 22nd save in a 3-2 win over Rome. Right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero earned the win after surrendering two runs in six innings.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods couldn’t over come and early 5-1 deficit after two innings in a 8-7 loss to Quad Cities. First baseman Ryan Wiegand and right fielder Gabe Cohen each homered for the Hot Rods.
- Former UK left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin earned his fourth win of the season for high A Daytona after surrendering three runs in six innings. Rusin struck out six and walked none.
- Former UK right-handed pitcher Zach Dials was promoted to AA Harrisburg where he surrendered one run in two-thirds of an inning in his debut.
- Former UofL right-handed pitcher and 2010 Nationals draftee Neil Holland earned his second win of the season with three scoreless innings for short-season Vermont.
- Former UofL infielder and 2010 Rays draftee Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with two doubles and a run scored for short-season Hudson Valley.
- Former WKU outfielder Chad Cregar was 2-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored for low A Greensboro.
- Former NKU outfielder Jake Shaffer homered for the second consecutive game and drove in three runs for high A High Desert.
- Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere scored three times, tallied two hits and stole a base for AA New Britain.
- London native Jon Townsend slugged his fifth home run of the season, drove in two runs and scored twice for high A Rancho Cucamonga.
- Lexington native Josh Ellis picked up his second win of the season after two scoreless innings of relief for AA Mobile.
Chris Burke; Photo by grovesa16 via Flickr
Earlier this month I posted a Spring Training position battle primer for Kentucky fans looking to keep track of their native sons hoping to make MLB rosters. These were the borderline major leaguers and players assured of making the roster but fighting for a bigger role, not established players. With one week left before Opening Day I thought I’d update each battle so you have a better idea of where the official Kentuckians in the majors count will stand in 2010. A special kudos goes to PLD alum and Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis who appears ready to start the season with the big league club after starting catcher Russell Martin suffered a groin injury.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is all but eliminated in the three-way closer race that will go to righties Jason Fraser or Kevin Gregg. Downs recently commented to a Toronto newspaper he prefers pitching in the eighth inning anyway.
San Francisco Giants: Fifth starter
- Louisville-native and Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer has all but wrapped up the fifth starter position after star prospect Madison Bumgarner was sent to AAA this week. Wellemeyer is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA this spring.
Cleveland Indians: Left fielder
- Lexington-native Austin Kearns has likely lost the starting job to top prospects Michael Brantley and Matt Laporta, but should still stick with the Indians as a reserve. The team is very left-handed, so Kearns’ right-handed bat is needed for balance.
Seattle Mariners: Relief pitcher
- Louisville-native Shawn Kelley appears destined to make the team per this MLB.com blog post, but hasn’t had a great spring. Kelley has given up eight runs in 12 innings, but does have 14 strikeouts compared to just one walk.
New York Mets: Relief pitcher
- No one in the Mets bullpen has really stepped up this Spring so Louisville Male alum Sean Green remains firmly in the mix for an Opening Day spot despite a 6.75 ERA and eight walks compared to four strikeouts this spring.
Cincinnati Reds: Utility reserve
- Despite an early camp injury, non-roster invitee and St X alum Chris Burke is still hanging on to a big league Spring Training spot. Burke is batting just .188 in eight games, so he’ll have to sell the Reds on his defensive versatility to avoid spending 2010 in his hometown with the Bats. 2009 Louisville Bat Drew Sutton is still in the mix.
- Candidates: Burke, Sutton, Aaron Miles, Paul Janish
Hit the jump for the concluded competitions.
Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Spring Training games are officially underway, making today an excellent chance to examine what BluGrass Baseball players are battling for specific roles on major league squads and roster spots. I’ve outlined relevant battles I can think of below, but feel free to include any you would add in the comments section.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is in a three-way battle for the Blue Jays closer position. Toronto manager Cito Gaston has said he might use a closer-by-committee approach if none of the three candidates step up. Downs saved nine games in 13 opportunities last season.
- Other candidates: Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg
St. Louis Cardinals: Fifth Starter
- 2009 Louisville Bats starting pitcher Ben Jukich is in Cardinals camp as the team’s Rule 5 pick. Jukich must be on the 25-man roster all season for the Cardinals to avoid giving him back to the Reds, so he may be given added chance to make the team out of camp. If he doesn’t earn a starting spot he could be considered for a left-handed reliever spot.
- Other candidates: Rich Hill, Mitchell Boggs, Kyle McClellan
Los Angles Dodgers: Right-handed reliever
- Kentucky Wesleyan alum Cory Wade is looking to regain his spot in the Dodgers bullpen one year after shoulder pain led him back to AAA. Wade is in an open competition for a right-handed setup role after Ronald Belisario’s visa trouble getting into the country, but he would probably take a spot in middle relief if it means leaving the minors.
- Other Candidates: Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Charlie Haeger
Hit the jump to see more spring position battles.
Lexington Legends vs. Asheville Tourists
- The Legends will send top prospect Ross Seaton to the mound for the opener of the homestand tonight against Asheville. Seaton is 8-8 with a 2.67 ERA on the season. The right-handed pitcher has 69 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched. Seaton’s 2.67 ERA is fourth best in the South Atlantic League.
- Outfielder Brian Pellegrini leads the Legends offensive attack against Asheville. In five games against the Tourists this season, Pellegrini is 8-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBI. Kyle Greenwalt, Patrick Urckfitz and Robert Bono have Lexington’s three wins against Asheville.
- Lexington will have to watch out for Asheville shortstop Thomas Field. Field is 6-17 (.353) with three RBI in five games against the Legends this season. Parker Frazier, Dan Houston and Juan Nicasio each have a win for Asheville against the Legends.
- Asheville will send Houston to the mound tonight against the Legends. Houston is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA against Lexington this season and is 5-8 with a 3.95 ERA for the season. Dan has 92 strikeouts in 109.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .269 batting average.
Lexington Legends @ Greenville Drive
- The Legends send right-handed starting pitcher Robert Bono to the mound tonight against the Drive. Bono has been the forgotten man in the Legends rotation behind more highly touted pitchers Ross Seaton, Jordan Lyles and Brad Dydalewicz, but Robert has impressed on the mound with a 8-7 record and 2.94 ERA. Bono has two complete games on the season, but has lost each of his last three decisions. Robert’s last win came on Independence Day.
- Second baseman Albert Cartwright extended his hitting streak to five games with a 1-4 performance Thursday. Cartwright is 9-20 (.450) with two doubles and two RBI during the streak. On the season Albert is batting .229 with five home runs and 26 RBI. After batting .328 in 20 games in April, Cartwright’s monthly batting average was below .200 in both month that he played regularly.
- Outfielder Steve Brown was the offensive star Thursday with a triple and home run. Brown is batting .244 with four home runs and 31 RBI on the season. 2009 is Steve’s second stint in Lexington after he spent the entire 2008 season with the Legends. Brown is batting .368 with one home run and five RBI in six games in August.
- Greenville will send Brock Huntzinger to the mound tonight against the Legends. Huntzinger is 7-8 with a 4.17 ERA on the season. Brock has won each of his last two starts and has recorded a decision in each of his last 11 starts. Huntzinger is 2-5 with a 5.35 ERA in the second half of the season.