Saturday, March 26, 2005

Send Down Saturday

Is it still considered a Red Sox rally when the home team falls apart?

Coach Milt Cuyler calls me his good luck charm. Today, he had a friend down from St. cloud -- she was in town to watch her son play baseball at a tournament at Terry Park -- so he had two good luck charms.

How could we lose? We didn't. But we ended up settling for a 4-4 tie.

Actually, the GCL Rookies got off to a really good start. Jeff Hawes was one of the send downs yesterday so he took the start today for the Twins. He allowed 2 hits, one walk and two strike outs in three innings of work. In fact he struck out both of the first two batters he faced. One of the hits turned into a triple though. Should have been a put out but the winds were again making things difficult in the outfield. I do however need to state that our starting outfield of Richard Sojo, Mark Robinson, and Larry Jones did an excellent job out there, despite adverse conditions.

Meanwhile, on the batting side, short stop William Luque walked to start the game.

Stop right there. I have to rave about William Luque. Not as a short stop but on the basepaths. This kid was just TREMENDOUS once he got on base. He's got to be Paul Molitor's prized pupil. The kid get's walked to first. Then, with Odannys Valdez up to bat, he steals second. Just sweet and clean, it was so fast the opposing catcher never even got the throw off. Scott Lucas, a 1st baseman who is with the team on a try out agreement, singled and by this time, Luque was on third. I could just imagine him stealing home, but former Gulf Coast University stand out Chris Brown doubled both of them in for a 2-0 lead.

Greg Najac, who was also a victim of "send down Saturday", lined out and then outfielder Richard Sojo struck out to end the first. I think it was Sojo who failed to snag the put out in the first that resulted in Hawes getting charged with a triple, but...

Travis Kalin hit a single in the second, but went nowhere on it. Which brought us back to the top of the order for the third.

Evidently Ramos Linares was not paying attention to Cooper Eddy's first ining, as he walked Luque. Valdez was taken out at first, so I suppose we could say Luque reached second on a fielder's choice. Then Lucas got a nice solid line drive, a single for him, but Luque was over the plate on that one. Good kid, pleasure to watch. Hope we get to see a lot more of Luque.

Brown walked, but Lucas was caught off base at second and tagged out. Najac lined out to end the inning.

Kyle Eldich took over the mound for the fourth and fifth and turned in a really good performance. He only faced six batters and struck out one. He walked T. Bawden, but caught him off base while Dee Williams was at bat, ending the fifth inning. Nice defensive work on that one.

The fourth for the Twins over over quickly. Jones walked to start the fifth but Robinson struck out. While Luque singled to advance Jones, he would later be caught off base, trying to steal again, while Valdez was at bat. Valdez then did his best to keep the inning alive, but couldn't quite get to first before the ball did.

Alex Garcia came out to pitch for the Twins in the sixth and seventh. He would ultimate face 10 batters, allowing four hits, including a double which the outfield failed to catch, struck out one, and hit Torres (Sorry, I don't have first names on most of the Red Sox guys) in the sixth. I should note on the double that we had changed over the outfield by that point, putting in Simon Fletcher and Ricky Prady in for Robinson and Sojo.

Leonard found is way home on a sac-fly to Bawden in the seventh, putting the hated Red Sox on the board.

Lucas walked to start the sixth for the Twins, but was taken out at second as Najac reached first on a fielder's choice. Dean hit a long single, putting Najac on third. Prady struck out, but Najac was able to come home on Joe Arabella's bat to give us four. We'd need four.

In the seventh, catcher Kris Lankford walked to start and Jones singled, Fletch flew out, but Juan Delgado would reach on a fielder's choice, as they took Lankford out. Wesley Conner struck out to end the inning.

Jose Castillo came out on the mound for the Twins in the eighth. E. Linsres singled to start the inning, but Castillo induced Pritz to hit into a double play. Mareno would double though for the Sox as the outfielders failed to make the put out. Torres hit a high pop up at the plate and rookie catcher Kris Lankford made an absolutely great catch behind the plate to take him out on the foul. This catch was only second to Ricky Prady's put out in the sixth, when he ran straight into the fence, but still managed to hang on to the ball to foul Williams out.

Lucas, Dean, and Prady all hit in the eigth, but both Dean and Prady reached on fielder's choices as first one, than the other was taken out. Najac's strike out would provide the second out for the Twins, before the Sox caught Prady at second on Joe Abellera's at bat to end the inning.

Jeff Shoenbachler took over for the ninth but this is when the outfield fell apart. Two balls that should have been put outs turned into a double and a triple, and Arambarris and Bawden singled for the Sox. In the end, Shoey gave up three runs, all earned, to tie the game at four.

The Twins declined to bat in the ninth, settling for the tie, as the game was running longer than either of the Single A games.

While the Twins ran through most of their roster in batting, the Sox brought only a limited number of players. It will be a similar situation tomorrow at the Rex Sox facility as the as Twins teams will have a limited roster and Red Sox will have more of their players bat.

* I told Najac I didn't want to see him back in Gulf Coast. Nothing personal. He laughed and said he was going to Elizabethton.

* Pitcher Joe Gault was working as the second referee for the game, as we only got one. They do actually give us two during regular season. Luke Thwaites served as ball boy. Need I say, these were two of the pitchers I really wanted to see and the pitched yesterday while I was watching Beloit get slaughtered. Grumble.

* Today turned out to be probably the hottest day we've seen so far this season, with even a touch of hummidity. Of course, this was NOTHING compared to what we go through in July and August. That's why it always amazes me that some of these kids repeat the Gulf Coast League level. If you've been through hell once, why would you EVER want to repeat it?

* Okay, the big news as "Send Down Saturday". Nick Blackburn dropped from Rochester to Fort Myers. I like Blackie, I won't mind having him back. Both Millers, Jason and Colby, joined the AA team as did Justin Olsen and catcher Jose Morales. Of interest, Levale Speigner remains with the AAA group. Danny Matienzo, Jake Mauer, Matt Scanlon and James Tomlin all found themselves on the AA roster as well.

Catcher Kyle Geiger, third baseman Omar Burgos, and outfielder Scott Whitrock all joined the Fort Myers group as did pitchers Josh Gray, Adam Harben, Glen Perkins, Jay Sawatski, and Errol Simonitsch. Nick Webb was cut from camp.

Pitchers Robbie Hebert, J.P. Martinz, Even Meek, and Alex Smit were all send down to Beloit. Johnny Lynch was cut, Justin Jones and Billy Mauer were added to the DL as were Matt Fox and Frank Mata who had been with the Beloit work group.

Interestingly enough, only catcher Korey Feiner and outfielder Burt Landon were dropped from the High A fielding roster. Ramiro Chamizo, who is in camp as a try out was moved from outfielder to 3rd base at the High A level, however.

I covered a few of the low A send downs in the main body of the story, but I'll be updating the Spring Training Roster shortly for those that are interesed.

Evidently pitchers Armano Garino and Ryan Gehring were also cut from Minor League Camp.

* I did give Geiger a hard time about being sent down but also noted we were happy to see him. I told him there were girls weeping in the stands last year after they'd found out he'd been send down. "Oh, they were not," he said. Honestly, they were. Especially after they found out they'd given his number to someone else. Of course, after I got to watch Elvis Corporan catch a game, I was ready to start weeping as well. I'm surprised the pitching staff didn't break down in tears over that one.

I did watch Geiger and the rest of the High A group take some practice at the hands of coach Jeff Carter. Brutal. Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be catchers!

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