Friday, October 12, 2007

Instructional League winding down

James Beresford, Matt Moses and Chris Parmelee
James Beresford, Matt Moses and Chris Parmelee

With my vacation days limited at this time of the year by the fact that I'd taken time off while I had the plague (which I caught from Justin Morneau) earlier in the year, plus the time I'd taken off for GCL, I looked at the schedule and decided that I could take 4 half days instead of 2 full days and pick up the games which supposedly start at 1:00.

I know better. I knew better when I made that decision. It's like extended spring training, the games start when the umpires get there. Camp days, which I like even better than game days, are even worse, because they're getting off right around 1:00.

In any case, I believe last week Friday they beat the Orioles, 5-3. This week Friday, the also won by 5-3, this time over the Red Sox. Boston is breaking camp and wished to leave early, so the game started at 11. I got there around noon and it was half over. Last Friday, I got to see Jon Waltenbury knock one over the right field wall. That was nice, because when I congratulated him on it, he wasn't a Crabby Tabby because I wasn't around to see it.

This Friday, I got to see Chris Parmelee hit one over the right field wall. Parms has never pulled the Crabby Tabby routine on me. (He's a NICE boy.)

Last Friday, I'd showed up at 12:30 for the game in progress.

"Whatever happened to the 1:00 start times?" I ask Joe Benson as I sat down in front of him.

"We've been all over."

"When did you start?"

"Noon, and it's the 8th inning," one the pitchers chips in, a refrence to the fact that when I'd showed up on Wednesday they were just starting the 8th inning of a simulated camp day game, which utilized a pitching machine instead of real live pitchers.

I laughed. "None of you can pitch well enough to get us into the 8th inning in half an hour," I told him. "Even Slowey doesn't pitch that well."

"Slowey walks too many guys."

"Riiiiighhhttt." Really, they need some instructional work on their jokes.

I made it last Wednesday for the 5th inning, but they were only playing six. Still, it was interesting as the coaching staff had some new high tech equipment they were trying out, which lead to some laughs.

Today I made it for the 5th as well, but at least they were playing 9.

"Why is Moses at second base?" I ask. It's not like he can play 3rd, I can't image that he'd be any better at 2nd. Parmelee was playing first and with the exception of one ball he couldn't get a handle on, played well enough while I was there.

Mike Allen had pitched three innings and was just finishing up on the mound. Luke Van Mil came on for the sixth.

I like Luke well enough from a personal standpoint, but he's not going in and attacking the strike zone. He got 2 outs before he surrendered a run, and struggled with the 3rd. He had lasted only one inning last Saturday as well. They put him back in for a second, but Blair Erickson was brought in to finish off the 7th inning with 2 outs. The trainer visited the mound as well, as Van Mil appeared to be in some distress.

Blair Erickson
Blair Erickson

Of the "new" guys I've seen thus far in camp, Erickson is probably the most interesting.

A side-arm style right-hander out of UC Irvine, he made a name for himself in NCAA baseball as one of the premier closers in the league.

Erickson surpassed the 50th career save mark in April of 2007, giving him the new mark in the college record books.

He picked up 11 saves in 18 games with the Elizabethton Twins in 2007, posting a 1.53 era along the way, walking only 3 in 17.2 innings pitched. He will likely start the 2008 in Beloit and will be looking to surpass Rob Delaney's 36-save mark. It's probably that the soon to be 23-year-old California native will also spend some time with the Fort Myers Miracle next season.

Delaney, on other hand, who was 2-0 with 7 saves and a 1.54 ERA in 17 games with the Miracle will be taking his soft pitch show up to the AA level. Whether the 'stach will go as well, remains to be seen.

I got another video of Erickson today, this time of the 8th inning as he pitched 2.1 to finish up the contest.

The Twins have a camp day tomorrow and on Wednesday and will play either Baltimore or Cincinnati on Monday at Noon. I suspect Thursday's game will be early as well as the teams will be breaking camp after that and will want to get out of town. Some of the boys haven't seen home since March.

Meanwhile, I heard Tyler saying something about "Blog tonight" so I wanted to make him happy. I think they read this on Myspace. That's the only way I can account for hits there.

I stopped to talk to David Bromberg on the way out, in part because I want to know what JuCo his little brother is going to. The answer is Pierce, in California. Rams was coming off the field and said "Your brother got drafted?

"What round, by who?"

"32nd," Bromberg mumbles.

"Us," I chip in.

"Why didn't he sign?" David mumbles something about the signing bonus not being the kind of money they were looking for.

"He's not ready yet anyway," Bromberg says. "He's only 17."

I point out the idea behind getting rid of the Draft and Follows was the keep the signing bonuses down, but I know that boys don't want to hear that.

"We'll redraft him," I say.

"Maybe not," David warns. "The Tigers have been looking at him," as well as several other teams.

Pierce is the same Juco that Danny Berlind pitched for last season.

Anyway, I will try to get some type of a coherent story of out camp day tomorrow. At lease all know who all the guys on both teams are, and maybe I'll get a look at some of the kids I've yet to see play.

In other news...

Lara 5 at Aragua 3

W: J. Carlson (1-0, 0.00); L: J. Guanchez (0-1, -.--); SV: R. Houston (1)
HR: LAR: L. Jimenez (1). ARA: L. Maza (1).

The Tigres de Aragua fell 5-3 to the Cardenales de Lara at Aragua. Former Miracle pitcher Jose Mijares allowed a home run to Boston's Luis Jimenez for the blown save. He faced three batters, struck out one and took the other on a ground out.

Jose Guanchez suffered the loss for the Tigres. Twins prospect Bobby Korecky finished off the game, allowing 2 runs on no hits and 1 walk as he fell victim to throwing errors by 3rd baseman Mike Aviles (Kansas City), 2nd baseman Alex Nunez and shortstop Jose Martinez (St. Louis).

Twins prospect Brian Buscher was 2-for-4 at the plate with 1 run and 2 doubles in the designed hitter role. Former Miracle Luis Maza was 1-for-4 with a home run, while Fort Myers alumni Alex Romero was 0-for-4,


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