Thursday, May 22, 2008

Former Cats help do-in New Britain

New Britain Rock Cats

Harrisburg 5 at New Britain 2

W: M. Estrada (5-2, 2.45); L: J. Sawatski (1-3, 8.03); SV: S. Schmoll (3)
HR: HAR: L. Montz (9).

I'm not sure if it was by coincidence or design, but the entire Eastern League played day games today. After the marathon 7-hour double header yesterday, including a rain delay, I can't imagine that either team was excited about hitting the field again for a 10:35 AM start.

The New Britain Rock Cats tried to look lively early on, pouncing on an early first inning lead. Steve Tolleson lead off with a walk, and Matt Moses doubled to move him to 3rd. Luke Hughes would hit into a ground out that scored Tolleson and moved Moses to 3rd. Erik Lis then sacrificed in Moses.

That would be it for the Cats though, who only managed four hits in the whole game.

Former Miracle and Sarasota native Jason Miller would be on the mound for the Cats. Evidently, I'd missed the move that put Yohan Pino on the 7-day DL with shoulder stiffness, so J-Mill would take his start.

Garrett Guzman - another Twins farm alumni - would double for the Senators to lead off in the 3rd inning. Two outs later, Luke Montz would go yard over the left field wall to tie up the game.

Jay Sawatski would replace J-Mill for the top of the 5th, and after getting Guzman to strike out, allowed a ground rule double to William Bergolla. He'd get Roger Bernadina out on strikes, but issued a walk to Montz. Luis Jimenez, a former Rock Cat, then singled out to center to score Bergolla for the game winning run.

Sawatski would hold the Sens off for the next two innings and gave way to Kyle Aselton in the top of the 8th. The lefty, who has posted some good numbers this year in the Rock Cats pen, walked Jimenez to start out the top of the 8th. Ofilio Castro singled, and the pair would advance a base each on a throwing error by Steve Tolleson. Andrew Lefave then drew a walk to load the bases. Aselton would take two Senators out on strikes before a Guzman single plated Jimenez and Castro for the insurance runs.

Jeff Christy would single off yet another former Twins farmhand, Levale Speigner, and then move to second on a wild pitch. Matt Moses would also draw a walk, but the pair went nowhere as Steve Tolleson ground out and Hughes hit into a double play to end the game.

Hughes and Erik Lis would have the other two hits in the contest.

The loss drops the Cats to .500 on the season; they are 3-7 over their last 10. Next up the Cats head over to Portland to face the Sea Dogs for a four-game series which kicks off at 6:00 PM on Friday. The games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday are all 1:00 PM EST contests.

Rock Cats
NB Herald - Wednesday
NB Herald

· Former Miracle lefty Glen Perkins notched his first career major league victory in Tuesday's 11-4 win over the Texas Rangers. The St. Paul, MN native limited the Rangers to two earned runs and six hits in a career-high 6.1 innings. The outing was his third start since being promoted from Triple-A Rochester and his 26th overall appearance with the Twins. In 18.1 innings with the Twins this season, Perkins has compiled a 1-1 record with a 3.44 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

· Last season Zach Ward threw well for the Miracle, but couldn't get a break, compiling a 5-17 record with a 4.08 era in the Florida State League.

Moved to the bullpen in New Britain, the 6'3", 225-lb. right hander has made life miserable for Eastern League batters. In 28 innings of work, he has posted a 2-0 record with a gaudy 0.32 ERA. He has limited the opposition to just 18 hits and a .178 batting average while racking up 24 strikeouts in 17 relief appearances.

Ward was obtained in the trade from the Reds which sent Kyle Lohse to Cincinnati. Prior to the current season, he'd always been a starter.

"I was a mental mess last year," Ward said in an interview with Heather Cavaliere for the Rock Cats website. "I had a lot of things going on in my head and I let that kind of effect me on the field. We didn't score a lot of runs as a team and I had kind of tough luck and had a lot of close games that I lost. There were also a lot of games where we scored plenty of runs and I didn't get the job done. It went both ways. It wasn't just a matter of me not catching the breaks.

"People throughout the organization told me to keep my head up and just keep doing what I was doing because the numbers were there for the most part. I just wasn’t getting the results in the win-loss column."

· Despite time off for an injury, Luke Hughes continues to lead the Rock Cats in runs (33) and hits (54), and is tied for the lead in home runs (10) with David Winfree. Winfree leads the team in runs scored with 36, one more then Brock Peterson, who has appeared in one less game. Steve Tolleson has taken the most walks for the Cats, while Brock Peterson heads up the strike out list with 42.

· Joe Christensen is reporting at Twins shortstop Adam Everett is headed back to the disabled list after experiencing more pain in his right shoulder. The team will announce a roster move following Thursday's game. Twins field manager Ron Gardenhire did not rule out the possibility of promoting Trevor Plouffe or Luke Hughes from AA New Britain to replace him. The Twins are thin through the middle with Matt Tolbert and Nick Punto on the DL. Alexi Casilla has already been promoted from AAA Rochester, so the pickings are slim for replacements.

With the rash of injuries, expect call ups to effect most of the minor league system shortly. On a more positive note, Scott Baker threw a pain free bullpen session on Wednesday and will now likely progress to throwing live batting practice. If that goes well, he could make a rehab start in Extended Spring Training on Monday.

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