April 30, 2007 - International League (IL)
The International League announced today that Rochester catcher Jose Morales and Durham pitcher Andy Sonnanstine have been named the League\'s Batter and Pitcher-of-the-Week for the period from April 23-29. Morales becomes the first member of the Red Wings to be named IL Batter-of-the-Week since Chris Heintz (June 27-July 3, 2005). Sonnanstine is the second Durham pitcher to be so honored this season, following Jason Hammel (April 5-15).
In a single week, Rochester\'s JOSE MORALES more than doubled his hit total (from 9 to 19) and increased his batting average from .276 to .413. Morales hit at an amazing .647 clip in five games this week, more than 50 points better than anyone else in the International League. On April 23 Morales hit his first home run of the season in a 2-3 effort against Syracuse, his first of four multi-hit games last week. Morales doubled and drove home a run in a 5-2 win over Pawtucket Tuesday before the Red Wings hit the road for a four-game set in Toledo. After going 1-4 in the series opener Friday, Morales smacked six hits in seven at-bats over the weekend to lead Rochester to back-to-back victories over the Mud Hens. He had a pair of run-scoring singles Saturday night, the difference in the 3-1 ballgame. Morales followed up that performance by hitting three doubles and scoring twice Sunday afternoon. Morales led the IL in several offensive categories this week, including hitting (.647), hits (11), doubles (4), on-base percentage (.684), and slugging percentage (1.059). His emergence as an offensive threat has helped Rochester win seven of its last eight games and jump out to first place in the IL North Division with a record of 11-4.
24-year-old Jose Morales is in his 7th season in the Minnesota organization and his first full campaign at the Triple-A level. Morales hit .211 with 3 HR and 26 RBI in 80 games last season with Double-A New Britain before being promoted to Rochester in September, where he recorded one hit in two games behind the plate. Morales is a native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
The International League strikeout leader, Durham\'s ANDY SONNANSTINE, collected 18 punchouts in two starts this week to raise his League leading total to 37, and wrote his name in the Durham Bulls record book in the process. In his two outings Sonnanstine allowed only two runs on eight hits in 14.0 innings of work, but posted a mere 1-1 record. The loss came April 23 against visiting Columbus. Sonnanstine\'s teammates couldn\'t provide any offensive support, and a Kory Casto solo home run in the 6th inning was enough to defeat the Bulls 1-0. Sonnanstine took the hill Saturday evening against Charlotte and finally got his second win of the season. In 7.0 innings of work, Sonnanstine allowed just one run on three hits and struck out 11 Knights, leading the Bulls to a comfortable 7-2 win. The 11 strikeouts established a new home record for the Durham club at the Triple-A level. The victory improved Sonnanstine\'s record to 2-2 and lowered his ERA on the year to 2.70.
23-year-old Andy Sonnanstine is a Triple-A rookie in his fourth professional season since being selected by Tampa Bay in the 13th round of the 2004 draft. Last year Sonnanstine was a key component of Double-A Montgomery\'s Southern League Champion team, posting a 15-8 record with a 2.67 ERA in 28 starts, plus a 2-0 postseason record. His 29 wins over the last two seasons (14-5 in 2005) are tops among all Minor League pitchers. Sonnanstine is a native of Barberton, OH.