International League News and Notes

August 14, 2008 - International League (IL) News Release

BUFFALO BISONS

CANNIZARO CAN HELP: Short on middle infielders, the Indians acquired INF Andy Cannizaro from Tampa Bay for a player to be named later. Since coming over to the Herd, Cannizaro has reached base safely in all eight games. He currently has a six-game hit streak (longest active on the team) and overall has hit .286 (8-28) with a home run and three RBI with the Bisons. Last year, Cannizaro dealt Buffalo one of their toughest losses. With the Herd just a half-game back of Scranton/WB, he hit a pair of home runs on August 3 (his only two of 2007) in a Yankees' win.

HIS STUFF IS NO JOKE: LHP Aaron Laffey was back to his dominating self on Saturday for the Herd. The southpaw allowed just four hits and struck out nine in eight shutout innings against Lehigh Valley. Laffey was optioned to the Bisons on August 4 after more than a three-month stint in the Major Leagues. He is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven games with the Bisons this year. In his Buffalo career, he is now 13-4 (.765 winning pct.) with a 2.97 ERA in 23 games with the team.

LIGHTS OUT LEWIS: LHP Scott Lewis will make his Triple-A debut in a start for the Bisons this afternoon against Rochester. The southpaw has been almost unhittable over the last month and a half at Double-A Akron. Since July 9, Lewis is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in seven starts. Over that same span, opponents have scored just two earned runs against him, while striking out 41 times in 44.1 innings of work. Overall, the Indians' 3rd-round pick in 2004 was 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 13 games with the Aeros.

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS

CHILDERS TO MOVE TO STARTING ROTATION: After being stretched out in last few outings, Knights closer RHP Jason Childers will move into the teams starting rotation beginning on August 19 vs. Indianapolis. Childers is 4-2 with a 1.19 ERA and has 14 saves. Childers has not started a game since 2002 when he did so for Double-A Huntsville. Childers was selected to the IL All-Star team this July and has had his finest year as a pro. Opponents are hitting .166 against Childers and the right-hander has allowed only 13 walks in 52 innings.

MONTHLY CHANGES: The month of August hasn't been the best to the Knights so far. After an 18-12 June and 14-14 July, the Knights are 4-9 in August after 13 games. The team has been hampered by a number of Major League promotions. In June the Knights were winning due to a .293 team batting average and a 3.31 team ERA. The Knights are currently hitting .262 in August and have a team ERA of 5.02.

KNIGHTS HELPING OUT IN THE BIG LEAGUES: The Charlotte Knights parent club, the Chicago White Sox, are in 1st place and are getting help from several former Knights. INF Chris Getz has gone 2-4 in two games with the White Sox since getting his first promotion on August 10. RHP Lance Broadway will make his second career Major League start today for the White Sox. RHP D.J. Carrasco has become the new set-up man out of the White Sox bullpen.

COLUMBUS CLIPPERS

LEGENDARY LARRY: With one more start at first base, Larry Broadway will become the first Clipper to start 100 games at the same position this year. As there are only 18 games left in the season, so he is the only Clipper that can accomplish the feat. He was also the only Clipper to start 100 games in the same spot last season, starting exactly 100 games at first. Broadway leads IL first basemen in fielding percentage (.996) and has currently been error free for 40 straight games (dating back to June 27), after a previous run of 67 flawless games (April 5-June 25).

MEDIC!: There are currently five Clippers on the DL after Dennis Tankersley was shelved on 8/11 with a swollen right ankle. Tank's injury is the 22nd suffered by a Clipper this season, with Pokey Reese making a team-high three trips to the DL. Overall 18 Clippers have been injured this season (18 trips by 16 players all of last season). Columbus has had as many as seven players on the DL at once (6/30-7/2, 7/4-7/5, 7/10, 7/18-7/25) and have not had a completely healthy 24-man roster all year. They have averaged over four players on the DL for every day this season (4.3).

REHAB RECAP: So far this season, the Clippers have had 10 Nationals on 11 rehab assignments, including four of Washington's top five outfielders by games played (Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge and Wily Mo Pena) and both of their off-season free agent signings at catcher (Johnny Estrada and Paul Lo Duca). Currently, Aaron Boone is with Columbus, recovering from a strained left calf. Columbus is 21-16 when a rehabbing National is in the lineup (10-game win streak from 5/2-6/15).

DURHAM BULLS

CLOSE CALL: Durham's last six games at home have been decided by one or two runs.  The Bulls are 2-4 in those contests with losses in the last four games, and 22-27 in contests decided by one or two runs this year.

STRUGGLING TO SCORE: Yesterday's 7-6 home loss to Norfolk was the first time in four games the Bulls scored more than three runs in a contest.  The big reason why is that Durham is 5-33 (.152) in those four games with runners in scoring position. 

HOME SWEET HOME?: With last night's loss Durham fell to 29-36 at the DBAP this year, 13-16 against division foes.  That's in contrast to a 36-24 (.600) mark on the road.  Durham has the best road winning percentage in the IL.  Durham needs to go 7-0 in its final home games to finish at .500 at the DBAP.

STORY OF THE SOUTH: Durham's lead is 7.5 games over Norfolk in the South Division with 19 games left (7 at home, 12 on the road).  Durham's lead was 4.0 at the All-Star break.  The Bulls have three games left with Norfolk.  Durham's magic number is 12: any combination of 12 Durham wins and Norfolk losses will give the Bulls their second straight division title.

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

MORGAN IS ON FIRE: Indians OF Nyjer Morgan has posted a .444 batting average (20-45) with 11 runs and 11 RBI over his last 12 games. During the stretch, Morgan has collected eight multi-hit games including a four-hit contest against Toledo on August 3.  He led off the August 8 contest against Rochester with his first home run since Sept. 25, 2007, when he connected off the Arizona Diamondbacks during his time with Pittsburgh. The 28-year-old also places among the IL leaders for stolen bases (T-3rd, 38).

SHUTING DOWN THE COMPETITION: The Indians recorded back-to-back shutouts in their final two meetings of the year with Columbus on

August 12-13. Starters Corey Hamman and Ross Ohlendorf combined with relievers Franquelis Osoria, Juan Perez and Jesse Chavez to strike out eight and walk just two in 18 straight innings of scoreless baseball. It was the first back-to-back shutouts for the Tribe since May 25-26, 1999 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  

RIDICULOUS RELIEVERS: Indians RHP Marino Salas is 2-1 with a 1.10 ERA over his last nine relief appearances (2 ER in 16.1 IP), while RHP Jesse Chavez has collected six saves and posted a 2.19 ERA over his last 11 relief outings (3 ER in 12.1 IP). Salas ranks 2nd on the team with 33 appearances and a .192 batting average against, while Chavez paces the club in appearances (46), saves (12), strikeouts (66) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.47-to-1).

AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: Indians OF Andrew McCutchen ranks among the International League's leaders for games played (T-3rd, 118), walks (T-3rd, 62), at-bats (6th, 445), stolen bases (7th, 28) and on-base percentage (9th, .371), while RHP Jesse Chavez places among the IL leaders for appearances (T-5th, 46) and saves (9th, 12).

LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS

TRACY TEETHES IL BATTER OF THE WEEK (8/4-8/10): 1B Andy Tracy, who became the first 'Pig to win a weekly IL award, won the weekly honors again -- despite a Tuesday rainout and missing a doubleheader Wednesday due to root canal surgery. Over the next four days, Tracy went 10-16 with 3 2B, 4 HR and 8 RBI to surge past the rest of the pack. For the week Tracy hit .526-4-8, leading the IL in HR and with a 1.316 slugging percentage, while finishing 2nd in AVG, 4th in RBI and tied for 4th in OBA (.550). He raised his season average to .299, 10th in the IL, and he is now 2nd in the circuit with 82 RBI.

HAPP-Y DAYS: LHP J.A. Happ is 5-1, 2.00 (54.0 IP, 32 H, 12 ER) in his last 9 GS. In his last 5 GS (35.1 IP, 4 R, 1.02 ERA), opponents are

batting just .121 (14-116) with 4 extra base hits. The span includes a masterful performance on July 18 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre - starting the completion of the suspended game from July 3 and pitching 7.0 hitless innings with just one walk and 12 K. He retired 21 of 22 BF -- including the last 14, and he had 6 straight Ks leading up to the final out (4-3).

STRETCH ENDS: LHV went just 8-10 in their most recent 18-game stretch in which they played the teams with the 4 worst records in the IL (not including themselves) in Richmond, Norfolk, Rochester, and Buffalo.

BACON BITS: The 'Pigs are now just 9-19 in their last 28 G vs. the North Division. They started the season just 1-20 vs. divisional Foes before an 8-3 run May 19-June 13... The 'Pigs need to go at least 5-15 in their last 20 G to pass Ottawa's record last season (55-88)... The 'Pigs are just 3-8 in August with the 13th-ranked AVG (.227) & 12th ERA (4.44) in the IL this month... The 'Pigs are still 20-17 in their last 37 road games. They started the season

3-22 on the road... After starting the season 0-8 in one-run games, they IronPigs have gone 18-15 in their last 33 such G.

LOUISVILLE BATS

DICKERSON, HANIGAN & ROSALES GET THE CALL: The Reds recalled OF Chris Dickerson yesterday to replace Adam Dunn who was traded to Arizona on Monday.  Dickerson made his ML debut Tuesday night vs. Pittsburgh and walked in his first at-bat; on the night he was 1-4 with a double, stolen base, run scored and walk.  After batting a combined .238 in April and May, Dickerson warmed up with the summer, raising his average from .238 on May 31 to its current mark of .287.  With Louisville, Dickerson has hit a combined .322 (65-202) during the months of June, July and August and is two RBI shy of matching his season-high of 55 RBI, set last season between Double-A Chattanooga (11) and Louisville (44).  Dickerson's 11 homers are also three shy of his season-high of 14 home runs in a season, set in 2007 (Chattanooga - 1, Louisville - 13). He has also reached base at home in 30 straight games, which is the longest home streak this season in the IL and by a Bats player (Andy Phillips - 27, Drew T. Anderson - 24).  Yesterday Dickerson was announced as Cincinnati's Player of the Month for July (24 G, .330, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB).  Adam Rosales had his contract purchased by the Reds on Saturday, August 9.  In his ML debut against the Astros he pinch-hit in the 6th inning and flew out.  Much like Dickerson, Rosales got off to a slow start this season.  He batted .207 with one home and 15 RBI in April and May but since has raised his average to its current mark of .281.  Rosales has hit a combined .331 (81-245) during the months of June, July and August.  He has also connected on nine home runs, 35 extra-base hits and has driven in 38.  Rosales already had nine extra-base hits in the month of August.  Ryan Hanigan was recalled by the Reds on Sunday, August 10 and started behind the plate for the Redlegs.  Hanigan, a 2008 Triple-A All-Star,  has been a model of consistency all season, hitting below .300 in only the month of June (.276).  He had a nine-game hitting streak from July 28-August 8 and hit .500 (18-36) during the streak, which included a 5-5 performance vs. Toledo on August 6.  The five hits in a game is tied for the second-most in franchise history. It has been accomplished 16 times. He has hit safely in 15 of his last 18.

STUBBS PROMOTED FROM CHAT: OF Drew Stubbs was promoted to the Bats from Double-A Chattanooga Tuesday.  Drafted in 2006 (1st round, 8th overall), Stubbs had never played above Low-A before this season, spending 2006 with Rookie Billings and 2007 with Low-A Dayton.  He began this season with High-A Sarasota and hit .261 in 86 games for the SaraReds before being promoted to Chattanooga on July 9.  With the Lookouts, Stubbs batted .315 with eight doubles and nine RBI in 26 games.  Stubbs' 27 stolen bases with Sarasota are still tied for 4th in the FSL.  In his Triple-A debut last night he went 2-4 with a double, a home run and two runs scored.  It was his first home run since July 5 when he hit a three-run shot with the Sarasota Reds versus the Tampa Yankees.

TID BITS: Monday night's win surpassed last season's win total of 74 (74-70) and matched the 2006 team which won 75 games (75-68).  The next win total Louisville is now aiming for is from 2003 when the Bats went 79-64; that season is also the last time the team made the playoffs.

WALK-OFF IN STYLE: Louisville won their third walk-off game Monday when INF Paul Janish singled home INF Michael Griffin to defeat Columbus 4-3 in 10 innings.  Previously, OF Chris Dickerson (6/22 vs. BUF, single, 9th) and C Alvin Colina (7/23 vs. SYR, double, 9th) drove in walk-off runs this season.

NORFOLK TIDES

DOUBLE THREAT: With another double yesterday, Oscar Salazar upped his League leading total to 42, a total that is tied for 2nd in all of Minor League Baseball, trailing only the 43 doubles hit by Class-A Myrtle Beach's Ernesta Mejia and matching the 42 doubles hit by Class-A Asheville's Darin Holcomb. Salazar's double last night also moved him into 1st on the Tides franchise list for most doubles in a season, surpassing the 41 doubles clubbed by Mark Carreon in 1987. Salazar has hit 13 doubles over his last 18 games, and he enters play tonight 3rd in the IL with a .315 average.

SERIES BUSINESS: With a win last night, the Tides have guaranteed at least a split of their two-game set at Durham. Norfolk has now won or split each of their last 12 series, as they've won five and split six over the previous 11 series. Norfolk has not dropped a series since they lost two of three to Durham from June 27-28, and the Tides are 26-13 since July 1. Norfolk has the 3rd-best record in the IL since the start of July, trailing only Louisville (29-11) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (27-12).

WHAT A RELIEF: Since being promoted to Norfolk from Double-A Bowie on July 7, Kam Mickolio has allowed just six hits and posted a 0.55 ERA

(1 ER, 16.1 IP). 11 of Mickolio's 13 outings have been scoreless, and the 24-year-old has held opposing batters to a .111 average against (6-54) while recording two saves and registering 18 strikeouts.

PAWTUCKET RED SOX

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?: The 2nd-place Pawtucket Red Sox and the 1st-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees met for the 8th (and final) time in the last 12 days when they concluded their 2-game series at McCoy Stadium last night as the PawSox came up with a much-needed 5-1 victory to pull a bit closer to the front-running Yankees. The teams appear destined to face each other again in just under three weeks in the first round of the International League playoffs. The PawSox currently trail the Yanks by 1½-games in the division after Scranton/WB won 5 of the 8 meetings this month (from August 2-7 & August 12-13) to turn a 1½-game deficit (on Aug. 2) into their 1½-game lead. Pawtucket had been in sole possession of 1st-place from June 20 to August 3 but Scranton/WB has owned the top spot since August 4. The PawSox and Scranton/WB could be readying to start a historic playoff series against each other that would be the first between the Red Sox and Yankees Triple-A affiliates since the 1991 Governors' Cup Finals when Pawtucket was swept in 3-games by the Columbus Clippers (then the Yankees' affiliate). Now, 17 years later the post-season rivalry could resume on September 3 in the city that wins the Wild Card. Including tonight, Pawtucket has 17 games left to be played during the final 19 days of the regular-season while Scranton/WB has 19 games remaining.

EVEN STEVEN: The PawSox and Scranton/WB finished the season-series tied at 8 victories apiece as the clubs went 4-4 both at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI and PNC Field in Moosic, PA. It marked quite an improvement for the PawSox who went 2-14 vs. Scranton/WB last season during their first year as a Yankee affiliate. The Sox outscored the Yanks, 80-73 in the 16 games this season during a season-series that saw the PawSox hit .266 and the Yankees hit .250 against each other while Sox pitchers had a 4.36 ERA compared to a 5.22 ERA for the Yanks.

MAGIC NUMBER TIME: The PawSox magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to 9 over the Toledo Mud Hens. The PawSox currently lead the IL wild card race by 9½-games over the Mud Hens with 17 Sox games remaining and 19 left for Toledo. If the PawSox do make the post-season it would mark their first playoff berth since 2003 when they beat Ottawa, 3 games to 2 in the first round and then lost to Durham, 3 games to 0 in the Governors' Cup Finals.

RICHMOND BRAVES

BRAVES GO FOR 16: The Braves beat Charlotte 16-6 Wednesday at Knights Stadium. The Braves erupted for seven runs in the 4th inning to shatter a tide game and pick up their fifth straight win. Josh Anderson led the game off with a home run to stretch his hitting streak to an R-Braves record 20 games. Diory Hernandez chased a run home with a single and Corky Miller was hit by a pitch with the bases jammed. The Knights battled back to tie the game at three. Richmond blew the game open in the 4th. Anderson knocked in two runs with a single and scored on a Brandon Jones single. Barbaro Canizares picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice. Miller capped the seven run rally with a three-run homer. Richmond tacked on two more runs in the 5th on bases loaded walks to Canizares and Hernandez. Charlotte chipped back in the home half on a two-run double by Royce Huffman that cut the Braves lead to 12-5. Richmond responded with a four-run 6th. The Braves picked up a run on a passed ball and another on an error. Brent Lillibridge knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly and Brandon Jones collected an RBI double.

ROCHESTER RED WINGS

THE THREE AMIGOS: Outfielder Jason Pridie extended his current hitting streak to 20-game last night.  Pridie is the third Red Wings hitter to have a 20-game hitting streak this season. Pridie joins Randy Ruiz (24-game hitting streak) and Alejandro Machado (21-game hitting streak).  Prior to this season the last Red Wing to have a 20-game hitting streak was outfielder Mark Smith in 1993.  Rochester is the first current member of the IL to have three hitters with 20-game hitting streaks in one season.

PICKING UP STEAM: The Red Wings started slow this season with a 19-32 record in their first 51 games.  Rochester has turned things around dramatically.  Since May 26 the Red Wings have a 44-32 record (.573) in their last 76 games.  Rochester is just one game under .500 for the first time since May 2 (14-15 record).  The Red Wings are 10-3 in the month of August and look to have their first 20-win month since July, 1997 when Rochester had a 23-7 record.  Since 1980 (when month-to-month records begin) Rochester has never had a 20-win month of August.

STOP, KORECKY TIME: Red Wings closer Bobby Korecky recorded his 21st save of the season last night.  Korecky is the first Red Wings pitcher to ever post 20 or more saves in back-to-back seasons (saves became an official stat in the International League in 1969).  If Korecky can overtake Toledo's Blaine Neal (currently at Olympics in Beijing) for the IL lead in saves (currently Neal has 25) he will become the first ever pitcher to lead the International League in saves in back-to-back seasons.  Korecky holds the Red Wings record for saves in a season with 35 set in 2007.  The Red Wings bullpen has 38 saves this season and needs just seven more to tie the 2007 Red Wings for most saves (45) by a Red Wings team in one season.

SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE YANKEES

WORKING OVERTIME: The Yankees needed extra innings to pick up an 8-6 win over Pawtucket on Tuesday night.  With the victory, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre improved to 8-3 in extra inning games  The win also marked the 16th time that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has picked up a win in its final at-bat. Seven of the 16 last AB wins have come on the road with nine coming at PNC Field.

 

STREAKING WITH JUAN MIRANDA: Juan Miranda had his Yankees season-high hitting streak end at 13 games Tuesday with a 0-5 night at Pawtucket.  Miranda had waited  until the bottom of the 8th to pick up a two RBI double against Syracuse on Saturday (the last Yankees game) that tied the game at 6-6 on Saturday night. Miranda had previously hit in nine straight games from April 14-23 before his current streak.  The streak for Miranda was the second longest by a SWB Yankee behind the 15 game streak by Alberto Gonzalez in 2007. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record was set by Pablo Ozuna who hit in 27 straight from July 27-August 24, 2004.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS

MORE REHABBING: This week saw the Syracuse Chiefs receive Vernon Wells, Shannon Stewart, Jeremy Accardo, and Brian Tallet on rehab from the parent Toronto Blue Jays. Wells and Stewart went 0-10 in three games while Tallet and Accardo appeared in one game apiece.  Wells rejoined the Jays after two games while Stewart was released after his only appearance.

10 IS NOT ENOUGH: Left-handed pitcher John Parrish who recorded 10 wins before July 1 with the Cheifs returned after a 6-week stay with Toronto.  Parrish was 2-1 in 7 appearances with the Blue Jays.

BIG PROSPECT DELIVERS: Toronto's number one pick and prospect Travis Snider joined the Chiefs this week and in 5 games has driven in 6 runs with his first Triple-A Home run against Rochester on Tuesday night.

TOLEDO MUD HENS

SHUT 'EM OUT: RHP Virgil Vasquez was 1-6 in his previous eight starts going into Monday night's game against Norfolk. Vasquez tossed a gem as he threw a complete game shutout to defeat Norfolk 2-0. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out six. The last Mud Hen complete game shutout came from Vasquez on August 21, 2007 at home against Indianapolis in a 4-0 win.

SOLD OUT: Fifth Third Field has welcomed many fans through the turnstiles as of late. In fact, the stadium is currently on a 13-game sell-out streak (breaks a FTF record set in August 2002 through Opening Day 2003), including number 200 in the history of the venue. In addition, the park has been sold out for 24 of the last 27 home games. Fifth Third Field welcomed its 500,000th fan of the season Monday night.

TEAM USA: Korea defeated USA 8-7 Wednesday morning in Beijing. Mike Hessman went 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored. Team USA also played Wednesday, winning 7-0 versus the Netherlands (Hessman did not play).

PREDICTABLE SPREAD: Toledo has been sputtering offensively for the last few weeks and has been outscored by opponents following the All-Star break 153-112, bringing in only 4.15 runs per game (112 runs/27 games). After the break, Toledo is 9-18. Prior to the break, the Hens managed more than 5 runs a game (508 runs/101 games) and outscored opponents 508-429 and carried a 56-45 record.

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