Results tagged ‘ Rattlers Alumni ’

Big home runs and other news over the weekend

Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the old single-season home run record in Japan with his 56th homer. Then, he hit another home run later in the game to give him 57.

Balentien57

From the Japan Times:

As soon as Wladimir Balentien’s bat made contact with Daiki Enokida’s fastball there was no doubt: Japan had just crowned a new home run king.

And the new king’s first decree was that his record total wasn’t high enough yet.

Balentien set the NPB single-season record with his 56th home run of year in the first inning, then hit No. 57 in his next at-bat of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday night at Jingu Stadium.

“I feel so relieved right now,” Balentien said. “Lot of emotions. Just to get this is something unbelievable. This is (something) that nobody was able to do for 49 years. For me to do it, I can’t even explain what I’m feeling right now.”

The 29-year-old Curacao native broke a four-way tie with Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes, and Alex Cabrera, who all have 55, to stand alone as the new record holder.

“It’s amazing that he’s homered at a pace of about once every two games,” Oh said in a statement. “This is far beyond a new NPB record and an overwhelming number. I want to enjoy how far he can take it over the next 18 games with the fans.”

Meanwhile in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, former Timber Rattlers first baseman Sean Halton hits a game winning home run to beat the Cincinnati Reds!

With nothing left to play for themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers have fully embraced the role of spoiler over the last month.

That never-say-die attitude was on full display Sunday afternoon at Miller Park when they overcame a poor start by Yovani Gallardo to score five times in the final three innings.

The ninth was especially exciting, with Carlos Gomez robbing Jay Bruce of a go-ahead home run at the center-field wall in the top half and rookie Sean Halton belting a one-out, walk-off homer off Zach Duke in the bottom half to cap a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’ve had a couple (walk-offs, in the minor leagues), but nothing comes close to this one,” said Halton. “Especially against a team that’s playing well and in the hunt. We’ve been playing that spoiler role lately, and hopefully we continue that the next couple weeks.”

Since, Todd Rosiak’s story mentioned the catch by Gomez….

The other news was from Adam McCalvy’s blog post that notes all of the players that will be taking part during instructional league in Arizona. Rattlers manager Matt Erickson will be in charge of a team down there.

Add the fall instructional league to Brewers prospect Jason Rogers’ busy schedule.

Rogers and top 2013 Draft picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus highlight the list of players reporting Sunday to Maryvale Baseball Park for an instructional program that gets underway Monday morning. Rogers, who manned first base at Double-A Huntsville this season, will work a bit at third base before primarily playing left field in the Arizona Fall League as the Brewers increase his versatility for 2014.

Fifty-three players in all are listed on the Brewers’ instructional league roster — 42 on the regular roster and 11 more on an advanced roster. They include 20 of the team’s 2013 First Year Player Draft picks, and eight players from MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Brewers prospects: outfielder Tyrone Taylor (No. 4), shortstop Orlando Arcia (No. 6), outfielder Victor Roache (No. 8), right-hander Williams (No. 9), catcher Clint Coulter (No. 11), infielder Neuhaus (No. 13), and right-handers Drew Gagnon (No. 15) and Damien Magnifico (No. 19).

Also participating are shortstop Franly Mallen and outfielder Nicolas Pierre, who received record-setting bonuses in the Dominican Republic in July.

The full list is available at that post. There are a lot of former (and future) Timber Rattlers on that list.

Some of those players are still playing with the Helena Brewers. Helena lost Game One of the best-of-three Pioneer League Championship Series at Idaho Falls on Saturday.

The first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series featured a championship caliber pitching performance from each side. Jonathan Dziedzic and a trio of Idaho Falls relievers out dueled Anthony Banda and Tristan Archer as the Chukars beat the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Dzidezic picked up the win after limiting the Brewers to just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

Josiel Martinez allowed an unearned run in the seventh and Glenn Sparkman relived him in the eighth and struck out three in 1.2 innings.

Kyle Bartsch faced just one batter, pinch hitter Jalen Harris, and struck him out to close out the game and earn the save.

Banda kept the Brewers in the game as he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Archer allowed no runs in two frames.

Game Two is tonight in Helena. Go, Brewers!

Lastly, the Midwest League season came to an end on Saturday night in Davenport, Iowa. The Quad Cities River Bandits swept the South Bend Silver Hawks in the best-of-five Championship Series to win the MWL Pennant for the first time since….2011.

Josh Hader isn’t even old enough to legally drink the champagne that was being splashed around the Quad-Cities River Bandits dressing room Saturday night.

He was more than happy just to wear some of it.

A little more than six weeks after being traded from his hometown Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros organization, Hader helped put the finishing touches on the River Bandits’ second championship season in three years.

The slender 19-year-old left-hander shut out the South Bend Silver Hawks on three little singles through seven innings as the Bandits completed a sweep of the Midwest League championship series with a 4-2 victory in front of a lively crowd of 3,607 at Modern Woodmen Park.

Hader, who went 2-0 in just five appearances with the Bandits in the regular season, also went 2-0 in the postseason and he was never in any sort of serious trouble Saturday. He allowed only four baserunners, only one of whom got as far as second base. He also struck out eight Silver Hawks.

The Midwest League home runs of Wladimir Balentien

Wladimir Balentien played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2004.  He hit 15 home runs in 76 games between April 8 and July 31 for the Rattlers that season.

As of Wednesday, he has 55 home runs this season for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.  That total ties him for the single season record for home runs in Japan.

Balentien sent a fastball deep to right in the sixth for his 55th home run of the season which tied the NPB single-season record held by [Sadaharu] Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera during the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 6-2 loss to the Carp on Wednesday at Jingu Stadium.

“It’s a great feeling,” Balentien said. “It’s something that was a long time coming. To get it done at this point, with a chance to get some more with so many games left and to hit at Jingu, to hit it to right field where the fans are, I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”

Balentien moved into rarefied air, joining Japanese baseball great Oh, who first set the current record in 1964, Rhodes (2001) and Cabrera (2002) as the only players to hit 55 home runs in a single season.

“It’s a special feeling,” Balentien said. “I never imagined myself in that situation with all those great players, legendary players. To get my name on that list, only 29 years old, that’s something very special.”

(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

I thought today would be a good day to look back at each of his 15 home runs with the Timber Rattlers in 2004.

#1 April 13 @ Burlington – Top of the 4th inning off Ambiorix Burgos.  A solo home run with two outs that put the Rattlers up 2-0.  Wisconsin would win the game 5-3.  Wisconsin had been no-hit one night earlier by the Bees duo of Dustin Hughes and Jake Mullis.

#2 May 15 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 7th inning off Aaron Pullin.  A two-run homer with one out.  The Rattlers were down 8-0 when Balentien hit this home run.  He didn’t homer between April 13 and April 30.  Then, he went on the disabled list.  He appeared as a defensive replacement in the game on May 14.  The homer on May 15 was in his third at bat during his first full game off the DL.

#3 May 17 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 2nd inning off Chris Hunter.  A solo homer with one out.  This one put the Timber Rattlers up 4-0.

#4 May 17 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 8th inning off Allen Buckley.   A three-run homer with two outs.  His second home run of the game gave the Rattlers an 8-3 lead.  Cedar Rapids had pulled to within 5-3 on a three-run home run by Matt Brown in the top of the eighth. 

#5 May 22 vs. West Michigan – Bottom of the 2nd inning off Jordan Tata.  A three-run homer with two outs.  This home run tied the game 3-3.

#6 June 2 @ Lansing – Top of the 4th inning off Randy Wells.  A solo home run with two outs.  Balentien’s blast put the Rattlers up 4-0.

#7 June 4 @ Lansing – Top of the 9th inning off Adalberto Mendez.  A two-run homer with two outs.  This homer allowed the Rattlers to avoid a shutout, but the Rattlers still lost 7-2.

#8 June 17 @ Dayton – Top of the 6th inning off Josh Thigpen.  A grand slam with no outs.  This bases loaded tater gave the Rattlers a 9-1 lead.  The Rattlers would win this game 15-14….in nine innings…and needed to score three runs in the top of the ninth to come back from a 14-12 deficit.  That happened.

That’s the end his home runs in the first half of the season.  Balentien batted 5th in the order for the first homer.  He hit 8th…yes, EIGHTH… in the order for the rest of the half.

#9 June 26 vs. Peoria – Bottom of the 3rd inning off Jordan Pals.  This leadoff home run put the Rattlers up 1-0.  They would lose 2-1 when the Chiefs scored a run in the seventh and another in the eighth.

#10 June 29 vs. Dayton – Bottom of the 6th inning off David Shafer.  A two-out solo home run gave Wisconsin a 4-0 lead.

#11 June 30 vs. Dayton – Bottom of the 6th inning off Trey Rice.  A two-out, two-run homer put the Rattlers up 5-2.  Wisconsin had a 5-4 lead going to the top of the ninth, but this guy by the name of Joey Votto hit a 2-run homer, his second two-run homer of the game.  The final score wound up 8-6 in favor of the Dragons in ten innings.

#12 July 4 @ Kane County – Top of the 7th off JR Pickens.  A leadoff homer pulled the Rattlers to within 3-2, but the Cougars won 5-2.

#13 July 15 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 6th off David Austin.  A two-run homer with one out made it 5-1.  This game started on July 3, but was suspended by a bad storm with one out and a runner at third in the top of the fourth.  The game restarted on July 15.

#14 July 17 @ South Bend – Top of the 3rd off Mark Rosen.  A leadoff home run in the 3rd inning gave the Rattlers a 1-0 lead.

#15 July 26 vs. South Bend – Bottom of the 5th off Mitch Stetter.  A two-run home run with one out put the Rattlers up 2-0.

Balentien hit eighth in the order for the entire second half of the season.

He played his final game with the Timber Rattlers at Battle Creek on July 31.  He went 1-for-4 with a double in that game.  My memory is a little foggy here.  Balentien did not play another game in the Mariners system until August 28 for Inland Empire.  I think that he went on the disabled list and was sent to Arizona to rehab and when he was ready, he was promoted to the California League.  I think.

Balentien would hit a pair of home runs in ten games for the 66ers after the promotion.

I have always wondered if Balentien would have made a run at the Timber Rattlers home run record.  He was at 15 over 76 games with the team during that 2004 season.  There were still about 35 games left to play,   Oh, he struck out…a lot – 77 Ks in 260 over those 76 games with the Rattlers.  His slashline with Wisconsin was .277/.315/.519.  He walked only 12 times – twice he was intentionally passed – during that season with Wisconsin.  But, he could crush the baseball.

Now, he’s about to write his name in the record books in Japan.  Congratulations.

Wladimir Balentien in 2004.

Wladimir Balentien in 2004.

Timber Rattlers in Japan

Wladimir Balentien played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2004.  He hit 15 home runs in just 76 games with the Rattlers during that season.

In case you’ve missed the discussion over the last few weeks, Balentien is making a run at the single season record in Japan.

And who is the slugger who might soon usurp [Sadaharu] Oh? Wladimir Balentien, from a tiny island in the Caribbean.

“I’m going for the top,” Balentien, a native of Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles, told reporters after hitting his 52nd home run of the season last week for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. “I always want to be No. 1.”

Balentien, a hulking outfielder who once played for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds, has been unstoppable this season. Though he missed the season’s first 12 games with an injury, he has averaged a home run every two games and is hitting a league-best .340 with 111 runs batted in.

He is the lone highlight for Yakult, which languishes in last place in Japan’s Central League.

That story was written before Balentien hit home run #53 for the Yakult Swallows over the weekend. Sadaharu Oh’s record is 55. There is just over a month to go in the season over in Japan.  The 2013 season is the third year Balentien has played for Yakult.  He hit 31 home runs in 2011 and 2012.

I decided to see if there were other ex-Timber Rattlers playing in  Japan.

I found two others that are still playing – and one who made two starts – over there.

Jorge Sosa had just made the switch to being a pitcher from an outfielder when he joined the Rattlers near the end of the 2001 season.  He was in the majors in 2002 after Tampa took him in the Rule 5 draft.   

SosaYokohama
He’s with the Yokohama Bay Stars this year after spending last season with the Chunichi Dragons.

Bryan LaHair joined the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the second half of the 2004 season.  He wound up leading the team in doubles that year.  LaHair was an All-Star with the Cubs in 2012, but since Anthony Rizzo was ready, there was no spot for LaHair in Chicago this year. 

LaHairFukuoka
He is playing for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League in 2013,

Justin Thomas was 5-5 in eleven starts for the Timber Rattlers in 2006.  He made it to the big leagues with the Mariners, Pirates, Yankees, and Red Sox.  Thomas started the 2013 season with Sacramento, the PCL affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, but was let go in June.  Thomas signed with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the JPL and made two starts between July 31 and August 7.

There were a few other interesting names on that I found in Japan.

One of Sosa’s teammates in Yokohama is Nyjer Morgan.
NyjerMorganYokohamaBrooks Conrad spent two months with the Hanshin Tigers.

Vinny Rottino - of the Racine Rottino’s – has played 37 games with the Orix Buffaloes.

Casey McGehee is with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. McGehee has 24 homers and 81 RBI so far this season.

Casey_McGeheeTohoku

Rattlers Alumni in the 2013 MiLB Playoffs

The Playoffs begin in most of the Minor Leagues tonight.  This is a post to give you a little information on which teams you may want to root for this year….if you’re into that kind of thing.

The details for this list were taken from the final stats of each team in the playoffs that listed the current players.

There are three leagues – four if you count the Mexican League – in the National Association without any former Timber Rattlers participating in the its postseason.  Those leagues are: Pacific Coast League, California League, and South Atlantic League.

Here are the former Rattlers in the playoffs.

International League:
Pawtucket (Boston): Ryan Rowland-Smith (’03)
Rochester (Minnesota): Jeff Clement (’05)
Durham (Tampa Bay): Jake Odorizzi (’10), Juan Sandoval (’03). Also, former Timber Rattlers General Manager Mike Birling is the GM for Durham.

Photo Credit: Patrick S. Blood

 

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Eastern League:
Erie (Detroit): Justin Souza (’07, ’08)

Southern League:
Mississippi (Atlanta): Thomas Keeling (’11)

Texas League:
San Antonio (San Diego): Johan Limonta (’06)

Carolina League:
Potomac (Washington): Cutter Dykstra (’09, ’10)

cutter10
Florida State League:
Dunedin (Toronto): Austin Bibens-Dirkx (’06)

Midwest League:
Great Lakes (Los Angeles [NL]): Robbie Garvey (’11)

Good luck to all the ex-Rattlers in the 2013 MiLB postseason.

 

2013 MLB All-stars and their best games as Timber Rattlers

There are four former Timber Rattlers on the American League roster for Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

They are:
David Ortiz (’96)
Felix Hernandez (’03)
Adam Jones (’04)
Chris Tillman (’07)

I thought it might be post worthy to look back at the games for these players and pick out their best game as a Wisconsin Timber Rattler:

David Ortiz:

David Ortiz in 1996

David Ortiz in 1996

In 1996, Ortiz played the entire season with the Rattlers and had a lot of really good games.  There was a two-homer game at Burlington on April 19 in a 4-2 win.  There was a walkoff homer in game two of a doubleheader against Kane County on June 8.  But, I’ll go with his game at Fort Wayne on  April 11.  This may also qualify as the best inning by a Timber Rattlers batter.

Ortiz drove in five runs in the game and all came in the first inning.  He hit a three-run home run and a two-run double as the Timber Rattlers got off to a 9-0 lead against the Wizards at old Memorial Stadium.

Ortiz also won the Midwest League Home Run Derby in 1996, the Timber Rattlers hosted the game that year.

Felix Hernandez:

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

He only made two starts for the Timber Rattlers at the end of the 2003 season.  His first start was against Burlington and he gave up a grand slam in the first inning before going into shutdown mode.  It was his second – and final – start as a Timber Rattler that I am going to choose for this post.

It was August 29, 2003.  Felix was 18 and he was pitching at Kane County.  This…kid…This phenomenal talent…He goes out and tosses seven shutout innings, gives up three hits, walks one, and strikes out ten.  The Rattlers didn’t score while Hernandez was on the mound and wound up losing the game, but Felix showed what he would become in that one game.

Adam Jones:

Adam Jones

Adam Jones as a Timber Rattler in 2004.

Jones was an 18-year-old shortstop with the Timber Rattlers in 2004.  It’s easy to pick out his best game with the Rattlers, but it’s hard to leave out some of the others.  May 11 @ Kane County: 3-for-6, 3B, HR, 3RBI; May 25 @ Quad Cities: Grand Slam July 23 v. BUR: 4-for-5, 3RUNS, RBI; September 2 @ Peoria 3-for-5, 2B, 3RBI.

However, the game that stands out for Jones was a game at Battle Creek on July 31, the day before he turned 19.   That was the day Jones went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.  Hitting home runs at Battle Creek wasn’t easy.  And here is Jones cracking two in one game off the Battle Creek Yankees.   Maybe that prepared him for this moment against the New York Yankees last week.

Chris Tillman:

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

Chris Tillman was a Rattler in 2007.

His time with the Timber Rattlers was way too brief.  The Mariners decided to push Tillman to the California League after just eight Midwest League starts in the 2007 season.  In two of those starts, he lasted one inning (on 5/4 at South Bend & 5/9 at Great Lakes).  That’s not to say he pitched poorly in all eight games.  In his first two starts, he struck out 15, walked one, and allowed three earned  runs over 9-2/3 innings.

Tillman was 1-4 in his eight starts for Wisconsin.  I could pick the win (4/23 at West Michigan).  But, I’m going to go with the loss against Lansing on May 20.  The Rattlers lost 2-1 as Tillman worked six innings, allowed three hits, walked four and struck out six.  The two runs he allowed were both unearned.

He had allowed one hit through the first five innings.  Then this happened:

Lugnuts 6th — Defensive Substitution: K. Lo replaces left fielder G. Dickey, batting 9th, playing left field. R. Barron pops out to C. Triunfel. T. Snider reaches on fielding error by A. Hargrove. B. Pettway singles to center field, T. Snider to 2nd. S. Shoffit struck out looking. C. Emanuele walks, T. Snider to 3rd; B. Pettway to 2nd. M. Lane singles to right-center field, T. Snider scores; B. Pettway scores; C. Emanuele to 2nd. J. Jaspe flies out to G. Halman.

That was Tillman’s last start with the Rattlers. He was on a plane to the Cal League a few days later and before the start of the 2008 he was in the Baltimore system as part of the Erik Bedard trade. By the way, Jones was also a part of that trade.

Carlos Gomez is an NL All-Star and has only played with the Timber Rattlers in a rehabilitation capacity.  But, I did want to include his best moment with the Timber Rattlers.  It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning on May 18.  The Timber Rattlers trailed the Burlington Bees 3-2 with two on and two out.  Carlos Gomez, who had been 0-for-9 in his first nine ABs of his rehab assignment, stepped up to the plate.  The result is at about 0:32 of these highlights:

Something to think about as you watch the All-Star Game tonight.

Congratulations, Sean Halton

Sean Halton became the seventh Timber Rattler alum to make his major league debut in 2013.

Halton, who was called up to Milwaukee from Nashville after Wednesday night’s game, got into Thursday’s game as a pinch hitter.

He got a single in his first MLB at bat.
Click that link for the hit. Here’s the link with some quotes:

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Halton said after the Brewers’ 7-2 loss to the Cubs. “Just one of those moments you dream about. I wish it could have come in a win.”

Halton took the roster spot of Scooter Gennett, who was optioned to Nashville following Wednesday’s 5-4 loss. Halton was the seventh player to make his Major League debut for the Brewers this season, and when Johnny Hellweg starts Friday in Pittsburgh, he will be the eighth.

The two join Khris Davis, Josh Prince, Hiram Burgos, Donovan Hand, Caleb Gindl and Gennett on that list.

Halton said he was given the ball he hit between a diving Luis Valbuena and Starlin Castro off Cubs starter Matt Garza. He also said he will keep the lineup card.

“Every kid grows up wanting to fulfill their dreams and mine was to be a baseball player,” Halton said. “Today’s that day for me.”

Halton hit .288 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs in 66 games at Nashville this year. He was drafted by the Brewers in the 13th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho).
 
Halton was the Opening Day first baseman for the Timber Rattlers in 2010. But, he was not with the team long. Halton appeared in 23 games and hit .221/.269/.269 with no homers, four doubles, and eleven RBI as a Timber Rattler before being sent up to Brevard County.

He never returned to the team.

Patrick S. Blood did manage to get this action photo of Sean Halton in a Timber Rattlers jersey early in the 2010 season.

Patrick S. Blood did manage to get this action photo of Sean Halton in a Timber Rattlers jersey early in the 2010 season.

Now, he’s up with the Brewers.

The other six Timber Rattlers to reach the Major Leagues for the first time this season are:
Khris Davis – April 1 with Milwaukee
Josh Prince – April 6 with Milwaukee
Hiram Burgos – April 20 with Milwaukee
Caleb Thielbar – May 20 with Minnesota
Scooter Gennett – June 3 with Milwaukee
JC Ramirez – June 23 with Philadelphia

Congratulations, JC Ramirez

Another former Timber Rattler has made his MLB debut.

JC Ramirez was with the Timber Rattlers in 2008, the final year of the affiliation with the Seattle Mariners.  On Sunday, he had an impressive inning against the New York Mets in his first appearance in the big leagues.  How impressive? He struck out the side in order.

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Ramirez was 6-9 with a 4.14 ERA and a BB:K of 38:113 in 124 innings pitched as a Timber Rattler in 2008.  He becomes the fifth pitcher and seventh player from that 2008 team to make it to The Show.

But, HOW did he wind up in the Phillies organization?  His callup article at Phillies.com reminds you that he was part of the December, 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners for Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies.

He’s been pitching at Lehigh Valley in the International league this season.  He made some adjustments and was ready for the call.

Ramirez is in the Majors for the first time, and he struck out the side in his first big league appearance Sunday against the Mets. He had a 6.53 ERA in 27 appearances at Triple-A, but said he worked with Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris on keeping his sinker down in the zone and his tempo with runners on base.

Ramirez said he thinks the adjustments made a difference. In his final eight games in the Minors, he had a 2.70 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 innings.

“I was working every day on my mechanics with Ray,” Ramirez said. “I felt like I saw the results — there weren’t as many stolen bases and I kept the game closer every time I went to the mound.”

There have been six former Timber Rattlers who have made their MLB debuts in 2013.  They are (in order of date):

Khris Davis – April 1 with Milwaukee
Josh Prince – April 6 with Milwaukee
Hiram Burgos – April 20 with Milwaukee
Caleb Thielbar – May 20 with Minnesota
Scooter Gennett – June 3 with Milwaukee
JC Ramirez – June 23 with Philadelphia

Here’s a link to the MLB.COM video of the three strikeouts he had to start his MLB Career.

One Step Away

Two former Timber Rattlers from the 2010 season got called up from AAA to the big leagues to appear in games on Monday .  Those players were Jake Odorizzi (From Durham to Tampa Bay) and Caleb Thielbar (From Rochester to Minnesota).

Jake Odorizzi pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Jake Odorizzi pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Caleb Thielbar in his MLB Debut on Monday, May 20, 2013 at Atlanta. (From KELOLAND off Twins Broadcast)

Caleb Thielbar in his MLB Debut on Monday, May 20, 2013 at Atlanta. (From KELOLAND off Twins Broadcast)

Instead of the usual updates on how former Timber Rattlers players are doing in the Major League, I thought that a nice off day project would be to take a look at players in the Pacific Coast League or the International League…or, those, who like Odorizzi and Thielbar are one step away from the big leagues.  Here are the current 33 Alumni in Triple-A.  Click on their names for their video highlight page…where there is one available.

This should not come as a surprise, but the Nashville Sounds and the Tacoma Rainiers have the most former Timber Rattlers on their roster.

Nashville Sounds (8):
Khris Davis
Scooter Gennett
Sean Halton
Kyle Heckathorn
Hunter Morris
Josh Prince
RJ Seidel
Tyler Thornburg

Tacoma Rainiers (5):
Denny Almonte
Joe Dunigan
Alex Liddi
Carlos Peguero
Carlos Triunfel

Joe Dunigan is currently on the Tacoma Disabled List.  Mike Curto let’s you know how that happened back on April 18:

In the ninth inning, we had a scary moment. With two one and nobody out, Joe Dunigan squared around to bunt. The pitch from Dan Runzler was up and in, and it hit Dunigan flush on the jaw. Dunigan immediately left the game. Today, Brown said that Dunigan is in the hospital with a broken mandible. Brown visited him in the hospital and he reported that Joe was in good spirits, is supposed to have surgery today, and should be discharged tonight.

Dunigan is on twitter.  He had his jaw wired shut after that pitch hit him.  According to his timeline, the doctors cut the wires last week.  He is on the road back.

That would be thirteen Timber Rattlers alumni between Nashville and Tacoma…

ASIDE: By the way, Tacoma beat Nashville 5-2 last night.  The game featured home runs by Hunter Morris, Carlos Peguero, and Alex Liddi.

Back to the main them of the post….

There are 15 other Rattlers Alumni who are currently at AAA.

Teams with more than one Rattler Alumni:
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2):
Cesar Jimenez
JC Ramirez

Omaha Storm Chasers (2):
Nathan Adcock
Adam Moore

Syracuse Chiefs (2):
Erik Komatsu
Carlos Maldonado

Tucson Padres (2):
Rene Rivera
Mike Wilson

Teams with one Rattlers Alum:

Buffalo Bison:
Jeremy Jeffress

Columbus Clippers:
Juan Diaz

Memphis Redbirds:
Rob Johnson

Pawtucket Red Sox:
Ryan Rowland-Smith

Rochester Red Wings:
Jeff Clement

Round Rock Express:
Ryan Feierabend

Sacramento River Cats:
Justin Thomas

Rained out in Burlington

A good friend of mine used to say, ‘…Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while. – Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh

A series of pictures then a few alumni notes…

This was taken from the walkway behind the visiting team radio booth before the 6:30pm start time.

Looking to the West.

Looking to the West.

Alfredo Rodriguez singles to left with two outs in the top of the second.

Alfredo Rodriguez singles to left with two outs in the top of the second.

Sandy Martinez waits for the ball and Adam Giacalone at the plate after the single by Rodriguez.

Sandy Martinez waits for the ball and Adam Giacalone at the plate after the single by Rodriguez.  The ball would get there first.  By a lot.

The tarp went on the field with a 3-1 count on Wendell Soto with two outs, two runs in, and a runner on third.

The tarp went on the field with a 3-1 count on Wendell Soto with two outs, two runs in, and a runner on third.

Ominous is a word that springs to mind:

May 20 2013 004

Then…

It's a hard...It's a hard...It's a hard rain...gonna fall.

It’s a hard…It’s a hard…It’s a hard rain…gonna fall.

"Some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets."

“Some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets.”

Did I mention a hard rain's gonna fall?

I guess I’m trying to say that it rained really, really hard in Burlington on Monday,

Then, this happened. No. That's the sky. really.

Then, this happened. No. That’s the sky. really.

Yeah. Because the Sun got below the clouds. That's why.

Yeah. Because the Sun got below the clouds. That’s why.

I haven't decided if this is a cool photograph or a horrible photograph. But, since this is my blog, I'm putting it up there.

I haven’t decided if this is a cool photograph or a horrible photograph. But, since this is my blog, I’m putting it up there.

I thought this was cool looking.

I thought this was cool looking.

Jake Odorizzi, a Timber Rattler in 2010, made his Tampa Bay Rays debut earlier today against the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 5 innings, allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

Odorizzi, who came to the Rays in the trade that sent James Shields to the Royals, was recalled from Triple-A Durham to fill the rotation spot of injured David Price. The 23-year-old right-hander had two Major League starts under his belt with the Royals, though that did little to settle his nerves at the beginning. But after experiencing a couple of early hiccups, Odorizzi settled into a nice groove.

“It was all right,” Odorizzi said of his outing. “I started off and couldn’t get in the groove. And once I did it felt good. … After the first, I think it went really well.”

The Blue Jays scored twice in the first on a sacrifice fly by Adam Lind and a triple by Brett Lawrie. Melky Cabrera added an RBI double in the second that put the Blue Jays up, 3-1.

Odorizzi finished his five-inning outing with three scoreless frames, having allowed three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six en route to a no decision.

Odorizzi allowed that he was a little keyed up in the first.

“I was excited,” Odorizzi said. “I think anybody in my situation would have been excited. But it’s not about throwing hard. You have to hit your spots early on.”

Both managers were complimentary toward the youngster.

“We scored early on him, and then he did a nice job after that,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said, adding, “he’s got the chance to be really good. He can throw four pitches at you. But we took advantage of him early, and then he shut us down.”

Said Maddon: “He threw some really nice curveballs. I thought he kept challenging. His fastball got up to 93. I did not see that in Spring Training. So that was nice to see, too. I saw the typical good composure, some nice stuff and a real ability to compete.”

R.A. Dickey silenced the Rays’ bats for the most part, pitching eight innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out five to pick up his fourth win of the season.

“Man, that’s probably as good as we’ve seen him,” Matt Joyce said. “Shoot, the last time I remember him throwing like that was when he threw that one-hitter against us. Even then, that was controversial. He had great stuff, man. His ball was all over the place. For us to score what runs we did, I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Here’s that RBI triple by Lawrie, a Timber Rattler in 2009.

Caleb Thielbar, a Timber Rattler in 2010, made his MLB debut with the Minnesota Twins tonight after getting the call up from Rochester earlier in the day.

Thielbar adds an eighth reliever to the club’s bullpen depth, especially with Twins starters having trouble pitching deep into games recently. The 26-year-old Minnesota native also gives the Twins another lefty in their bullpen along with Brian Duensing and closer Glen Perkins.

Thielbar, who pitched for the independent league St. Paul Saints in 2011 before being signed by the Twins, had a 3.76 ERA with 34 strikeouts and eight walks in 26 1/3 innings with the Red Wings. Thielbar, who is looking to make his Major League debut, didn’t land in Atlanta until about 50 minutes before the game, but was activated in time.

“He’s another arm out there, because we’ve killed the rest of the guys, as we’ve talked about,” Gardenhire said. “But having another lefty out there, you can take a shot with Duensing to get a lefty out. So this gives us another option. We can use Caleb early and maybe Duensing a little later.”

He pitched two scoreless innings at Atlanta, allowed a run, and struck out three without walking a batter. More on his performance and a bit more on Rattlers alumni in a post that will go up on the site tomorrow.

Felix photos and a Did You Know

Here’s Felix Hernandez with the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon:

Here’s Felix Hernandez with the Timber Rattlers in 2003:

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

Felix Hernandez pitches against the Burlington Bees on August 24, 2003.

I think this is a photo of him with his father & an uncle before that start against Burlington.

I think this is a photo of him with his father & an uncle before that start against Burlington.

We didn’t think that we had any photos of Felix Hernandez as a Timber Rattler. Then, these turned up on the server. Funny how that works.

For a Brewers tie-in*

Here’s Wily Peralta’s start against the Dodgers on April 27.

Here’s Jim Henderson picking up the save on April 27 against the Dodgers.

Did you know….Henderson has saves in all three of Peralta’s wins during the 2013 MLB season.

In 2009, Henderson and Peralta were teammates on the Timber Rattlers for the first half of the season. Peralta had one win in the first half. Henderson had the save. It happened on June 14, 2009 at Burlington.

Find Jim Henderson and Wily Peralta in this photo of the 2009 season.

Find Jim Henderson and Wily Peralta in this photo of the 2009 season.

I tried embedding those Peralta and Henderson highlights. But, I kept getting a ‘Your browser does not support iframes’ message and they weren’t showing up on the post….But, the Felix Hernandez highlights are iframes and …. I’m being tested…I know that I am being tested….and I am failing that test.

Let’s play two again tomorrow!

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