Some notes from across the league before the Aeros head home to Canal Park Monday night to kick off a seven-game home stand. In their just-completed four-game road trip to rival Altoona, the Aeros went 2-2, winning the first two games before dropping the last two.
AKRON - Recently promoted catcher/infielder Chris Gimenez led the league in several offensive categories last week. In four games, he hit a league-leading .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs and three RBIs. In addition, he was also tops in runs scored (8), on-base percentage (.588), slugging percentage (1.133) and extra-base hits (five).
ALTOONA - Curve beat writer Cory Giger’s Friday column ended up on the team’s clubhouse bulletin board with the word not very nice word scribbled next to his picture. Here’s the lead to the column Giger wrote that caught the ire of the team: “Manager Tim Leiper thinks the Curve can still win the Southern Division. It's not going to happen.’’ Giger’s response to the surprising anger was well stated: “(I guess) they've never heard (the phrase) ‘Don't shoot the messenger’.’’
ERIE - Right-handed closer Alan Mills (0-0, 1.54 ERA) has recorded nine saves in 12 appearances since joining the SeaWolves on June 5. The 40-year-old who pitched in the Major Leagues for 12 seasons (1990-2001), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers in early June. Mills last pitched in the 2001 season with the Baltimore Orioles and Double-A Bowie Baysox. His addition to the Erie roster has helped fill a big void in a bullpen that lacked a legitimate closer.
NEW BRITAIN - Right-handed pitcher Angel Garcia joined the team from Advanced Class-A Fort Myers July 11th. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound reliever appeared in 25 games for the Miracle, compiling a 0-2 record with 4 saves and a 3.38 ERA over 45 1/3 innings. Now in his seventh professional season, the 23-year old was the Twins’ fourth-round pick in the 2001 draft. Garcia fills the slot vacated when right-hander Brad Baker was promoted to Triple-A Rochester last week.
PORTLAND - After more than a month of speculation, right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz was finally promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last week. Buchholz departed leading the league in ERA (1.77 ERA) and strikeouts (116). With Buchholz gone, the Sea Dogs quickly reloaded with another highly-touted pitching prospect in right-hander Justin Masterson. In his debut July 9th, Masterson had struck out nine batters was working on a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings against New Hampshire before being pulled on a strict pitch count.
TRENTON - STREAK SNAPPED – It took extra innings to halt the Thunder’s 11-game winning streak, which came to an end Friday in a 6-5 11-inning loss at New Hampshire.
For more Eastern League information, check out my weekly notebooks at www.milb.com.