10/22/07 1:47 PM ET
Arizona Fall League Notebook
News & notes for the week of Oct. 15
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
MESA SOLAR SOX
(7-4, second place in East Division, 5-1 for the week)
Mesa finished the week with a four-game winning streak. Sam Fuld (Cubs) continued to hit and get on-base. Fuld hit in five of the six games, including hitting a monster home run on Monday, surprising for a guy not known for his power. Fuld is hitting .325 with a .438 OBP and 11 runs scored in 11 games as the Solar Sox leadoff hitter. Brewers 2007 first-round pick Matt LaPorta has been hot. He's got a nine-game hitting streak, going 7-for-24 during this past week. He's hitting .293 for the season and leads the AFL with 12 RBIs while slugging .659. ... Sean Gallagher (Cubs), Stu Pomeranz (Cardinals) and Mitch Boggs (Cardinals) have pitched a total of 17 innings without allowing a run. Combined, they've yielded eight hits and four walks while striking out 12 to lead Mesa to a league-best 3.06 team ERA.
New Astros general manager Ed Wade spent some time in Arizona this past week getting to know his new system. One of the first decisions made under his watch was that it was time for catcher J.R. Towles to rest up. Concerned with his workload, Houston sent him home from the AFL after he played in four games and got seven at-bats with Mesa. He's been replaced by Cubs catcher Steven Clevenger. Towles could get a shot at being the Astros' No. 1 catcher in 2008. Cardinals outfielder Joe Mather, who may have been playing for a spot on the 40-man roster, was also deactivated after playing in six games and hitting .286.
(6-5, second place in the West Division, 2-4 for the week)
The Javelinas' bats cooled off some from the first week, contributing to that 2-4 record over the past six games, though they still lead the league with a .312 average. Second baseman Yung-Chi Chen (Mariners) is making up for lost time after missing nearly the entire season because of shoulder surgery. He's hitting .391 in six games of AFL action, going a perfect 3-for-3 on Saturday. Yankees OF Brett Gardner has gotten a hit in each of the nine games he's played, and his .385 average places him fifth in the AFL, right behind Chen. He leads the league with 15 hits and is fifth in OBP at .442. One of the nicer surprises of the young AFL season has been 1B Juan Miranda (Yankees), who has hit .323 with a pair of homers and eight RBIs in eight games. On the mound, Garrett Mock (Nationals) keeps putting up zeroes. He went three scoreless on Oct. 18 to bring his total to seven shutout innings, during which he's fanned seven. Nationals teammate Zech Zinicola is up to four scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Zinicola had two appearances this past week, and he picked up his first save on Saturday. Another Nats pitcher, Adam Carr, could be in line for league Pitcher of the Week honors after going 4 2/3 over two outings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out six.
Yankees RHP Ross Ohlendorf was a little tardy in joining the Javelinas as a taxi squad member, but it's OK, he had a note from the Yankees. One of the pitchers who came to New York last offseason in the Randy Johnson trade (another one who came in that deal is Steven Jackson, who's tossed six innings for the Javs thus far), Ohlendorf was on the Yankees' postseason roster and was thus given a little time to rest before heading to Arizona. As a member of the taxi squad, Ohlendorf will only be available to pitch on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
(3-8, third place in the West Division, 1-5 for the week)
It was a rough week for the Saguaros, as they lost five straight to fall five games behind the division-leading Surprise Rafters. The Sags were outscored 30-14 during the losing streak. The week started off well with Cameron Maybin (Tigers) homering twice on Monday to lead Peoria to a 3-2 win. 2B Chris Coghlan (Marlins) had a good week at the plate, going 5-for-13 over his past 13 games to bring his average up to .381 in six games. Blake Dewitt (Dodgers) has made it into just five games, but he's hitting .333 over his 15 at-bats. He also played first base for the first time in his pro career and made one of the finest plays of the AFL season on Saturday, chasing down a foul pop down the line at the railing. It wasn't a good pitching week for the Saguaros, who saw their team ERA go up to a league-worst 5.55 ERA. It wasn't all bad, though. Joe Savery (Phillies) tossed three scoreless innings on Friday while Padres reliever Will Startup continued to throw well, adding two more scoreless innings over the week.
The Saguaros have had a number of roster changes since the season began. Lefties Macay McBride and Eddie Bonine (Tigers) were deactivated from the roster as was right-hander Ross Wolf (Marlins). RHP Corey Wade (Dodgers) was added to the main roster from the taxi squad, and LHP Jason Anderson (Phillies) joined the taxi squad. Offensively, infielder Scott Sizemore (Tigers) is now a taxi squad member, likely as a replacement for Michael Hollimon, who'll join Team USA this week.
PHOENIX DESERT DOGS
(8-3, first place in the East Division, 5-1 for the week)
After losing on Monday, Phoenix reeled off five wins in a row to maintain a one-game lead over Mesa. The Desert Dogs did it largely with pitching, carrying the league's second-best ERA (3.15) into action this week. Pitcher of the Week Bob McCrory (Orioles) went 1-0 with two saves in 2 2/3 IP. He gave up one earned run on one hit while striking out four. He leads the AFL with four saves, and hitters are hitting just .067 against him. RHP Nick Blackburn (Twins) was very sharp on Friday, allowing just one hit in three innings against Surprise, walking one and striking out four. Orioles fifth-round pick Jake Arrieta continued to create a buzz in Arizona, bringing his scoreless inning total up to seven with two more outings this past week. Scouts were clocking the TCU product in the mid-to-upper 90s coming out of the pen. A's 3B/1B Jeff Baisley is only hitting .265, but he's managed to drive in 10 runs in nine games (good for second in the AFL), including five this week. Matt Macri (Twins) is the only Desert Dog in the top 10 in hitting with a .333 average.
Phoenix had one of the more interesting transactions of the early going. Jay Marshall was originally sent to the fall league by the A's, and he pitched in two games in the first week. When Oakland put the Rule 5 pick on waivers, he was picked up by the Red Sox and taken off the Phoenix roster. He was replaced by lefty Justin Dowdy, a pitcher who last played affiliated baseball in 2005. Dowdy has played in the White Sox, Mariners and Angels systems, as well as indy league stops in Rockford, Calgary and Alexandria.
(1-10, third place in the East Division, 1-5 for the week)
Normally, a 1-5 week wouldn't be a cause for celebration. But the Scorpions started out the season 0-9 before finally picking up win No. 1 on Friday, a 9-3 victory over the Javelinas. 3B Evan Longoria (Devil Rays) won Player of the Week honors for hitting .391 (9-for-23) with a homer, four doubles and three RBIs. His four homers have him tied for the league lead with Scottsdale teammate Caleb Stewart (Mets). Both Longoria and Stewart are hitting over .300, as is Nate Schierholtz (Giants), who also leads the AFL with five doubles. OF/1B Dan Ortmeier (Giants) hit .409 over 22 at-bats, good for third in the league. Eugenio Velez leads the AFL by a longshot with nine stolen bases.
There is some good news on the pitching front, despite a team 5.18 ERA. David Purcey (Blue Jays) leads the league with 13 K's in 8 IP, to go along with a 3.38 ERA. Calvin Medlock (Devil Rays) had two scoreless outings this past week, including two in Scottsdale's lone victory. Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks) seems to be finding a groove as well. After allowing two runs in his first outing of the year, he made two nearly perfect outings this past week, allowing just one walk over three innings while striking out five.
Now for the bad news. Scottsdale's offense is taking a hit. Longoria is headed to Team USA, and Ortmeier's stay in the AFL is over. He's been replaced by speedy Giants infielder Emmanuel Burriss. ... Chip Hale, the Diamondbacks' third-base coach, took over managing duties in Scottsdale this past week after the Diamondbacks were bounced from the playoffs. Matt Williams served as the Scorpions' interim manager. ... With plenty of night games, Scottsdale leads the AFL in attendance, with an average of 558 in five home dates.
(8-3, first place in the West Division, 4-2 for the week)
The Rafters were humming right along with an eight-game winning streak before dropping two straight at the end of the week. Surprise leads the AFL with 78 runs scored and 19 home runs. A pair of Royals prospects have a good deal to do with that. 2B Marc Maddox went 7-for-12 this past week, including a 4-for-4 performance on Wednesday, to bring his average to a league-leading .579. Right behind him is first baseman Kila Kaaihue, who's hitting .412 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs in five games. He went 6-for-10 this past week with four RBIs. The KC pair are also 1-2 in OPS. On the mound, lefty Dusty Hughes (yet another Royal) is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three outings. He leads the AFL with 11 IP and gave up one earned run on just two hits in eight innings of work this past week. Rangers fans wondering what Matt Harrison is all about -- he didn't pitch in the system after he was traded to Texas from Atlanta in the Mark Teixeira deal -- now have something to go on. The lefty has a 3.86 ERA in seven innings. He yielded one run on five hits over four innings in his start last Tuesday.
Surprise had just one roster move this past week, both from the Royals' organization. Greg Atencio was deactivated and replaced by Devon Lowery. Atencio had given up six earned runs in two innings. Lowery pitched just 11 1/3 innings during the regular season.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.