06/15/08 11:14 PM ET
Notes: Dodgers Draft pick has tired arm
Coach not forthcoming, but Allison won't make start in CWS
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
Allison (a 27th-round pick by the Dodgers) has been unable to throw since his last start on June 8 against Arizona State. When asked what was wrong with Allison, Bulldogs head coach Mike Batesole said "I don't know, ask the trainer." When asked whether it was his elbow or his shoulder that was the issue, he said once again, "I don't know, ask the trainer."
A school official, not the trainer, then said that Allison (3-5, 4.07 ERA) had a tired arm.
The Dodgers might not appreciate the secrecy, but there is little they can do until Allison is under their control. Prior to the College World Series, Logan White, Los Angeles' assistant general manager in charge of scouting, said he believed Allison offers some intriguing opportunities.
"He has fringe average stuff, but he mixes his pitches well and is useful," White said. "We want to get him in the system, take a step back and see where it leads. He's not going to blow you off the charts. He's a lot like Eric Hull, who got to the big leagues with us and is now in Triple-A with the Red Sox.
"He had to compete every step. But he had a nice mix of three pitches, and that's what we get with Allison. We certainly like his attitude and demeanor. He has the pitches to be a Major League pitcher."
Hard feelings? No one has said as much publicly but the distinct impression is that there are some bad feelings between Fresno State ace Tanner Scheppers and the Bulldogs' coaching staff, specifically Batesole. Scheppers was 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA this season, but has been out for more than a month after being diagnosed with a frayed labrum and slightly torn rotator cuff.
Scheppers hasn't pitched since starting and beating New Mexico State on May 4. The issue, however, appears to be the May 2 game against New Mexico State, in which he came on and pitched two-thirds of an inning to collect his lone save of the season. There is some speculation that the physical problems Scheppers is currently experiencing arose, in part, because he was asked to close a game and then come back and start two days later. He pitched 7 1/3 innings in that start, was uncharacteristically wild (he walked six and threw three wild pitches) while throwing a staggering 137 pitches.
Considered to be one of the top pitching prospects eligible for the First-year Player Draft, Scheppers' injury may have scared several teams away and knocked him out of the first round, especially when it was first believed that he had a stress fracture in his shoulder. He was eventually chosen by the Pirates (48th overall), but it remains unclear whether Pittsburgh will cough up big money on a pitcher who may or may not be healthy.
One Major League executive with knowledge of Pittsburgh's position said the club likes Scheppers and believes that he is worth the gamble. Ultimately, the Bucs will keep a close eye on Scheppers right up until the Aug. 15 signing deadline before rendering a decision.
"They were told that no surgery would be required," the executive said. "He went to [Dr. Lewis] Yocum and was examined and they were told that if you went down into every Major League clubhouse, you'd find that every pitcher in the Major Leagues has this kind of situation. It's just a matter of rest and rehab.
"They like him a lot and think he is worth the gamble. The injury isn't that significant that he didn't deserve a chance. But to close him on a Friday and start him on Sunday, that's typical college abuse. The pitching coach there is Mike Mayne, and his son, Brent, played in the Major Leagues for a long time. He knows what he's doing and is probably cringing about this. It was the head coach. Shame on him for doing that with this kid."
The original diagnosis of not being able to pitch for six weeks remains accurate. And though that six-week stretch is up this weekend, Scheppers won't be pitching for the Bulldogs. Though he is in Omaha, he didn't travel with the team.
"You do get the sense that there is friction between him and the coach, though no one will say it," one Fresno State insider said. "Scheppers needs the option of coming back next year if things don't work out with the Pirates, so he needs that leverage if he has to pitch one more year."
Bulldogs fry Rice: Fresno State hit four home runs, including a pair of three-run shots in the fourth inning Sunday, and defeated Rice, 17-5, to advance in the winner's bracket. Danny Muno, who had five RBIs, connected for one of the three-run homers, while Alan Ahmady hit the other.
Jordan Ribera had a three-run homer of his own in the sixth inning, while Tom Mendonca added a solo homer to close out the Fresno State scoring in the eight.
The offensive barrage overshadowed a competent effort by starter Justin Wilson (fifth round, Pittsburgh), who scattered eight hits and allowed two runs over seven innings. He struck out five and walked four.
Second baseman Erik Wetzel (13th round, Colorado) was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored. He raised his average to .365. Steve Susdorf (19th round, Philadelphia) was hitless in four at-bats.
The Owls trio of center fielder Jared Gayhart (13th round, Detroit), first baseman J.P. Padron (44th round, Washington) and catcher Adam Zornes (seventh round, San Diego) combined to go 2-for-9 with an RBI and three walks.
Zornes was also hit in the left side of his jaw/neck with a Sean Bonesteele pitch in the eighth inning. He remained on the ground for several minutes and was then assisted off the field. There was no immediate update in his condition.
Bryan Price (compensation round, Boston) allowed a run on two walks in 1 2/3 innings; Lucas Luetge (21st round, Milwaukee) allowed two runs on one hit and a walk in two-thirds of an inning; Matt Langwell (11th round, Cleveland) allowed two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings; Bobby Bell (18th round, Toronto) allowed a run in one inning, while Cole St. Clair (seventh round, Dodgers) pitched a scoreless inning.
"He's a nice-bodied lefty that we are anxious to go see pitch," Brewers vice president and assistant general manager for player personnel Jack Zduriencik said of Luetge. "His stuff doesn't light up across the board, but he has a good body [6-foot-3, 200 pounds]. He's a good college lefty in the 21st round. He's pretty interesting."
Carolina rolls: North Carolina, a bridesmaid in back-to-back College World Series, got off to a good start Sunday night in its quest to return to the championship series with a convincing 8-4 victory over Louisiana State.
Sophomore Alex White (11-3) had a dominating effort on the mound for the Tar Heels, allowing three runs on four hits over seven innings. He fanned six and walked only two.
Center fielder Seth Williams (40th round, Mets) paced Carolina offensively, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Right fielder Tim Fedroff (seventh round, Cleveland) also had three hits and scored a pair of runs. Catcher Tim Federowicz (seventh round, Boston) had a hit and an RBI in four at-bats.
Rob Wooten (13th round, Milwaukee) didn't allow a run in 1 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth save.
Ryan Verdugo (ninth round, Giants) started and took the loss for LSU, allowing 10 hits and six runs (four earned) over 3 2/3 innings. Jordan Brown (39th round, Cubs) didn't allow a run in a third of an inning while Louis Coleman (14th round, Washington) allowed one run on three hits over two innings. Blake Martin (17th round, Minnesota) allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning.
First baseman Matt Clark (12th round, San Diego) was 1-for-3, hitting his 27th homer, tops in the nation. Third baseman Mike Hollander (20th round, Texas) led off the game with a homer for the Tigers and finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.