by Ben Catley
Just think, in 26 days, I’ll be watching batting practice from either the field or the Kindrick Legion Field press box, and watching as my partner in crime, Steve Wendt, is running around frantically making sure all is well and ready for Opening Night. Two days later, he can return the favor.
I figured that we’d take a quick look around the Pioneer League to see who was back as far as coaching staffs are concerned. Just in case you missed it, three members of the coaching staff are back for their second round, at least, in Missoula … albeit one of them was not a coach in 2010, but instead played here in 2000. That would be Andy Green, who is one of three hitting coaches (and four total) making their coaching debuts this season. Hector De La Cruz returns for his fourth season as manager, while Gil Heredia returns for his second season as pitching coach.
The rest of the league … a mixed bag of changes … but here’s the list by ballclub:
Helena – Joe Ayrault, Manager (2nd season); Ned Yost IV, Hitting Coach (2nd season); Elvin Nina, Pitching Coach (3rd season).
Billings – Pat Kelly, Manager (1st season in Billings, 21st overall); Eli Marrero, Hitting Coach (1st season, debut as coach); Bob Forsch, Pitching Coach (3rd season).
Great Falls – Ryan Newman, Manager (1st season); Charlie Poe, Hitting Coach (1st season); Brian Drahman, Pitching Coach (3rd season, at least). Newman was replaced in Bristol by Pete Rose, Jr. – yes, that Pete Rose, Jr.
Casper – Tony Diaz, Manager (he’s been there a while); Jonathan Stone, Hitting Coach (2nd season); Craig Bjornsen, Pitching Coach (2nd season).
Idaho Falls – Brian Buchanan, Manager (2nd season); Missoula resident Jerry Nyman, Pitching Coach (3rd season); Omar Ramirez, Hitting Coach (1st season).
Odgen – Damon Berryhill, Manager (3rd season); Johnny Washington, Hitting Coach (3rd season); Bill Simas, Pitching Coach (1st season, debut as coach).
Orem – Tom Kotchman, Manager (11th season); Nathan Haynes, Hitting Coach (1st season, debut as coach); Zeke Zimmerman, Pitching Coach (9th season).
Now we just need teams and we can get going!
On to the news of the day …
– Tough break for former Osprey left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, as he is facing Tommy John surgery after what could be best described as a freak injury. The worst of it – no signs were present that something could go wrong – he has not had a shoulder or elbow injury during his Major League career.
– After hitting two home runs in the day portion of the day-night doubleheader, Carlos Gonzalez (2003) went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts against Arizona left-hander Joe Saunders in the nightcap. CarGo’s average now sits at .251, with eight home runs and 31 RBIs.
– On the D-backs front … Miguel Montero (2002-03) played in the night game, and went 1-for-4 with an RBI … Gerardo Parra (2006) played both games in the outfield, and went hitless in seven at-bats, but did draw a walk … Esmerling Vasquez (2004) pitched the eighth inning in the lidlifter, allowing a hit, and striking out two.
– Gotta check out this blast from former Osprey catcher JD Closser. Note the grass seating, and where the ball ends up. A reminder – please pay attention to the game, because you never know when a ball will come in your vicinity.
– If it ain’t Paul Goldschmidt (2009) leading the minors in home runs (his 15 is currently 2nd in all of MiLB), it’s Adam Eaton (2010) leading the minors in hitting (.402) and on-base percentage (.509). Or, it could be Luis Terrero (1999-2000), who is in the Top 3 in the Mexican League in several categories.
Minor League Update
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces lost to Round Rock on Tuesday, 5-4. Josh Ellis (2007) allowed two runs (one earned) in his inning of work to take the loss on the mound. Tom Layne pitched 2 1/3 solid innings, allowing two hits while striking out five batters.
– Double-A Mobile: The BayBears had an off-day on Tuesday, which is a good thing … they have a seven-game series in five days ahead of them, beginning today.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: The Rawhide had the day off on Tuesday.
– Class A South Bend: Sometimes, wildly effective works better than being spot-on. That was the case for left-hander Patrick Schuster (2009-10) on Tuesday. Schuster allowed just two hits, but surrendered four walks. While that sounds a little shaky – he also allowed one unearned run and struck out seven in six innings of work to pick up the win. Daniel Taylor (2010) worked a scoreless ninth in the SilverHawks’ 8-1 triumph. At the plate, Ender Inciarte (2009) had three hits and three RBIs, while Matt Helm (2009-10), Chris Jarrett (2010) and Ramon Castillo (2009) added a hit and a RBI each. Raul Navarro (2010) added a single and a run scored.
Today’s early-start game with Lake County was postponed due to rain, and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday.
Today’s games (and Osprey probables):
AAA Reno (27-19) at Round Rock
AA Mobile (23-20) vs. Jackson, DH – Bryan Henry (2007) is scheduled to pitch in Game 2 of the twinbill.
A Adv. Visalia (21-24) vs. Stockton – Trevor Harden (2008) gets the ball for the Rawhide tonight.
A South Bend (22-24) vs. Lake County, ppd., rain – Bradin Hagens (2009) will likely make the start for the Hawks in Game 1 on Thursday … Game 2’s starter has not been announced.