The latest from the Nest …

by Ben Catley

28 days before the Home Opener
24 days before the Season Opener
Today’s word – Vote, as in – Vote Ollie Now!! Click here to Vote Ollie!! All votes are appreciated …

Next to any extended weekend … wait, what is a weekend, anyway?? … this is my favorite weekend of the year.

You may be wondering just why that is, but while it’s important we take time to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we do, that’s not the reason. Although it gives us a longer weekend, so the Memorial Day holiday does indirectly become a reason for why I love this weekend so much.

The real reason – it’s the first weekend of the Osprey season for me.

This is the weekend in which yours truly will spend most of in his broadcast booth or in other spots of the press box, working on the club’s (and now the league’s) record book, figuring out radio script for the season, and just generally prepping while baseball is happening on the field.

As long as it doesn’t rain … too much …

By the way, the record book should be available online by mid-June. Or at least that is my annual goal.

On to the news of the last few days …
– Good news on the Miguel Montero (2002-03) front … he’s looking more like he’s ready to get back into the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup after a groin injury. Here’s also some discussion on the contract talks – no news, just discussion.

– Also injured – Emilio Bonifacio (2003), but his is more serious than anyone thought. So much so that the Miami Marlins are looking for outfield help. How solid has Bonifacio been for the Marlins? He leads the Majors with 20 steals, and has already been out of action for a week.

Sergio Santos (2002) is also on the shelf, still … he has been out for over a month with a shoulder ailment, and it could be at least three weeks before he pitches again.

Tom Layne (2007) has improved on his numbers since the D-backs traded him to San Diego. With Triple-A Tucson, Layne is 0-2 in four starts with a 4.50 ERA (his ERA was 10.50 while in Reno this season). Ironically, in the two games he lost for the Padres, he allowed a total of three runs in 10 2/3 innings.

Here are some cool nuggets non Osprey-related:
– Have to share this, because I think it’s cool, and everyone deserves their “15 minutes of fame” when they handle it well. Some people never catch a ball at a game … this guy catches two home runs in a span of four pitches. Classy move #1 – he gave the baseballs to people who deserved them (Mike Leake, who hit his first career MLB home run, and the guy who gave him the ticket.). Classy Move #2 – The Reds made him an honorary captain for the next game.

– Lastly, I had to share this one … although it is a blog of someone on the “Evil Empire” list of D-backs fans, the name of it, “Vin Scully is my Homeboy“, is actually kind of cool. The blogger gets into some good stuff, too, especially if you like memorabilia. Other than the pic of the blogger and Vin together, and the Photoshopped header, stay away if you are allergic to Dodger Blue.

Osprey Alumni Minor League Update – Catching-Up and finding out everyone’s over .500 Edition:
– Triple-A Reno (25-23): The Aces are tied for first place in their division, and they are being led at the plate by … infielder Jake Elmore (2008). Yup, Elmore has been as hot as a Phoenix sidewalk in the summertime, hitting .392 to take over not only the team lead in batting from outfielder Adam Eaton (2010), who has slipped to a mere .388, but the Pacific Coast League lead. How? Elmore is hitting a video-game-like .452 for the MONTH (21 games), which explains why he has taken over the league lead. The Elmore-Eaton ticket is currently 1-2 in the league rankings, with a 22-point edge over their nearest competition.  Oddly enough, Eaton’s not even Taylor Harbin hot … the 2007 Osprey alumnus is hitting .411 for the month of May (16 games), and the infielder has his average up to .277 for the season, after hitting .185 in April. Eaton is only hitting .375 for the month. We’ll talk pitching some other time … which tells you where the pitching is at the moment among former Osprey, although Victor Capellan (2009) and Harbin have combined for seven scoreless appearances.

– Double-A Mobile (28-20): The big news from the Southern League as it pertains to former Osprey is right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson (2009) leaving his latest start with elbow soreness. All signs point to nothing serious at the moment, which is good news. Anderson is 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA and a solid 1.10 WHIP this season for the BayBears, and is coming off of elbow troubles, which ended his 2011 season early. The blessing in disguise is the chance given to right-hander Conrad Flynn (2011) to fill in for the BayBears. Flynn has not disappointed, either, allowing a pair of runs on five hits in a start on Monday, and pitching a scoreless inning of relief on Thursday. There has been some speculation that Flynn could be in the 2012 Osprey starting rotation, but we shall wait and see what happens with this latest twist of the road. Kudos also to left-handed pitcher Taylor Sinclair (2008), who has been very good since his promotion to Mobile, with a 1-0 mark, a 1.47 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98.

– Class A Advanced Visalia (24-23): They’re over .500 and six games out of first as May winds down, not a bad spot for the Rawhide to be in at the moment. And it’s always cool to see three former Osprey leading any full-season team in hitting. Chris Owings (2009) is at .325, as he continues to blister the baseball with 13 doubles, a pair of triples, nine home runs and 21 RBIs. Raywilly Gomez (2009) continues to hit like, well, Raywilly Gomez, with a .307 batting average, 13 RBIs and a .407 on-base percentage. And Jonathan Griffin (2011) checks in with a .305 mark, with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. The pitching side – mixed. Anthony Meo (2011) went on the DL recently, and Raymond Hernandez (2011) has come back down to Earth after an incredible start. The 1-2 left-handed combination of David Holmberg (2010) and Andrew Chafin (2011) has been awesome, however. Holmberg is 6-3 with a 3.25 ERA, 60 Ks in 55 1/3 innings pitched, and a WHIP of 1.05. Chafin has been touched up a bit more as of late, but is also coming off of a 12-strikeout performance. He’s 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings pitched.

– Class A South Bend (24-23): OK, we know that Archie Bradley (2011) will be good … 6-1, 2.80 ERA, WHIP of 1.02 is right on target with where some were expecting him to be … but how about some former Osprey in the bullpen? Seth Simmons (2011) has indeed been good, with a 2-0 mark, 1.25 ERA, and a WHIP of 0.97. The WHIP of Kable Hogben (2009) is a little better – 0.79 – and he’s 2-1 with a 1.54 ERA. Plus, the 2011 Osprey Closing Time Duo of DJ Johnson (1-2, 4 saves, 2.25 ERA) and Matt Sample (2-1, 3 saves, 2.41 ERA) have been good at the end of games. They have combined to finish 21 of 47 Hawks games. The Hawks have also begun to heat up at the plate, especially former Osprey outfielder Ender Inciarte (2009), who has the average back up to .312.

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