Countdown – T-minus 65 days until the Home Opener, 63 Days before the 2011 Season opens at Helena, and at least another week before the latest edition of the Osprey Record Book is done. Sorry, but Sunday turned into a fun day …
– First, a quick reminder that the Osprey Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, from 3-8 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula.
– Bobby Borchering had started in quite the funk for the Visalia Rawhide this season. Let’s hope Sunday’s effort goes a ways in breaking that up. We here at Bird Droppings hopes the same thing can happen to Pedro Ciriaco, and soon.
– Speaking of Visalia, their games attract runs like free food brings people out of the woodwork. Sunday’s win was the first time in four games this season that one of the teams involved scored at least 10 runs.
– Speaking of a ton of runs, Mobile and Mississippi combined for 24 of them on Sunday, with the Braves earning a 14-10 win. Five of the BayBears runs came off the bat of … yup, Paul Goldschmidt, who cranked out a RBI single and a grand slam in the slugfest. Through 10 games, Goldy is 10th in hitting (.364), and leads the Southern League in home runs (6), RBIs (15), slugging pct. (.939) and OPS (1.439). Teammate Taylor Harbin (2007 Osprey) is fourth in the league in hitting with a .387 mark.
– More on the former Osprey in the farm system can be found both here and here. Also an interesting read from Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro on how close the D-backs are to having a great farm system, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
– Good signs are arriving about the early season performance of former Osprey pitcher Esmerling Vasquez, especially when everyone seems to have notice the newfound bite on his curveball.
– Lyle Overbay explores one of the great mysteries of baseball life – why some guys can hit against certain teams. Overbay is a .400 hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, whom he now gets to see on a semi-regular basis with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
– Also looks like Daniel Schlereth has found a home in the Detroit Tigers bullpen, and is part of a youth movement being used on the road to (Jose) Valverde.
– Nice piece we stumbled across on former Osprey reliever Evan Scribner and his odd road to the closer role for the Tucson Padres. Scribs has been up-and-down out of the gate, with an 0-1 record, two saves, and a 6.43 ERA. In five outings, he has struggled in two of them, and been virtually unhittable in the other three. Ahh, the life of a closer …
– The South Bend Silver Hawks are struggling out of the gate – again – but the offense was helped a bit by seeing a somewhat familiar face – Kevin Eichhorn. Eichhorn (2008-10 Osprey), now in the Detroit Tigers organization, was touched up in his second start this season on Sunday, allowing four hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched against the Hawks. Eichhorn also struck out six batters, and retired the order the first time through, but Raul Navarro (2010) drilled a two-out single in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader. Keon Broxton (2009) also had a bunt single (he’s at .302 for the season), while Chris Jarrett (2010) walked twice in the SB setback.
– Here’s today’s minor league schedule and former Osprey who get the call on the mound:
AAA – Reno (7-3) vs. Colorado Springs
AA – Mobile (7-3) vs. Hagerstown
A Adv. – Visalia (4-7) at Stockton
A – South Bend (2-8) at Great Lakes – lefty David Holmberg (2010) will get the start for the Silver Hawks.
T-minus 71 days until the Osprey open at Ogren Park Allegiance Field, 69 days before they invade Helena and look to take down the Brewers, and 68 days (at the most) before they meet the media.
Also, a significant development today in Missoula … the sun is making a basically solo appearance in the sky. Usually, it’s hiding behind a multitude of clouds, or trying to peer through a thin layer of cloud cover. We welcome it’s appearance with mainly clear skies today. Another sign that the season is getting closer by the day …
– Former Osprey infielder Perdo Ciriaco (2005) showed off his glove skills on this line drive during the opener for the Indianapolis Indians. Ciriaco was one of the last cuts for the Pittsburgh Pirates before they broke camp this past Spring Training. The glove is there, but Ciriaco is just 2-for-18 (.111) in the first five games this season, with two stolen bases.
– Jarrod Parker’s 2011 debut was one to forget, as Double-A Mobile lost for the first time this season, 10-4, to Carolina. Parker (2007) was tagged for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) had two hits and a RBI, while Taylor Harbin (2007) continued his strong start, collecting another hit and run scored, and watched as his average fell … to .571.
– A myriad of notes from Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro, including the threat of a “Goldy Watch”-type piece (that’s what we called it last season when we were tracking the Goldschmidt Home Run Train) and where Raul Navarro (2010) was ticketed to head to, which changed by the time March was over.
– Baltimore’s fans are apparently feeling it, so to speak, after their fast start. A couple of them were giving Jose Valverde (2000) the business during the Detroit Tigers’ series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Nice to know fellow Osprey Daniel Schlereth (2008) had his back. By the way, Valverde has two saves in two tries, and Schlereth has allowed just a run on three hits and two walks in his first four innings of work.
And here’s your little-known fact of the day. In the movie Major League 2, which had all of the game-related footage shot inside Camden Yards in Baltimore, the bullpen scenes involving Charlie Sheen were actually shot in the visitor’s bullpen, which is behind the O’s bullpen in the Camden Yards layout. There’s also a walkway right above the bullpen bench area, which you can notice in this clip.
– The players at Extended Spring Training are back to work, after taking a short break. The grind will include six days of work, and a day off, each week. Mike Belfiore (2009), who is on the South Bend DL by expected to be on the Visalia pitching staff before long, is joined by 2010 former Osprey Robby Rowland and Stephen Cardullo, among others.
Word has it that the rims have been loosened, finally, at Reliant Stadium. For anyone who listened to the radio broadcast of the men’s college basketball title game on Monday, former Georgetown head coach John Thompson referred often to the “tight rims” as shots for both teams were going in and out of the cylinders. Let’s hope the Osprey pitchers don’t run into tight strike zones this season.
The funny thing uttered this morning – if any starting Major League pitcher could hold their opponents to the success rate at the plate of Butler’s made field goals from the title game (which, in baseball terms, would be .188), they’ll likely win the Cy Young.
Which begs the question – do you know which Osprey pitcher, with at least 65 innings pitched, holds the record for lowest opponents’ batting average for a single season? We will post the answer on Thursday.
– Carlos Gonzalez (2003 Osprey) did something in 2010 that no other former Missoula Osprey has been able to do since the organization took flight in 1999 … be in the Top 3 in a Major League MVP vote. And you would think that, now, with a lengthy contract and job security, a player could have a tendency to allow that success to carry him for a bit.
But CarGo is not one of those guys – especially when you set a goal like putting up a 40 HR/40 steal season. If he does pull off the 40/40 trick, he would be the first player ever from Venezuela to achieve the single-season milestone.
– More CarGo – partially because a miniature version could be coming soon to an Ogren Park Allegiance Field near you – how about this catch?
– Speaking of former Osprey playing at elevation … until a blister ended his night early, former Osprey pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (1999-2000) looked good in his first start of the 2011 season.
– Another former Osprey off to a good start is Miguel Montero. Miggy (2002-03 Osprey) has gone 6-for-12 with a home run and two RBIs in the first three games. Montero also had an extra-base hit taken away from him by … CarGo. It was Montero whom Gonzalez robbed in the 7th with that diving catch on Saturday.
– More Miggy – he apparently had what Arizona Republic reporter Nick Piecoro called an “interaction” with outfielder Chris Young following the Saturday loss at Coors Field. It also sounds like D-backs manager Kirk Gibson likes the fight his team is showing.
– Gerardo Parra (2006) also had his own incident on Saturday night, with of all people, Jorge De La Rosa. Piecoro has pieces of the story, but there’s a missing piece floating somewhere, and the origins may only be known to the two people involved.
Coming Thursday – Extended Spring Training stuff, those amazing Pirates, and the fulfillment of the trivia quotent for the week.
Here’s hoping that people are nice to you on Friday. While it will be Opening Day for everyone else who did not play on Thursday in the Major Leagues, it will also be … April Fool’s Day. So keep your head on a swivel.
– A piece of Osprey information first – the annual Osprey Job Fair will be held on April 19, from 3-8 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula. More information will be coming soon to the club’s website, www.missoulaosprey.com.
– As has been the case in Bird Droppings this month, anytime we mention a player would be in contention for a roster spot (Pedro Ciriaco and Jordan Norberto, anyone?), the opposite ends up happening. Now, we could call it a curse, but we’re citing other sources with this information, so we deny any and all bad ju-ju associated with such moves.
That being said, hours after we mentioned he was in the mix for a relief position in the bullpen, right-hander Esmerling Vasquez was sent to Triple-A Reno, despite having a solid spring.
– In Nick Piecoro’s blog, a scout asseses the D-backs player-by-player. The assessments include some good stuff on the beforementioned Norberto.
– Charles Brewer (2009) danced with perfection in his last spring outing, pitching 4 2/3 perfect innings in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ exhibition game with Monterry of the Mexican League. Brewer’s final line – 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0BB, 5K. Brewer allowed a single and back-to-back home runs before getting that final out of the fifth, plus also managed to lay down a sacrifice bunt. He also picked up the win in an 11-4 D-backs’ rout.
– Also playing in that game – Monterry third baseman Agustin Murillo, who played with the Osprey in 2003.
– The Cactus League finale – a 15-8 D-backs win over the Chicago Cubs – also featured former Osprey making appearances as the teams were in split-squad for the last time during Spring Training. Kyle Greene (2008), Bobby Stone (2008-09-10) and Roidany Aguila (2009-10), who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, played in the win, while Vasquez pitched an inning of one-hit, two-strikeout relief.
– Former Osprey catcher Richie Rowland (2010) did not stay “retired” long. After ending his term with the D-backs, the son of former Major League backstop Rich Rowland has signed a contract to play with Traverse City of the Frontier League. Richie’s younger brother, Robby, will be in Extended Spring Training, for now, with the D-backs.
– One other former Osprey let out where they were headed within their social media circles on Wednesday. Third baseman Matt Helm is headed to South Bend, and will spend a lot of his time in the lineup at third base. Helm was forced to learn first base and the outfield in South Bend last season to make way for prospects Bobby Borchering and Matt Davidson, and moved back to third when he rejoined the Osprey. Helm, just in case you forgot, played with the Osprey in the 2009 postseason, and then joined the club for the second half of the 2010 campaign.
– One other note – official rosters for the minor-league affiliates will not be released until Saturday or Sunday. Once we have an idea, we will post the information here, and have a complete look at all of the former Osprey placed on full-season rosters in a story on Monday, which will be send to the local media and appear on the team’s website.
OK, so this entry, coming on what is known as “Bracket Monday” will have nothing to do with a bracket of any sort, unless you were creating one to see whom Paul Goldschmidt would outlast in camp for the D-backs first base job. In which case, you bracket officially became busted on Sunday.
– The Arizona Diamondbacks made a bunch of roster moves over the weekend. The good news first – everyone on the 40-man roster now is under contract, including a handful of former Osprey. Those players who signed their one-year deals were right-handed pitchers Yonata Ortega, Daniel Stange and Esmerling Vasquez; left-handed pitcher Jordan Norberto; catcher John Hester; and outfielder Gerardo Parra.
– The inevitable news … the beginning of trimming the roster. Read about the former Osprey who were sent back to minor-league camp here.
– The D-backs’ now have 40 players in Major League camp, 32 on the 40-man roster and 8 non-roster players. One of those non-roster players – 2010 Osprey alum Adam Eaton, whom apparently reported to minor-league camp in great shape after working out with his former Miami University teammates in the off-season. Here’s a story from his hometown newspaper getting into more on his off-season.
– Here’s a story that ran in Sunday’s Arizona Republic on former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. What might have been …
– Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro blogs about the minors, including the potential rotations in both Mobile and Visalia. A number of former Osprey are included in those rotations, and could see more, since the fifth spots are still up for grabs. They’ll start playing minor-league spring games on Tuesday.
– Another nugget that Piecoro sharea is that 17-year-old prospect Wanger Mateo would start his stateside pro career with a short-season club – which means Yakima, Missoula or in the Arizona Rookie League. Mateo – who was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, but concerns about his vision caused the Cards to void his deal – hit .257 with four home runs and 45 RBIs in 67 Dominican Summer League games in 2010. And if you haven’t seen the video … this was done about two years ago, but it shows a bit of Mateo’s ability.
– By the way, a big thank you to all of those who visited the Osprey booth at the 2011 Kids Fair, and who participated in the Kids National Anthem tryouts.
– The Missoula Osprey’s biggest and most successful community program is the Hit the Books Reading Program, which begins today in 31 Missoula-area elementary schools. The 2010 Osprey Hit the Books Reading Program encouraged over 4,000 area students to read over 50,000 books, and over $100,000 of prizes were awarded to students by the Osprey.
– It must be getting close to spring – Ollie Osprey was spotted about this weekend. In fact, there’s photo evidence of such. And, yes, Ollie has a lot of friends on Facebook, close to 3,500! He’s closing in on the single-game attendance record now …
– There’s some thought that D-backs’ outfielder, and former Osprey, Gerardo Parra (2006) could see more time in left field than planned originally. A lot has to do with Xavier Nady’s arm, which could also complicate the situation at first base.
– Chris Owings finally made his spring debut this weekend. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (quickly becoming a favorite among the Osprey staff) caught up with him and got the low-down on the debut through Owings’ eyes.
– Close to 80 former Osprey have rolled into the Salt River Fields complex and have reported for minor-league Spring Training camp. Four weeks from now, they’ll be either on their way to play on a full-season squad, or preparing for the grind of Extended Spring Training.
– Here’s some other information on Rusty Ryal (2005) heading to Japan. He’s not the only former Osprey in Japan, as Tony Barnette (2006) has headed back for a second season. The piece that includes Ryal does not include Barnette, although Tony did pitch as high as Triple-A in 2009.
– Speaking of Barnette, he is looking to improve on a 4-5, 5.99 ERA season in 2010. The Yakult Swallows play in Japan’s Central League. If you dare, or if you can read Japanese, here’s Barnette’s player page on the team’s website. Also, check out the beard … well-done, in our opinion.