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IL News and Notes
07/05/2007 7:24 PM ET
BUFFALO BISONS
RED-HOT HERD: The Bisons have won 10 of their last 14 games to build a 3.5 game lead in the International League North Division. The Herd saw that lead slip to 0.5 games on June 24 before winning a three-game series at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2-1) and a four-game home-and-home series with Rochester (3-1). A lot of the work has been done on the road, as the Bisons have the second-best road record (26-17) in the League.

LAFFEY MAKES BISONS HISTORY: LHP Aaron Laffey became the first Bisons pitcher in the Modern Era to record six victories in a single month. Laffey was a perfect 6-0 with a 0.87 ERA in six games in June (45.0 IP, 42 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 38 K). He closed the month out in style, posting season-highs in innings (8.1) and strikeouts (9) in a 4-1 victory over Rochester on June 30. Though he joined the team halfway through May, Laffey leads the Bisons in complete games (2), is tied for the lead in wins (6) and is tied for 3rd in strikeouts (44).

ALL-STAR SLUGGER KEEPS SWINGING: First Baseman Ryan Mulhern has hit in six straight games and has eight multi-hit performances in his last 10 games. Since June 23, he has hit .415 (17-41) with nine RBI. Mulhern now sports the League's 6th highest average (.320) to go along with the 4th highest slugging percentage (.542). Mulhern also leads the Bisons in doubles (23), home runs (12) and RBI (49).

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
KNIGHTS LOSE KEY PLAYERS: The unfortunate part of being a minor league affiliate is that once your players play well, you lose them to the big club. For the Knights, that has been the case over the last few days. The Knights lead-off hitter and everyday left fielder Jerry Owens was recalled to Chicago on July 3. Owens had set a franchise record this season by reaching base safely in 32 consecutive games. The Knights pitching staff was dealt a blow, as starter Gavin Floyd was recalled to Chicago today. Floyd was the Knights' lone representative on the IL All-Star team. Floyd has gone 6-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 50 strikeouts in his last eight starts. Floyd's last start came on Sunday, when he threw five innings and gave up two earned runs. He also walked six and struck out six. Only one of the roster spots has been filled. Relief pitcher David Aardsma was optioned to Charlotte for the second time this season.

KNIGHTS SET ATTENDANCE RECORD: The July 4th celebration brought in a record crowd to Knights stadium. 15,427 fans attended the July 4th game between the Knights and Durham Bulls. The previous attendance record was 14,952 which was set at the 2006 July 4th game between the Knights and Norfolk Tides.

TIDBITS: Knights starting pitcher Lance Broadway has not allowed a stolen base this season. What makes this more impressive is that Broadway is a right-hander...The Knights have two players leading the League in fielding percentage at their respective positions. First baseman Casey Rogowski has a .995 fielding percentage and outfielder Ryan Sweeney has a 1.000 fielding percentage.

COLUMBUS CLIPPERS
CLIPPERS OF THE MONTH FOR JUNE: The Clippers announced that D'Angelo Jimenez was the Clipper of the Month for June and Chris Michalak was the Pitcher of the Month. Jimenez hit .356 (26-73) for the month with 3 HR and 13 RBI while scoring 13 runs. Michalak came back from the DL in June to post a 1-2 record with a 0.56 ERA in three appearances (two starts). He allowed just 1 ER in 15.0 innings while striking out 16 batters.

WELCOME BACK BRANDON: On Tuesday, the Clippers activated LHP Brandon Claussen from the DL. This marks Claussen's third season wearing a Columbus uniform. He was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 34th round of the 1998 draft. He progressed through the Yankees chain and got his first dose of Triple-A at Columbus in 2002. Claussen was the Clippers' Opening Day starter at Indianapolis, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 6.0 innings. His 2002 season was cut short due to a sore left elbow as he was placed on the DL for the remainder of the season on June 18 (had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL on June 25). He started 2003 in Tampa recovering from his surgery before being recalled to Columbus on May 26. On June 28 he made a spot start for the Yankees against the New York Mets (Win, 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). He was sent back to Columbus where he spent another month before being traded to Cincinnati on July 31 along with LHP Charlie Manning for 3B Aaron Boone. On December 7, 2006 Claussen was signed by the Washington Nationals and had spent all of 2007 on the Clippers DL recovering from left rotator cuff surgery.

NO FREE PASSES: Clippers reliever Arnie Munoz has faced 38 straight batters without allowing a walk over his last 11 appearances (11.0 IP). He has only allowed walks in seven of his 32 appearances this season.

DURHAM BULLS
HOMER HAPPY: Durham homered again yesterday, and now has a League-high 93 this season. Joel Guzman now leads the Bulls with 13 homers, one ahead of Chris Richard.

ORVELLA ON: Since being optioned from Tampa Bay, Chad Orvella has pitched 10 times for Durham, and has worked 11 scoreless innings. Orvella has allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out 13. Orvella also has picked up seven saves, including his last six outings.

SWITZER UP: Lefty Jon Switzer was promoted after Tuesday's game to Tampa Bay to replace the injured Al Reyes, who's now on the DL. Switzer allowed just one earned run in 17 appearances, a remarkable 0.41 ERA. Durham currently has 23 active players.

GOOD HOME COOKING: Durham finished 13-7 in a stretch of 16 of 20 at home. All of the games were against teams with winning records. Only one of the Bulls' last 25 games leading into the All-Star break involved a club with a sub-.500 record - last night's game in Charlotte. The Bulls lost 7-3.

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS
NO. 900 WILL BE COMING SOON: Indians manager Trent Jewett (898-879) is just two victories away from No. 900 in his managerial career. The 16th-year Pittsburgh Pirates employee and 10th-year Triple-A skipper reached his 200th victory in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.

LEADING THE WILD CARD: The Indians (47-38) lead the International League's Wild Card race over Louisville (46-40, 1.5 GB), Rochester (44-40, 2.5 GB) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (44-40, 2.5 GB).

BIG CROWDS ON THE 4TH: Wednesday night's crowd of 14,931 was the Tribe's largest of 2007. It also marked the club's 11th consecutive Fourth of July sellout at Victory Field.

LET'S PLAY 'EM ALL AT HOME: Indianapolis has posted an 18-4 record over its last 22 home games, but gone just 2-13 over its past 15 road affairs. The Indians are an IL-best 27-14 at home this year.

BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: Indians 1B Brad Eldred and 3B Russ Johnson belted back-to-back homers in a four-run bottom of the 1st on Wednesday night. It was Eldred's seventh Triple-A dinger of the season and Johnson's fifth long ball of the campaign. The Indians had not whacked back-to-back roundtrippers since LF Chris Aguila and RF Michael Ryan left the yard on May 14.

LEADING THE LOOP: Indianapolis leads the International League in team batting average (.274). The Indians also place 2nd in hits (781) and runs (403). Indians INF Brian Bixler places among IL leaders in triples (1st - 8), runs (5th - 53), stolen bases (T-5th - 19) and on-base percentage (9th - .393). UTIL Yurendell de Caster ranks among League leaders in on-base percentage (4th - .403) and walks (9th - 42).

BIXLER IS ON A ROLL: Tribe INF Brian Bixler enters Thursday night's affair with a 10-game hitting streak (.324 BA, 12-37, 5 R, 2 RBI). The 24-year-old is batting .300 with four HR and 32 RBI in 77 contests this year.

LOUISVILLE BATS
A NEW RECORD: LHP Brian Shackelford broke the Louisville franchise record for appearances by a pitcher Tuesday night. From 2003-2007, he has appeared in 167 games with the Bats. In his five-year Louisville career, Shackelford is 11-10 with three saves and a 3.59 ERA. He made his Major League debut with Cincinnati in 2005 and is 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA in 63 games with the Reds. Rich Batchelor set the old record of 166 games from 1994-1997 while with the Redbirds.

BACK-TO-BACK JACKS: For the third time this season, 1B Joey Votto and INF Aaron Herr hit back-to-back home runs last night versus the Indians. On April 8, Votto blasted a grand slam (the first of two this season) before Herr's solo shot versus Toledo. One batter later, Dewayne Wise also hit a solo shot for the Bats making it a three-homer inning on April 8. Herr and Votto's second back-to-back home run night was May 24 versus Buffalo.

STREAKING: INF Pedro Lopez is on an eight-game hitting streak (17-37) and has raised his batting average from .237 to its current mark of .310. Since the streak began on June 22, he is hitting .459. INF/OF Jeff Keppinger is also on an eight-game hitting streak; since June 26, he is batting .394 (13-33). He has hit safely in 49 of 55 games and has safely reached base in 51 of 55 games with Louisville this season.

PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: RHP Ricky Stone and INF/OF Jeff Keppinger were named Louisville Pitcher and Hitter of the Month for June. During the month, Keppinger batted .354 (35-99) with eight doubles, eight RBI, 10 walks and nine runs scored. He currently leads the IL with a .371 batting average. Stone, whose contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds June 29, went 1-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 13 games. Opponents hit just .048 (2-42) against him and he converted all six save opportunities.

NORFOLK TIDES
CLOSING IN: Tides closer Cory Doyne has 24 saves in 25 chances, a total that leads the IL and is 3rd in all of Minor League Baseball. The 25-year-old right-hander has already moved into 2nd on the Tides' single season list for most saves, trailing only Derek Wallace (26 in 1996) on the franchise list. Before allowing two runs on Tuesday night, Doyne had recorded 26.0 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to May 5, which was just two outs shy of Norfolk's franchise record of 26.2 innings, set by Royce Ring in 2006.

SERIES BUSINESS: The Tides have earned at least a split in each of their last seven series. Norfolk has won two and split four of their past six series, and the Tides have won seven, lost seven, and split nine series this year. Since dropping a season-low 14 games under .500 on June 10, the Tides have gone 14-8.

STREAKERS: Tides' outfielder Tike Redman had a 14-game hitting streak from June 18-July 2, over which he hit .344 (21-61) with a home run and seven RBI. That streak matched Norfolk's longest of the year, previously set by J.R. House in the first 14 games of the season. Tides' infielder Mike Cervenak is nearing the 14-game mark, having hit safely in nine straight games. With another hit tonight, Cervenak would have the tenth different 10-game hitting streak by a Norfolk Tide this season.

OTTAWA LYNX
TAKE ME OUT TO THE NICKELBACK CONCERT: Tonight, Lynx Stadium will see its first concert in almost 10 years, as Nickelback headlines a show that also features Daughtry, Puddle of Mudd and State of Shock. Lynx Stadium has hosted only one concert before, the Stardust Picnic in July 1998, featuring Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea. The Stadium also played host to the Opening Ceremonies for last summer's Ontario Summer Games and Molson SnoJam.

LOOKING BACK AT CANADIAN BASEBALL HISTORY: This month, Lynx fans will take time to look back on the first 15 seasons of Lynx baseball. Saturday, July 14 is the Lynx 15th Anniversary Celebration. Special guests F.P. Santangelo and Derek Aucoin will help us pay tribute to 15 seasons of baseball in the Nation's Capital! Local baseball fans will reminisce even more at the Lynx and the National Capital Amateur Athletics Association's Tribute to the Expos. Former Expos Rodney Scott, Claude Raymond, Oil Can Boyd and Delino DeShields headline the list of special guests who will be paying tribute to Canada's first Major League baseball team.

LINEUP SHAKEUP: Two Lynx starters made their Phillies debut this past weekend. RHP J.D. Durbin was promoted to start against New York, while LHP J.A. Happ got the call to face the Mets Saturday. Happ was returned to the Lynx rotation Tuesday. RHP J.C. Romero and RHP Anderson Garcia also made the trip to the City of Brotherly Love this week, while the Lynx got RHP Geoff Geary and RHP Yoel Hernandez from the big club and RHP Landon Jacobsen from Double-A Reading. RHP Ryan Cameron and C Tim Gradoville were transferred to Reading.

PAWTUCKET RED SOX
FINALLY A HAPPY JULY 4TH: The PawSox went undefeated on July 4 during the entire decade of the 1990's going a perfect 10-0 during that span (8-0 at home and 2-0 on the road). The winning streak ended on July 4 of 2000 when the Sox lost to the then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The Fourth of July this decade had not provided much reason for celebration as Pawtucket had dropped five of their first six July 4th games during the 2000's until edging the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees last night, 6-5.

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY: That victory last night also represented a milestone of sorts as the PawSox earned their first-ever win against the SWB Yankees after beginning this season 0-6 vs. the new Yankees Triple-A affiliate - going 0-3 both at home from April 13-16 and 0-3 in Moosic, PA from May 7-9. It might not be as dramatic as the 2004 ALCS when the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to stun the New York Yankees on their way to the World Series (we always enjoy mentioning that whenever we can), but the PawSox will look to continue their quest to come back from a 6 games to 0 deficit tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and then will have plenty of chances to make amends against the Yankees with 8 games vs. SWB over the final three and a half weeks of the regular-season. Ironically, the PawSox had dominated the former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons over parts of the last three seasons going 23-4 in their last 27 meetings while SWB was a Phillies' affiliate.

WE'LL TAKE THE SPLIT: The PawSox rolled to a 7-1 victory over Charlotte this past Tuesday night to gain a split of that 4-game series and avoid losing 3 of 4 games in a series for the fourth consecutive time. The PawSox lost 3 of 4 at Indianapolis from June 18-21, dropped 3 of 4 in Louisville from June 22-25, and lost 3 of 4 at home to Norfolk from June 26-29. They did salvage the split vs. Charlotte from June 30 - July 3, however. Pawtucket had won 3 of 4 in three straight series from June 1-12 (at Norfolk & Richmond and vs. Ottawa) along with a 4-game split vs. Richmond (June 14-17) leading up to their recent tailspin. Pawtucket is 7-11-5 in their first 23 series of the year. The Sox have been scheduled to play a 4-game series during every series since May 5 & 6 in Buffalo. That stretch has finally come to an end with this current 2-game set in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

KNOCK ON WOOD: The PawSox have used the Regular Disabled List just twice all season, and not since April 25 (Runelvys Hernandez). The only other time the Sox have put a player on the DL came on April 20 (Mike Burns). Last year the PawSox used the 7-day disabled list 12 times.

RICHMOND BRAVES
PACKING THEM IN: The crowd of 12,699 Wednesday for the Braves 7-6 win over Syracuse was the second largest in the history of The Diamond (the record of 12,772 was set July 4, 2001). The Braves have played in front of crowds of 11,000 or more in three straight games and five of their last eight games. Wednesday marked the 10th time the Braves have played before 10,000-plus this season.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER K: The Braves followed up their season-high 15-strikeout performance at Columbus Monday by fanning nine more Clippers Tuesday and 11 Syracuse Chiefs Wednesday. The Braves last four starting pitchers (Blaine Boyer, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kevin Barry and Ryan Baerlocher) have struck out 28 hitters in 20.1 innings.

STRONG ARMING: The Braves lead the League in percentage of opponents caught stealing (49-109, .450). Corky Miller leads the League's catchers in throwing runners out (30-64, .469). The Braves have racked up 25 outfield assists for the season (Richmond had 21 all of last year). Richmond has three of the 16 IL outfielders with five or more assists (T.J. Bohn and Gregor Blanco have six, Doug Clark has five).

ROCHESTER RED WINGS
YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE CARE OF NORTH DIVISION BUSINESS: The Red Wings enter tonight's game with a 15-9 record against North division rivals so far this season. Since the International League went to three divisions in 1998, Rochester has had only two winning divisional records (43-37 in 2003 and 41-38 in 2006). After the All-Star break Rochester will play 51 of their last 55 games vs. North division rivals.

BREAK ME OFF A WINNING RECORD: The Red Wings (44-40 record) need one more win in their final five games before the All-Star break to have their fourth consecutive winning record at the All-Star break. Rochester will need their third consecutive winning second half of the season to make a playoff push. Since 2005 the Wings have a 55-51 record after the All-Star break.

HOT WING: Infielder/Outfielder Tommy Watkins has a 10-game hitting streak batting .438 (16-35) with five doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored. Watkins is tied for the team lead with 23-multi-hit games (Garrett Jones).

DRINKS ARE ON ME!: For the fourth consecutive season the Rochester Red Wings will enjoy a three-day All-Star break. This is only the sixth three-day All-Star break (2004-2007, 1999 & 1996) Rochester has had since they began playing the Triple-A All-Star Game in 1988.

SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE YANKEES
BETTER THAN ALL-WRIGHT: With the Yankees' recent pitching successes, several performances have stood out, but LHP Chase Wright's may be the best of the bunch. The lefty has tossed two gems in his last two outings, picking up wins on June 24 vs. Syracuse and June 30 at Ottawa and allowing a combined seven hits and six walks while whiffing four in 14.0 scoreless innings pitched. Dating back to his June 17 start at Charlotte, Wright hasn't allowed a run in a 2007-team-best 14.1 innings. He's still got quite a ways to go to set the SWB franchise record, however: the Red Barons' Tim Mauser didn't surrender a run in 29.1 consecutive innings from May 15-June 1, 1991.

COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY: SWB's 6-1 record against Pawtucket in 2007 is certainly worth mentioning, but last night's doubleheader that wasn't was just another example of why rain has been the story of the teams' season series thus far. Based on the originally released schedule, last night's game would have been the ninth meeting between the teams rather than their seventh. Both of the teams' series earlier this season (April 13-16 in Pawtucket, May 7-10 in Moosic), originally scheduled for four games each, were both cut to three games by rain, with the May 10 rainout scheduled as part of last night's doubleheader. This now means that the second game of the August 8 doubleheader at PNC Field will actually be a make-up of a make-up. With a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for tonight, the trend could continue.

PICK YOUR CHAVEZ, PICK YOUR POISON: Yankees' hitters combined to bat .333 (9-27) on Wednesday night, but it was the two men named Chavez that gave the Red Sox' pitchers the most trouble. INF Angel Chavez and C Raul Chavez combined to go 3-7 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored. It was also the first time that both Raul and Angel homered in the same game. Angel's homer was important for another reason: with it, he's now hit in 10 straight games, the longest batting streak by a Yankee this season.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
EVERYONE GETTING INTO THE ACT: Every Chiefs starter picked up a base hit last night in Richmond. It was the third time in the last week that all nine Syracuse starters had a base hit. Yesterday the Syracuse starting nine managed 12 hits, on July 1 all starters had a hit with 14 base hits, and on June 27 Syracuse had only 10 hits but every starter had at least one knock.

CHIEFS STARTERS LASTING LONG: If you take away Jim Crowell's spot start to end the Norfolk series on July 3, over the past eight games Syracuse's starting pitching has been excellent. In the seven starts beginning with Victor Zambrano's seven innings versus Charlotte on June 27, Chiefs starters are averaging better than 6.2 innings per start. Zambrano, Jesse Litsch, Josh Banks, Mike MacDonald and Ty Taubenheim all have participated in the recent hot spell.

REHABBERS CONTINUE TO WORK THROUGH SYRACUSE: So far this season Syracuse has been a hot spot for rehabbing Blue Jays with an injured wing or foot that are trying to make their way back north of the border. OF Reed Johnson joined the Chiefs July 2 in Norfolk to become the fifth Major League rehabber to play for Syracuse this season. The others are RHP John Thomson, RHP Victor Zambrano, RHP Brandon League and C Gregg Zaun.

TOLEDO MUD HENS
ALL-STAR TRIO: The Toledo Mud Hens will be sending third baseman Mike Hessman and outfielders Ryan Raburn and Timo Perez to the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 11 in Albuquerque, NM. Hessman, the League leader in home runs (26) and RBI (84), will be making his first trip to the All-Star Game. Perez, also making his first trip to the All-Star Game, leads the IL in hits (103) and in doubles (30). This will be Raburn's second trip to the All-Star Game. He participated in last year's game at Fifth Third Field. Raburn leads the League in runs scored (60).

RIP-ROARIN' RAMON: Shortstop Ramon Santiago went on a season-high 16-game hit streak from June 14-30. In that time he batted .386 (29-75) with two home runs, six doubles, a triple, 13 runs, two stolen bases, and 10 RBI. It was the second-longest hit streak for the team this season. Outfielder Timo Perez had the longest hit streak for the Hens from April 5-24.

QUALITY CHIAVACCI: RHP Ron Chiavacci (7-5, 3.33) has been a main component to the Mud Hens' success. Since June 5, he has gone at least six innings and not allowed more than three earned runs in each start. In his last eight appearances, Chiavacci has a record of 6-1. Chiavacci leads the team with 10 quality starts and is 5th in the IL in ERA.

WHO'S (GETTING) ON FIRST?: Infielder Jack Hannahan has reached base in 59 out of 61 games he has started since April 14. Hannahan, who currently leads the League in on-base percentage at .428, only failed to reach base at Buffalo on June 3 and at home versus Ottawa on June 29.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.