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Bulls roster shaken up between rounds09/09/2008 6:21 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
MOOSIC, Pa. -- The Durham squad that arrived at PNC Field for Tuesday evening's Governors' Cup opener against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre looked decidedly different than the one that eliminated Louisville on Sunday night.
The Bulls roster got a major shakeup earlier in the day, with the biggest change being Dan Johnson's promotion to the parent club. Catcher Michel Hernandez, who was acquired only last week, also was promoted to Tampa Bay and Joel Guzman was designated for assignment. Rashad Eldridge and Craig Albernaz were called up from Double-A Montgomery to fill out the Bulls' roster.
Eldridge started in left field and hit ninth Tuesday night and Albernaz will join the club Wednesday.
Johnson was only 2-for-14 against the Bats, but he has been the anchor in the Durham lineup all season. He hit .307 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs this year. He drew 84 walks and fanned only 75 times. Johnson hit .231 with a homer and four RBIs against the Yankees this season. Guzman hit .248 with 20 homers and 72 RBIs during the season and was 1-for-8 in the opening round against Louisville.
"There's no way you can replace Dan Johnson," Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. "But you never know with who is here. Two days ago Matt Spring came in; got to play and was a hero. Losing Dan Johnson is losing a big bat. But when the big league club is in the hunt, you take whatever you need."
Montoyo said when he learned Johnson would be joining the Rays for their series against Boston, he was prepared to pencil Guzman in as the designated hitter. But after learning Guzman had been designated, he gave Eldridge got the nod. Eldridge hit .290 with five homers and 55 RBIs in the Southern League, where he earned a berth in the All-Star Game.
Albernaz, a defensive specialist, batted .340 in 14 games with Montgomery with a homer and nine RBIs. Overall, he hit .234 with two homers and 16 RBIs in a combined 94 at-bats at Montgomery and Vero Beach of the Class A Advanced Florida State League.
"Einstein knows that with losing Dan Johnson, there's no way you can be a stronger club," Montoyo said. "But the heart of the team is still here. We still have Jonny Gomes and Jon Weber and Jorge Velandia. All the other starters are still here."
Bouncing back: Montoyo said he doesn't foresee Game 2 starter Mitch Talbot having any problems, despite getting shelled by Louisville last Thursday. Talbot allowed seven runs on nine hits, a walk and a hit batsman in two innings against the Bats. He was 13-9 with a 3.86 during the regular season and has won 26 games in two years for the Bulls.
"The kid has won 20-something games the last two years in this league and you don't do that by coincidence," said Montoyo, who also managed Talbot in 2006 in Montgomery. "He's grown a lot over the last three years. He'll be ready. Plus, this is against a different team."
This and that: The Yankees designated Scott Patterson for assignment to clear a spot for Humberto Sanchez on the 40-man roster. Eric Wordekemper was promoted from Double-A Trenton to fill Patterson's spot on the roster. Wordekemper was 3-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 33 games (one start) for the Thunder. He did not pitch for Trenton in its victorious opening-round series against Portland in the Eastern League playoffs. He also appeared in two games for Tampa in the Florida State League.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.