Rob Rasmussen was having a perfectly good home debut with the Albuquerque Isotopes on June 15 when everything went sideways.
It actually had nothing to do with how he was pitching at the time. Through four innings, the left-hander had allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
Then the Memphis Redbirds started throwing at his teammates and a bench-clearing brawl followed in the bottom of the fourth.
"That was my first bench-clearing (brawl)," Rasmussen said. "It was a very interesting experience. It was pretty crazy. It's part of the game, so it's good to experience it."
The unfortunate thing was it caused a lengthy delay in the game, a delay that Rasmussen said ultimately affected him. When he went back out in the fifth, he gave up two hits and two walks without recording an out. All of those baserunners ended up scoring as Memphis rallied to tie the game 8-8.
"He was pretty good," Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy said. "Then we had the delay and he kind of got caught up in that. He seemed to have lost his command.
"But those first four innings were pretty good. He was down in the zone, he seemed to be handling himself well in his first start in Albuquerque. Then we had to have that … intermission."
Albuquerque went on to win that game, 13-10. Rasmussen, though, was left to reflect on a missed opportunity.
"Obviously, it's something you normally don't encounter," he said. "But at the same time, it's a learning process for me. You have to treat that like a rain delay. With all the commotion that happened, sitting around and watching, I should have treated it as a rain delay and kept myself loose, kept myself in that ballgame longer.
"I was happy with the four innings I did throw at the start. That fifth inning kind of bothered me. If I can take it as a learning experience and learn from it that will be the best thing for me."
The Dodgers' No. 20 prospect has definitely had a tough learning curve so far in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He has gone 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA, allowing 15 runs in 14 1/3 innings, in three starts. This comes after amassing a 3-3 record with a 2.42 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A Chattanooga.
The former UCLA standout remains confident, however, that Triple-A will be good for him in the long run.
"Everyone talks about how the ball flies here and what not," Rasmussen said. "It's something I think is going to be good for me. I've always generated a lot of flyballs. It's going to be good for me to force myself to learn to get those ground balls, so the park still plays like a normal park. It's something that advancement-wise will benefit me a lot."
Venture forth: Another prospect who recently made his Triple-A debut with mixed results is Omaha right-hander Yordano Ventura. The Royals' No. 3 prospect can run his fastball up to 100 mph but he has found the PCL a tougher place to pitch. Through four starts Ventura is 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA, allowing 20 hits and 10 walks in 19 2/3 innings while striking out 18.
Walk this way: Tacoma will welcome another of the Mariners' top prospects when Taijuan Walker makes his debut, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday vs. Fresno. Walker, ranked No. 1 for Seattle and No. 5 in all of the Minor Leagues, went 4-7 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Jackson. The right-hander struck out 96 batters in 84 innings in the Southern League.
Roger that: With injuries mounting in the outfield in San Francisco, Fresno's Roger Kieschnick could soon earn his first trip to the Majors. The nephew of former big leaguer Brooks Kieschnick, Roger has managed to stay healthy and productive this season, batting .278 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs for the Grizzlies. He is the only healthy outfielder on the 40-man roster who is not in San Francisco.