Florida State League Notebook

By MLB.com | June 14, 2005 8:08 AM

Brevard County Manatees (Milwaukee Brewers)
LOSING STREAK: The Brevard County Manatees dropped all seven contests last week, extending their losing streak to a season-high nine games. The Manatees lost three of those games by one run. Brevard County played a heartbreaker on June 7 at home when the Jupiter Hammerheads completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 win in the 11th inning. The Manatees then traveled to St. Lucie to face the Mets and started a three-game series against the Vero Beach Dodgers with a doubleheader on June 12.

NO NO-HITTER: Even though the Manatees were shutout, 10-0, in Sunday's opener, they did manage to snap Vero Beach starter Justin Orenduff's no-hitter that had lasted through 7 1/3 frames. Drew Anderson and Adam Heether hit back-to-back, line-drive singles to right field, while starter Ty Taubenheim (8-2) swallowed the loss after allowing eight runs in five frames.

SEEING STARS: Right-handed pitchers Ty Taubenheim and Carlos Villanueva, outfielder Steve Moss and catcher Lou Palmisano were selected to play in the FSL All-Star Game in Clearwater. Taubenheim, who was the top All-Star pick on the Manatees' online poll, is 8-2 in 13 starts. Villanueva remains undefeated in 10 starts, notching five wins. Moss has blasted six homers and collected 24 RBIs, while Palmisano has three round-trippers and 22 RBIs.

Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies)
SPOTLIGHT ON CLEARWATER: All-Star Weekend at Bright House Networks Field gets started on Wednesday with Happy Hour at Frenchy's Tiki Pavilion. Then on Saturday, the Yuengling Home Run Derby is at 6 p.m. ET, with first pitch of the All-Star game at 7:35 p.m. The largest fireworks presentation in stadium history will conclude the weekend's festivities.

TOPPING TAMPA: One week after recording its most lopsided win, a 15-5 defeat of Dunedin, Clearwater topped itself once again, shutting down Tampa 15-0 last Tuesday. Keith Bucktrot pitched seven scoreless innings in the contest, while Bryan Hansen went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. ... By taking two out of three games against the Yankees last week, Clearwater won its second series of the season and both have come at Tampa's expense. The Threshers have also split four-game series with Brevard County and Palm Beach.

WHO'S HOT: Bryan Hansen had a productive week at the plate, going 7-for-19 (.368). The 22-year-old first baseman had four doubles on the week, giving him six this season.

Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs)
HIGH FIVE: The Daytona Cubs won seven of nine games last week, including a string of five consecutive victories. Daytona started the week losing a three-game series against the Vero Beach Dodgers but rebounded by winning two of three contests against the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Cubs swept Palm Beach over the weekend, including a doubleheader sweep on Sunday.

WHO'S HOT: The Cubs blasted five homers during their 17-5 victory over Jupiter on June 8, and hit six long balls in the second game of a twinbill on June 11, topping Palm Beach, 11-8. Kevin Collins, Matt Creighton and Scott Moore contributed to each slugfest. On June 8, Collins hit a solo shot, Creighton drove in two with one swing and Moore -- who went 4-for-4 with five RBIs -- slammed a three-run shot. After he sent one over the wall in the opener, Collins had two homers on June 11, as did Creighton, while Moore slugged one.

SHINING STARS: Pitchers Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall and Randy Wells, outfielder Chris Walker and infielder Scott Moore will play in the FSL All-Star Game in Clearwater on June 18. Daytona's manager, Richie Zisk, pitching coach Mike Anderson and hitting coach Mike Micucci will run the East since the Cubs won the division in 2004.

Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto Blue Jays)
WHO'S HOT: Chip Cannon is practically blowing Florida State League pitchers out of the water for the Blue Jays. The left-handed swinging first baseman is hitting a blistering .520 (13-for-25) during his current seven-game hitting streak while crushing a double, three home runs and driving in 13. His biggest RBI came Sunday in the bottom of the ninth against the Tampa Yankees, when he singled in the winning run for Dunedin's wild 15-14 win. The Auburn University product also drew six walks to give him a sparkling .613 on-base percentage.

GOOD, CLEAN, WET FUN: Tuesday will see the first of two "Wet & Wild Days" at Knology Park in Dunedin. The Blue Jays will play the Lakeland Tigers in a special 12:00 p.m. game where fans are encouraged to bring water toys to the game. The Blue Jays are charging $1 for all fans in Dunedin Parks & Recreation groups, and all hot dogs and sodas cost a single dollar as well. The second Wet & Wild Day is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20 against the Clearwater Threshers.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins)
WASHED OUT: The Miracle lost out on a chance to gain some ground in the Florida State League's West Division thanks to two rainy days. Five games against the Tampa Yankees were cancelled on June 9-10 because of rainstorms in the area.

WHO'S HOT: FSL All-Star outfielder Denard Span was able to maintain his focus during the rain-shortened week, going 6-for-22 with a pair of multi-hit games. His best effort came during Saturday's 3-2, seven-inning loss to the Lakeland Tigers, when he went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Span is hitting .347 on the year, tops in the FSL.

Jupiter Hammerheads (Florida Marlins)
AGUILAR'S ARRIVAL: After placing left-handed starter Jeff Gogal on the DL Thursday, the Hammerheads signed another left-handed starter to replace him -- Ray Aguilar, formerly of the Atlanta Braves organization. ... In three years in the organization, Aguilar made it as high as Triple-A Richmond last season, but struggled there with a 2-4 record and 6.21 ERA in nine starts. The South El Monte, Calif. native pitched much better with Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Greenville, posting a combined 2.28 ERA in 11 starts. ... So far, the reviews in 2005 have been positive. Aguilar debuted last Monday with the win in Jupiter's 6-5 victory over St. Lucie. The 25-year-old gave up three runs on six hits in five innings of work.

SHARK BITTEN: The Hammerheads suffered a rare blowout loss last Wednesday, losing to Daytona, 17-5. The 12-run defeat was Jupiter's worst of the season, eclipsing an 11-0 shutout at the hands of Fort Myers last month.

RECOVERING: Although his baseball future is far from certain, catcher Ryan Blake is recovering well from the severe injuries he received in an April collision at home plate. In a terrifying play with Palm Beach's John Santor, Blake shattered his fibula, dislocated his ankle, tore all his ankle ligaments and suffered a concussion. After three weeks in the hospital, Blake began rehabbing his leg and finally started walking last week.

"The doctors told me it was a bad injury and I wasn't going to be able to come back this year," Blake told the Jupiter Hometown News. "I am way ahead of schedule and there is a chance I could come back at the end of August or in September to hit. If I can come back and catch, I can. And if not, the team told me not to worry about it, I will be able to play, it just might not be behind the plate." ... Should the offensive-minded Blake not be able to catch again, a move to first base is a possibility.

Lakeland Tigers (Detroit Tigers)
ALMOST THERE: Had Dunedin not outslugged the Tampa Yankees on Sunday, the Lakeland Tigers would have had reason to celebrate. As it was, the Tigers clinched a share of the West Division first-half title with a 5-1 victory over the Fort Myers Miracle on Sunday. ... The win gave Lakeland a 42-19 record and a five and a 5.5-game lead over the second-place Blue Jays. Dunedin scored seven runs in the fourth inning and scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to keep its scant hopes alive. ... Tigers starter Randor Bierd was dominant in retiring the first 13 Fort Myers batters he faced before Kyle Geiger drew a walk with one out in the fifth inning. Bierd allowed one hit -- a single to J.R. Taylor in the sixth -- and an unearned run. Bierd picked up his first win with Lakeland and has a 5-2 record with three teams in the organization.

JUSTIN-CREDIBLE: Justin Verlander came out on top of a pitchers' duel with Fort Myers ace Errol Simonitch as Lakeland won the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, 3-2. The Tigers won the nightcap, 2-1. ... Verlander pitched all seven innings, giving up two runs -- one earned -- on six hits. He struck out 10 and improved his record to 8-2. The eight wins are tied for the Florida State League lead with three others, including teammate Nathan Bumstead. Verlander leads the league with a tidy 1.71 ERA and 95 strikeouts. ... "He had a much better change-up tonight than in his last start," Lakeland catcher Russ Cleveland told the Lakeland Ledger. "When that guy has all three pitches going for him, you can forget it as a hitter."

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: More rain forced the cancellation of a game between the Tigers and Sarasota Reds on June 7. A makeup date has not been scheduled because the Reds don't visit Lakeland again in the first half of the season.

Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals)
WHO'S HOT: Left-hander Eric Haberer ran his record to a perfect 3-0 since joining Palm Beach on May 30 by pitching seven innings of shutout ball against Vero Beach on June 9, stretching his scoreless inning streak to 16 2/3 in the process. The Cardinals' 2004 third-round draft pick scattered six hits and three walks while striking out two in Palm Beach's 1-0 win. ... Center fielder Reid Gorecki hit .280 (7-for-25) with a home run and six RBIs and was a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases last week.

WHO'S NOT: In two starts last week, 6-foot-6 right-hander Tyler Adamczyk lasted just 8 2/3 innings, allowing 11 earned runs on 13 hits, including a whopping seven home runs. The 22-year-old did manage to get the win in an 8-5 victory over St. Lucie on June 6, but was demoted to Low-A Quad Cities after giving up six runs on nine hits -- including four homers -- in just 2 2/3 innings against Daytona on June 11.

ALL-STARS: Shortstop Brendan Ryan and closer Mark Worrell will be the Cardinals' two representatives at the 2005 Florida State League All-Star game. Ryan -- rated by Baseball America as the St. Louis Cardinals seventh-best prospect -- made the team despite spending most of the season on the disabled list. Ryan has just one homer and 12 RBIs in 26 games with a .323 average. The 23-year-old hit .359 in April before being bothered by a nagging quadricep injury and a strained hamstring, which landed him on the DL May 16. ... Worrell -- no relation to Major League closers and brothers Todd and Tim Worrell -- leads the FSL in appearances with 27 and is tied for second in the league with 14 saves. The 22-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed a run in 12 of his last 13 outings and has a 2.43 ERA on the season. ... Chris Lambert and Cody Haerther were also chosen but will be unavailable due to promotions to Double-A Springfield.

ONE-HIT WONDERS: The Cardinals managed just one hit -- a second-inning infield single by Terry Evans -- against Vero Beach on June 9, but were still able to eke out a 1-0 win when they scored without the benefit of a hit in the seventh inning and Eric Haberer, Andy Cavazos and Mark Worrell managed to shut out the Dodgers despite allowing eight hits and four walks.

SHUTOUT KINGS: With their 1-0 blanking of the Dodgers on June 9, the Cardinals increased their league-leading shutout total to seven. Vero Beach has thrown the second-most with six. The Cardinals have been held scoreless four times, themselves, but only once since May 7.

SERIES PROBLEMS: Palm Beach has yet to win a series in June. The Cards split a four-game set with Jupiter to start the month, but then lost two of three to the Mets and Dodgers before getting swept by Daytona.

Sarasota Reds (Cincinnati Reds)
THE PERFECT GAME: Saturday was not a good day to be a Clearwater Thresher. Not only did Sarasota score a season-high 17 runs on 20 hits, but three Reds pitchers also tossed a six-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts and no walks. ... Ben Himes led the Reds offense, going 3-for-5 with three doubles and four RBIs. Chris Dickerson went 3-for-6 with a triple and four RBIs. Joey Votto had a two-run double that was the big hit in an eight-run eighth inning. Surprisingly, Sarasota hit only one home run in the game. A solo shot by light-hitting shortstop Will Hudson -- his first of the season -- made it 8-0 in the seventh inning. ... Sarasota starter Bobby Basham went six innings and gave up five hits, He struck out seven to go to 4-2. Brock Till struck out three in two perfect innings and Joel Barreto allowed a hit in the ninth. ... Sarasota scored 15 runs earlier in the season, but needed almost every one of them in a 15-13 victory over Jupiter.

THE RAINY SEASON: More rain forced the cancellation of a game between the Reds and the Lakeland Tigers on June 7. A makeup date has not been scheduled because the Reds don't visit Lakeland again in the first half of the season. ... Rain also washed out a game against Dunedin on June 8, but that was made up as part of a doubleheader the following night.

ODDS AND ENDS: Sarasota won the second game of the June 8 doubleheader, 2-1, when catcher Miguel Perez scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch. Mark Schramek had singled in a run earlier in the inning. ... Basham gave up two runs on eight hits in five innings to get the win in a 9-6 victory over the Lakeland Tigers on June 6. ... Javon Moran hit his first home run of the season in a 4-3 loss to Lakeland on June 5.

ST. LUCIE STREAKING: The Mets finished 5-2 on the week, including a season-long five-game winning streak from June 7-11. The Mets also recorded their second sweep of the season, taking a three-game set against the Brevard County Manatees.

St. Lucie Mets (New York Mets)
METS RALLY CRY: All of the Mets victories against Brevard County were come-from-behind wins, including one game that included two comebacks. On June 8, St. Lucie won 9-8 on Andy Wilson's three-run double in the bottom of the ninth, in a game in which they trailed by 6-1 and 8-6 counts. ... On Thursday, the Mets won 2-1, with Shawn Bowman's RBI single in the 11th sealing the win. Jamar Hill tied the score at 1-1 in the ninth with an RBI double. ... In the series finale, St. Lucie scored four unanswered runs against the Manatees in the late innings to win, 4-2, with Wilson's two-run homer in the sixth being the decisive blow.

HUMBER OVER THE HUMP: Phil Humber, the Mets' top pick in 2004, recorded his first professional win in St. Lucie's 6-1 victory over Jupiter on June 11. The Mets right-hander had struggled mightily in his first two-plus months in the Minors, but Humber displayed dominant stuff against the Hammerheads, giving up one unearned run on four hits over seven innings while striking out five. Humber possesses a 1-5 record with a 5.61 ERA.

WHO'S HOT: Shawn Bowman extended his hitting streak to 10 games and hit .500 (13-for-26) with four homers, six runs scored and 12 RBIs on the week. Bowman also drove in runs in six of St. Lucie's seven games. ... Andy Wilson had a strong week, going 9-for-29 with five runs scored, two homers and eight runs batted in. ... Reliever Henry Owens gave up one hit while striking out four in five scoreless frames over two appearances and has not given up a run in his last 7 1/3 innings.

HOMER HAPPY: With 70 homers as of June 12, the Mets led the Florida State League in home runs by a wide margin. Vero Beach was next with 57 dingers.

Tampa Yankees (New York Yankees)
ALL-STAR UPDATE: Three Yankees pitchers -- Tyler Clippard, Abel Gomez and Paul Thorp -- were selected for the Florida State League All-Star Game, to be played on June 18th at Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater. Through Sunday's action, Clippard was 6-4 with a 3.71 ERA and 78 strikeouts, third-best in the league. Gomez was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 53 Ks in 56 1/3 innings. Thorp had a 1.93 ERA and 14 saves, one behind Chris Homer for the league lead.

15 TO WHAT?: On Tuesday, the Yankees suffered their worst loss of the season as Clearwater shut them out 15-0. Five days later, the Yankees scored 14 runs against Dunedin and lost 15-14. The Yanks hit four homers in the game -- their only long balls of the week -- but made four errors that led to nine unearned runs. The four errors capped a week of bad fielding, as Tampa committed at least one miscue -- and ten overall -- in all five of its games.

NON-HOME FIELD DISADVATAGE: Tampa has the best home record (21-8) in the league, but its performance away from Legends Field is another story. Through Sunday, the team is 8-23; only the Clearwater Threshers (2-26) are worse.

Vero Beach Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers)
AWARDS CEREMONY: Two Dodgers recently won notable awards. Andy LaRoche was the obvious choice as the Topps Florida State League Player of the Month for May, during which he batted .357 with 14 homers and 25 RBIs. Starting pitcher Justin Orenduff won the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week award thanks to his June 1 performance in which he fanned 12 batters in six scoreless innings. It's the second time he's won the award this season.

NOW THAT'S TOUGH LUCK: On Thursday, two Dodgers combined on a one-hitter -- and lost 1-0. Jonathan Figueroa allowed one hit in six scoreless innings before Beltran Perez took over. Perez pitched no-hit ball over the final two frames but surrendered an unearned run on a two-base error by center fielder Matt Kemp, a groundout and a squeeze bunt.

NO NO-NO: On Sunday, Orenduff came within two outs of pitching a seven-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against Brevard County. He went on to complete the game and the shutout, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out eight. The Dodgers swept the twinbill, outscoring the Manatees 19-1.

ALL-STAR UPDATE: Six Dodgers have been selected for the FSL All-Star Game: Third baseman Andy LaRoche, shortstop ChinLung Hu, second baseman Tony Abreu, pitcher Justin Orenduff, catcher Edwin Bellorin and outfielder Justin Ruggiano.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "We've got maybe a little older following, but that gives it the hometown feel which is neat. You get that feeling that you have the same people coming out and rooting for you every night and you get to know the fans on a personal basis which is cool." -- Dodgers outfielder Anthony Raglani to the Vero Beach Press Journal on the team's fan base.

Michael Echan, Nate Freiberg, Zach Hample, Eric Justic, Tim Leonard, Jason Ratliff and Marissa Rega all contributed to this notebook. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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