Buffalo Bisons (Cleveland Indians)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Outfielder Ernie Young has hit .364 in his last nine games with a pair of home runs and 10 RBIs. ... While outfielder Ryan Ludwick has batted just .194 in his last eight games, he begins this week on a 5-for-16 (.313) roll.
PITCHING GLUT: With the promotion of right-handed pitcher Fausto Carmona from Double-A Akron, the Herd now has six starters rather than the customary five. The rotation includes right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, right-handed pitcher Kyle Denney, left-handed pitcher Brian Tallet, left-handed pitcher Billy Traber and right-handed pitcher Jason Davis.
SCARY MOMENT: Buffalo lost more than just a game and a six-game winning streak in its 11-9 defeat to Durham on June 26. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Denney was struck by a line drive off the bat of the Bulls' Joey Gathright and suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the game. Denney, who never lost consciousness, was taken to a local hospital for observation.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Five Bisons were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game, a record for the franchise. Catcher Ryan Garko (.273-13-47) was elected to the starting lineup, as was outfielder Ernie Young (.314-18-62) and second baseman Jake Gautreau (.290-14-39). Shortstop Brandon Phillips (.257-10-31) was selected as a reserve, as was right-handed pitcher Fernando Cabrera (6-0, 0.89). Buffalo manager Marty Brown will serve as the manager of the IL All-Stars in the game, which will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It just scares the hell out of everybody when something like that happens. It's like having one of your kids get hurt. You want to rush out there and help him but you've got to let [trainer] Todd [Tomczyk] do it." -- Bisons manager Marty Brown told the Buffalo News after right-handed pitcher Kyle Denney was struck by a line drive on June 26.
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Third baseman Greg Norton batted .324 in his last eight games and hit three home runs last week. ... Second baseman Ricky Gutierrez hit just .120 in his last seven contests and begins the week hitless in his last nine at-bats.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: First baseman Jorge Toca went 0-for-4 against Louisville on June 20 to end his 18-game hitting streak. It was one shy of the franchise record set by Tilson Brito in 1999.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Right-handed pitcher Jeff Bajenaru was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He is 2-1 with eight saves and a 1.30 ERA. The game will be played on July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I think, obviously, people look at us and think we're horrible. I feel we're not getting the breaks, and you watch the other teams and they're getting the breaks." -- Knights third baseman Jamie Burke told the Charlotte Observer.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, PART TWO: "This is probably going to sound like an awkward statement, but we're not really as bad as our record shows. And I'll fight anyone who says we are." -- Charlotte manager Nick Leyva told the Charlotte Observer. The Knights have lost 12-of-13 and have a 22-55 record, the worst in Triple-A baseball.
Columbus Clippers (New York Yankees)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: OF Michael Vento hit .407 in seven games last week, the ninth-best mark in the IL. He also tied for the league lead with 10 RBIs and had a pair of home runs. ... Left-handed pitcher Wayne Franklin is 0-2 in his last five appearances, having allowed six earned runs on six hits and four walks in four innings.
ROAD WARRIORS: Despite losing the last three games of its recent road trip to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Columbus has a 25-17 record on the road this season. Those 25 wins are the most in the Triple-A this season, and only fellow IL West Division member Toledo has a higher road winning percentage.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Designated hitter Mitch Jones was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Jones was voted into the starting lineup as the designated hitter after batting .313 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs. The All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It's kind of Yankee territory. You can definitely see the Yankees fans. They're diehards. You can tell a difference between the Yankees fans and the regular fans." -- Clippers first baseman Mitch Jones told the Scranton Times-Tribune after the Yankees' top farm team played in Scranton. The loyalties of the fans were split 50-50 in a series in which the Clippers lost 3-of-4 to the Red Barons.
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Outfielder Darnell McDonald has batted .333 in 13 games since joining the Bulls on June 13. He has at least one hit in all but two of those contests and has three home runs and three doubles among 15 hits. ... Designated hitter Josh Phelps has struggled since his demotion from Tampa Bay, batting just .083 with a solo home run accounting for his lone RBI in four contests.
PITCHING PROBLEMS: Durham has lost eight of its last 10 games, and the problem isn't hard to pinpoint. Bulls pitchers have allowed 68 earned runs in that stretch, including 40 earned runs in the last five contests. The damage comes out to be an 8.78 ERA.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Four Bulls were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Shortstop B.J. Upton (.294-7-37) and outfielder Joey Gathright (.297-1-16 with 27 stolen bases) were elected to start in the game at their respective positions, while catcher Pete LaForest (.270-17-40) and first baseman Eric Munson (.289-16-46) were chosen as reserves. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I was (watching a recent TV special about head injuries and) thinking to myself I never want to hit a ball like that and have that happen. It's not a good feeling knowing you hit somebody in the head with a baseball. Guys were coming up to me telling me he's going to be all right." -- Bulls outfielder Joey Gathright told the Buffalo News after hitting Bisons pitcher Kyle Denney with a line drive on June 26.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, PART TWO: "We've put ourselves in so many bad situations. It seems every day we're down four, five, six runs and it's a battle offensively." -- Bulls third baseman Earl Snyder told the Buffalo News. Durham has committed an IL-worst 115 errors this season.
Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Catcher Ronny Paulino continues to swing a hot bat, posting a .400 average with five home runs and nine RBIs in his last 10 games. He has hit .429 in 19 games since joining the team from Double-A Altoona earlier this month. ... While right-handed pitcher Ian Snell may have been promoted to Pittsburgh on June 25, he wasn't very impressive in his last two starts. He lost both, allowing 16 hits and 10 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
STREAKING: Infielder Cesar Crespo has hit safely in 12-of-14 games, entering this week with a .346 batting average in that span. First baseman Graham Koonce had a 19-for-47 streak going before beginning a four-game series in Toledo and going hitless in his first 10 at-bats against the Mud Hens.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Four Indians were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Three Tribe pitchers were elected to the game, including starters left-handed pitcher Zach Duke (12-3, 2.92 ERA), right-handed pitcher Ian Snell (9-2, 4.06) and right-handed pitcher Mark Corey (3-2, 2.60 ERA, 13 saves). Outfielder Nate McLouth (.307-5-32 with 23 steals) was named to the team as a reserve. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "We thought it would be hard to replace a guy like Ryan Doumit, but Ronny Paulino has stepped in and has done a terrific job. What can you say about the guy? He's hit safely in 13 straight games and he's hitting for both average and power." -- Indians OF Nate McLouth told the Indianapolis Star. Doumit ranked among the IL's top hitters at the time of his promotion, but Paulino has hit .426 since joining the Tribe 19 games ago.
Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Infielder Ray Olmedo and outfielder Jason Romano each had .444 batting averages last week to tie for fifth-best in the IL in that period. ... Shortstop Anderson Machado has struggled at the plate, posting just three hits in his last 38 at-bats.
ON A ROLL: The Bats have won 8-of-10, including six straight road games for the franchises' first six-game road winning streak since May 2001. Louisville's success has been keyed by an offense that has batted .280 and scored 65 runs in that span.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Elected to start at third base for the IL, he is batting .292 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I've been running fine. To lose weight, I guess I'll just cut all my hair off." -- Outfielder Austin Kearns told the Louisville Courier-Journal. Kearns reportedly was demoted from Cincinnati because of poor conditioning.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, PART TWO: "If you can't smile and laugh on a baseball field, you shouldn't be out there. It's good to get that feeling back. You're playing a game, and sometimes you need to be reminded of that." -- Outfielder Austin Kearns told the Louisville Courier-Journal. Kearns has hit .333 since joining the Bats on June 16.
Norfolk Tides (New York Mets)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Right fielder Eric Valent has hit just .259 in his last 10 games, but has four home runs in that span. ... As a team the Tides have batted just .226 in their last 10 games, scoring only 29 runs in those games. Six different position players have averages below the Mendoza Line in that time.
ROUGH ROAD: The Tides are in the middle of a tough road trip that has them playing four games in Buffalo, four in Columbus and four in Toledo. Those three teams have a combined record of 137-92 (.598 winning percentage) entering play June 27.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Right-handed pitcher Juan Padilla was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Padilla is 3-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 30 appearances for the Tides this season. Norfolk trainer Brian Chicklo also was selected to participate in the game, which will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "This will be a big test. We're going to three cities where the teams are playing pretty good baseball. All three are good offensive teams and that will test our pitching, but it's an overall test for this team." -- Tides manager Ken Oberkfell told the Virginian-Pilot before Norfolk's 12-game road trip. It hasn't helped that in the past two weeks the Tides have lost several key offensive performers, including infielders Craig Brazell, Brian Daubach and Jeff Keppinger along with outfielder Gerald Williams.
Ottawa Lynx (Baltimore Orioles)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Outfielder Bobby Darula has batted .385 in the team's last 10 games, while shortstop Ed Rogers has hit .345 in that period. ... As a team the Lynx have hit just .237 in their last 10 games, scoring just 29 runs. Ottawa has hit only four home runs in those 10 contests.
HERE AND GONE: Outfielder David Newhan was optioned to Ottawa on June 18, but his stay with the Lynx was brief. He joined the Lynx on June 21 and batted leadoff in that contest, only to be pulled after two innings. Seems Newhan was recalled by Baltimore to replace the injured B.J. Surhoff.
PAYBACKS ARE... WELL, NOT FUN: Ottawa took 3-for-4 in its series at Toledo June 11-14, so the Lynx probably were looking forward to the Mud Hens' trip to Ottawa a week later. But the Mud Hens exacted their revenge on Ottawa by sweeping four games. The Lynx scored 22 runs in four games in Toledo, but plated just six in the first three losses, then dropped a 6-5 decision in 11 innings on June 23.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Infielder Bernie Castro and left-handed pitcher Tim Byrdak were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Castro is batting .323 with a home run, 16 RBIs and 17 stolen bases, while Byrdak is 3-2 with 11 saves and a 2.31 ERA. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I look at it as a test and every day you're going to face different tests in life and it's how you handle them that says a lot about who you are. It doesn't matter if a team scores 50 runs or no runs, I have to make sure I've given 100 percent every time I go out there." -- Right-handed pitcher Matt Bruback told the Ottawa Sun. Bruback is 0-2 with despite a 3.41 ERA because the Lynx have scored only 14 runs in his five starts.
Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Shortstop Alejandro Machado batted .522 in six games last week, the top mark in the IL, while teammate Roberto Petagine tied for second-best with a .500 average. Catcher Kelly Shoppach has struggled since his return from Boston, batting just .146 in 11 games.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: With the recent addition of outfielder Adam Stern and infielder Dustin Pedroia, the PawSox have nine players 25 years of age or younger.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Outfielder Chip Ambres was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He will start in the outfield thanks to his .314 batting average, 10 home runs, 46 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "[Roberto Petagine's] a professional hitter, he's uplifted our offense since the day he walked into our clubhouse. He didn't want to get tossed last night, that's just one of those things that happen. Yesterday everything they threw him was away, away, away. He struck out twice on pitches he thought were questionable. But you see him today, bullet double to left field, then he smokes another to right field. He makes the adjustment in one day. That to me is the equivalent of a professional hitter." -- Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson told the Providence Journal. Petagine was ejected from the PawSox game against Richmond on June 24, but rebounded the next night by going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in a 5-2 victory.
Richmond Braves (Atlanta Braves)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Second baseman Jason Bourgeois hit .417 in seven games last week, eighth-best in the IL. ... While the R-Braves batted .301 as a team in their last five games, they produced only 17 runs. In the team's last 10 contests Richmond has produced just 30 runs.
ROTATION ROTATION: Richmond has revamped its rotation in the past few weeks, adding right-handed pitcher Chris Mears from the bullpen, free-agent right-handed pitcher Ken Ray and right-handed pitcher Roman Colon from Double-A Mississippi. The new rotation posted back-to-back shutouts June 19-20, but Colon was called up to Atlanta on June 25.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Catcher Brayan Pena and right-handed pitcher Seth Greisinger were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Pena is batting .357 without a home run and 12 RBIs, while Greisinger is 4-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 14 starts. R-Braves manager Pat Kelly also will serve as a coach for the IL All-Stars in the game, which will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Man, it was a great throw from (Esix) Snead. I should've had that ball. I think I took my eyes off the ball and looked for the runner before I got it. If I make that play, we might still be playing. I apologize to my pitcher. I apologize to my teammates. I feel so bad." -- Braves catcher Brayan Pena told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after dropping a throw to the plate that would have been the third out of the sixth inning against Pawtucket on June 24. The drop helped the PawSox claim a 5-1 victory.
Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Third baseman Terry Tiffee has batted .275 in his last 10 games but has been productive, slamming three home runs with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. ... Outfielder Kevin West has hit .205 in his last 10 contests and begins the week mired in a 4-for-21 slump.
WELCOME BACK: Manager Phil Roof rejoined the team June 26 in Louisville, marking the first time he had been with the club since leaving on April 20 to be with his ailing wife. Roof was in uniform for the game, a 5-3 Wings win in 10 innings, but allowed interim manager Rich Miller and pitching coach Bobby Cuellar to run the club.
RALLY, RALLY, RALLY: The Red Wings came from behind to win three straight June 19-21. On June 19, the Wings used a four-run seventh to beat Toledo 5-3. The next day, Rochester was behind 4-0 in the eighth, but came back to beat the Mud Hens 5-4 in 11 innings. On June 21 in Indianapolis, the Red Wings scored twice in the top of the ninth to pull out a 4-3 victory.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Right-handed pitcher Travis Bowyer was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He is one of two relievers elected to the team thanks to his IL-best 16 saves; he is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA. Manager Phil Roof also will serve as a coach of the IL All-Stars in the game, which will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "To give up this game is hard to do. I really cherish this one night tonight, being around the boys and seeing what they can do again. I miss it. It's created a big void in my life. You just miss being around the ballpark. I'll be talking about this for the next week or 10 days." -- Red Wings manager Phil Roof told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle after joining the team in Louisville on June 26.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Philadelphia Phillies)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Outfielder Danny Sandoval batted .500 in nine games last week to tie for second-best in the IL last week. Sandoval had two homers, nine RBIs and nine runs scored in that span. ... Third baseman Chris Coste has batted just .147 in his last nine games, but has three home runs in that span.
BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK: The Red Barons won three straight extra-inning games against Charlotte June 24-26. On June 24, Danny Sandoval hit a walk-off home run for a 3-2 victory. On June 25, Buzz Hannahan hit a game-winning single in the 12th inning of a 5-4 win. On June 26, Sandoval beat out a bunt with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th in a 4-3 victory.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: A pair of Red Barons were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. first baseman Ryan Howard was elected to start at his position after posting a .378 batting average, 15 home runs and 51 RBIs. Infielder Chris Coste was chosen as a reserve thanks to his .282 batting average, 12 homers and 49 RBIs. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "That's by far the best he's thrown. That's the best I've ever seen Gavin throw. I didn't see him this spring and he hasn't thrown nearly that good since he's been here." -- Red Barons manager Gene Lamont told the Scranton Times-Tribune after pitcher Gavin Floyd gave up just two runs while striking out six in eight innings against Charlotte on June 26.
Syracuse SkyChiefs (Toronto Blue Jays)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: First baseman Kevin Barker continues his hot hitting, having batted .500 last week to tie for second in the league. Since joining the SkyChiefs on June 3 Barker has hit .400 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 24 games. ... Outfielder John-Ford Griffin has hit .190 in his last 10 contests and begins the week in a 3-for-19 skid.
BUSH BEANS BRAVES: The last time right-handed pitcher Dave Bush faced Richmond, a second-inning punch from Esix Snead knocked him out of the game -- and gave him five stitches in his head to boot. Ten days later it was Bush who delivered the knockout, scattering nine hits and allowing only one run in the SkyChiefs' 6-1 victory over Richmond June 23.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: Outfielder John-Ford Griffin was selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He is batting .252 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "To be perfectly honest with you, it's been out of my mind for a week or so. It's unfortunate that sort of thing happens, but it happened and by the next day or so, we didn't really talk about it and no one cared. You can't let that sort of thing affect your job. And if I'm still affected by it 10 days later, then I'm not really focusing on what I need to be doing." Right-handed pitcher Dave Bush told the Syracuse Post-Standard after facing Richmond for the first time since the well-publicized fight with Esix Snead in Richmond.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, PART 2: "We just like the feeling of coming in here and turning the music on. Now everybody's having fun and a lot of guys are loosening up. We're just enjoying the summer and playing baseball. We're winning, and it's carrying on to the bullpen to the starters to the one-through-nine lineup to the guys coming off the bench. We just have to keep feeding off that kind of vibe." -- Outfielder Anton French told the Syracuse Post-Standard after the SkyChiefs had won 17-of-24 games. His quote about "turning the music on" refers to the baseball tradition of having music on in the clubhouse only after victories.
Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers)
WHO'S HOT/WHO'S NOT: Infielder Kevin Hooper begins the week with an eight-game hitting streak during which he has batted .333. ... Infielder Mike Hess has hit just .118 in his last eight games and begins the week in a 2-for-19 slump.
PITCHING PROWESS: Mud Hens starters continue their impressive pitching, throwing "quality starts" -- starts in which they allowed three earned runs or fewer while pitching six innings or more -- in seven of the Hens' last nine contests.
PENA RAKING: Since June 11, first baseman Carlos Pena has gotten red-hot in his bid to return to the parent Tigers. Pena has had at least one hit in 13 of his last 15 games, posting a .392 batting average with two home runs, seven doubles and 14 RBIs. He also has walked 12 times in those 15 games and has a .451 on-base percentage.
ALL-STAR PLAYERS: A pair of Mud Hens were selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Right-handed pitcher Sean Douglass was chosen after posting a 9-1 record and 2.87 ERA, while left-handed pitcher Vic Darensbourg, who has not allowed an earned run in 24 2/3 innings this season, also was picked. Darensbourg is 2-0 with six saves. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be played July 13 in Sacramento.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "So much of this game is mental. To me, if you change numbers and then go out and don't do well, now it gets in your head. After it gets there, it can affect you. I know the numbers don't throw a pitch. But in our game you deal with idiosyncrasies, so I thought it was a dumb move when he changed. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it." -- Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish told The (Toledo) Blade. His closer, right-handed pitcher Jason Karnuth, changed numbers before a recent road trip and struggled, prompting him to switch back to his original number.