IL notes: Parmelee keeps positive

First baseman raking for Rochester after opening in Majors

By John Wagner / Special to | August 6, 2012 1:34 PM

Rochester's Chris Parmelee is a highly touted prospect in the Minnesota farm system who put up impressive numbers during a September call-up with the Twins in 2011, but it wasn't enough to earn him a full-time spot in the big leagues this year.

The problem: Parmelee is primarily a first baseman. Minnesota already has a first baseman, a guy by the name of Justin Morneau.

"You can't think about that kind of stuff, because it's out of your hands," Parmelee said. "You have to go out there and play the game the right way.

"You have to go out there and play your tail off, and whatever happens, happens. You don't make that decision, so you have to go out and play your best and let them make that decision."

After hitting .355 with four homers in September for the Twins last season, the 24-year-old Parmelee made Minnesota's Opening Day roster to start this year. But his playing time was limited, and, when Morneau was activated from the disabled list in mid-May, Parmelee was optioned to Rochester.

"Not playing all the time is tough, no doubt about it," said Parmelee, who hit .204 in 108 at-bats spread over 40 games with the Twins this year. "Trying to keep your timing with your hitting as best as you can is the hard thing.

"That has been tough in terms of going up and not playing, then trying to get the timing back when you do play. It's hard to not miss a beat. But that's the game."

Parmelee, who had not played in Triple-A before this season, has made the most of daily playing time with Rochester. He's hit .367 in 40 games with the Red Wings and begins this week on a 15-game hitting streak.

"Going from Double-A to the big leagues, you're coming from Double-A where there are a lot of prospects with bright futures," Parmelee explained. "In Triple-A you see some of those, but there's an age difference. You see more veteran guys who know how to pitch.

"You still see prospects, but [in Triple-A] you also see guys who throw 88-to-92 [mph] but who spot the ball as well as guys in the big leagues."

Parmelee has 12 home runs and 34 RBIs in his 40 games with Rochester. Red Wings manager Gene Glynn said that is a sign the California native is taking advantage of the chance to play every day in Triple-A.

"When he has gone to the big leagues, he hasn't played every day, and it's hard for young guys to stay sharp when they don't play every day," Glynn said. "Here, he's trying to see as many pitches, as many at-bats, as possible."

And Parmelee has shown he is a well-rounded batter. The 6-foot-1, 228-pounder has drawn 31 walks, helping him post a .480 on-base percentage, and his 11 doubles combine with his 12 home runs for a .687 slugging percentage.

"He has the power to leave the ballpark, but the thing is this: He's a good hitter," Glynn said of Parmelee. "He's not just a power hitter. He's going to hit for average.

"He hits for average, and he uses the whole field. I've seen him hit fastballs, breaking balls, change-ups. He's one of those gifted hitters who reads pitches well out of the hand.

"He just has a really good approach to his at-bats. If he makes an out, he'll come up the next time with a good approach."

In brief

Good-luck charm: Charlotte's Charles Shirek began the season with a 3-3 record and a 4.13 ERA. But he threw seven strong innings in a win at Durham on May 19 and has been virtually unbeatable ever since. The win over the Bulls sparked a 7-1 run by the right-hander that has helped him post a 10-4 season record and 3.49 ERA for the Knights. Shirek leads the IL with 139 1/3 innings pitched, and his ratio of 1.28 walks per nine innings is second-best among the league's starters.

Going extra: Rochester and Toledo played 19 innings Aug. 5, the longest game in terms of innings and time (six hours, 32 minutes) in the 11-year history of the Mud Hens' home park, Fifth Third Field. The Red Wings won, 10-9, giving them a pair of extra-inning wins for the week after they beat Columbus, 10-8, in 12 innings on July 31. Those two victories were part of a seven-game winning streak for the Red Wings.

He said it: "It's been a struggle, but it's also been a good test. The only thing you can do is respond, and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to finish as strong as I possibly can, and whatever is the past, I just leave it there. Each day I wake up, I should be ready to compete." -- Clippers IF Jason Donald to the Columbus Dispatch. Donald began the season with Cleveland but was reassigned to the Clippers after a slow start. Donald has hit .271 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 64 games for Columbus.

John Wagner is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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