Midwest League Notebook

By Brian Hand / MLB.com | June 14, 2005 7:14 AM

Beloit Snappers (Minnesota Twins)
SUPERHERO: The Snappers will hold Superhero night at Pohlman Field on Friday, June 17. AK Comics will be on hand to pass out comics to fans as they walk through the turnstiles. The night will also feature fireworks, and one fan will walk away with a new hot tub.

ALL-STARS: The Snappers had five players chosen for the 2005 Midwest All-Star Game, to be played on June 21 in Peoria. Deacon Burns will start in the outfield for the Western Division All-Stars, while catcher Javi Sanchez will serve as a reserve. Pitchers Anthony Swarzak, Jay Rainville and Steven Duguay will represent the Snappers pitching staff.

IN OTHER WORDS: "I was really surprised when I heard about it. When we came out to stretch coach said, 'Hey, we've got some All-Stars here,' and my name was the last one called. So I was kind of nervous and kind of shocked." -- Burns to the Beloit Daily News after being named an All-Star last week

Burlington Bees (Kansas City Royals)
ALL-STARS: First baseman Rusty Brown and outfielder Geraldo Valentin were the two position players named to the Midwest All-Star squad for the Bees, while right-handers Luis Cota and Yovany Damico made the team as pitchers. The four All-Star nods to Burlington represent the team's most All-Star selections in the last seven seasons.

SEASON-HIGH: The Bees won four games in a row last week to net a season-high in consecutive wins.

SALLY ALL-STAR: Recently-named South Atlantic All-Star Pete Maestrales joined the Bees last week. Maestrales had been with Delmarva in the Baltimore organization, but was traded to Kansas City last week when the Royals sent Eli Marrero to the Orioles in exchange for the 25-year-old Maestrales and cash.

DL: Maestrales filled a roster spot that was opened up last week when first baseman Miguel Vega was placed on the disabled list.

CAMPBLL HURT: Burlington pitcher Matt Campbell was placed on the disabled list last week with a strained left shoulder. Campbell is expected to be out for at least two weeks.

Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
DOUBLE YOUR PROMOTION: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim promoted two Kernels hurlers to High-A Rancho Cucamonga last week. Right-hander Frederic DeLoizaga-Carney and left-hander Nic Touchstone joined the Quakes.

I'M BACK: Taking one of the two vacant roster sports was pitcher Joe Torres after he was activated off the seven-day disabled list.

DEMOTED: The second spot goes to right-hander Ronnie Ray, who was demoted to the Kernels from the Quakes. Ray had a 1-2 record with a 5.79 ERA in 20 outings in the California League at the time of his demotion last Tuesday.

ALL-STARS: Cedar Rapids outfielder Aaron Peel will be in the starting lineup in the Midwest All-Star game for the Eastern Division since it is the Kernels' turn to represent the Eastern side instead of their home Western side due to the imbalance of teams in the divisions. Peel will be joined on the squad by starting pitchers Bill Edwards and Rafael Rodriquez, along with third baseman Freddy Sandoval.

CATCH: On Father's Day, the Kernels will allow fans to play catch with their children on the field.

DL: The Kernels announced last Sunday that catcher Michael Collins was placed on the seven-day disabled list. The Australian was batting .316 at the time of his shelving.

NEW KERNEL: Los Angeles promoted Brett Martinez from extended Spring Training to take Collins' place on the Kernels roster. Martinez had been at the Angels extended Spring Training since April after starting the year with Triple-A Salt Lake.

Clinton LumberKings (Texas Rangers)
ALL-STARS: The Midwest All-Star team will consist of eight LumberKings, as John Bannister, Cameron Coughlan, Jim Fasano, Emerson Frostad, Tug Hulett, Eric Hurley, Chris Jaile and Andrew Walker were all named to the team. Coughlan will not be able to participate due to his call-up to Double-A Frisco.

TIED: With the first half winding to its ending, the LumberKings sat tied for first place with Wisconsin atop the leaderboard in the Western Division of the Midwest League with a 35-28 record. Both teams had gone an even 5-5 in their last 10 games to tie for the lead.

THROW OUT THE RECORD: The LumberKings' Andrew Walker is tied for eighth in the league in ERA at 2.68 despite owning a record of 3-5.

Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds)
DL: Dayton third baseman/designated hitter Habelito Hernandez was placed on the disabled list last Tuesday with a right shoulder strain.

OFF DL: Second baseman Trevor Lawhorn and outfielder B.J. Szymanski were taken off the DL and placed on the Dragons roster last week.

NEW PLAYER: The Dragons were graced by a new face last week, as third baseman Bradley Key will join the club for the first time in 2005 from the Reds extended Spring Training.

SEASON-ENDING: Dragons shortstop Paul Janish will miss the remainder of the 2005 season with a torn ligament in his right elbow that was caused by a collision at first base in a game with Burlington.

PROMOTION: Dayton outfielder Ben Himes was promoted to Sarasota of the Florida State League last week.

STELLAR DEBUT: Szymanski had not played in a home contest for the Dragons in 2005 due to injuries, but last Tuesday he made up for his lost time in his Fifth Third Field debut, going 2-for-3 with two homers and four RBIs.

IN OTHER WORDS: "In the offseason, I decided to write down all my baseball goals. I came up with three pages of them, but I don't want to say too much about them because sometimes that brings bad karma. -- Dayton's Jeremiah Piepkorn to the Dayton Daily News on his goal-making for 2005.

Fort Wayne Wizards (San Diego Padres)
ALL-STARS: The Wizards had six players named to the All-Star team last week. Catcher Colt Morton leads the way, as he will be the starting catcher for the Eastern Division, becoming the first Fort Wayne starter since 2003. Joining him on the team in the field are teammates Matt Bush and Chris Kolkhorst. Fort Wayne pitchers Michael Ekstrom, Clayton Hamilton and Matt Varner were named to the squad as well.

IN OTHER WORDS: "You see this big kid that goes to the plate, and in my mind if I was a pitcher, I'd say, 'Well, I don't want to throw him a fastball. They pitch him pretty tough. He sees a lot of breaking-ball pitches. There, he has to really be disciplined and not go out of his element. He's got to be really selective. He's done a good job with that." -- Fort Wayne hitting coach Max Venable to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel on the pitches All-Star Morton sees and his ability to be selective this year compared to 2004.

CLOSE: As last week ended, the Wizards were three and a half games back of South Bend in the Eastern Division of the MWL with a little over a week to go in the first half.

Kane County Cougars (Oakland Athletics)
DL: The Athletics placed Cougars pitcher Ryan Ford on the disabled list with left shoulder tendonitis last Tuesday, retroactive to June 3. Ford boasted a 5-4 record with a 4.98 ERA at the time of his shelving.

MY SPOT: Joe Scott joined Kane County from the Athletics extended Spring Training to take Ford's spot on the roster.

SEASON-ENDING: James Heuser had elbow surgery last Wednesday and is not expected to return in 2005.

MORE SHELVING: Right-handed pitcher Keith Perez was placed on the disabled list last week with right rotator cuff tendonitis. The 25-year-old Perez was 2-0 at the time of his injury.

I'M BACK: Tomas Cabaniel rejoins the Cougars from High-A Stockton to take Perez's spot on the roster. Cabaniel began 2005 as a member of the Cougars.

STARTERS: Kane County's Raul Padron, Myron Leslie and Javier Herrera were named as starters for the Western Division All-Stars.

A LITTLE MORE SHELF: The Cougars placed middle reliever Clay Tichota on the DL with right-shoulder tendonitis last Thursday. Tony Evans takes Tichota's place after joining the Oakland organization from the independent Northern League, where he was hurling for Sioux City.

SNAPPING: The Cougars snapped a five-game losing streak last Sunday in a 3-1 win over the LumberKings at Alliant Energy Field in Clinton.

Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays)
ALL-STARS: the Midwest League selected six Lugnuts as All-Stars last week, but only half of the six are still in the league, so only three will represent Lansing. Juan Peralta, Curtis Thigpen and Chi-Hung Cheng are the three players that will be in the ballpark in Peoria on June 21 for the All-Star game. Chip Cannon, Casey Janssen and Danny Hill were also named All-Stars, but all three are now members of High-A Dunedin.

HARANGING ON THE DL: The Blue Jays announced last week that left-hander Daryl Harang had been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to June 3. The type of injury has not been disclosed and it is unknown how long he will be on the DL.

NEW MEMBER: Right-hander Scott Roy joined the Lugnuts last week to take Harang's spot on Lansing's roster. Roy had spent all of 2005 at the Blue Jays extended Spring Training before his promotion.

IN OTHER WORDS: "Chip and I are really good friends, but it's tough when you come in and have a guy ahead of you. I would joke with him and tell him to keep hitting the ball so he could get moved up. Now he's up and doing really well and that has opened up an opportunity for me. When you get a situation like this, you've got to take advantage of it while you can." -- Lansing's David Hicks to the Lansing State Journal last week after taking over the first-base duties when Chip Cannon was promoted. He is taking advantage of the situation, batting .324 in the month of June.

Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs)
ALL-STARS: Chiefs' first baseman Alberto Garcia, second baseman Eric Patterson and rightfielder Ryan Harvey were all named starters in the Midwest All-Star game to be played at their home park on June 21. Starting pitchers Sean Gallagher and Chris Shaver and Matt Weber all made the Western Division roster as well.

FINALLY: The Chiefs received a major boon last week when they were allotted Chicago's top draft pick from 2004, pitcher Grant Johnson, who will debut with the Chiefs after battling injuries and spending the start of 2005 at extended Spring Training.

IN OTHER WORDS: "I'm finally somewhere I can get in some real game experience. Extended Spring Training is more individual than team. Out here, the goal is to get an end result. The last couple weeks I've felt good. I've been ready to get out of there and get somewhere." -- Johnson to the Peoria Journal Star last week on what it feels like to actually be in a game situation finally.

PROMOTION: The Cubs promoted Chiefs pitcher Lee Gwaltney to High-A Daytona last week. Gwaltney, an All-Star selection in the MWL, was 4-1 with an ERA of 2.56 in 10 starts for the Chiefs at the time of his promotion.

South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks)
RECORD: The Silver Hawks had a record 11 players named to the Eastern Division All-Star team last week, with four pitchers and seven position players being named to the squad. Josh Perrault, A.J. Shappi, Ross Ohlendorf and Matt Elliot were the four pitchers named to the squad, while Emilio Bonifaco, Agustin Murillo, Carlos Gonzales, Javier Brito, Alberto Gonzalez and Allen Mottram were the seven position players representing South Bend in the event.

CESAR HAILED: Cesar Nicolas was placed back on the Silver Hawks roster last Monday, returning from the disabled list for the first time since Apr. 22. Nicolas missed 42 contests with a broken hand.

TRANSFERRED: To make room for Nicolas, the Silver Hawks transferred relief pitcher Angel Rocha to the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League. Rocha goes to the short-season Bears after going 2-1 with an ERA of 6.98 in nine starts for the club.

STILL THE ONE: The Silver Hawks ended last week with the best record in the Midwest League, at 38-25, three and a half games aghead of the Wizards in the Eastern Division.

Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
ALL-STARS: Devil Rays shortstop Reid Brignac and outfielder Francisco Leandro were chosen as starters for the 2005 Midwest All-Star game. In total, six Devil Rays will be at the ballpark on June 21 in Peoria, with catcher John Jaso, right-handed pitcher Andy Sonnastine, right-hander Calvin Carpenter and southpaw James Houser joining Leandro and Brignac on the All-Star team.

HAIRCUT: The Devil Rays G.M went under the razor last Saturday when he shaved his head after promising to do so if the Devil Rays sold out a home game. The feat happened last Saturday, with Martie Cordaro getting sheared in front of a standing-room only crowd of 6,003. C.O. Brown Stadium only seats 4,701.

IN OTHER WORDS: "Finally we won a series, didn't we? I think we've got it going." -- Devil Rays third baseman Patrick Cottrell to the Battle Creek Enquirer on Sunday, after the D-Rays won their first series since the first week of May.

Swing of the Quad Cities (St. Louis Cardinals)
ALL-STARS: Shortstop Matt Shepherd and catcher Brady Toops were named starters for the Western Division All-Star team. Swing relievers Kevin Ool, Mike Sillman and Jaymie Torres joined the two position players. Pitcher Eric Harberer was named to the squad as well, but the Cardinals had already promoted him to High-A Palm Beach.

NEWBIE: The Cardinals placed right-handed pitcher Brian Miller on the Swing roster last week. Miller had begun the year in the White Sox organization, posting a 6.19 ERA in 11 relief outings with High-A Winston-Salem before being released by the White Sox in mid-May.

MAKE ROOM: The Cardinals sent pitcher Justin Knoff to extended Spring Training to make room for Miller.

BACK IN: The Cardinals activated Swing pitcher Kyle McClellan from the disabled list last week. McClellan had been on the DL since May 28 with shoulder stiffness. Prior to his shelving, McClellan had gone 0-3 with a 5.18 ERA over 12 appearances.

RELEASED: To make room for McClellan on the Swing roster, the Cardinals released reliever Jeff Randazzo from his contract last week.

IN OTHER WORDS: "Man, did we need that. If we would have gotten beat in this one, regardless of what happened elsewhere, it was going to be real, real tough. What we did by winning was give ourselves a chance.'' -- Swing manager Joe Cunningham to the Quad-City Times after his team's rout of South Bend last Sunday that left them only two games off the pace in the Western Division of the MWL with six games remaining in the first half.

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers)
ALL-STARS: The Whitecaps placed four players on the 2005 Midwest All-Star team. Right-handed pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Anthony Tomey as well as infielders Wilkin Ramirez and Brent Dlugach will suit up for the Eastern Division on June 21 in Peoria.

IN OTHER WORDS: "It's a nice honor. I've had the knock on me that I'm a defensive shortstop, so it feels good to [prove to everyone] that I can hit." -- Dlugach to The Grand Rapids Press last week after the shortstop began the first half of the season batting in the high .200s.

COMPLETELY: It may not be that many, but the Whitecaps pitching staff ended last week with more complete games than any other pitching staff in the MWL, with three. Dallas Trahern has accounted for two of those alone to tie him with two others for the league lead.

I KNOW HE WILL BE HERE: West Michigan's Anthony Torney ended last week having appeared in more games as a pitcher than anyone else in the Midwest. Torney's 29 appearances were two more than second-place Kevin Ool (Quad Cities) and Ricky Steik (Fort Wayne).

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Seattle Mariners)
ALL-STARS: A total of seven Timber Rattlers were named to the MWL All-Star team last week, with none being chosen as starters. Catcher Rob Johnson, infielders Asdrubal Cabrera, Yung Chi Chen, Matt Tuisasosopo and outfielder Josh Womack were the five position players named to the squad. Relievers Cidney Bello and Chad Fillinger represent the pitching staff. Pitcher Mumba Rivera was named to the squad as well, but he was recently promoted to High-A Inland Empire.

IN OTHER WORDS: "That's awesome. To see that many guys from our team just shows how much talent there is on the team. There's plenty of other guys that could have gone who were left off." -- Fillinger to the Appleton Post-Crescent after the All-Star announcements were made last Tuesday.

TIED: With a week left in the first half, the Timber Rattlers ended last week tied with Clinton for first place in the Western Division.

Brian Hand is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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