Yanks dominating in upper Minors, at least

Organization heartened by titles, Red Sox oustings

For the second straight year, skipper Tony Franklin hoisted the Eastern League trophy. (Trenton Thunder)

By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com | September 15, 2008 4:20 PM ET

OKLAHOMA CITY -- So the New York Yankees won't be heading to the playoffs this year. The organization, however, saw its top two affiliates win their respective league titles and Tuesday, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will have the chance to win the Bricktown Showdown, emblematic of supremacy in Triple-A.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre captured the Governors' Cup crown by taking care of the Durham Bulls in four games. The Double-A Trenton Thunder finished off the Akron Aeros on Sunday to win its second consecutive Eastern League title. Along the way, each team topped affiliates of the rival Red Sox. So while there won't be October baseball in New York, it's something to salve the wound.

"I know a lot of those guys in Trenton very well," said Ian Kennedy, Tuesday's starter for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. "I know they are pretty excited too. It would have been nice if the big league team made the playoffs too. That would have been a lot for all of us here and at Trenton, especially for the guys who have gone up and down.

"We had so many guys move up and down between the three teams this year. It kind of says that we have a good group of guys. No one is out for themselves. We play as a team and that's better than just playing for yourself."

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley said he tried to call Trenton manager Tony Franklin after the Thunder ousted the Aeros, but was unable to reach him.

"Obviously it's kind of neat," Miley said. "We'd get their players all year and send some from here. And the fact that we both played the Red Sox in the first round was kind of unique. It was a good year. We played well with all the callups."

The callups continued to arrive Monday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees were without infielders Bernie Castro, who was away from the team because of a death in the family, and Nick Green (disabled list/back). Castro hit only .182 (4-for-22) in six playoff games, but he got the game-winning hit in Game 2 of the Finals against Durham. That was the game in which Green got hurt. He had been hitting .368.

Kevin Russo and Ramiro Pena will be joining the club from Trenton, which captured the Eastern League title Sunday night against Akron. Russo hit .174 (4-for-23) with two RBIs and Pena went .345 (10-for-29) with an RBI in the series.

Sacramento lost Travis Buck, who is likely to join Oakland this week. The River Cats won't be adding anyone to the roster for Tuesday's game.

This and that: Scuttlebutt around the park Monday had the Bricktown Showdown contract being renewed for three more seasons beginning next year. In addition, the same rumor mill had MLB Network serving as the game's official broadcaster for those years. The network would also broadcast the Triple-A All-Star Game. ... The last two winning managers at Bricktown -- Chip Hale with the Tucson Sidewinders in 2006 and Tony DeFrancesco with Sacramento last year -- earned Major League jobs off their victories. When Miley and River Cats manager Todd Steverson were reminded of that fact, both replied independently of one another, "I'm not touching that one." ... Former Met Ron Swoboda will be the color analyst for Tuesday's ESPN2 broadcast.

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for 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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