Fall and Winter League Rosters

The Arizona Fall League begins play today, with seven Pirates’ farmhands on the roster for the Mesa Solar Sox.� Players from the Los Angeles Angels, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, and the New York Mets will round out the Solar Sox’ roster. � Pitchers Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic, and Justin Wilson are all participating, and all are expected to pitch in relief, as other pitchers have the priority for starting roles.� Team USA’s Justin De Fratus (Phillies) is also on the roster, so he must be planning to join the Solar Sox later in the week after the Pan Am tournament wraps up.

Behind the plate, look for C Tony Sanchez, who is trying to make up time after missing much of the regular season due to a fractured jaw.� Sanchez has also been asked by MLB to keep a blog of his experiences in the Arizona Fall League.� (He hasn’t started it yet — stay tuned.)� Phillies’ pitcher Josh Zeid and Angels pitcher Ryan Brasier, both slated as starters for the Solar Sox, have also been asked to write blogs.

Altoona infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will be sharing some infield time with six other infielders, including Josh Vitters of the Cubs.� Their Curve teammate Andrew Lambo will be sharing outfield duties with four other outfielders, including Phillies’ John Mayberry.

Mexican Pacific League

Los Venados de Mazatlan is the hometown team of OF Rogelios Noris. He got in a little playing time last year as a rookie, and was a bit of a surprise, with some home runs and some very good pinch-hit appearances. The 21-year-old hit .236 with the West Virginia Power during the 2010 season.

Also listed on one Mazatlan roster (but not all) is LHP Jovany Lopez. Lopez is a 19 year old from Los Mochis, who has spent two seasons with the Pirates Venezuelan Summer League team.� This season, he made 18 relief appearances (27.2 innings) and had a 5-0 record with a 3.90 ERA.� He gave up 30 hits and 12 earned runs, but allowed only 5 walks and struck out 21.

Three former Pirates are also playing in the Mexican Pacific League:� Inf/Of Yurendell de Caster is with Los Algodoneros de Guasave, C Humberto Cota is on the roster of Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo, and OF Jeff Salazar will be in center field for Los Yaquis de Obregon.

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Morton Does Better, Earns 3rd Win

Indianapolis Indians� 8,� Syracuse Chiefs� 5 (box)

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CF Alex Presley and RF Brandon Moss led the offense, as they posted 13 hits to give starter Charlie Morton plenty of run support.� Morton (photo) pitched a solid start and earned his 3rd win at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY tonight.

Morton’s night started out a little shaky, as he gave up a run in each of the first two innings.� He began the bottom of the 1st by walking LF Boomer Whiting.� A throwing error by 1B Jonathan Van Every put Whiting on second base, and a ground out moved Whiting to third.� Whiting scored on 1B Jason Botts’ double lined into center field.� In the next inning, 3B Pete Orr led off with a double.� The first out of the inning came on an unusual play.� RF Leonard Davis tried to drop down a bunt, but he was on the move, and had already stepped out of the batters’ box when his bat hit the ball, so he was called out.� Orr was thrown out trying to steal third base, which became important for the Indians, because former Indian C Carlos Maldonado homered next — without Orr on base, it was just a solo home run.

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IMG_4167The Indians had put a runner on base in each of the first two innings.� 2B Brian Friday led off the game with a double and C Luke Carlin walked in the 2nd inning.� But it was Charlie Morton himself who got the rally started in the 3rd inning.� Morton led off the inning with his first hit of the season, a little blooper over the head of the Chiefs’ first baseman.� After two outs, CF Alex Presley worked a walk.� That brought up the hot-hitting RF Brandon Moss, who continued his heat with a 2-run double.� It was Moss’ 16th hit with runners in scoring position and two outs this season, and it tied the score.

The Tribe batted around in the 4th inning, scoring 4 runs to take a 6-2 lead.� Jonathan Van Every began the inning with a blast over the right-center field wall to give the Indians the lead.� Luke Carlin and SS Argenis Diaz followed with back-to-back singles.� That brought up Charlie Morton in a good bunting situation.� But Morton’s bunt got to Chiefs’ pitcher Shairon Martis too quickly, and Martis was able to whirl and throw to third, forcing out the lead runner Carlin.� Brian Friday walked, loading the bases with one out.� 3B Akinori Iwamura was also walked (neither intentional), which forced in Diaz with the second run of the inning.� That chased Martis from the game, but Alex Presley greeted the new reliever with an RBI single into left field, bringing in Morton.� Brandon Moss bounced a grounder to first base, which allowed Friday to score, and the Indians were ahead 6-2.� Another ground out ended the inning.

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McCutchen Has Another Tough Loss

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Home plate umpire Chris Ward and manger Frank Kremblas discuss an ejection.

Charlotte Knights� 3,� Indianapolis Indians� 2 (box)

IMG_4130Indians’ starter Daniel McCutchen (photo, making a pickoff throw to first base) suffered another tough loss this afternoon at Victory Field.� Like in his previous four starts, McCutchen gave up 3 runs (it was 2 runs on June 21st) but did not get enough run support to get the win.� Today McCutchen pitched 8 innings, his longest start of the season, and threw 101 pitches (67 strikes).� Other than a 3-inning rain-shortened start in May, this was McCutchen’s first start in which he did not strike out anyone.

McCutchen gave up just 6 hits in his 8 innings.� The first hit, to Knights’ lead-off batter CF Alejandro De Aza to begin the game, was erased when De Aza was thrown out by C Luke Carlin trying to steal second base.� After two of the hits, a double by RF Stefan Gartrell in the 4th and a single to De Aza in the 8th, the runner was left on base.� (McCutchen retired the side in order in 3 innings.)

That left just three hits that were a problem for McCutchen.� LF Josh Kroeger led off the top of the 2nd inning with a line drive single into center field.� He moved to second base when 3B Brent Morel grounded slowly to third base — 3B Jim Negrych charged the ball, but had only the one play at first base.� A balk by McCutchen put Kroeger on third base, but that turned out to not matter.� A moment later, 1B Jeremy Reed put a long fly ball well over the right field wall, landing on the patio beyond the right field corner.� Charlotte up, 2-0.

With one out in the 6th inning, 2B Luis Rodriguez deposited a home run just barely over the wall in the right field corner.� Rodriguez has now homered in each of the three games so far in this series between the Indians and the Knights, and in fact, it is his 4th home run in his last 4 games.

Those were all the hits the Knights needed.

IMG_4150Yesterday, Knight’s starter Carlos Torres, who leads the International League in walks with 56, walked 7 batters.� Second in the league in free passes is Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell — today’s starter.� Harrell came into the game having walked 53 batters so far in the season.� Unfortunately for the Indians, he left the game with exactly the same number of walks.

The Indians had at least one runner on base in 4 of Harrell’s 6 innings, with 6 hits.� Unfortunately, four of those base runners were eliminated on force plays, including two double plays.� DH Kevin Melillo led off the bottom of the 1st with a soft looper into left field.� He was removed when 2B Brian Friday bounced into a double play.� LF Brian Bixler beat out a bunt up the third base line for a hit in the 5th inning, but he was erased when SS Argenis Diaz bounced into a double play.� Diaz slipped a grounder past the Knights’ 2B Rodriguez for a single in the 3rd, but Melillo’s grounder to first base forced him out at second base (photo).� There wasn’t time for a throw to first base on that play.

The remaining force out was part of a rally in the 2nd inning, along with one of the Indians’ other hits.� The Knights had just taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning, and with one out, Jim Negrych lined a single into center field.� Luke Carlin followed with a grounder right to SS Rob Hudson.� Hudson tossed to second base to force out Negrych, but he airmailed the relay throw to first base, and Carlin was safe at first.� 1B Doug Bernier, lined a double down the right field line and into the corner.� Carlin raced around the bases, scoring from first base, to cut the Knights’ lead to 2-1.

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Another Big 6th Inning Powers Indians Over Knights

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Mound conference

Indianapolis Indians� 8,� Charlotte Knights� 5 (box)

IMG_4118For the second night in a row, the Indians had an exciting 6th inning that gave them the lead and the eventual win over the Charlotte Knights.� Tonight, five consective hits in the 6th, with RBI from LF Kevin Melillo, 2B Akinori Iwamura, and 1B Jeff Clement, powered the Indians to the win at Victory Field.

Jeremy Powell made the start for the Indians tonight — his first start in almost three weeks.� (He’s had three relief appearances in that interval.)� Powell breezed through the first two innings, allowing only a walk to SS Luis Rodriguez in the 1st.� He got into a little trouble in the 3rd inning, when he gave up two hits for a run.� 1B Jeremy Reed led off with a double to the base of the center field wall, and was moved over to third base by 2B Rob Hudson’s sacrifice bunt.� LF Alejandro De Aza slipped a line drive past 2B Aki Iwamura and into right-center field, scoring Reed from third base.� De Aza was also bunted along, putting him on second base, and he proceeded to steal third base.� Powell struck out CF Buck Coats to end the inning and leave De Aza on third.

Powell retired the Knights in order in the 4th inning, and nearly got out of the 5th inning unscathed.� With one out in the 5th, Jeremy Reed picked up his second hit of the game, a bunt that came to a stop in no-mans’-land in front of third base and to the side of the mound.� By the time 3B Jim Negrych got to the ball, he had no play at first.� Rob Hudson grounded slowly to short, fielded cleanly by SS Argenis Diaz. Diaz made the quick toss to Aki Iwamura at second base to force out Reed, and Iwamura fired on to Jeff Clement at first.� But Hudson just barely beat out the throw to first, so instead of getting out of the inning with a double play, Powell still had to work with two outs and a runner on first.� That brought up Alejandro De Aza, who drilled a triple down the right field line and into the corner for a triple, bringing in Hudson with the Knights’ second run.

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Indians Snatch Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

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Brandon Moss is congratulated on his home run

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs� 10,� Indianapolis Indians� 8 (box)

Yes, that’s what they did.� The Indianapolis Indians squandered a 7-run lead at Victory Field tonight. � They were one strike away from a win, when the Iron Pigs scored 3 runs to take the lead in the 9th inning, and a few minutes later, win the game.

IMG_4002Tribe starter Dana Eveland (photo) was going to be limited to a pitch count of about 75 pitches.� He used up 26 of them in the 1st inning.� Eveland ran the count full on the first two batters he faced, then went to a 2-2 count with an extra foul ball on the third batter.� Former Indy Indian (2007) LF Chris Aguila led off the inning with a soft single into center field.� 2B Ozzie Chavez took that full count, then took another ball, for a walk.� RF Domonic Brown (remember him from the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League?� He was a teammate of Daniel Moskos, Donnie Veal, Brian Friday, Jose Tabata, and others) grounded sharply to the right side, and 2B Jim Negrych’s dive kept the ball from going into right field for a single.� Negrych knocked the ball down, then hopped up and threw to first base for the out on Brown, but Aguila moved to third and Chavez to second.� CF John Mayberry dropped a short fly into center field, driving in Aguila with the first run of the game.� With runners on the corners, Eveland caught a break — 3B Neil Sellers bounced to short, where SS Argenis Diaz started a 6-4-3 double play, Diaz to Negrych to 1B Jeff Clement, to end the inning.

All-Star pitcher Nate Bump made the start for the Iron Pigs.� Bump had recently spent a couple of weeks on the Disabled List, and it appeared that he is not back up to speed yet.� He began the bottom of the frame a little like the way Eveland started the top of the frame.� He ran the count full, then gave up a single on a big bouncer into center field by LF Kevin Melillo, then walked 3B Akinori Iwamura on another full count. The similarilty ended there, though.� Melillo tried to time Bump’s delivery and make an early jump for a stolen base, and was easily thrown out when Bump turned and saw him going.� It was an unfortunate mistake, because Melillo would have been to second base in just a moment when Iwamura walked, and Melillo could have scored when CF Alex Presley extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double off the tip of 3B Sellers’ glove and into left field.� Instead, when Presley doubled, Iwamura went to third and the Indians had two runners in scoring position.

IMG_40111B Jeff Clement made it back-to-back doubles with a fly that bounced on the track at the base of the wall in the right field corner, scoring both Iwamura and Presley.� RF Brandon Moss slipped a low line drive through the hole and into right field, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.� Clement had been a little slow taking off from second base, maybe thinking that Iron Pigs’ RF Domonic Brown would get to the ball more quickly, and so he only reached third base instead of scoring on the play.� No matter, Jim Negrych brought in Clement with a sacrifice fly to center field.� New Tribe catcher Jason Jaramillo (photo) added the third double of the inning, a long fly to right field, where Brown made a leap — but had the ball bounce off his glove, off the top of the wall, and then down onto the track.� That brought Moss all the way around from first base, scoring the 4th run of the inning.� A strikeout ended the inning, but the Indians had a 4-1 lead, and Nate Bump had thrown 35 pitches.

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