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Minor League Report...June 14, 2008

Good morning!  This certainly has been an exciting week for the Twins organization...from the lows of Chicago's south side and Rochester playing a game without enough players to bat a DH, to last night's big win in Milwaukee and one organization franchise clinching their first half championship.  Throw in signing 11 draft picks and there certainly was lots of news.

On the field, the Twins four full season teams were 12-12 this week.  On Monday, Ft. Myers clinched their first half division championship.  The Miracle currently are tied for the most wins in franchise history (44 in 2003), and will have three games following today's all-star game to set a new record. 

The low point of the year for the Twins organization was Thursday when the Red Wings were unable to field a team with a DH for lack of players.  With one callup earlier that day, Jose Morales going on the DL and Howie Clark battling an injury for a few days, they had no bench players and pitchers had to bat.  Denard Span had been activated earlier that day, however, was unable to play and will likely not play for several more days.  Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle reporter Jim Mandelaro has been hard on the Twins this spring for their not supporting the roster which often was a player or two under the 24 man limit.  Looking at it from the Twins perspective, one can see how they could be slow in making some moves as they often were expecting someone to come off the DL either at Rochester or Minnesota.  Unfortunately, their inaction caught up to Twins management on Thursday and the Red Wings paid the price.  By the way, the Red Wings won, 9-4, with both Danny Graves and Mariano Gomez getting hits as the pitchers went 2 for 4 for the night.

It has been reported that several moves were on hold so that players could play in today's FSL all-star game.  Because of the Rochester situation, however, significant movement began earlier this week.  Jose Morales sprained his ankle and was placed on the DL.  Yes, it is the same ankle he broke last September with the Twins.  To replace Morales, catcher Jeff Christy moved up to Rochester with Rodolpho Palacios moving from the Miracle to New Britain (Dianna is reporting that Miracle all-star catcher, Wilson Ramos, will likely remain in Ft. Myers to play every day rather than split time with the Rock Cats).  LENIII is reporting that four players will move up to New Britain (who played short handed last night) following today's all-star game....they are the FSL's top hitter, third baseman Danny Valencia, second baseman Brian Dinkelman, starter Jeff Manship, and one of their two all-star closers, either Robert Delaney or Anthony SlamaMichael Allen was assigned to Elizabethton and Dianna is reporting that he was suspended which means he will miss much of their short season.  Beloit placed shortstop Ramon Santana on the DL with Estarlin De Los Santos being called up from EST.  New Britain released Errol Simonitsch who was coming back from missing much of the last two seasons with injuries.  Simonitsch had once been on the Twins 40-man roster and once had been one of the organization's top pitching prospects.  Frank Mata, who also is coming back after missing all of 2005 with an injury, moved up from Ft. Myers to fill the opening.  The Rock Cats activated Yohan Pino with top hitting Luke Hughes going back on the DL for the second time.  The Twins designated Juan Rincon for assignment, which he declined.  That means they have 10-days to work out a trade, however, the liklihood is that he will become a free-agent with the Twins obligated for his entire $2,400,000 salary.  The Twins called up Brian Buscher from Rochester, thus reducing their pitching staff to twelve.  As mentioned above, Denard Span was activated, however, is still a few days from being able to play.  The Red Wings also activated former Rule V pick up Alejandro Machado, with former top pick, Trevor Plouffe, moving up from New Britain.  Of note is that Plouffe played third base in his first game last night.  Ben Revere was named Topps co-player of the month for May, sharing the award with Kane County's Craig Italiano.

The Twins scouting department also was busy this week signing eleven of their recent draft picks, including top pick Aaron Hicks for a $1.78mm bonus.  Second round pick (#60) Tyler Ladendorf, a top hitting infielder from Howard Junior College signed as did third round pick Robert Lanigan, a big right handed pitcher from Adelphi University.  After taking highly touted Angel Morales in the third round last year, they selected another center fielder from Puerto Rico in the fourth round this year, Daniel Ortiz, who also signed this week.  Other signings include Daniel Osterbrock (LHP-Rd 7), Evan Bigley (LF-Rd 10), Michael Harrington (LF-Rd 13), David Coulon (LHP-Rd 15), Steven Blevins (RHP-Rd 21), Brett Curry (RHP-Rd 25), and Javier Brown (SS-Rd 37).  All signees except Hicks and Ortiz are college or junior college players.          

I had a problem with either the website or my computer and the balance of this report will appear in Part II.

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