Minor League Report...April 16, 2011

This hasn't been the best start to the 2011 season for the Twins, however, the farm teams are off to a great start with a winning week at 16-12. The organization was led by the Rock Cats at 6-1 and the Snappers who were 5-2.

There was to much player movement for the first week of the season. Alex Burnett moved up to the Twins with catcher Steve Holm, who was added to the 40-man roster. Replacing them on the Red Wings roster were Anthony Slama, who came off the 7-day disabled list, and Danny Lehmann. Toby Gardenhire, who had been scheduled to start the season on New Britain's disabled list, was also assigned to Rochester. Dan Rohlfing moved up to New Britain from Ft. Myers to fill Lehmann's spot.

Paul Kelly hasn't played more than twelve games in any season since 2006. The talented shortstop felt numbness in his hand recently which was diagnosed as a blood clot in his shoulder. Kelly had surgery to remove the clots and it is unknown when he will return. After Alex Wimmers had a disastrous first start for the Miracle on Monday, he was placed on the disabled list with an illness. The Miracle also placed Miguel Munoz on the disabled list. Andrew Albers, who was signed this spring, moved up from EST to replace Wimmers. Albers was the 2008 tenth round pick of the San Diego Padres out of the University of Kentucky. Matt Schuld moved up to the Miracle from EST while Ryan Mullins was assigned to the Miracle from Rochester following a stint in EST as he works his way back from last year's injury. Finally, Reggie Williams moved up to Ft. Myers from Beloit.

In voting for our Player of the Week, Trevor Plouffe edged Brian Dozier by two votes. Plouffe was likely aided by a pair of home runs he hit last Saturday. Plouffe was also named the first International League Player of the Week this season.

A recap of this week for the full season teams follows the jump.

Rochester Red Wings (AAA) (2-5, 3-6, last place, 2.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

Perhaps Jim Mandelaro said it best when he said that this is a talented Club that has yet to tick. Following a year in which they nearly set a International League record for losses, the Wings appear to have a lot more talent. Two wild pitches that scored runs, a wild pitch on a pitch out and another run scored off a balk is an indication that they aren't playing well.

They began a four game series with the Scranton Yankees last Saturday. I don't know what it is with the Twins and Yankees, however, after winning game one the Red Wings would lose the next three. Kyle Gibson wasn't good in his first start in Saturday's 7-6, twelve inning win. He would last only 3.0 innings before exiting because of his pitch count after allowing seven hits and three runs. Phil Dumatrait pitched 3.0 shutout innings of relief with Carlos Gutierrez picking up the win with a perfect twelfth inning. Scott Diamond was effective in Sunday's 7-5 loss, pitching 5.0 innings with three hits and three runs (one earned). Kyle Waldrop allowed two runs in 2.0 innings to get the loss. Andy Baldwin wasn't good on Monday as the Yankees destroyed the Wings, 11-0. Baldwin allowed ten hits and nine runs in 3.2 innings. Anthony Swarzak was the starter in Tuesday's 5-3 loss. He allowed three runs in 4.0 innings with Jim Hoey pitching 2.0 shutout innings of relief. Kyle Waldrop picked up his second loss, allowing four hits and two runs in 2.0 innings.

Wednesday's rainout against Lehigh Valley was made up as the first half of a doubleheader on Thursday. Eric Hacker made the Wings best start of the week, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with only two hits and five strikeouts. Jim Hoey got the win, striking out the only two batters he faced. Kyle Gibson made the start in the scheduled game that the Wings lost, 5-3. Gibson pitched 5.0 innings with five hits and two runs. Chuck James picked up the loss, allowing three runs. Scott Diamond was effective again last night, pitching 4.1 innings with five hits and two runs. Carlos Gutierrez picked up the loss, allowing two hits and four unearned runs in 2.1 innings. Anthony Slama allowed a hit and three runs in his first outing back as the Wings lost to Lehigh Valley, 9-4.

Trevor Plouffe, who hit two home runs on Saturday, was 5-14 before missing three games with a head injury. Jeff Bailey, who was 8-25 with a home run, is hitting .303/.410/.394. Ben Revere also missed yesterday's game with a minor injury. Revere is hitting .273 average early this season with three stolen bases. Dustin Martin is another Red Wing off to a great start at .296/.406/.593 with two home runs.

Many thought that Rene Tosoni wouldn't begin this season with the Wings with some thinking he wasn't ready. He came up to the plate on Thursday with the game tied, 1-1, and a runner on first with no outs. He was asked to bunt, fouling off the first two attempts. Rather than be defeated with his failure, he proceeded to hit a two run walk-off home run. Tosoni had two multi-hit games while going 9-25 (.360 average) with two home runs, three doubles and nine runs batted in. This week's Red Wing Player of the Week leads the team with ten runs batted in and is tied for the team lead with three doubles while hitting .303/.351/.576 in 33 at bats. His ten runs batted in are second most in the International League.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA) (6-1, 7-2, first place, +1.0 game ahead of Reading)

After a year in which the Rock Cats had one of the worst seasons in Eastern League history, how exciting is it for the Cats to open this season in first place? The Cats split their opening four game series at Richmond, beginning their current six game winning streak in the final game on Sunday, 4-0. Steve Hirschfeld returned from missing much of last year to pitch five innings of shutout ball with only one hit and three strikeouts to pick up his first win.

The Cats would sweep their second road series against Harrisburg by scores of 3-1, 8-2 and 4-3. Liam Hendriks got the start in the opener which was suspended after an inning. The game resumed on Tuesday with Dave Bromberg pitching 6.0 innings of shutout ball with six hits to pick up his first win. Santos Arcia made a spot start in the regular scheduled game, pitching 3.2 innings of shutout ball with one hit. Brett Jacobson picked up the win, pitching 2.0 innings with two hits and two runs. Deolis Guerra got the start in Wednesday's getaway game, pitching 5.0 innings with five hits and two runs to pick up his second win. Liam Hendriks got some work by pitching 1.2 innings of shutout relief with a hit and two strikeouts.

Bobby Lanigan was the starter in Thursday's home opener against Portland that the Cats won, 6-2. After allowing only one run in 5.1 innings in the season opener, Lanigan pitched 6.0 innings with five hits and two runs (one earned) to even his record at 1-1. Cole DeVries made his second shutout 3.0 inning relief appearance with only one hit and four strikeouts. DeVries, who has yet to give up a run in 7.1 innings, credits his success with the return of his curveball which he said had been missing for two years. Steve Hirschfeld made another great start yesterday afternoon, pitching 6.0 innings with four hits and a run. Jake Stevens made his fourth shutout relief appearance of the season, pitching 2.0 innings. The Cats new closer, lefty Tyler Robertson, pitched 3.1 innings in three appearances with four hits and one run as he picked up a win and two saves.

The Cats were tied yesterday when Yangervis Solarte, who was 3-3 with a walk, led off the ninth with a single. With two outs and runners on the corners, Steve Singleton came up with a walk-off hit to score Solarte to keep the Cats winning streak alive. Solarte is hitting .375/.394/.531 early this season while Singleton is off to a slower start at .233/.281/.400. Danny Lehmann was the cats leading hitter, .462/.500/.538 in 13 at bats, before moving up to Rochester. Newcomer Ray Chang is hitting .316/.333/.526 and is also tied for the team lead with five doubles and nine runs batted in. Chris Parmelee also has five doubles to go with a line of .324/.342/.459.

Joe Benson began this spring where the organization's Player of the Year finished last season, on fire. Benson had four multi hit games this week, finishing at 10-26 (.386 average) with four runs scored, three doubles, a home run, seven runs batted in and three for three stolen bases. He also threw out a runner at home in Thursday's 6-2 win. Benson, who is hitting .371/.421/.571 in 35 at bats has four doubles and is tied for the team lead with nine runs batted in. He certainly was this week's Rock Cat Player of the Week.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A) (3-4, 5-4, tied for second place, -3.0 games behind St. Lucie)

The Miracle returned home from their opening two wins at Jupiter to play two more games with the Hammerheads, stretching their season opening winning streak to four. Tom Stuifbergen pitched 6.0 innings with seven hits and three runs in Saturdays 5-3 win. Matt Tone would come on to pitch 2.0 innings of shutout relief to pick up his first win. Dakota Watts got the save with a perfect inning. Brad Stillings was the starter on Sunday, pitching 4.0 innings while allowing two runs. Jhon Garcia got the win with a 2.1 inning appearance with three hits, one run, three punchouts and a walk. Bruce Pugh picked up his second save of the young season, pitching a perfect inning with two strikeouts as the Miracle won 6-5.

The Miracle had top prospect, Alex Wimmers, going to the mound on Monday against St. Lucie. Wimmers wouldn't get an out before allowing four runs on six walks and two wild pitchers. Wimmers, who was behind everyone else after missing part of spring training, was placed on the disabled list later in the week with an illness. What wasn't as well publicized is that Shooter Hunt came on for 1.2 innings of relief, striking out three while allowing four hits, two walks and two wild pitches. All four runs were unearned resulting from Hunt's own throwing error. Opening day starter Kane Holbrooks got a tough loss on Tuesday, 3-1, pitching 5.2 innings with five hits and a run. The Miracle were swept by St. Lucie on Wednesday, 5-3, behind Daniel Osterbrock who allowed four hits and two runs in his first appearance of the season. Matt Schuld pitched 3.0 shutout innings with three hits and strikeouts. Dakota Watts got the loss after allowing two hits and runs in 1.0 inning.

On Thursday, the Miracle opened a series at Bradenton with a 8-7 loss. Tom Stuifbergen, who is also battling an injury, allowed nine hits and eight runs (seven earned) in 3.0 innings to pick up his first loss. Ryan Mullins, who was recently assigned to Ft. Myers from extended spring training, pitched 3.0 innings of no hit, shutout ball. The Miracle took the second game against Bradenton last night, 9-1, behind a great start by Stillings who picked up his first win. He pitched 6.0 innings with five hits, a run and five strikeouts. Edgar Ibarra was effective in 2.0 innings of relief with a hit and three strikeouts.

Jonathan Goncalves was Thursday's hitting star at 3-5 with a run and run batted in. Goncalves is hitting .346/.433/.346 in his first 26 at bats. James Beresford, who had a very good winter season in his native Australia, is off to a great start with back-to-back multiple hit games the last two days. Beresford is hitting .333/.375/.333 while Nate Hanson leads the team with three doubles with a .294 average.

This week's Player of the Week is catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann who was 9-25 (.360 average). It appears that Herrmann's time with the Twins in spring training helped as he is leading the Miracle with eleven hits and seven runs batted in. He also leads the club with a .379 average and .586 slugging percentage.

Beloit Snappers (A) (5-2, 5-3, tied for second place, -1.0 game behind Burlington)

After an opening night rainout and Friday loss, the Snappers began this week with a double header at Quad Cities. They won the opener, 7-3, before dropping the nightcap, 8-1. Martire Garcia lasted only 2.1 innings in the opener with two hits, two runs and five walks. Blayne Weller pitched 2.2 innings of shutout relief before Matt Hauser pitched 1.1 inning of one hit relief to pick up the win. Logan Darnell wasn't sharp in the second game, allowing five hits and five runs in 3.0 innings. The Snappers split their series at Quad Cities on Sunday, winning 5-3 behind an excellent start by Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo pitched 6.0 innings with four hits and ten strikeouts with only two mistakes...two solo home runs.

The Snappers then came home to take three of four from Clinton. Andrei Lobanov pitched 4.0 innings with six hits and two runs in his first start as a professional. Blayne Weller made another great relief appearance, pitching 3.2 shutout innings with three hits. Clinton Demptster picked up his first save, pitching 1.1 inning with only one hit. Manuel Soliman got the start in Tuesday's 1-0 win, pitching 4.0 shutout innings with one hit and six strikeouts. Martire Garcia came on to pitch 2.0 innings of relief with three strikeouts to pick up his first win. Matt Hauser picked up his first save with an inning of shutout relief with two strikeouts. The Snappers won game three, 10-4, behind B. J. Hermsen who pitched 6.0 innings with nine hits and four runs. After a rough opening day relief appearance, Jose Gonzalez pitched 2.0 shutout innings with a hit and four strikeouts. Game four would be a heartbreaker for the Snappers, losing 3-0 in thirteen innings. Logan Darnell had the best Snapper start this season, pitching 8.0 shutout innings with only two hits while striking out six. Clint Dempster pitched two shutout innings before giving up three runs in the top of the thirteenth.

The first game of this weekend's series against Cedar Rapids was postponed last night.

Daniel Ortiz is off to a great start with a pair of home runs and double, hitting .346/.419/.692. Gunner Glad, who had three multi hit games, is hitting .333/.370/.500 in 24 at bats. Daniel Santana was the hitting star on Wednesday when he was 3-4 with two runs scored, a home run, two runs batted in and a walk. Reggie Williams was hitting .273/.333/.273 in eleven at bats before moving up to Ft. Myers.

Last year's Appalachian Player of the Year, Oswaldo Arcia, is at it again. In his first eight games, Arcia is hitting .345/.394/.552 and is the team leader with four doubles and eight runs batted in which is third most in the league. Arcia was 9-26 this week and is Beloit's Player of the Week.

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