Minor League Report...April 21, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 24: Starting pitcher Scott Diamond #58 of the Minnesota Twins pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 24, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The organization needed only one win Thursday to record a winning week. That was not to be as they dropped all four to finish with a losing week, 13-14. New Britain had an excellent week at 5-2, with Beloit at 4-3. Fort Myers lost four of six while the Red Wings were 2-5.

There has been much talk of who the Twins will call up when they return to twelve pitchers. If it is a third catcher, look for Drew Butera to return to Minnesota. Of the three catchers in Rochester, he is the only one on the forty man roster and also hitting best at .250 average. J. R. Towles is hitting .120 while Rene Rivera is hitting .172 with two home runs. With the Red Wings short outfielders, both Butera and Towles saw action in left field where both looked out of place. Butera has thrown out two of six base runners attempting to steal and Rivera one of seven. Towles has thrown out both runners attempting to steal. Another option may be bringing back Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who has his average up to .200 after going 1-16 in his first five games. Nishioka has looked comfortable at second base, making his first error on Thursday, and on the base paths. Although Nishioka is an option, he appears to be settling in and half a season at AAA may be the prescription for his future success.

Transactions this week included the Twins picking up outfielder Clete Thomas on waivers from the Tigers. So that he can play every day, Ben Revere was optioned to Rochester to open a spot on the 25-man roster. Scott Baker was moved to the 60-day disabled list to create a spot on the 40-man roster. The doctors determined that Baker's UCL was damaged and he ended up having Tommy John surgery and will be out for more than a year. Jason Marquis appeared in two games for the Rock Cats before joining the Twins. The Twins designated Luke Hughes for assignment, creating a spot for Marquis. Rochester placed outfielders Rene Tosoni and Brian Dinkelman and reliever Carlos Gutierrez on their disabled list. Darin Mastroianni was promoted from New Britain to Rochester. Alex Wimmers missed his second start with what was described as a tender elbow. Count me amongst those who believe Luke Hughes can be a solid major league second baseman and wish him the best in the future, whether with the Twins or another club. In other news, Angel Morales was named the Florida State League Player of the Week.

Brian Dozier easily won our second Player of the Week award with fifty four percent of the vote. Last week's review follows the jump.

After dropping five games this week the Rochester Red Wings (AAA) are tied for third, four games behind Lehigh Valley. They opened their week by dropping a one run game to Pawtuckett, 4-3. Carlos Gutierrez, who allowed three runs in 0.2 inning of relief, was very wild before being pulled by the trainer and later going on the disabled list. The Red Sox starter was Aaron Cook, who was 72-68 mostly with Colorado over ten years in big leagues. Michael Holliman had two hits including a double and his first home run.

The Wings traveled to league leading Lehigh Valley where they dropped two, 5-2 and 3-1. Sam Deduno made a quality start on Saturday. Esmerling Vasquez was charged with the loss when he allowed three runs in 2.0 innings. The Wings faced another veteran major leaguer, Scott Elarton, who had his best year with Houston in 2000 when he was 17-7. P. J. Walters also had a quality start on Sunday, allowing three runs in six innings. Jeff Manship pitched two shutout innings of relief. For a third straight day, the Wings faced a veteran major league starter, former Brewer David Bush.

The Wings returned to Rochester for a four game series with the Yankees, who are known as the Empire State Yankees this year. With their ballpark being rebuilt in Scranton, the Yankees are playing half their home games at Rochester's Frontier Field. That meant the Red Wings were the visiting team for this series which they would split, winning the first two, 5-3 and 4-2, before dropping the last two, 2-0 and 5-3. Scott Diamond picked up his third win Monday, allowing three runs in six innings with Casey Fien pitching three shutout innings for his second save. Ben Revere made his first start with the Wings in center field. Daryl Thompson allowed one run in five innings Tuesday to pick up his first win. Tyler Robertson pitched two shutout innings with three strikeouts. Anthony Slama came on in the eighth to pitch two innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks for a scary fourth save. Revere, who was in left field, made two excellent diving catches and bunted in the third inning when he was called out on a play the replay showed he was safe. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who had three hits and two walks, also made an excellent defensive play at second. Cole DeVries faced off with D. J. Mitchell in a pitchers duel on Wednesday. The Yankees salvaged a split on Thursday when Sam Deduno allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings.

Cole DeVries made two very good starts this week, beginning with Friday's 4-3 loss to Pawtuckett. DeVries pitched five innings with only one hit, one unearned run, four strikeouts and two walks. He returned in Wednesday's pitchers duel when he pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs with seven strikeouts and no walks. Twelve innings with two earned runs give Cole my nod as the Red Wings Player of the Week.

The New Britain Rock Cats (AA) stretched their winning streak to six games before losing on Wednesday. The Rock Cats (10-5) are in second place, a half game behind Reading. Their week began with the last three of a four game sweep at New Hampshire, 6-1, 7-6 and 3-0. Steven Hirschfeld pitched five shutout innings Friday to pick up his second win. Lester Oliveros and Daniel Turpen both pitched shutout innings of relief. Chris Colabello was 2-3 with his first home run and four runs driven in. Logan Darnell also pitched five shutout innings on Saturday. David Bromberg made it close by allowing five runs while getting only one out. Colabello had another three hits while Aaron Hicks and Deibinson Romero had two. Luke French picked up his second win with seven shutout innings Sunday. Deolis Guerra and Oliveros both pitched shutout innings with Oliveros recording his second save. Evan Bigley and Floriman had two hits with Herrmann hitting his first home run.

The Rock Cats took their winning streak to Portland Monday. They won the first two, 10-5 in eleven innings and 6-3, before dropping the getaway game 2-1. Andrew Albers wasn't sharp Monday, allowing four runs in five innings. Luis Perdomo and Turpen both pitched two shutout innings with Turpen earning the win. Bigley had three hits while Colabello was 2-5 with his second home run and four runs driven in. Floriman also hit his first home run. With Wimmers elbow ailing, David Bromberg made a spot start Tuesday and was more the pitcher we remember. Bromberg allowed one run in three innings with Bobby Lanigan pitching three shutout innings for the win. Guerra pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts. Colabello had his fourth multi-hit game of the week with two home runs and three driven in. Steve Hirschfeld pitched the Rock Cats' best game of the week in Wednesday's loss, pitching seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. Unfortunately, Rock Cat hitters managed only three hits.

New Hampshire came to New Britain on Thursday with the Rock Cats dropping a thriller, 6-5. Logan Darnell pitched six innings with eight hits and four runs. Oliveros was charged with the loss when he allowed a run in the ninth inning. Bigley, Estarlin De Los Santos and yes, Colabello all had two hits.

This week's selection as Rock Cat Player of the Week is easy, Chris Colabello. One of the top players in the Independent Leagues last year, Colabello was 12-26 with four doubles, four home runs, nine runs scored and driven in. Jim Rantz should buy a real nice dinner for whoever made the decision to sign Colabello late this winter!

The Fort Myers Miracle (Hi-A) slipped into a tie for second, five games behind St. Lucie. Their week began with a home and home series with Bradenton, losing on the road, 3-2, in ten innings Friday and winning, 8-7, at home Saturday. B. J. Hermsen pitched six shutout innings with only two hits on Friday. Caleb Thielbar was charged with the loss when he allowed an unearned run (the error was his on a pick-off attempt) in 1.1 inning. Saturday was a good day for Adrian Salcedo, who allowed two earned runs in five innings. Jose Gonzalez pitched two no hit innings before Bruce Pugh allowed Bradenton back in the game with three earned runs in 1.2 innings. Tony Davis earned his second win by getting the last out. Angel Morales was 4-5 with his first home run and three runs driven in off last year's top pick, Garret Cole. Levi Michael, Josmil Punto and Dan Rohlfing also had two hits each with Rohlfing hitting his first home run.

The Miracle traveled across the State to Jupiter on Sunday. They won the opener, 11-6, before losing the series, 5-1 and 4-0. Marty Popham pitched five innings with four runs for the opening night win. Jhon Garcia pitched three shutout innings of relief. Manuel Soliman lasted only two innings and was charged with the loss on Monday. Soliman allowed one run on two hits and three walks in a game the Miracle managed only three hits. Pat Dean allowed four runs in six innings on Tuesday in a game Miracle hitters had only four hits.

After a day off, the Miracle lost a ten inning pitching duel to Bradenton Thursday, 2-1. For the second time this week, B. J. Hermsen was excellent. He pitched seven innings with five hits, one run and six strikeouts. After two shutout innings by Edgar Ibarra, who has a 0.90 ERA in five games (ten innings), Bruce Pugh was charged with his second loss as he allowed the deciding run to score in the tenth. Dan Rohlfing had three hits as he got his average up to .300.

B. J. Hermsen had an excellent week, pitching thirteen innings with seven hits, one earned run, nine strikeouts and four walks. Angel Morales, who stretched his hitting streak to eight games Thursday, was 10-23 (.434 average) with two doubles, a home run, five runs scored and five driven in. With weeks like that, both deserve recognition as this week's Miracle co-Players of the Week.

The Beloit Snappers (A) at 7-7 are tied for fourth place, three games behind Quad Cities. They began their week at Clinton, dropping a 4-3 ten inning loss between a pair of 5-2 wins. Tim Shibuya was solid Friday, allowing two unearned runs in five innings. Matt Tomshaw got his first win with two shutout innings. Corey Williams also pitched two shutout innings for his second save. Danny Ortiz had three hits while all four infield starters (Rhodes, Rosario, Grimes and Sano) had one error. Jason Wheeler was solid in Saturday's loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings. Nelvin Fuentes and Ryan O'Rourke pitched two shutout innings each with Fuentes not allowing a hit while striking out four. Clint Dempster picked up the loss when he allowed a run on four hits and two walks in 1.1 inning. Jonathan Goncalves, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano all had a pair of hits. Matt Summers was solid on Sunday, pitching 4.2 innings with four hits and two runs. Michael Tonkin pitched 3.1 no hit innings with three strikeouts for his second win. Williams picked up his third save with a one hit ninth inning. Goncalves had another two hits while Sano hit his fourth home run.

Kane County came to Beloit on Monday with the opening night rainout made up as part of a double header on Tuesday. The Snappers lost the opener, 5-2, before winning the nightcap, 3-2 in seven innings. They then won the rubber game Wednesday, 6-3. Madison Boer allowed five runs in seven innings in the opener. Ortiz had another two hit game with Sano hitting his fifth home run. Matt Tomshaw made a spot start in game two, allowing a run on four hits in three innings. A. J. Achter, who has allowed only one run in four appearances for a 1.08 ERA, pitched three no hit innings of relief with six strikeouts and no walks. Goncalves was the leading hitter with a three hit game. Steven Gruver pitched six effective innings in the rubber game, allowing two runs on nine hits and a walk. Ryan O'Rourke, who with Achter, Fuentes and Williams anchor an excellent Snappers bullpen, pitched 1.1 innings of no-hit relief for his first save (he has a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings).

The Snappers went on the road to South Bend Thursday where they dropped a slug fest, 12-10. Tim Shibuya wasn't sharp, allowing two earned and six unearned runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Corey Williams was charged with the loss as he allowed his second and third earned runs of the year. Ortiz had three hits with Rosario, Matt Koch, Adam Bryant and A. J. Pettersen (who was in left field) all having two hits. Sano also had two hits including his sixth home run.

At 10-29 (.344 average) with three multi-hit games including four doubles, Jonathan Goncalves looked like a good selection for Player of the Week. He also scored four runs, however, didn't drive in any. But then there is Miguel Sano, who was 7-25 with three home runs, six runs scored and six driven in. Yes, Sano hit only .280 average, however, he was walked four times and was again the most productive hitter in their lineup as he continues to lead the league with six home runs and sixteen runs driven in with a second best 1.217 OPS. Goncalves deserves to be included in our voting so I will include both he and Sano.

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