Midland RockHounds Notebook - July 21, 2004

<b>This is a free preview of premium content.</b><br> The Midland RockHounds dropped a tight game to Wichita, 7-6. They also lost a starter to injury. Find out who is hurt, who is hot and who is not in this edition of the Midland RockHounds notebook...

Midland was dealt a double blow in their game against Wichita on Wednesday. After dropping their game, 7-6, they learned that starter Ben Fritz may be lost for some time with elbow tendonitis.

Fritz started the game but only lasted one-third of an inning before leaving with complaints of elbow pain. Former major leaguer Mike Oquist relieved Fritz and pitched four innings, allowing three runs and striking out four. Midland trailed 3-0 after the third inning, but came back to tie the game with three RBI singles by Jon Weber, John Baker and Jeremy Brown in the fifth inning. The RockHounds then took their first lead of the evening with a two-run sixth highlighted by an RBI single from Francis Gomez. However, the Wranglers got one back in the bottom of the fifth and eventually took the lead for good in the eighth when they scored two off of Bert Snow. Snow, who was once the A's top closer prospect, was a victim of his own bad defense, as his error allowed the decisive unearned run. Midland mounted a rally in the top of the 9th, as they scored a run to bring the score to 7-6, but were unable to get the tying run across.

Snow's appearance was his first since going on the disabled list on May 22 with an elbow injury. Snow has pitched decently this season, posting a 2.55 ERA, but his health continues to be an issue. He has now likely moved behind Jairo Garcia, Chris Mabeus, and Ron Flores in the A's minor league reliever depth chart.

Jeremy Brown had another good game at the plate, going 2-5 with an RBI as the team's designated hitter. Brown has still struggled to hit for power, however, posting an anemic .344 slugging percentage. Baker, who has been platooning with Brown as a catcher and playing some DH and 1B, has continued to shine with the bat, going 3-5 with an RBI in last night's game. Despite a mid-season slump, Baker is still hitting a solid .293 with a .366 OBP, with 12 homeruns and 65 RBIs in 97 games. He also leads the team in hit by pitches, with 13.

Midland has lost a number of players this season to promotions and trades, including infielder Freddie Bynum (Sacramento), third baseman Mark Teahen (Sacramento and then traded), closer Chris Mabeus (Sacramento), closer Marcus Gwyn (Sacramento), and starter Mike Ziegler (Sacramento). Help may be on the way, however. With a number of the Kane County Cougars continuing to play at a high level and with the A's 2004 draft picks starting to move up through the system (a handful are already at Kane County), look for a few prospects to be promoted to Midland over the next few weeks. If Ben Fritz lands on the disabled list, Cougars' Steven Bondurant (13-5, 2.20 ERA, 125:27 K:BB) or Brad Knox (10-3, 1.83 ERA, 120:15 K:BB) might be candidates to replace Fritz at Midland.

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