Minor League Preview - July 21

Here's Saturday's schedule around the Braves' minor league system.


After a dramatic walk-off grand slam by shortstop Brent Lillibridge Friday, the Richmond Braves host Toledo Saturday at 7:00 pm. Right-hander Ryan Baerlocher (2-3, 4.13) will start for the Braves against Mud Hens' righty Dennis Tankersley (6-5, 5.15). Outfielder Brandon Jones should be in the lineup for Richmond Saturday. He was promoted to Triple-A after tearing up the Southern League. Jones hit .292 with 15 home runs and a league-leading 74 RBI. Richmond is 54-42 on the season, 3.5 games up on the Durham Bulls in the International League's South Division.


The Braves host the Jacksonville Suns this evening at 8:05 pm ET in the rubber game of the five-game series. Atlanta right-hander Tanyon Sturtze will make his second rehab appearance for Mississippi and will be followed by Francisley Bueno. Zach Hammes will pitch for the Suns. Myrtle Beach outfielder Matt Young replaces Jones on the Mississippi roster. The Braves are 12-17 in the second half, eight games out of first place.


After a rainout last night the Pelicans play a double-header in Winston-Salem tonight starting at 6:00 at Ernie Shore Field. Right-hander Dustin Evans (1-5, 4.42) faces Warthogs lefty Clayton Richard (6-6, 3.81) in game one, while Pelicans southpaw Carlos Sencion (1-1, 3.67) goes for Myrtle Beach against right-hander Kyle McCulloch (7-6, 3.78) in game two. Willie Cabrera is back in Myrtle Beach and replaces Matt Young on the roster. The Pelicans are 14-11 in the second half, a game back of Kinston in the Carolina League's Southern League.


The red-hot Rome Braves hit the road for an eight-game road trip starting tonight in Augusta. The GreenJackets have the best pitching staff in the South Atlantic League, so it'll be a big test for the Rome team. The Braves got a new bat on Friday with the promotion of Brandon Hicks from Danville. Hicks was Atlanta's third round pick last month in the draft. Kyle Cofield (4-6, 3.49) pitched for the Braves against Steven Calicutt (2-4, 4.43). Cofield has been outstanding in his last nine starts: 2-1, 1.88 ERA, 22 hits in 43 innings pitched, 9 earned runs, 20 walks, 41 strikeouts. Rome has now won four in a row and is 13-15 in the second half, six games back of Charleston in the Sally League's Southern Division.


Danville tries to bounce back tonight in Bristol after a tough 3-2 extra-inning loss Friday in Burlington. The tough tandem of Thomas Palica (2-0, 1.59) and Chad Rodgers (1-1, 3.60) go for the Braves, who are 18-10 on the season but now only a half game in front of Burlington in the Appy League's East Division.


Braves' shortstop Samuel Sime hit his fourth home run of the season to lead the GCL team over the Phillies' rookie league team 2-1 Saturday afternoon in Clearwater. Right-hander Steve Figueroa improved to 2-3 on the season with six scoreless innings. He allowed only two hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. The Braves are 8-21 on the season and have now won two games in a row.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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