Rottino's Hitting Streak Tops Busy Week

Vinny Rottino got off to a slow start offensively while adapting to full-time catching duty at Nashville, but his 24-game hitting streak has been the lowly Sounds' season highlight so far.

Here is a roundup of what's going on around the Brewers' minor league system.

Nashville

Catcher Vinny Rottino rebounded nicely from a sub par offensive start, which was brought on mostly by his full-time switch to catching duties in hopes of getting the call to the bigs.

Rottino unleashed a 24-game hitting streak that ended in the second game of a doubleheader Monday at Iowa. Beginning May 20, he batted .365 (31 for 85) to tie for the longest in the Pacific Coast League this season and the Sounds' best since 2001. The string helped him bump his average up to .278 heading into Thursday night's action.

Rottino has never hit below .289 since joining the Milwaukee organization as an undrafted free agent in 2003 after a standout career at UW-La Crosse. He was the franchise's minor league player of the year in 2004 after knocking in a Midwest League high 124 runs at Beloit.

*Sounds skipper Frank Kremblas, the reigning Pacific League manager of the year, will lead the loop during the Triple-A All-Star Game, which is scheduled July 16 in Louisville.

Nashville finished 89-55 and claimed their third straight league crown, but it sits in the American North cellar this year.

* Lefty Steve Hammond joined the Sounds from Double-A Huntsville after going 7-4 in 15 starting assignments for the Stars, compiling a 3.45 earned-run average with 78 strikeouts. He was the loser in Tuesday night's first-half division tiebreaker contest against West Tennessee.

Huntsville

The Stars' 5-1 tiebreaker setback Tuesday left them in second place behind West Tennessee in the first half, but forever what reason that contest counts in the second-half standings.

Brevard County

The Manatees finished in second place during the first half, 5.5 games behind Palm Beach in the Florida State League's East Division with a 34-31 record. BC started the second half with three losses in four starts.

Brevard County's Taylor Green hit six homers in the first round and five more in the finals but finished second in the Home Run Derby that preceded the league's recent All-Star contest, which the Manatees hosted.

Third baseman Green and center fielder Darren Ford represented the East in the mid-season classic, which the West won 9-3.

West Virginia

Despite winning seven of their last 10 games, the Power finished the first half with a 32-37 record, which placed them sixth out of eight teams in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, 8.5 games out of first place.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, one of the team's four All-Star representatives, was West Virginia's top hitter and eighth in the circuit with a .310 average.

Second baseman Zelous Wheeler, another All-Star, was the only other regular Power player to hit better than .300 at .303.

The other All-Stars were center fielder Lee Haydel, who hit .289 and stole 24 bases, and pitcher Amaury Rivas, who finished 6-2 with a 2.89 earned-run average.

Wheeler finished 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs and Haydel was 1 for 3 with two runs scored as the North won big, 13-4. Lucroy went 0 for 2, while Rivas allowed two hits and a run in his one inning of work.

Helena

These rookie league Brewers got off to a tough 0-2 start to their season with losses Tuesday and Wednesday, although lefty Evan Frederickson, Milwaukee's second of two second-round picks in the recent draft, turned in a solid start in Game 2 against Great Falls, allowing one run and two hits with seven strikeouts in four innings.

Shortstop Michael Marseco has gotten off to a .429 start (3 for 7), while on the other end outfielder Cutter Dykstra was at .100 (1 for 10) in their first two professional outings.

Arizona

This bunch of Brewers doesn't begin action until Monday.


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