The Johnson City Cardinals Report – Week One

A free peek into this week's exclusive report on the short-season Appalachian League's Johnson City Cardinals from our on-site beat reporter, Shawn Kerrick. With the regular season starting Tuesday, excitement is high.

The Johnson City Cardinals began their 33rd consecutive season as an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals (51st year overall as the Johnson City Cardinals) with an exhibition game against the Tennessee Tornado of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League on Sunday.  Prior to the game, the organization held a forty-five minute long "Meet the Cardinals" in the outfield pavilion. 


Beat reporter Shawn Kerrick filed the following report after the game. It is being offered free of charge this week only as a reminder of the excellent minor league reports presented here each Monday through Saturday for our subscribers, as well as breaking news provided here first. (For example, look for the Pete Kozma update below.)


Our daily line-up:

Monday – Johnson City – Shawn Kerrick

Tuesday – Memphis – Brent Diederich

Wednesday – Palm Beach – Jim Rutledge

Thursday – Quad Cities – Jon P.

Friday – Springfield – John Brayfield

Saturday – This Week in the Cards Minors – Hitters/Pitchers – Leonda Markee


Schedule Changes and Features

The 2007 Appalachian League schedule will have a much different look with the loss of the Pulaski Blue Jays (added a team to the Gulf Coast League) and a decrease in teams from ten to nine.  The schedule used to have almost exclusively three-game series with several league wide off-days however; the 2007 schedule features nothing but two-game series with four scheduled doubleheaders (three games in two days) and four scheduled two-day-off periods.


·         68 scheduled games

·         Starts Tuesday, June 19

·         Ends August 29

·         Two division winners (Johnson City is in the West) begin a best-of-three series August 31

·         Nine games each against the West Division (Kingsport Mets, Bristol White Sox, Greeneville Astros, and Elizabethton Twins)

          5 road games @ Greeneville and Elizabethton

          5 home games vs. Kingsport and Bristol

·         Eight games each against the East Division (Bluefield Orioles, Burlington Royals, Danville Braves, and Princeton Devil Rays) - 4 on road and 4 at home.

·         Four scheduled doubleheaders

          Thu. Jul 19 - Day/Night 2-City - in Greeneville @ Noon and in JC @ 7 PM

          Fri. Jul 27 - in Bristol @ 6 PM

          Thu. Aug 9 - in Elizabethton @ TBD (probably 6 PM)

          Sat. Aug 18 - Day/Night 2-City - in JC @ 1 PM and in Kingsport @ TBD (probably 7 PM)

·         Four scheduled 2-day-off periods

          Jun 29-30 (Fri and Sat)

          Jul 13-14 (Fri and Sat)

          Aug 4-5 (Sat and Sun)

          Aug 22-23 (Wed and Thu)


Returning Players

The 2007 roster had ten players return from the 2006 Johnson City Cardinals roster.  Three of those players are currently on the disabled list, including right-handed pitcher Kris Bakey, catcher Garrett Bussiere, and infielder Melvin Puello.  The other seven include outfielders Jon Edwards, Travis Mitchell, and Wil Pujols, right-handed starting pitchers Tyler Leach and Matt North, catcher Casey Mulligan, and left-handed starting pitcher Senger Peralta.


The Pitching Rotation

Johnson City will be using the same eight-man tandem starting pitcher rotation that Quad Cities has been using so far this year.  I talked with pitching coach Sid Monge before the game and got the scheduled starters for the first four games of the season.  Maximum pitch counts of 80 pitches exist for all the starters but individual game pitch counts will vary based on the pitcher's performance and health. 


Tuesday, June 19:  Tyler Leach followed by Brian Broderick

Wednesday, June 20:  Matt North followed by Jose Mateo

Thursday, June 21:  Senger Peralta followed by Mark Diapoules

Friday, June 22:  Nick Additon followed by Jose Arredondo


Matt North felt a little discomfort (tendonitis) when pitching yesterday.  Omar Javier could be substituted for North in the Wednesday scheduled start.  North will test the arm tomorrow and see how things feel and a decision on the starters will follow.


Pete Parise will serve as the initial closer.  The relievers will include 2007 draftees Chuckie Fick, Dylan Gonzalez, and Steven Hill, 2006 Venezuelan Summer League left-handed pitcher Wladimir Mendoza, and 2006 draft-and-follow LaCurtis Mayes. 


Exhibition Game Results

Johnson City won 9-5 in eight innings (it was scheduled for seven innings but both teams apparently decided to play an extra inning).  Johnson City trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the second but scored four runs and never trailed, scoring two in the third, two in the sixth, and one run in the seventh inning.  The Cardinals scored nine runs on eleven hits while committing one error and the Tornado scored five runs on five hits while committing three errors.


Box Score

CF-Travis Mitchell:  0-for-0, BB.

PH (second inning for Mitchell)-3B-Mike Folli:  1-for-4, RBI.

2B-Jose Garcia:  2-for-4, R, GIDP, fielding error.

1B-Charlie Pelt:  1-for-4.

3B-CF (third inning for Mitchell)-Nick Vera:  1-for-2, 3B, R, RBI, BB, K, SF.

RF-Jon Edwards:  2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB. 

C-Casey Mulligan:  0-for-2.

C (fifth inning for Mulligan) Robert Sanzillo:  0-for-2, K, PB.

DH-Brian Buck:  1-for-4, 2 R, RBI, K, SB (home in the second inning).

LF-Beau Riportella:  1-for-4, R, SB (second in the second inning).

SS-Domnit Bolivar:  2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB (third in the second inning), SF.

P-Senger Peralta:  2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER (Garcia fielding error), 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 36 pitches, 20 strikes.

P-Nick Additon:  2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 31 pitches, 20 strikes.

P-Jose Arredondo:  1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches, 8 strikes.

P-Omar Javier:  1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, HB, 19 pitches, 14 strikes. 

P-Wladimir Mendoza:  0.2 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HB, 25 pitches, 13 strikes.

P-Dylan Gonzalez:  1.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER (Sanzillo PB), 0 H, 2 BB, 22 pitches, 9 strikes. 



Pitching coach Sid Monge told me that the only additional roster move expected is the addition of first-round draft pick Pete Kozma.  He explained that there is some type of "mandatory hold" on the signing but that he expected that to be worked out shortly and that Kozma would soon be in Johnson City. 


Tyler Leach indicated that he might be on a shorter pitch count than some of the other starters. 


Charlie Pelt has the required clean-shaven look now and looks nothing like the picture in Brian Walton's article about him. 


Matt Arburr twisted his ankle in a workout this weekend and was scratched from the exhibition game.  Arburr told me that it was not a bad sprain and that he didn't expect to miss any playing time. 


Former major league umpire Dale Ford was the field umpire for the exhibition game.  


2006 Johnson City manager and 2007 roving hitting instructor Dan Radison took videos of several players' at-bats during the game and is expected to be with the team for about ten days. 


Travis Mitchell was hit by a pitch in extended spring training and felt a little sore in the field so he was removed in the second inning of the exhibition game as a precautionary measure and should be ready for Tuesday's opening game. 


Jose Arredondo was the most impressive pitcher in the exhibition game. 


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