Daytona fell 6-3 at Jupiter on Wednesday. CF Chris Walker was out of the lineup with a rare night off, but SS Carlos Rojas was serviceable in his absence. Rojas finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored atop the order. He has hit safely in seven straight games and is batting .245 for the year in 59 games. The heart of the order - 3B Scott Moore, 1B Brian Dopirak, and LF Kevin Collins - went a combined 0-for-11 with four strikeouts. Since the second half of league play began, Moore has only six hits in 31 at-bats. As such, his average for the year has gone from .315 to .291 in that span. C Tony Richie went 0-for-2 but continues to bat over .400 in June. Richie is hitless in his last two games following a nine-game hitting streak. He is batting an even .300 for the year in 41 games.
Grant Johnson earned the first win of his minor league career, firing six shutout innings of one-hit ball to give Peoria a 3-0 win over Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. Johnson (1-1, 3.27) struck out a season-high six and allowed three walks. Opposing hitters are batting .205 against the Cubs' second round, first overall draft pick in 2004; left-handers are hitting .083 with three hits in 36 at-bats. CF Sam Fuld returned to the leadoff spot and extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Surprisingly, Wednesday marked the first time in the streak that Fuld recorded two hits. The Stanford product and 10th round pick in last year's draft is hitting an even .300 in his last 24 games and a season-best .255 overall. He also stole his 11th base of the season on Wednesday.
2B Eric Patterson, the team's usual leadoff hitter, was batting second and finished 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. It was Patterson's second straight 0-for-4 performance, marking the first time this season that the eighth-rounder out of Georgia Tech a year ago went 0/4 on back-to-back nights. Patterson still leads the Midwest League with a .342 average this season. SS Joe Simokaitis made his debut in the Cubs' farm system following his senior year at the University of Nebraska. Simokaitis, a 10th round pick, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an RBI.
Boise was clubbed by Eugene 7-3 on Wednesday. Hawks starter Mitch Atkins gave up four runs in four innings for his first loss. Atkins (0-1) struck out three and walked two. CF Davy Gregg recorded his third straight two-hit night atop the lineup after beginning the year in a 2-for-21 slide. He doubled to pick up his first extra base hit and stole two more bases to bring his season total to 11 in just eight games.
C Mark Reed went 1-for-4 with a single and has hit safely in all but two of his first eight games since joining the Hawks from extended spring training. Reed is 10-for-29 with four extra base hits with the club.
The rookies dropped their fifth game in six tries on the young season in a 9-4 loss to the Royals on Wednesday. OF Deryck Lewis picked up two hits and has hit safely in all five of his contests since joining the Arizona League squad. 3B Anthony Rivera also added two hits and is 4-for-12 in his first three games. On the bump, RHP Armando Fernandez started and took the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits to 13 batters faced. It was his second start in four days; not particularly surprising considering the limited amount of innings in that span (3.1).
Iowa, West Tenn Notes
Both the Cubs' Triple- and Double-A affiliates were idle on Wednesday. The Southern League used the day off to announce its 2005 all-star rosters. Seven players from the Jaxx, first-half champions of the northern division, were named to this year's elite squad, including: OF Matt Murton, OF Felix Pie, 3B Casey McGehee, SS Buck Coats, RHP Ricky Nolasco, RHP Andrew Shipman, RHP Talley Haines, (promoted to Iowa).
Murton led the league in batting average for the entire first half and is currently hitting .342 with six home runs and 40 RBIs. Pie has hit above .300 for the entire year (or, at least since Game No. 5) and is fifth in the league with a .554 slugging percentage. Already this season, he has a career-high 11 home runs but only 25 RBI; all 11 of his homers have been solo shots, noted Jaxx broadcaster Ron Potesta recently.
McGehee has split playing time at third base this season with Matt Craig and has hit above .300 for the year in all but three games. He is currently batting .304 with 32 RBIs, the third highest total on the team, while Coats has also had a solid year at the plate with a .306 average and 26 RBIs.
Nolasco remains undefeated on the season with a 7-0 record and 2.89 ERA. He is second in the league in ERA behind only former teammate Carmen Pignatiello, who was recently promoted to Iowa. Nolasco also leads the league in strikeouts with 97.
Shipman has a 2.95 ERA in 32 relief appearances and has held opposing hitters to a .221 average, while Haines was 4-3 with a 1.78 ERA and 13 saves in 23 games before being sent up to Triple-A.
SS Ronny Cedeno and RHP Jermaine Van Buren were the only Iowa Cubs named to this year's Pacific Coast League all-star team. Both the Southern and Pacific Coast League all-star games will be held on Wednesday, July 13.