Bryan Byrne has struggled ever since his promotion to Triple-A. He batted just .133 and slugged only .184 in 35 games, although he did manage to draw 16 walks to bring his on-base percentage up to .283. Before the promotion, he had a line of .279/.440/.397 with the BayBears.
His demotion back to Double-A wasn't solely motivated by these struggles with Reno, however. When Tony Clark returned from the disabled list this month, Joshua Whitesell returned to Reno, re-creating the same logjam at first base that prevented Byrne from beginning the year there in the first place. Incidentally, Whitesell's demotion was completely motivated by circumstance rather than performance, as Whitesell had a line of .300/.447/.467 in his latest promotion to the majors.
Orland o Mercado had been batting .304 and was second on the BayBears with 31 RBI at the time of his promotion. Most impressively, he walked 25 times while striking out on only 17 occasions, putting his on-base percentage at .394. Mercado also threw out 30% of would-be baserunners, called an excellent game behind the dish, and even helped save some bullpen arms in two dire situations, totaling four innings pitched.
These moves do raise some questions, however. Sean Coughlin has been on fire since his promotion to Mobile (.361/.469/.491)and thrived by playing most of his games at first base or designated hitter. Byrne will likely see the bulk of the action at first base now, with Coughlin splitting the catcher duties with the versatile James Skelton, who is struggling offensively this season (.180/.332/.235).
Meanwhile, Mercado will split playing time in Reno with catcher John Hester (.286/.322/.441), an excellent defender who is also having a good season at the plate. Luke Carlin (.287/.390/.420) was promoted to Arizona to back up Miguel Montero with Chris Snyder on the DL.
In related news, infielder Greg Bordes has been release by the Diamondbacks. Bordes had been hitting just .171 with no extra base hits with the BayBears, but had a .396 OBP thanks to 11 walks in 48 plate appearances.
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