Down on the Farm Report

It has been a spring full of indignities for Wilkin Ruan. He went to camp with a good chance to make the Dodgers. Not only didn't that happen, he was designated for assignment whereupon no other team claimed him. So, it was back to the minors but not to AAA where he played last season but down another step to AA. There he was hitting so poorly he was benched. Now this is the kind of travail they could build a soap opera around.

But Wilkin's been around long enough to know the game can be turned around. Thursday night he did just that as he returned to the Jacksonville lineup with positive gusto, delivering his first home run, stealing his first base and adding two singles as the Suns ended a road trip on the upbeat eking out an 8-7 victory over the Greenville Braves.

It wasn't easy, of course. In fact, it took 15 innings but it gave the Suns an 11-3 mark and they continued to hold a two-game lead in the Southern League's Northern Division. Nelson Castro chipped in with four singles along the way and Sergio Garcia, who didn't start, came in for two.

Harold Eckert had another solid start, allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings but the Braves then jumped on Jose Rojas for four. However, the relief was at hand as four pitchers ran off scoreless innings the rest of the way including three by Franquelis Osoria and four by T. J. Nall, who won for the second time.

Once again, however, the Suns were the only Dodger farm team shining as home runs did in two of the other teams and walks were the culprit in another defeat.

Joel Hanrahan ( 1-1) gave up only three hits in five innings for Las Vegas but two of those left the yard. A three-run shot off Mark Johnson did the rest of the damage as Tacoma (Mariners) won 8-4. Jose Flores had a double and single for Vegas, now 6-9.

Jarod Plummer (1-1) was splendid for Columbus with seven innings of three-hit pitching. Unfortunately one of those went over the right-field wall and Delmarva (Orioles) won 1-0, its third straight over the Catfish, who dropped below .500 to 6-7.

Lefty Mike Megrew made his initial start of the season for Vero Beach after being set back by arm stiffness but his control betrayed him in an 8-2 loss to Brevard County (Expos). In his two innings Megrew was touched for only one hit but walked five, good for three runs. Brett Dowdy was the only Dodger with two hits. Vero is now 5-10.

Injury Update--James Loney, who had been out for a week with a broken finger, made a pinch-hit appearance for Jacksonville and lined a single.