Down on the Farm

You know how you're watching a movie or a TV show and you see some actor in a supporting role and think, " Who is that guy? I've seen him in a lot of things but I can't remember his name." Well, baseball has those kind of guys, too. Friday night, though, some of them stepped from the shadows and delivered some key performances. Like Nick Theodorou at Las Vegas. This is his seventh season in the Dodger system, he can play just about everywhere and has, because he's never had a regular position.

Last night he was in right field and swinging a lusty bat as he tripled, doubled and singled to lead the 51's over Tacoma (Mariners) 6-4.

Or Sergio Garcia of Jacksonville. He wasn't even drafted when he came out of Arizona State in 2002 nor was he in the starting lineup for the Suns last night but he subbed at second base. then came through for the second game in succession as his 11th-inning home run carried them past Carolina (Marlins) 5-4.

Before this season you hadn't heard of Julio Pimentel, either. But he's rather like the young actor who so dazzles in a featured part that he has the look of a coming star. A year ago he was an unnoticed late signee in the Dominican Summer League. Friday, though, he threw six shutout innings to win his third straight for Columbus. which edged past Delmarva (Orioles). 1-0.

Edwin Jackson -- you know him -- went allowed only one hit for five innings before running into some control problems as the 51's built a 5-0 lead. Jackson (2-1) wound up allowing just three hits but walking four for the four Ranier runs before veterans Doug Nickle and Rick White turned them away. White, who hasn't been touched for a run so far, picked up his second save.

Theodorou's assistants in the offensive department were Luis Garcia, the recently promoted Derek Michaelis, and Jose Flores, all with two hits plus Joe Thurston with a key two-run single.

Nick Alvarez and Nelson Castro clouted homers in Jacksonville's cause as the Suns came home to push their record to 12-3 and maintain a two-game division lead. Derek Thompson had a strong (5-5-2) start. Nathan Ruhl was likewise in relief (3.2-2-0) and Glenn Bott, normally a starter, threw a scoreless 11th to even his record at 1-1

Pimentel, an 18-year-old Dominican righthander, didn't sign until July 14 last season and threw only 22 innings in the Dominican League then. But a strong spring vaulted him to Columbus where he's been close to superb so far. Last night he yielded only two hits in his six innings of work. Carlos Alvarez for one inning and Jumbo Diaz (save 2) for two completed the shutout.

Jereme Milons singled in the third, stole second and rode home on Chen-Lung Hu's double for the game's only run as the Catfish broke a three-game losing streak to even their mark at 7-7.

And if you want star quality, consider last year's No 1 draft pick Chad Billingsley, who continued to dazzle by throwing six scoreless innings, giving up only two hits while striking out five for Vero Beach. In this case, though, it went for naught as the relief faltered and Vero lost again, this time in 14 innings to Brevard County (Expos).

Chris Testa hammered his second home run and also singled while Scott Gillitzer chipped in with two hits as Vero built a 3-0 lead, only to see it fritter away. A two-out home run off Beau Dannemiller (0-2) in the 14th finally did the Dodgers in as they fell to 5-11.

Injury Update-- Vero Beach also lost one of its leading hitters, Brian Sprout, with a sprained ankle suffered Thursday. He's out for an indefinite period.