Dodger Farm Report August 21st

Losing players via call-ups, injuries and trades is a way of life at Vero Beach as it is with most minor league teams. So far the Dodgers have been able to survive the loss of key personnel to stay atop the East Division of the Florida State League in the second half. Now, they're going to have to do so again.

The latest blow to the Vero lineup is the departure of Jereme Milons to Arizona in the trade that brought pitcher Elmer Dessens to L.A. Milons, had been the center fielder and leadoff man ever since his mid-season promotion from Columbus . As such he'd become the catalyst of the Dodger attack. They'll definitely miss that but will have to soldier on as they have done with previous departures like Joel Guzman, Chad Billingsley, and Steve Schmoll (promotions), Reggie Abercrombie (trade) and Jose Diaz (injury).

Thursday night, they did that - well, sort of- as they split a doubleheader with Daytona Beach , winning the first game 6-4 but dropping the second , 6-3. This left them with a five-game bulge in their division. A three-run blast by Brian Sprout , his 12th , in the top of the seventh , gave the opening victory to Alfredo Gonzalez , who pitched 3.2 innings , giving up one run after starter Matt Merricks was bounced for 11 hits and three runs in three innings. The decision was Gonzalez' first since he started rehabbing .

Chin-lung Hu had three hits for Vero in the opener while A. J. Ellis was 2-2 in the nightcap but the Cubs worked over Mike Rodriguez (5-3) for five runs in two innings to claim that game.

Elsewhere some pretty good pitching performances were generally wasted.

Tucson 3, LAS VEGAS 1
Mark Johnson (5-11) held the Sidewinders to three runs in five innings but the 51's collected only seven hits in all. A home run by Cody Ross (14) was their sole tally as they fell 15 back in the PCL South.

Chattanooga 4, JACKSONVILLE 3
Chad Billinsgley threw a very efficient five (five hits , two runs)( but wasn't involved in the decision as the Lookouts rallied against Franquelis Osoria (7-5) to win. Shane Victorino (13), Joel Guzman (4) and Daylon Holt (7) all had solo homers for the Suns who trail by 16 1/2 in the Southern League East.

Capital City 6, COLUMBUS 5
Lefthander Chuck Tiffany was dazzling, striking out 10 while allowing only three hits and a run in five . Once again, though, that was squandered as Chris Testa was lit up for four runs in one innings and Albenis Castillo (1-1) surrendered three unearned tallies . Luis Jimenez had a double and two singles while Alejandro De Aza sent his second home run out. The Catfish are 6 1/2 back in the SAL South.

Billings 5, OGDEN 4
A late rally fell short leaving the Raptors a game behind Idaho Falls in the bid for the last playoff slot in the Pioneer League South. Jordan Pratt (2-5) worked out of jams but still was touched for four runs. Kengshil Pujols was 3-3 with a stolen base and Hector Arias ripped his second homer.

GCL DODGERS 2-4, Expos 3-3
Dividing a doubleheader meant the Dodgers are 1 1/2 behind the Mets in the East Division. Kenny Plaisance (4-2) was touched for an unearned run that cost the first game after Marshall Looney 's latest rehab start was creditable (four innings, four hits, two runs). Justin Crist was 2-2 . In the second contest, Cory Wade , just back from Ogden, was strong for five (five hits, two runs) but the win went to Julian DeLaCruz (2-1) , who gave up one run in two. Howard Zuleta pitched a scoreless seventh for his sixth save. Both Jamie Hoffman and David Sutherland had two hits.