Tiffany and LaRoche Win FSL Honors

Fresh off being named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week after winning his initial two starts of the 2005 campaign, Single-A Vero Beach left-hander Chuck Tiffany turned in two more solid efforts last week to improve his record to 4-0 and be named FSL Pitcher of the Week for a second consecutive week.

On April 18, he went 6.0 shutout innings, surrendering one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts in the Dodgers' 7-0 triumph vs. Palm Beach. Then on Saturday night in Vero Beach's 5-3 victory at Daytona, Tiffany gave up two runs, five hits and no walks while striking out six batters in 6.0 innings. In his four starts, the southpaw has compiled a 1.23 ERA and struck out 32 batters in 22.0 innings.

FSL HONORS LaROCHE AS WELL -- Propelled by a 4-for-4 effort on April 18 vs. Palm Beach, Vero Beach third baseman Andy LaRoche enjoyed a productive week and made it a Vero Beach sweep for weekly Florida State League honors as he was named Player of the Week for the period of April 19-24. During the past seven days, LaRoche batted .414 with four home runs, two doubles, two walks, eight RBI and seven runs scored. In that April 18 contest, he had a homer, double, two RBI and three runs scored. On April 20 vs. Palm Beach, he homered, singled, walked and drove in three runs. He added a round-tripper the next night at Daytona and then slugged a homer as part of a 3-for-5 night Saturday at Daytona. LaRoche, tabbed by Baseball America as the Dodgers' No. 5 prospect, is the son of former Major League pitcher Dave LaRoche and the brother of Atlanta Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche.

GETTING THEIR PENNY'S WORTH -- In preparation for his return to the Major Leagues yesterday, right-hander Brad Penny made a pair of rehabilitation starts and helped put a mark in the win column of two Dodger minor league affiliates. On April 13, he earned the victory for Vero Beach, going 5.0 innings and allowing one run, two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in the club's 5-3 triumph at Palm Beach. For Penny, that was his first minor league win since Sept. 1, 2000 at Edmonton when he tossed seven shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out 10 hitters, for Florida's Triple-A Calgary club. Penny then made a start for Triple-A Las Vegas on April 18 vs. Colorado Springs and picked up the decision in a 9-5 51s' win. He went 6.0 innings and gave up two runs, five hits and two walks while striking out nine Sky Sox batters.

GUZMAN GOES OFF -- Double-A Jacksonville shortstop Joel Guzman had a huge night in his team's 15-8 win at Birmingham last Thursday. Guzman, ranked by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Dodger organization, reached base six times, going 5-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, a walk, three runs scored and a pair of RBI. One night earlier at Birmingham, Guzman, the Dodgers' 2005 Minor League Player of the Year, was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. In that game, he made his second career start and third career appearance at third base. His previous start at third base came on May 11, 2003 for Single-A South Georgia. He played one inning at third for Jacksonville earlier this season. All of his other career appearances have been at shortstop. For the season, Guzman is batting .300 with three homers, four doubles, a triple and 11 RBI in 17 games.

LONEY ALSO SWINGS BIG BAT-- In the same game that Joel Guzman went 5-for-5, first base prospect James Loney turned in a stellar performance of his own. The left-handed hitting Loney, tabbed by Baseball America as the Dodgers' fourth-best prospect, got on base five times, also collecting a home run, two doubles and a walk to go with a single, three RBI and two runs scored. Loney, the Dodgers' No. 1 draft pick in June 2002, followed that by blasting a three-run go-ahead homer and adding a single the next night in the Suns' 8-4 win vs. Chattanooga.

CHECKING THE LEADERBOARD -- Through yesterday's action, there are Dodger minor leaguers leading their respective leagues in various categories. In the Pacific Coast League, Las Vegas outfielder Chin-Feng Chen is the RBI leader with 18. Center fielder Todd Donovan tops the Southern League with nine stolen bases. Left-hander Chuck Tiffany of Vero Beach leads the Florida State League in wins (4) and strikeouts (32). Vero Beach's Mark Alexander is tied for first in the FSL with eight games pitched.

BILLINGSLEY GETS FIRST WIN OF '05-- Right-hander Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' 2005 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, ended last season by winning his final 10 decisions (six with Vero Beach and four upon his promotion to Jacksonville). Billingsley started this season with no-decisions in his first two starts for Jacksonville. He was on the wrong end of a decision in his third start and his winning streak was snapped when he suffered the loss in Jacksonville's 3-2 setback at Birmingham on April 18. In that game, he hurled 6.2 innings, allowing three runs, four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. His next start on Saturday night vs. Chattanooga saw him yield three first-inning runs, but the Suns answered with five tallies in the bottom half and Billingsley proceeded to hold the Lookouts scoreless over the next four frames and notch his first win of 2005 as Jacksonville won, 8-6. He finished the game going 5.0 innings, giving up three runs, four hits and two walks while striking out five batters.

MEANWHILE AT COLUMBUS-- Although the club has struggled to a 5-12 start, there have been some bright spots for Single-A Columbus, especially on the pitching staff. After being tagged with a loss in his season debut on April 8 at Savannah, yielding four runs in 2.1 innings of relief, right-hander Jesus Castillo has made three starts since and has been dazzling. In those three starts, he has combined for a 1-0 record and 1.13 ERA, striking out 19 batters in 16.0 innings. He got a no-decision in his first start on April 13 at Charleston, despite firing 5.0 shutout innings, allowing three hits and a walk. Castillo earned the win in his next start on April 18, a 4-0 Catfish victory vs. Charleston, pitching 6.0 and giving up just three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. In his latest start, last Saturday at Rome, he received a no-decision, going 5.0 innings and surrendering two runs and recording nine whiffs. Two Catfish left-handed relievers are also off to solid starts. Wesley Wright has been unscored upon in six appearances, spanning 12.2 innings, having limited opponents to a .105 batting average. He pitched 3.0 innings in the Catfish's 6-0 blanking at Rome yesterday. Carlos Alvarez has tossed 10.2 shutout innings in six games, striking out 18 and allowing just six hits. He pitched the final frame of yesterday's whitewash. On the offensive side, Columbus second baseman Travis Denker slugged four homers and drove in nine runs last week. He had a pair of homers and four RBI on April 21 at Rome.

HITTING THE AIRWAVES-- Jacksonville catcher Eric Langill is featured in a weekly segment called "Life in the Minors," which airs each Tuesday on The Team 990, a radio station in Montreal. Langill, who was born in Point Clair, Quebec, Canada was originally drafted and signed by the Montreal Expos, but joined the Dodger organization after signing as a free agent prior to the 2002 season.

Player Moves
RHP Brad Penney activated RHOP Elmer Dessens on DL (shoulder) Signed LHP Alex Merricks, recently released by Twins
Released RHPs Jamaal Hamilton, Clint Hosford and 2B David Parker

Las Vegas
Alfredo Gonzlez from Jacksonville

OF Jon Weber activated
INF Jesus Soto to extended camp
RHP Alvis Ojeda from extended camp

Other teams
Chicago Cubs - Released 3B Rick Bell and OFs Peter Bergeron and Ed Montague. Traded OF Travis Ezi to Milwaukee for C Mark Johnson
Chicago WSox - Released OF Michael Moore
Cincinnati - Released RHP Dayle Campbell
Colorado - Released OF Chris Latham
NY Yankees - Signed LHP Wayne Franklin and RHP Scott Proctor St. Louis - Released 2B Wilton Guerrero
Seattle - Released LHP Nate Bland
Tampa Bay - Released OF Tom Goodwin
Toronto - Released LHP Chris Mickalak
Washington - Released 3B Phil Hiatt