Elbert Leads Dodger AFL Contingent

Lefthanded pitcher Scott Elbert, considered the best pitching prospect the Dodgers have the minor leagues these days, heads a list of seven players the organization will send to the Arizona Fall League.

The seven will play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the league which is sponsored by major league baseball and which annually draws the best of the more advanced young players to play on the teams which are cooperative in nature.

Elbert is joined by fellow pitchers Casey Hoorelbeke, Danny Muegge and Brian Akin along with outfielder Anthony Raglani, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu and catcher A. J. Ellis, all currently playing for Jacksonville. Kenny Howell, the pitching coach at Las Vegas, will serve in that capacity for the Solar Sox as well. The lefthanded Elbert was 5-5, 2.37 for Vero Beach before being promoted to the Suns at midyear. He's 5-3, 2.91 for them.

It's the second trip in as many years to this league for righthander Hoorelbeke, who's 2-2, 1.83 with seven saves for Jacksonville. He previously pitched for the Scottsdale Scorpions where Dodger players were assigned in 2005.

Muegge is 9-8, 3.893 as a starter for Jacksonville while Akin is 2-0, 2.73 with five saves. Like Elbert, he was promoted from Vero Beach where he was 3-3, 1.80 with seven saves. Both Muegge and Akin are righthanders.

Hu's hitting has fallen off this year since moving up to AA with a .255-4-31 mark but he's considered the best fielding shortstop in the Southern League.

Like Hu, Raglani has had an off-year at the plate; so much so, that he was sent back to Vero for a brief time to recover. He hit .317 there and has since come back to the Suns where he's currently batting .239-9-37.

The inclusion of Ellis can be considered something of a surprise since he's basically been a backup all his career. For Jacksonville, he's .hitting .257 with no homeruns and just 18 RBI.

The AFL season runs through October and November and is considered a prime proving ground for future major leaguers. For instance, Chad Billingsley, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier all played for Scottsdale last year.

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