66ers Get Pinango's Help

   The franchise known as Inland Empire just received one boost from a player who came off the disabled list. They hope to get another this weekend.

          Righthander Miguel Pinango had started the season on the Jacksonville DL but was activated and dropped back to help Inland Empire when its opening day starter, lefthander Alberto Bastardo, went out with a pulled groin muscle. Pinango, in his first start Sunday, threw six shutout innings  in which he gave up just three hits, walked none while striking out nine.

    Pinango was a late January signing as a free agent after having been in the Mets system for seven years. He rose to AA for them in 2006 where he won 10 games for Binghamton. He's 24, 6-1, 190 and is much more of a pitcher than a hard thrower. A native of Venezuela, he impressed the Dodgers enough in winter ball there to gain his chance this spring.

   The 66ers next hope to get Travis Denker who broke his right hand in spring training but who has been sharpening his game in the extended spring  camp at Dodgertown and seems ready to be activated. He had been slated to be their regular second baseman before the injury. He hit 16 home runs between Vero Beach (5) and Columbus (11) in 2006.

      At Las Vegas, righthander Spike Lundberg, who led the Southern League in ERA (2.27) with Jacksonville last season, has been activated. Jacksonville still has righthander Zach Hammes, infielder Jimmy Rohan and outfielder James Tomlin on the disabled list. Righthander Kyle Wilson at Inland Empire and righthander Joe Jones at Great Lakes are others currently on the D. L.

   Also, two catchers, Ryder Mathias and Conor McGeehan, who were left behind in the extended camp, have decided to call it quits and have retired. Mathias came late last spring from Tampa Bay as a player to be named later in one of the myriad trades with that organization. He hit only .190 at Vero Beach . McGeehan was an undrafted free agent from Northern Kentucky University who hit  .237 at Columbus.

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