Daily Minor League Report – July 17

InsidethePark.com's exclusive Daily Minor League Report - the complete source for all the stellar performances from around the Mariners' minor league system and some other information worth mentioning.

If Mariners' pitching prospects weren't cool enough based on performance alone, now they have an Elvis among their ranks.

Right-hander Elvis Perez pitched five innings of perfect baseball before settling on seven, one-hit innings as Advanced-A Inland Empire defeated Stockton 6-3.

Perez (2-1) allowed only two other base runners and struck out six in his longest outing of the year. He lowered his ERA by almost three runs to 3.78

The 24-year-old started the year with two starts at Everett in June. Those starts might constitute a rehabilitation stint now, as he's paid immediate dividends for Inland Empire. The 66ers have picked up the victory in three of his four appearances.

The Mariners organization acquired Perez from Atlanta before the 2002 season for right-hander Kevin Gryboski, who has spent the last two seasons in the Braves' bullpen.

Perez suffered his second Tommy John elbow surgery last September, but he's back with his 92-mph fastball on track. Perez has struck out 18 batters in 15.2 innings at the Advanced-A level.

Inland Empire kept pace with Lake Elsinore atop the California League Northern Division due in no small part to Dustin Delucchi's four hits in four at bats.

Delucchi needed just a double to hit for the cycle. He collected his second home run and third triple since his promotion from Wisconsin.

Fellow outfielder Greg Jacobs continued his torrid hitting with two hits, increasing his league-leading batting average to .361.

Juan Done pitched the final four outs for his first save as the 66ers continue to search for the replacement for the injured, yet still league-leader in saves, Mike Steele.

San Antonio (AA) 6, Arkansas 3: Clint Nageotte wasn't perfect in his first start since the MLB Futures Game, but he did pick up his 10th victory.

Nageotte (10-2) didn't display his usual dominance against the Travelers, striking out only four over five innings, while allowing 14 base runners.

In his two previous outings against Arkansas, Nageotte struck out 20 batters in 14.2 innings without giving up an earned run.

Left-handers George Sherrill and Tim Hamulack pitched innings six through eight, providing the bridge to on-fire, fireman Jared Hoerman.

Hoerman continued to add to his legend with his 30th save – a season's worth in only 96 games.

Where Nageotte performed below his strikeout ratio for the season, the bullpen punched out six batters in four, shut-out innings.

The top of the order for the Missions did their job with two hits a piece from Mike Curry, Jose Lopez and Chris Snelling.

Curry drove in a run and stole his league-leading 40th base.

Clean-up hitter A.J. Zapp made their tasks worthwhile with a two-RBI double in the third to give the Missions a 4-1 lead.

After the Travelers cut the lead to one, Snelling capped off the Missions' scoring with an RBI single – his 22nd RBI in only 40 games.

Everett 7 (SS-A), Spokane 1: Phenom, huh? Felix Hernandez picked up his fifth win in five appearances, but his ERA jumped all the way up to… 0.82

All kidding aside, the 17-year-old Venezuelan held the Northwest League leading offense to two hits and one run over five innings. Hernandez struck out five, walked four and also hit a batter.

Hernandez now has enough innings to qualify as the NWL's ERA leader.

Jeremy Dutton and Oswaldo Navarro paced the offense with three hits.

Dutton hit his first home run and drove in four runs.

Navarro scored three times, doubled and stole two bases.

On deck:
Tacoma (42-56; -9.0): RH Brian Sweeney (7-8 W-L, 4.45 ERA) at Albuquerque
Notes: Catcher Pat Borders returns to Tacoma after starting the AAA All-Star Game in Memphis.

Borders, 40, singled and scored in the fourth in his first minor-league All-Star game since 1983.

He batted twice more without reaching base in the Pacific Coast League's 13-9 loss to the International League.

San Antonio (19-8, second half; +6.0): LH Travis Blackley (12-3, 2.20) at Arkansas
Notes: Blackley takes the mound for his first start since picking up the loss for the World Team in the MLB All-Star Weekend Futures Game.

Oh well, the 20-year-old Australian will have just have to go back to dominating the Texas League.

Blackley leads the circuit in ERA and wins…

The Missions have lost fifth-starter Kevin Olore for the rest of the season to injury.

Right-hander Gustavo Martinez will keep his spot in the rotation after his audition on Tuesday produced four innings of one-run baseball.

Inland Empire (16-10, second half; +0.0): LH Troy Cate (5-9, 3.85) at High Desert
Notes: John Castellano's league-best, 24-game hitting streak vanished in the on-deck circle on Wednesday.

Castellano could have had one more shot at extending his streak, but Stockton pitcher Rich Gilbert picked Cristian Guerrero off at first with Jacobs at the plate to end the inning…

If injuries weren't creating enough roster strife, Manager Steve Roadcap now has to deal with the promotion of two of his best pitchers.

Right-handers Cha Baek (5-1, 3.96) and Brian Strelitz (4-2, 3.28) are headed to the Missions to help fill their roster.

The 66ers will have only 10 pitchers, including starters, available for tonight's game.

Wisconsin (11-14, second half; - 4.5): LH Cesar Jimenez (7-5, 3.49) at Quad City
Notes: The Timber Rattlers finally have their replacement for promoted pitcher Rich Dorman, and he's a familiar face.

Danny Delgado has returned to the Midwest League after spending the last 18 months rehabilitating his right shoulder.

The Mariners selected Delgado in the 16th round of the 1997 June draft.

Delgado, 25, made it to Advanced-A before his injury in 2001.

Everett (15-13; -0.0): LH Victor Ramirez (2-3, 5.40) vs. Spokane
Notes: Everett Manager Pedro Grifol has already made one switch in the starting rotation, creating a permanent slot for Hernandez, and he might make a second one based on Ramirez's performance tonight.

Batters are having no problems finding the left-hander's pitches. He has given up 14 hits over his last 10 innings. He has also walked seven while striking out only three.

Another bad start could mean the promotion of Sam Hays to the rotation. The Mariners drafted Hays in the fourth round of the 2001 June draft…

James is a Central Washington University student interning for InsidethePark.com this summer. He welcomes your feedback, hints, tips or other observations (including any ideas on a better name than "Daily Minor League Report." Original, huh?) at cwusports@hotmail.com

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