B-Mets report: Caligiuri helps power offense

The Binghamton Mets have won three of their first five games since the Eastern League All-Star Break, including suffering a no-shame shutout at the hands of Philip Hughes and the Trenton Thunder on Monday.

Though Jay Caligiuri has been overshadowed by some of his B-Mets teammates – most notably outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has come on sizzling hot this month, hitting .392 in July entering Tuesday's play – the big-swinging third baseman has had some clutch hits.

The 26-year-old Caligiuri went 2-for-4 in Binghamton's 7-0 loss to the Thunder Monday, accounting for a good share of the seven hits the B-Mets managed against the Yankees' top pitching prospect and two relievers.

Leading Binghamton with 14 home runs, Caligiuri is batting .240 (65-271), stroking 14 doubles and driving in 44 runs in 84 games.

Three of those home runs have come this month, and two since the break; Caligiuri slammed a two-run shot on July 13 to help boost the B-Mets to a 6-3 victory over Bowie in their first game back.

He also slugged a solo shot in the second inning on July 15 against the Bay Sox, then tripled to lead off the ninth inning.

Representing the tying run, Caligiuri scored on an Ambiorix Concepcion single to even that contest, a game Binghamton won when Kevin Rios doubled home Concepcion one batter later.

2006 marks Caligiuri's second season with Binghamton. Last year, he batted .236 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 109 games, and will almost certainly surpass those power totals this year.

Speaking of Concepcion: The five-tool outfield prospect, who was selected as a Florida State League All-Star for a splendid first half, appears to be hitting his stride at Binghamton.

Called up late in June, Concepcion has compiled a five-game hitting streak entering Tuesday's play, and has hit in eight of his last nine contests.

In 19 games for Binghamton, the 22-year-old Concepcion is batting .246 (16-65) with two home runs and 11 RBI, though the Mets surely would like to see him walk a bit more. Concepcion has worked just one free pass at Double-A, striking out 18 times.

Concepcion batted .287 (81-282) in 71 games at Class-A St. Lucie, hitting one home run and driving in 33 runs. He also stole 18 bases in 27 attempts.

State of the B-Mets: Boosted by a recent stretch that has seen them win 11 of 15 games, Binghamton has rebounded to post a 45-48 (.484) record in the Eastern League's Northern Division.

That places the B-Mets 8 ½ games behind division-leading Portland (54-40), trailing second-place Trenton by 6 ½ games.

Binghamton leaderboard, offense: Michel Abreu's .330 batting average is second only to Corey Coles (.333) in the Mets system … Jorge Padilla ranks seventh with a .292 average, which is fourth among farmhands with at least 100 at-bats … Caligiuri's 14 home runs trail Hagerstown's Nick Evans by one for the system lead ... Abreu is tied with two players for fourth place with 10 long balls … Caligiuri and Concepcion have each driven in 44 runs, tying them for fourth in the system, but Concepcion had just 11 of those RBI at Binghamton … Carlos Gomez leads the system with 20 stolen bases, while Concepcion has 19 (all but one at St. Lucie) … As a team, Binghamton is batting .238, fifth-best in the system. … The B-Mets lead the organization in strikeouts (802).

Binghamton leaderboard, pitching: Michael Devaney is tops in the system with a 1.58 ERA … Mike Pelfrey's 2.45 ERA continues to rank fourth in the system … Devaney (9-3) is tied with Norfolk's Evan MacLane and St. Lucie's Jose Sanchez with nine victories … Henry Owens, who just returned to Binghamton, has 11 saves, good for second in the organization behind St. Lucie's Carlos Muniz (20) … Pelfrey's 103 strikeouts still lead the system … Binghamton has compiled a 3.49 staff ERA, which ranks third in the organization. … The B-Mets' three complete games and eight shutouts equal St. Lucie's totals for the system lead, while Binghamton's 669 strikeouts are best in the organization.

ON THE RISE

Right-hander Matt Lindstrom wowed onlookers at the All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh, despite being the oldest player on either club. The 26-year-old Lindstrom struck out two in the final inning of the contest, firing a fastball clocked close to 100 MPH.

A stress fracture in the humerus bone of Lindstrom's pitching arm curtailed his statistics during a frustrating 2005 campaign, when the former 10th round pick (2002) went 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA and 55 walks in 73 1/3 innings.

Shuttled between the rotation and the bullpen last season, Lindstrom has settled nicely into a relief role, one that he appears to have fully accepted.

Lindstrom is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four July appearances, walking two and striking out eight in 4 2/3 innings. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA and five saves in 15 appearances, spanning 18.1 innings. Lindstrom has struck out 22 and walked seven this year.

TOUGH TIMES

Left-hander Rich Rundles, cut loose by the St. Louis Cardinals organization earlier this season, hasn't done much to boost his stock as a member of the Mets.

Rundles dropped his third decision in four starts for Binghamton on Monday, allowing five runs (three earned) to Trenton in a 7-0 defeat.

Rundles, 25, fell to 0-3 with the defeat, as opposing batters have touched him for a .317 average and worked eight walks in 20 innings. He was 5-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) for Double-A Springfield of the Texas League.


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