B-Mets report: Owens selected, struggles

The past week has not been kind to the Binghamton Mets, who have lost five in a row and eight of their last nine - a damaging blow at this point in the Eastern League pennant race.

Binghamton was soundly handled by the first-place Trenton Thunder, who took two out of three games against the B-Mets at Mercer County Waterfront Park.

Visiting Bowie for a four-game series, the B-Mets then allowed the BaySox - who had lost five straight coming into the series - to quickly get healthy, reeling off four straight victories against Binghamton, including Eric DuBose's no-hit bid that stretched into the sixth inning on Saturday and a doubleheader sweep on Sunday afternoon.

In a twist, the B-Mets were shut down in Game 1 by a player who recently had called Binghamton home.

Right-hander Anderson Garcia, designated for assignment and claimed by the Baltimore Orioles, pitched the final two innings for Bowie around a hit, striking out three.

Garcia - once acquired by the Mets from the Yankees in a July 2003 trade for right-hander Armando Benitez - picked up his second Double-A win of the season when Ivan Maldonado surrendered a home run to Ryan Hubele in the bottom of the 10th inning.

The week was also made notable by closer Henry Owens' selection to the 24-man roster for the 2006 USA Baseball Regional Olympic qualifying team.

The 27-year-old Owens has had a great season in Binghamton, even earning him a brief promotion to New York in July, but the selection to manager Davey Johnson's squad came ironically enough in one of Owens' poorest weeks as a closer.

Owens - who is 2-2 with a 1.70 ERA and 19 saves in 34 relief appearances - has blown two of his last three save opportunities, including allowing a three-run double to Bowie's Todd Donovan in the eighth inning on Friday.

The Olympic qualifying tournament is scheduled to run in Havana, Cuba, from Aug. 25 through Sept. 6.

At last: Outfielder Alhaji Turay, who had spent three straight seasons at Class-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League due to repeated injuries, has finally made it to Double-A.

Turay, who turns 24 next month, was batting .244 with nine home runs and 37 RBI in 77 games at St. Lucie this season. He was promoted when outfielder Bobby Malek was called up to Triple-A Norfolk.

Second impression: Philip Humber took his first Double-A loss this year on Aug. 10, allowing four runs - three earned - in seven innings at Trenton. Humber (0-1, 5.56 ERA) walked one and struck out seven.

State of the B-Mets: Binghamton's (61-58) recent swoon has dropped them into a second-place tie with Portland in the Eastern League Northern Division. They trail division-leading Trenton (66-54) by 4.5 games entering Tuesday's play.

Binghamton leaderboard - offense: Michel Abreu's .337 average is second to St. Lucie's Corey Coles (.341). Jorge Padilla's even .300 average is the third-best among players currently with Mets long-season clubs ... Jay Caligiuri's 15 homers trail St. Lucie's Jesus Flores (16) for the lead, and tie him with Hagerstown's Nick Evans. Abreu's 13 long balls are third ... Ambiorix Concepcion's 57 RBI are fourth in the system, while Abreu is one behind with 56.

Binghamton leaderboard - pitching: Michael Devaney's 2.01 ERA is the best in the system. Willie Collazo's 3.65 ERA ranks him ninth ... Devaney's 11 victories tie him with Norfolk's Evan MacLane and Hagerstown's Jonathon Niese for the lead ... Henry Owens' 19 saves are second to St. Lucie's Carlos Muniz (27) ... Devaney's 120 strikeouts are second to Niese's 124. Collazo has 102 punch-outs, ranking him fourth.


It almost shouldn't be a surprise, but Cuban first baseman Michel Abreu is continuing to hit, batting .289 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in 45 at-bats this month.

Overall, the 31-year-old Abreu is batting .337 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 344 at-bats at Binghamton. The other aspects of his game haven't shown quite as much polish as his offense, but clearly, the Mets have picked up a capable hitter.

An honorable mention should be due to light-hitting infielder Corey Ragsdale, who has slugged a pair of home runs this week to give him double digits on the season.

Ragsdale, 23, hit 19 home runs last season between St. Lucie and Binghamton, but is batting just .204 this year.


Catcher Joe Hietpas, who was sent down to Double-A when Mike DiFelice was promoted to Triple-A, hasn't found Eastern League pitching much more accommodating than their International League counterparts.

Playing in nine of Binghamton's 13 games this month (utilityman Andy Wilson has caught the other four), Hietpas is batting just .161 with no extra base hits and two RBI in 31 at-bats. He has not walked and has struck out 10 times.

Hietpas, 27, was hitting .185 with two homers and 10 RBI in 62 games at Triple-A. Last season, he batted .216 in 65 games at Binghamton.

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