Justin Germano tagged; Mike Ekstrom one-hitter

The Padres minor league season is underway and we have the results from every minor league team in action on Thursday night, including a few loose ends that need to be tied up.


Matt Hampton and Paul Jacinto were released by the club. With the organization full of pitchers who are a little bit younger, the Padres decided to go a different direction.

Portland lost 7-0

Robert Fick left the game early after tweaking what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He doubled with two outs in the ninth inning, the only extra base hit for the club, but pulled up lame and was replaced by Joe Gerber.

The team managed just four hits on the day, with J.J. Furmaniak accounting for two of them. Josh Barfield went 0-for-3 in his Portland debut and Ben Johnson was also blanked, 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Justin Germano allowed five runs on eight hits, including a two run homer. He also struck out seven. The right-hander allowed five runs of more in just two of his twenty starts in 2004.

Mobile won 6-2

Luis Cruz netted the first hit of the season for the BayBears, a one out single in the opening frame. It was, however, Cruz' only hit of the game. Ronnie Merrill had the first extra base hit of the season, a double in the second inning. Mike Richardson nabbed the first RBI on a ground out that scored Merrill.

Corey Smith tripled and knocked in a run in his Mobile debut. He lucked out when the centerfielder was charging in with Paul McAnulty running on the pitch. The ball went past the centerfielder and rolled to the wall, allowing Smith to cruise into third. Smith went 2-for-5 on the day with an RBI.

After a disappointing season in 2004, Nick Trzesniak had a great start to his 2005 season with a sac fly, two singles, and a double. Trzesniak tweaked some of his nuances at the plate and is hoping this is a springboard towards a rebound season.

Pitcher Brian Whitaker batted twice with the bases loaded in the game. Ironically, he left the game with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and was officially charged with two runs after Geoff Jones allowed one of three inherited runners to score.

Kennard Jones helped out G. Jones by throwing out a runner at home plate.

Manager Gary Jones talked with broadcaster Tim Hagerty prior to the season opener on Thursday and had this to say about his team and the opening game of the year:

"Personally I think our strengths are pitching, defense and base running.

"I don't think an opening day win or loss sets the tone of the season. The games in April do count as much as the games in September.

"I am pleased with the group we have."

Lake Elsinore lost 6-5 in 10

After tying the game with two runs in the ninth, Leo Rosales allowed a run in the tenth inning as the Storm lost the game. Rosales only allowed nine earned runs all of last year in 57.2 innings of work.

Jordan Pickens was hit by two pitches in the game, by two different pitchers.

George Kottaras showed why he is rated so high, going 1-for-4 with a walk – but it is the three RBI's that jump out. He did have a throwing error on the day.

Juan Ciriaco began the year the same way he ended last year, committed errors. He had two to begin the year on Thursday.

Fort Wayne lost 1-0

Michael Ekstrom threw six shutout innings in his first start of the year for Fort Wayne. He allowed just one hit, an infield single that caromed off his leg in the third, walking one and striking out five. He did, however, commit two errors in the game.

Ekstrom split 2004 between Eugene and Fort Wayne, going 3-1 with the Emeralds but 0-2 with a 8.16 ERA in three starts for the Wizards.

Ironically, the man who threw a one-hitter in his debut outing of 2004 with Eugene, Vern Sterry, suffered the loss coming on in relief.

Speaking of Sterry from a relief role, we asked Tye Waller, the Padres Director of Player Development, about that on Thursday:

"We have a number of pitchers who can start," said Waller. "We are trying to separate, by the way they perform, who decides to be where."

Sterry will likely be moved into the starting rotation at some point with the Fort Wayne roster holding a number of potential starters. The idea is to give them all some innings to work with and figure out who excels and who does not.

Ekstrom in on top of the excel chart.

The Wizards managed just three hits on the day, tying how many times Lachlan Dale struck out.

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