Michael Johnson Returns; Kyle Blanks Unstoppable

Astacio falters in Portland showcase. Mobile game is suspended in the sixth. Michael Johnson returned to the lineup for Lake Elsinore. Matt Lauderdale has been seeing regular action and the dividends are playing off. Emeralds third baseman Chase Headley talks about what he would like to accomplish this year. Ray Chang makes his debut in style.

Portland lost 8-3

Pedro Astacio, signed to a minor league contract by the Padres, made his first start with Triple-A Portland and was rocked, giving up seven runs on ten hits in four innings of work. Astacio had been considered a potential candidate to join the Padres' rotation. The righty went 2-8 with a 6.08 ERA this year with the Texas Rangers.  He had six starts where he allowed five or more runs during his AL tenure.

Wilson Valdez is four for his last nine after wallowing in a 1-for-29 slump. He has RBI's in three of his last four games, matching his total over the first 13 games of the season. Valdez hit .167 during the month of June but is hitting .308 in early July. The shortstop is 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Mobile game suspended in the sixth, game tied 4-4

The Mobile BayBears and Jacksonville Suns began play in the sixth inning Tuesday night at Hank Aaron Stadium, but heavy rains came and suspended the game. The BayBears and Suns were tied 4-4 at the time of the rainstorm.

Travis Chick pitched the first five innings of the game, yielding four runs on seven hits and three walks. It is the sixth time in 17 starts that he has given up four runs or more. Chick has given up 13 runs over his last 7.1 innings at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. Chick walked three for the sixth time this year as well. Since the beginning of June the opposition is hitting .329 off Chick.

Lake Elsinore won 5-4 in 11 innings

If the Storm could have simply skipped Stephen Drew in the lineup, it would have been a shutout…Javier Martinez allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over 7.1 innings. The first run scored on a solo homer from Drew and the second scored as part of a three-run shot by Drew off reliever Ryan Trytten. Martinez has given up two earned runs or less in six of his last eight starts.

Michael Johnson returned to the lineup after missing more than a month of action which resulted in having surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his right hand on May 24, a week after getting sidelined for the second time this season. Johnson went 1-for-5 with a strike out and is hitting .303 on the year. In 31 games this year, Johnson has 34 RBI's with 18 extra base hits.

Brett Bonvechio, Fernando Valenzuela and Peeter Ramos extended their hitting streaks to eight, ten and 12 games, respectively.

George Kottaras is the low man on the totem pole with a five game hitting streak but has four multi-hit games during the streak, going 9-for-22. The catcher went 2-for-3 on Tuesday with two doubles and two RBI's. He has doubled in three straight games and his 21 doubles lead the Storm. Kottaras has thrown out just one of the last 11 baserunners attempting to steal.

Fort Wayne lost 7-3

Joel Santo lasted just one inning, which pushed Kyle Stutes into his longest outing of the year.  Stutes' previous long had been two innings, until Tuesday when he went three innings and allowed one run on three hits. The run scored on a homer, his first jack allowed this year in 23 appearances. Closer Matt Varner also saw action on Tuesday and he too gave up a homer, his first long ball since his first appearance of the year when he served up a grand slam. Varner has also given up runs in consecutive outings for the first time this year.

Matt Lauderdale has been a regular in the lineup for the Wizards of late.  After logging just 15 games though April and May, Lauderdale has made it into 19 games since the start of June, splitting time between catcher and designated hitter; On Tuesday he went 1-for-4 with an RBI, knocking in runs in three straight games.  He is hitting .270 since getting regular duty but has drawn just one walk during that time.

Right-handed pitcher Vern Sterry has been placed on the disabled list due to soreness in his pitching elbow.  Chris Steinborn (0-0, 3.54) will get a spot start Wednesday night for the Wizards in his place.

Eugene lost 10-5

After giving up two earned runs over his first 12 innings of work, Jon Link gave up three runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work.  Link, who has an assortment of four pitches to choose from, none of which he terms overpowering, struck out a season-high seven.  The right-hander did walk his first batter of the year on Tuesday.  He has limited righties to a .214 average against while lefties are batting .313 off him.

Left-hander Adam Gold took the loss after getting charged with four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman while recording just one out on the evening.  It also goes down as a blown save, his second of the year.  Gold has appeared in five games and has given up runs in three of those.  He also had one outing where he walked the only two batters he faced but did not get charged with a run.  Gold has walked nine batters in six innings of work, including one in each appearance this year.

Chase Headley went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI's.  It is the fifth straight game to open his career that Headley has a hit. 

"My goal this year is to improve in all facets of the game," recent signee and Emerald third baseman Chase Headley said.  "Switching to wood (bats) is a little bit of a change but I definitely feel it won't be too tough in the transition.  Prepare myself and the time comes I can move up and be an asset to the next club.  Hopefully, while I am here, I wouldn't mind winning a Championship."

AZL Padres won 11-3

After tossing 12 innings of scoreless ball to open his season, Ernesto Frieri allowed his first run of the year.  It came courtesy of a triple and a groundout as he battled out of trouble an inning earlier.  Faced with a man on third and no one out, Frieri induced a pop out, struck out the next batter before a fly out ended the inning.  Frieri went four innings and gave up four hits and a walk.  He has given up six hits in his first 13.1 innings of work.

Kyle Blanks went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and his league leading 17th RBI, coming in 11 games.  It is the third three-hit game of the year for Blanks and the sixth multi-hit game.  He is also tied with two other players for third in the league with 13 runs scored.  The big man was caught stealing in his first attempt of the year.

Ray Chang made his debut in the Padres' system on Tuesday.  He went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and two RBI's.  Chang was voted to the second team NCAA Division II Central Region in 2003 and played for Rockhurst University (MO) where he hit .352 with 17 doubles, seven homers and a team leading 52 RBI's.  He also scored 44 runs and had more walks (21) than strikeouts (19).  The shortstop committed 11 errors in 53 games.

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