Around the cages in LE; Mike Thompson finishes

The Padres minor leagues sweep – they all lose. Mike Thompson ends his year on a high note but takes a no decision. Jack Cassel knows how to spot-start. Injury notes and updates from Lake Elsinore as well as tidbits from the batting cages. Also, the Storm's playoff rotation is set. Ricky Steik returns to ruin Josh Geer's day. Grant Varnell saved his worst for last.

Portland lost 4-1

Mike Thompson finished up his season as he started it – in impressive fashion. He allowed just one run on two hits over seven innings of work, striking out six. The only run to cross the dish came on a solo homer. It marked the 15th time in 27 starts over two leagues that he has given up two runs or less and the 21st time he has surrendered three or less. After posting a 3.32 with Mobile, Thompson notched a 3.15 ERA with Portland and a .225 average against with RISP.

Portland managed just three hits on the evening. Manny Alexander had one of those hits in four at bats, a double that knocked in Kennard Jones. Alexander has one hit in each of his first three games and an 11-game hitting streak overall. He is 14-for-41 over the streak with three homers, three doubles and ten RBI's. He is 1-for-5 with RISP since joining Portland and 33-for-113 on the year.

Mobile lost 3-0

Jack Cassel had another spot start on Saturday and it was as good as his last outing. He went six innings and allowed one run on four hits while walking three. He has given up two runs or less in five of his six starts on the year over two different leagues. Cassel owns a 3.45 ERA as a starter.

"When starting, I just try to pitch my best game, and get people out, just like if I was in the bullpen," said Cassel.

Jeff Duncan went 1-for-4 with a triple – his second triple in as many days. Through 20 games with the Southern League BayBears, Duncan has hit .313, going 20-for-64 with seven extra base hits. Six of his extra base hits have come with the bases empty. After playing left field for most of his tour with Mobile, Duncan has moved to centerfield with Kennard Jones getting promoted. He is hitting just .143 when he plays center.

Lake Elsinore lost 17-3

Chris Kolkhorst and Jordan Pickens each took batting practice on Saturday as they work their way back from injuries.

Kolkhorst injured his shoulder sliding. He will be ready for the playoffs which begin next Saturday at the Diamond.

"We would like him to play Monday if he can to get a game under his belt heading into the playoffs," Renteria said.

Kolkhorst was quick to say he expected to play on Sunday.

Renteria was unsure whether Pickens would be ready. Pickens has a knee injury and Sunday would be a crucial day for him and possible swelling in it.

Rick Renteria belted three homers over the left field fence in batting practice, showing his players he still has some gas left in the tank. It spurred on a little more competition as Brett Dowdy even cleared the fence with a shot.

Adam Bourassa will get his cast taken off his hand on Sunday but he will not be ready to play in the playoffs.

Michael Johnson was concerned about his batting practice session before the game and hitting coach Tom Tornicasa tried to get him in the right mental frame for the night's game. Incidentally, Johnson grounded into a double play in the first and struck out swinging in the fourth. With runners on first and third in the sixth, Johnson walked to load the bases. He grounded out in the eighth to end his night.

Eddie Bonine was back in California on Saturday, just hours after he appeared in a game for the Portland Beavers, tossing two shutout innings.

"They were very happy with the way he performed," said Renteria of the Padres front office.

Ryan Trytten is contemplating elbow surgery after the season. He is experiencing some discomfort at the end of his follow-through. He will see the doctor this week to assess whether he needs it or not.

The playoff rotation is set with Cesar Carrillo opened things up, followed by Arturo Lopez, Luke Steidlmayer, Eddie Bonine and Clayton Hamilton.

Fort Wayne lost 5-4

Ricky Steik, pitching in his first game since August 14, allowed one run on a hit, a hit batsman, and two walks to take the loss. The only out he recorded was when Yordany Ramirez threw out a runner at second base. He had missed the last few weeks with inflammation in his shoulder. Steik is now 0-6 on the year but sports a solid 2.44 ERA. He has given up runs in 12 of his 53 appearances and three of the last four. The last four runners he has inherited have scored after holding five of the previous six.

Josh Geer got the start and went 6.1 frames. He allowed six hits and four walks but did not surrender a run. There was a runner on base in every inning and a runner in scoring position in four different frames. The right-hander had allowed ten runs in his previous 10.1 innings. Geer lowered his ERA down to 4.25 with the Wizards and 3.96 on the year over two different leagues. Geer has held the opposition to six hits in 23 at bats with RISP.

Eugene lost 5-1

Grant Varnell had his worst outing of the season, giving up season-highs of five runs on ten hits and he even walked a batter – just his fourth in 56 innings over two leagues. Varnell had given up three runs total in his previous three starts with Eugene. He came into the game holding the opposition to a .217 average against with the Ems but that ballooned to .264 after the game. The right-hander has an ERA of 3.21 with Eugene and a 3.05 ERA combined between the Arizona Rookie League and Northwest League. Six of Varnell's eight outings with Eugene have come on the road.

Billy Killian has two hits in 13 at bats since returning to Eugene. He has added three walks, going 5-for-30 overall in Northwest League play. He has not scored a run in this league and all his RBI's came in one game. The catcher hit .287 in 32 games for the Arizona Rookie League team. He is batted .167 with RISP over both leagues. Although no one attempting a stolen base on him Saturday, Killian is 2-for-10 in throwing out baserunners attempting to steal with Eugene and 17-for-68 overall, or 25 percent.


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