Cesar Carrillo threw 80 pitches in his return to the mound – his first action since he was shutdown on June 6 of last year. The problem is Carrillo was off the mark much of the evening, walking four and behind in many counts over five frames. He allowed three runs, both coming over the first two innings, on six hits while striking out five. Carrillo did draw two walks and scored a run. The right-hander went 1-3 with a 3.21 ERA over two leagues and ten starts last year.
"When I am out there I don't try and rush myself," said Carrillo. "I just try – every time I was out there I was rushing myself and now I am more calm and I think about what I throw. I take one pitch at a time more often. It just feels great to be out there."
Craig Stansberry reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two walks. The second baseman went 4-for-14 during Spring Training and is the only Portland player to notch a hit in each of the season's first four games. Signed this off-season, Stansberry came into the year as a .266 career minor league hitter. The 6-foot, 185-pounder has shown good pop with 31 homers and 50 doubles over the last two years.
Luis Cruz accomplished something he managed just three times all last season; the shortstop drew two walks. In 130 games last year he drew just 29 walks and managed a .301 on base percentage despite his .261 average. Cruz went 1-for-3 on the day after going 2-for-11 with three RBIs during Spring Training. Cruz has been a slow starter in April the last two years, hitting .189 and .188 in 2006 and 2005, respectively.
San Antonio lost 7-2 to Wichita (Royals)
Cesar Ramos was hammered for seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 3.2 innings in his Double-A debut. The left-hander allowed more than four runs just twice in 26 starts last season and both of those came in August. Ramos did not allow more than six earned runs in any start last year in the California League. He posted a 7-8 record with a 3.70 ERA for the Storm.
Jon Ellis pitched a perfect inning in relief after allowing one of two inherited runners to score in his first appearance of the year. The right-hander pitched in 12 Double-A games last season, including two starts, allowing runs in just three of his outings. Ellis posted a 1-4 record with a 2.42 ERA over three different affiliates last season.
Arturo Lopez rebounded from a poor start to the year where he allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits in a third of an inning by pitching one scoreless frame on Sunday. Lopez pitched for three different minor league affiliates last year and spent part of the year on loan to Mexico. Overall, he went 2-5 with a 7.53 ERA in 63.1 innings. Included therein was a 5.09 ERA in 14 appearances in Double-A last season.
Lake Elsinore won 7-4 over Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)
Mike Baxter led the offense with a 3-for-4 night, scoring two runs and driving in one. The outfielder had five three-hit games last year for the Wizards. Dating back to last year, Baxter has reached base in 18 straight games and has a hit in 17 of those games. He has ten multi-hit games over that span. Baxter hit .256 for Fort Wayne last year with 13 steals in 18 attempts – he did get caught in his first stolen base attempt this year.
Jose Lobaton's bases clearing double in the sixth inning provided the margin of victory. It was his lone hit of the night in four at bats but a crucial one. Lobaton had just 20 games of experience at Low-A Fort Wayne coming into the year, hitting .279 with 11 RBIs last season. The catcher also nabbed three of five runners attempting to steal on Sunday. He had thrown out just one of the previous seven thieves, as the Angels squad attempting 12 stolen bases off Lobaton alone in the series.
Making his first professional start after pitching last year in relief, Richie Daigle earned the win by going five innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits while whiffing five. The right-hander had not pitched more than three innings in any outing since being signed as an undrafted free agent. Daigle struggled through the first two innings but allowed just one baserunner over the final three. He went 6-1 with a 3.42 ERA over 68.1 innings last year for the Storm.
"My whole attitude is to do everything I can and do the best with what I can control and you don't have to worry about anything else because you have done everything you can do," Daigle said of his preparation coming into the starter's role. "There is always goals, but I like to stay flexible."
Fort Wayne had a scheduled day off