Jack Cassel pitched out of a bases loaded, one out situation in the first inning but wasn't so lucky the rest of the way. The right-hander labored through four innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits and four walks on 82 pitches to take the loss. He has given up nine runs over his first eight innings this year. In 11 Triple-A starts last year, Cassel allowed four runs or more in seven outings.
Tim Stauffer didn't fare well in his lone inning of work. A walk, strikeout, single, walk loaded the bases. Jason Stokes followed with a grand slam. Stauffer tossed 35 pitches in the frame and is sporting a 31.50 ERA after giving up seven runs on six hits and two walks in his two innings of work. Stauffer made two "relief" appearances last year, posting an 8.64 ERA in those outings.
On the positive side, Andrew Brown pitched two scoreless frames, yielding one hit and one walk while striking out one. After allowing one run in his first outing, Brown has tossed four scoreless, whiffing five. Brown went 5-4 with five saves and a 2.60 ERA over 39 appearances for the Buffalo Bisons of the Triple-A International League last year.
San Antonio lost 13-8 to Wichita (Royals)
Peter Ciofrone went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Four of his five hits this year have come with runners on base and he is 5-for-7 when he bats third in the lineup in the early going. The outfielder hit .231 over 15 Double-A games last season but batted .292 over 86 California League games, including a month of June that saw him hit .435.
Drew Macias went 2-for-5 with a solo homer, two runs scored, and a stolen base. After collecting one hit in his first 11 at bats, Macias has four hits in his last nine with three extra base hits. He also made two diving catches on Monday to rob Wichita players of hits. He has also swiped bags in successive games, a feat he did not accomplish in 134 games last year. The outfielder went 5-for-20 this spring for the Padres, seeing action in 12 games.
Jon Ellis was tagged for five runs, all earned, on six hits - including two bombs - in an inning and two-third. He came on with the bases loaded in the seventh and allowed all three baserunners to score. Four of the six hits went for extra bases. The right-hander allowed one homer over 37 appearances across three leagues last year, as he posted a 1-4 record with a 2.42 ERA.
Lake Elsinore lost 3-2 in 12 innings to Lancaster (Red Sox)
After flying out with the bases loaded in the second inning and committing an error that led to an unearned run in the third, Matt Bush collected his first hit of the year in the fifth, notching a two-out single to score two. Unfortunately, it was Bush's second error in the 12th inning that contributed to an unearned run and a loss. Bush has three errors in four games. The shortstop committed eight errors in 21 games for Fort Wayne a year ago after he was responsible for 38 miscues in 125 games.
Greg Burke tosses 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits and striking out four. He also stranded one inherited runner. The right-hander has opened the year with 4.1 scoreless innings in his conversion back into a relief role. Burke made 17 starts for Fort Wayne last year and 19 relief appearances over two leagues resulted in a 4.46 ERA.
"I threw a lot," Burke said of his off-season. "I threw two bullpens a week. I started in late November, a lot of long tosses and a lot of bullpens. I am throwing a split-fingered this year. I kind of had it last year in spring training. It wasn't too good."
Jon Link also pitched in two innings of scoreless ball, striking out two. Link has given up one unearned run on the year and one hit in four innings of work. Link placed in the top five in the Midwest League for appearances in 2006 with 53. The right-hander posted a 4.41 ERA over his first 44 outings before giving up nine runs in a 11.1 inning span made it rise to 4.91.
Fort Wayne lost 3-2 to Great Lakes (Dodgers)
Rayner Contreras went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Unlike last year where he hit .427 with runners in scoring position, the infielder is 0-for-4 in the same situations early in this season, stranding the tying run at third base in the eighth inning. He also committed his first error of the year. Contreras hit .316 with a Arizona Rookie League leading 52 RBIs last season. In his 12-game stint in the Midwest League, he had just four hits in 38 at bats.
"I want to start healthy and fight," Contreras said of his expectations this year.
Aaron Breit lasted just three innings on a night frequented by 3-0 counts, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks in taking the loss against a lineup stacked with lefties. While he retired the leadoff batter in each inning, Breit surrendered both walks with runners already on base and two of the four hits came with runners in scoring position. The right-hander went 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA over 18 appearances, including 12 starts, for the Eugene Emeralds. Lefties hit just .214 off him last season.
Derek McDaid made his system debut, coming in with two men on base and one out in the sixth inning, inducing a fly out and a ground out to end the inning without allowing an inherited runner to score. He would allow a single in the next frame before retiring the side. Signed out of a tryout camp in September, McDaid went 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA in the Independent Leagues last year, striking out 65 in 95.1 innings while not allowing a home run.