Minor League Report - May 14, 2004

The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons are having to juggle a few things around because of big league promotions and possible promotions. At Reading, Scott Youngbauer stays hot for the R-Phils. The Clearwater Threshers are the temporary home for Eric Junge as he starts his rehab. And, in Lakewood, look out for the suddenly hot BlueClaws, who swept a four-game series against Savannah this week.

AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre: First, Pablo Ozuna lost his job when Anderson Machado arrived in Scranton. Now, with Chase Utley moving to the majors, Ozuna has taken over the second base job. Ozuna hit his third homerun of the season Thursday and brought his RBI total to 20. Manager Marc Bombard will look to find ways to keep Ozuna in the lineup even if Utley is eventually returned to AAA, since Ozuna is hitting .291 on the season.

First, Jim Crowell landed in Philly because of an injury to Roberto Hernandez. Now, Brian Powell might get his shot. Powell was flown to Colorado late Thursday and will be in town with the Phillies in case Billy Wagner winds up on the DL because of a strained groin that he suffered while warming up Thursday. Powell was 3-1, 1.83 in six starts and has two complete games under his belt. Powell was an attractive option because of the number of innings he may be able to give the Phillies if he is needed. Powell's normal spot in Scranton's rotation would be set to come up on Saturday, so Bombard may have to go to Shane Bowers for an emergency start.

Scranton will be without Mark Smith, who was placed on the temporarily inactive list for personal reasons.

AA Reading: In a matchup of teams tied for last in the division, Reading lost two out of three games at home to Harrisburg this week. The main problem was the starting pitching. Robinson Tejeda (1-4, 5.70), Keith Bucktrot (2-1, 2.56) and Franklin Perez (2-3, 4.19) combined to allow 11 earned runs in 18.1 innings for a 5.40 ERA in the series. Bucktrot can't shoulder too much of the blame since he had the best outing of the three by far, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing two earned runs in Wednesday's lone win in the series. Reading wrapped up a seven-game homestand that saw them go 2-5.

Scott Youngbauer went 5-12 (.417) in the series with two homeruns, three RBI and four runs scored. The young second baseman is now hitting .285 on the season with five homeruns and 11 RBI. Ryan Howard went 7-19 (.368) during the homestand and is now hitting .270 for Reading. He homered once in the seven games, bringing his season total to nine, tying him with five other players.

A Clearwater: The Threshers took advantage of having Eric Junge as their starting pitcher Thursday. Junge, who had off-season surgery, started a rehab assignment with Clearwater and pitched two perfect innings against Dunedin in Clearwater's 6-0 win on Thursday. Ryan Hutchinson (2-2, 3.42) came on after Junge and threw four very strong innings to get the win. Josh Paddock (0-2, 4.30) and Brandon Mayfield (0-0, 3.63) combined to shut down Dunedin and allow only one walk and no hits over the final three innings of work. Combined with the six shutout innings that Clearwater pitchers threw to finish Wednesday's game, the pitching staff now has a 15 inning shutout streak.

Vince Vukovich is 1-22 (.045) in the last seven games that he's played. The son of Phillies third base coach John Vukovich is now hitting just .145 for Clearwater.

A Lakewood: The Lakewood BlueClaws are suddenly hot. Lakewood swept Savannah and banged out 37 hits in the four game series. Lakewood hitters hit .282 (37-131) in the four game series. The Sand Gnats came into the series at 17-13 and fell to the .500 mark thanks to the BlueClaws. Lakewood is now 15-19, eight games behind front running Charleston, WV in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League. Charleston, S.C., leaders in the Southern Division at 21-12 now come into Lakewood for a four game series with the BlueClaws.

Carlos Rodriguez now has an eight game hitting streak during which he has hit .367 (11-30) to raise his average from .152 to .211 on the season. Rodriguez is also tied with Marc Tugwell for the team lead in homeruns with three. That's a little surprising, considering the two combined for just one homerun all of last season.

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