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Minor League Report - May 24, 2004

The Phillies minor league system must be selling a lot of programs at their games. Without one, you truly can't tell who's who. Injuries have shaken up the rosters at almost every level thanks to the dominoe effect. Even with all of the moves, some players are enjoying some pretty impressive streaks, which we examine in our "streak edition" of the <i>Minor League Report</i>.

AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons: Ryan Hutchison had mixed results in his three-day stay with the Red Barons. In his first outing on Friday, Hutchison threw one shutout inning, but was then roughed up in Sunday's outing, but he did record the win. The final stats for Hutchison stand at 1-0, 5.40 with six hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. On Monday, the Phillies moved Hutchison back to AA Reading, but it's still a promotion since Hutchison was at Clearwater before the promotion to AAA. With the Threshers, Hutchison is 2-2, 3.16 with one save.

Lou Collier is swinging a hot bat. Riding an eight game hitting streak during which he is hitting .571 (16-28), Collier has upped his average to .325 on the year. He also has a four-game RBI streak and has seven RBIs in his last two games.

Andy Machado seems to be catching on a little. Machado has a short three-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .364 (4-11). His season average has moved up to .246 at AAA Scranton.

AA Reading Phillies: Yoel Hernandez, who got the win in Sunday's game, has a streak of five shutout innings going, during which he's allowed just two hits. Hernandez is now 1-2, 1.96 on the season. The 22 year old Hernandez sometimes falls through the cracks when it comes time to rank the top pitchers in the organization, but don't count him out. Hernandez is 24-31, 3.30 in his minor league career. One concern is that he is racking up some innings on his arm, having pitched 491 innings in the minors and only three of them were at AAA.

The Trenton Thunder pitching staff is glad to get out of Reading. They did manage to win one of the three games against Reading this weekend, but Reading hitters went along at a .356 clip over the weekend, scoring 22 runs. Scott Youngbauer (6-15, .400), Ryan Howard (5-11, .455) and John Castellano (6-12, .500) combined to hit .447 (17-38) with three homeruns, eight RBI and ten runs scored between them.

A Clearwater Threshers: Elizardo Ramirez got the promotion all the way to the majors somewhat by default, since he was one of the few 40 man roster pitchers who was eligible to be called up and hadn't pitched in the last couple days. Make no mistake about it though, the Phillies love this kid. Ramirez has great poise on the mound and throws strikes. He also has the mental toughness to withstand the pressures of pitching in the majors. The Phillies may keep Ramirez with the big league club until Billy Wagner is set to return from the DL and it's not out of the question that Ramirez could be in the majors to stay before either Gavin Floyd or Cole Hamels.

With the promotion of Ramirez, Matt Sweeney figures to move into the starting rotation. Two of Sweeney's four appearances have been starts this season and he is 0-1, 3.87 in those two starts. He has allowed seven hits, five walks and has struck out four in 9 1/3 innings as a starter. For the record, Sweeney is 0-1, 7.93 in his two relief appearances this season. In his minor league career, Sweeney has started in 36 of his 51 appearances.

Second baseman Ralph Santana went 3-4 Sunday, giving him a five-game hitting streak during which he's hitting .500 (10-20).

After hitting three homeruns against Daytona last Wednesday, the Threshers have just one homerun in their last four games.

A Lakewood BlueClaws: Jake Blalock extended his hitting streak to five games with a 3-5 day on Sunday. During the streak, Blalock is hitting .576 (15-26) with four homeruns, eight RBI and eight runs scored. During Blalock's streak, the team is hitting an even .400 (82-205).

The BlueClaws now have a streak of six straight games where at least eight of the nine starting players have had a hit. On Sunday, everyone in the lineup had at least one hit, led by Randy Ruiz who went 4-5 and now has a seven-game hitting streak. Of the culprits who have gone hitless are Jake Blalock (0-4 on May 16), Jose Cortez (0-4 last Wednesday), Mauber Lopez (0-4 on Thursday), Marc Tugwell (0-4 on Friday) and Bryan Hansen (0-6 on Saturday). Catchers accounted for two of the hitless days and overall were 5-25 (.200) during the stretch. After his 0-6 on Saturday, Hansen was given Sunday off. The 0-for snapped a 9-17 (.529) stretch for the young third baseman.

Maximo Reyes allowed his first earned run of the season on Sunday. In fact, he allowed two. His ERA "jumped" to 0.75 after the outing. Reyes' streak without allowing an earned run ended at 21 innings. Not bad for a guy who missed all of last season after elbow surgery.

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