Minor League Report

The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons are in a fight for the division lead after a recent skid has brought them back to the pack. In Reading, the R-Phils are in the midst of one of the harshest scheduling oddities you could ever want to see. Plus, a look at a couple of unknown Clearwater prospects, a retired Lakewood player and news on the young guys in Batavia and the Gulf Coast League.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons:
A tough 4-1 loss to Rochester Thursday night moved the Red Wings to within three games of the Red Barons at the top of the North Division. Buffalo beat Richmond 4-0 to move within ½ game of Scranton. While neither Rochester or Buffalo has been on fire (they're both 5-5 in their last ten games) the Red Barons have gone just 2-8 over the last ten. It gets worse; Scranton is just 5-15 in July and have managed just two wins in their last 15 games. Wednesday night's win over Rochester snapped a five-game losing skid.

Robert Ellis pitched well again Thursday night, giving up two earned runs in seven innings, but suffered the loss.

Reading Phillies:
You had to know this was going to be a tough stretch for Reading. The R-Phils are in a stretch of playing 19 out of 22 games on the road. They're home this weekend after a nine-game road trip and then head right back on the road to play ten more on the road.

Left-hander Matt Squires has another doctor appointment on Monday to have his shoulder examined. Phillies team physician Dr.Michael Ciccotti performed a precautionary MRI earlier this week, but didn't initially feel there was any structural damage. Squires has lost velocity, prompting the Phillies to look for a reason why.

The R-Phils faced former Phillies reliever Jerry Spradlin Thursday night. Spradlin, who pitched for the Phillies in '97 and '98 is trying to make a comeback and is on Baltimore's AA roster at Bowie. Spradlin threw a perfect inning against Reading and has a 3.55 ERA with Bowie.

Clearwater Phillies:
Mike Floyd – probably better known as Gavin Floyd's brother – hit his seventh homerun of the season Thursday night. While he hasn't gotten the attention that Gavin has garnered, Mike Floyd is becoming a prospect of sorts in his own right. Floyd, a decent defensive outfielder, is hitting just .256, but has been coming on of late. The Phillies believe that Mike Floyd has a decent shot at hitting the majors someday at least as a utility outfielder.

Another unheralded prospect is right-hander Ryan Hutchison. Pitching for a weak team in Clearwater, Hutchison has notched seven saves and has a 2.17 ERA. Hutchison is one of those pitchers that prove you don't have to strike out a lot of guys to be successful. In 45 2/3 innings, Hutchison has struck out 24 and prefers to rely on getting ground ball outs. Hutchison has allowed just one homerun in 28 games this season.

Lakewood BlueClaws:
Pitcher Victor Menocal announced his retirement from baseball Thursday. Menocal will return to his alma mater (Georgia Tech) as a volunteer asssistant coach. While at GT, Menocal played shortstop, but was converted to pitching by the Phillies. In 30 games this season, Menocal was 1-4 with two saves and a 6.33 ERA. In three professional seasons, Menocal was a combined 7-8, 4.50 with seven saves.

To take Menocal's spot on the roster, the BlueClaws activated pitcher Joe Wilson from the DL. Wilson has battled shoulder stiffness this season and was on the DL after facing just three hitters in his last outing before leaving as a precaution. Wilson also reported some stiffness in his shoulder after an outing in early May. On the season, Wilson is 2-6, 4.42, making 16 starts and five relief appearances.

Batavia MuckDogs:
Aaron Wilson, a 24th round pick in June's draft out of the University of San Diego, has started his professional career with six shutout innings for Batavia. Working out of the bullpen, Wilson has also recorded one save. All hasn't been easy for Wilson though, as he's allowed four hits and four walks in his six innings, while striking out four.

Joe Bisenius (0-1) took a tough loss Thursday night. Bisenius gave up two earned runs over six innings in Batavia's 3-1 loss to Oneonta. Actually, the outing was the roughest of his young professional career. Bisenius came into the game with a 1.21 ERA and left with a 1.59 ERA. Kyle Allen (1-1) pitched shutout ball over the final three innings and lowered his ERA to 1.64. Allen struck out four hitters, giving him 11 strikeouts in 11 innings of work.

Gulf Coast League Phillies:
After rainouts and a scheduled day off, the GCL Phillies have been chomping at the bit to play ball. Unfortunately, they got their chance Thursday, but lost both ends of a double-header to the GCL Yankees.

The GCL Phillies aren't getting a lot of offense, but Michael Lombardi and Richard Plumsky have been the exceptions. Lombardi leads the team with 12 RBI and is hitting .297, while Plumsky is hitting .293.

First round pick Greg Golson stole three bases in the double-header and now has a team high six for the season. Golson has also upped his average to .258.

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