12-11-2, 3.0 GB
The suddenly scuffling Rafters fell to three games out of first place with another loss on Wednesday afternoon.
Surprise went up against Blue Jays sinkerballing southpaw Mark Rzepczynski, who hurled six innings of two-hit, shutout ball and fanned eight without issuing a walk.
Left fielder Jared Bolden batted third in the Rafters order and was 0-for-3 with a base on balls. He threw out a runner at second base to pick up his first outfield assist of the Fall League season.
DH Joey Butler and second baseman Davis Stoneburner both singled once in four trips. Butler stole his third base.
Former Rangers prospect Matt Lawson, who was sent to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade, has been working out at shortstop during the Fall League. A second baseman by trade, Lawson didn't see any time at shortstop during his four years in the Texas organization. He has nine errors in 13 contests at shortstop during the Fall League for a .813 fielding percentage.
Cleanup hitter and catcher Max Ramirez got four plate appearances in La Guaira's 8-3 victory over the Caribes. Ramirez was 0-for-3 but brought home a run with a sacrifice fly.
Ramirez has played 18 games with La Guaira thus far––11 as a designated hitter and seven behind the plate. He has committed one error with one passed ball and has gunned down 2-of-6 attempted base stealers.
Lefty specialist Joe Ortiz retired the only batter he faced by inducing a flyout. The 20-year-old now has three full innings over 11 appearances.
Magallanes southpaw Martin Perez appeared in relief of hard-throwing righty Fernando Nieve, with both hurlers working three innings. Perez yielded two runs––one earned––on three hits, walking two and striking out five.
The 19-year-old has produced a mixed bag of results in his first 15 winterball innings. Perez has worked some dominant outings to go along with some poor ones. His 6.60 ERA has come with 10 walks and 15 punchouts.
Edwin Garcia got the start at shortstop for Caracas and was 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. Through three games, Garcia is 2-for-7 with a double and two walks.
Centerfielder Engel Beltre fanned twice in three hitless at-bats, dropping his average to .375 after four starts in the Dominican Republic. A solid defender with a strong arm, Beltre picked up an outfield assist by gunning down Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick at home plate.
Left-hander Kasey Kiker has seen his innings gradually increase in each of his four outings with Ponce, and he worked into the seventh inning during Wednesday's start. The prospect picked up the victory after going 6.1 frames and giving up three runs––two earned––on three hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Kiker had an extremely rough regular season with Double-A Frisco, as he posted a 7.65 earned-run average and walked 46 batters in 40 innings. His control deteriorated as the season progressed, ending with 12 walks over one total inning in his final three outings with the ‘Riders.
But Kiker is showing signs of progress in Puerto Rico this winter. Through 13.2 frames with Ponce, he has yielded four earned runs on 11 hits, walking five and striking out 11. Kiker may be a full-time reliever with the Rangers organization at this point, but he still has the stuff to reach the big leagues if he can throw strikes and command his three-pitch arsenal.
The circuit has begun its 2010 campaign, but there will be no Rangers players participating this season.
Subscribe to LoneStarDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on LoneStarDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.