Minor League Roundup - 5/17

Both of the Texas Rangers' Single-A affiliates were washed out in North Carolina on Tuesday, but Double-A Frisco first baseman Jose Ruiz provided some fireworks with a walkoff homer. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 8 – (@) Las Vegas 9
L - Miller (1-1)
24-15, 2.5 GU

The Express weren't able to hold an 8-3 lead in the late innings on Tuesday afternoon, as relievers Mark Hamburger and Justin Miller combined to surrender six runs in the final two frames.

Round Rock got a nice start from right-hander Derek Hankins (5.95 ERA/.294 BAA), who yielded three runs (two earned) over six innings. The 27-year-old allowed four hits while walking one and matching a season-high with five strikeouts.

The 3-4-5-6 hitters in the Round Rock order combined for 11 hits in the contest. Brian Barden (3/5, 2B), Chad Tracy (2/4, 2B, HBP), and Luis Cruz (3/4, 2B) all doubled. Designated hitter Brad Nelson was 3-for-5 with his first triple of the season.

After Tuesday's performance, Barden boasts a .373 batting average in 33 games this season.

Joey Butler played in center field and singled twice in four trips, raising his Triple-A average to .279. A corner outfielder all the way, Butler and infielder Esteban German have been forced to fill the void in center after Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry were called up. Butler last played center with Bakersfield in '09, when he got 14 games there.

Righty Mark Hamburger pitched the eighth inning and permitted three runs on two hits and a walk. In the ninth, Justin Miller gave up a double, a homer, and issued four walks (one intentional)––leading to three runs. He walked in the winning run with just one out.

On the bright side, Yoshinori Tateyama (2.25 ERA/.224 BAA) pitched a scoreless seventh inning, working around one walk. The 35-year-old has 25 strikeouts and five walks in 21 innings this season.

Player of the Game: DH Brad Nelson
5 2 3 0 0 2 0 0 .285

AA: Frisco 1 – Midland 0
W - Aguero (2-0)
HR - Ruiz (3)
20-18, 5.0 GB

The RoughRiders and RockHounds were knotted in a scoreless tie until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when first baseman Jose Ruiz belted a walkoff home run––his third of the season–-to right field.

Ruiz (.320/.389/.464) also singled and walked in the contest. He now has two round-trippers in three starts since the birth of his child.

Given the Rangers' overall lack of first base depth in the minor leagues, the 26-year-old should have a good chance of getting his major league option picked up if he continues to produce–-and show some power––this season. While Ruiz would be on a major league contract, he would still have his usual options and could play in the minor leagues next season.

Rehabbing Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz batted third and worked at DH for the second consecutive day. He played the entire game, getting one single in four at-bats.

Starting pitcher Jake Brigham (3.74 ERA/.222 BAA) turned in his best Double-A outing yet. The 23-year-old worked six shutout frames, giving up two hits, walking two (one intentional), and striking out eight. After plunking the game's leadoff hitter, he retired the next 13 men he faced.

Brigham has posted the following line over his last four starts––25 ip, 16 h, 7 r, 7 bb, 23 k.

Hard-throwing righty Fabio Castillo (9.58 ERA/.275 BAA) worked around three walks in two hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out a pair. Ramon Aguero (4.91 ERA/.100 BAA) had a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout.

While the 26-year-old Aguero has permitted only two hits in 7.1 innings with Frisco, he has issued 10 walks and struck out seven.

Aside from Ruiz and Cruz, Guilder Rodriguez (2/4) and Davis Stoneburner (1/3) had the RoughRiders' other hits.

Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Engel Beltre went hitless in four trips, dropping him to 1-for-13 in three games since his 15-game suspension.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports that Leonys Martin, who didn't play, is day-to-day with a sore finger.

Player of the Game: RHP Jake Brigham
6.0 2 0 0 2 8 0 3.74

A+: Myrtle Beach – (@) Winston-Salem – PPD (Rain)
23-14, 1.0 GU

The Pelicans and Dash were washed out by rain on Tuesday. The clubs will play two seven-inning games on Wednesday, with the first beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. Robbie Erlin gets the nod in game one while Kenny Gomez is the scheduled game-two spot starter.

A: Hickory – Greensboro – PPD (Rain)
21-16, 4.5 GB

While the Pelicans were washed out in Winston-Salem, the Crawdads and Grasshoppers were also rained out approximately 70 miles down the road in Hickory. They'll play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with game one beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

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