Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/31

The short-season Spokane Indians stayed in the playoff hunt with a big win on Wednesday night. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 2 – (@) Omaha 12
L - Hurley (8-3)
82-57, 12.0 GU

In his first season since missing over two full years due to shoulder and wrist surgeries, right-hander Eric Hurley appears to be limping to the finish line a bit.

The 25-year-old had his roughest start of the season on Wednesday, giving up 10 runs in five innings pitched. He surrendered a season-high 13 hits while walking three and striking out two.

After going 5-0 with a 3.72 ERA in six July starts, Hurley has allowed 32 runs in 33.2 frames this month, walking more (18) than he has struck out (17).

Shortstop Andres Blanco played in his last rehab game and was 1-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and two strikeouts. Adrian Beltre did not play, but both players are expected to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday.

Leadoff hitter Esteban German (.301/.388/.411) was 3-for-4 with his 29th double of the season. The veteran utility man is 17-for-38 (.447) over his last 10 contests.

Brad Nelson (1/5, 2B) and Guilder Rodriguez (1/4) had the team's only other hits while first baseman Jose Ruiz (0/2, 2 BB) walked twice in four trips.

With the recent call-up of outfielder Leonys Martin, the Express are having to get creative with their center field position. On Wednesday, Rodriguez––a middle infielder––batted ninth and played in center.

Righty reliever Cody Eppley bounced back from a poor outing to post 1.1 scoreless innings, working around a hit and a walk. He struck out one.

The Express were defeated by former Rangers hurler Luis Mendoza, who earned his 12th victory of the season. Mendoza was recently named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Year.

Player of the Game: 3B Esteban German
4 1 3 1 0 0 1 1 .301

AA: Frisco 6 – (@) Corpus Christi 5
W - Tufts (4-1)
SV - Miller (12)
HR - Osuna (10), Stoneburner (9)
35-30, 6.0 GB

Having already clinched a berth in the Texas League playoffs, the RoughRiders are simply playing out the regular season at this point. But the club got a big game-winning grand slam from shortstop Renny Osuna on Wednesday.

Osuna (.301/.349/.414) entered in mid-game after Tom Mendonca jammed his wrist while diving for a ball. Then, in the top of the eighth, Osuna hammered a grand slam over the left-field wall to put Frisco on top.

RoughRiders starter Robbie Ross (2.61 ERA/.231 BAA) held the Hooks to two runs––one earned––in 5.2 innings. The southpaw scattered six hits while walking two and striking out six.

In 38 innings with Double-A Frisco, Ross has struck out 36 while walking only five.

Middle infielder Davis Stoneburner (1/4, HR, BB) launched a two-run homer to start the scoring in the third inning. Left fielder David Paisano, appearing in just his second Double-A game since early May, had three singles in four at-bats.

Engel Beltre (1/3, BB), Mike Bianucci (1/4) and Jonathan Greene (1/4) combined for Frisco's other hits.

After Frisco took the lead, closer Justin Miller (1.86 ERA/.190 BAA) struck out a pair in the ninth inning to pick up his 12th save. He worked around a hit and a walk.

Miller finished his August with the following impressive line––12.2 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 5 bb, 18 k.

Player of the Game: SS Renny Osuna
2 1 1 0 1 4 0 0 .301

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – (@) Wilmington 1
W - Osborne (5-2)
SV - Reyes (2)
31-35, 4.5 GB

Myrtle Beach's two runs––both coming in the eighth inning––were enough to claim Wednesday's game. But the Pelicans have now scored more than three runs just once (Tuesday's six-run output) in their last nine contests.

The Pelicans got their first run––the game-tying score––on Jared Prince's (1/4, 2B) 29th double of the season, coming in the eighth. Later in the frame, Chris McGuiness (1/4, 2B) brought in another run with his 10th double.

Catcher Zach Zaneski also singled and doubled in the game, raising his average to .286.

Ryan Strausborger returned to the lineup on Wednesday after being hit by a pitch on the hand and missing five days. He was 0-for-3 with a base on balls.

Starter Chad Bell (3.01 ERA/.248 BAA) struck out only one batter in six innings, but he induced 13 groundouts with three flyouts in the game. The lefty held Wilmington to one run on four hits and three walks.

Bell has worked at least six innings in each of his last six starts.

Relievers Zach Osborne (1 IP), Joe Ortiz (1 IP) and Jimmy Reyes (1 IP) pitched one shutout frame apiece to preserve the victory.

Reyes, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound southpaw, has yet to permit a run in 6.1 innings with the Pelicans. He had a 1.88 earned-run average in 43 innings (26 appearances) at Single-A Hickory this summer.

Player of the Game: LHP Chad Bell
6.0 4 1 1 3 1 0 3.01

A: Hickory – OFF
38-26, 0.5 GU

After playing two doubleheaders in as many days on the Jersey Shore due to Hurricane Irene, the Crawdads made the 12-hour bus ride back to Hickory and enjoyed a well-earned day off. They close out the regular season with a five-game home set against Greenville, beginning on Thursday.

SSA: Spokane 3 – Everett 1
W - S. Perez (6-4)
SV - West (8)
HR - Cone (4)
13-22, 6.0 GB

With only three games remaining in the Northwest League's regular season, the Indians currently sit one game behind Boise in the race for the circuit's final postseason spot.

Spokane kept pace with their division rivals with a 3-1 victory against Everett on Wednesday.

Dominican right-hander Santo Perez (4.15 ERA/.269 BAA) rebounded from a string of rough outings to hurl six innings of one-run ball, giving up three hits, walking one, and striking out four.

Meanwhile, the scuffling Spokane offense got something going by plating three runs against talented Everett starter Jose Campos, who leads the league in nearly every major pitching category.

Centerfielder Zach Cone started the scoring with his solo home run––his fourth of the summer––in the bottom of the third inning. Corner infielders Jimmy Swift (2/3, 2B) and Yefry Castillo (1/3, 2B) both doubled.

Second baseman Rougned Odor, who went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt, saw his average dip to .261. The 17-year-old played well in June and July but batted just .207/.265/.250 during 25 August contests.

Kyle Hendricks (1.93 ERA/.169 BAA) worked two shutout frames while Matt West closed the deal with a blank ninth. West gave up two hits and struck out two.

West, 22, now has 34 strikeouts and one walk in 25 innings this summer.

Player of the Game: RHP Santo Perez
6.0 4 1 1 1 4 1 4.15

RK: AZL Rangers – Season Over
38-18, 13.0 GU

For the second consecutive season, the rookie-level Surprise Rangers won the Arizona League's West Division title but fell in the league's semifinal game.

DSL: DSL Rangers – Season Over
41-30, 5.5 GB

The Dominican Rangers failed to qualify for the Dominican Summer League playoffs despite posting a strong 41-30 record. The club finished in second place, 5.5 games behind the DSL Cubs2.

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