Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/17

High-A Myrtle Beach starting pitcher Cody Buckel struck out 11 batters over eight scoreless innings on Thursday, yielding two hits and walking one. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 5 – Fresno 10
L - Hamburger (0-1)
HR - Butler (8), Borbon (3, 4)
18-23, 6.0 GB

The Express got some power from an unexpected source on Thursday, as leadoff hitter Julio Borbon (.258/.318/.380) launched a pair of home runs in four at-bats. The 26-year-old centerfielder matched his professional best with four RBI in the game––last done in September 2010 against the Yankees.

It was the second time Borbon has hit two home runs in a game. He last did that in the majors––on September 8, 2009, versus Cleveland.

While the speedy Borbon got out to a very slow start––hitting .211 with three extra-base hits in April––he is batting .324/.352/.544 in 15 games this month.

Round Rock starting pitcher Michael Kirkman (6.68 ERA/.291 BAA) continued to battle his control, throwing just 44 of his 80 pitches for a strike. Kirkman struck out six batters in four innings but yielded three runs on four hits and three walks.

In 25.1 innings as a starting pitcher this season, Kirkman has walked 20 and struck out 27.

Scuffling reliever Mark Hamburger (8.54 ERA/.372 BAA) followed by surrendering three runs in three innings.

Joey Butler (1/4, HR) launched a solo home run while Luis Martinez (2/4, 2B) and Yangervis Solarte (2/4) had two hits apiece.

With another hit on Thursday, left fielder Ryan Spilborghs (1/3, BB) has now hit safely in all 11 games he's played with Round Rock.

Nine-hole hitting third baseman Tom Mendonca (.209/.271/.313) whiffed twice in four hitless at-bats. Through 31 Triple-A games, Mendonca has only six extra-base hits and a 32 percent strikeout rate.

Player of the Game: CF Julio Borbon
5 2 2 0 2 4 0 0 .258

AA: Frisco 3 – (@) Midland 8
L - Murphy (1-4)
24-16, 3.0 GU

‘Riders starting pitcher Tim Murphy (5.67 ERA/.268 BAA) needed 74 pitches (42 strikes) to get through 3.1 innings on Thursday, as he allowed six runs on seven hits. Murphy walked two and struck out two.

The 25-year-old, who is making his return from Tommy John surgery, has some intriguing splits in the early going.

Prior to his injury in 2010, Murphy had begun working out of the bullpen and with a low arm slot. But the Rangers brought his arm slot back up and put him back in the rotation to start this season.

It's likely too soon to draw major conclusions, but fellow left-handers are just 5-for-32 (.156) with one walk and 10 strikeouts against him this season. On the flip side, righties have posted a .305/.412/.421 slash line with 14 walks to nine strikeouts.

Leadoff man Engel Beltre (.269/.307/.461) went 2-for-4 with a double––his seventh––and a stolen base, his 14th in 16 attempts. Beltre also picked up an outfield assist by gunning down a runner at home plate.

Though he's at only 39 games played thus far, Beltre is two steals away from matching his entire 2011 total (16), which came in 118 contests.

Mike Olt (.275/.394/.529) doubled for his only hit in four at-bats.

The 23-year-old Olt is showing definite progress during his second month in Double-A. After striking out 30 times in 23 April games, Olt has 10 whiffs (with 11 walks) in 14 games this month. He has a .320/.460/.540 slash line in May.

Hot-hitting shortstop Jurickson Profar (.292/.349/.494) extended his hitting streak to 27 games and his on-base streak to 36 by going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.

First baseman Chris McGuiness (1/3, BB) singled and walked, bringing his relatively modest hitting streak to eight contests.

Veteran reliever Ross Wolf did his best to keep Frisco in the game by posting 2.2 scoreless innings after Murphy's exit. He worked around three hits and two walks.

But Midland extended the lead in their final two at-bats, as righty Wilfredo Boscan (4.56 ERA/.293 BAA) surrendered a pair of runs in two innings.

Player of the Game: CF Engel Beltre
4 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 .269

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – (@) Winston-Salem 0 (13 innings)
W - Rojas (3-0)
20-18, 2.5 GB

The Pelicans and Dash played scoreless ball for 12 innings before Myrtle Beach busted out with three runs in the top of the 13th.

A trio of Myrtle Beach pitchers––Cody Buckel, Zach Osborne, and Randol Rojas––teamed up to hurl 13 innings of scoreless ball, allowing seven hits (six singles), walking three, and striking out 15.

Buckel (1.14 ERA/.146 BAA) worked a career-high eight shutout innings, turning in the best outing of his impressive season thus far. The 19-year-old allowed two hits, walked one, and punched out 11––another career best.

Although Buckel is in just his second full season and doesn't turn 20 until mid-June, he must be nearing a Double-A promotion. The prospect has allowed six runs in eight Carolina League starts. He's yielded just 23 hits in 47.1 innings while walking 17 and striking out 59.

Houston native Zach Osborne (0.82 ERA/.200 BAA) continued his dominance out of the Pelicans' bullpen with three blank frames in relief of Buckel. Osborne scattered four hits and struck out three.

The 6-foot-5 righty is working on an eight-outing scoreless streak. During that stretch, he has the following stat-line––15.1 ip, 10 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 19 k. While Osborne isn't overpowering, he has some deception in his low three-quarters delivery with a sinker, slider mix.

Randol Rojas (1.50 ERA/.194 BAA) worked around a hit and two walks in two innings to finish the game.

Myrtle Beach won the game despite being held hitless through the first 5.1 innings.

Shortstop Odubel Herrera (1/6) broke the scoreless tie with his run-scoring single in the 13th. Catcher Tomas Telis (1/5) also drove home a run.

Right fielder Josh Richmond (2/4, 2B, BB) and third baseman Christian Villanueva (1/6, 2B) both doubled.

After going 0-for-4 on Thursday, former first-round pick Jake Skole is now hitless in 24 at-bats over his last seven contests. He's 4-for-42––all singles––with a walk and 14 strikeouts this month.

The Pelicans are above .500 on the season due in large part to the work of the pitching staff. The club ranks last in the league in cumulative batting average (.232), on-base percentage (.292), and slugging percentage (.333). But they're tops in the circuit in earned-run average (2.96), shutouts (5), and strikeouts (320).

Player of the Game: RHP Cody Buckel
8.0 2 0 0 1 11 0 1.14

A: Hickory – (@) Asheville – PPD (Rain)
19-17, 8.5 GB

The Crawdads and Tourists were postponed due to rain on Thursday. The washout means that Hickory will now have to play three doubleheaders––eight total games––over the next five days.

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