Rangers Minor League Roundup – 6/17

Right-hander Roy Oswalt made his fourth minor league rehab start on Sunday while the Spokane Indians picked up their first victory of the season. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 4 – Oklahoma City 2
W - Oswalt (1-1)
SV - Heilman (3)
HR - Miclat (1)
31-40, 10.5 GB

Before Roy Oswalt began his minor league ‘rehab' tour with the Texas Rangers' upper-level affiliates, the initial plan was to get him four starts––and get his pitch count up to 100––before bringing him to the major leagues.

The Rangers may still elect to give Oswalt one more start in the minors before calling him up, but that remains to be seen.

On Sunday, Oswalt worked six innings and yielded two runs. He gave up six hits (including two doubles) while walking one and striking out five.

The 34-year-old major league veteran threw 70 of his 100 pitches for a strike. He threw 66 pitches in the first three innings (including a 30-pitch third) but only 34 in his final three.

The results obviously aren't the most important aspect of Oswalt's preparatory minor league starts. It's more about getting his work in and getting the feel for his arsenal, including the fastball command. But in four starts, he has yielded 10 runs on 20 hits in 15.1 innings, walking four and striking out 13.

While Oswalt was pitching well, the Express' offense got to Astros prospect Paul Clemens for four runs on 13 hits in six innings.

Nine-hole hitting second baseman Greg Miclat (.241/.276/.426) was 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and three RBI. The round-tripper was just the fifth of Miclat's five-year professional career. Though he isn't known for his pop, the former Orioles prospect now has seven extra-base hits over his last eight games.

DH Brad Nelson (.297/.363/.469), who batted cleanup, doubled twice in four trips. The 29-year-old Nelson now has 20 two-baggers in 64 contests.

Mike Bianucci (3/4) singled three times while Julio Borbon (2/4) and Luis Hernandez (2/4) both singled twice.

Borbon, who stole his 11th base, has hit safely in 24 of his last 25 games. He's also hitting .410 (66-for-161) over his last 36 games with 22 multi-hit efforts.

Lefty Neal Cotts, recently activated from the disabled list, worked around a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning. He struck out two. Right-hander Aaron Heilman (4.13 ERA/.268 BAA) finished the game by fanning one in two scoreless innings to earn his third save.

Player of the Game: 2B Greg Miclat
3 1 2 1 1 3 0 0 .241

AA: Frisco 5 – Corpus Christi 14 (11 innings)
L - Majewski (0-1)
HR - Profar (7)
40-28, 4.0 GU

Having clinched a first-half division title with their win on Friday, the Frisco RoughRiders have tried some new things the last two days.

Some of the club's top prospects––including shortstop Jurickson Profar and third baseman Mike Olt––got a rare day off on Saturday.

On Sunday, with the game knotted at five in extra innings and the bullpen taxed from the last two days, ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele used a pair of position players to throw the 11th inning.

Veteran outfielder Val Majewski began the top of the 11th on the mound and was tagged for seven runs on six hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Utility infielder Guilder Rodriguez then came on and gave up two runs in one-third of an inning. The position players served up three gopher balls in the frame.

Frisco got only four innings out of starting pitcher Barret Loux (3.03 ERA/.244 BAA), who threw 70 pitches (45 strikes). He allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out one.

Although Loux remains 11-0 with a 3.03 ERA, his last four starts haven't been quite as sharp––21.0 ip, 22 h, 12 r, 10 bb, 15 k.

Shortstop Jurickson Profar went 1-for-4 with a solo home run––his seventh of the season––and a base on balls.

Zach Zaneski (1/3, 2B, 2 BB) and Ryan Strausborger (1/6, 2B) both doubled.

Normally an outfielder, Strausborger finished the game at second base and should get a little more action there during the second half, as the Rangers want to expand his versatility. He played some infield in college while at Indiana State University.

Mike Olt (1/3, 2 BB) and Jared Prince (2/5) reached base multiple times. Olt got the start at first base for the sixth time this season.

Hard-throwing reliever Fabio Castillo (2.89 ERA/.199 BAA) gave Frisco three innings of one-hit, shutout relief. While throwing 19 of his 26 pitches for a strike, Castillo fanned one without walking a batter and induced six groundouts.

The 23-year-old Dominican Republic native has been particularly effective in his last three outings––7.2 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 5 k. His lively low-to-mid 90s fastball has helped him induce nearly 2.3 groundouts per airout on the year.

Tyler Tufts gave up two runs in two innings out of the bullpen, and lefty Joe Ortiz fired a scoreless 10th before the position players came on.

Ortiz, 21, has pitched well in his first season at Double-A––29.2 ip, 25 h, 8 er, 6 bb, 29 k.

The game, which took three hours and forty-five minutes to play, began after a one hour and forty minute rain delay.

Player of the Game: RHP Fabio Castillo
3.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.89

A+: Myrtle Beach 5 – Potomac 0
W - Rojas (5-0)
SV - Osborne (2)
HR - Villanueva (4)
36-34, 8.5 GB

Scheduled starting pitcher Cody Buckel was held out of Sunday's game so he'll be able to pitch in Tuesday's Carolina League All-Star Game.

Sinkerballing righty Randol Rojas (1.47 ERA/.217 BAA) got the spot-start instead and led the Pelicans' pitching staff to their ninth shutout of the first half.

The 21-year-old Rojas scattered four singles in five scoreless innings while striking out five without issuing a walk. While he's struck out only 19 in 36.2 innings since being promoted to High-A, Rojas has also yielded just six earned runs.

Relievers Joe Van Meter (1 IP), Francisco Mendoza (1 IP), Matt West (0.2 IP) and Zach Osborne (1.1 IP) combined to finish the shutout.

West, making his first appearance of the season, entered in the eighth inning. His outing went as follows––walk, flyout, wild pitch, walk, strikeout swinging.

West's injury and outing on Sunday was profiled in greater detail at this link.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva (.251/.311/.372) has scuffled of late, but he went 1-for-3 with a solo home run––his fourth––and a walk on Sunday.

Villanueva has only four round-trippers in 63 games with Myrtle Beach after socking 17 in 126 contests with Hickory last season.

Leadoff man Teodoro Martinez (3/5) singled three times and stole his ninth base of the year. Middle infielders Santiago Chirino (1/3, BB) and Edwin Garcia (1/3, BB) each singled and walked.

Player of the Game: RHP Randol Rojas
5.0 4 0 0 0 5 0 1.47

A: Hickory 1 – (@) Lakewood 6
L - Matthews (1-1)
36-33, 9.5 GB

Left-hander Kevin Matthews, the Rangers' first-round pick in last year's MLB Draft, made his first start of the season on Sunday.

The Georgia native allowed three runs in three innings, giving up three hits and walking five. He struck out one.

The 19-year-old Matthews has now made five appearances since being promoted to Hickory from extended spring training. In 12 innings, he's surrendered eight runs on 12 hits, walking eight and striking out 14.

Outfielder Zach Cone (.270/.328/.472) finished off a decent first half to the season by going 1-for-2 with a triple and two walks. In 63 games, Cone has 14 doubles and 10 home runs with 20 walks and 67 strikeouts.

Hanser Alberto (1/4, 2B) doubled and Trever Adams (1/2, BB) singled and walked.

After Venezuelan righty Arlett Mavare yielded two runs in two innings out of the bullpen, Chance Sossamon (1 IP) and Andrew Faulkner (1 IP) each worked a 1-2-3 frame.

Phil Klein surrendered a solo home run in the eighth but also struck out a pair.

The Lakewood BlueClaws sold out all four of their games against Hickory over the weekend, drawing 8,000 fans per contest.

Player of the Game: RF Zach Cone
2 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 .270

SSA: Spokane 7 – Vancouver 3
W - Perez (1-0)
HR - Roa (1)
1-2, 0.0 GU

After being outscored 19-5 in their first two games, Spokane came back for a 7-3 victory over the Canadians on Sunday.

Fireballing righty Connor Sadzeck made his official pro debut in the contest––he'd been pitching at extended spring training this year––and held the opposition to one run in four innings.

Sadzeck, who induced six groundouts without a flyout, allowed one hit while walking three and striking out four.

Talented hurler David Perez followed by giving up one run in three innings, working around two hits and four walks. He fanned six.

The Indians scored seven runs on 11 hits despite stranding 11 runners on base and going 3-for-16 with men in scoring position.

Puerto Rico native Gabriel Roa played at shortstop and was 2-for-3 with a solo home run, the first round-tripper of his pro career. He also laid down a sacrifice bunt and stole a base.

Third baseman Ryan Rua (3/5, 2B) and right fielder Preston Beck (2/5, 2B) both doubled. Beck also added an outfield assist, gunning down a runner at second base.

Extremely patient centerfielder Hirotoshi Onaka reached base in all five of his plate appearances. The Japan native had a single, four walks, three runs scored, and a run batted in.

Nick Vickerson (1/3, BB) and Guy Edmonds (1/3, BB) singled and walked once apiece.

A pair of tall right-handed relievers also made their professional debut in Josh McElwee and Alec Asher.

McElwee, the Rangers' 20th-round pick, fanned the side and allowed an unearned run in one inning. Asher, the fourth-round pick, punched out two in a perfect ninth.

Player of the Game: RHP Connor Sadzeck
4.0 1 1 1 3 4 0 2.25

DSL: DSL Rangers – OFF
6-7, 3.0 GB

The Dominican Rangers were off on Sunday. They'll return to action against the DSL Yankees2 on Monday morning at the Rangers' complex in Boca Chica.

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