Minor League Roundup - 4/9

Jason Botts showed signs of breaking out of his slump while the Oklahoma and Frisco bullpens continued to roll. Rangers Insider looks at Monday's minor league action.

AAA: Oklahoma 7 – (@) Nashville 2
W – Cruceta (1-0)

The RedHawks made Fort Worth Trimble Tech product Yovani Gallardo's Triple-A debut a rough one.

Oklahoma got to him in the first inning, as Jason Botts (.150/.227/.300) laced a double to score second baseman Ramon Vazquez. Botts, who had been off to a 1-for-15 start, added another RBI double off Gallardo in the top of the fifth inning. All three of Botts' hits this season have been doubles.

Drew Meyer, who was 2-for-4, had an RBI double in the top of the second.

Right fielder Victor Diaz (.316/.364/.579) was 1-for-3 with a double and a base on balls.

Making his first start in the Rangers' organization, pitcher Francisco Cruceta allowed just two runs – one earned – on two hits over five innings pitched. The right-hander, who finished second in the minor leagues (behind only Yovani Gallardo) in strikeouts last season, fanned just two while walking four.

Despite his success, Cruceta threw first-pitch strikes to just eight of his 21 batters faced. Only 39 of his 79 pitches were thrown for strikes. Not unlike Robinson Tejeda last season, the key for Cruceta will be to pound the strike zone with his mid-90's fastball.

Cruceta gave way to the OKC bullpen -- which has been nothing short of dominant this season -- in the sixth inning. Former Minnesota Twins reliever Willie Eyre fanned three while yielding one hit in two scoreless innings. A.J. Murray and Frank Francisco followed with 1-2-3 innings of their own. Francisco, who fanned all three batters he faced on Friday, struck out two in his inning today.

The RedHawks bullpen has yet to allow a run this season in 14.2 innings pitched.

Star of the game: RHP Francisco Cruceta
5.0 2 2 1 4 2 0 1.80

AA: Frisco 2 – Springfield 6
L – Kometani (0-1)
HR – West (1)

One of the reasons for Kea Kometani's 4.69 ERA with Frisco last season was his inconsistency throughout a game. Kometani often allowed big innings in between stretches of dominance.

That trend continued tonight, as Kometani allowed five runs on five hits in the first two innings. But the Pepperdine product settled down to retire seven of the last eight batters he faced. Kometani ended up yielding five runs on six hits in four innings.

Twenty-seven-year-old outfielder Kevin West provided all of Frisco's offense with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning.

Third baseman Travis Metcalf (.250/.400/.250) singled twice in four at-bats.

Veteran Brandon Puffer hurled two scoreless innings in relief of Kometani. Kenneth Chenard followed with two shutout frames and southpaw Randy Williams gave up a solo home run in the top of the ninth.

In 30 innings this season, the Frisco bullpen has posted an eye-popping 0.60 earned run average.

Star of the game: DH Kevin West
4 1 2 0 1 2 0 0 .286

Kea Kometani struggled in his first start of the season

A+: Bakersfield 4 – (@) Lancaster 5
L – Wilson (0-1)

After beginning their season with four consecutive slugfests, the Blaze played what would be considered a "normal" baseball game.

Making his first start in the states, 25-year-old pitcher Kendy Batista allowed just two runs on five hits in six innings. The Venezuelan did not walk a hitter and punched out five.

The start was Batista's second appearance, as he tossed a perfect inning with one strikeout last Friday.

Though there was only one error in the game, it seemed that most of Bakersfield's runs came on sloppy mistakes.

Blaze second baseman Johany Abreu (1/4, BB) singled to lead off the game. He advanced to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a flyout, and came around to score on a wild pitch.

Down two runs entering the top of the ninth inning, the Blaze had some work to do. Taylor Teagarden led off the frame with a walk, his third of the night. He advanced to second on a bunt single from Terry Blunt and scored on a Tony Roth base hit. Blunt scored the game's tying run on a balk by Stockton closer Jason Ray.

With three more walks from Taylor Teagarden, he now has eight in his first 17 plate appearances of the season. The backstop has gone 5-for-11 with one double and one home run.

In the bottom of the ninth, Bakersfield closer Jon Wilson experienced rare control problems. After striking out the first batter, Wilson walked the next two hitters before plunking Stockton left fielder Nick Blasi. The game winning run later scored on a Javier Herrera single.

Player of the game: RHP Kendy Batista
6.0 5 2 2 0 5 0 2.57

A: Clinton – (@) Wisconsin – PPD

The LumberKings were snowed out in Wisconsin on Monday. The two teams will attempt to play a doubleheader on Tuesday starting at 4:05 p.m. Central. Snow is in the forecast for both Tuesday and Wednesday in Appleton, Wisconsin.

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