Montgomery Notebook: Buschmann Switches Sides

With a 4-3 start to the month of June, the Montgomery Biscuits are now 32- 29 and find themselves only a game and a half out of first place in the Southern League's South Division. Inside, the Biscuits hottest pitcher discusses what the key adjustment has been to his last two impressive starts and the team's hitting instructor weighs in on the squad's all-star representatives.

Buschmann moves to the other side

Matt Buschmann has always worked from the third base side of the rubber and as he pointed out, since pitchers tend to be "creatures of habit," he was not originally receptive to his new pitching coach's idea to pitch from the first base side.

That changed for the right-hander on May 29 against the Mississippi Braves as he came around to the suggestion of R.C. Lichtenstein, the Biscuits pitching coach, and started the game on the mound from the first base side.

Buschmann gave up one run on five hits through seven innings that night and struck out six for the win in his longest outing of the season. Out of 21 outs, he retired 11 with groundballs and six via the strikeout.

In his last start on June 4, a no-decision, Buschmann pitched six innings and only allowed one run, five hits and one walk.

"It's probably the biggest reason the last couple of games why my sinker has gotten a lot of groundballs," Buschmann says.

His new spot on the rubber, he says, has also helped him throw his changeup with more consistency and his ability to get left-handed hitters out.

Buschmann's next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Chattanooga Lookouts, who he stymied for six innings on May 6.

Hot in June

With a fast start to the month of June, Biscuits second baseman Tyler Bortnick claimed the team's lead for RBI with 32.

Now featured in the middle of the lineup, the former table-setter has opened the month with a 10-25 stretch, good for a .400 average.

"I love hitting with guys on base," Bortnick says. "It's now my job to drive in runs."

First baseman Ryan Garko has also made a case for a promotion this month. He is 9-24 with five walks to start the month.

"He's a real strong guy," Biscuits hitting instructor Ozzie Timmons says. "He had to get back used to seeing guys at this level who are throwing more than 90 mph. He's hitting the ball really well for us right now."

All-Stars announced

Four Biscuits, infielder Omar Luna, outfielder Kyeong Kang, starting pitcher Shane Dyer and reliever Frank De Los Santos have earned Southern League All-Star selections.

Dyer was promoted to Triple-A Durham last month after he won four games and had a 2.02 ERA in 40 innings pitched for the Biscuits.

Despite a couple of prolonged slumps, including a 3-16 start to June, Kang leads the team in home runs, 9, and has driven in 29 runs. His .522 slugging percentage has been among the highest marks in the league for the majority of the season.

Luna, a utility player for the Biscuits, found his way into the lineup toward the end of the first series of the season, and has not only stuck but has recently served primarily as the team's number three hitter in the order. The 25-year-old is putting together career numbers in several categories, with a .295 batting average, 15 stolen bases and 28 RBI.

"He'll wear you out in the cage," Timmons says. "He works real hard and I don't mind that at all. He's been going with pitches and doing what he can with them so far. He's pretty deserving of that this year."

De Los Santos has been terrific out of the Biscuits bullpen and in 21 appearances (including two spot starts), the 24-year-old Dominican is 3-1 with 3 saves and a 2.23 ERA in 44.1 innings of work. De Los Santos was a late edition to the squad and was named on Friday morning.

The 2012 Southern League All-Star Game will be played Tuesday, June 19, at Smokies Park in Kodak, TN.

Due up

After the Biscuits wrap-up their five-game series with the Chattanooga Lookouts (29-32) they will travel to play the Huntsville Stars (33-27) for the first time this season.

Will Sammon is the Montgomery Biscuits beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @WillSammon.


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