Starting off in the Triple-A game was Casey Crosby, who was optioned to Toledo last week after briefly competing for the fifth starter's spot. Crosby was able to work four innings without allowing a run, but did allow a few hits and was working with runners on base for much of the time he pitched. If there was a concern about Crosby's start, it was the relatively few times he induced swings and misses with his stuff. While he'll be just a step below the big leagues, Crosby is likely going to be lower on the totem pole for a big league call-up, as he still has some things to iron out.
Speaking of Toledo, just fielding a team on the back fields is challenging for them at the moment. With 38 players still in big league camp, a good portion of the players likely to make up the Toledo roster aren't available to the team. It does provide the opportunity for minor league free agents such as Marcus Lemon and Brad Eldred to make a case for a roster spot, but at this point in time, if any roster were unsettled, it'd be Toledo.
After Crosby pitched, a few more left-handers made appearances; Matt Hoffman, Austin Wood, and finally Kenny Faulk. Wood had an especially strong showing, with three strikeouts over two innings, and displaying very good control. Faulk struggled some in his inning of work, but don't read too much into him pitching for Toledo on this particular day – frequently, they're just trying to get guys innings, and whichever game they can appear in to get that work in, that's what they'll do.
Shifting to the Double-A game, it was a relatively quiet game, up until Bruce Rondon came in for an inning of work. The big right-hander immediately drew a crowd and flashed his heavy fastball, which was sitting at 98 in his appearance, and reportedly even touched 100 MPH. However, the more important note from Rondon's 1-2-3 inning was that he had excellent control, getting ahead of hitters in each of the at-bats, and keeping his fastball low in the zone. While Lakeland in theory is the next step in his development, assigning him to Erie where he'll get more of a challenge is being discussed.
And on Erie, their roster isn't quite as susceptible to the big league camp, painting a clearer picture of how they'll look.
One move that was tried last summer and looks to be permanent is shifting first baseman Tony Plagman out to left field. The club is going to need offense and trying to keep both Plagman and Lennerton in the lineup will go a long way toward helping that. With Lennerton at first, Plagman has taken well to the new position in the outfield, and made a very nice play on a ball in the corner on a ball hit down the line, with a strong, one-hop throw to second to hold the runner to a single.