Minor League Notebook: 5/27

Different night, similar results. Tiger farm clubs once again went 1-3 on Wednesday night, with the Seawolves being the only team to end up victorious. However, unlike the parent club - who laid an egg so-to-speak against the Royals, all the clubs gave a competitive effort. Plus, a pair of minor leaguers plagued by injuries over their careers had notable performances. (FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)

AAA Toledo 22-25, 3rd place in West division
The Mudhens fell again on Wednesday night to Ottawa, 8-5. Adrian Burnside had a rough outing for the Hens, allowing 7 runs on 10 hits in only 4 2/3 innings. First Baseman Joe Vitiello had a big outing in the loss, going 3-for-5 with a Home Run and 3 RBI. The Mudhens are off Thursday before wrapping up their series with Ottawa on Friday night.

Vitiello continues to hit for the Mudhens, a team devoid of high-level prospects. The 34-year old Vitiello might be remembered by some Tiger fans as a part-timer for the Kansas City Royals from 1995-2000. Vitiello surfaced again in the majors briefly last year with Montreal, and is now making one last run at cracking a major league roster. He might not be an all-world player, but his .590 slugging percentage gives hope that an injury or two could allow for a call-up at some point this season.

AA Erie 26-16, First place in Southern divison
The Seawolves continued their domination of the Eastern League with another win Wednesday night, a 4-3 victory over Arkon. Felix Sanchez, the recently acquired lefty from the Chicago Cubs earned his first win in the Tiger system for pitching a scoreless 8th inning. Starter Preston Larrison pitched well enough to earn the win though, going 7 innings with 3 runs (only 1 earned) on 3 hits to go with 8 strikeouts. Erie takes on Akron again Thursday night.

The pitching was solid, but the star of the game was without a doubt 2B Ryan Raburn. Raburn, who missed the first 6 weeks with a dislocated finger, came on huge for the Seawolves, launching a pair of Home Runs and driving in all 4 of the team's runs. Raburn is average defensively, but possesses a rare quality for a Second Baseman - 20-homer potential. If he can stay on the field, he could definitely make things interesting for the Tigers.

High-A Lakeland 20-28, Fifth place in West division
Lakeland fell again at the hands of the Vero Beach Dodgers 6-3 on Wednesday. Jeremy Johnson made his first start of the year, an unimpressive one at that. Johnson made it 3 innings, allowing 4 runs. He took the loss for the L-Tigers. CF Victor Mendez went 2-for-2 with an RBI in the loss.

SS Anderson Hernandez's second stay with Lakeland has been a brief one. After the game, he was promoted back up to Erie to take over as Erie's starting Shortstop. Hernandez has a quick bat and a reliable glove - the promotion giving the notion that the Tigers appear to be dumping all their eggs into one basket to produce at least one contending minor league squad. And so who will replace Hernandez at Lakeland? SS prospect Tony Giarratano.

Low-A West Michigan 17-28, Sixth in Eastern division
The Whitecaps fell to the Lansing Lugnuts again on Wednesday night, but that wasn't the worst news the team received. The Whitecaps once again faced another major leaguer on a rehab assignment - this time Ryan Dempster - who pitched 3 scoreless innnigs while striking out 5. Chris Steinborn countered with a good outing, but not quite good enough - going 7 innings with 2 earned runs. 3B Kody Kirkland continues to show signs that he might be ready to break out of his extended slump - going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles to raise his average up to .225 on the year.

The bad news, besides losing the game of course? No, the Whitecaps aren't about to face Kerry Wood as well (although they do take on the Lugnuts once again Thursday). The Whitecaps best player - Giarratano - was bumped up to high-A Lakeland. While Giarratano had showed he would be ready to move up if necessary, the Whitecaps definitely could have used Giarratano for the entire season if for no other reason than to keep a couple marquee names on the squad.

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