Minor League Notebook: 7/2

While the Tigers bullpen was busy blowing 2 leads, the minor league clubs weren't having the same issues en route to a 2-3 record for the day. Toledo split their doubleheader with Columbus, while the L-Tigers was postponed. Also, the Eastern League All Stars were announced with 2 surprises for the Seawolves, 1 that got on, and another that didn't.

AAA Toledo 44-39, 2nd place in West division
Toledo split a doubleheader on Friday with Columbus. In the first game, Columbus was victorious 6-1. All 6 runs were allowed by James Baldwin (although only 3 were earned). Eric Owens went 2-for-2 and had the team's lone RBI. In game 2, it was a different story, as Toledo still didn't score a lot, but the pitching shut down Columbus, and the Mudhens got a 3-1 victory. Nate Cornejo started the game, pitching the first 2 innings, yielding no runs with 2 hits and 2 strikeouts. Rick Kirsten pitched the next 4 innings, only giving up 1 run (he got the win to move to 2-0). 2B Warren Morris went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Morris is back on the field, unfortunately, it's not the field he hoped to be playing on this year. While happy in Toledo, Morris was hoping to stick with Detroit again this year after a solid 2003. But the signing of Fernando Vina combined with Morris' inability to play around the diamond (as opposed to Omar Infante or Jason Smith) ended that chance. Thusfar, Morris is hitting .289/.352/.454, very solid offensive numbers for a Second Baseman. But Morris is not great with the glove, and he doesn't have much speed. With the improvement of Infante, Morris will probably never get a chance to return to the majors - at least not as a Tiger.

AA Erie 43-36, 2nd place in Southern division
Make that 2 in a row for Preston Larrison. After a great stretch, Larrison has pitched two subpar outings in a row. Larrison gave up 5 runs in 6 innings in Erie's 9-3 loss to Bowie. At the plate, Kurt Airoso had 2-run Home Run, and SS Anderson Hernandez had a solo shot, just his 2nd of the year.

The All Stars were announced for the Eastern League, and 4 Seawolves were named to the squad, with one surprising exception. Lefty Wilfredo Ledezma was voted onto the team by the fans, as was Catcher Maxim St. Pierre - who is solid defensively, but probably was voted onto the team because of his interesting name. 1B Juan Tejada and RHP Roberto Novoa were also named to the team by the league's managers. That list is of course missing OF David Espinosa, who has arguably been the Seawolves top player through the first half of the season. Espinosa is solid defensively, carries an OPS of .867 and has swiped 13 bases. He may not be considered an All Star to the league, but he's without a doubt a star on the team.

High-A Lakeland 4-6, 3rd place in West division
Lakeland's game with Tampa was postponed due to weather. No word yet on the makeup date.

Low-A West Michigan 4-5, tied 4th in Eastern division
The Whitecaps lost a tough one on Friday, falling to nearby rival Battle Creek 8-6. Virgil Vasquez took the loss, giving up 6 runs in 5 innings of work. The offense made a late push at the end to catch up, but they just fell a little short. Kelly Hunt went 3-for-5 with a Home Run and 2 runs scored. Juan Francia also had 3 hits at the top of the order for the Whitecaps.

Francia doesn't have much power in his bat, and he is 2nd on the team with 14 errors, but his average has been very high all season long. He currently sits at .331, with a few more at bats that would put him 3rd in the Midwest League in average. The bigger issue with Francia is and will continue to be, what will happen when the pitching gets better, he's not real strong, and only has 7 extra-base hits so far this season. But for now, Francia is enjoying his time atop the Whitecaps order.

SS-A Oneonta 8-6, 2nd place in Stedler division
Oneonta won on Friday, but it took 13 innings before they could walk away with their 8-4 win. Lavon Lewis got the start for the O-Tigers, he went 7 innings, allowing 1 run and striking out 6. Jeff Frazier had 2 hits and 2 RBI for Oneonta, and Francisco Castro went 3-for-6 with 2 runs scored.

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