Minor League Notebook: 8/5

It was another bad day for the Tiger organization, as the minor league squads combined to go 2-4 on the day, combining with the Tiger loss to make for a day that the team would rather forget. Plus, the Tiger sustained a potential injury to one of their top prospects after he made a diving catch and crashed into the Centerfield wall.

AAA Toledo 59-54, 1st place in West division
It's safe to say Toledo is now on a losing streak - as they fell for the 4th game in a row on Thursday night. They lost to Charlotte in 10 innings, 7-5. James Baldwin had been pitching well, but wasn't as successful on Thursday, giving up 5 runs in 8 innings, and walking away with a no decision. Rather, it was former Tiger Craig Dingman who took the loss, giving up a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning. At the plate, Nook Logan had a pair of triples and a pair of runs, while Eric Owens went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. Benji Gil, Craig Monroe and Rayner Bautista all each had 2 hits apiece.

The Mudhens are now just a half-game up on Columbus for first place in the West, meaning it's time for the Mudhens to kick it up a notch. They could especially use some help from their rotation, who hasn't done much as far as slowing down the opposition is concerned. The Mudhens will hope to get a good start from Pat Ahearne on Friday night, as all in all he has been their best starter for the 2004 season. If he doesn't, the Mudhens could very well find themselves once again looking up in the conference standings, now with just a month of baseball left to play.

AA Erie 58-50, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves lost on Thursday, but that was the least of anyone's concern. More worrisome was Granderson colliding into the Centerfield wall and being forced to leave the game after just one at bat. As for the game, the Seawolves lost 8-1 to Portland, as Mark Woodyard wasn't effective, giving up 8 runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. John Birtwell - who was just recently moved up to Erie - made his debut, not allowing a run in 2/3 of an inning. Not much noteworthy happened at the plate, with the Seawolves getting just 3 hits. Juan Tejada did go 2-for-3, and Rich Gomez drove in the team's lone run.

It's unfortunate the team lost the game, but the bigger concern is that the team lost Granderson, although right after the game it appeared that he would be alright. No announcement yet whether or not he will play Friday night, although he could be held out for precautionary reasons if nothing else. Granderson, who has been one of the hottest players in all of minor league baseball as of late, is on track to potentially see a September call-up, even if there is currently little time available in the Tiger outfield - he's played well enough to earn it. Now, just hope that the collision with the wall didn't result in any serious damage.

High-A Lakeland 15-26, 6th place in West division
The L-Tigers fell as well on Thursday, losing to Sarasota 9-3. Lino Urdaneta, a rule V pick who is just now appearing after spending the entire season on the Disabled List, took the loss, giving up a run in 2/3 of an inning. Corey Hamman then came on and cemented the loss, allowing 8 runs in 4 1/3 innings. Kevin McDowell did come on to pitch 2 hitless innings, including 3 strikeouts. At the plate, Jody Roughton led the way, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Brent Clevlen, who has continued to struggle, also had a double and a run for the L-Tigers.

Lino Urdaneta is an interesting case. He was signed in the offseason by Cleveland as a minor league free agent, then proceeded to look dominant in Dominican winter ball, showcasing his 98-mph fastball. This performance led the Tigers to steal him in the Rule V draft, however, arm troubles have kept him off the field all year long. In what is essentially a lost season, Urdaneta will now spend the next few weeks trying to work his way back up, possibly pitching for Detroit when rosters expand in September. But no matter what, if he expects to stay in the Tiger organization, he'll need to spend the entire season next year with the big league club again, since he didn't fulfill the requirement of being on the active roster for at least 90 days this year. Urdaneta is a nice prospect, but don't be surprised if he ends up being returned to the Indians.

Low-A West Michigan 18-21, 4th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps kept the organization from a complete day of losses, beating Clinton 9-3. Virgil Vasquez got the win, his 11th of the year, pitching 7 innings of 1-run baseball with 7 strikeouts and no walks. Jason Knoedler and Danilo Sanchez each had Home Runs, while Sanchez had 2 more hits. Kelly Hunt also went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, and Kody Kirkland and Luis Sabino each had 2 hits apiece for the Whitecaps.

Don't look now, but the Whitecaps are making a late season surge. While Toledo has lost 4 straight, the Whitecaps have won 4 straight, and it can all be attributed to a combination of better hitting and a lot of the same pitching the Whitecaps have received all year. Vasquez got his 11th win of the year (3rd most in the Midwest League), and don't look now, but Kody Kirkland appears to be out to make something out of this season just yet. Kirkland has raised his average now to .244 with a slugging percentage of .417. He also is among the Midwest League leaders in doubles, a great sign of power considering the size of the ballpark he's in. Danilo Sanchez has also continued to improve at the plate, raising his average to .272.

SS-A Oneonta 22-22, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers also got a win on Thursday, defeating New Jersey 2-1. Josh Rainwater started, but struggled, walking 5 batters in 3 innings. He did only allow 2 hits, so it wasn't all bad. Tony Peralta got the win in relief for Oneonta. Meanwhile, the more impressive feat came at the plate, where the O-Tigers managed 2 runs despite just 1 hit. Brooks Colvin got the hit and drove in both the runs for the win.

Rookie GCL Tigers The GCL Tigers lost to the GCL Braves 4-2 on Thursday night. A Santos took the loss but pitched well, giving up 2 earned runs with 5 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. At the plate, Leonardo Grullon had 2 hits, a run, an RBI and 2 stolen bases for the GCL Tigers, while Stephen Young had 2 hits at the top of the lineup.

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