Minor League Notebook: 8/9

The Tiger organization just can't seem to get wins, as on the big league club's off day, the 6 minor league clubs went a meager 2-4. It wasn't all bad though, as the Tigers saw a prominent prospect return from injury, as well as another team continue its hot streak as it makes its presence known in a playoff race - something that would have thought to be a long shot for this team just weeks ago.

AAA Toledo 59-58, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens losing streak has reached 8 games, as Toledo lost again on Monday evening to Norfolk 11-3. Rick Kirsten was on the mound this time, but he couldn't give the Mudhens much of a chance either - he gave up 6 runs in 3 innings, with 4 walks and no strikeouts. Craig Dingman also got roughed up in relief, allowing 4 runs in 2 innings. The Mudhens managed just 5 hits, one of which was a 3-run Home Run by Rich Gomez, which provided all of the Mudhens scoring for the evening.

Craig Dingman had pitched valiantly for the Tigers during his call-up, and while he still might return come September 1 when rosters expand, he hasn't shown he deserves the promotion. His last 3 outings have not been impressive, carrying an ERA of 11.57, including taking a loss. Colyer's ERA has also jumped almost a point and a half over the last week, not a good sign for a team struggling and looking for dependable pitching.

AA Erie 61-52, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves got a win on Monday, as the game marked the return of Curtis Granderson to the lineup, good news after sitting for a few games after having crashed into the Centerfield wall. Humberto Sanchez, just recently called up from Lakeland, pitched 6 strong innings, allowing 1 run with 6 strikeouts. Mark Woodyard got the win in relief, pitching the final 3 innings with 1 earned run. Ryan Raburn continues to hit well for Erie, going 2-for-4 with 2 runs and a Home Run for the Seawolves. Jack Hannahan also went 2-for-4 with a solo Home Run.

The organization moved Raburn to Second Base, where it believed he would be stronger defensively, and his bat would be more effective. Not to mention, the Tigers were without a legitimate Second Base prospect in the system, and had an aging Fernando Vina penciled in as their starter. But the emergence of Omar Infante has left Raburn in a rough spot, as he no longer has a clear path to the majors. Despite Infante, Raburn hasn't seemed to let that affect his hitting - he's hitting .259, but with a slugging percentage approaching .500 at .481. Raburn's defense has been rough at times, but struggles have to be expected from a player moving to a new position. Raburn has a good bat, but it's questionable whether or not he would hit enough to warrant a move to the Outfield. Raburn appears to be a man without a position for the time being, but if he keeps hitting, the Tigers will find a place for him.

High-A Lakeland 16-27, 6th place in West division
Lakeland got their game in on Monday, although it was cut short due to weather, as the L-Tigers fell in 5 innings 3-1. Lino Urdaneta took the loss, giving up 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings of work. The team got just 3 hits, 2 of which from Victor Mendez, including a triple. Chris Maples drove in the team's lone run.

There have been questions about Urdaneta's eligibility as of late; but one thing is for certain - if he doesn't pitch better, his Rule V status won't matter. Urdaneta has not been impressive with Lakeland, a big problem as he is a Rule V pick. Urdaneta needed to be on the major league club or the Disabled List all season (with a minimum of 90 days on the active roster), otherwise he'll be forced to adhere to the same rules next season. The Tigers will hold onto him over the winter and probably bring him back to camp, simply due to his impressive fastball, but don't bet on receiving much in return from this flame-thrower, he'll probably end up back in an Indians uniform.

Low-A West Michigan 21-22, 4th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps continue their hot play, with a 4-1 win over Fort Wayne on Monday. Jordan Tata got the win (raising his record to 4-11), pitching 7 strong innings, with 0 earned runs and 5 strike outs. Juan Francia had 2 hits at the top of the order for the Whitecaps, while Kelly Hunt had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI. Vincent Blue has also been hitting well as of late, getting another 2 hits on Monday.

Vincent Blue hasn't had a great season, but is now on a 7 game hitting streak, getting off to a great start in August. Over those 7 games, Blue is hitting .458 with 4 runs and 3 RBI, despite hitting mostly at the bottom of the lineup for West Michigan. More importantly though, Blue needs to work on continuing this success, while turning some of the singles into extra base hits. This streak is a nice sign, but Blue still has quite a bit of work to do to move into the status of legitimiate prospect.

SS-A Oneonta 24-24, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers fell to Mahoning Valley on Monday, 6-3. Jair Jurrjens, who pitched very well for the GCL Tigers, fell to 0-2 on the year for Oneonta, giving up 5 runs in 5 2/3 innings with 5 strikeouts. At the plate, 3B Juan Llamas went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, while Brooks Colvin went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base.

Rookie GCL Tigers 20-22, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers lost as well on Monday, as they were beaten by the GCL Phillies 7-0. Donald Trahern got the start and pitched well, giving up 1 unearned run in 5 innings. But the bullpen couldn't keep up his success, as Rhinel Cruz and Adriano Santos gave up 6 runs while getting through just 2/3 of an inning, combined. The offense managed just 2 hits, one from Brandon Timm, the other from James Skelton.

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