TigsTown MLN: L-Tigers Rotation Shuffled

The Lakeland rotation has been undergoing quite an overhaul over the past week or so, and that figures to continue as there are some players clamoring for a promotion. Plus, which shortstop broke quite an interesting streak with a monster game earlier this week?

The loss of Cristhian Martinez was worked around as Eulogio DeLa Cruz was simply inserted into the rotation, having already been working as a tandem starter with Martinez.

But the promotion of Virgil Vasquez once again opened up a rotation spot, and this time around the replacement came as a shock to almost everyone, with the exception of a select few in the organization.

Preston Larrison, who lost the final month of his 2004 season due to elbow pain, underwent Tommy John surgery last August and figured to miss almost the entire 2005 season while he rehabbed the elbow. But shockingly enough, Larrison made his return last week on May 21st, just nine months after surgery. Larrison will still be brought along slowly, but the progress that he's made shows the incredible advancements doctors have made in the surgery, and how a once radical procedure is now becoming almost routine for many pitching prospects.

The surgery has developed so much that some high schoolers are having the surgery even without injury, simply to avoid the potential complication later on and strengthen their elbow immediately.

Back to Larrison, he gave up three runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start, and will likely continue to be brought along slowly; taking it easy as in reality this is still a rehab process for him. But the simple fact that he's already back and pitching in live action is certainly a very promising one, after it was thought over the off-season Larrison would be losing an entire year of training and action, likely slowing his ascension to the big leagues.

The L-Tigers made another move involving the rotation, placing Nate Bumstead on the temporary inactive list, while adding C Joel Roa to the roster from extended spring training. No word yet on the extent of his injury, but the fact that the organization didn't replace his position with a starter, and the fact that it's simply the temporary inactive list rather than the disabled list would lead one to believe it's nothing serious and he'll be back in action in no time.

Juan Francia had a huge game earlier this week, including two home runs and a double. That was certainly impressive. But the more impressive statistic is that Francia (who is currently fifth in the Florida State League with a .341 average) had 55 hits prior to that big game, and not one of those 55 hits was an extra base hit. While Francia has always been regarded as more of a slap hitter with only minimal power, it was never thought it would be taken to such an extreme.

With two RBI in last night's game, Brent Clevlen is up to 44 on the season, which is good for first place in the entire Florida State League. Clevlen has tailed off a bit this month as his average has fallen to .292, but his raw numbers are already almost to the point of surpassing his totals for all of last season. Now, hopefully he won't tail off as bad as he did last year, when the bottom completely fell out on him right around this time.

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