Yankees Minor League Notebook for May 1st

The big Bronson Sardinha hitting streak snapped at 19 games; Kane County Cougars pound Battle Creek for the third straight game; Eric Duncan breaks out of his 1 for 19 slide with a two hit performance; T.J. Beam pummeled by Kane County; Jackson Melian is the biggest surprise for the Trenton Thunder in 2004; Valdez tosses a solid 5 inning performance in Tampa Yankees victory. All this and more in this edition of Yankees Minor League Notebook.

Columbus Clippers. The Columbus Clippers lost a very close one to the Norfolk Tides by the final score of 5-4. Columbus did play a bit sloppy in the loss as they also committed two errors in the game. On the mound was the so far this season, quite impressive Nerio Rodriguez. Rodriguez went five innings and did not fair too well. Nerio surrendered five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. A player transaction took place as Homer Bush was sent to the majors and Andy Phillips was brought up from Trenton on Saturday. Phillips had one at bat and went hitless. Felix Escalona was cooled off after being 7 for his previous 17 at bats. Todd Betts had good night with the stick as he slapped two hits in his four at bats. Mike Vento heated his hot streak back up again as he had a single in five trips to the plate to keep his batting average above .280 at .288. The team's most consistent player this season, Caonabo Cosme also had a hit in the game in five plate appearances.


Trenton Thunder. After taking a beating the night before, the Trenton Thunder took revenge as they handled the Akron Aeros on Saturday afternoon by the final score of 4-1. In his rehab assignment, Kenny Lofton got his first hit in Trenton as he went 1-4 with an RBI in the game. Dioner Navarro snapped out of his mini slide with a 3-4 performance including a double and 2 RBI. Kevin Reese kept his hot bat going with one hit in three at bats on Saturday. Reese did however snap his hitting streak of 4 straight multi hit games. Despite that, his average is still a lofty .361 for the season. Aaron Rifkin, suddenly losing playing time, still remained in his awful scuffle as his average has dipped to .180. Rifkin went hitless in this game in 4 at bats. The young 1b is now 4 for his last 39 plate appearances and continues to fall deeper and deeper into a slump. Jackson Melian continues to be the big surprise of the Trenton Thunder this season. Melian smacked a single and scored a run on Saturday and now has successfully earned himself a spot in the everyday lineup. Matt Smith was excellent in his start on Saturday as well. Smith went 7 1/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while walking two and striking out three. Matt Smith earned the win as his record improves to 2-2 on the season.


Tampa Yankees.  The Tampa Yankees were able to roll over Brevard County in this game, winning by the score of 9-2 as their offense came back to life after some dormant days from good hitters. This was a night in which Tampa pounded out 10 hits. The big news on offense for Tampa though, wasn't so positive. Bronson Sardinha had his amazing hitting streak halted at 19 straight games. Bronson went hitless in this game in 3 at bats but did pick up a walk and an RBI. Tampa did get a big game from their leadoff hitting second baseman/designated hitter, Gabe Lopez. Lopez went 2-5 including a double and 2 RBI on Saturday. In his last 22 at bats before this game, Lopez only had four hits and only batting only .181. Hopefully, this will be the breakout game for him. Shelley Duncan had another hitless night as he is hitless in his last two games. Duncan suddenly has seen his average dip below the .300 mark for the first time in the past couple weeks. Tampa got multi hit games from Jared Koutnik and Deivi Mendez who usually are not even full time players. They both had two hits and two RBI and could be stealing the playing time from Jose Enrique Cruz who continues to ride the bench. Jose Valdez was on the mound on Saturday for Tampa and pitched five innings of solid baseball. Valdez conceded one earned run on two hits while walking 4 and striking out two.


Battle Creek Yankees. It seems to be that the Kane County Cougars just may have the Battle Creek Yankees number so far this season Kane County dismantled Battle Creek for the third straight night, this time by the score of 7-1. The Cougars were able to take out one of BC's best in right handed fireballer T.J. Beam. They knocked Beam out of the game after only four innings. Beam yielded five runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out four in his very brief and disappointing appearance. His record has now fallen to 1-4 on the season. One good sign for the Battle Creek offense on Saturday was the awakening of Eric Duncan's bat. Previously, Duncan was 1 for his last 19 at bats. On this night, Duncan went 2-4 with a double and an RBI (the only RBI of the game for BC) to break out of that nasty slump. Hector Made is quietly putting up some numbers as well as he went 2-4, raising his season average to .289. Made is now 3 for his last 8 and is putting together a fine season thus far at shortstop. Estee Harris was cooled of by the Kane County pitching staff as well. He went hitless on Saturday as well.

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