Archive for April 11th, 2008

Pitchers’ Duel Impacts Z-Meter Standings

In a rare bit of kismet, two of the starting pitchers we are following on their journey through the Bus Leagues met in Kodak, Tennessee last night. Southpaw Clayton Kershaw drew the road start for the Jacksonville Suns (Dodgers), as they faced the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs), and righty Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija became known to U.S. sports fans as a wide reciever at Notre Dame, but his minor-league career has been working in his favor so far. In last night’s head-to-head matchup with Kershaw, the less-heralded Cubs prospect took home the win in a hard-fought pitchers’ duel. The 2-0 score probably reflects a slight differential in seasoning, as Kershaw, 20, gave up the two runs in the first inning before settling in. Samardzija, 23, acknowledged that his mental approach to the game has matured.

“I was throwing the sinker early and often in the count,” said the former Notre Dame All-American wide receiver. “I had good command and worked in some of my other pitches as the game went on.”

“I have a little different approach this year,” he said. “I don’t mind letting the hitters hit the ball. You got to have confidence in the guys behind you.”


By not trying to strike every batter out, Samardzija was able to pitch into the seventh inning, which has been a rarity in his career so far.

Kershaw did get the best of the matchup in one area, however, striking out eight batters. Samardzija was victimized twice at the plate.

Rock Rogers in the 21st Century

Tony Mansolinio is a utility outfielder for the Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates). Being a utility guy in A Ball probably doesn’t signal a really bright future, but fortunately, Tony has some other talents he’s decided to share with the world. Through his own publishing imprint, Play Ball Publishing, Mansolino has published his first children’s book, titled “Dreams Will Come, Dreams Will Go”.

Following the “write what you know” dictum offered to first-time writers, Mansolino’s book follows career minor-leaguer Rock Rogers (who, honestly, probably has a shot at a porn career, too). He made good use of his Bus Leagues travel time, too:

“Dreams Will Come, Dreams Will Go” was written during the 2007 season while on long bus rides and in cramped clubhouses. The story is about a fictitious player named Rock Rogers who finally breaks through and makes it to the Majors after a long Minor League career. Over the course of the story, the reader is given an insider’s perspective of a Minor League season.


The book may be a bit of wish-fulfillment, since Rock Rogers ends up in the bigs at the end of the story.

Kudos to Mansolino for breaking from the stereotype of the dumb jock. But we’d expect nothing less from a Vanderbilt man.

Spotlight on AAA Ball – 4/11/2008

The new owners of the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) talk about the challenges of working in a 48-year-old stadium. And, Braves fans of both the Richmond and Atlanta varieties will probably be interested to hear what it’s like to operate a team’s AAA affiliate within driving distance of the parent club. [Tacoma Daily Index]

In case you don’t know what I was referencing in the above link, the Atlanta Braves have decided to move their AAA affiliate from Richmond, VA to the suburbs of… Atlanta. The good news is that even as the R-Braves play their final lame-duck season in the Virginia capital, local businessmen are looking to bring in something new. []

Good news in Indianapolis – the Pirates have extended their player development contract with the Indians until 2012. []

I can’t be the only one bothered by this. I read through this press release from the Buffalo Bisons (Indians), drooling all the while over the food specials on offer. Until I realized that wings were not mentioned even once. No wings in Buffalo? A travesty, sirs. You can expect to hear from my lawyer. [Bisons Homepage]

DUDE! Did you hear who will be playing at AT&T Bricktown Park?!? The Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers)!!! Oh, and some dillweed named Dave Matthews will be there on August 13th, if you’re into that kind of thing. [RedHawks Homepage]

I hear the kids don’t go to the rave-parties any more. But if they did, wouldn’t you want all of them to be wearing this hat? [Las Vegas 51s Shop]

I can go on mining press releases and websites forever like this – there’s plenty going on. But if you have a tip we should check out, email us a busleagues at gmail dot com.

Now Batting, For The Boston Red Sox…

He wasn’t quite amazing enough to earn a spot on Eric’s weekly prospect watch, but it might be worth noting that the Red Sox purchased the contract of shortstop Jed Lowrie from Pawtucket today.  Lowrie, rated by Baseball America as Boston’s fifth best prospect (Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Lars Anderson, and Justin Masterson are the names in front of him), takes the place of Mike Lowell, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb.

The fourth of Boston’s five 2005 first round draft picks to reach the majors (Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, and Buchholz came up ahead of him), Lowrie was hitting a robust .160 with an impressive .344 OBP in eight games with the PawSox.  He is reasonably lucky to still be a member of the Red Sox organization – his was one of several names included in a possible deal for Johan Santana in the offseason – but he’s still around and will likely make his major league debut in the next few days.

Better enjoy it – while Lowrie is projected as Boston’s shortstop of the future, only a huge performance in the next two weeks will keep him in the majors when Lowell returns.