Oh no. What are we going to do? We really like our prospects, but our immediate concern in the minor leagues is getting our major league players healthy, and front and center to that is Evan Longoria. Longoria’s injury setback ruined what could have been a very positive day in the Rays system.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 6, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 1
Nice win for the Bulls. But after just one at-bat, a lineout, Evan Longoria exited his rehab appearance after feeling discomfort in his hamstring. Longo’s rehab assignment is “suspended indefinitely” and he will rejoin the Rays to start his rehab from square one. Hopefully it’s just a minor setback and he can get back into rehab games within a few days. But anytime we hear anything like this, we have to be concerned.
Jim Paduch came through with a nice outing for the Bulls, going 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Ryan Reid pitched the final three innings for his first save of the season, and he allowed just 1 hit while striking out 1, posting a 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio. The run support came from an unlikely source: Reid Brignac. Brignac had a huge game, going 3 for 5 with a double and 3 RBI. His batting average on the season is just .195 and he has a long way to go. But he has posted a .306/.390/.528 line with 2 doubles, 2 homers, and 9 RBI in his last 10 games and hopefully he has started to find something. Leslie Anderson and Brandon Allen also each went 3 for 5, Matt Mangini slammed a solo homer, and Jeff Keppinger went 2 for 4 in his rehab appearance. Longo has suffered a setback but at least Keppinger looks to return soon.
High-A Florida State League: Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
Kyle Farnsworth began the game for Charlotte with a rehab appearance, and everything was fine. The most important thing was that Farnsworth pitched without any discomfort, but secondarily, he managed quite a feat. Farnsworth pitched 1 inning allowing 1 hit, not a home run, while striking out 1. He began the inning himself, there were no errors involved, and he didn’t walk or hit any batters. Yet he managed to allow a run. As it turns out, the batter he struck out reached on a wild pitch ahead of a Chris Edmondson RBI triple. For some perspective, his entire 776-appearance major league career, Farnsworth had just two 1-inning outings where he allowed 1 hit, no home runs, no walks, no hit batsmen, and no errors were committed yet he allowed a run (September 14th, 2010, and May 18th, 2011). Wow.
Now that our completely pointless statistical research interlude is over, let’s get back to the game. Enny Romero relieved Farnsworth and was not nearly as dominant as the last time he appeared in relief of Farsnworth (7 IP, 0 ER), allowing 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings, striking out 3 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was a bad 6-7. Nate Garcia took the loss after allowing a run in the top of the 9th. On offense, Phil Wunderlich went 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored, and Christopher Murrill, playing in his first game of the season after being released and recently re-signed, went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Mikie Mahtook and Luke Bailey each went 1 for 3.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Opening Day: Hudson Valley Renegades 7, Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 3
The New York-Penn League season is no underway, and the Renegades began their season with a nice win. Jeff Ames got the Opening Day nod and turned in a solid outing, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking just 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was 5-3. If you can’t place Ames’ name, he was the 6th of the Rays 10 first and supplemental first round picks in the 2011 MLB Draft, selected 42nd overall, and he reaches the mid-90’s with his fastball and is working to develop his curveball and changeup.
On offense, Leonardo Reginatto got to end the day batting 1.000, going 4 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. The Rays also had to be very encouraged from what they saw from a couple of their top catching prospects, Justin O’Conner (DHing in this one) and Jake DePew, as O’Conner went 2 for 4 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and DePew went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI of his own. Marty Gantt, the Rays’ 7th round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, went 2 for 4 with an RBI in his pro debut.
Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League: Opening Day: GCL Rays 3, GCL Red Sox 2
It was Opening Day in the Gulf Coast League and the GCL Rays got a boost, starting a rehabbing Double-A or Triple-A pitcher, Nick Barnese. Barnese, making his first appearance of 2012, pitched very well, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 2 hits, striking out 5 while walking just 1 and posting a 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Hopefully Barnese can stay healthy and work his way back up to the impressive prospect we knew him to be. After Chris Andujar tossed 2 shutout relief innings, the Rays’ second round pick in 2011, Lenny Linsky, tossed 2 shutout innings for the save in a rehab appearance of his own after some injury. He should head to High-A Charlotte when he’s right. In the batter’s box, 2012 19th rounder Miguel Beltran went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, third baseman Leopoldo Correa, signed out of Venezuela, went 2 for 3 with a walk as well, and catcher Armando Araiza, playing the day before his 19th birthday, went 2 for 4. Right fielder Jiminson Natera and centerfielder Yoel Araujo, both signed out of the Dominican, each went 1 for 4 with an RBI. Nice to see the GCL Rays begin their season with a win, especially seeing good signs from the rehabbing Barnese and Linsky.