The injury bug has not been kind to the Tampa Bay Rays this year. However, they did get some good news today, as both Jeremy Hellickson and Ryan Hanigan made their first rehab starts in attempts to work their way back from injuries. The appearances went well for both, certainly good news given that these two players will have crucial roles on this Rays team upon their return.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 4, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 2
Matt Andriese was the starter for the Bulls, and he turned in an outstanding outing. He would go 8.0 innings, giving up just 1 run while striking out 5 and walking none. Andriese’s return to his plus command has helped him dominate lately after struggling early on in the season. Behind him, Jeff Beliveau would give up a run in the 9th, but with the Bulls already up by 3 the run would be insignificant.
On offense, Hak-Ju Lee led the way with a 2-4 performance and two runs scored. Wilson Betemit also added a solo home run. The Bulls only managed 4 hits, but they made the most out of them to score 4 runs.
Double-A Montgomery was postponed
High-A Florida State League: Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 4, Tampa Yankees 1
Jeremy Hellickson made his first rehab appearance with the Stone Crabs today as he is nearing his big league return from elbow surgery. As he should, Hellickson had a stellar outing, throwing 3.0 innings while giving up no runs on 2 hits and 1 walk, also striking 2. Expect two more rehab starts before he is ready to return to the big leagues. Also rehabbing in this game was Hellickson’s soon to be big league battery mate in Ryan Hanigan, who would go 1-4 with a 2-run home run. He is working his way back from a hamstring injury and should be ready to return to the big leagues within the next few days.
As for the rest of the team, Reinaldo Lopez would go 5.0 innings in relief, allowing just one unearned run. Kevin Brandt finished things off with a scoreless inning. Tommy Coyle and Tyler Goeddel would both have multi-hit nights on the offensive side of things.
Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 10, Bowling Green Hot Rods 6
I made the trip up to Bowling Green and got to sit in the press box for this game, and the excitement until the Tincaps opened things up in the 9th made the trip well worth it. Chris Kirsch started for the Hot Rods and was brilliant early, not even giving up a hit until the 5th inning. The 5th would be his undoing, as he would give up 4 runs. However, the Tincaps only managed one legitimate hit in the inning- the others were just weak hits that were well placed. Kirsch also made an error in the inning to make 2 of the runs unearned. He would finish with a final line of 6.1 innings pitched, giving up 6 runs (4 earned) while managing an outstanding 13-2 groundout-flyout ratio. Brad Schreiber would pitch the final 2.2 innings. He took a 6-6 tie into the top of the 9th, but then let up 4 runs to put the game out of reach.
On offense, it was the Hot Rods’ top prospects that would put on a show. Kean Wong led the day, going 2-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored, and an RBI. He has a nice, compact swing and an impressive plate approach for being 19-years old. Granden Goetzman added a 2-run homer, his only hit of the game. Oscar Hernandez would also smack a 2-run homer for the Hot Rods while serving as their DH. Hernandez too has an impressive swing and maturity at the plate given his age (he is 20) Overall it was a solid day from the offense, but they couldn’t do enough to overcome the pitching staff’s woes.