March 2009

Crunch Time

I swear I’m not forgetting the loyal readers of the LumberBlog, we’ve just been really busy here at Alliant Energy Field with just eight days left until the start of the regular season.

You should be seeing our pocket and poster schedules appearing around Clinton and the surrounding areas (if you’re from here).  That’s not the entirety of our printing that I’m currently working on…the all-important 2009 Souvenir Program should be just about complete by the end of the week.

That’s not all.  Coming soon to a radio near you, 2009 LumberKings Radio Ads! 

Here’s a sample: 
Opening Series.mp3

Players will be arriving early next week, and of course the season gets underway a week from Thursday.  Then, the 140-game marathon begins!

-DL

Lemon in the Limelight

I came across this game recap from Texas Rangers camp, and couldn’t pass up posting it.  Marcus Lemon (’07) contributed a game-winning sac fly as part of a three-run ninth in an 8-5 win over Kansas City.

While this isn’t earth-shattering news for the 2006 third-round pick and son of former Detroit Tiger Chet Lemon, it is a chance to highlight one of the great article titles of the spring, thanks to MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel.

“Lemon Aid:  Prospect’s sacrifice fly in ninth beats KC.”  Good show, Mr. Kaegel.  I’ll file that one in the “Wish I had thought of that in 2007″ file.

Of course, it’s no “Gac Blast Fever.” 

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Interviewer Becomes the Interviewee

A little MLBlog cross promotion this morning.  Jim Misudek, a good friend of mine from my days with the Milwaukee Brewers ticket sales staff now works in the Media Relations department for the Cincinnati Reds.  He runs his own highly-successful blog, “Reds Internal Affairs” and decided to have me as a featured guest.

Amongst the topics we talked about: life as a media man in the Midwest League, former LumberKing Edinson Volquez making it in the Majors, seeing current Reds stars like Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce as Dayton Dragons, visiting Fifth Third Field in Dayton, thoughts on the Cactus League, etc.

Listen to the interview here:

http://redsintern.mlblogs.com/Dave%20Lezotte%203-24-09.WMA

Enjoy.

-DL

Kings in Spring (Pt. 3)

I’ve been slacking on the “Kings of Spring” updates, but let’s catch you up in case you aren’t perusing the box scores daily.

All kinds of recent LumberKings have been popping up in Major League games for the Texas Rangers this spring.  Not just your Jose Vallejo’s, Justin Smoak’s and Neftali Feliz’s.  Guys like Ian Gac (’05-’08), Mitch Moreland (’08), Engel Beltre (’08), Chad Tracy (’07), Marcus Lemon (’07), David Paisano (’07-’08) etc. have been popping up in the box score lately.

In fact, Tracy belted a grand slam on March 21 in his as-of-yet only at-bat with the big club.

While its unlikely that most of your favorite LumberKings from the last several seasons will be making the Opening Day roster for the Rangers, here’s what every former King (who has not already made a big-league debut) has done in Surprise this spring:



 


555.JPGJustin Smoak
(’08):  .261, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI in 19 games

Jose Vallejo (’06-’07):  .083, RBI in 9 games 

Manny Pina (’07):  0-for-6 in 6 games

Emerson Frostad (’05):  2-for-5, RBI in 6 games

Craig Gentry (’07):  1-for-5, run in 6 games

Casey Benjamin (’04-’05):  0-for-4 in 3 games

Adam Fox (’05):  1-for-4, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI in 3 games

Pictured Left:  John Whittleman (’06-’07):  1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI in 3 games

Engel Beltre (’08):  0-for-3 in 2 games

Ben Harrison (’05): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 runs in 4 games

Marcus Lemon (’07):  0-for-2 in 2 games

Mitch Moreland (’08):  0-for-2 in 2 games

Renny Osuna (’07-’08):  1-for-2, run, RBI in 2 games

Ian Gac (’05-’08):  1-for-1, RBI in 1 game

Grant Gerrard (’06-’07):  0-for-1 in 1 game

Mauro Gomez (’07):  1-for-1, 2B, RBI in 1 game

Derek Holland (’08):  Yes, he got an at-bat…0-for-1 (strikeout) in 1 game

David Paisano (’07-’08):  1-for-1, run in 1 gameThumbnail image for Tracy__Chad_2__Gierhart_.jpg

Pictured Right:  Chad Tracy (’07):  1-for-1, Grand Slam, 4 RBI in 1 game

 —

Pitching-wise, former LumberKings have been less numerous:

Neftali Feliz (’08):  0-0, 5.63, 11 SO/5 BB in 8.0 IP

Derek Holland (’08):  1-0, 4.91, 7 SO/3 BB in 7.1 IP

Pictured Below:  Omar Poveda (’06-’07):  0-0, 9.00, 4 SO/1 BB in 4.0 IP

John Bannister (’05):  0-0, 3.38, 2 SO/1 BB in 2.2 IP

Thomas Diamond (’04):  0-1, 22.50, 3 SO/6 BB in 2.0 IP

Andrew Laughter (’07):  0-1, 27.00, 0 SO/2 BB in 0.1 IP

Zach Phillips (’06-’07):  0-1, 108.00, 0 SO/2 BB in 0.1 IP

Brennan Garr (’07):  0-0, HR allowed in 0.0 IP

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The next most likely former LumberKing to make a Major League debut this year?  Potentially still John Mayberry, Jr. (’06), who has put up three homers and 10 RBI in addition to a .279 average, .323 OBP and .525 SLG in 61 at-bats with the Philadelphia Phillies.  He’s second on the entire roster in total bases with 32, trailing only Ryan Howard’s 33.  Pretty impressive.

The folks over at USSMariner.com have projected the Seattle pitching staff for this year, and former King Roy Corcoran (’02) is sitting in middle relief according to the article.  Read it here.

I’ve been plugging USSMariner quite a bit because I’ve been doing a lot of research there, but I’ve also started to look around Mariners Minors and Lookout Landing.  If you’re looking for some great in-depth analysis of the Seattle Mariners organization that I can’t quite provide yet, check out some of those blogs. 

-DL

New Banners

In case you haven’t been driving around Alliant Energy Field lately, we’ve added some new banners featuring notable alumni and the 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game logo to the area in and around the ballpark.

The series of five banners feature Grady Sizemore (’01), Nick Masset (’03), Josh Rupe (’03), John Whittleman (’06-’07) Jose Vallejo (’06-’07), Kasey Kiker (’07), Marcus Lemon (’07), Blake Beavan (’08), Neftali Feliz (’08), Michael Main (’08), Mitch Moreland (’08) and Justin Smoak (’08).

Here’s some photos:

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Thumbnail image for Banner5.jpgDon’t forget, if you haven’t purchased your tickets for the 2009 Midwest League Home Run Derby (Monday, July 22) or the 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game (Tuesday, July 23), make sure you do it soon by calling 563-242-0727.  Tell ‘em Dave sent you.

-DL

More from Arizona – Milwaukee Brewers

In this fourth and final installment of “Dave’s Spring Training Trip to Arizona, 2009″, I venture off the beaten path.  No former LumberKings making names for themselves in Texas Rangers camp, no future LumberKings throwing sides in the dusty back diamonds at Seattle Mariners camp today.  This post is all about….the Milwaukee Brewers?

Yes, the Brewers.  They are now the parent club of our own West Division rival Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  However, they also happen to be the club that employed me for seven seasons.  Thus, I have a lot of ties to Miller Park and the Brewers organization.  Still, this was my first-ever trip to the Maryvale Baseball Park.

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We won’t be talking about prospects like Brett Lawrie and Cutter Dykstra here.  Sounds like we’re about to see enough of those guys in Appleton this summer.  Besides, I didn’t even see them.  I did see these guys, though:

100_0622.JPG                    New Brewers manager Ken Macha, exchanging lineup cards with Lou Piniella.

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         Macha seated next to bench coach Willie Randolph.  How about this pair for a braintrust?

100_0623.JPGJeff Suppan was just one of many successful Brewers hurlers this day.  The Cubs failed to score in a 2-0 loss.

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       The Colossus of Sprout himself (I really hope you get this vegetarian joke), Prince Fielder.

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Craig Counsell trying out a new batting stance this year.  Gone is the “reach for the sky” technique.  He happens to be my favorite Brewer for several reasons: he scored the winning run in the 1997 World Series for my OTHER favorite team, the Florida Marlins, and, he was born in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.  Plus, he’s a cagey veteran.

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A Trot Nixon sighting!  I don’t know why, but it’s still a novelty to see Nixon in a Brewers uniform.

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A prospect on the cusp, third-baseman Mat Gamel.  He saw a bit more playing time (along with Mike Lamb and Casey McGehee) with Bill Hall out nursing a tear to his left calf.  Gamel’s bat is big-league ready…but much like Ryan Braun just two years ago, apparently his glove still needs some work.

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The aforementioned McGehee, who I think is going to be a huge steal off waivers from the Cubs.  He hit a wall-scraping grand slam against WBC Australia to turn the tide of a very close game on March 5 while I was there. 

100_0625.JPGCorey Hart.  I needn’t remind you that he wears his sunglasses at night.  He’s absolutely raking this spring.

Prior to joining the LumberKings in 2006, I served as the research intern for Brewers Baseball on FSN North.  This meant gathering a lot of the more offbeat information for announcers Daron Sutton and Bill Schroeder.  After Daron departed for the Arizona Diamondbacks, I got the chance to meet and assist current play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson.  Daron, Bill and Brian have all been extremely influential on me as a young broadcaster, and I still come back to Milwaukee every September to reprise my role in the booth.  It keeps me connected with those guys and allows me to keep learning.

Also, it means I’m welcome in the broadcast booth at Maryvale.  I stopped up on two separate occasions while they were webcasting.

 

 

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Brian, myself and Bill.

I also got the chance to meet the newest addition to the Brewers radio booth as well, broadcaster Cory Provus.  It won’t be easy replacing a guy like Jim Powell, but in the brief time I got to know Cory, it was easy to see how focused and prepared he is.  Even while Brian and Bill were in the midst of the webcast against WBC Australia, Cory was making notes on each player.  I caught a bit of his broadcast a few days later against the Cubs and really enjoyed listening in.  I’m sure Brewers fans will agree.

 

100_0630.JPG                               Engineer Kent Sommerfeld, myself and Cory Provus.


100_0643.JPGThis concludes my blogging tour across the Cactus League (or three stadiums, at least).  Next week, we’ll return back to Clinton, where there’s plenty of final preparations going on as the 2009 regular season approaches.  Until then, keep your comments coming!

-DL

More from Arizona – Seattle Mariners

You already got a taste of my time at the Peoria Sports Complex in my interview with Scott Steinmann, now for the rest of my long-awaited photos and observations.

The day was March 8.  My goal, find Steinmann on the back fields at all costs.  After securing my media pass in the very easy to find Mariners office (where I ran into Mariners’ radio voice Dave Niehaus reading the newspaper), I started my search.  Being a first-year Seattle affiliate, my trip around the back fields wasn’t as easy as it was in Surprise with the Texas Rangers.  I encountered a lot of as-of-yet unfamiliar faces, but did see some notable people:

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Mariners’ lefty Jarrod Washburn.  Wash pitched collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which happens to be the school I graduated from.  He donated about a million dollars to the renovation of the school’s baseball field, plus his Anaheim Angels jersey still makes its home in the display case at the Kolf Sports Center on campus.

 
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Roy Corcoran (’02), the only former LumberKing remaining in camp with the Mariners.  Corcoran (#48) remains after Tug Hulett (’05) was acquired by the Kansas City Royals last month.  The bottom photo shows Roy receiving instruction from new Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair, who I interviewed while he was the Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Texas Rangers the last few seasons.  It’s a small baseball world, after all.

 

After asking around, I was pointed to the back mounds where Steinmann and pitching coach Lance Painter were presiding over bullpen sessions.  At this point, Mariners fans will have an easier time recognizing the pitchers in these photos than I will.  I’m still trying to get familiar.

100_0656.JPGIf you haven’t read my interview with Steinmann, it’s just a few posts below.  He had some very encouraging things to say about his approach to managing young players, and some complimentary things to say about Clinton.

The Mariners hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks that Sunday afternoon, packing the park with Phoenix-area fans mostly dressed in red and black.  Since the Dbacks train nearly an hour south in Tucson, the local fans come out whenever they play in the greater Phoenix area.  Still, there was no shortage of Mariners fans, especially in the seats behind the plate.

100_0669.JPG      This picture was taken well before the 1 PM start.  There were a lot more fans here by then.

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                     Hopefully they get to put up another one of these signs very soon.

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The story of the day was obvious: Ken Griffey, Jr’s first action in a Mariners’ uniform (and first Cactus League game) since 1999.  Even with a ton of Diamondbacks fans on hand, Griffey easily got the biggest ovation of the day.

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Griffey’s first spring at-bat.

Griffey walked in each of his first two at-bats, scored each time aboard and singled sharply to right in his last at-bat before being replaced by Chris Shelton.  Not a bad first day back.  Still, the day truly belonged to Wladimir Balentien and “The Muscle” himself, Russell Branyan.  Balentien took Seth Etherton deep for a three-run homer in the first inning, and Branyan followed it up with a ball that landed in Reno (ok, it was actually the right-field bullpen).

It would have been a two-homer day for Branyan if not for the towering batter’s eye in Peoria.  In the second inning, he again teed off on Etherton with a drive that missed clearing the wall by a foot.  He settled for a two-run double and a 2-for-4, 3 RBI day. 

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Ryan Rowland-Smith, a man trying so hard to win a spot in the Mariners’ rotation that he decided not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for his native Australia was on the mound that afternoon.  He worked a solid three innings, but was touched up by RBI doubles from Tony Clark and Chris Roberson.  Not a bad performance in early March, when it’s all about feeling comfortable on the mound and not totally about the result.  Unfortunately, I was there six days too early to see Rowland-Smith hit.

Upon review of the final boxscore, I found out that I had indeed seen a potential 2009 LumberKing get in the game for Seattle.  Tyson Gillies came on defensively for Franklin Gutierrez in the ninth inning.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see him tear up the basepaths (he didn’t get an at-bat), nor did I see him throw any seeds to the plate.  Hopefully plenty of time for that.

Some more pictures of interest: 

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                        Griffey getting to know some of his new teammates in the dugout.

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                       My favorite part in Peoria, the tropical (and crowded) berm areas.

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          Another former LumberKing sighting.  Brandon Watson (’01) of the Diamondbacks.

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                                                      An 11-7 Mariner victory.

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Thanks again to everyone with the Mariners’ Media Department for setting me up with the media pass.  Hopefully I can go back next year.

-DL

Future Kings?

The folks over at USSMariner.com have released their “Future Forty” of the Seattle Mariners system.  They take the top 40 prospects and place them where they think they’ll be by level.

Here’s who they’ve projected in a LumberKings uniform:

Phillippe Aumont (RHP), 4-4 , 2.75 ERA with Wisconsin last season.  Aumont, just 20 years old, is fresh off pitching for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.  He was ranked the #3 prospect in the Seattle system by Baseball America this offseason.  If he does come to Clinton, he’ll be coming in with tremendous experience and confidence.

Jharmidy DeJesus (3B), .309, 10 HR, 33 RBI between the AZL and short-season Everett last year.  The #8 prospect in the Mariners’ system according to Baseball America.  He turns 20 on August 30 and already has proven himself a solid power threat. 

Mario Martinez (3B), .319, 5 HR, 32 RBI with short-season Pulaski last year.  Ranked just ahead of DeJesus at #7 by Baseball America.  It should be a pleasant challenge for Scott Steinmann to get both Martinez and DeJesus enough time at third base.  Thankfully we have the DH in the Midwest League. 

Brett Lorin (RHP), 1-2, 3.96 ERA between Everett and Wisconsin last season.  Ranked #28 in the system by Baseball America.  Seattle’s 5th round pick out of Long Beach State in 2008.  Lorin garnered a mention in the “Best Secondary Pitch” category of Seattle’s 2008 draft class with a three-quarter delivery breaking ball.

Gabriel Noriega (SS), .275, 6 XBH, 20 RBI between AZL and Pulaski last year.  Just 18 years old and already ranked #19 by Baseball America.  His defense is getting top billing right now, as BA also ranked him Seattle’s “Best Defensive Infielder”.

Aaron Pribanic (RHP), 1-2, 15.43 ERA in the AZL in 2008.  Obviously, he struggled in his first taste of pro baseball last year, but it was only a three-game sample (only one start).  He’s still the #27 prospect thanks to a fastball that touches 96.  Drafted in the third round out of Nebraska last year.

Tyson Gillies (OF), .288, 8 triples, 31 RBI in two seasons (played 11 games with high-A High Desert last year).  A draft-and-follow out of Iowa Western Community College in 2006, Gillies is the #20 prospect, the fastest baserunner in the system and possesses the best outfield arm, all according to BA.  I’m thinking this guy would be fun to watch.  Plus, he’s got Iowa ties.  “Fan Favorite” is written all over Gillies.

RHP’s Luke Burnett and Steven Hensley were also included, but were not ranked in BA’s top 30.  Burnett did get a mention as the “Best Late Round Pick” after being chosen in the 14th round last year.  He pitched in just two games in the AZL last year, going 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA.  Hensley got an eight-game taste of the Northwest League with Everett, going 2-1 with a 5.22 ERA.

If you want to read the whole article, head to ussmariner.com/future-forty.

In other news, we wired the Alliant Energy Field pressbox for wireless internet today.  Media guys like me will be excited about that one.  Also, our 2009 Pocket Schedules are nearing completion and should be at a local Clinton establishment near you very soon.

-DL

More from Arizona – Texas Rangers

I spent an entire day of my recent trip to Arizona in Surprise, home of the Texas Rangers.  Yes, this is still primarily a Seattle Mariners blog, but with the Rangers having been our affiliate in Clinton for the last six seasons, it’s hard to ignore the vast amount of former LumberKings starting to knock on the big-league door with our now AL West rival.

100_0572.JPGThe Surprise complex is huge – it holds eight fields for both the Rangers and Kansas City Royals in addition to the main stadium.  On the day I attended (March 6), the Rangers and Royals just happened to be playing each other.

After a lengthy search around the entire complex for my media pass, I had the chance to roam the back fields.  They let the general public do much of the same (minus my field access), and needless to say most folks were there to watch Ian Kinsler (’04), Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus and Jarrod Saltalamacchia take swings.

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Ian Kinsler (left) and Marlon Byrd hanging out on Diamond 1.

While it would have been cool to stick around and ask Kinsler about his upcoming LumberKings bobblehead giveaway this July, I had a short amount of time and a lot of friends to see.  Here’s who I found:

100_0564.JPGFrisco RoughRiders manager Mike Micucci, our manager the last two seasons.  Voted by Baseball America as the Midwest League’s top managerial prospect last year.


100_0554.JPGThe guys who taught me everything I know about hitting.  Hickory hitting coach Brian Dayett (left) and Spokane hitting coach Jason Hart.  Or, you might know them as “Bama” and “Diesel”.

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The busiest man in camp, Rangers Minor League Pitching Coordinator Danny Clark (red and blue jacket).  After  handling arguably the best young arms in baseball last year with the LumberKings, “DC” got the big job.  If you haven’t heard his name before, you’re about to.

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Right-handers Ryan Tatusko (’08) and Blake Beavan (’08).  Tatusko is doing some writing of his own on Rangers camp, you can find it occasionally on the Newberg Report.  As for Beavan, I got the chance to watch him throw a bullpen session alongside the likes of Tatusko, Michael Main (’08), Chris Dennis (’07-’08), Josh Giles (’06), John Slusarz (’07) and several others.



Thumbnail image for 100_0559.JPG  Beavan working from the wind.


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Main (glove over the head) and Slusarz (delivering).  Main’s reaction to seeing me? “You’re in the wrong camp”.  I think he was joking…or he’s that much of a competitor.


100_0567.JPG Catcher Carlos Dominguez (’06, ’08), a good friend of mine.  He resides in Arizona, so the Surprise complex is just a short drive for him.  That means he’s usually on call to catch bullpen sessions on short notice.

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Last year’s home run leader Jonathan Greene (’08) getting ready to take some cuts in an early workout.  Davis Stoneburner (’08) and Matt Lawson (’08) were both there as well, but this was about the time that they were closing down the back fields so I didn’t get to take more photos.  I think the security staff thought I was strange for being so interested in BP on Diamond 7.  Nonetheless, it was fun to watch Greene take swings for a while.

100_0573.JPGAfter a good two hours spent on the back diamonds, it was time for the 1 PM matchup between the Rangers and Royals.  The initial starting lineup featured two former LumberKings at the corner outfield spots: Ben Harrison (’05) in left and Brandon Boggs (’05) in right.

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Boggs patrolling the outfield.

Boggs stole the show offensively, ripping a solo home run to the right-field picnic tent off Julio Pimentel.  He drove in another run with a single in the fifth inning and gave the Rangers a short-lived 5-4 lead with an RBI double in the eighth inning.

After the third time through the order, all of a sudden the game became a who’s who of former LumberKings.  Jose Vallejo (’06-’07) started warming up down the left-field line near where I was sitting (no surprise there).  However, his throwing partner caught me by surprise…it was Engel Beltre (’08).  Beltre lead the league in total hits and runs scored last year, but he’s still just 19 years old, so the invite to play in a Major League game shows you what Jon Daniels and company think of him.

John Whittleman (’06-07) entered the game at third base, Casey Benjamin (’05) took over at short, Vallejo went to second and Justin Smoak (’08) came in to play first, giving the Rangers an all-former-LumberKings infield.  Craig Gentry (’07) ended up in left field and Boggs played the entire game in right, and in the seventh inning Neftali Feliz (’08) was summoned from the bullpen.  Not only this, but Beltre was inserted as the DH.  That’s right…a LumberKing at every position except for catcher (Adam Melhuse) and center field (Andruw Jones, who coincidentally played an entire B game and got an additional four at-bats in the big league game).

While Beltre narrowly missed a solo home run by hooking a ball about five feet outside the right-field foul pole in his first at-bat, it was Whittleman who provided some apparent insurance (and an nice flashback for me) in the eighth inning.  In his very first spring at-bat, he took Yasuhiko Yabuta deep to the picnic tent in right, calling to mind his 2007 All-Star Futures Game blast and countless other Lumber Lounge homers from 2006-2007.

The phenom Feliz had already showed impressive stuff with a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless seventh inning, but the Royals tagged him for three runs (two earned) in the eighth to tie the game back up at 7-7.  Upon his exit, another former King came in…right-hander Andrew Laughter (’07).  Laughter served up the walk-off single to former Burlington Bee Mario Lisson to end the game in the ninth.

Check out the Box Score HERE.

Sometimes at the low-A level you can forget that the players you watch everyday have a shot to play Major League Baseball.  Watching this game in Surprise brought to mind a quote I had heard somewhere along the line last season:

“Some of these guys don’t realize how close they are to the Majors.  Some of these guys don’t realize how far away they are.” 

As it looked that day, there’s many a former LumberKing that are close.  The talent in the system is off the charts, and I am definitely looking forward to watching old friends start to make impacts this year with the Rangers. 

Here’s some more pictures from the game:

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Vallejo and Beltre warming up.  Look closely in the midst of the players heading off the field, you’ll see left-hander Derek Holland (’08), who was not scheduled to throw that day.

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A better shot of Beltre.

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Feliz warming up, then coming on from the pen.

100_0583.JPG                                    Jose Felix (’08) handling the bullpen catching duties. 

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 Whittleman, just after connecting on the two-run home run in his first at-bat of the spring.

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 Whittleman and Vallejo, half of the LumberKings infield from 2006 to 2007.

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Myself and Justin Smoak (’08). 

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Well, if you’ve had your fill with Rangers camp, I don’t blame you.  More Mariners coming up in the next edition of the LumberBlog.  I’ll show you just how close I got to Ken Griffey Jr. prior to his first spring action of the year on March 8.

-DL

Promoting the Promotions

In case you haven’t seen it on LumberKings.com as of yet, we just announced our Promotional Schedule for 2009.  Keep an eye out for Ian Kinsler (’04) Bobblehead Night, scheduled for Friday, July 24.

Read the release here:

“Fan Bailout Night” Highlights 2009 Promotions

Ian Kinsler bobblehead, fireworks, post-game concerts on tap for upcoming season

 

Clinton, IA – The Clinton LumberKings unveiled a preliminary Promotional Schedule for the 2009 season, including several new promotions and giveaways for fans heading to Alliant Energy Field this spring and summer.

 

“Fan Bailout Night” leads the list of new promotions, scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 against Cedar Rapids.  The first 500 fans passing through the gates will be given some much-needed relief in these tough economic times, a crisp one-dollar bill courtesy of the LumberKings.  Also planned for the opening homestand are the Magnet Schedule Giveaway, sponsored by Espresso, Cigars & Food and KCLN 1390 AM / MAC 94.7 FM.

 

Local college students can start Spring at the ballpark with Ashford University Night on Friday, May 1 and Clinton Community College Night on Saturday, May 2.  On Sunday, May 3, fans are invited to play catch on the field prior to the 2:00 PM game against Quad Cities.

 

Based on the success of last year’s event, “Peanut Free Night” will return once again in 2009.  In respect to those with peanut allergies, no products containing peanuts or peanut oil will be sold or allowed in the ballpark for the Wednesday, May 20 game against Lansing.

 

Fans passing through the gate on Friday, May 22 will receive 2009 LumberKings Team Photos, courtesy of Maid-Rite and Mediacom.

 

Again this season, the LumberKings will be getting in the act of raising money for cancer research.  Scheduled for Sunday, May 24 vs. Great Lakes is “Cancer Awareness Day” sponsored by Mediacom.  LumberKings players and staff will wear pink socks and wristbands to honor breast cancer awareness – and new this year – light blue trimmed jerseys for prostate cancer awareness.  Fans will again receive pink wristbands at the gate, and select jerseys will be auctioned off to raise funds for cancer research.  That same day will feature a special Earring Giveaway, thanks to Don’s Jewelry.

 

Three Saturday post-game fireworks shows are scheduled this season, May 23, July 4 and August 15, all sponsored by WQAD-TV.  That’s not the only post-game entertainment planned for this season as Alliant Energy Field will again host post-game concerts on June 27 and August 28.  The June 27 show brings the popular Slough Buoys back to the ballpark as part of a special “Hawaiian Night”.  Fans that evening also receive t-shirts courtesy of iwireless and WQAD-TV.  The August 28 show features Down 24 as the highlight of “Back to College Night”, backed by Ashford University and Clinton Community College.

 

The LumberKings get environmentally friendly on “Going Green Night” for the second straight year.  Fans can help save paper with giveaway dry-erase memo boards as part of the “Going Green” festivities on Saturday, July 18 against Peoria.  The environmentally-friendly night is sponsored by the Clinton County Solid Waste Agency and WQAD-TV.

 

The first 750 attending the Friday, July 24 game against South Bend will take home Ian Kinsler bobbleheads courtesy of Casey’s General Stores and CBS4.  Kinsler, a 2008 American League All-Star, will be in his classic LumberKings uniform from 2004.

 

Another new event scheduled for this year is “Home Depot Kids Workshop” from 4:00 to 5:30 PM prior to the Saturday, June 13 game against Peoria.  Kids will learn to use tools under the guidance of expert Home Depot employees out in the Alliant Energy Field Picnic Pavilion. 

 

Also returning this year are the Mediacom LumberKings Card Strip Giveaways.  Each fan attending on June 3, June 10, July 8, July 22, August 5 and August 17 will take home card strips of the 2009 LumberKings.  Make sure to attend each giveaway to collect the whole set!

 

Although the summer will be winding down, there’s still plenty of reasons to come to the park in late August and September.  On August 29, every fan in attendance has a chance to win an Amtrak trip to an NFL stadium thanks to Aaron’s Sales & Lease and KLJB-TV.  One lucky fan will win 2010 Season Tickets on Saturday, September 5 and the season comes to a close with another “Play Catch on the Field” day on Sunday, September 6.

 

Other promotions scheduled for this season include:  Poster Schedule Giveaway (April 14), Baseball America Magazine Giveaway (April 25), Upper Deck Baseball Card Giveaway (April 25), DARE Day (April 26), Gateway Area Bowling Night (April 30), David & Son’s Baseball Clinic (May 23), Regalia Flag Giveaway (Memorial Day, May 25), Clinton National Bank & WQAD-TV Magnetic Address Book Giveaway (June 4), Scout Sleepover (June 5), iwireless & CBS4 Baseball Cap Giveaway (July 10) and Pack the Park with Kids Day (July 20).

 

Weekly promotions will stay largely the same in 2009.  Mondays are still “Miller Lite Mondays”, Tuesdays are still “Dollar Hot Dog and Pizza Slice Night” and Wednesdays are “Kids Eat Free Nights” and “Subway Sandwich Wednesdays”. The ever-popular “Thirsty Thursday” is back for Thursday nights, Pork Chop Sandwiches will also be sold that night.  Saturdays are again “Steak Sandwich Saturdays” and Sundays offer special discounts in the form of “Family Days” and “All Faiths Days”.

 

New every week this summer will be “College Discount Nights” every Tuesday, where college students can purchase a General Admission ticket at half-price ($3) by showing their college ID.  Fridays have changed as well, with “Turkey Leg Nights” offering a new food choice to fans.

 

The LumberKings open their 2009 campaign on the road against the Burlington Bees on Thursday, April 9.  The home opener at Alliant Energy Field is scheduled for Monday, April 13 at 6:30 PM against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  For 2009 season tickets, merchandise or more information, contact the LumberKings at (563) 242-0727.

 

That’s all just part of the excitement going on at Alliant Energy Field this summer, so make sure you get down here.

 

Also, I didn’t forget about updating on the rest of my trip to Arizona.  I’ll get some of those pictures up here hopefully this weekend.  It has been a busy time here at LumberKings Central.

 

-DL

 

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