Cactus League Update – March 16
It’s been almost a week since I last updated you on former LumberKings in Spring Training. Rather than update you on every specific game that took place in Texas Rangers’ and Seattle Mariners’ camps, I thought I might try a “stream-of-consciousness” approach. Here goes.
Former Kings’ hitters can be categorized in three ways. Hot, Cold and Barely Seen.
Marcus Lemon (4-for-9, double, RBI, .444 average), Mitch Moreland (7-for-18, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, .389 average) and Chad Tracy (4-for-11, double, triple, 2 RBI, .364 average) have all looked impressive so far in big-league camp with the Rangers. Mainstay Ian Kinsler has played in just four games, but is 4-for-10 with a double and 2 RBI in that action.
Justin Smoak (2-for-13, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, .231 average), Craig Gentry (4-for-19, 3 runs scored, 1 stolen base, 7 strikeouts, .211 average) and Brandon Boggs (1-for-10) all look like they’re playing their way into Oklahoma City. Smoak might get a longer leash than the other two.
Emerson Frostad (0-for-7, 3 strikeouts) and Kevin Richardson (2-for-10, 2 runs scored, RBI) have combined to catch nine games. Both have been overshadowed by a solid start from non-LumberKing Max Ramirez, who is hitting .333 (6-for-18) with a pair of doubles and 3 RBI in nine games. Right now, Ramirez has the edge to be the OKC catcher and COULD open with Texas if non-King Taylor Teagarden (2-for-13, 7 strikeouts) continues to struggle.
It’s been fairly surprising (to me, anyways) that John Whittleman has had just one at-bat with the big club. He did walk once in his one game, though, showing that classic Whit eye.
David Paisano (1-for-1), Davis Stoneburner (1-for-3, RBI) and Engel Beltre (1-for-3) have had brief tastes of camp.
On the mound, Kasey Kiker has looked like his ’07 self. He’s allowed just two hits over 3.0 innings against Major League-caliber hitters. Could he be the Feliz of 2010?
Derek Holland has pitched twice, starting once. He’s yielded four runs, but only one earned over his 3.1 innings thus far. Derek continues to battle for a back-end rotation spot after a hot start and rough finish in ’09.
Most other alumni arms in Rangers’ camp have struggled. Neftali Feliz (6 ER in 4.0 IP) might be feeling the pressure of the “rotation or reliever?” debate. First-time campers Zach Phillips (4 ER in 2.0 IP), Michael Kirkman (1 ER in 1.1 IP) and Evan Reed (1 ER in 0.1 IP) have been touched up in very limited action.
Denny Almonte didn’t get into the split-squad game against Milwaukee that I saw, but apparently he did suit up at least once. Still no at-bats for Denny, who’s most likely out on the back fields in Minor League camp now.
In the “Future LumberKing” and “Wishful Thinking LumberKing” categories, second-baseman Nick Franklin has earned five at-bats, going 1-for-5 with two stolen bases. Meanwhile, the Dustin Ackley experience has officially ended with his move to AA camp today. Ackley went 3-for-19 with 3 RBI in 10 games.
Neither Kenn Kasparek nor Anthony Vasquez has pitched on a big-league mound since they both got called upon in Seattle’s March 3rd game against San Francisco.
At Milwaukee Brewers camp in Maryvale, Kameron Loe has allowed 3 runs over 5.0 innings in a pair of relief appearances. Ruben Flores has not seen game action.
In “Dave Lezotte enemy territory” otherwise known as Chicago Cubs camp, new Northsider Thomas Diamond has yet to allow a run over 4.1 relief innings and has one save.
Nick Masset has a 9.00 ERA (3 ER in 3.0 IP) with Cincinnati. No Edinson Volquez so far for the Reds as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.
Grady Sizemore has homered and driven in 7 over just 9 at-bats with Cleveland.
Manny Pina is 0-for-4 over his first four games with his new club, the Kansas City Royals. No sign of Tim Smith.
Switching over to the Grapefruit League, there’s been no reported sightings of Brett Lorin or Aaron Pribanic over in Pittsburgh Pirates camp, despite their usual young crop of arms.
Jason Bay has just one Spring homer so far with the Mets, and is 6-for-23 with 5 RBI in 9 games.
John Mayberry, Jr. is doing what John Mayberry, Jr. does. He’s hitting .280 (7-for-25) with 3 doubles, a HR and 6 RBI with the defending NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Does anyone know where Brandon Watson is hiding these days?