August 2010

Awards and Moves for 8/30

In case you’re not a regular viewer of, there’s a couple of important stories now on there as of a few minutes ago.

Vinnie Catricala is the Offensive Player of the Week for the Midwest League.  Read more about Vinnie’s monster week here:

Also, left-hander Jose Jimenez and infielder Luis Nunez were both promoted to high-A High Desert as well today.  Right-hander Brandon Maurer and infielder Carlos Ramirez have been added from the AZL.  Read more here:

That’s all for now.  Full game notes and an interview (hopefully) coming up before tonight’s 6:30 PM start in Peoria.



8/28 Game Notes

With no pregame interview lined up yet again today (yeah I know, you’re disappointed), I’m going to keep things brief.

Right-hander Yoervis Medina improved to 5-0 and didn’t allow a run on two hits while striking out nine against Quad Cities last night.  The surprising part about the outing was not Medina’s dominance (we’ve seen it now for five-straight outings), but the fact that he survived six walks, a season-high for himself and by a LumberKings’ pitcher this season.  In all, Medina stranded 11 men on base over his 6.0 innings.

Mario Martinez homered for the first time since August 7 (listen: 
Martinez 2-R HR (#11) 8.27.10.mp3) to help the Kings open up a 4-0 lead over the Bandits and Vinnie Catricala tallied the final run on an RBI double (listen:
Catricala RBI double 8.27.10.mp3) as part of a 2-for-4 game (extending his hitting streak to 16 games).

Left-hander Jose Jimenez contributed two scoreless innings on zero day’s rest and right-hander Brandon Josselyn pitched a perfect non-save ninth, also on no rest whatsoever.

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.28.10 kingsnotes.pdf

The Kings are 2.0 games up on Kane County for the top playoff spot in the West with 11 games to go, 4.0 games up on Beloit for a postseason berth as well.  Left-hander Nick Czyz (4-4, 4.71) gets the game-one start against the Peoria Chiefs tonight as a pivotal five-game, four-day series starts up at O’Brien Field, first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen to the game online at


Odds and Ends for 8/27

The LumberKings split a doubleheader with Quad Cities last night, losing 5-4 in 10 innings in game one before rebounding for a 6-3 win in game two.  All 10 runs they scored in the game came in two innings, the fourth (game one) and the second (game two).

  • Vinnie Catricala went a combined 2-for-5 in the two games, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.  That’s the longest streak by a LumberKing since Luis Nunez’s 17-game streak last year.  Every long streak needs a bit of luck, and Vinnie received some in game two.  Nick Franklin and Mickey Wiswall each singled with two outs to extend the seventh, and Catricala legged out a bounding baseball up the third-base line for an infield single.
  • Speaking of streaks, Wiswall saw his nine-game streak snapped, while Matt Cerione saw his eight-game streak end as well.  Cerione’s still hitting .411 (23-for-56) in the month of August.
  • Left-hander Jason Markovitz tossed 3.0 scoreless innings in game two, making his first career start in a spot role.  Aside from two walks in his final frame, he looked fairly impressive with a well-controlled fastball and a sharp curveball.
  • Yes, Clinton had their chances to win game one.  Henry Contreras popped up a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and Gabriel Noriega grounded out to end the game with the tying and game-winning runs in scoring position in the bottom of the 10th.  It’s a tough way for those chances to end, but you can’t blame either one for being aggressive at the plate.  You don’t want to see Contreras watch strike three in his situation, and you don’t want to see Noriega take good pitches either the way he’s been stinging the ball lately.
  • Outfielder Daniel Carroll was activated from the disabled list today and shipped up to high-A High Desert.  Seattle’s third-round pick in 2007, Carroll last played with the Mavs in 2008.  Here’s hoping he finishes the season strong and stays above the Midwest League.
  • Franklin remains just one homer shy of the single-season franchise record.  Maybe tonight’s the night to tie Dick Kenworthy.  As for the team, the Kings lead the league with 124 team home runs, surpassing (what we think is) the franchise record of 115, set by the 2008 LumberKings.
  • Erasmo Ramirez lowered his ERA to 2.70 yesterday, second in the Midwest League.  He’s closing in on Kane County lefty Ian Krol (2.65) for the ERA title and would be Clinton’s second-straight ERA champ (Kenn Kasparek, 2.41 ERA last year).
  • With 12 games remaining, the Kings remain ahead of Kane County by 2.0 games for the top playoff spot in the West.  Following tonight’s game, they finish the season with five games in Peoria, three at home against Beloit and three on the road at Burlington.

All those notes and more in tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.27.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Yoervis Medina (4-0, 2.74) makes his fifth start for the LumberKings as they wrap-up a four-game series against the Bandits.  First pitch is at 6:30 PM, listen online at


Franklin Highlighted on MWL Notebook Again

Nick Franklin is again the feature of this week’s MWL Notebook, penned by Curt Rallo.  Amongst topics covered is Franklin’s pursuit of Clinton’s 49-year-old single-season home run record.  Nick hit his 21st blast of the night and is now just one shy of tying Dick Kenworthy (22 HR for the 1961 Clinton C-Sox) for the top spot.

Check out the article here:


Franklin, Ramirez Named Post-Season All-Stars

In case you didn’t see it via…

Clinton, IA – Clinton LumberKings shortstop Nick Franklin and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez have been named Midwest League Post-Season All-Stars by the Field Managers of the league’s 16 teams.  The entire list was announced today by president George Spelius from the Midwest League office in Beloit, WI.


Both Franklin and Ramirez were voted as mid-season All-Stars and join the likes of Matt Adams (Quad Cities), Scooter Gennett (Wisconsin), Ian Krol (Kane County) and league Prospect of the Year and MVP Mike Trout (Cedar Rapids) on the list of the league’s best.


The 19-year-old Franklin, Seattle’s first-round pick (27th overall) out of Lake Brantley High School (FL) has enjoyed a memorable first full season in professional baseball.  Ranked the ninth-best prospect in the entire Mariners’ organization prior to the season by Baseball America, Franklin has gone on to hit .284 (129-for-454) with 20 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs (2nd most in the MWL) and 57 RBI and has stolen 23 bases in 34 attempts.  The Longwood, FL native is just two homers shy of tying Clinton’s own single-season franchise record of 22, set back in 1961.


Ramirez, 20, came to the LumberKings in mid-April after an award-winning 2009 campaign.  He was the Mariners’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, going 11-1 with a 0.51 ERA with Aguirre of the Venezuela Summer League.  In 2010, Ramirez has proved worthy of All-Star status as the league’s top right-handed starter.  He’s 10-4 with the league’s second-best ERA of 2.75 and also ranks amongst league leaders in WHIP (2nd at 1.04), fewest walks per 9.0 innings for starters (2nd at 1.17) and fewest baserunners per 9.0 innings for starters (3rd at 10.36).


Great Lakes Loons’ manager Juan Bustabad took home the Manager of the Year award.  A full list of the All-Star selections can be viewed at

I’ll be talking about the All-Star selections on tonight’s pregame show in lieu of an interview (I’ve interviewed both Franklin and Ramirez recently, as well as their manager John Tamargo).  One thing I MIGHT bring up is the double selection of South Bend’s Matt Davidson as both the third-baseman and DH.  He’s certainly deserving of ONE selection, but what about the now-forgotten Jerry Sands of the Loons for DH?  Or Clinton’s own Vinnie Catricala?  It’s worth thinking about.

There’s plenty to catch up on in tonight’s Game Notes following last night’s 3-1 win over Peoria.  Left-hander Nick Czyz tossed seven innings of one-run baseball and Catricala went 3-for-4 with the game-tying home run and an RBI single for insurance.  Mickey Wiswall had the game-winner on a seeing-eye single, and the bullpen combo of right-hander Jonathan Arias (H, 1) and Forrest Snow (S, 4) held on to the slim margin.

The Notes: 
8.24.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen (3-1, 2.55) has a key fifth start tonight as he looks to prove that the 4.2-inning, six-run blowup from his last outing is only a brief misstep in his magical 2010 season.  He’s on the hill for the finale against the Chiefs tonight, first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM.  Listen online at


Cooper Heads West, Kings Receive Royster, Arias

Right-hander Daniel Cooper moves up to High Desert, Ryan Royster and Jonathan Arias join LumberKings


, IA – The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners have announced four player transactions affecting the 25-man roster effective today.  Right-hander Daniel Cooper has been promoted to high-A High Desert and is replaced by right-hander Jonathan Arias, called up from short-A Everett.  Outfielder Daniel Carroll has been transferred to the seven-day disabled list and is replaced by outfielder Ryan Royster (pictured left), also in from Everett.


Cooper went 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA and one save in 40 relief appearances with the LumberKings this season.  Seattle’s 21st round selection in 2009 out of the University of Southern California, Cooper also pitched with Clinton last season, going 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in eight outings. 


Carroll is placed on the disabled list retroactive to yesterday.  He’s hitting .282 with nine doubles, nine home runs, 34 RBI and a team-high 25 steals in 81 games this season.  It’s his second stint on the disabled list this year (also from May 8 to May 15).


Arias, 22, went 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA and two saves in 11 games with the AquaSox.  Originally signed as a catcher in 2006, he went 3-1 with a 5.14 ERA in nine games, three starts with Peoria (AZ) in 2009, his first year on the hill.  A native of Nizao, Dominican Republic, Arias hit .210 with two home runs and 30 RBI over 96 career games as a catcher, reaching as high as Wisconsin of the Midwest League in 2008.


Royster, 24, returns to the LumberKings after hitting .237 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in 35 games with the AquaSox.  Seattle’s 13th round pick in 2008 out of the University of California-Davis, Royster spent eight games with Clinton last season, hitting .333 with two homers and seven RBI.


Both Arias and Royster will join the LumberKings tonight at Alliant Energy Field as they open a four-game series against the Peoria Chiefs at 6:00 PM.




Tonight’s Interview: Nick Franklin (Vol. 4)

franklin3.JPGThe LumberKings won for the 14th time in the last 20 games last night, hanging on for a 6-4 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits last night.  Clinton amassed an early 5-0 lead and did just enough to protect it against the hard-charging Bandits, winning for the fifth time in their last six games at Modern Woodmen Park.  Right-hander Taylor Stanton improved to 10-6 with the win, becoming just the fifth MWL pitcher to reach a double-digit win total.

The Kings were able to grab that early lead off right-hander Eric Fornataro thanks to a breakout performance from shortstop Nick Franklin.  In what was amazingly just his second four-hit game this season, Franklin recorded three singles and his 19th double, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored in the #2 spot in the order.

Franklin had an eye-opening first half, hitting .299 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI to earn a midseason All-Star selection.  Since then, the 19-year-old first-round pick has come down to earth a bit, hitting .244 with five home runs and 17 RBI.  Pitchers have started to change their approach to Franklin in using more offspeed pitches, but he as well has started to adjust as a hitter.

Those adjustments have come in a multitude of ways, which Nick talks about on the pregame interview tonight.  From extra cage sessions with hitting coach Terry Pollreisz to “fight the virus” to using an old high school drill (hitting lima beans with a broomstick) to increase his visual acuity to pumping himself up with — get this — Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” (which I incorrectly identify as a Genesis song).  Those topics and more are discussed tonight.

Listen Here: 
Franklin Interview 8.20.10.mp3

Tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.20.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 2.60) will have a difficult time reprising his 12-strikeout performance from his last start in the Quad Cities, but the LumberKings would certainly be happy with six good innings and a series win in his 20th start tonight.  The game begins at 7:00 PM, listen online at


Kirkman Called to Texas

kirkman.JPGVia a press release from the Texas Rangers, it is confirmed that former LumberKings’ left-hander Michael Kirkman (’06-’08) has been called up to the 25-man roster to take the place of fellow former King Derek Holland (’08), who has been sent back to triple-A Oklahoma City.

Kirkman, 23, went 13-3 with a 3.09 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 24 games with the RedHawks.  He lead the PCL in strikeouts, ranked second in wins and third in ERA at the time of the promotion. 

The fifth-round pick by Texas back in 2005, Kirkman went 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in six outings with the Kings in 2006 before having his season ended by a hamstring injury suffered in the team’s final series ever at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, MI.  He’d return again in 2007 (0-1, 7.43 in five games, two starts) and 2008 (4-3, 4.36 in 15 games, 14 starts) before really taking off last year.  Kirkman went 4-1, 2.06 in Bakersfield and ended up in double-A Frisco by year’s end, going 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 18 starts for the RoughRiders.

Kirkman will join first-baseman Justin Smoak (Texas/Seattle), right-hander Omar Beltre (Texas) and 1B/OF Mitch Moreland (Texas) as former Clinton players to make Major League debuts this season.

EDIT:  I knew I forgot someone.  Thomas Diamond also debuted with the Chicago Cubs this year.

Kirkman will be wearing #62 and will most likely be pitching out of the bullpen.  I’ll post an update after he makes his official debut.


8/19 Game Notes

I know, I know, no interview again tonight.  These 4:30 “show-and-go” bus trips make it difficult to line up an interview guest.  Also, there weren’t numerous positive topics to discuss following a 9-2 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits last night.

Still, enjoy tonight’s Game Notes: 
8.19.10 kingsnotes.pdf

Right-hander Taylor Stanton (9-6, 4.46) makes his 21st start of the year as the Kings look to even the series in Davenport, IA tonight.  Listen to the game at 7:00 PM on



Wilhelmsen is MWL Pitcher of the Week Again

Near-perfect game nets right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen his second-straight MWL Pitcher of the Week award


Beloit, WI – Clinton LumberKings’ right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen has been named the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Week for the second-straight week in an announcement today from the league office in Beloit, WI.  The 26-year-old Wilhelmsen made just one start during the week, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings.


In that start on August 12 against Burlington, he came within seven outs of becoming the first Clinton pitcher to toss a perfect game since right-hander Scott Dunn did it on August 3, 2000 in a home game against Lansing.  The perfect was broken up with two outs in the seventh as Carlo Testa ripped his 2-1 pitch off the wall in left for a double.  Wilhelmsen would walk a batter afterward but would not allow a run through 7.0 innings of a 3-0 LumberKings’ victory.


Wilhelmsen returned to the Midwest League after a six-season hiatus on August 2 and is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA, five walks and 18 strikeouts in 20.0 innings spanning three starts with the LumberKings.  Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 June draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, the Tucson, AZ native went 5-5 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 starts with the Beloit Snappers in 2003, earning a Midwest League All-Star selection. 


The award is his second of the year and also the second by a Clinton pitcher this season.  No hitter has taken home the Offensive Player of the Week award since 2009.


Wilhelmsen’s next start is on Wednesday, August 18 at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, IA as his LumberKings take on the Quad Cities River Bandits.  Listen to the game at 7:00 PM on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or live on the web at