Some quick hits today.
Nice line for Jamey Wright, but a signal outage due to the rain prevented me from seeing the game, and since I still can't bring myself to watch Wright pitch under even ideal conditions, it's just as well. Just hearing the game's final pitch was grueling enough.
Kason Gabbard? Now that's a guy I can watch pitch. Twelve groundouts and four flyouts coaxed from a guy who was fighting through less-than-ideal health.
Eric Gagné: Unbelievable. At this point, isn't the question of whether he makes Boston's post-season roster a legitimate one?
Jarrod Saltalamacchia sits at .193/.233/.298, with some rough spots defensively. Am I worried? Not really. One-third of the 30 players the Rangers signed from this summer's draft are older than Saltalamacchia is.
Eager to see better? Yes. Concerned? No.
Will Carroll on Brandon McCarthy's injury: "There's not a lot in the way of comparables when it comes to scapula fractures in pitchers. You have your good comp in Jarrod Washburn, and your bad comp in Kurt Ainsworth. Brandon McCarthy's injury will wind up somewhere on that scale, though most indications we're getting from the Rangers say that this was caught early. In what's been a disappointing season for both team and player, this injury is almost symbolic. It's a singular, freakish injury that couldn't be anticipated or prevented, and one for which we have little or no guidance going forward. The Rangers are playing for next year already, so they have no reason to push anything this season. McCarthy's likely done for the year, unless he pushes to get in a psychological victory."
It's dangerous thinking, but does Texas have the firepower in prospects at this point to start a casual dialogue with Minnesota or Cincinnati about Mr. Santana or Mr. Dunn? As long as Eric Hurley (in the Twins' case) and Saltalamacchia or Gerald Laird (in the Reds' case) are open for discussion, isn't there now enough depth in legitimate prospects behind them to at least have a conversation-starter?
I don't want to see Hurley in Arlington in September. The upside would be getting him acclimated to the big league culture, traveling with the team, getting plenty of dugout chalk talk in during games, and so on. And I'm not worried about the workload, because that could be managed (Michael Young came up in 2000 and got two at-bats; Ben Kozlowski came up in 2002 and got two starts, spanning 10 innings). But there's simply no sense taking up another spot on the off-season roster, since Hurley can't be drafted via Rule 5 this winter. Especially with the roster spot given to Julio Borbon this week.
There's no pitcher in the system I'm more excited about, but let's have him in camp in February on a non-roster invite, and look forward to his debut in Texas sometime next season.
Righthander Edinson Volquez (5-1, 1.89 with Oklahoma and 13-6, 4.03 for the season, 150 strikeouts and 55 walks in 131.2 innings) is unofficially slated to make his first big league appearance of the year on Tuesday, when he should get the start in Baltimore.
Chris Davis (31) and John Mayberry Jr. (30) are third and fifth in all of minor league baseball in home runs. Taylor Teagarden has 22 homers, German Duran 21, Nate Gold and Mauro Gomez 20 each. Saltalamacchia was going deep every fourth game for AA Mississippi before being called up to Atlanta in May. Max Ramirez has 15 jacks in just 95 games between the Cleveland and Texas systems. With another three weeks of play to go, the Rangers' farm system has amassed nearly 40 more homers than it did last year (514 to 476), but more importantly, there's a larger group of potential bombers coming up than the Rangers have had in a while.
Righthander Armando Galarraga (9-6, 4.02, 114 strikeouts in 127.2 innings with Frisco) was promoted to Oklahoma, replacing the DL'd Robinson Tejeda (quad injury). He was solid last night (one run on seven hits and three walks in 6.2 innings, striking out eight as he earned the win over Channel 8 sports reporter Erin Hawksworth's brother Blake), as were Frisco's Michael Schlact, Clinton's Kasey Kiker, Spokane's Fabio Castillo, and AZL phenom Carlos Pimentel.
I can't wait these days to open Scott Lucas's farm reports, which is, in equal parts, a credit to his outstanding writing and the confidence I have that there are going to be half a dozen pitching and hitting performances that will get my day started on a good note.
And that includes Spokane catcher Jonathan Greene, who is hitting .282/.387/.571 with 11 home runs (second in the Northwest League to teammate Ian Gac) and 42 RBI (fifth in the league) in just 43 games. The Rangers' eighth-round pick in June, Greene is second in the league in slugging and OPS, and he remains virtually anonymous, even in spaces like this one, which is basically a testament to how many good things are happening in this system right now.
Reliever Brennan Garr, in his first full pro season, has earned a promotion to Frisco. Between Clinton and Bakersfield this year, the righthander has a 1.95 ERA with these ridiculous peripherals: 34 hits (.172 opponents' average) and 22 walks in 55.1 innings, 70 strikeouts, three home runs, 80 percent of his pitches for strikes, twice as many groundouts as flyouts.
Bakersfield shortstop Elvis Andrus (.333/.382/.397 since arriving) not only has hits in 12 of his 15 Blaze games -- the 18-year-old has multiple hits in six of his last 10 games (17 for 42), and has struck out just once in that span.
Arizona League 17-year-olds Pimentel, Wilmer Font, and Geuris Grullon: 83.2 innings, 73 hits, 41 walks, 111 strikeouts.
Nineteen-year-old outfielder Miguel Velzaquez (.330/.381/.489 in the Arizona League) hasn't played since July 24. According to Baseball America, the Rangers placed the 2006 19th-rounder on the suspended list.
The Rangers have signed Venezuelan lefthander Martin Perez ($580,000), Dominican shortstop Wilson Suero ($558,000), Venezuelan shortstop Tomas Telis ($140,000), and Venezuelan outfielder Edward Ceballo ($105,000). According to Baseball America, the 16-year-old Perez was considered the top lefty on the international market this year.
I was trying to think of the most compelling way to describe what Houston accomplished with its draft this year. No need; Scott says it all right here:
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that Sammy Sosa has cleared revocable waivers, meaning he can be traded this month to any team. There's nothing surprising in that report.
Righthander Jake Rasner is now 5-9, 6.52 in 24 starts for Low A Kannapolis. The Rangers sent him to the White Sox in the McCarthy trade.
Righthander Ryan Dittfurth is 6-5, 3.74 for the Sussex Skyhawks of the independent Can-Am League. He's third in the league with 98 strikeouts (in 110.2 innings). In his last start he fired a two-single shutout, punching out 11 without a walk.
The Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the independent Northern League released righthander Reggie Rivard.
There. That's the equivalent of hitting Harold Carmichael on a quick out on the first play from scrimmage, cheaply keeping his consecutive-games-with-a-reception streak alive.
Eight straight days with a Newberg Report.
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(c) Jamey Newberg
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