“In college ball you usually play four games a week, maybe five,” Rice said. “Here, you play every single day. We usually have one off day a month. It’s an adjustment - something that mentally and physically you have to get used to.”
The daily grind is made a little easier by a routine Hudson Valley manager Jared Sandberg designed for Rice early in the season. Rice is playing three out of every four days, two days behind the plate and the other game as designated hitter.
“I think it really helps that he let me know and I’m mentally prepared for what I’m doing on that day,” Rice said. “On a given week, I’m still catching four days a week and hitting six out of seven, so there is still a lot of baseball. I’m not used to not playing, but every once in a while - especially when you are playing every day - you need a day to recover. It’s been an adjustment, but something that has been good for me so far.”
spoke with Durham's Stephen Vogt:
"I don't neglect that I've had surgery. Anytime you get cut, it'll always be with [you]," he said. "But the Rays have a phenomenal shoulder program and I just had faith in the organization to help me get better. And now, it's as good, if not stronger than it was before."
And, the way he's playing, it almost seems as if Vogt's mind is clear of his surgically-repaired shoulder. But, a clear mind doesn't mean he's content.
"I think in order to make it in this game, you can never be content with where you are," he said. "I'd like to keep pushing. [When major league rosters expand in September] I wanna make it to the 40-man roster. I wanna make it to the majors sooner rather than later. The key is that you just never wanna be content with the position you're at."
Sean T. McMann had this from Hudson Valley manager Jared Sandberg on the Renegades' pitchers:
"Jack's [Giese, pitching coach] really done a great job of putting them in — not really defined roles, but spots where they can have success," the skipper said. "From there, it's just a matter of pitchers going out there and trusting their stuff. It's the pitchers going out there and just pitching the way they know how to pitch."
Leading to their success, Renegades' pitchers have been open to adopting the parent club's pitching philosophy, Sandberg said.
"(They're) buying into the philosophy and mentality of the Rays' organization," he said, "which is pitch with your fastball and get ahead (in the count). Throw strikes and let the defense work."
McMann also spoke with Renegades pitching coach Jack Giese about Ryan Carpenter:
"He's in his first year of professional baseball, just two weeks into it, but he has a very veteran approach as to how he attacks hitters," said Giese, adding the organization will be cautious not to overwork Carpenter's arm, which has already pitched 100 2/3 innings this season, between Gonzaga and Orleans.
"He has a lot of innings coming out of college and in the Cape, so we're being careful with him. His velocity has been OK; there's probably more in there.
"He's got a big, strong body. His fastball has been (between) 91 (miles per hour and) 88; I'd expect that to go up once he gets some rest. The bottom line is, he can move it, (and) he can throw it to both sides of the plate. He's got the whole repertoire."
Adam Dean Howe had a nice article on 2011 third rounder Johnny Eierman, now with the Gulf Coast League Rays:
He was born during the 1992 baseball season as his father, John, a former baseball star at Rice University, was taking the field in the Boston Red Sox organization. As soon as he was able to, Eierman was clenching his fist around a baseball bat. By about the age of 2, maybe 3, he was tossing a ball. “He was always around the baseball field,” his father recalls. “He’d hang out in the clubhouse and come down on the field during batting practice.”
“It also came down to what club drafted me,” Eierman said. “Before the draft, I kind of had a list of clubs that I preferred because of their organization and their history of developing players, and Tampa Bay was one of them. They have great coaches at every level of their farm system and they’re focused on the progress of their young players.” Eierman went on to say, “To be honest, it really had very little to do with the money.”
Avoiding subtlety and nuance, Eierman attempts to hammer every pitch into orbit and occasionally succeeds, launching mammoth home runs. Eierman’s hands and feet are very active pre swing and his timing figures to be inconsistent until he quiets things down. At this stage of his career, his timing issues cause him to rip a series of hard ground balls with long blasts sprinkled in.
Jack Borenstein with another profile of Hudson Valley's Lenny Linsky:
After a tough 2009 with an 8.47 ERA in 12 appearances, Warriors head coach Mike Trapasso acknowledged Linsky had control problems. Trapasso changed his arm slot from over the top 12/6 curveball to three-quarter.
“It allowed him to get out front better, providing much more movement and a jump in velocity from his previous 88-90 MPH range. He made the adjustment and within a couple weeks was throwing 92-94 MPH with a power sinker.”
Linsky commended Trapasso’s suggestions, which resulted “in better control and increased velocity [eventually reaching between 94-97 MPH on my sinking fastball]. My slider is 86-88 MPH and my changeup is 81-82 MPH.”
He said that Linsky needs more consistency with his slider “which can be a dominant pitch” and work on his poise. “He’s so competitive that sometimes he gets too amped up, which isn’t a bad problem to have. You’d rather a guy be too competitive than not competitive enough.”
Linsky also acknowledged needing more consistency “with my fastball in achieving first-pitch strikes” going forward through professional baseball ranks.
had updates on the health of several Bulls, including Brandon Guyer, Matt Carson, Daniel Mayora, and Dirk Hayhurst:
Brandon Guyer is "not close," Montoyo said, to returning from his oblique strain.
Carson played in two games for Durham on the road trip to Charlotte, going 3-9 with a double and two walks and throwing out Lastings Milledge at home plate from the outfield by about 30 feet. Naturally, last night, the welcomed and promising new addition to the Bulls strained his hamstring and was removed in the seventh inning.
Also, Daniel Mayora strained/pulled/annoyed something in his leg and didn't play last night. Montoyo was asked which of his players was closest to coming off of the disabled list and replied: "Nobody." After dispensing with Guyer, Montoyo was asked about Dirk Hayhurst, who has been out since July 15 with elbow soreness, Hayhurst's second trip to the DL this season. "I don't know about Hayhurst. I haven't asked... about Hayhurst."
Haven't asked? About one of your starters? That was also talk talk. What Montoyo's vague, trailing-off, shrugging reply meant was something closer to this: "Dirk Hayhurst's return isn't even on my radar." Or, more succinctly: "Dirk who?"
J.J. Cooper discussed Durham's Matt Moore in Friday's Prospect Hot Sheet chat:
Cy (Youngstown): You often refer to plus or plus-plus pitches. How do Matt Moore's FB,CB,CH grade, present and future? Thanks.
J.J. Cooper: Future: 70, 65, 65. If you're talking to a more generous scout he may say 70-70-70. Yeah pretty scary. If you were looking at a present grade, I'm speculating more because I haven't asked a scout to give me a present grade on him, but the fastball is still a 70, and you could argue an 80 if you wanted to, and the curve and change are both described as current plus, so let's say 60.
Moves: Kes Carter promoted to Charlotte from Hudson Valley; Trevor Shull sent to Hudson Valley after rehab with GCL Rays; Todd Glaesmann activated from Bowling Green DL after rehab in GCL; Alejandro Segovia promoted to Hudson Valley from GCL; Matt Johnson retired from GCL; Johnny Eierman assigned to GCL; Joseph Cruz sent to rehab with GCL from Montgomery DL.
Oscar Watch: Hernandez went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice fly this morning in the VSL Rays final regular season game. For the year he batted .402 with 21 homers and 66 RBI. The best-of-three playoffs begin Monday.