Minor League Roundup - Aug. 4-10

Missions OF hit his first Double-A homer (66er)

The Seattle Mariners farm system had one of those weeks that could be described as the latter portions of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. During weeks of such bottom-line turmoil, the best of the bunch, the Double-A San Antonio Missions, tend to ride on in and save the week like the Lone Ranger out in the old West. Gilligan or Gomer Pyle must have filled in, because even they couldn't prevent the mass mediocrity. More awaits within InsidethePark.com's exclusive Minor League Roundup.

Triple-A Tacoma went 3-4 for the week and fought hard to stave off a 1-6 performance with a strong weekend effort against Fresno.

The bats woke up to the tune of 48 runs and needed every last one to escape the week with respectability. The Rainiers won two of the first three games of a four-game series against Fresno…

Leadoff-man Jamal Strong, 1B J.R. Phillips and OF Adrian Myers led the offense for Rainiers.

Strong hit .304 for the week with four runs scored and two steals to set up the middle of the order.

The speedy centerfielder also walked five times and sported a .428 on-base percentage…

Phillips hit .370 for the week (10-27) with a home run and five RBI.

After a slow start to his Tacoma Rainier career, Phillips has fit in nicely in the fourth spot in the order and has raised his average to .278 on the year with 10 homers…

Myers has started in rightfield since the trade that sent Kenny Kelly to the New York Mets and brought SS Rey Sanchez to the big club.

Myers' bat has responded with an explosion. The versatile outfielder went 9-24 this week with eight RBI and four multi-hit games. Myers has raised his average to .268 on the year…

The pitching side of things didn't go so well as the necessary-48 runs proves. The Rainiers' hurlers allowed 42 runs, 36 earned, and yielded five or more runs in five of the seven games…

Right-hander Rett Johnson had a strong start, with eight strong innings allowing just four hits and two earned runs.

Johnson, 24, is clearly the staff ace, but fellow righty Jeff Heaverlo has begun to regain his top- prospect form of two seasons ago.

In his two starts this week, Heaverlo posted two victories in 13 innings pitched, giving up 11 hits and just two earned runs while walking five and striking out five…

The Rainiers are 51-70 on the season and sit 10 games behind Edmonton in the Northern Division of the PCL.

Double-A San Antonio had a week to forget and probably move on and do just that. They're human, after all. A 2-5 week shrunk the Missions lead in the Texas League's Western Division to seven games.

The pitching went south for the week and even the seemingly untouchable En Fuego Five had troubles this time around…

The offense had an up and down week, scoring 44 runs in seven games. However, 20 came in a blowout win on versus El Paso, and another 11 came in an versus Round Rock earlier in the week…

SS Jose Lopez and OF Greg Jacobs led the offense this week.

Lopez, 19, hit a modest .259 (7-27) with a homerun, nine RBI and three steals, and had a four-hit game versus Round Rock. The emerging, young star now has a .269 batting average with 12 homeruns and 16 steals on the year.

Jacobs, 26, was 6-22 (.272) with his first Texas-League homerun, and added six RBI. Jacobs is hitting .327 with San Antonio…

The pitching saw very few bright spots overall, but there were a couple of mentionable performances.

Cha Seung Baek provided the only punch with the pill this week.

Baek started twice last week, and the first one was stellar. The seven-inning outing saw the 23-year-old right-hander allow six hits and one earned run, while striking out five. He also had a career-high five walks.

The En Fuego Five had a collective ERA of 7.24 in 32.1 innings…

The Missions are now 32-18 in the second half and continue to be the dominant team in the Texas League despite the bump in the road.

Advanced-A Inland Empire had the weakest of the weeks. The 66ers were 1-6 for the week and the offense is mostly to blame…

The California League is usually a hitter's league, leaving no excuses for the squeaking bats.

Scoring just 19 runs in their six losses, the San Bernardino-based affiliate has struggled since losing their best hitter, Greg Jacobs, to promotion.

The balanced pitching staff is the only reason the 66ers has had a fighting chance of late…

The miniscule amounts of offense mounted this week were due in large part to 2B Ismael Castro and 1B/DH John Castellano.

Castro had his best week of the year going 10-23 (.434) with eight runs scored, two doubles, three RBI, and finished the week working on a seven game hit-streak.

Castro, who will soon turn 20, seems to have turned the corner in the California League and could be well on his way to donning a Missions uniform in 2004.

Castro is hitting .275 with 25 RBI and nine steals for the year…

Castellano, 25, went 10-27 (.344) with seven RBI and hit safely in the final five games of the week.

The former catcher is hitting .305 with nine homeruns and 60 RBI on the year…

Mariners 3B Jeff Cirillo, on a rehab assignment from a shoulder injury suffered in late June, was 2-13 in three starts for Inland…

The pitching uncharacteristically gave up 37 earned runs in seven games - 33 of those in five games.

Left-handed aces Ryan Ketchner and Glenn Bott struggled to get past the fifth inning in their combined starts…

Twenty-two-year-old left-hander Troy Cate lowered his ERA to 4.07 with a solid start - his 21st.

Cate went 6.1 innings allowing two earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five. Cate raised his win total to 8, while his losses stayed at 10…

Righty Rich Dorman, 24, stepped into the rotation and produced immediately.

Dorman pitched five innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out six without a walk.

The right-hander also had a 1.1-inning, shutout stint out of the bullpen…

The 66ers are now 29-20 on the year and sit just a half-game behind division leading Lake Elsinore.

Single-A Wisconsin got to play good son last week and played it well.

As the only affiliate to sport a winning record for the week, the Timber Rattlers' four wins in six games represents 25 percent of the organization's wins for the week…

The offense laid dormant until Saturday's finale for the week in an 11-3 win.

Scoring just 22 runs in six games usually doesn't bode well in the win column, but due to stellar pitching holding opponents to 18 runs, the Rattlers took advantage…

The hitting stars for the week were few and far between and nearly went undetected on the radar.

OF's Gary Harris and T.J. Bohn and 1B Jon Nelson did muster some damage.

Harris hit .333 (8-24) with three RBI, three runs scored and two steals.

The 23-year-old is hitting .281 with four homers, 45 RBI and 33 steals on the year.

Bohn, also 23, went just 3-12 on the week, but drove in four on a double and a triple, and scored twice.

Bohn is hitting .257 with 13 homeruns and 57 RBI on the season.

Nelson, one of the organization's top power-hitting prospects, went 5-20 for the week with his 14th homerun and four RBI to bring his total to 72.

The 23-year-old slugger also has 13 steals in 16 attempts…

The pitching controlled almost every frame played last week, and the 2.86 team ERA for the week proves that.

Left-handers Cesar Jimenez and Bobby Livingston and righty T.A. Fulmer led the rotation.

Jimenez went 5.2 innings, allowing one earned run on nine hits, while walking two and striking out two.

The 18-year-old sinkerballer is now 8-9 with an ERA of 2.75…

Livingston continued his solid pitching with an eight-inning performance where the 20-year-old scattered ten hits, allowing just one earned run, striking out three and not walking a single batter…

Fulmer went all-out in his only start of the week.

The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just six hits and two earned runs versus division-leading Beloit, the Midwest-League affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Fulmer walked just one and struck out seven…

Wisconsin is 22-26, ten games back of Beloit in their division.

Short-season-A Everett stayed the course and went 2-4 on the week.

That's the bad news. The good news is the offense has ignited and scored 39 runs in six games this week…

The offensive stars for the week are IF Matt Rogelstad, OF Chris Colton, 2B Nick Orlandos and SS Oz Navarro.

Rogelstad hit .294 (5-17) for the week with eight RBI in five games played.

The lefty slugger is now hitting .318 with 12 RBI in just 13 games with the Aqua Sox…

Colton had another solid week with the bat and as on the base paths as well.

The 20-year-old hit .347 with two RBI, two runs scored and three stolen bases to draw his season total to 15. Colton is hitting .277 with five homeruns and 25 RBI…

Orlandos went 10-25 (.400) for the week with five runs scored and two RBI.

The 23-year-old had four multi-hit games and hit safely in all six games played. Orlandos is hitting .320 with 17 RBI and 10 steals on the season…

Navarro went 7-22 (.318) with eight runs scored and three steals for the week.

The 18-year-old now has 15 steals on the year in 18 attempts and is hitting .278 with 12 RBI…

The pitching staff once again featured teen phenom Felix Hernandez and southpaw Thomas Oldham.

In the tandem's two starts, opponents failed to scratch a single run across the plate, while they were on the mound.

Hernandez went six scoreless innings allowing five hits and three walks while carving up five more strikeout victims.

The 17-year-old is now 7-1 with a 1.84 ERA on the year.

Oldham, 21, went six shutout innings, stranding seven runners and striking out seven others.

The 2003 eighth-round draft pick is now 3-2 with a stingy 2.47 ERA…

Everett is now 22-29 and sits five games behind Salem-Keizer in the division standings.

Overall, the farm went 12-21 and took a giant step back after all of the progress in recent weeks.

Jason resides in North Tacoma, Wa. where his father is his best friend, his mother has a better fastball than he does, and his nephew is the only person better suited for stardom. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@cs.com.

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