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  1. Tigers value versatility Kelly brings Posted by on 03-25-2012 04:41 PM. Every player would like to be a star, but every team needs somebody who can fill a variety of roles. Don Kelly does just that for the Tigers. More...
  2. July 17th marked the 9th anniversary for this little old website. It has been a huge part of my life for nearly a decade which is what makes any decision to step away both a liberating and heartbreaking exercise. I started to have these pangs in the offseason, and took some time away from the blog [...] More...
  3. Mud Hens hold on to beat Bulls DURHAM, N.C. - The Mud Hens used a four-run fifth inning to claim a 5-4 victory over the Bulls last night. Toledo needed just two batters to score its first run as Will Rhymes led off with a walk and Max Leon doubled him home. The Bulls tied the game in the third on a single by Elliot Johnson, then took the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles by Desmond Jennings and Johnson. But the Mud Hens took the lead for good with four runs in the fifth. With one out Rhymes coaxed a walk from Bulls starter Jeff Bennett, and both Danny Worth and Jeff Larish drew back-to-back two-out walks. Jeff Frazier cleared the bases with a double, and Brent Dlugach doubled home Frazier. Ryan Sheely slammed his fourth home run of the season off Hens reliever Josh Rainwater in the seventh. Durham seemed poised to tie the game in the eighth when Alvin Colina doubled and Rashad Eldridge singled, but Colina was thrown out at the plate and the Bulls never threatened again. The Hens and Bulls will play again today starting at 7:05 p.m. More...
  4. Mud Hens tame Bulls BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES DURHAM, N.C. – For the first time in 15 seasons, the Durham Bulls played a game at Durham Athletic Park last night. And the site for the movie Bull Durham proved to be a fun place for the Mud Hens to play.Toledo spoiled the Bulls’ return to their old home ballpark by scoring five first-inning runs and claiming a 6-2 win. The Mud Hens sent eight batters to the plate in the first as Max Leon and Danny Worth led off with singles that put runners on first and third, and Jeff Frazier reached on an error by Bulls second baseman Joe Dillon that allowed Leon to score.One out later Brent Dlugach drove a pitch from Durham starter Heath Phillips over the fence in right for a three-run homer, Dlugach’s second home run this season.Clete Thomas capped the rally with a home run to left, his fourth of the season. Thomas’s homers have all come in Toledo’s last seven games.Meanwhile Toledo starter Phil Dumatrait allowed only one Durham hitter to reach base in the first four innings, and that baserunner came on a throwing error by Leon.The Bulls’ Dan Johnson broke up the no-hit bid by hammering the first pitch of the fifth well over the fence in right for his league-leading 10th home run this season.The Hens added a run in the sixth when Thomas was hit by a pitch, stole second, then came home on a double by Ben Guez, who had four hits on the night.But Durham got a two-out RBI single by Hank Blalock in the bottom of the sixth.The two teams continue their four-game series with a game tonight at Durham Bulls Athletic Park starting at 7:05. The Hens return to Fifth Third Field Friday to face the Indianapolis at 7:05 p.m. More...
  5. Mud Hens drop series to Tides NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk's Chris Tillman struck out a season-high 10 batters, Toledo's Brent Dlugach made two errors that led to pair of unearned runs, and the Mud Hens fell 4-1 to the Tides to drop their first road series of the season. Jeff Larish led Toledo's offense with a pair of hits, including a solo shot off Tillman in the seventh inning to get the Mud Hens on the scoreboard. Casper Wells added two singles. Tillman (3-3) allowed one run on four hits to claim the victory. Mud Hens' starter Ryan Ketchner (0-1) pitched a season-high six innings and allowed two earned runs on just four hits and a walk. He struck out four. The Tides jumped to a 1-0 lead when Ketchner walked leadoff hitter Robert Andino. Andino advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Joey Gathright and an infield single by Corey Patterson. Josh Bell then grounded into a fielder's choice to score Andino. Norfolk's Brandon Snyder extended the lead 2-0 in the second with a home run, and errors in the seventh and eighth sealed the win. With Gathright at first in the seventh, Patterson hit a ground ball to second baseman Will Rhymes, who tossed the ball to Dlugach for the force. Dlugach, however, dropped it. Gathright advanced to third on a fly ball by Bell, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Scott Moore. Toledo dropped to 16-15, while the Tides improved to 14-17. The Hens travel to Durham today to begin a four-game series before returning to Fifth Third Field to face the Indianapolis at 7:05 p.m. Friday. More...
  6. IL picks Gilhooley as award's 1st winner BLADE STAFF The International League has created a new award - and a Toledoan will be the first person to receive the honor. Long-time broadcaster Frank Gilhooley will receive the "Spirit of the International League" award in a ceremony at Fifth Third Field on Sunday, May 16. According to the IL, the award was created this year to honor a behind-the-scenes worker - such as ushers, concessions workers, public address announcers and broadcasters - who "dedicate themselves on a nightly basis to helping fans have the most enjoyable experience possible." "During a baseball game these days there are many, many individuals in and around our ballparks who impact the fan experience," International League president Randy Mobley said. "Some are visible and others are not so visible, but each and every one of them is vital to the success of the operation of their team and the International League. "With the creation of this award we will look forward to annually recognizing an individual who has clearly demonstrated a fan-centered approach on a daily basis." Gilhooley will be honored in an on-field ceremony on May 16, with Mobley on hand to present the IL award. Gilhooley teamed with Jim Weber to broadcast Mud Hens home games on a daily basis from 1986 to 2007. Gilhooley also broadcast games for the Toledo Sox of the American Association in the 1950s and he was the sports director at WTVG Channel 13 for many years. Gilhooley is a 1942 graduate of Central Catholic High School, and he played baseball and basketball at the University of Notre Dame. Gilhooley is the son of Frank Gilhooley Sr., who was elected to the IL's Hall of Fame in 2008. - John Wagner More...
  7. Thomas hits 2 home runs as Mud Hens win NORFOLK — Clete Thomas homered twice and added a triple as the Mud Hens posted a 10-3 win at Norfolk last night. Toledo scored twice in the first inning thanks to a two-run single by Jeff Frazier. Norfolk got one of those runs back off Alfredo Figaro in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Scott Moore. But that was the Tides' lone run off Figaro, who allowed seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts in six innings.The Hens extended their lead to 5-1 with three runs in the third. Danny Worth led off the frame with a home run, his second this season. Two outs later Brent Dlugach singled, and Thomas added a two-run shot.Toledo added a two-out run in the sixth on an RBI single by Worth. In the seventh a double by Frazier and a triple by Thomas produced a run, and Robinzon Diaz singled home Thomas.Norfolk scored twice in the bottom of the seventh on a run-scoring double by Corey Patterson and an RBI single by Moore.But the Hens got a run in the eighth when Patterson in center misplayed a ball hit by Frazier, allowing Deik Scram to score.Thomas capped the scoring in the ninth with another home run, his third this season.The Hens will complete their four-game series in Norfolk today in a game starting at 1:15 p.m. More...
  8. Tides top Hens in 12th NORFOLK, Va. - Before last night, Toledo and Norfolk were the only International League teams that had not yet played an extra-inning game. That changed at Harbor Park, where Tides won 3-2 on home run by Josh Bell 3-2 in the 12th inning. Toledo's Jeff Frazier led off the second inning with a single and Casper Wells followed with a walk. One out later, Max Leon singled to give the Hens a 1-0 lead. In the third, Brent Dlugach, Danny Worth, and Frazier hit consecutive one-out singles to make it a 2-0 game. The Tides scored in third on an RBI single by Bell. The tied it in the sixth when Michale Aubrey singled, advance two bases on passed balls and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Daniel Schlereth. After pitching four scoreless innings, Scot Drucker was relieved by Jay Sborz, who served up a game-ending home run to Bell, the first batter he faced. Danny Worth went 3-for-5 for the Mud Hens. More...
  9. Tides top Mud Hens in 12th NORFOLK, Va. — Before Friday night, Toledo and Norfolk were the only International League teams that had not yet played an extra-inning game. That changed at Harbor Park, where Tides won 3-2 on home run by Josh Bell 3-2 in the 12th inning.Toledo's Jeff Frazier led off the second inning with a single and Casper Wells followed with a walk. One out later, Max Leon singled to give the Hens a 1-0 lead.In the third, Brent Dlugach, Danny Worth, and Frazier hit consecutive one-out singles to make it a 2-0 game.The Tides scored in third on an RBI single by Bell. The tied it in the sixth when Michale Aubrey singled, advance two bases on passed balls and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Daniel Schlereth.After pitching four scoreless innings, Scot Drucker was relieved by Jay Sborz, who served up a game-ending home run to Bell, the first batter he faced.Danny Worth went 3-for-5 for the Mud Hens. More...
  10. Bullpen collapses for the Mud Hens NORFOLK - Norfolk scored five runs in the eighth inning off Mud Hens reliever Jason Waddell to break a tie and fuel a 12-7 win last night to open a four-game series. Waddell yielded three hits and three walks in the only inning he worked. The Hens (15-13) tied the game at 7 in the top half of the inning. Hens starter Armando Galarraga lasted four innings, surrendering seven runs on six hits. The Hens scored two runs in the fourth - on a double by Jeff Larish and a single by Jeff Frazier. Will Rhymes tripled to begin a three-run fifth inning, cutting Norfolk's lead to 7-5. More...
  11. Bullpen collapses for the Mud Hens NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk scored five runs in the eighth inning off Mud Hens reliever Jason Waddell to break a tie and fuel a 12-7 win last night to open a four-game series. Waddell yielded three hits and three walks in the only inning he worked.The Hens (15-13) tied the game at 7 in the top half of the inning.Hens starter Armando Galarraga lasted four innings, surrendering seven runs on six hits.The Hens scored two runs in the fourth — on a double by Jeff Larish and a single by Jeff Frazier.Will Rhymes tripled to begin a three-run fifth inning, cutting Norfolk's lead to 7-5. More...
  12. Mud Hens take 2 from Charlotte By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER For a moment, all of Phil Dumatrait's hard worked last night seemed to be wasted. The Mud Hens lefty had limited Charlotte to just four hits before leaving in the seventh and final inning of the second game at Fifth Third Field. Toledo led 3-0, and closer Jay Sborz was trying to strand a pair of runners on base. On a 2-2 pitch, the Knights' Luis Rodriguez slammed a long fly down the right-field line. The ball eventually hooked foul before striking the facing of the Roost and became just a long strike, causing an audible sigh of relief around the stadium. What did Dumatrait think? "When it came off his bat, I saw it was headed towards the foul pole, so I thought it would hook foul," Dumatrait said. "I thought it was just a long strike. "Yeah, I was a little bit nervous, but Jay has been doing a great job, and I knew he would get the job done again." Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish wasn't as charitable, since one of the baserunners reached on a popup that dropped between shortstop Brent Dlugach and third baseman Danny Worth - but could have been caught by either one. "I was going to kill my third baseman and shortstop for letting the ball drop in," Parrish said. Instead Sborz retired Charlotte with only limited damage, giving the Hens a 3-1 victory. Earlier Toledo had snapped a three-game losing streak by scoring six times in the eighth inning of an 8-3 win in the completion of Monday's suspended game. Dumatrait was the star of the late contest, holding the Knights hitless until the fifth and not allowing a runner past second base until a one-out double by Donny Lucy in the seventh. "He was outstanding," Parrish said of Dumatrait. "If we don't drop the popup he could stay out there and get the shutout." Dumatrait, who finished with two strikeouts and just one walk in his 61/3 innings, said he didn't focus on the potential no-hitter. "I knew what was going on, but I just tried to stay within myself and continue to do what I was doing earlier in the game," Dumatrait said. The game was scoreless until the Mud Hens broke through for a pair of runs in the fourth off Knights starter Freddy Dolsi, a former Hen. With runners on second and third and one out, Clete Thomas ground a single through a drawn-in infield to score both runners. "He hit the homer in the first game that was big, then got a walk to score a run," Parrish said of Thomas. Toledo added a run in the sixth when Jeff Frazier lined a home run off the left-field scoreboard against Knights reliever Scott Elarton. In the first game the Mud Hens took advantage of five consecutive walks by the Knights to claim the comeback win. Carlos Torres had held the Hens in check over five innings, but Dlugach led off the eighth with an infield grounder to shortstop that he beat out for a hit before taking second on a throwing error by Charlotte shortstop Brent Lillibridge. That proved to be important when, after Casper Wells struck out, the Knights decided to walk Larish to set up a force, putting runners on first and second with one out. Frazier fell behind Torres 1-2 but worked for an eight-pitch walk that loaded the bases, and Thomas greeted reliever Wes Whisler by drawing a walk that tied the game. Worth and Deik Scram earned walks that also scored runs, and Angel Flores put the game out of reach with a two-run single. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
  13. Thomas gets Hens rolling early By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER It was only one at-bat in a game that was postponed by rain soon after. But for the Mud Hens' Clete Thomas, it still felt sweet. Thomas slugged a two-run home run off Charlotte's Lucas Harrell last night, accounting for the only runs scored in the two innings that were played before rains drenched Fifth Third Field. Today the two teams will resume the contest starting at 5:30 p.m., picking up play in the third inning - the spot where the contest was halted following a1:19 rain delay. The two teams will finish the nine-inning game, then play a second contest of seven innings following a short break. Before that point, the highlight for the Hens' was the at-bat by Thomas, who fouled off a trio of two-strike pitches before lining his first home run of the season over the fence in right. "I was just trying to grind my way through an at-bat - and get out of this hole I'm in," Thomas said. "I was trying to stay relaxed and put the bat on the ball." The "hole" Thomas mentioned included an 0-for-14 stretch prior to the home run and a .140 batting average in his first 13 games this season. The offensive struggles of the 26-year-old outfielder prompted Toledo manager Larry Parrish to give Thomas the day off Sunday. "It was to clear my mind, to relax," Thomas said of the day off. "I tried to let everything go and come back with a fresh start in this game. "[The home run] gives me some confidence. It was only one at-bat, so I need to stay consistent, take the same consistent approach in every at-bat." Parrish liked what he saw of Thomas. "It looked like he was battling up there," Parrish said. "He fouled a bunch of balls off. It wasn't an at-bat that you thought might finish with a homer. "All of a sudden - boom!" HOT HITTING: While 2B Will Rhymes' first-inning at-bat yesterday ended with a groundout, it impressed Parrish as well. Rhymes fell behind 1-2 before fouling off five straight two-strike pitches, eventually working the count full before grounding out on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. "That was a heck of an at-bat," the Toledo manager said. "Unfortunately, the pitcher won that battle, but any time you make a pitcher throw that many pitches early in the game, it's a good thing. "We already had their pitcher at 50 pitches through two innings, so he wasn't going to last long as it was. If there ever was a bad game to get rained out, this was it." Rhymes ranks seventh in the International League with a .348 batting average. He has collected hits in nine of his last 10 games, batting .405 in that span, and ranks second in the IL with 32 hits. LUGO UPDATE: RHP Ruddy Lugo was cleared to begin working out with the team following a doctor's appointment yesterday. Lugo, who was hit in the right temple by a line drive April 23, can begin throwing, riding an exercise bike, and lifting light weights. He said he would accompany the team on an eight-game road trip that begins Thursday in Norfolk following an off-day tomorrow, then return to the doctor's office when the team returns home. Lugo added another duty yesterday, taking out the Mud Hens' lineup card to the umpires before the contest. THREE-DOT DATA: Two former Hens received honors yesterday as 3B Mike Hessman was named International League player of the week and OF Wilkin Ramirez was selected Eastern League player of the week. Hessman hit four home runs and had 14 RBIs for Buffalo last week, while Ramirez batted .500 with three homers, nine RBIs, and eight runs scored for Double-A Erie. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
  14. Rain delays Mud Hens; doubleheader set for Tuesday By JOHN WAGNERBlade Sports Writer It was only one at-bat in a game that was postponed by rain soon after. But for the Mud Hens’ Clete Thomas, it still felt sweet.Thomas slugged a two-run home run off Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell Monday night, accounting for the only runs scored in the two innings that were played before rains drenched Fifth Third Field.The two teams will resume the contest starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, picking up play in the third inning -- the spot where the contest was halted after a 1:19 rain delay. The two teams will finish the nine-inning game, then play a second contest of seven innings following a short break.Before that point, the highlight for the Hens’ was the at-bat by Thomas, who fouled off a trio of two-strike pitches before lining his first home run of the season over the fence in right.“I was just trying to grind my way through an at-bat -- and get out of this hole I’m in,” Thomas said. “I was trying to stay relaxed and put the bat on the ball.” The “hole” Thomas mentioned included an 0-for-14 stretch prior to the home run and a .140 batting average in his first 13 games this season. The offensive struggles of the 26-year-old outfielder, one of the final roster cuts by Detroit in spring training, prompted Toledo manager Larry Parrish to give Thomas the day off Sunday. “It was to clear my mind, to relax,” Thomas said of the day off. “I tried to let everything go and come back with a fresh start in this game.“[The home run] gives me some confidence. It was only one at-bat, so I need to stay consistent, take the same consistent approach in every at-bat.”Parrish liked what he saw of Thomas in Monday’s plate appearance.“It looked like he was battling up there,” Parrish said. “He fouled a bunch of balls off. It wasn’t an at-bat that you thought might finish with a homer.“All of a sudden - Boom!” More...
  15. Mud Hens held to 4 hits in shutout by Knights By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER Charlotte starter Daniel Hudson got pounded in an April 27 start at Columbus, allowed eight hits and nine runs without getting a single out in the second inning. But the pitcher who took the Fifth Third Field mound for the Knights yesterday didn't look like a pitcher who had a 9.37 ERA and a .357 opponent's batting average. "If you've never seen a guy before, and you see he has a nine ERA, you're not expecting the stuff we saw," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "He had good stuff, and he kept getting outs." Hudson allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, fanning 10 Hens to pitch Charlotte to a 4-0 victory. "I was just trying to establish the fastball," said Hudson, who lowered his season's ERA to 6.56 with his effort yesterday. "They are an aggressive team, so I was just trying to let them get themselves out. "I had a couple of bad outings my last two starts - I was up in the zone a lot." Hudson allowed seven hits and eight runs, four of which were earned, in 4.1 innings in a loss at Durham April 22, but that wasn't nearly as bad as his start against the Clippers. "I felt really good in the bullpen, but when I got on the mound [in Columbus] I was a completely different person," Hudson said. "I had to get that out of my head. "I was leaving a bunch of pitches up, and a good team is going to crush that." In the first inning yesterday Hudson struggled with his command, walking a pair of Hens and throwing only 10 of 18 pitches for strikes. But he was in command after that, throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 26 Hens he faced, not allowing a walk, and reaching a three-ball count to just two batters after the first. Of his 75 pitches after the first, 49 were strikes. "I had been working on so much stuff between starts, I think I was a little timid at first [yesterday]," Hudson admitted. "I was trying to place the ball instead of just throwing it. "After that inning I decided to just trust my stuff, throw it over the plate and see what they could do with it." Toledo didn't do much against Hudson; the Hens never got a runner to third base and were 0-for-7 when batting with a runner in scoring position. "We had six hits, and one guy - Will Rhymes - had three of them," Parrish said. "We had a guy on second base a few times, but we never had a thought about sending a guy [home], that's for sure." The Knights scratched out a run against Toledo starter Alfredo Figaro in the first inning. Alejandro De Aza singled and stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a groundout by Jordan Danks. Charlotte added a pair of runs in the third when Rob Hudson doubled, took third on a sacrifice by Javier Colina, and came home on a groundout by De Aza. C.J. Retherford singled, and Danks followed with a double that plated Retherford. The Knights knocked Figaro out of the game with a run in the seventh. Rob Hudson singled, was sacrificed to second by Colina, and scored on a two-out single by Retherford. "[Figaro] didn't have his 'A' game," Parrish said. "He was up [in the strike zone] and he didn't have a breaking ball early. "He couldn't keep the ball down, and in the first three innings he was spiraling every breaking ball. Every ball they hit was letter-high." NOTES: Before the game the Mud Hens placed C Mike Rabelo on the disabled list with left knee problems. Toledo added C Angel Flores to the roster; Flores has spent April in extended spring training. … A steady rain began to fall in the seventh, then picked up again in the bottom of the ninth, but play was never halted. … De Aza hurt his wrist diving to catch the line drive to left by Larish in the fourth and left the game. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
  16. Charlotte blanks Mud Hens BLADE STAFF TOLEDO — Charlotte starting pitcher Daniel Hudson rebounded from a rough outing last week in Columbus to hold the Mud Hens to four hits in seven innings and lead the Knights to 4-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field. “I was just trying to establish the fastball,” said Hudson, who lowered his season’s ERA from 9.37 to 6.56 with his effort Sunday. “[The Mud Hens] are an aggressive team, so I was just trying to let them get themselves out.” Hudson’s performance included 10 strikeouts and was a far cry from his April 27 outing in Columbus during which he allowed eight hits and nine runs without recording an out in the second inning. Toledo, however, didn’t do much against Hudson; the Hens never got a runner to third base and were 0-for-7 when batting with a runner in scoring position.“We had six hits, and one guy — Will Rhymes — had three of them,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “We had a guy on second base a few times, but we never had a thought about sending a guy [home], that’s for sure.” More...
  17. Threat of getting hit by ball always present BLADE STAFF It's sad but true: getting hit by a baseball is a part of the game. Among those whose careers were tragically altered after getting hit by the five-ounce horsehide was Ray Chapman, who died after being hit by a pitch in 1920, as well as Herb Score and Tony Conigliaro. But the possibility of injury became more real to Mud Hens fans when pitcher Ruddy Lugo was struck by a line drive off the bat of Jason Donald of Columbus on April 23. Think that shot was a once-in-a-lifetime chance? The next night, Clippers catcher Carlos Santana slammed a liner right back at Hens starter Phil Dumatrait. "Luckily, I saw it at the last minute and caught it, or it would have hit me right in the face," Dumatrait admitted. "It definitely was scary because you're not very far away [from the batter] and it's coming at you a lot harder than you threw it. "It shakes you up a little bit, but you try not to let it affect you." Dumatrait said players have to put the potential for injury out of their minds. "Things like that can happen," Dumatrait said. "If you leave a ball over the plate they can hit it at you, but you can make a good pitch they can hit it at you too. "You just have to stay within yourself and not let that get to you." There's also a potential for hitters to get hit by pitches. On Thursday, for example, Syracuse southpaw Atahualpa Severino threw an 0-2 fastball that hit left-handed hitting Deik Scram in the helmet. "The pitch started out inside, and I couldn't tell if it was a fastball or a slider," Scram said. "It stayed straight, so I tried to get out of the way. "I flinched at the last minute, and I was lucky that it deflected off my helmet." Mud Hens equipment manager Joe Sarkisian said that batters this year are using a different, more padded helmet than in years past. Old batting helmets are padded only where the brow touches the batter's head; newer gear has a hard padding inside the shell of the entire helmet. Still, Scram said batters have to forget about the potential for injury. "You want to feel comfortable at the plate," Scram said. "If you go up there thinking about being hit and stuff, you can't get comfortable. "You know you [can get hit], so you have to trust your reactions to get out of the way. You can't worry about it." TWO OF A KIND: It's not common for two players on the same Triple-A team to come from the same college or from the same high school. But it's extremely rare for teammates to come from the same high school and college. And yet Mud Hens Will Rhymes and Ben Guez graduated from the same high school - Lamar High School in Houston - and attended the same college - William & Mary. Curiously, the 27-year-old Rhymes and the 23-year-old Guez never were teammates until both came to Toledo this year. Neither is the first Hen to have come from Lamar High School, which also produced pitcher Kenny Baugh, who was a member of the 2005 Governors Cup champions. APRIL NUMBERS: Several Mud Hens were unhappy to see the month of April come to an end. One of those was 2B Will Rhymes, who during the month hit .345 with 29 base hits, the most in the International League. Two others are RHPs Alfredo Figaro and Armando Galarraga, who rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the IL in ERA with marks of 1.99 and 2.30. Both also tied for second in the league with three wins in April. Among those who were happy to see the month end was OF Clete Thomas, who hit just .150 in 12 games and missed time with a hamstring injury. THREE-DOT DATA: One familiar face on the Charlotte roster is RHP Freddy Dolsi, who pitched for the Hens in each of the past two seasons. … The public address announcer for yesterday's games was Andrew Z from 92.5 FM. - John Wagner More...
  18. Larish hot, but Hens not By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER The Mud Hens' Jeff Larish used a simple batting mantra to collect four hits Saturday night. Larish used the philosophy, "see ball, hit ball" to pound out three singles and a home run in the Hens' 7-5 loss to Charlotte at Fifth Third Field. "I just cleared my head," Larish said of his hitting approach. "I didn't think about what pitch was coming, or my mechanics or any of that stuff. It was really that simple." Larish singled and scored in the second, had an RBI single in the fourth, then rapped a single that loaded the bases in the fifth. With two outs in the seventh he hammered the first pitch he saw from Knights reliever Scott Elarton over the fence in left-center for his fourth homer of the year. "First pitch, he threw a fastball middle-away," Larish said of the home-run swing. "I was able to square the ball up. "When I'm successful, I'm not thinking about what pitch is coming or where I'm hitting the ball. I'm just seeing the ball and reacting to it." Larish entered the game hitless in his last seven at-bats and with a .211 batting average for the month of April. So the left-handed hitting first baseman did his best to set aside his recent struggles at the plate. "As tough as that is to do, you want to [clear your mind] every day," Larish said after raising his season's batting average to .250 with his 4-for-5 night. "You've got to have a short memory in this game. You have to come ready to play every day and forget what happened the day before." As a team, the Hens probably will do their best to forget about last night's game, which saw the Knights strike for four runs in the first inning off Toledo starter Enrique Gonzalez. A double by Jordan Danks brought home run one, and Stefan Gartrell hammered a three-run homer off the bricks supporting the left-field scoreboard for the others. The Hens got one run back in the second on an RBI groundout by Danny Worth, but Charlotte countered with a two-run homer by C.J. Retherford off Gonzalez in the fourth. "Gonzo just wasn't sharp," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said of his starter. "He wasn't commanding the ball at all. He was up in the strike zone, and a couple of balls that were hit hard were hanging breaking balls." Toledo got a run in the fourth on a single by Larish and Casper Wells' single in the fifth plated another run for the Hens. But the Hens squandered a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the fifth when Jeff Frazier grounded into a double play. Then in the top of the sixth, a bases-loaded walk to Danks by reliever Jason Waddell - one of two the southpaw surrendered to left-handed hitters in his brief outing - gave the Knights another run. "Waddy just didn't go after guys, and that gave them a run they shouldn't have had," Parrish said. "That was one of the turning points in the game. "The other was in the fifth when we had the bases loaded and they got the double-play ball. "We swung the bats better - Larish swung the bat well. He started stinging the ball, which we needed because we need him to hit to be successful. "But we haven't mixed-and-matched well recently. When we've hit, like in this game, we haven't pitched well. And when we pitched well, like we did Friday, we haven't hit." NOTES: Will Rhymes saw an eight-game hit streak end with an 0-for-5 night. … Deik Scram had collected at least one hit in each of his first six games with the Hens before going hitless in four at-bats last night. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
  19. Mud Hens fall to Charlotte By JOHN WAGNERBlade Sports Writer The Mud Hens’ Jeff Larish used a simple batting mantra to collect four hits last night. Larish used the philosophy, “see ball, hit ball” to pound out three singles and a home run in the Hens’ 7-5 loss to Charlotte at Fifth Third Field.“I just cleared my head,” Larish said of his hitting approach. “I didn’t think about what pitch was coming, or my mechanics or any of that stuff. It was really that simple.”Larish singled and scored in the second, had an RBI single in the fourth, then rapped a single that loaded the bases in the fifth. With two outs in the seventh he hammered the first pitch he saw from Knights reliever Scott Elarton over the fence in left-center for his fourth homer of the year.Larish entered the game hitless in his last seven at-bats and with a .211 batting average for the month of April. So the left-handed hitting first baseman did his best to set aside his recent struggles at the plate. As a team, the Hens probably will do their best to forget about last night’s game, which saw the Knights strike for four runs in the first inning off Toledo starter Enrique Gonzalez. A double by Jordan Danks brought home run one, and Stefan Gartrell hammered a three-run homer off the bricks supporting the left-field scoreboard for the others.The Hens got one run back in the second on an RBI groundout by Danny Worth, but Charlotte countered with a two-run homer by C.J. Retherford off Gonzalez in the fourth.“Gonzo just wasn’t sharp,” Toledo manager Larry Parrish said of his starter. “He wasn’t commanding the ball at all. He was up in the strike zone, and a couple of balls that were hit hard were hanging breaking balls.” More...
  20. Mud Hens manager reaches milestone By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER There was no cake, no fireworks, no signs of a celebration at Fifth Third Field last night. And there were no presents for Larry Parrish in his 1,000th game as Mud Hens manager as Toledo suffered a 2-1 loss to Syracuse in front of a sellout crowd of 10,300. Parrish said he didn't remember his first game as skipper of the Hens. That game took place in early May of 1994 when, as Detroit's roving hitting instructor, he took over after then-manager Joe Sparks quit. "I have no idea; should I remember it?" he said yesterday. "I only had clothes with me to stay for a couple of days." But there have been a lot of good memories between then and now, including Governors' Cup titles in 2005 and '06. "There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and this is leaps and bounds better," Parrish said. "The first time we were in the old ballpark, which was a terrible stadium and baseball field. "There are a lot of good vibes here: it's a great place to play, and you couldn't find a better place to manage than right here." Parrish ranks second on the all-time list of Toledo games managed behind Cal Ermer, who led the Hens in 1,115 games from 1978-85. Parrish's 512 victories with the Hens is second only to Ermer's total of 540. Last night Parrish got to manage a pitcher's duel between the Chiefs' Andrew Kown and Toledo's Armando Galarraga. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Syracuse scored a pair of two-out runs that essentially decided the game. With no one on base, Galarraga gave up back-to-back singles to Carlos Maldonado and Eric Bruntlett. Pete Orr then lined a 1-0 pitch into the right-field corner; Maldonado scored easily, while Bruntlett also made it home on a close play at the plate. "[Galarraga] did a great job, but they got to him quickly at the end," Parrish said. "He dropped down sidearm, and Maldonado still got a hit. "Then [bruntlett] hit a liner and [Orr] hit a liner, and that was it." The ball actually arrived at home before Bruntlett, but catcher Mike Rabelo caught the ball well in front of the plate, allowing Bruntlett to slide away from the tag with what proved to be the winning run. "The ump said the guy got his hand in there," said Parrish, who went out to discuss the call with home-plate ump Manny Gonzalez." Galarraga finished with just eight hits allowed in seven innings and collected eight strikeouts, a season-high for a Toledo pitcher. But he was saddled with the loss, and the Hens managed just eight hits and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position to strand seven baserunners. "Guys on both sides pitched well," Parrish said. "We had a bunch of chances, but we just couldn't get a hit." Toledo avoided its first shutout loss this season when Brent Dlugach slammed his first home run of the year with two outs in the ninth. "I told Dlugach, 'If the first two guys get on base, you'll bunt them over. If they don't get on, hit a homer,'" Parrish said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get a guy on base in front of him." But that hit alone wasn't enough to give the Hens a win in Parrish's milestone contest. "This was a good ball game," Parrish said. "But you'd rather win ugly than lose pretty." NOTES: Parrish did receive a gift of sorts from Detroit's roving staff as Kevin Bradshaw relieved the Hens' skipper of coaching duties at third base. Besides Bradshaw, the Tigers' roving infield coordinator, other minor-league instructors at the game were outfield/baserunning coordinator Gene Roof, pitching coordinator Jon Matlack and field coordinator Mike Rojas. Roof (1997-99) and Rojas (2007) both are former Toledo managers. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
  21. Mud Hens fall in Parrish's 1,000th game By JOHN WAGNER Blade Sports Writer There was no cake, no fireworks, no signs of a celebration at Fifth Third Field last night. And there were no presents for Larry Parrish in his 1,000th game as Mud Hens manager as Toledo suffered a 2-1 loss to Syracuse in front of a sellout crowd of 10,300. Parrish said he didn’t remember his first game as skipper of the Hens. That game took place in early May of 1994 when, as Detroit’s roving hitting instructor, he took over after then-manager Joe Sparks quit. “I have no idea; should I remember it?” he said yesterday. “I only had clothes with me to stay for a couple of days.” But there have been a lot of good memories between then and now, including Governors’ Cup titles in 2005 and ‘06. “There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and this is leaps and bounds better,” Parrish said. “The first time we were in the old ballpark, which was a terrible stadium and baseball field. “There are a lot of good vibes here: it’s a great place to play, and you couldn’t find a better place to manage than right here.” Parrish ranks second on the all-time list of Toledo games managed behind Cal Ermer, who led the Hens in 1,115 games from 1978-85. Parrish’s 512 victories here is second only to Ermer’s total of 540. Last night Parrish got to manage a pitcher’s duel between the Chiefs’ Andrew Kown and Toledo’s Armando Galarraga. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Syracuse scored a pair of two-out runs that essentially decided the game. More...
  22. Mud Hens walk away with win By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER The Mud Hens claimed their first walk-off win of the season last night. Literally. Toledo got a bases-loaded walk from Jeff Larish that scored pinch-runner Ben Guez with the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Syracuse at Fifth Third Field. But that run was just the final play in an inning full of decisions for Toledo manager Larry Parrish. The wheels began turning in the top of the ninth when Seth Bynum drew a walk from Hens reliever Jay Sborz, who then wild pitched Bynum to reach second. Will Rhymes' diving stop on Chris Duncan's grounder up the middle proved important when it forced Bynum to stay at third, but it put runners on first and third with none out for the Chiefs. "You've got the double steal that's possible, you've got a squeeze [bunt] that's possible - there are a lot of possibilities there," Parrish said. "We wanted to be aware of those things, and I let them know where I wanted them to throw the ball." While Sborz struck out the batter, Devin Ivany, Duncan took off for second. The Hens failed to execute a rundown, allowing Duncan to reach second while Bynum stayed at third. "[second baseman] Danny [Worth] needed to run [Duncan] all the way back to first base," Parrish said. "He's either out or safe on that play; but when Danny threw to the first baseman early, it allowed them to try for home. "Larish did a good job of throwing home, but [catcher Robinzon] Diaz didn't get a handle on the ball and Bynum got back to third." With the double play gone, Parrish decided to walk Eric Bruntlett and have Sborz face Mike Morse with the bases loaded. Sborz got Morse to pop out, then coax Kevin Mench to ground out. In the bottom of the ninth, the Hens got the leadoff man on base when Diaz blooped a double down the right-field line and Syracuse walked Rhymes intentionally to set up the double play. That brought Worth to the plate with two on and none out. "You've got a situation there when I was thinking that they were looking for him to bunt, and if we bunt they're going to walk [Casper] Wells to set up a double play," Parrish said. "Danny has been swinging the bat well, so I thought we'd give him a shot." Worth took a ball before swinging and missing a pitch from reliever Josh Wilkie. Worth then fouled off a bunt before taking a called third strike. The Hens got a break when the next batter, Wells, hit a grounder that Chiefs third baseman Chase Lambin booted for an error. "I had to laugh, because this was the scenario we were expecting if Worth bunts anyway - bases loaded, one out, Larish at the plate," Parrish said. Larish took three straight balls, then a pair of strikes before Wilkie missed with the game-ending pitch. The game was just as tight leading up to the ninth. The Hens took an early lead with a run in the second inning as Jeff Frazier and Deik Scram hit back-to-back doubles. Syracuse tied the game in the third on a bases-loaded fielder's choice by Josh Whitesell - the Hens just missed turning an inning-ending double play when starting pitcher Phil Dumatrait's foot came off the bag at first while taking a throw to complete the twin-killing. The Chiefs took the lead in the sixth when Pete Orr was hit by a pitch then raced around the bases on Bynum's double. But the Hens retied the game in the eighth when Wells walked, moved to second on a sacrifice by Larish, then raced to the plate on a Frazier single to set up the ninth-inning drama. "Any time you get out of a jam, then win it late, it should pump you up," Parrish said. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481. More...
  23. Hens walk away with victory By JOHN WAGNER Blade Sports Writer The Mud Hens claimed their first walk-off win of the season last night. Literally. Toledo got a bases-loaded walk from Jeff Larish that scored pinch-runner Ben Guez with the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Syracuse at Fifth Third Field. But that ninth-inning run was just the final play in an inning full of decisions for Toledo manager Larry Parrish. The wheels began turning in the top of the ninth of a tie contest when Seth Bynum drew a walk from Hens reliever Jay Sborz, who then wild pitched Bynum to reach second. Will Rhymes’ diving stop on Chris Duncan’s grounder up the middle proved important when it forced Bynum to stay at third, but it put runners on first and third with none out for the Chiefs. “You’ve got the double steal that’s possible, you’ve got a squeeze [bunt] that’s possible – there are a lot of possibilities there,” Parrish said. “We wanted to be aware of those things, and I let them know where I wanted them to throw the ball.” While Sborz struck out the batter, Devin Ivany, Duncan took off for second. The Hens failed to execute a rundown, allowing Duncan to reach second while Bynum stayed at third. “[second baseman] Danny [Worth] needed to run [Duncan] all the way back to first base,” Parrish said. “He’s either out or safe on that play; but when Danny threw to the first baseman early, it allowed them to try for home. “Larish did a good job of throwing home, but [catcher Robinzon] Diaz didn’t get a handle on the ball and Bynum got back to third.” With the double play gone, Parrish decided to walk Eric Bruntlett and have Sborz face Mike Morse with the bases loaded. Sborz got Morse to pop out, then coax Kevin Mench to ground out. “We dodged a bullet there,” Parrish admitted. In the bottom of the ninth the Hens got the leadoff man on base when Diaz blooped a double down the right-field line and Syracuse walked Rhymes intentionally to set up the double play. That brought Worth to the plate with two on and none out. “You’ve got a situation there when I was thinking that they were looking for him to bunt, and if we bunt they’re going to walk [Casper] Wells to set up a double play,” Parrish said. “Danny has been swinging the bat well, so I thought we’d give him a shot.” Worth took a ball before swinging and missing a pitch from reliever Josh Wilkie. Worth then fouled off a bunt before taking a called third strike. The Hens got a break when the next batter, Wells, hit a grounder that Chiefs third baseman Chase Lambin booted for an error. “I had to laugh, because this was the scenario we were expecting if Worth bunts anyway – bases loaded, one out, Larish at the plate,” Parrish said. Larish took three straight balls, then a pair of strikes before Wilkie missed with the game-ending pitch. More...
  24. Mud Hens to honor Gilhooley on May 16 BLADE NEWS SERVICES The Mud Hens are pleased to announce that May 16 will be "Frank Gilhooley Day" at Fifth Third Field as the Hens take on the Indianapolis Indians at 2:10 pm. The team will be holding a special pregame on-field ceremony from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. to pay tribute to Gilhooley's distinguished broadcasting career in Toledo. Special guests and local media celebrities will be at the park to share stories and celebrate with Gilhooley. Gilhooley has more than 50 years of experience in television and radio and has been a part of the Hens radio broadcasts since 1987. More...
  25. Chiefs trip up Mud Hens with help from Lambin By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER Syracuse third baseman Chase Lambin would like a do-over on his at-bat in the sixth inning of his team's 5-3 win over the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field last night. "[Toledo reliever Josh Rainwater] just got in on me," Lambin said of that at-bat. "I had him as a sinkerballer - I didn't know he threw 94 [miles per hour]. He threw 94 on my hands, and that surprised me. "I wish I could have fouled the ball off and gotten another pitch." In that at-bat Lambin hit an easy roller to second for an out - the only time Hens pitchers retired him. Lambin hit a towering home run in the second, then just missed hitting a second homer when he doubled high off the wall in left-center in the fourth. He completed his 3-for-4 night by collecting a two-out RBI single in the eighth, leaving him only a triple short of the cycle. "When you're swinging the bat well, you can hit good pitches," Lambin said. "It was just one of those days where everything looked good to hit. "I stayed on a changeup down for the home run, and then I got a fastball that was down and hit it hard [for a double]. "Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it doesn't. You just hope to have more games like this." Last season the 30-year-old Lambin played in Japan, hitting .192 in 58 games for the Chiba Lotte Marines. Lambin has hit .349 in his first 17 games with the Chiefs this season and ranks among the International League leaders with his five home runs and 14 RBIs. But Lambin hopes to use more than his bat to reach the majors. "I can play all of the infield positions, and I can play in the outfield," he said. "I can switch-hit, and I have power from both sides [of the plate]. I'm not a burner, but I run the bases well. "I'm not going to blow you away, but the fact that I can play so many positions and have some power at the plate sounds pretty good to me." Things looked pretty good for the Mud Hens early as they got singles by Will Rhymes and Jeff Frazier to set up a three-run line-drive homer by Casper Wells, giving them a 3-0 lead just four batters into the game. But from that point on Toledo had just two hits and four baserunners total off Syracuse starter Chuck James and relievers Doug Slaten, Atahualpa Severino, and Joel Peralta. "We just never got anything going [after the first]," Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "But give the other team credit for pitching pretty good. And we have a lot of left-handers in our lineup who haven't gotten it going against left-handers." James, Slaten, and Severino are southpaws. Lambin's home run got the Chiefs rally started, and in the third inning a two-out throwing error by shortstop Brent Dlugach allowed Syracuse shortstop Eric Bruntlett to reach second base, where he scored an unearned run on a soft single by Mike Morse. In the fourth a double by Lambin and a sacrifice fly by Seth Bynum - which followed an infield hit by Pete Orr on a play where Toledo starter Ryan Ketchner was late covering first - tied the contest. If the Hens get the out on Orr, Bynum's sacrifice fly turns into an inning-ending flyout. "Defensively, we let them get back into the game," Parrish said. "When we let the runner go to second, that allowed him to score on a squib hit - and I'm not sure how we let that squib hit get through the infield without us getting close to the ball. "In the next inning, Ketch[ner] didn't cover first base, and that let them keep the inning going. In a close game, those are the plays we have to make." In the sixth, Syracuse took the lead for good when Josh Whitesell hammered a home run to left, and the Chiefs added an insurance run in the eighth on Lambin's RBI single. Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.comor 419-724-6481. More...
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