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2009 Erie Seawolves Diary

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Erie SeaWolves roster

Published: April 05. 2009 12:01AM


Player B T HT WT Age Resides

Brooks Brown L R 6-3 210 23 Statesboro, Ga.

Alfredo Figaro R R 6-0 173 24 Samana, Dominican Republic

Ramon Garcia L L 6-2 165 24 Yamasa, Dominican Republic

Brett Jensen R R 6-7 190 25 Eagle Grove, Iowa

Jon Kibler L L 6-4 215 22 Freeland, Md.

Josh Kite L L 6-2 190 27 Greenville, Tenn.

Luis Marte R R 5-11 170 22 San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

Jonah Nickerson R R 6-1 200 24 Sherwood, Ore.

Josh Rainwater R R 6-2 220 23 Deridder, La.

Cody Satterwhite R R 6-4 205 22 Byram, Miss.

Zach Simons L R 6-3 200 23 Glenns Ferry, Idaho

Brendan Wise L R 6-2 190 23 Perth, Australia


Alex Avila L R 5-11 210 22 Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Max St. Pierre R R 6-0 175 28 Albuquerque, N.M.


Santo De Leon R R 6-2 175 25 Azua, Dominican Republic

Michael Hollimon S R 6-1 185 26 Dallas, Texas

Cale Iorg R R 6-2 182 23 Knoxville, Tenn.

Max Leon S R 5-11 190 24 Senora, Mexico

Scott Sizemore R R 6-0 185 24 Chesapeake, Va.

Ryan Strieby R R 6-5 235 23 Brier, Wash.


Brennan Boesch L L 6-6 210 23 Santa Monica, Calif.

Jeff Frazier R R 6-3 195 26 Point Pleasant, N.J.

Deik Scram L R 6-2 180 25 Arkansas City, Kan.

Casper Wells R R 6-2 210 24 Schenectady, N.Y.

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SeaWolves shortstop Iorg has new mission in baseball


john.dudley@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 08. 2009 12:01AM

Cale Iorg didn't have to go to Portugal.

The only one pushing Iorg, a 19-year-old with a college baseball scholarship and professional prospects, to drop everything in 2005 and go to Lisbon for two years to spread the Mormon faith was, well, Iorg.

"They don't force you to do anything," Iorg said of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "But from the time you're a child, you learn the importance of helping other people. It's something that's expected of you."

Iorg knows something about expectations.

His father, Garth, played nine seasons as an infielder with the Toronto Blue Jays. His uncle, Dane, was a first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies and spent 10 years in the big leagues.

Cale Iorg's bloodlines marked him as a future major league prospect almost from birth.

Now he begins his first Class AA season with the Erie SeaWolves as the Detroit Tigers' shortstop-in-waiting.

Tigers president Dave Dombrowski already has predicted Iorg will become a big league all-star.

Manager Jim Leyland, typically guarded in his assessment of young players, heaped praise on Iorg this spring.

"He's a great athlete, a great fielder and he has juice in his bat," Leyland said. "Yeah, he's good. He's what you classify as the upper-echelon of prospects. I think he'll be a major league shortstop."

Despite that talent, Iorg didn't waver when it came time to decide on whether to pursue a mission following his freshman season at the University of Alabama, even though it meant he would barely pick up a baseball for two years.

And even though it meant he wouldn't see his then-girlfriend and now wife, Kristin Edwards, at all, and could make phone calls home only twice a year.

"Going there on the mission was the two best years of my life," Iorg said. "Baseball was never a factor. I never worried at all about not playing again. I knew baseball would always be there."

And it was.

Days before he returned home from Portugal in June 2007, the Tigers selected Iorg in the sixth round of baseball's amateur draft and promptly cut him a $1.5 million check, enough to dissuade him from accepting a scholarship to continue his college career at Arizona State University.

His ascension has been swift.

Iorg was a Florida State all-star last season and now, at age 23, is close enough to the big leagues that the Tigers saw fit to sit out the bidding for a marquee free-agent shortstop last winter, opting instead to sign veteran Adam Everett to a one-year contract.

The thinking is that Iorg, at 6 feet 2 inches and 185 pounds and with five-tool ability, could compete for a major league job as early as next spring.

"He's got big-league ability written all over him," SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "He can make the backhand play, he goes to the hole, he has a strong arm, he can run, he can hit and he can hit for power. The only thing he needs is playing time."

Iorg, who hit .251 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs last year at Class A Lakeland, will get it this season at a level where prospects typically separate themselves.

"I've always heard that Double-A is kind of like a proving ground," Iorg said. "I want to prove myself in this league."


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Walbeck's career path takes a Curve

'Wolves' ex-manager now leads Altoona


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 08. 2009 12:01AM


Erie SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck on opening day Monday, April 9, 2007, at Jerry Uht Park.

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Matt Walbeck thought he was on the fast track to a lengthy coaching career in the major leagues when he landed a job coaching third base with the Texas Rangers last season.

At the end of the 2008 season, the Rangers opted not to renew his contract. That left the 39-year-old California native, who managed the Erie SeaWolves in 2007, looking for work for the first time in 22 years.

"It was a very humbling experience,'' Walbeck said. "I never expected that there wouldn't be some baseball job available. I just wanted to remain in the game, but I wasn't getting any offers and I was starting to get a little nervous.''

His fears were allayed in November, when a phone call to the Pittsburgh Pirates paid off. He landed a job with the organization that month.

In December, the Bucs assigned him to manage the Altoona Curve, their Double-A Eastern League affiliate. Today, Walbeck makes his Erie return when the SeaWolves are scheduled to play host to the Curve at 6:35 p.m. at Jerry Uht Park in the season opener for both teams.

"I have a lot of fond memories of being here,'' Walbeck said of his season with Erie two years ago. "I developed some good relationships with a lot of people. To think I'm going back to Erie, I kind of have a smile thinking about that.''

It wouldn't be surprising if Walbeck were to receive a warm ovation from SeaWolves fans in pre-game introductions.

Baseball America selected Walbeck its 2007 minor league manager of the year after he guided the SeaWolves to an 81-59 record, a Southern Division regular-season championship and the team's first appearance in the Eastern League playoffs since 2004. Walbeck, a former major leaguer, inherited an Erie team coming off back-to-back last-place finishes.

"To take that team and turn it around from the year before, it was just a great year,'' Walbeck said. "The players were phenomenal. I'm looking forward to seeing (SeaWolves manager) Tom Brookens and (pitching coach) Ray Burris; I don't know if any of the players I had there are still there.''

Just one -- third baseman Michael Hollimon.

"I've sent a couple text messages to Matt back and forth, and I have the utmost respect for that guy,'' Hollimon said. "I love him to death. He was a great manager and he'll always be a great manager, mentor and person. I think he has respect for me and it's going to be fun playing against him (today) and this season.''

Before he came to Erie, Walbeck managed from 2004-06 at West Michigan, the Detroit Tigers' low-A Midwest League affiliate. Walbeck's 2004 and 2006 teams won Midwest League championships.

He was named the Midwest League manager of the year in 2006 and the Eastern League manager of the year in 2007.

Texas general manager Jon Daniels hired Walbeck as the club's third-base coach in November 2007. His duties included instructing catchers and coordinating spring training activities.

After last season, Texas manager Ron Washington informed Walbeck he wanted his own people on his staff.

"It was an amicable split, and there were no hard feelings,'' Walbeck said.

Walbeck was hoping that when he got back in baseball, it would be in a managerial position. He has always believed that managing is his niche because "motivating and getting the most out of people around me is what I'm best at.''

When the Pirates hired Walbeck, they told him he would be managing this season either at Class A Lynchburg, Altoona or Triple-A Indianapolis. Altoona, he said, is a great fit.

"It's a good opportunity to retrace some of my footsteps I laid in 2007,'' Walbeck said. "I have some familiarity with this league, and I think it will be good for my development. The bottom line is I'm here to do the best I can and to develop players to the best of my ability.''


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So after tonight's game, Ryan Strieby is on pace to hit 280 homeruns this year. Think he can do it?

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Yes as long as he stays healthy he can do it. I just re read all the papers form last year. Ryan was mentioned in almost all the articles.

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Yes as long as he stays healthy he can do it. I just re read all the papers form last year. Ryan was mentioned in almost all the articles.
Wait till his hand gets better........I do hope he can get 30+ this year.

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SeaWolves win season opener


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 09. 2009 12:01AM


Erie Seawolves Ryan Strieby connects on a high fast ball for a home run in the 4th inning in the home opener against Altoona at Jerry Uht Park on April 8.

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VIDEO: Watch the sights and sounds from opening night, plus comments from the ground crews as they prepare for the home opener click here.

BLOG: Get the latest SeaWolves news on the Extra Innings blog, click here.

Don't label Ryan Strieby an all-or-nothing power hitter.

With Class A Lakeland last season, the 6-foot 5-inch, 235-pound slugger exhibited a fluid swing, power to all fields, an ability to hit the other way and a sound two-strike approach at the plate.

And despite missing the final 19 games of the regular season after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand, he led the Florida State League with 29 homers and 94 RBIs in a pitcher-friendly league dominated by big ballparks.

In his Double-A debut with the SeaWolves on Wednesday, Strieby made an immediate impact, belting a pair of homers and driving in four runs in Erie's 8-7 season-opening win over the Altoona Curve before 3,573 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

"I don't like to think of myself as an all-or-nothing hitter,'' said Strieby, the Detroit Tigers' 2008 minor league player of the year. "I try to be a complete hitter and try not have that many holes in my swing.''

Strieby, 23, a Seattle native, led off the fourth inning with a homer off Tullio Arena in left field. With Erie trailing 7-5 in the seventh, he jumped on a 2-0 fastball and drilled a two-out, three-run homer to left-center off Altoona right-hander Lincoln Holdzkom.

"He's not one of them guys who's going to hit it over the fence or strike out 150 times,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "When he gets two strikes on him, he'll work the ball the other way for a single to right field. He's got a nice swing and a good approach up there.''

Strieby's winning homer carried on a line over the wall in left-center and followed a pair of Altoona fielding errors that kept the inning alive.

When he got into town on Monday, Strieby said he did a double-take the first time he surveyed the hitter-friendly dimensions at Uht Park, especially the short porch in left and left-center.

"I was definitely liking it,'' Strieby said with laugh. "I didn't know if it was real or a joke. After spending the last three years in big-time pitchers' ballparks, it's nice to be in a park like this.''

The Tigers drafted Strieby in the fourth round in 2006, shortly after he was named the Southeastern Conference player of the year in his only season at Kentucky after playing two seasons at Edmonds (Wash.) Community College.

Strieby spent his first pro season in 2006 with short-season Oneonta and had a solid 2007 season at low Class A West Michigan, finishing with 16 homers, 76 RBIs and a .253 average in 123 games.

Last season, Strieby blossomed into a Florida State League MVP candidate.

He credits a lot of his success to some mechanical changes with his stance and his approach at the plate.

"I opened my stance a little, which enabled me to see the ball better and to see off-speed pitches better,'' he said.

Strieby hit .251 in the first half of last season and .308 in the second half, and belted 19 homers during a 39-game stretch after July 1.

"It was just finding that consistency,'' Strieby said.

His 2008 season ended with three weeks left when he suffered his hamate injury.

"They said it's supposed to take six to nine weeks to come back from the surgery, and I rehabbed it pretty hard and took my time,'' Strieby said. "Over the offseason, it started to feel good. Once I got to spring training I injured it in the first couple of days and I ended up missing a lot of at-bats in spring training. I did end up playing in some games the last week of spring training. I was happy about that.''


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SeaWolves pitcher finds perspective after game


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 10. 2009 2:00AM


Erie Seawolves Ryan Strieby, left, and Max Leon celebrate at home plate after Leon hit a homerun agaisnst the Altoona Curve in the 2nd inning of their game at Jerry Uht Park on April 9.

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Erie SeaWolves starting left-hander Jon Kibler was in shock when he learned of the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart.

Adenhart was killed in a hit-and-run automobile accident early Thursday morning in Fullerton, Calif.

Both pitchers grew up in Maryland and are the same age (22).

Kibler became acquainted with Adenhart when they played against each other at a high school all-star game in 2004.

"My dad called me and told me about what happened,'' said Kibler, who made his Double-A debut with the SeaWolves on Thursday in Erie's 10-7 win over the Altoona Curve before 1,083 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Erie improved to 2-0.

Kibler, the Detroit Tigers' 2008 minor league pitcher of the year at low Class-A West Michigan, came away with a no-decision, working four innings.

He allowed three runs and four hits with three walks and no strikeouts.

After the game, Kibler, a Baltimore native, said Adenhart's death "really puts things in perspective for you.''

"I hadn't even known until about mid-day (Thursday),'' Kibler said. "It's just terrible. I got a chance to talk to him a few times, and he was a really nice guy. It's a sad, sad thing when something like that happens. He's so young. Something like that makes you appreciate everything you have.''

Adenhart died in surgery at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. Adenhart was a passenger in a Mitsubishi sedan that was broadsided in an intersection by a mini-van of a suspected drunk driver who apparently ran a red light. Adenhart was among four people in the sedan, three of whom died, including the driver.

Kibler and Adenhart were opponents in the Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game at Camden Yards in Baltimore in 2004.

Kibler enters his rookie season with the SeaWolves as one of the Tigers' top pitching prospects after an outstanding 2008 season in which he went 14-5 with a 1.75 ERA in 23 starts with West Michigan.

He struck out 126 and walked just 32 in just over 154 innings, earning selection to the Midwest League midseason and postseason all-star teams.

Detroit selected Kibler, who is 6 feet 4 inches and 215 pounds, in the 30th round of the 2007 draft.

"I didn't know I was going to make the double-jump to Erie this season,'' Kibler said. "It felt pretty good getting the (Tigers) award. I put in a lot of hard work last year."

After retiring the first two Curve hitters in the first inning, Kibler walked center fielder Jose Tabata, then served up a two-run homer to left fielder Jonel Pacheco, who went deep off the façade of Tullio Arena in left.

In the second inning, Kibler threw a wild pitch and was late covering first on a grounder to first, which led to another Curve run.

"After those first two hitters in the first, it seemed like he lost complete feel for his rhythm and he really struggled with his feel for his slider,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "He was spiking it in the ground and he just got out of rhythm. He didn't get the ball up in the zone too much, but I didn't feel he ever got comfortable out there. But that was just the first outing for him and there's a lot better to come.''

Kibler threw scoreless third and fourth innings. He threw 73 pitches and was on a 75- to 80-pitch count, Brookens said.

"You're going to have some jitters for that first start, but that's just something I have to work through,'' Kibler said. "I should have made that play at first base. That hurt me making a couple mistakes early on. Hopefully I can get that corrected and move on.''


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2B Sizemore arrives with a bang in Double-A


john.dudley@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 10. 2009 2:00AM

Scott Sizemore walked to the on-deck circle late in Thursday's 10-7 win over Altoona.

He quickly retreated to the dugout after realizing he had forgotten to put on a batting helmet.

Sizemore has done little else wrong with a bat in his hands through his first two Eastern League games.

After missing half of last season with a broken bone in his wrist, the SeaWolves second baseman is off to the sort of start the Detroit Tigers envisioned when he tore up the Arizona Fall League two years ago.

Sizemore ripped a pair of triples and drove in three runs in Wednesday's season opener.

He followed that with three more hits and a bases-loaded walk Thursday, giving him five RBIs in two games.

His short, compact swing and knack for making contact out of the leadoff spot appear perfectly suited to Jerry Uht Park, meaning he could be poised for a breakout season.

That would be welcome news for the Tigers, who envision him as a grinder in the mold of current major league second baseman Placido Polanco.

"He's just a little guy, but he really packs a punch," SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said of the 6 foot, 185-pound Sizemore. "Those line drives he hit out there for triples show he has the ability to drive the ball."

The Tigers selected Sizemore, 24, in the fifth round of the 2006 amateur draft out of Virginia Commonwealth, and he began to deliver right away.

He batted .327 with short-season Oneonta that season, then followed by hitting .265 with 33 doubles at low-A West Michigan in 2007.

That fall, Sizemore ripped Arizona Fall League pitching to the tune of a .356 average and played solid defense.

After moving up to high-A Lakeland last summer, he made the Florida State League's midseason all-star team before breaking the hamate bone in his left wrist on June 3 and missing the rest of the season.

The bone was slow to heal, and Sizemore reinjured the wrist during instructional league last fall.

"I thought it was okay, but when I tried it, it wasn't ready," Sizemore said. "I basically had to shut it back down. I didn't pick up a bat all winter after that."

Sizemore reported top the Tigers' spring training complex with the other rehab players in mid-January.

The wrist felt fine, but late in spring he injured a hamstring running out a ground ball and missed about a week.

He returned to play six innings in the SeaWolves' final spring game Saturday and pronounced himself 100 percent earlier this week.

He has gone about proving it so far.

Although Sizemore has been only a modest threat to run -- he stole 37 bases in his first three professional seasons -- he has shown his speed so far.

He legged out triples on a pair of drives to the wall in right-center on Wednesday and stole a base Thursday.

"He definitely has another gear," teammate Ryan Strieby said.

The Tigers don't have to push Sizemore even though Polanco is in the final year of a four-year contract he signed in 2006.

They have Will Rhymes, last year's everyday second baseman for the SeaWolves, at second base in Triple-A Toledo.

That will give Sizemore, a converted shortstop, more time to learn his new position. The Tigers put him in a program at the end of spring training last year to improve his footwork, and his range has improved.

He made two errors, though, during a three-run Altoona seventh Wednesday, a sign he still is getting comfortable on the other side ofthe infield.

"I'm just trying to work hard and get better in every part of the game," Sizemore said. "No one is going to put more pressure on me than I put on myself."

So far, he's handling it just fine.


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Curious fact worth mentioning: Erie has won their first 2 games, averaging 9 runs per game, with their 2,3,and 4 hitters (Iorg, Boesch, and Wells) going hitless on the season.

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That is pretty interesting. I'm curious how Brookens arrived at the conclusion to bat Boesch 3rd with all of the firepower in that lineup.

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SeaWolves sweep Curve


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 12. 2009 1:15AM


Altoona's Brian Friday tries to disrupt a double play thrown by Seawolves second baseman Scott Sizemore in the eighth inning April 11. Sizemore was successful in making the double-play. ROB ENGELHARDT/ ERIE TIMES-NEWS

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Altoona 6th: Left-hander Ramon Garcia pitching. Pacheco line-drive single to center with one out. With Lopez hitting, Pacheco to second on balk. With Lopez hitting, Pacheco to third on wild pitch. Lopez sacrifice fly to center, Pacheco scored. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left. Curve 1, 
SeaWolves 0.

Erie 6th: Right-hander Jeff Seus pitching. Boesch line-drive double to left-center. Strieby line-drive double to center, Boesch scored. Leon sacrifice bunt, reached first on throwing error on pitcher, Strieby to third. Frazier sacrifice fly to right, Strieby scored, Leon to second on throw home. 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 2 left. SeaWolves 2, Curve 1.

Asked how excited he is about the SeaWolves' 4-0 start, rookie first baseman Ryan Strieby opted for humor after Saturday afternoon's 2-1 win over the Altoona Curve at Jerry Uht Park.

"You can't go 142-0 if you don't sweep the first series,'' Strieby said with a smile before quickly adding, "Just kidding.''

The SeaWolves completed a season-opening, four-game sweep of the Curve.

In the series' last two games, including a 2-0 win Friday, the SeaWolves benefitted from good starting pitching, solid bullpen work and strong defense.

In Saturday's win, Strieby drove in the tying run during a two-run sixth inning and scored the winning run on left fielder Jeff Frazier's sacrifice fly to right. Strieby went 6-for-14 in the series with two homers and six RBIs.

"To take the first four, that's more than you can ask for, but we've played good ball,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "The first night (an 8-7 win), we didn't play too well, but after that, we've played pretty consistent baseball.''

SeaWolves relievers Ramon Garcia, Brendan Wise and Cody Satterwhite held the Curve (0-4) to one run and three hits over the final four innings Saturday.

In the ninth, Satterwhite earned his first save after working out of a jam with the help of an outstanding defensive play by third baseman Michael Hollimon.

Satterwhite, a hard-throwing right-hander, gave up a leadoff single to Curve left fielder Jonel Pacheco, then walked designated hitter Pedro Lopez.

Curve first baseman Jamie Romak, attempting to advance both runners, laid down a bunt halfway between home and the mound.

Satterwhite fielded the ball cleanly and fired a low throw to third that was wide of the bag.

Hollimon, stretching out in foul territory as he kept his foot on the base, managed to make a backhanded snag on a short-hop to force Pacheco at third.

"Cody jumped off the mound quickly and I just retreated to the bag and kind of did my job,'' Hollimon said. "I tried to make myself as big a target as I could. I couldn't tell you what happened. I closed my eyes and it found my glove.''

During the final week of spring training, the Tigers told Hollimon they wanted him to move to third base after playing mostly second base and some shortstop in his previous four professional seasons.

"If that ball gets by him, that's probably two runs in, at least one run for sure,'' Brookens said. "It was a great play. I know he came down here (Double-A) to learn to play third base, and he's showing me all the capabilities of being able to do that so far.''

Just as they had done in the three previous games in the series, the SeaWolves capitalized on a shaky Altoona bullpen after Curve starter Mike Crotta threw five scoreless innings. Erie scored its two runs in the sixth against right-handed reliever Jeff Sues.

Strieby's RBI double scored right fielder Brennan Boesch, who opened the inning with a double.

Erie starter Brooks Brown, a right-handed sinker/slider pitcher, hurled five scoreless innings, allowing four hits with three strikeouts and two walks. The Detroit Tigers acquired Brown in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 2 and assigned him to Erie.

"I felt pretty good and I probably got the best day to pitch in the series,'' Brown said. "Being new here, I wanted to get out there and get the first one out of the way and help the team as much as possible.''

Brown, 23, a former first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2006, had only one troublesome inning.

With runners at first and third and one out in the third, he struck out Curve second baseman Jim Negrych and retired center fielder Jose Tabata on a ground-ball force out.

"That was our first real look at him and he threw the ball well,'' Brookens said. "I thought he lost his feel a little bit for his breaking ball, but he showed me he can make some adjustments and come right back. He has a good, live fastball and, overall, pretty good control.''

The SeaWolves are off today. They continue their homestand Monday, playing host to Bowie at 6:35 p.m. in the opener of a three-game series.


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SeaWolves Notes

Published: April 12. 2009 3:48AM

▀ SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said 6-foot 5-inch, 235-pound first baseman Ryan Strieby will see some time in left field this season.

Strieby, the Detroit Tigers’ 2008 minor league player of the year, hit a pair of homers and drove in four runs in Wednesday’s season-opening 8-7 win over Altoona. His three-run homer in the seventh was the game-winner.

He added two hits and an RBI double in Thursday’s 10-7 win over the Curve and finished the four-game series 6-for-14 with two homers and six RBIs.

“He’s made adjustments at the plate since last year that have really changed him, from being back a little bit to getting through the ball a little bit better,’’ Brookens said. “The sky’s the limit for him right now, and he will see a little playing time in left field for us. That mainly is because of Miguel Cabrera at first with Detroit. If Strieby gets to the big leagues in a hurry, he may end up playing some left field up there.’’

Strieby led the Florida State League with 29 homers and 94 RBIs last season at advanced Class A Lakeland.

“I was surprised when I saw this spring that he was open in his stance because he wasn’t like that when I last saw him,’’ Brookens said. “He seems to get through the ball a little easier that way. Whatever works for you. I always say if guys can stand on their head and hit, then do it. He’s never been like that all or nothing guy anyway. He can put the bat on the ball.’’

▀ The SeaWolves are off today and will continue their season-opening seven-game homestand Monday, when they play host to the Bowie Baysox at 6:35 p.m. in the opener of a three-game series.

▀ Right-hander Casey Fien, who handled the closing role for Erie last season, picked up the win for Triple-A Toledo in Friday’s 4-2 win at Indianapolis. Fien threw two innings, striking out two, walking one and allowing one run.

▀ With Saturday’s 2-1 loss, Altoona has begun a season 0-4 for the first time in the franchise’s 11-year history.


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Nice to see Scram, Leon, Sizemore and Strieby all in the top 10 of the Eastern League batting leaders.

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Beat-up 'Wolves get swept at home


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 16. 2009 2:00AM

It began with a four-game winning streak, ended with three straight losses and, in between, saw three top players sidelined with injuries.

The SeaWolves' season-opening seven-game homestand featured a little bit of everything, but ended on a downer Wednesday with a 9-3 loss to the Bowie Baysox before a season-low crowd of 713 at Jerry Uht Park.

"It's been a pretty weird first seven days, I'm not going to lie,'' SeaWolves outfielder/designated hitter Jeff Frazier said. "It's the first team I've been on where three people have gone down in the first seven games, which is going to hurt our team a little bit.''

Erie reliever Brendan Wise, center fielder Casper Wells and third baseman Michael Hollimon all are currently sidelined with injuries they suffered on the homestand.

"All three of them are great guys, and it's been hard, but that's something as a team that we should be able to overcome,'' Frazier said.

Bowie swept the three-game series from the SeaWolves, who opened the season by winning all four games in a series against the Altoona Curve.

"Bowie came into this series ready to prove something and do something,'' SeaWolves reliever Josh Rainwater said. "I think we were competing, but not to what I think we're capable of.''

After collecting 18 runs in their first two games, the SeaWolves have scored three runs or less in their past five games.

In the Bowie series, it was more a matter of not getting any clutch hits with men on base. The SeaWolves squandered several good scoring chances in Monday's 2-1 loss to Bowie, stranding 11, and had 11 hits in Wednesday's game.

"It's timely hitting that's been kind of hurting us a bit,'' Frazier said. "We've had runners on and nobody has been able to come up with that key hit. It's early, but sooner or later, somebody is going to have to step up in that situation and drive that run in. But we're still happy to be 4-3.''

The Baysox trailed 2-1 in Wednesday's game when they roughed up Erie starter Jon Kibler in the fourth, scoring five runs on six hits and sending the Double-A rookie to his first loss.

Bowie sent nine hitters to the plate in the fourth. Baysox designated hitter Melvin Dorta tied the game at 2 on a sacrifice fly to right before catcher Adam Donachie doubled in two runs. Shortstop Robert Valido added a run-scoring triple and second baseman Paco Figueroa an RBI double to close the inning.

"Kibler was not sharp and they put the bat on the ball and we fell behind in the counts too much,'' Brookens said. "That club has some veteran players on it. They don't swing at a lot of bad pitches. They're pretty selective and they worked him (Kibler) over pretty good today.''

Bowie received a second consecutive solid outing from right-hander Jake Arrieta (1-0), who gave up one earned run and scattered seven hits over five innings. Arrieta showed good command with his fastball in earning his first Double-A win.

He led the advanced Single-A Carolina League in ERA last season, going 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA with Fredrick, and made one start for the U.S. Olympic Team, against China, at the Beijing Games.

Arrieta allowed RBI singles to Erie first baseman Ryan Strieby in the first inning and second baseman Scott Sizemore in the second.

Notes: Rainwater was ejected by home plate umpire John Conrad with one out in the seventh after hitting Bowie right fielder Ambiorix Concepcion in the head with a pitch. SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens argued the call and also was ejected. Rainwater, battling command issues, lasted just two-thirds of an inning. Concepcion was the third Bowie batter that Rainwater hit with a pitch.


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SeaWolves' trio out early with injuries

Wells goes on DL; Hollimon sits out with bruised knee


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 16. 2009 2:00AM


SeaWolves center fielder Casper Wells will miss the next couple of months after fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand in Monday's 2-1 home loss to Bowie.

Wells confirmed his injury Wednesday night after Erie's 9-3 home loss to Bowie. He said the hamate break was confirmed by a Tampa doctor who read Wells' MRI results Wednesday.

Wells said he will likely have surgery on his hand next week in Lakeland, Fla., home of the Detroit Tigers' spring training complex.

He said he will remain in Lakeland and begin the rehab process, which typically takes six to eight weeks.

Wells was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday.

"I'll get down there, get the surgery, rehab and come back healthy and ready to play,'' Wells said. "This is unfortunate, everything is done for a reason, and I'm optimistic about things to come. I'll come back and tear it up the second half.''

Wells suffered his injury Monday against Bowie when he swung at an outside pitch in the sixth inning. Wells left the game and underwent an MRI on Tuesday morning.

His spot on the roster will be filled by first baseman/outfielder Joe Tucker, who was assigned to Erie on Wednesday from advanced Single-A Lakeland. Tucker is expected to join the club today in Altoona, where the SeaWolves open a four-game series in the start of a seven-game road trip.

The club also announced Wednesday that third baseman Michael Hollimon will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a bruised left knee in Tuesday's 7-2 home loss to Bowie.

X-rays on Hollimon's knee were negative. His knee is sore and swollen, and he walked with a noticeable limp Wednesday.

"The bursa sacs exploded in my knee,'' Hollimon said. "It looks like a grapefruit. You can chalk it up to a bad bruise, a bad contusion. I don't know if there's any timeframe when I'm back. They say bad luck comes in threes, so I've had my shoulder problem, my finger injury and now this with my leg. I'm hoping the injuries are all done.''

SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said Hollimon will remain on the active roster.

"It's more of a swelling deal now, and he's day-to-day basically, and our plans aren't to get anybody in here at this point, so we'll let him go day-to-day and see how quickly he can get back,'' Brookens said.

Hollimon suffered his injury in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game at Jerry Uht Park when he collided with the grandstand railing down the left-field line as he attempted to catch a foul flyball.

"The way that the field is, the stands kind of angle back toward the field, so as I was going for it, I looked up, saw the ball and looked over and saw the fence,'' Hollimon said. "I drifted back and felt my feet hit the sand on the track. I guess I was at one of those angles where the fence was coming back on the field. I ran out of room and tried to slide, to catch it and stop beforehand. I basically just flew into it.''

Hollimon could not put any weight on his leg immediately after the injury and was carted off the field. He was treated in the clubhouse and taken to a hospital for X-rays.

"I hit with my entire body, but my left knee got the worst of it,'' Hollimon said. "There was a loud thud, and I think everything kind of connected at the same time. The X-rays were negative. I don't know about any ligaments, but the way that I hit, I don't think it should have had any factor on it. I'll be all right.''

Tucker was 2-for-8 in two games with Lakeland. Tucker, 25, in his fourth pro season, played nine games with the SeaWolves at the end of last season, batting .167 (3-for-18) with a homer and two RBIs.

He spent the bulk of last season at low Single-A West Michigan, finishing with three homers and 42 RBIs and a .286 average in 96 games.

"Tucker plays infield and outfield and just fills in around here and there,'' Brookens said.

In other personnel moves, right-handed reliever Jay Sborz joined the SeaWolves late Tuesday night from advanced Single-A Lakeland.

Sborz was assigned to replace Erie right-handed reliever Brendan Wise, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list Monday with shoulder stiffness. Wise became the club's first disabled list casualty of the year.


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'Wolves top Curve again

From staff reports

Published: April 18. 2009 2:00AM


Brooks Brown

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ALTOONA -- Right now, the SeaWolves have to like the fact they play the Altoona Curve 25 times this season.

All of Erie's six wins this season have come against the Curve, including Friday's 3-1 decision in the second game of a four-game series before 2,934 fans at Blair County Ballpark.

Erie starter Brooks Brown fired seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits, to earn his first win. Brown tossed five scoreless innings against Altoona in a no-decision at Jerry Uht Park on April 11.

The SeaWolves (6-3) swept a four-game series from Altoona at Jerry Uht Park to open the season, and have won the first two games of this series.

Altoona (0-8) is the only Eastern League team without a win, and Friday's loss extended the worst start in the franchise's 11-year history.

Brown was obtained by the Detroit Tigers in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 2 and assigned to Erie.

In two Erie starts, he has thrown 12 shutout innings and given up just seven hits.

In Friday's win, the SeaWolves staked Brown to an early lead with all three of their runs in the first inning.

Back-to-back doubles from Max Leon and Brennan Boesch made it 1-0. Center fielder Deik Scram singled home Boesch, and designated hitter Jeff Frazier had an RBI grounder.

Brown got help from relievers Ramon Garcia and Cody Satterwhite, who came on in the ninth to record the final out for his second save.

Erie second baseman Scott Sizemore went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to six games. He entered Friday's game leading the league with 14 hits.


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I have to say that I am bit worried about our beloved Cale Iorg thus far. Our not so young anymore prospect seems to be struggling with the bat, managing a .139/.135/.194.

What is going on here? Is his glove at least looking average?

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I have to say that I am bit worried about our beloved Cale Iorg thus far. Our not so young anymore prospect seems to be struggling with the bat, managing a .139/.135/.194.

What is going on here? Is his glove at least looking average?

What is today's date?

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What is today's date?

Are you trying to be cute and imply that it's too early in the season? If so, I most certainly agree. However, he has had 40 AB's and I have never seen UGLY stats for a guy who is consistently ranked in the top 3 in our annual prospect rankings.

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Are you trying to be cute and imply that it's too early in the season? If so, I most certainly agree. However, he has had 40 AB's and I have never seen UGLY stats for a guy who is consistently ranked in the top 3 in our annual prospect rankings.

Not being cute, just trying to suggest some perspective.

Like the Guillen/Ordonez thread, it is a long season and EVERY player is going to have bad streaks - otherwise they would all be hitting .430.

One thing I have never been accused of is being cute.

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