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2009 Erie Seawolves Diary

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Sizemore earns callup to Triple-A


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 15. 2009 1:16AM

Scott Sizemore's solid, consistent all-around play has earned the Double-A rookie a promotion.

The SeaWolves' second baseman, who was hitting .307 in 59 games this season, was assigned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday. Sizemore's roster spot will be filled by Toledo second baseman Danny Worth, who will drop a level after struggling offensively with the Mud Hens this season.

"I never try and worry about that stuff,'' Sizemore said. "My whole philosophy is to take care of business where you're at and if something good happens and you get called up, it's just that much better. It's a huge honor and it's one step closer to my lifelong goal.''

Sizemore was informed of his promotion by SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens after Sunday's game.

"When you get called into the office, it's either something good or something bad, and luckily this time it was good news,'' Sizemore said.

"There's not a better thing in this game than being able to call a guy in and telling him he's going to Triple-A or the big leagues,'' Brookens said. "That's good for him because he's earned it.''

Sizemore, 24, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., has been the SeaWolves' most consistent all-around player, and has turned some heads with the power element he's added to his offensive production this season.

In his first three minor-league seasons in the Tigers' organization, Sizemore hit 11 homers. He has nine homers and 33 runs batted in with Erie.

"All I try to do is be consistent,'' Sizemore said. "I don't try to hit home runs. My big thing this year is kind of let them happen. If you put good swings on balls and if your swing is there, they're going to go. I was lucky enough to get some out of the park. I try and stay consistent, hit line drives, hit the gaps and, hopefully, the power numbers will be there.''

Sizemore sat out Sunday's 7-2 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Jerry Uht Park.

"My wrist has kind of been bothering me the last couple days, so I thought he (Brookens) was just giving me an extra day to kind of rest and get back to the way I should be with my health,'' Sizemore said.

Sizemore's .307 average (70-for-228) ranked 10th in the Eastern League on Sunday. He was tied for third in the league in hits, and his 39 runs scored ranked fifth.

Worth, in his third season in the Tigers' organization, has struggled at the Triple-A level this season, batting .207 (31-for-150) with no homers and three RBIs in 40 games. Worth has split time at second base this season for the Mud Hens with former SeaWolves second baseman Will Rhymes.

Worth began the 2008 season as Erie's everyday shortstop. In 79 games with the SeaWolves last season, Worth hit .254 with five homers and 33 RBIs. He was sidelined July 8-21 and July 31-Sept. 2 with a right shoulder strain, and appeared in one game with Toledo last season.

"We'll hopefully get him back on track and get him going,'' Brookens said. "I think he'll be a little more comfortable down here having played here last year and working with (Erie hitting instructor) Glenn Adams and myself. We're expecting him to be our everyday second baseman.''

GoErie.com: Sizemore earns callup to Triple-A

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SeaWolves' Figaro wins EL pitcher of week award

From staff reports

Published: June 16. 2009 2:00AM


Erie Seawolves pitcher Alfredo Figaro throws during the first inning against the Portland Sea Dogs at Jerry Uht Park June 9. Figaro pitched seven innings. The Seawolves won the game 11-2. JANET B. CAMPBELL/ ERIE TIMES-NEWS

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Erie SeaWolves right-hander starter Alfredo Figaro is the Eastern League pitcher of the week for the period ending Sunday.

It's Figaro's second such honor this season.

He went 2-0 with 18 strikeouts and a 2.51 earned-run average in 141/3 innings pitched, including 10 strikeouts in a 7-2 victory at New Hampshire on Sunday.

The 6-foot, 175-pound native of Samana, Dominican Republic, is 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA in 11 starts. Figaro, 24, is fifth in the Eastern League in strikeouts (59) and is tied for seventh in wins.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves' Figaro wins EL pitcher of week award

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Sea Dogs subdue 'Wolves' offense

3 Portland pitchers combine on shutout

From staff reports

Published: June 17. 2009 2:00AM

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland's offense was good, but its pitching was even better against the Erie SeaWolves on Tuesday.

Sea Dogs starter Adam Mills and two relievers combined for a three-hit shutout. Leadoff home runs by Ryan Khoury and Jorge Jimenez were part of a 12-hit attack for Portland, which blanked the 'Wolves 5-0 before 5,254 at Hadlock Field.

The 'Wolves had few chances to score in their first road game against a Northern Division opponent. They dropped to 35-28, while the Sea Dogs went above .500 at 32-31.

The final was Erie's fifth shutout loss this season and its second in less than a week. New Hampshire blanked the 'Wolves 5-0 on Friday at Jerry Uht Park.

Four of Erie's five shutout losses have been on the road.

Portland's three pitchers each allowed one hit. Mills (2-4) struck out eight and walked none over the first six innings.

The Sea Dogs never trailed after Khoury and Jimenez led off the bottom of the third and fourth innings with homers off Erie starter Jonah Nickerson (4-5). Khoury's homer was his first this season.

Jimenez also drove in Portland's final run in a two-run eighth. His double scored Mark Wagner, who chased Nickerson from the game with a leadoff double.

Wagner, Jimenez and Khoury each had two hits for the Sea Dogs, who totaled 12 off Nickerson and reliever Ramon Garcia. Five of Portland's hits were for extra bases.

Deik Scram, Mike Hollimon and Casper Wells accounted for Erie's hits. Scram tripled to lead off the top of the fourth and Wells doubled in the top of the seventh.

Erie had runners on second and third with two outs thanks to Wells' double, but Portland reliever Chris Province retired Alex Avila on a groundout to Khoury at second base.

Erie second baseman Danny Worth went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first game back. Worth was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday when 'Wolves starter Scott Sizemore was promoted.

GoErie.com: Sea Dogs subdue 'Wolves' offense

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Erie SeaWolves rough up Portland Sea Dogs in 6th

Erie sends 12 batters to plate in 7-run inning

From staff reports

Published: June 18. 2009 1:15AM

PORTLAND, Maine -- It wasn't two-out lightning the Erie SeaWolves used to beat Portland on Wednesday.

It was more like a cataclysmic storm.

The 'Wolves sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth inning.

They not only scored seven runs, but also scored all of them with two outs.

Ryan Strieby doubled twice in that inning, the highlight of Erie's 11-5 victory over the Sea Dogs before 4,830 at Hadlock Field.

In all, the 'Wolves totaled five hits and four walks off three Portland pitchers in the sixth. Ironically, they never trailed after a three-run fifth gave them a 4-2 advantage.

Just in case, they provided Luis Marte (5-6) with insurance.

Strieby began Erie's binge with his first double of the sixth.

Erie loaded the bases off Portland reliever Andrew Dobies, who induced a Danny Worth grounder that forced Strieby at home for the second out.

The Sea Dogs' luck ran out quickly.

Andy Dirks followed with a two-run single for a 6-2 Erie advantage.

Dobies was pulled for Richard Lentz, who immediately walked Max Leon and Deik Scram, the latter's forcing home the seventh run.

Casper Wells and Strieby followed with hits that put Erie up 11-2. Wells had a two-run single and Strieby a two-run double.

GoErie.com: Erie SeaWolves rough up Portland Sea Dogs in 6th

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Eastern League Series Preview

Published: June 19. 2009 2:00AM

Erie SeaWolves (37-28) at New Hampshire Fisher Cats (29-38)

Today-Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Merchantsauto.com Stadium, Manchester, N.H.

-Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie LH Jon Kibler (3-4, 4.26) vs. New Hampshire RH Marty McLeary (0-0, 0.00)

Saturday: Erie RH Josh Rainwater (2-0, 2.81) vs. TBA

Sunday: Erie RH Jonah Nickerson (4-5, 4.69) vs. New Hampshire RH Luis Perez (4-6, 3.67)

-Scouting the SeaWolves: With this series, the SeaWolves conclude a stretch of 12 straight games against Northern Division opponents. ... Erie won two of three games from the Fisher Cats at Jerry Uht Park last weekend. New Hampshire won the opener 5-0, but the SeaWolves rebounded with 5-2 and 7-2 wins to take the series. ... Kibler held the Fisher Cats to two runs and seven hits in six innings in the 5-2 decision. ... Rainwater, normally a reliever, will make a spot start on Saturday in place of RH Alfredo Figaro, who was called up to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday to make a home start for them Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. ... Figaro had one of his best outings in the series finale against the Fisher Cats on Sunday, striking out a season-high 10 and limiting New Hampshire to two runs and three hits over 71/3 innings. Figaro is 3-1 in his past four starts and has struck out 18 and walked one in his past two starts. ... Rainwater has made 19 relief appearances for Erie this season. He was a starter for Erie last season before he was moved to the bullpen in spring training. ... With a two-run double in Wednesday's 11-5 win at Portland, first baseman Ryan Strieby ended a six-game stretch without an RBI. ... Second baseman Danny Worth went 0-for-5 with a walk and two runs scored in his first two games with the club after his reassignment from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday.

-Scouting the Fisher Cats: The Fisher Cats snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Akron on Thursday. They had lost eight of their previous 10 games. ... New Hampshire has been held to less than 10 hits in 18 straight games. ... New Hampshire blanked Erie 5-0 in the opener of a three-game series last week at Jerry Uht Park. ... In that series, right-handed starters Rey Gonzalez (groin) and Brandon Magee (knee) had to leave their starts early with injuries. ... Entering Thursday's play, first baseman Brian Dopirak was first in the Eastern League with 46 RBIs and tied for first in homers (14) with Erie's Strieby

GoErie.com: Eastern League Series Preview

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'Wolves' Figaro promoted to Tigers

Erie wraps up series with win in Portland

From staff and wire reports

Published: June 19. 2009 2:00AM

PORTLAND, Me. -- The Erie SeaWolves won their second straight game Thursday night but lost top pitcher Alfredo Figaro to the parent Detroit Tigers.

Erie moved into second place in the Eastern League Southern Division with a 5-1 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs before 5,031 rain-soaked fans at Hadlock Field.

Figaro, 24, will be recalled to start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday at 4:05 p.m.

He is 5-2 with a 4.10 earned-run average and 68 strikeouts this season.

Figaro went 2-0 and struck out 10 a week ago to win the Eastern League pitcher of the week award.

On Thursday, after a 1-hour, 9-minute rain delay, the SeaWolves (37-28) scored two runs in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk by Ryan Strieby, his 46th RBI, and an RBI single by Cale Iorg against starter Kason Gabbard (0-1).

The 'Wolves added three more runs in the fifth against reliever Blake Maxwell on another RBI single by Iorg and a two-run double by Deik Stram.

That was plenty of support for starter Pat Stanley (1-2) and relievers Zach Simons and Brett Jensen, who combined on a five-hitter.

-The Tigers created a roster spot by placing left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with an anxiety disorder.

Willis missed two months of this season with an anxiety disorder. His rehabilitation included a start in Erie before he was activated by the Tigers on May 13.

He went 1-4 with a 7.49 ERA and 28 walks in 332/3 innings.

Willis told the Associated Press he believes the problems are mechanical, not mental.

"I've talked to everybody and I don't feel like I have any nervousness out there," Willis said. "I've got so many moving parts that if one's out of whack from time to time it happens.

"This is not the first time I've had control problems, but I've been able to overcome it, so I'm not worried about it."

Willis has been his usual gregarious self during a three-game interleague series against the Cardinals, constantly joking around with teammates. He even punctuated many of his comments about going on the DL with laughter.

The team believes the cause of Willis' repeated control problems is deeper than mechanical issues. Trainer Kevin Rand said Willis has been dealing with anxiety issues since spring training.

"What we're trying to do is put Dontrelle back in a position where Dontrelle can perform," Rand said. "As it stands right now it's not the Dontrelle Willis you expect to be pitching."

GoErie.com: 'Wolves' Figaro promoted to Tigers

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SeaWolves win with 3 in 9th

From staff reports

Published: June 20. 2009 2:00AM

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The Erie SeaWolves put together a three-run rally with one out in the ninth inning to knock off New Hampshire 4-2 in front of 5,870 fans at Merchants.com Stadium on Friday.

Casper Wells started the Erie (38-28) rally in the top of the ninth with a four-pitch walk. After a Ryan Strieby strikeout, Alex Avila walked to move Wells to second.

Mike Hollimon then came through with a line-drive single to right field to score Wells.

The Fisher Cats (29-39) decided to walk Cale Iorg to load the bases, but the strategy did not pay off as Danny Worth and Andy Dirks ripped back-to-back RBI singles to give Erie a 4-2 lead.

Cody Satterwhite pitched a perfect ninth to earn his eighth save of the season for the 'Wolves.

Erie jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third behind a Deik Scram home run to right field. Scram's blast was the only hit for the 'Wolves until Hollimon's heroics.

New Hampshire responded by tying the game in the fourth with a fielder's choice and took the lead in the sixth on Brian Dopirak's RBI double.

Jon Kibler was effective against the Fisher Cats once again, allowing six hits in 62/3 innings on the mound, but he received a no decision.

Jay Sborz struck out three of the four batters he faced to earn his first win with the SeaWolves and improve his earned-run average to 2.53.

Scott Campbell and Dopirak each had two hits for New Hampshire.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves win with 3 in 9th

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Fisher Cats sail past SeaWolves

From staff reports

Published: June 21. 2009 1:15AM

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A five-run uprising in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted New Hampshire to an 8-2 Eastern League win over Erie on Saturday night, snapping the SeaWolves' winning streak at three.

The teams were tied 1-1 when the Fisher Cats rallied to score five times in the seventh against the SeaWolves' bullpen.

After reliever Josh Kite yielded a single and a sacrifice to start the inning, Zach Simons replaced him and ran into immediate trouble, giving up two singles sandwiched around a walk to let the Fisher Cats take a 2-1 lead.

Bullpen mate Ramon Garcia fared no better, allowing a two-run single to Adam Calderone and a two-run double to Cody Haerther to make it 6-1.

Brian Dopirak's two-run homer in the eighth finished the scoring for New Hampshire, which outhit the SeaWolves 13-9.

New Hampshire starter Brandon Magee entered the game with a 5.66 earned-run average but tamed the 'Wolves through the first four innings, allowing two hits and no runs. Erie broke through with a run in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1 on singles by Ryan Strieby and Alex Avila and a fielder's choice. Mike Hollimon added an RBI single in the ninth for the SeaWolves.

The Fisher Cats struck first with a run in the fourth, knocking out SeaWolves' starter Josh Rainwater in the process.

Rainwater, making his first start of the season, tiptoed through trouble in the early going, allowing a pair of hits in each of the first two innings without giving up a run.

But New Hampshire broke through in the fourth on Nick Gorneault's RBI single, which ended Rainwater's night. The right-hander, who had made 19 relief appearances this year after starting 23 games last year for the SeaWolves, yielded five hits in 32/3 innings while striking out three and walking one.

The 'Wolves, who have won seven of their past 11 games, finish their series with New Hampshire at 1:05 p.m. today. Jonah Nickerson (4-5) will start for Erie while Luis Perez (4-6) takes the mound for the Fisher Cats.

GoErie.com: Fisher Cats sail past SeaWolves

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Late rally propels Erie SeaWolves over New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Published: June 22. 2009 3:01AM

MANCHESTER, N.H.—The Erie Sea-Wolves had a flair for the dramatics inSunday’s 9-4 win against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Trailing 4-0 entering the eighth inning, Erie scored twice in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game and won it with a five-run 10th inning in front of 5,632fans at Merchantsauto.com Stadium.

Erie’s first seven batters reached base in the 10th,with three doubles, two singles and two intentional walks.

A Fisher Cats’ error in the eighth and ninth innings helped Erie climb back intothe game.

The ’Wolves’ Mike Hollimon started the eighth with a triple. After back-to-back one-out walks to load the bases, Deik Scram reached on an error that scored Hollimon. Brennan Boesch cut the deficit in half at 4-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Max Leon reached on an error to lead off the ninth. Cale Iorg followed with a single and Andy Dirks loaded the bases with a one-out walk. Worth was hit by a pitch with two outs and Scram followed with a walk to tie the game.

New Hampshire (30-40) scored a run in each of the first three innings and addedanother run in the fifth inning for the 4-0 advantage.

Erie (39-29) had just three hits, a walk and no runs leading up to the eighth inning

GoErie.com: Late rally propels Erie SeaWolves over New Hampshire Fisher Cats

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'Wolves get look at Bucs' top pick EL Leaders

Alvarez makes debut tonight for Altoona

From staff reports

Published: June 23. 2009 1:15AM

After sending their 130th player to the majors this past week, the Erie SeaWolves today will get a look at a big-time opponent on his own professional fast track.

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2008 player entry draft, is scheduled to make his Class AA debut with the Altoona Curve today at 7:05 p.m. against the SeaWolves at Jerry Uht Park in a Family Buck Night game.

Today's as close as the SeaWolves can get to the actual 15th anniversary of the franchise's first-ever home game -- they were on the road Saturday -- and the team will celebrate by wearing 1995-era powder-blue uniforms and giving away commemorative T-shirts, magazines and posters.

On June 20, 1995, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jose Guillen ushered in the SeaWolves era with a game-winning, left-field home run that hit Tullio Arena. Guillen reached the majors in 1997, playing parts of three seasons with the Pirates, and now is with his ninth team, the Kansas City Royals. He's a career .273 hitter with 194 home runs and 803 RBIs.

Alvarez hasn't taken a major-league swing yet, but there's more hype around him than Guillen ever received.

Alvarez, 22, the Pirates' first-round draft choice a year ago, received a $6 million signing bonus. In his first pro season this year at Class A Lynchburg, he has batted .247 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs in 66 games.

"He's the highest-profile prospect we've ever had, and that's saying something because of all the really good ones that have played here the last 11 seasons," Curve general manager Rob Egan said.

SeaWolves pitcher Alfredo Figaro went from prospect to major-leaguer with one phone call last week.

Figaro, 24, was recalled by the Tigers on Thursday after starting the season 5-2 with 4.10 earned-run average in 11 starts. He made his major league debut Saturday.

Figaro struck out eight and allowed two runs in five innings against Milwaukee. He's scheduled to start for the Tigers again on Saturday night when they visit Houston.

His replacement in the Erie lineup will get the start tonight.

Thad Weber, a 6-foot 2-inch, 200-pound right-hander, was called up from Class A Lakeland on Monday. He went 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA for the Flying Tigers, striking out 40 and giving up 54 hits in 672/3 innings pitched.

The rotation was pushed back one day for Weber. Right-hander Luis Marte (5-6, 4.12 ERA) is now scheduled to start Wednesday.

The Curve, led by former SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck, will start Kyle Bloom, a 6-4, 185-pound right-hander. He's 1-4 with a 3.28 ERA in eight starts.

The Curve have lost three of their past four games and have the worst record in the Eastern League (24-45), but have added more than just Alvarez in a bid to retool.

Outfielder and first baseman Miles Durhman, who leads the Carolina League in hits, will join the Curve after playing in today's California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Lake Elsinore, Calif. Durham is hitting .296 with seven home runs, 39 RBIs and 73 hits.

Right-handed pitchers Dustin Molleken (3-1, 3.48 ERA) and Michael Dubee (2-1, 1.45 ERA) also have been promoted to Altoona.

Marte will start opposite Altoona right-hander Derek Hankins (0-1, 6.00) in the second game of the series, while Erie right-hander Pat Stanley (1-2, 4.88) and Altoona righty Mike Crotta (4-3, 5.14) will start Thursday's game.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves get look at Bucs' top pick EL Leaders

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'Wolves' Strieby hits DL with sore wrist


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 25. 2009 2:01AM

SeaWolves first baseman Ryan Strieby, plagued all season by a sore left wrist, will remain sidelined indefinitely after the club placed the 6-foot 5-inch, 235-pound slugger on the disabled list Wednesday.

His roster spot will be filled by first baseman Ronnie Bourquin, who was promoted to Erie from low Single-A West Michigan Wednesday.

Bourquin is expected to join the club today for its 12:05 p.m. game against the Altoona Curve at Jerry Uht Park.

Strieby's wrist soreness has been a lingering effect from when he broke the hamate bone in his left wrist last season at advanced Single-A Lakeland.

Strieby missed a good portion of spring training with the problem and has missed more playing time in recent weeks as the soreness continues to resurface despite extra time off and rest.

"We've tried every anti-inflammatory thing -- heat, ice, you name it -- and it just keeps coming back, so it's time to take the next step and go on the DL and see where that takes me,'' Strieby said. "I've researched it a little bit and sometimes it just takes guys up to over a year to recover fully, and I'm pretty patient at this point. I think it would be pretty stupid to try and play through it and maybe injure it more.''

Strieby, 23, a native of Seattle, has 14 homers and 46 RBIs and has been at or near the top of the Eastern League in those categories all season. However, he has not homered in his past 13 games. His last long ball was June 3 against Altoona.

Strieby will fly to New York City on Friday to have his wrist examined by the doctor who performed his surgery last year.

An MRI and X-rays on Strieby's sore wrist have been negative.

"They say there's no structural damage, so whether it's tendinits or arthritis, I don't know,'' Strieby said. "Hopefully, it starts feeling better soon, and I think we'll be pretty patient with it because we don't want it to be a recurring injury. The next time I come back, I want to make sure it feels 100 percent, so it doesn't recur again.''

Strieby expects to remain with the team and continue his rehab in Erie.

Bourquin, a 6-foot 3-inch, 210-pound first baseman, was hitting .304 with two homers and 47 RBIs in 62 games with West Michigan this season.

A native of Canton, Ohio, Bourquin, 24, is in his fourth season of pro ball.

The Tigers selected him in the second round of the June 2006 draft out of Ohio State.

-Notes: With Wednesday's turnout of 3,851, the SeaWolves surpassed 100,000 in attendance for the season. ... SeaWolves right-hander Pat Stanley will start today. He earned his first win in his last start, a 5-1 decision at Portland Thursday. Stanley worked 61/3 innings, limiting the Sea Dogs to one run and four hits. ... With a win today, Erie would wrap up its fifth consecutive series win. ... The SeaWolves are 11-6 against Altoona this season.

GoErie.com: 'Wolves' Strieby hits DL with sore wrist

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I couldn't help but notice there was no entry after Weber's game. I found one!

GoErie.com: SeaWolves' Weber upstages Pirates' prospect Alvarez at Uht

SeaWolves' Weber upstages Pirates' prospect Alvarez at Uht


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 24. 2009 2:00AM

Thad Weber has had a fun and chaotic week.

Weber, representing advanced Single-A Lakeland, earned the win for the North Division with one scoreless inning in Saturday's 48th annual Florida State League All-Star Game in Fort Myers, Fla.

On Monday, he earned a promotion to the SeaWolves. Tuesday brought the 24-year-old right-hander a win in his Double-A debut. Weber scattered eight hits and allowed two runs in six innings in a 6-2 win over the Altoona Curve before 4,572 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Heralded Pirates' prospect Pedro Alvarez was supposed to be the big storyline in his Double-A debut with the Altoona Curve, but Weber upstaged the Bucs' 2008 first-round pick. Alvarez started at third base, hitting cleanup, and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, accounting for two of Weber's four strikeouts.

"We know of Pedro and, obviously, he's a little more touted than I am and he's very talented, but it was a good opportunity for me,'' Weber said.

"It was a great crowd, great weather, and with him being in town, there was a little extra media surrounding the game, so luckily, I was able to have some decent stuff and make some pretty good pitches here and there. It went pretty well.''

The SeaWolves (40-29) won for the fifth time in six games and improved to 11-5 against the Curve (24-46) this season.

Weber, a 6-foot 2-inch, 205-pound native of Seward, Neb., walked just one in Tuesday's win. He assumes a starting role in the Erie rotation, replacing right-hander Alfredo Figaro, who was promoted to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Figaro won his major league debut Saturday with a five-inning outing in a 9-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

At Lakeland, Weber was 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts. In 672/3 innings, he allowed 16 earned runs and 54 hits while striking out 40 and walking 11.

"I'm going to try and pound the strike zone and try and get outs as quickly as possible,'' Weber said. "Tonight was a little tougher. The hitters up here are a little more patient, especially when I was up in the count to put them away. Their pitch recognition is that much better, so I have to get better with my fastball command and try and initiate contact a little bit earlier. Overall, I can't complain.''

Weber's repertoire consists of a fastball, power curve and change-up.

"That curve is kind of my bread and butter,'' he said. "It's the pitch I like to go with in a lot of situations, so it's a favorite pitch of mine.''

"I got a little better idea of what he throws and I thought he was good. He looked to me if he can keep the ball down, he's going to do pretty well,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "He showed a lot of poise. He proved himself in Lakeland and made the All-Star team, so he's been getting it done. If he keeps that same mindset, he shouldn't have any problems here. Like anybody else, he's got to keep it down.''

Weber ran into some trouble in the first inning, but with runners on the corners and one out, he struck out Alvarez swinging and retired designated hitter Jason Delaney on a comebacker.

With runners on first and second in the third inning and one out, Alvarez flied out to center before Weber retired Delaney on a grounder to third.

"Anytime, especially coming up to this level where each guy through the lineup is going to be that much better, to be able to work out of those is definitely a lot of weight off my shoulders,'' Weber said. "I had a lot of confidence in my defense and the offense to put up some runs.''

After Erie built a 2-0 lead in the fourth, Weber gave up both of his runs in the fifth.

Weber was originally selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round of the 2007 draft, but did not sign. The Tigers selected him in the 16th round of the June 2008 out of the University of Nebraska.

With the game tied at 2 in the sixth inning, Erie center fielder Casper Wells threw out Delaney at third base on catcher Steve Lerud's flyout to deep left-center. Wells fired a one-hop throw to third baseman Michael Hollimon to nab Delaney, who doubled leading off the inning.

SeaWolves center fielder Andy Dirks drove in shortstop Cale Iorg with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, making it 3-2.

The SeaWolves padded their lead in the seventh on Michael Hollimon's RBI double, Deik Scram's run-scoring triple and Iorg's RBI single.

Erie relievers Zach Simons and Jay Sborz combined to throw three scoreless innings.

SeaWolves first baseman Ryan Strieby was a late scratch from the lineup because of soreness in his left wrist.

Notes: The SeaWolves celebrated 15 years of professional baseball at Jerry Uht Park Tuesday. ... Former Erie Mayor Joyce Savocchio threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... SeaWolves players wore powder blue jerseys worn by the club in 1995. ... The SeaWolves' all-time team was featured on the video scoreboard. The team was composed of Jeff Larish (first base), Michael Hollimon (second base), Omar Infante (shortstop), Aramis Ramirez (third base), Cody Ross (left field), Curtis Granderson (center field), Jose Guillen (right field), Mike Rivera (catcher), right-hander Justin Verlander (starting pitcher), right-hander Joel Zumaya (reliever) and Matt Walbeck (manager). ... SeaWolves right-hander Luis Marte (5-6, 4.12), who is scheduled to start today against the Curve at 7:05 p.m., is tied for sixth in the Eastern League with 62 strikeouts. ...The SeaWolves are 6-3 against Altoona at home this season. ... Erie is 11-10 in June.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

The Erie paper definitely does a better job covering the Seawolves than the Lakeland paper does in covering the LFT! It's nice to actually read some quotes!

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SeaWolves Preview

Published: June 26. 2009 2:00AM

Erie SeaWolves (40-31)

at Harrisburg Senators (27-42)

Today-Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, doubleheader, 2 p.m.; Monday, noon

Metro Bank Park, Harrisburg

Pitching matchups:

• Today: Erie LH Jon Kibler (3-4, 4.12) vs. Harrisburg RH Erik Arnesen (3-2, 3.78)

• Saturday: Erie RH Jonah Nickerson (4-5, 4.77) vs. Harrisburg LH Matt Chico (0-0, 0.00)

• Sunday: First game: Erie RH Thad Weber (1-0, 3.00) vs. Harrisburg LH Justin Jones (2-10, 5.35) Second game: Erie RH Josh Rainwater (2-0, 2.78) vs. Harrisburg LH Cory Van Allen (1-4, 6.24)

• Monday: Erie RH Luis Marte (5-7, 3.98) vs. Harrisburg RH Luis Atilano (4-4, 5.06)

• Scouting the SeaWolves: The SeaWolves' 8-6 home loss to Altoona Thursday prevented Erie from winning its fifth straight series, as the Curve rallied from a 6-3 deficit to win the rubber game of their three-game series. ... Erie hadn't lost a series since dropping three of four games at Bowie June 5-7. ... First baseman Ron Bourquin made his Double-A debut for Erie in Thursday's loss and went 1-for-4 with a walk. Bourquin was promoted to the club from low Single-A West Michigan Wednesday after first baseman Ryan Strieby was placed on the seven-day disabled list with soreness in his left wrist. ... The SeaWolves are 7-5 against Harrisburg this season, but 2-3 at Metro Bank Park. ... Sunday's doubleheader resulted from a rainout between the teams at Metro Bank Park on May 4. ... Kibler leads the Eastern League with three complete games. ... Weber made his Double-A debut Tuesday and earned the win in a 6-2 victory over Altoona, allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings. He was promoted to Erie Monday after going 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts for advanced Single-A Lakeland. ... Rainwater, normally a reliever, will make a spot start in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. ... The SeaWolves are 15-17 on the road.

• Scouting the Senators: Harrisburg completed a six-game road trip and three-game series at New Britain on Thursday with an 8-5 loss. ... The Sens were 2-4 on the trip, falling to 12-26 on the road this season. ... Harrisburg is 5-5 in its past 10 games. ... The Sens were 2-16 in April and 11-17 in May. ... Since May 15, however, Harrisburg has rebounded from its disastrous start and gone 21-17, moving out of the basement of the Eastern League's Southern Division. ... Washington Nationals left-hander Chico is scheduled to make a rehab start against the SeaWolves on Saturday. Chico has been on the Nationals' 60-day disabled list with elbow soreness. Chico threw four innings in a Class A rehab start on June 14.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves Preview

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SeaWolves Notebook

Published: June 26. 2009 2:00AM

▀ SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens was ejected in the top of the sixth inning of Thursday's game by home plate umpire John Conrad after Erie reliever Brett Jensen was called for a balk with runners on the corners and one out.

The run pulled Altoona within 4-3. Jensen appeared to make a step toward third, then turned and faked a throw to first. Conrad ruled Jensen didn't make a step toward third.

Brookens argued the call and got tossed.

"Of course, that's the rule, you have to make a step, but I didn't agree with that call and that's the difference,'' Brookens said.

▀ SeaWolves third baseman Michael Hollimon has missed the past two games with a sore right throwing shoulder, and his status remains day-to-day, Brookens said.

After playing Tuesday against Altoona in the opener of a three-game series, Hollimon took grounders during pregame infield Wednesday but did not do any throwing. He was scratched right before Wednesday's game and remained sidelined Thursday.

"He's been playing with soreness for a couple weeks,'' Brookens said. "If it looks like he's going to be a while, we'll probably end up trying to put him on the disabled list just to get somebody in here because we're banged up all the way around. He was available for the game (Thursday) as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner.''

▀ Erie first baseman Ryan Strieby will fly to New York City today to have his sore left wrist examined.

Strieby was placed on the seven-day disabled list Wednesday.

▀ Altoona third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' 2008 first-round draft pick who made his Double-A debut Tuesday against Erie, went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three runs scored Thursday.

In the three-game series, Alvarez was 3-for-13 with two homers, five RBIs and two errors.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves Notebook

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Power-hitting Sens keep SeaWolves in tailspin

Harrisburg cracks 4 HRs; Erie loses 4th straight

From staff reports

Published: June 28. 2009 1:15AM

HARRISBURG -- The Harrisburg Senators used the long ball to break open a close game and extend the Erie SeaWolves' season-long losing streak to four games in a 10-5 decision Saturday night at Metro Bank Park.

Three Senators went deep, including Leonard Davis, who smacked a pair of homers to lead a 12-hit attack.

Ofilio Castro's solo homer with one out in the fifth broke a 3-3 tie and Bill Rhinehart added a two-run single later in the inning for the Senators (29-42), who used two-run homers by Davis and Marvin Lowrance to put the game out of reach with a four-run seventh inning.

Brennan Boesch clubbed a two-run homer in the eighth for Erie (40-33), which managed just six hits in the loss. The SeaWolves trailed 3-1 early but battled back to tie the score on Ron Bourquin's two-run triple in the fourth. Erie missed an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the fifth after loading the bases on an error and two walks when Boesch grounded out to second to end the threat.

The SeaWolves opened the scoring in the first inning, taking advantage of a misplay on the part of the Senators.

Danny Worth led off with a double to right and after Deik Scram popped out, Cale Iorg walked. Iorg was forced at second on Alex Avila's grounder to first, but Worth scored on the play and Avila reached first safely on shortstop Ian Desmond's throwing error.

The SeaWolves' loss evened the season series at 7-7 heading into today's 2 p.m. doubleheader.

Thad Weber is scheduled to start in the opener for Erie while Josh Rainwater is set to go in the nightcap.

Weber is coming off a strong debut Tuesday, allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings in a 6-2 win over Altoona.

Weber earned a promotion to Erie after starting the season 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts for advanced Single-A Lakeland.

The two teams will conclude the five-game series with a noon start Monday.

GoErie.com: Power-hitting Sens keep SeaWolves in tailspin

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Doubleheader sweep extends SeaWolves' slide

Harrisburg hands Erie 5th, 6th straight losses

From staff reports

Published: June 29. 2009 8:21AM

HARRISBURG -- The Erie SeaWolves extended their season-long losing streak to six games with two losses to the Harrisburg Senators by scores of 5-4 and 1-0 in front of 3,162 fans at Metro Bank Park on Sunday.

Joel Guzman hit a leadoff home run, his seventh home run of the season, in the 10th-inning to give Harrisburg its first one-run win of the day.

Erie and Harrisburg matched each other with a run each in the second inning and two runs each in the third inning before Erie opened a 4-3 lead on an RBI single by Cale Iorg in the fifth inning.

Harrisburg answered in the sixth inning with a two-out RBI-triple by Leonard Davis for a 4-4 tie.

Davis hit a two-run home run in the third inning to tie the game at 3-3.

Erie's Danny Worth, Alex Avila and Wells each had two hits, including a double in the first game. Guzman and Michael Daniel each had three hits for Harrisburg in the first game.

Harrisburg (31-42) scored the lone run of the second game on Ofilio Castro's RBI double in the fourth inning to win a pitcher's duel in seven innings.

Daniel had two of Harrisburg's three hits and scored on Castro's double. Harrisburg's Justin Jones scattered three hits and two walks in five scoreless innings for his third win of the season.

Dave Williams pitched two innings of hitless baseball for his third save of the season.

Josh Rainwater allowed one run on three hits and three walks in five innings for Erie. He finished with five strikeouts in the losing effort.

The second game was rescheduled from a postponed game on May 4.

Erie (40-35) looks to end its losing streak when the two teams conclude their five-game series today at noon at Metro Bank Park.

The SeaWolves return home Tuesday to start a four-game series with Trenton. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. for each game.

GoErie.com: Doubleheader sweep extends SeaWolves' slide

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Eastern League Preview

Published: June 30. 2009 2:00AM

Trenton Thunder (38-37) at Erie SeaWolves (40-36)

Today-Friday, 7:05 p.m., Jerry Uht Park

-Pitching matchups

Today: Erie RH Pat Stanley (1-2, 4.91) vs. TBA

Wednesday: Erie LH Jon Kibler (3-5, 3.90) vs. Trenton RH Zach McAllister (5-3, 1.76)

Thursday: Erie RH Jonah Nickerson (4-6, 5.08) vs. Trenton RH Jason Johnson (0-1, 10.80)

Friday: Erie RH Thad Weber (1-0, 5.00) vs. TBA

-Scouting the Thunder: Trenton has lost its past three games, including a 12-2 home decision to Reading on Monday. ... First baseman Chris Malec went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer in Monday's loss. ... Trenton is third in the EL Northern Division. ... The Thunder rank fifth in the Eastern League with a 3.55 team ERA. ... Thunder catcher Jesus Montero and manager Tony Franklin will represent the club at the All-Star Futures game July 12 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Montero was selected to the World Team for the second straight year, while Franklin is one of six coaches on the U.S. team, which is managed by Ozzie Smith. Montero was promoted to Trenton from Single-A Tampa on June 3 after hitting .356 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 48 games. He entered the season ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Yankees organization by Baseball America. Franklin also coached at the 2007 Futures Game. ... McAllister has a league-low 1.76 ERA in 13 starts. ... RH Ivan Nova (5-4) has a 2.36 ERA, which is the league's fourth-lowest, in 12 starts. ... Three Thunder players are on the Yankees' 40-man roster: left-handers Wilkin De La Rosa and Michael Dunn, and right-hander Christian Garcia. De La Rosa and Garcia are currently on the disabled list. ... RH reliever Kevin Whelan is a former Tigers farmhand. He was acquired by the Yankees from Detroit in November 2006 with pitchers Humberto Sanchez and Anthony Claggett for outfielder Gary Sheffield.

-Scouting the SeaWolves: The SeaWolves, hampered recently by injuries and promotions, are trying to battle through their toughest stretch of the season. Erie's losing streak is at a season-high seven games after being swept in a five-game weekend series at Harrisburg, including Monday's 6-5 loss in 11 innings. In the past week, the SeaWolves have fallen to fourth place from second in the EL Southern Division. ... Erie has lost its past two series after winning four straight series. ... The SeaWolves made two player moves Monday. Right-handed reliever Jay Sborz was promoted to Triple-A Toledo, and Single-A Lakeland right-handed reliever Robbie Weinhardt was assigned to the SeaWolves. With Lakeland, Weinhardt was 1-1 with a 0.85 ERA in 22 games. In 312/3 innings, he allowed three earned runs and 24 hits with 40 strikeouts and 10 walks. ... The SeaWolves have been missing first baseman Ryan Strieby for more than a week, while third baseman Michael Hollimon has missed the past seven games and utility player Max Leon the past eight games. Strieby has been bothered all season by a sore left wrist and was placed on the disabled list last week. Hollimon is sidelined with a sore right throwing shoulder, while Leon has been out with a sore knee. ... Erie is 8-4 against Northern Division opponents, going 4-2 against Portland and New Hampshire in home-and-home series against each club earlier this month. ... Erie is 25-14 at home and 15-22 on the road. ... The Detroit Tigers optioned former SeaWolves starter Alfredo Figaro to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday and recalled former Erie starter Lucas French from Toledo. Figaro was promoted to the Tigers from Erie on June 18 and made two starts for the parent club, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in his major league debut and losing to the Houston Astros.

GoErie.com: Eastern League Preview

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SeaWolves stop skid at 7 games, rally past Thunder


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 01. 2009 2:00AM


Pat Stanley of the Erie SeaWolves pitches during the sixth inning of the game against the Trenton Thunder at Jerry Uht Park June 30. JANET B. CAMPBELL/ ERIE TIMES-NEWS

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SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens thought his slumping club played some decent ball during its five-game weekend series at Harrisburg.

The bottom line, however, is that Erie lost all five games, including four by one run. The team was looking to end a season-high seven-game losing streak Tuesday in the opener of a four-game home series against the Trenton Thunder.

A four-run sixth inning and strong relief work did the job in a 5-3 Erie win in front of 2,021 fans at Jerry Uht Park. It was Erie's first win since June 23.

"The last seven games have been tough,'' said SeaWolves catcher Alex Avila, whose two-run double to left-center in the sixth tied the game at 3. "We've been playing hard and it's one of those things that every team goes through. As long as you keep playing hard, we knew we were going to bounce back. Now, we have to put a seven-game winning streak together.''

Avila's tying double followed first baseman Ryan Strieby's ground single to center and center fielder Casper Wells' flyball double down the left-field line. Avila went to third on a wild pitch and scored on designated hitter Andy Dirks' single to left, making it 4-3. Second baseman Danny Worth capped the inning with an RBI single.

The SeaWolves (41-36) collected six of their eight hits in the decisive sixth inning.

Strieby was back in the lineup Tuesday for the first time in more than a week. He was activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday after being sidelined with recurring soreness in his left wrist.

"This felt good,'' said Strieby, who went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. "I didn't do too much tonight, but I'm glad we played well as a team and got that win.''

Strieby, who is second on the club in homers (14) and RBIs (46), had an X-ray on his wrist in New York City on Friday.

"The X-ray found there's a bone spur in my left hand,'' Strieby said. "It's causing stress on the ligaments between two bones, and that's where my pain is coming from. They gave me a cortisone shot and it feels a lot better. If it's something that needs surgery, we'll try and get through the season and take it out after the season if necessary.''

"He's been a huge part of the team from the get-go, and any time you can put that much power in the middle of the lineup is a big plus,'' Avila said. "He comes right back from being injured and contributes. It definitely was a mental pickup for us and a good win.''

Tuesday's game marked the Double-A debut of SeaWolves reliever Robbie Weinhardt. Summoned to start to the seventh with a 5-3 lead, the 23-year-old right-hander threw two scoreless, hitless innings, striking out three and walking two. Weinhardt was promoted to Erie from Single-A Lakeland on Monday.

"I certainly like what I see there,'' Brookens said. "He has a good, live fastball and his arm slot makes it difficult on the right-handers and he has a good, hard slider to go with it. If he keeps it down and throws strikes, he looks like he'll be very effective.''

Erie reliever Brett Jensen retired the Thunder (38-38) in order in the ninth to record his seventh save.

"We needed that out of Jensen,'' Brookens said. "He's been pitching well and building his arm strength up.''

Trenton catcher Jesus Montero homered twice off Erie starter Pat Stanley and staked the Thunder to an early 3-0 lead with a second-inning solo homer and a two-run homer in the fourth. Montero, 19, a Venezuelan native, was selected last week to play for the World Team in the July 12 All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis.

Erie pulled within 3-1 on third baseman Ronnie Bourquin's leadoff homer to center in the fifth.

"I have a feeling that guy is going to probably hit a lot of home runs before his career is over,'' Brookens said.

Notes: The series continues today with a 7:05 p.m. game at Uht Park. Today's scheduled starters are Erie left-hander Jon Kibler (3-5, 3.90) and Trenton right-hander Zach McAllister (5-3), who has a league-low 1.76 ERA. ... Erie is 26-14 at home. .... The SeaWolves are 12-17 in June.


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SeaWolves win 2nd straight behind strong pitching, 3 HRs


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 02. 2009 2:45AM

Jon Kibler's first season with the Erie SeaWolves has been all about working on mechanics and finding that comfort zone that helped him to a 14-5 record at low-A West Michigan last season.

Wednesday's start against the Trenton Thunder was one of those games where he displayed his sharpness from a year ago, when he was named the Detroit Tigers' minor league pitcher of the year after leading the Midwest League in wins and ERA (1.75).

The 6-foot 4-inch, 215-pound lefty held the Thunder to two earned runs and five hits over 72/3 innings in a 5-3 win before a crowd of 1,860 at Jerry -ht Park.

"My biggest issue this year has been my mechanics,'' Kibler said. "I try to work every day to get them as close to perfect as possible. You're going to have setbacks, and I guess today was one of the more positive outings.''

Catcher Alex Avila put Erie ahead to stay with a two-run homer in the fifth. Erie (42-36) has taken the first two games from Trenton (38-39) in the four-game series.

The 'Wolves hit three homers, including solo shots by third baseman Ronnie Bourquin and shortstop Cale Iorg.

Kibler complemented the offense with his sharpest outing of the season. After a slow start, Kibler (4-5, 3.77 ERA) has worked six or more innings in his past five starts, and hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of them.

"(Erie pitching coach) Ray Burris has helped me a lot this year with my mechanical issues I've had,'' Kibler said. "Tonight, I've felt the most comfortable I have."

Kibler struck out six, walked three and got a big double-play grounder in the sixth to work out of a jam.

"I caught him last year at West Michigan and he was fantastic,'' Avila said. "Last year, it was almost like that kind of outing you saw today was every time he went out there last year. He started off slow this year and each start is getting better as far as his command."

Kibler struck out six, walked three and gave up five hits.

"It felt like he had everything working and he was really never in trouble,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "I thought he had a crisper fastball tonight. He had good command of the slider, and his change-up was good and he did an outstanding job of changing speeds and doing what he does best.''

Avila's one-out homer in the fifth inning followed Iorg's single to center. Avila lined a 1-2 pitch off left-handed reliever Michael Dunn into the netting above the right field wall to put Erie up 3-1.

Avila was among five SeaWolves players selected earlier today to the annual Eastern League All-Star Game on July 15 in Trenton, N.J.

Trenton starter Zach McAllister entered the game with a league-low 1.76 ERA, but left after four innings after throwing 95 pitches.

Trenton pulled within 3-2 in the sixth on first baseman Jorge Vazquez's RBI single.

A big defensive play in the inning by Bourquin kept the SeaWolves ahead.

With runners on second and third and one out, Bourquin, the Erie third baseman, ranged to his left to field a grounder from Thunder catcher Jesus Montero, tagged out the runner heading to third and fired to first to complete the double play.

"He was trying to avoid me and I was trying to get to the ball, and whenever I came up, he was right in front of me and I was able to get a piece of his jersey,'' Bourquin said.

Iorg added a solo homer and right fielder Brennan Boesch an RBI triple in the seventh, making it 5-2.

Trenton catcher Jesus Morona put the Thunder up 1-0 in the second with a solo homer to center that landed in the parking lot adjacent to Tullio Arena.

It was the third homer in as many nights for the highly regarded 19-year-old Venezuelan prospect, who hit two homers in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Erie.

"I was worried about my car out there in the parking lot,'' Brookens said.

Brookens said MRI results on third baseman Michael Hollimon's sore right throwing shoulder have been sent to the Detroit Tigers for further evaluation. Hollimon has missed the past


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Avila leads 'Wolves selected to All-Star Game


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 02. 2009 2:45AM


Southern Division Roster

Position Players

Player, Team

Miguel Abreu, Bowie-

Alex Avila, Erie

Brennan Boesch, Erie

Leonard Davis, Harrisburg

Jason Delaney, Altoona-

Brian Friday, Altoona

Beau Mills, Akron-

Carlos Santana, Akron

Deik Scram, Erie-

Neil Sellers, Reading

Ryan Strieby, Erie

Michael Taylor, Reading-

Jonathan Tucker, Bowie

Nick Weglarz, Akron


Player Team

Daniel Moskos, Altoona-

Ryan Ouellette, Bowie-

Josh Perrault, Bowie

Vinnie Pestano, Akron

Josh Rainwater, Erie-

Hector Rondon, Akron-

Joe Savery, Reading-

Jack Spradlin, Harrisburg-

Josh Wilkie, Harrisburg

Vance Worley, Reading

Northern Division Roster

Position Players

Player, Team

Lars Anderson, Portland-

Brock Bond, Connecticut-

Reegie Corona, Trenton

Brian Dinkelman, New Britain

Brian Dopirak, New Hampshire

Brian Jeroloman, New Hampshire-

Jorge Jimenez, Portland

E. Martinez-Esteve, Connecticut

Eduardo Nunez, Trenton

Whitney Robbins, New Britain-

Josh Thole, Binghamton-

Rene Tosoni, New Britain

Jorge Vazquez, Trenton-

D.J. Wabick, Binghamton


Player, Team

Madison Bumgarner, Connecticut-

Matthew Fox, New Britain

Reidier Gonzalez, New Hampshire-

T.J. Large, Portland

Zach McAllister, Trenton-

Roy Merritt, Binghamton-

Joe Paterson, Connecticut

Josh Schmidt, Trenton

Anthony Slama, New Britain-

Junichi Tazawa, Portland-

- fan selections

SeaWolves catcher Alex Avila will have to put his All-Star break fishing plans on hold.

Avila was one of five Erie players selected to participate for the Southern Division in the annual Eastern League All-Star Game on July 15 at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J.

The league announced the 24-man Southern Division and Northern Division rosters Wednesday.

"It's a lot of hard work paying off and people saw enough in me and how I played so far that I was deserving to go,'' Avila said. "It's a great honor and I can't wait to go because it will be my first all-star game as a professional, so it will be pretty exciting.''

Joining Avila on the Southern Division team are Erie first baseman Ryan Strieby, outfielders Brennan Boesch and Deik Scram, and right-handed relief pitcher Josh Rainwater.

Scram and Rainwater were fan selections.

"If I wasn't going to go to Trenton, my family was going to be in town and we were going to try and get a fishing trip on Lake Erie, but obviously those plans are going to change,'' Avila said. "I think now the family is probably going to be going to Trenton to see the game. It will be good.''

Avila, 22, a native of Hialeah, Fla., made the jump to Double-A this season from low Single-A West Michigan a year ago.

The left-handed-hitting catcher has had a solid rookie Double-A season as the club's everyday catcher, batting .290 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 64 games.

"It's been a big improvement from the start of the season, as far as catching, to now,'' Avila said. "It's been hard, but at the same time a lot of fun because this is my job and I wouldn't want to do anything else.''

Avila entered the season rated the Tigers' 20th-best prospect by Baseball America.

"He made a pretty big jump to Double-A from low-A ball and he's just been getting the job done,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "He's consistently giving us quality at-bats. That's one of the things you always wonder. Can a guy hit jumping a level? But he's really shown us that he's a pretty good hitter. He stays on the ball well, and we've noticed that he doesn't really struggle against left-handers as opposed to right-handers, and that's one of the things you look at to see if a guy is capable of moving up the ladder -- can he stay in there and handle left-handed pitching, and he does that pretty well."

Entering Wednesday's home game against Trenton, Avila had a .995 fielding percentage and ranked third in the league in throwing out base stealers at 45.2 percent (28 caught stealing in 62 attempts).

"Behind the plate, he's been solid,'' Brookens said. "He has some things to work on, but when I look around this league and I see catchers, and I haven't seen everybody, I've got to put Alex in as one of the top catchers. He needs to stay on top of blocking balls and improve in that area a little bit. He certainly has an average major league arm, and his accuracy seems to be ahead of a lot of the other catchers I see. He's a guy who's going to get the opportunity to certainly play at the next level and a chance maybe to get to the big leagues. He just needs more time. He's only been catching about two years, so that's not that long.''

Boesch, in his first season in Double-A, is second in the league with 15 homers and fifth with 52 RBIs in 75 games.

"He got off to a slow start. He was concerned himself more, I think, than we were as a staff, but he worked and got it going and now he's a real force out there,'' Brookens said. "He's got real nice numbers, and his arm has come a long way from when I first saw him a couple years ago. He's making some real strong, accurate throws and he's getting better defensively. He's made a lot of adjustments in that area.''

Strieby, who missed several games in June with soreness in his left wrist, has 14 homers and 46 RBIs in 64 games.

He was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after missing a week with his wrist problem.

"He's missed quite a few games, so the numbers would be a little bit better,'' Brookens said. "He said he feels healthy and good to go, so that's a plus there and that will allow him to at least go to the all-star game and compete because, numbers-wise, he's among the league leaders in a lot of categories. Numbers-wise, it's pretty hard to not pick him on an all-star team.''

In 65 games, Scram is hitting .276 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs.

Rainwater, who made the move to the bullpen from the starting rotation in spring training, has gone 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 22 games, including two starts. Scram and Rainwater are in their second season with the SeaWolves.

Brookens said he thought SeaWolves right-handed reliever Zach Simons (1-1, 2.79, 24 appearances) was deserving of an all-star selection.

"He has pitched really good for us and been very consistent,'' Brookens said. "He hasn't been one-time bad and one-time good. He's been pretty solid the whole time. Early in the season, (Erie pitching coach) Ray Burris made some mechanics changes with him and, boy, did that seem to click. I thought he had a real chance to be on that all-star team.''

GoErie.com: Avila leads 'Wolves selected to All-Star Game

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Hollimon heads back onto DL

Shoulder injury sidelines infielder


ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 03. 2009 2:00AM


SeaWolves third baseman Michael Hollimon was placed on the disabled list Thursday and will have his sore right throwing shoulder examined Monday in Detroit by a Tigers doctor.

Third baseman Santo De Leon, who began the season with Erie, has been recalled from advanced Single-A Lakeland to replace Hollimon on the roster. De Leon is scheduled to report to the club today.

Hollimon had an MRI on his shoulder Tuesday, and his results were sent to the Tigers for further evaluation.

"It's been bothering me for about three weeks and I was trying to battle it, but it's frustrating,'' Hollimon said. "This entire year has been frustrating with the injuries that I've had.''

Hollimon spent six weeks on the disabled list earlier this season after suffering a knee and quadriceps injury during mid-April when he ran into the grandstand down the left-field line while attempting to catch a foul fly at Jerry Uht Park.

"I haven't really gotten into the groove to really do anything,'' Hollimon said. "That's a part of the game. You can't complain about it because everyone goes through the aches and pains of baseball.''

Because of injuries, Hollimon has appeared in only 29 games this season, hitting .212 with three homers and 21 RBIs. Hollimon has missed the past 10 games, last playing in a June 23 home game against the Altoona Curve.

"It doesn't bother me to swing or run; the only time it really shoots at me is when I throw,'' Hollimon said. "I've had some bad luck this past year, but it's one of those things.''

After opening the season with the SeaWolves, De Leon was reassigned to Lakeland on May 27. In 25 games with the Flying Tigers, he was hitting .268 (22-for-82) with no homers, five RBIs and seven errors.

"He's played a lot down there and he can help us,'' Brookens said. "He gives us another right-handed bat in the lineup and I think right now that's a good thing for us. We seem to have a lot of lefties in there.

"If (first baseman) Ryan Strieby has to go over to play left field some, which he is going to, then we can move (third baseman/first baseman) Ronnie Bourquin to first and De Leon can play third base,'' Brookens added. "I hate to lose Hollimon, but De Leon coming back to us is the best we can make out of that situation.''

GoErie.com: Hollimon heads back onto DL

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SeaWolves Preview

Published: July 04. 2009 2:30AM

Erie SeaWolves (43-37) at Binghamton Mets (29-50)

Today, 7:05 p.m.; Sunday-Monday, 1:05 p.m.

At NYSEG Stadium

Pitching matchups

-Today: Erie RH Luis Marte (5-7, 3.97) vs. Binghamton RH Dylan Owen (0-5, 6.00)

-Sunday: Erie RH Pat Stanley (2-2, 4.85) vs. Binghamton LH Eric Niesen (0-4, 7.64)

-Monday: Erie LH Jon Kibler (4-5, 3.77) vs. Binghamton RH Eric Brown (4-8, 5.57)

-Scouting the SeaWolves: After getting swept in a five-game series last weekend at Harrisburg and seeing their losing streak reach a season-high seven games, the SeaWolves rebounded at home this week, winning three of four against the Trenton Thunder. ... Erie and Binghamton meet for the first time this season and will play a 10-game season series. ... The SeaWolves are 11-5 against Northern Division teams this season. ... Third baseman Santo De Leon joined the club Thursday after being assigned from advanced Single-A Lakeland. De Leon replaces injured third baseman Michael Hollimon, who was put on the disabled list Thursday with a sore right throwing shoulder. Hollimon is scheduled to have his shoulder examined Monday in Detroit by a Tigers doctor. De Leon began the season with Erie and was reassigned to Lakeland on May 27. With Lakeland, De Leon was hitting. 268 with no homers and five RBIs in 25 games. ... Starting pitchers Jonah Nickerson (882/3), Kibler (881/3) and Marte (881/3) on Friday ranked third and tied for fourth in the league in innings pitched. ... Kibler has a league-leading three complete games.

-Scouting the Mets: Binghamton is last in the Northern Division, 17 games behind first-place Connecticut. They have lost four in a row... Binghamton went 8-21 in June, its worst month in franchise history. The B-Mets hit .271 as a team in June, but the pitching staff had a 4.70 ERA. ... Catcher Josh Thole, outfielder D.J. Wabick and pitcher Roy Merritt were selected to the Northern Division All-Star team for the July 15 Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, N.J. ... Thole, who is second in the league with a .346 average, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday. ... Merritt has a team-leading 11 saves. ... Outfielder Emmanuel Garcia leads the club with 16 steals. ... Brown is tied for second in the league in losses with eight. ... The B-Mets ranked third in the league Friday with a .270 team batting average, but were last in the league in ERA at 4.98.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves Preview

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SeaWolves Notebook

Published: July 04. 2009 2:30AM

-The SeaWolves' roster remained at 23 players Friday after Thursday's promotion of right-handed reliever Josh Rainwater to Triple-A Toledo.

Rainwater was called up to the Mud Hens after they put right-handed starter Alfredo Figaro, formerly of the SeaWolves, on their disabled list with a right wrist sprain.

"I'm assuming we'll probably try and get somebody in to Binghamton,'' SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. Erie visits Binghamton for a three-game series beginning today.

In 22 relief outings with the SeaWolves this season, Rainwater was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA and two saves. Rainwater was a starter with the SeaWolves in 2008.

"No matter where you're moving to, it's all about showing consistency, being able to throw all your pitches for strikes and trying to get outs,'' Rainwater said. "I don't know if my bullpen/starting experience really played a part in going up, but it could have. The main thing about moving up is showing them you're consistent getting outs and competing.''

Rainwater learned of his promotion immediately after Thursday's 9-6 win over the Trenton Thunder at Jerry Uht Park.

"He has a good enough arm that he can come back on a daily basis or give you that start,'' Brookens said. "He keeps the ball down in the zone. I always felt he could move up the ladder and was kind of surprised when he came back here. It's a good break for him.''

Rainwater was selected Wednesday to the Eastern League Southern Division All-Star Team for the July 15 Eastern League All-Star Game in Trenton, N.J. His Triple-A promotion means that another Erie pitcher will be selected by the league to replace him on the Eastern League Southern Division All-Star team.

That selection is expected to be made within the next week.

-Second baseman Scott Sizemore was hitting. 304 (21-for-69) with two homers and eight RBIs in his first 16 games with Toledo since his June 14 promotion from Erie.

Sizemore will compete for the U.S. Team in the July 12 Futures All-Star Game in St. Louis.

-Former SeaWolves outfielder/designated hitter Jeff Frazier threw one inning of relief and allowed four runs in Toledo's 16-3 road loss at Columbus Thursday.

Frazier came in to start the seventh with Toledo trailing 12-0. In the eighth, Frazier moved to third base and the Mud Hens used third baseman Mike Hessman to pitch. He needed three pitches to record three outs.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves Notebook

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SeaWolves' offense fizzles against Mets

From staff reports

Published: July 05. 2009 1:15AM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. –– Eleven runners left on base left the Erie SeaWolves frustrated Saturday night.

The Binghamton Mets, despite being no-hit until the fifth inning, blanked the 'Wolves 4-0 before an Independence Day crowd of 5,395 at NYSEG Stadium.

The Mets broke up Luis Marte's no-hitter in the fifth, then took the lead an inning later thanks to a three-run home run by first baseman Ike Davis.

Erie (43-38) couldn't take advantage of Marte's early mastery of the Mets. The 'Wolves squandered various scoring chances, leaving the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and sixth innings and another runner on third in the seventh.

Erie was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Binghamton (30-50) finally solved Marte (5-8) when Lucas Duda singled with one out in the fifth. The Mets did more than that to the 'Wolves' right-hander an inning later.

Mike Nickeas and Jonathan Malo each walked vs. Marte. Davis followed Malo's walk with his first home run this season, a drive to right-center field that gave the hosts a 3-0 lead.

Binghamton added its final run in the bottom of the seventh when Nickeas drove in Shawn Bowman with a single to left.

Mets starter Dylan Owen (1-5) wasn't spectacular over the first six innings, but still combined with two relievers for an eight-hit shutout as he picked up his first victory. Jake Ruckle pitched the final 21/3 innings for his first save.

Shawn Roof had three of Erie's hits and Ryan Strieby had two.

The 'Wolves' Ron Bourquin reached twice, but was picked off and was caught stealing.

Owen also got Bourquin on a called strike three to squash Erie's bases-loaded threat in the top of the fourth. The 'Wolves had the same scoring scenario in the sixth, but Danny Worth popped out to Bowman at second.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves' offense fizzles against Mets

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SeaWolves hold on for win

From staff reports

Published: July 06. 2009 2:15AM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It wasn't the cleanest save of Brett Jensen's career, but still tidy enough to clinch the Erie SeaWolves' victory Sunday.

Jensen pitched the last two innings of the 'Wolves' 3-1 win over the Binghamton Mets before 1,972 at NYSEG Stadium. The Erie closer got himself in trouble in each inning, but also got himself out with timely strikeouts.

The 'Wolves (44-38) took the lead for good in the top of the eighth. They loaded the bases off Binghamton relievers Edgar Ramirez (0-2) and Roy Merritt, then broke a 1-all tie on Santo De Leon's two-run line drive double to left field.

Jensen took over for Erie starter Pat Stanley (3-2) in the bottom of the eighth. A hit-batsman helped Binghamton (30-51) load the bases with one out, but Jensen quelled the threat when he struck out Lucas Duda and Shawn Bowman.

That scenario was nearly repeated in the bottom of the ninth.

The Mets' D.J. Wabick led off with a walk and Jensen hit Ruben Tejada. Pinch-hitter Jose Coronado sacrificed the runners into scoring position, but Jensen whiffed Emmanuel Garcia and Jonathan Malo to preserve Erie's win and his eighth save.

The 'Wolves tied the game at 1-all in the top of the fifth off Binghamton starter Eric Niesen.

De Leon and Ron Bourquin reached with one-out singles. De Leon scored on Danny Worth's single to center, but Bourquin was thrown out at home.

Erie manager Tom Brookens and Bourquin were ejected for arguing the call.

Bourquin had one of the 'Wolves' 14 hits. Alex Avila, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch, Worth and De Leon each had two.

De Leon's RBI double was Erie's only extra-base hit.

GoErie.com: SeaWolves hold on for win

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