Thursday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: L 4-5

The Rockies bottom of the rotation roulette wheel continues to spin. Jorge de la Rosa got demoted to the bullpen, Glendon Rusch is getting called up as the team continues to search for an answer. Here's a hint: It's not in the bottom of the rotation. Anyway, one pitcher who's already had one shot with the 2008 Rockies, and at the rate we're going will have a couple more before the season's out, Mark Redman actually threw a decent game last night, he went seven innings allowing just six hits and a walk, with a much improved extra base hit rate. Christian Colonel and Sean Barker had three hits apiece for the Sky Sox. Colonel's .370 batting average would be good enough for fourth in the league were he to have the thirty or so additional plate appearances to qualify.

That first link mentioned Humberto Cota's suspension for violating the MLB's performance enhancer policy, but didn't go into the odd details that the suspension happened under the MLB's jurisdiction rather than the minor leagues . Cota's statement says that the positive test came as a result of what he thought was just anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by a physician in Mexico this winter.

Tulsa: L 3-6

Alan Johnson and Brandon Hynick have been having similar deep but ineffective outings this season. Typically they give up a lot of hits but not many walks, although Johnson walked five in seven innings last night. It's sort of baffling how they could so thoroughly lose the abilities to create outs that were evident in Modesto in 2007. The leap to AA is difficult, but is it typically this bad? Other clubs don't appear to be having so many growing pains. I don't intend to be accusatory these last couple of days, even though the questions probably come off that way. I just don't think we can avoid some of these legitimate concerns about the state of pitching in the upper levels of the system any longer. There are just too many good young pitchers taking steps backwards and as a fan I want to make sure that if there's a problem that it's corrected before this next talented Modesto/Asheville wave suffers the same sort of setbacks.

Justin Nelson had three hits, including a homerun and double for the Drillers.

Modesto: L 0-5

In the comments to yesterday's Pebble Report we unearthed Shane Lindsay's broken pitching hand, which will keep him out six to eight weeks. It's been six to eight weeks that Modesto's offense has been out, but there's no timetable for a return yet. The Nuts managed two hits against Clayton Tanner, a starter whose last quality start before last night was April 8, also against Modesto. In the eight games between, he's been averaging just a smidgen over four innings a start with an ERA of 6.96. It would probably help Modesto to get Cole Garner's bat back, but I also have to wonder why Travis Becktel was benched a night after carrying the team to their only runs in the last four games.

Asheville: Off

Tucson (extended spring):

Just to fill in the other news from the comments yesterday, I did report that Ricardo Ferrer, an 18 year old Venezuelan RHP the Rockies signed in 2006, pitched off the mound for the first time since an off-season surgery.

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