Saturday Pebble Report: Wheeler and Blackmon Switch Places

DENVER, CO - JULY 2: Charlie Blackmon #8 of the Colorado Rockies bunts for a base hit during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Coors Field on July 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)

ed. We have a new contributor to Purple Row! Due to our own scheduling conflicts and availability, we found ourselves lacking a writer for Saturday's Pebble Report. RhodeIslandRoxFan had expressed interest in writing minor league recaps in the past, so he seemed the logical choice for Saturday's article. Welcome RIRF as he covers Saturday's Pebble Report!

AAA Colorado Springs - L 0-14, (4-5, 2nd, 2.0 GB)

Friday was supposed to be a good night in Colorado Springs as #10 PuRP Charlie Blackmon returned from his turf toe injury to begin a rehab assignment for the Sky Sox. Instead, it turned into a horrible evening all the way around as the club was annihilated 14-0 and reports surfaced that #8 PuRP Tim Wheeler needs surgery on his right hamate bone and is likely miss a month of action. This is an extremely disappointing development as Wheeler, who hit 33 home runs for AA Tulsa last season, had a chance to make an impact on the big club this summer with a strong couple of months in the Springs.

On the field, the news was a different kind of ugly. Sky Sox starter Rob Scahill was tattooed to the tune of 10 earned runs in just 3.1 innings (OUCH!), the offense had more strikeouts than total bases as Vegas starter Joel Carreno was in complete control, and D.J. LeMahieu made his 5th error of the season in this just the 9th game of the year.

Charlie Blackmon went 1-4 with three K's in his first game back.

AA Tulsa - W 9-4, (5-3, 1st)

Last year in High-A Modesto, it took #9 PuRP Josh Rutledge until July to hit his second home run of the season. That won't be the case this year in Tulsa as he went yard twice last night against San Antonio to give him three bombs on the young season. He also had a walk, his 4th stolen base of the year, and raised his OPS to .933. He was hardly alone in his attack though. #22 PuRP Kent Matthes and #26 PuRP Ben Paulsen both launched their second home runs of the season, Michael Mitchell went 2-3 with a walk, and super prospect/#2PuRP Nolan Arenado was on base twice as he went 1-3 with a walk. (Arenado also had two K's in this game though - which is unusual.)

Tulsa's starter Dan Houston had to deal with a one hour and 46 minute delay due to the severe storm moving through the center of the country but eventually tossed six innings of three run baseball.

High-A Modesto - W 9-4, (2-6, 5th, 4.0 GB)

Just like the Drillers, the Nuts used a multipronged attack to defeat their opponent (in this case the Stockton Ports) by a score of 9-4. Christian Adames, Bryce Massanari, #19 PuRP Corey Dickerson, Jared Clark, and Dustin Garneau all had multi hit games with Massanari and Dickerson both going deep. Modesto starter Joshua Mueller was very mediocre surrendering four runs on seven hits over 5 IP while both Isaiah Froneberger and Leuris Gomez combined to shut down the Ports over the final four frames.

This game officially brings Dickerson's numbers up to the eye candy level. He's only 33 plate appearances into the season so take the following with a grain of salt but he's now batting .469 with a 1.221 OPS. This is an interesting development because last year Dickerson had a .287 OBP, a .660 OPS, and a 28% K rate when playing on the road away from Ashville's homer happy park where he clubbed 26 of his 32 home runs. He's off to a flying start; now let's see how long he can stay productive.

Low-A Asheville - W 9-4, (5-4, 2nd, 0.5 GB)

Like Tulsa and Modesto, Asheville won by a score of 9-4. Unlike Tulsa and Modesto, they completely spread their hits throughout the lineup as every Tourist starter had at least one base knock. They also had some help from Hickory as the Crawdads made four errors on the evening. The big blows for the Tourists came off the bats of Jared Simon and #12 PuRP Trevor Story as they each had a home run. Ashville's offense is now averaging 6.33 runs a game over their first nine contests this season.

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