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Wednesday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: I haven't mentioned the performance of catcher Edwin Bellorin much this season, but if you were to grade all of the Rockies' free agent additions of the offseason (both major and minor league) his name should be at or near the top of the list. I mean who else do we have? LaTroy Hawkins? Steve Finley? John Mabry? After going three for three yesterday with a homerun, Bellorin now has a .391 average and three homeruns in just 12 games played. As you'll note on his linked profile page, there's a huge home/road split and he's definitely benefitting from the altitude, but you'll also note that there are several Sky Sox who aren't hitting well either at home or on the road, including fellow backstop Alvin Colina. We nearly lost Bellorin at the end of this Spring before we found a place in Mexico to stash Geronimo Gil, who by the way, is also playing very well himself. Both provide us security behind the plate, and I'd say it was time to think about using some of that security if I thought for a minute that management would make the correct decision on which MLB catcher to replace.

Cory Sullivan scored the winning run for the Sky Sox in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch. As happy as that sounds,the sequence of events leading up to it brought back some surreal flashbacks of Rockies' games past:

  1. Sullivan walks (okay, that rarely happened but when it did...)
  2. Barmes sacrifice bunt (this is the part where I started getting a cold sweat)
  3. Ian Stewart intentionally walked (Big lefty corner bat getting the IBB, tell me this is familiar to you, too)
  4. Sean Barker strikes out swinging (Matt Holliday  would always do this with the game on the line up to this year)
  5. Joe Koshansky walks
  6. Wild pitch scores Sullivan with Colina batting. With Colina's year so far, this was an extremely lucky occurence for the Sox. Giving away the out with Barmes came so close to once again being a deal breaker.
Tulsa: Alan Johnson is an organizational soldier, but he's like a stealth bionic organizational soldier or something, as it seems no matter where we put him, he gets the job done, and does it well. Asked to do an impression at AA of Franklin Morales while our star prospect is on the DL, Johnson came into Tulsa and threw six scoreless innings of three hit ball. He struck out five, but he messed up the Morales impression badly by walking just one. Aaron Rifkin singled, doubled and homered, and Curtis Frey also added three hits, two runs and two RBI to give Johnson the "W".

By the way, while trying to look up recaps of this game, I read this article of one of the most generous acts I've ever seen from a professional athlete. LPGA golfer Mi Hyun Kim (I don't know if she's any relation to our pitcher) gave away half of her check for winning a tournament in Tulsa ($100,000) to help Kansans rebuild after the tornados. It's a very refreshing thing to see and she's now made my book of heroes. Many many thanks for the example, Ms. Kim.

Modesto: Chaz Roe one hit the D-backs' prospects at Visalia for six innings, although his 3/2 BB/K ratio continued a very bad season long trend in that department. I should note that one of the two K's was of super-prospect Justin Upton who was held hitless in five AB's, so I do take something positive from that. After reliever Tomas Santiago gave up the lead in the seventh, Modesto rallied with five runs in the bottom of the eighth for the victory. Dexter Fowler and Nelson had three hits apiece, while Daniel Carte (double and homerun), Cole Garner (double and triple), Eric Young (double and single) and Phillip Cuadrado (two singles) all also had a multi-hit game.

The ModBee's notes column has injury updates on Neil Wilson, Jason Van Kooten and Lino Garcia, and also explains the odd 3:35 p.m. start time for today's game. Brandon Durden takes the mound for the Nuts today.

Asheville: With Jay Cox being held out of the lineup, officially for an illness, the Tourists are able to showcase both the hot bats of Logan Wiens and Michael Paulk at once. And with that they are rolling up the W's. Yesterday, Wiens didn't get a hit (he walked twice) but Paulk connected twice, and Victor Ferrante got three knocks to pace the offense, while Andrew Graham picked up the win with a six inning effort. Graham allowed six hits, walked none and K'd three and let just one run cross the plate for his fourth victory of the season.