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Thursday Morning Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: There's not much to write about this game, which the Sky Sox lost four to nothing. Seth Smith, Omar Quintanilla and Alexis Gomez had the three hits for the Springs and Gomez got to play all three outfield positions.

Tulsa: I'm not sure what to make of Samuel Deduno's 2007 other than to say he's clearly not ready for the show, and might not be until 2009, particularly if he's going to be used as a starter. He had another rough outing yesterday, with nine hits, four walks and five runs allowed in six and a third innings. Luckily his offense came to back him out of a jam, as Jordan Czarniecki had three hits, including a homerun and double and drove in four and Christian Colonel added a two run pop of his own to spur the Drillers' seven to five victory. Chris Frey also had three hits (including two doubles) and scored three times. Corey Wimberly rounded out the three hit gang, and though none were for extra bases, he did go three for three in SB attempts to make up for it.

Modesto: Xavier Cedeno came back from the best start of his minor league career with two more dominant innings before hitting a major wall in the third inning of last night's Modesto loss. In the first two innings he allowed one walk, struck out two and coaxed for groundouts from the other batters. In the third he retired the first batter by strikeout before allowing the next six batters to reach, and four of them to score. At this point, he got the hook of mercy. Cedeno and catcher Neil Wilson also let Bakersfield runners steal three bases, which might have rattled him a bit.

Wilson made up for it a bit at the plate, hitting a double and triple and scoring twice. Chris Nelson, Nelson Robledo and Daniel Carte each also had multi-hit games.

Asheville: The Tourists' were off.

Tri-City: Readers will know that I have a jealous streak that leads me to have a bitter resentment toward all things Diamondback. It really brings out a character flaw in me that just isn't pretty. That they have both Justin Upton and Chris Young right now makes me cringe, but I get gleeful when I see Stephen Drew stumble while Tulo shines this season. Similarly, I should have more empathy toward the struggles of one time pitching phenom Jason Neighborgall, but the fact that he's in the D-backs' system makes that almost impossible, and when he allows three runs to one of our affiliates by four walks, a hit batter, and a wild pitch without retiring one guy, I actually get kind of happy inside. I should probably talk to my therapist about that.

Of course, with a score of fifteen to five, you can tell that Neighborgall wasn't the only Yakima pitcher the Dust Devils beat up on. Darin Holcomb went four for four, had three RBI and was the victim of the aforementioned HBP. Helder Velazquez and Lars Davis each had three hits, and Brian Lapin had two, three RBI and scored three times. Jordan Pacheco was rewarded with his recent strong play at Casper with a call up to Tri-City for this last week (or more if they make the playoffs) and singled and scored twice in his debut.

Bruce Billings had a bit of trouble with his inside pitches, hitting two batters himself, but he was otherwise fairly solid in six innings (six K's, three hits) of what was a seemingly offensive environment. In a good sign of his development, he hasn't allowed an HR for several starts, and his overall HR rate is dropping to a more acceptable level than what it was early in the season. It will still be something to look for, next season, particularly since McCormick Field at Asheville can be merciless in that regard.

Casper: In June, Jhoulys Chacin faced the Ogden Raptors twice, going 0-2 and allowing eleven runs on fourteen hits in just nine and two-thirds innings. His last two starts against the Dodger affiliate has seen him go 2-0 with three runs allowed and twelve K's and just nine hits in thirteen and two-thirds innings. The difference actually might be throwing less strikes, as he's also seen his walks allowed increase from zero to five from the starts in June to these latter two. At any rate, his turnaround has been one of the brightest stories of the season as far as our prospects are concerned. Scott Robinson had two hits and scored one of Casper's three runs, and Leonardo Reyes scored the other two in the three to two win. Zack Murry contributed the key hit with a two out, two run scoring single in the fifth inning.