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Saturday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: W 10-7

The Sky Sox returned home with a victory over Tacoma last night, Sean Barker had three hits, and Jayson Nix, Seth Smith, Joe Koshansky and Christian Colonel each had two apiece. Koshansky hit his eighth homerun, Smith hit his eighth double and also stole his eleventh base. Mark Redman's second start with the Sky Sox went a little better than his first start did, but only a little, as he gave up six runs on ten hits and a walk in five innings. That probably doesn't tell enough of the story, though.

Looking at Tacoma's extra base hit detail in the box score tells us more of what we need to know about his readiness:

2B: Tuiasosopo, M (11, Redman), Clement 2 (11, Redman, Redman), Diaz, V (8, Redman), Jimerson (5, Redman), Johnson, R (6, Redman).
3B: Garrett (1, Redman).
HR: LaHair (8, 5th inning off Redman, 1 on, 2 out), Jimerson (4, 8th inning off Bowers, 0 on, 2 out).

Eight out of those ten hits he gave up went for extra bases. Redman seems about as effective as a batting practice pitcher right now.

Tulsa: L 12-2

Speaking of BP pitchers, one of our favorite prospects here isn't doing any better lately. Brandon Hynick couldn't last through the second inning, giving up seven hits and eight runs (five earned) with a walk. Five of those seven hits went for extras including three homeruns. The Rangers' Chris Davis has been a Baseball America Hot Sheet semi-regular this season, he had a huge night off Tulsa pitching with two homers and two doubles.

Dexter Fowler continues to keep a journal of his season for, and tells how the team keeps loose. After getting swept by Frisco at home, the Drillers pitching staff probably deserves some crickets.

Modesto: W 3-2

The news on the pitching front looked a lot better at our two lower level full season affiliates. Aneury Rodriguez had his third straight quality start (7 out of 10 QS overall) and he currently ranks fourth among starters in the California League in ERA behind only a trio of considerably older San Jose Giants prospects including his opposing starter last night, league ERA leader Ben Snyder. The twenty-year old Rodriguez currently leads the CAL league in innings pitched, although that's likely to change when Trevor Cahill takes his next start.

Rodriguez still deserves more attention than he's been getting from the more general minor league media sources as well as by Rockies fans here at the Row. Too many pollsters for our top 30 don't seem to realize he's one of our top dozen prospects, and a better RHP prospect at this point than Hynick. Aneury is almost three years younger, and he's outpacing most of the important rate stats that Hynick put up last season at Modesto. Rodriguez is handicapped by not having the likes of Dexter Fowler, EY2 and Chris Nelson batting for his team every time out, but that doesn't mean we should penalize him for that in our rankings.

Yesterday the Nuts offense did come through, but a little late to help Aneury pick up the W. Victor Ferrante hit his second single to lead off the ninth with the score tied at two, he was replaced by pinch runner Geoff Strickland who advanced on a Michael McKenry sacrifice bunt and stole third while Matt Repec struck out. The Giants chose to intentionally walk Jay Cox, who had driven in the two Modesto runs up to that point with a double in the second to face Nelson Robledo. Robledo made them pay, poking a single to right to plate Strickland for the win.

Rodriguez and the rest of the Nuts pitching staff will have to do without the services of pitching coach Butch Hughes, who will be undergoing a procedure for arrhythmia and is expected to miss a week or more . Rockies roving minor league pitching coordinator Jim Wright has gone to Modesto to help in Hughes' absence. In the meantime, we wish Hughes a full and speedy recovery.

Asheville: L 5-2

The Tourists offense has been in a sort of funk lately, and not coincidentally it's happening in concert with a deep slump by outfielder Brian Rike. Rike's had just four singles in his last ten games , and 14 K's in 32 AB's. His contact woes were going to catch up to him at some point, but not having seen him lately, I don't know if this current slide is symptomatic of that, as the bulk of SAL pitchers typically won't have the kind of control necessary to take that kind of advantage. Either way, Rike's an intelligent player and hard worker, and he should be able to make the necessary adjustments to get back on track. Still, watching how players handle adversity is an important part of evaluating them, as you know a lot more adversity is going to come their way as they climb the ladder.

Darin Holcomb continues to tear into the ball, homering and doubling last night. Connor Graham had a fine start, lasting eight innings and giving up five hits and a walk, and just one earned run off a solo HR. Four of those five hits did go for extra bases, mistakes are still too costly with Graham. Craig Rodriguez pitched well in relief for two innings, but without the offense coming through in support, he finally relented in the eleventh, allowing two more HR's to the Rome squad and they went on to win.