THE NEWBERG REPORT — JUNE 22, 2006
A missed call at the plate. A missed throw at third base. A missed bunt signal. And a one-run loss. God, those hurt.
I like Chris Young a lot. But I wanted my team to kick his tail, just as I know he wanted to punish his old teammates.
And an hour later, in Colorado, former Ranger farmhand Ramon Ramirez was brought in to face Oakland fifth-place hitter Bobby Kielty in the 11th inning and served up a single, allowing Nick Swisher to score and stake the A’s to a 3-2 lead that would stand up. Swisher scored all three Oakland runs, the first two on solo bombs.
I’m sorta ready for my sports week to get better.
Righthander Kameron Loe was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to June 19) with an apparent bone bruise in his elbow. Loe had never missed a start or spent any time on a disabled list in his entire pro career, including the minor leagues.
Center fielder Freddy Guzman was brought up to take Loe’s place on the roster, as another starter won’t be needed until Saturday, when Robinson Tejeda will be recalled from Oklahoma. Guzman was hitting .278/.376/.348 in 115 RedHawk at-bats (.276/.362/.381 overall, including his time with AAA Portland), leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 stolen bases.
Texas reinstated righthander Frankie Francisco from the disabled list on Tuesday and optioned him to Frisco. That means that, barring an injury to another Rangers pitcher, Francisco will first be eligible to be recalled on June 30, which is when the Rangers open up a three-game set at home against Houston.
Francisco threw about 25 pitches in the Arlington bullpen before Tuesday’s game, as did RoughRiders righthander Josh Rupe, as Frisco was on its All-Star Break. Francisco will pitch for Frisco tonight and tomorrow, his first back-to-back-day assignments since embarking on his rehab assignment.
Righthander Adam Eaton is shooting for a July 26 return to the big leagues. He’ll attempt on Tuesday to throw a breaking ball for the first time since April surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right middle finger. If all goes well, he’ll reportedly throw a simulated game on July 2 and kick off a rehab assignment on July 6.
Righthander John Wasdin is expected to make a rehab start for Oklahoma on Sunday, limited to about 70 pitches.
Unable to find a trade for him, Texas placed righthander Antonio Alfonseca on unconditional waivers for the purpose of granting him his release. He’d been designated for assignment.
Nothing has been made official, but there are some indications that Frisco lefthander John Danks may be on the verge of a promotion to Oklahoma. The 21-year-old, according to the RoughRiders website, chose not to participate in Tuesday’s Texas League All-Star Game. (He did pitch six innings on Sunday, however, which probably explains the decision.) Jon Daniels has said the organization wasn’t going to make minor league promotions until after the various league All-Star Games. And although I didn’t hear it myself, RedHawks radio announcer Jim Byers apparently said on last night’s game broadcast that Danks is slated to pitch for the AAA club on Saturday.
We’ll update you when there’s news on Danks, who is 5-4, 4.15 in 13 Frisco starts but, more instructively, posted a 7.15 ERA in 22.2 April innings; a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 May innings; and a 2.16 ERA in 25 June frames. He has seven quality starts in his last eight (the lone exception was a 3.2-inning effort on May 28 that followed a two-week layoff and was thus limited by a pitch count). His 82 strikeouts are second in the Texas League to Corpus Christi righthander Juan Gutierrez, whose 86 punchouts have come in 9.1 more innings than Danks has amassed.
While Danks didn’t appear in the Texas League All-Star Game, teammate Thomas Diamond did, and he was very good, striking out the side (number two hitter Jordan Czarniecki, swinging; Alex Gordon, swinging; and Billy Butler, swinging) in one inning of work. Anthony Webster, Nate Gold, and Adam Morrissey each went 0 for 1.
Clinton first baseman Freddie Thon went 0 for 1 in the Midwest League All-Star Game.
Bakersfield righthander Eric Hurley, who could earn a promotion to Frisco in tandem with a Danks promotion to AAA, will pitch for the U.S. Team in the Futures Game, and Oklahoma shortstop Joaquin Arias will play for the World Team. The game will be played in Pittsburgh on Sunday, June 9, as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities.
The Rangers signed their third-round draft choice, Pepperdine catcher Chad Tracy, for a reported $425,000 bonus, and he’ll get his career started at Spokane. Texas also signed its sixth-round pick Jacob Brigham, a high school righthander out of Central Florida Christian Academy in Florida, as well as its 45th-round pick, University of New Mexico lefthander and changeup specialist Daniel Herrera, and its 50th-rounder, Gonzaga University southpaw Patrick Donovan.
Tracy, the son of Pirates manager Jim Tracy, was widely considered to be the top offensive catcher in the draft, hitting .315/.381/.496 with 20 doubles, four triples, six home runs, and 46 RBI in 254 at-bats over 63 games for the Waves this year.
Brigham, who went 9-2, 0.51 as a high school junior, with 141 strikeouts in 68 innings, allowing just 20 hits and 21 walks, and 10-3, 0.75 as a senior, firing three no-hitters and punching out 146 hitters in 75 frames, scattering 19 hits and walking 32, was named by Baseball America before the 2006 season as a Third-Team Pre-Season All-America (and the number 20 high school prospect in the country, eight spots behind Rangers’ first-round pick Kasey Kiker and just ahead of fourth-rounder Marcus Lemon) before reportedly falling slightly in scouts’ eyes during the spring. He’d committed to the University of Central Florida but instead will get his pro career underway, most likely in the Arizona League.
The only Ranger picks who remain unsigned from the first 12 rounds are Lemon, who will likely be a difficult sign, and Rice righthander Craig Crow, who pitched last night in the Owls’ 5-0 loss to Oregon State in the College World Series. Rice remains alive in Omaha.
Spokane kicked its season off on Monday, and the Arizona League opens today. Kiker debuted on Tuesday for Spokane (I’m probably once again going to avoid calling them the Indians all year: just too confusing), allowing a run on no hits, a walk, and a wild pitch in one inning of work, fanning one. He’ll get his first start tomorrow night.
This week’s Newberg Report “Going Deep” submission is now posted on the Rangers’ MLB site. It discusses when draft picks first become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, using Kiker for context.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers and 2005 18th-rounder Chase Fontaine ended up roughly $100,000 apart in draft-and-follow negotiations last month. Atlanta used a second-round pick to draft the Daytona Beach Community College shortstop earlier this month, and the Braves — who told the press that “there was no question in our minds that he was the best hitter in junior college” — have already signed him.
The Dodgers signed Highland Park lefthander Clayton Kershaw (first round) and Oakland signed Hillcrest outfielder Matt Sulentic (third round). Sorry, Texas A&M.
Righthander Jason Standridge has resurfaced with Cincinnati.
The Yankees purchased the contract of righthander Jose Veras early this week, but he’s already been returned to AAA Columbus without getting into a game.
Oakland righthander Steve Karsay retired.
Lefthander Andy Pratt and righthander Billy Sylvester have signed with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League.
Tampa Bay designated Sean Burroughs for assignment. I usually reserve notes like these for former Rangers, but this one jumped out — not because his dad is a former Ranger, but because there was a time five years ago when the debate over who the best hitting prospect in the game was centered on Burroughs or Hank Blalock.
Roger Clemens debuts for Houston today.
A few announcements:
1. We’re going to have an eStore on the Newberg Report website up and running in the next day or two, and I’ll announce some Grand Opening specials when it’s ready.
2. I’ll be on Southwest Kia Sports Talk (KFWD TV-52) with host Brady Tinker on Tuesday night.
3. We now have a few openings for those of you who haven’t paid for Newberg Report Night (Sunday, July 2) or weren’t able to get in before I had to close reservations.
But here’s the caveat: the auditorium where the pregame events will happen is already at capacity, so any of you who sign up from this point forward will only have access to the Rangers-Astros game itself. And a second caveat: you won’t have any control over whether you’re in Casey’s Corner or in a suite. Given the stage of things we’re in, I’m going to have to slot you where we have room.
If you’re interested — and remember, this would be for the game only, and not the pregame — I’m discounting the charge from $30 to $20. I’m not exactly sure at the moment how many spots are open, but it’s fewer than 20. I’m going to take reservations on a first-come, first-served basis, according to when I receive payment (not when I hear from you that you want a spot, or spots).
Using PayPal would give you the best chance of getting in, since it’s immediate and I can imagine that mailing a check in the morning may arrive too late, given how few spots there are. To pay via PayPal, go to http://www.paypal.com, select the “Send money” option, and type in firstname.lastname@example.org where you are prompted for the e-mail account. Again, these last spots are $20 per person.
If you do choose to send a check or money order, make it payable to “Jamey Newberg” and sent it to:
Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox
1700 Pacific Avenue, Suite 2800
Dallas, TX 75201