Report from the minors – Roy Smith
I spent last week in Sacramento and Fresno following the Las Vegas team. I was with them from Monday through Friday, including a double header in Sacramento on Monday so it was six games in total. The team is off to a very good start at 13-6. This is most encouraging considering that the core of the team, Joel Guzman, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley, Eric Stults, Delwyn Young, Jonathan Broxton and James Loney (now that he is there) are all in their first full year of Triple-A baseball.
I witnessed a good run through the starting rotation with Billingsley, D.J. Houlton, Stults, Aaron Sele and Harold Eckert all having good starts. Broxton is getting more and more comfortable in his relief role as he recorded three saves during the week. Veteran left-hander Joe Beimel is doing a good job setting up for Broxton.
Offensively, Ethier, Guzman, Martin and Willy Aybar all off to excellent starts. Thursday and Friday Nomar Garciaparra came to Fresno for his rehab assignment, which added a bit of a buzz to the games in Fresno. All in all, we are very pleased with the team. Manager Jerry Royster and coaches Steve Yeager and Kenny Howell (all ex-Dodgers) are doing a great job.
On another note, yesterday we traded Cody Ross to the Reds for a player to be named later. Generally speaking, what this means is that we will receive a player from the Reds on or before a specified date. While I am not at liberty to go into specifics about this particular transaction, sometimes this is done to give an organization time to scout players and make a choice between an agreed upon group. Sometimes it is done to allow a player who is injured to get healthy and then traded. Often a predetermined amount of cash is added to the agreement in case a deal involving players cannot be reached. The caveat, as it pertains to players to be named, is that the player or players in question can not appear in the Major Leagues that year before they become “the player to be named.”
Years ago, a player in the minor leagues had his last name legally changed. Rocky Bridges was quoted as saying "this is truly the player to be named later."
When will Martin be ready? I am not crazy about the job Navarro has done both offensively and defensively so far. Alomar has been very good in the games he has played. I hope Yeager is doing all he can to pass his catching wisdom to Martin and we see him in the show before too long.
I have got to be wondering whether Furcal should be back on the disabled list. He certainly is not hitting, even though to some it may seem early to come to that judgment, and with six errors it seems like he is not fielding up to his par either.
I too am disappointed in Navarro. For a highly rated prospect with now several months of big league experience, he shows me very little, and I would rather see Martin get a chance.
I also think that last nights 14 inning game with the Astros was a managing disaster. It seemed inexcusable to remove so many of the key players early in the game, only to be left with two pitchers to pinch hit in late key situations.
Navarro had another passed ball tonight that was even worse. A little league catcher could have caught that one… it just zoomed right past his glove!