In Triple-A baseball there is a constant churning of the roster. This is a fact of life for all 16 teams in the PCL, and the play on the field is pretty much unaffected by it.
But yesterday the moves grew bigger than the game – at least from my seat in the press box.
It started two hours before the game, when scheduled starter David Pauley was scratched. Rainiers manager Daren Brown was unable to say exactly why, but it’s pretty clear that Pauley is being whisked away to a place that rhymes with “pig teegs,” where he will join a team named after seafarers. Thank goodness we kept that a secret!
So Andy Baldwin made the emergency start for Tacoma, working on three days rest. He allowed a two-out, three-run homer in the second inning, but settled down and got the team into the sixth inning when disaster hit. With the team trailing 3-2, Rainiers fielders lost not one, but two catchable fly balls in the twilight sky. They led to three runs scoring, and Sacramento ended up with the 6-2 win.
I didn’t hear about it until the 7th inning when Shannon Drayer broke the story on Twitter*, but apparently the Rainiers knew around the fifth inning that outfielder Ezequiel Carrera had been traded to the Cleveland Indians, along with Class-A shortstop Juan Diaz, for Russell Branyan.
Carrera found out about the trade the old-fashioned way: a phone call in the dugout. Trainer Tom Newberg carries what they jokingly call “The Bat Phone” which pretty much only rings if something big is going on with the Mariners, and they need to make a move during a Rainiers game.
Apparently Carrera is going to the Indians extended spring training camp in Arizona, where he will continue to rehabilitate his hip pointer before eventually joining the Indians Triple-A team.
While all this was going on, it was Polynesian Culture Night at Raley Field, complete with hula dancers and dancing men dressed in loincloth between innings - all of which resulted in American-with-Samoan-name Matt Tuiasosopo receiving a ton of grief from his teammates.
So a lot happened last night – oh yeah, the Rainiers also lost a game on their lead. Salt Lake nipped Reno 6-5 so Tacoma’s lead in the division got trimmed to two games.
Today it’s a 1:05 start – the radio pre-game begins at 12:50, and we’ll have our weekly interview with manager Daren Brown. Tacoma starts RHP Ian Snell (1-0, 0.00) against former Mariners and Rainiers LHP John Halama (2-1, 5.94).
Now for the Sunday links:
- Here is my Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, with quotes from Brown on the moves. Here’s the River Cats run-down from the Sacramento Bee – they’re hot right now.
- And my Minor League Notebook leads with Jaime Navarro on Michael Pineda, among other things.
- Ryan Divish put down his half-empty glass and tried to figure out who is the Least Valuable Mariner.
- Geoff Baker got Jack Z to explain the Branyan trade.
- Larry Stone looks to the future and has quotes from Pedro Grifol on several different Mariners prospects.
- Always fun: Stone’s Power Rankings, and his notebook.
- The Mariners won yesterday, and Brian Sweeney picked up the victory. Coincidentally, his old pal Scott Atchison got the win in relief for the Red Sox yesterday.
- In the PCL, the Fresno Grizzlies had “Twilight Night.” Check out the description of the special jerseys. Matt Yourkin tossed a gem and the Grizzlies won.
- Here’s the story on Salt Lake’s win. Cory Aldridge doubled home the winning run, and catcher Hank Conger threw out three base stealers.
- This is sad – the Bees always have the banner flying around the park on game days.
- Now this is baseball in Colorado Springs: 36 hits, 19 runs, and a 12-7 Portland win. In this story: former Rainiers pitcher Damian Moss was released – that alone will shorten Sky Sox game times by an average of 15 minutes.
- The Reno paper runs down the Aces potential all-stars. I believe the all-star teams are announced later this week.
- In this Sunday notebook from Marlon Morgan of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, there was a bench-clearing incident in Memphis this week that resulted in suspensions. Sweet!
- In other baseball news, here’s an amazing add-on to the Daniel Nava story. The Red Sox are going to have to play a long time without Dustin Pedroia.
- Here’s a pretty good piece out of Des Moines about throwing out base stealers.
OK let’s see who gets traded who wins today!