Eliezer Alfonzo returned to Cheney Stadium yesterday with a bang – much to the dismay of the Tacoma Rainiers, who took a 9-6 loss as a result.
Alfonzo was the catcher for the Rainiers last year, helping the team win a PCL championship. He was with the 2010 Rainiers for nearly the entire season, with the only exception being three weeks in May when the Mariners called him up.
This year, he’s having trouble getting in the lineup. Alfonzo is behind prospect Jordan Pacheco on the Rockies depth chart, so he’s rarely playing. He even spent the entire month of April on the inactive list, because of a logjam of catchers.
Alfonzo hasn’t played much, but when he has – oh, boy. In just 24 games and 65 at-bats, Alfonzo is batting .338 with eight home runs and 31 RBI. He’s slugging .800 and has a 1.166 OPS.
Yesterday, Alfonzo hit a three-run homer off Luke French in the second inning, and then he connected for a game-breaking grand slam in the eighth off Royce Ring. He finished the game 3-for-4 with seven RBI.
We here at the Mike… Off-Mic blog are happy to see you doing well, Eliezer, and we certainly believe you should be playing more. But, as a favor to us, could you please wait two more days before employing any more of that snake-juice power? Thanks!
Before the game, the internet was alive with rumors that Double-A second baseman Kyle Seager was on his way to Tacoma. Yesterday was the last day of the Southern League all-star break, and with Dustin Ackley now in the majors this makes sense.
Seager, Ackley’s teammate at North Carolina, was hitting .312 with four home runs and 37 RBI in 66 games at Jackson. He posted a .381 on-base percentage, and he had a .459 slugging percentage primarily because he hit 25 doubles.
If you are curious why Seager was promoted instead of shortstop Carlos Triunfel, I can think of two immediate reasons: first, the 23-year-old Seager is two years older than Triunfel, and second Seager has been playing better.
In a related move, the Mariners promoted shortstop Nick Franklin from High Desert to Jackson, even though Franklin was struggling mightily at the plate in the California League (.207 with a .581 OPS away from High Desert). This will be a real challenge for Franklin; hopefully he swims.
According to a report on Twitter from Ryan Divish, Triunfel is going to move to third base with Franklin playing shortstop.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and it’s a Tasty Thursday at the ballpark ($2 beers, $1 hot dogs, soda, coffee, ice cream). You can catch the broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (4-2, 4.17) against Sky Sox RHP Edgar Gonzales (0-1, 6.30).
- Here is Ryan Divish’s Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, with word of the Kyle Seager call-up.
- The Mariners lost yesterday, and by the time this blog gets posted they will almost be done with today’s game. They need a win today to go back over .500.
- The Mariners have a strange series against the Marlins this weekend: playing at home, as the visiting team. This will be like the PCL championship series last year, when Tacoma was the home team at Autozone Park in Memphis. Divish makes a good point: you can probably buy some amazing seats that aren’t ordinarily available.
- Larry Stone caught up with ex-Rainiers hitter Mike “Michael” Morse.
- In the PCL, Las Vegas helped the Rainiers by beating the tarnation out of Reno.
- Brett Pill homered twice and Fresno beat Salt Lake, 8-3. In this story: Casey Daigle and Jennie Finch had a son: Diesel Daigle. Great name!
- After tossing his shutout on Tuesday, Barry Zito raved about 21-year-old Fresno catcher Hector Sanchez.
- It was deja vu all over again for Round Rock and New Orleans, who had a rain delay and eventual suspension of the game for the second day in a row. Both days the rain delay began at exactly 7:47 pm.
- As hot as Memphis has been, they had to settle for a doubleheader split at Iowa last night.
- Another doubleheader split, Omaha at Nashville.
- The broadcasters and umpires were announced for the Triple-A All-Star Game. Congratulations to friend of the blog Steve Klauke on getting the assignment. MLB Network will carry the game.
- My Cal Bears face the University of Virginia Mariners in a College World Series elimination game today at 4:00 (ESPN2). M’s #1 pick Danny Hultzen will only DH (thank goodness!). Cal starts a former walk-on who was drafted in the 6th round last year but decided to return to school. It turns out that the “Cal Baseball Reinstatement Rap” was the work of freshmen.
Nice, early blog today, huh? Yup, I’ll pat myself on the back.