Rays Minor League Notebook: 4/9/12

B.J. Upton began his rehab assignment on Monday.

B.J. Upton began his rehab assignment with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Henry Wrigley played long ball for Montgomery in a close loss, Bowling Green is shut out by West Michigan and Durham's bats come alive in a rout of Charlotte.

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Durham 13 Charlotte 5

Durham had their hitting shoes on on Monday night as they routed the Charlotte Knights 13-5. Six Bulls had multi-hit games, including three-hit performances by Jesus Feliciano, Matt Mangini, Juan Miranda and Shawn O'Malley. Five players also had multiple RBI's and starting pitcher Matt Torra got the win in his 2012 debut.

Feliciano, hitting lead off, led the way offensively by going 3-for-6 with two runs scored and Juan Miranda broke out of an 0-for-12 slide by going 3-for-4 with a double, 3 runs and 2 RBI. Brandon Guyer also joined the hit party by walloping his second homer of the year. Every Durham player recorded a hit except for Kyle Hudson, who came into the game leading the International League in hitting. Hudson did record two RBI though on sacrifices. The Bulls were also aided by a sloppy Charlotte defense which made five errors, four which were charged to shortstop Ozzie Martinez.

Torra allowed five runs in his outing, but lasted 5.1 innings and did not walk a batter while striking out two. Three of the five runs he allowed were also unearned, so all-in-all it was a solid performance by the veteran minor leaguer. he left the game in the sixth after allowing two solo hone runs and the Durham pen held Charlotte scoreless for the duration of the game.

Notes: Matt Mangini his off to a hot start for the Bulls and went 3-for-5 with an RBI. He is the only Durham player to record a hit in all five games this season. --- The Bulls lead the International League in hitting with a .297 mark. --- After five games the Durham pitching staff leads the league in strikeouts with 59. --- Durham has now won three in a row and has a 2.0 lead in the IL. --- Brandon Guyer is hitting .150 (3-for-20) to start the season, but all three hits have been of the extra-base variety.

Tuesday: Home against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 ET (Alex Cobb 0-0 1.80)



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Pensacola 6 Montgomery 5

Henry Wrigley hit two home runs, but the Montgomery Biscuits fell just short of a victory and lost 6-5 to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Wrigley hit his first dinger in the second and then tied the game at 5 in the eighth with a no-doubter for his second blast. Pensacola reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the frame off of reliever Jim Paduch with back-to-back two out hits.With two outs in the ninth, Pensacola reliever hit Omar Luna and then Isaias Velasquez singled to put runners on the corners for lead-off hitter Hak-Ju Lee. Lee would ground out to end the game and Montgomery would fall just short of victory for the second straight game.

Biscuits starter Jacob Thompson was cruising until the fourth when Mike Costanzo launched a grand slam off of the right-hander. Thompson would get a no decision in his first start of 2012.

Infielder Cole Figueroa hit a solo home run for the Biscuits, his second, and he has recorded nine hits in his first five games.

Notes: Top-of-the-order hitters Hak-Ju-Lee and Tyler Bortnick combined to go 0-for-9 with 5 strikeouts in the game and are hitting .227 and .200 respectively. --- The Biscuits were caught stealing three times in the game (Salem, Figueroa, Velasquez). --- Catcher Mark Thomas is off to a 1-for-15 start to 2012. --- The Montgomery pitching staff is last in team ERA with a 4.97 mark. --- Cole Figueroa is second in the league in RBI (7) and tied for fourth in hitting (.429).

Tuesday: Away against the Mississippi Braves at 8:00 PM ET ( Shane Dyer 0-0 0.00)



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St. Lucie 6 Charlotte 5

The Charlotte Stone Crabs lost to the Mets on a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth by Darrell Ceciliani in a see-saw affair in Port St. Lucie.

The two teams are now tied for first in the Florida State League South Division with 3-1 records as the Stone Crabs came into the undefeated on the heels of an opening-series sweep of the Fort Myers Miracle.

Nate Garcia, who was appearing for the first time this season, gave up the game-winning blast to Ceciliani. In all, Charlotte pitchers gave up three blasts in the game.

The other big story line of the game was the appearance of B.J. Upton in the Stone Crabs lineup. The outfielder, who went 0-for-2 before being replaced by Cody Rogers, is on a rehab assignment after a sore back landed him on the Rays disabled list to start the season.

Ty Morrison enjoyed a nice night at the plate hitting out of the lead-off spot. The outfielder went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run. Hector Guevara continued his great start to 2012 by collecting a pair of two out, RBI base hits.

Notes: George Jensen, who led the Rays system in wins as a starter in 2011, pitched 3+ innings out of the pen for the second time this season and has given up a lone run in 7 innings of work. --- Hector Guevara has three two-hit games to start the campaign and leads the team in RBI with five. --- The Stone Crabs are just 3-for-9 in stolen base attempts so far this year. --- The team's batting average of .291 is good for second in the Florida State League. --- B.J. Upton drove in the game's first run in the bottom of the first on a ground out to short that followed a lead-off triple by Morrison.

Tuesday: Away against the St. Lucie Mets at 6:30 PM ET (Wilking Rodriguez (0-0 0.00)

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West Michigan 4 Bowling Green 0

Jeff Malm and Jake Hager both doubled for the Hot Rods, but that was the extent of the offense as Bowling Green was shut out 4-0 by the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Malm's double in the fourth, which was followed by a Cameron Seitzer single, was the team's best scoring chance of the night and was the last time a runner would reach third in the game.

Ryan Carpenter, who was making his first start of the season, had problems with the middle of the Whitecaps order. Eight of the nine hits he allowed were to the three through six hitters and he also gave up a career high four runs.

Notes: Andrew Bellatti pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the second time this season. --- The Hot Rods pitching staff is second in the Midwest League with a 1.85 ERA and leads the league in WHIP (0.95). --- Carpenter's outing was the first time this season a Bowling Green starter had given up more than three earned runs in a start. --- Neither pitching staff allowed a walk in the game. --- Infielder Taylor Motter is hitless to start the year (0-for-12).

Tuesday: Away against the West Michigan Whitecaps at 6:35 PM ET (Roberto Gomez 0-0 0.00)




John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.

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