Lail Rebounds, Cave Ignites Offense in Thunder Win

Brady Lail  threw seven strong innings Saturday night in his best start of the season so far.

ERIE, PA – Between the top and bottom of the 8th inning at Jerry Uht Park, an accumulation of several innings worth of rain was enough to send Saturday’s game between  the Trenton Thunder and Erie SeaWolves to a screeching halt. The Thunder earned a fourth straight win, 4-1.

Jake Cave finished 3-for-4, but his home run in the 3rd inning started the Thunder offense on the right foot off Erie starter, Myles Jaye. With two outs and none on in the 3rd inning, Tyler Wade drew a four-pitch walk. Then with a 3-1 count and Wade off with the pitch, Cave drilled a home run to right field for his second longball of the season. Trenton’s left fielder finished with a single, triple and homer, and he would have been due to bat third in the top of the 9th inning needing a double for the cycle but never got the opportunity.

Later in the game with Trenton leading 3-0, Dante Bichette Jr. connected on a double over the head of the right fielder Jeff McVaney which allowed Lane Adams to hustle all the way around from first base. The added insurance run in the middle innings made it a 4-0 Thunder lead.

Thunder starting pitcher Brady Lail gets credited with a complete-game effort and his first victory of the season. He tossed 7.0 innings without allowing a run until the 7th, working around eight hits and two walks in his longest start of the season.

Lail did not allow a run until the bottom of the 7th inning, which he entered holding a 4-0 lead. The SeaWolves loaded the bases with no outs when Lail struck out Kody Eaves for the first out. Gustavo Nunez delivered a fielder’s choice groundout to plate a run, but the Thunder were content to trade a run for an out at the time. With two outs and the tying run still in the batter’s box, Jeff McVaney flew out just shy of the warning track in rightfield to end the threat.

The Thunder and SeaWolves return to action Sunday afternoon with a scheduled 1:35 p.m. first pitch from Jerry Uht Park. RHP Cale Coshow (0-1, 3.65) gets the ball for Trenton against Erie’s Tommy Collier (2-2, 5.63). Pregame coverage begins at 1:20 p.m. on 91.3 FM and www.trentonthunder.com.

Red Wings Rally Past RailRiders

Reliever Vinnie Pestano suffered the loss for the RailRiders Saturday afternoon.

ROCHESTER, NY – It began with positive bangs. It ended with a deflating bloop. The SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fell to the host Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) in a see-saw Saturday afternoon affair, 7-5. The RailRiders (12-11) have lost 17 of their last 25 at Frontier Field. The Red Wings (10-13) rallied from a pair of deficits to tie the season-long series between the clubs, 3-3.

Ben Gamel and Aaron Judge hit back-to-back game-opening home runs off of southpaw Andrew Albers. Two innings later, Slade Heathcott’s sac fly lengthened the lead to 3-0.

A missed catch error on Cesar Puello allowed Stephen Wickens to score in the third and the Red Wings added three more scores to claim a 4-3 lead in the fifth. Wilfredo Tovar’s two-run double down the third-base line proved the go-ahead blow.

SWB responded with a two-spot the next half inning on run-scoring infield hits by Puello and Pete Kozma.

However, the lead would wilt in the eighth.  With two on and one out, Conor Mullee entered from the bullpen and struck out Byron Buxton.  The next three Red Wings would then reach base to take the lead back for good. Tovar singled in a run, James Beresford walked and Kennys Vargas blooped a two-run single to left.

In the ninth, Buddy Boshers struck out Gamel, Judge and Heathcott in succession for his first save.

Brandon Kintzler (4-1) got the win for Rochester while Vinnie Pestano (1-1) took the loss.

The weekend series concludes at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. SWB is scheduled to toss former Red Wing Anthony Swarzak (1-2, 5.40) against fellow right-hander David Martinez (0-1, 4.00).

The RailRiders return home for a nine-game homestand on Saturday, May 7. It starts with a two-game renewal of the IronRail Series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies). The first 1,000 kids in attendance will receive a CHAMP bank courtesy of the Times Leader. It will also be Fit Track Day, a community outreach initiative that helps promote physical activity, healthy eating choices and a good night’s rest for kids. Participating children from area schools will be recognized on the field for their Fit Track efforts. For tickets or more information, please call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

Ben Gamel went 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, two runs scored and his team-best seventh stolen base.

Aaron Judge doubled and homered.  He has gone 5-for-12 in the series with three extra-base hits and three RBIs.

Cesar Puello went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Donovan Solano posted a pair of hits and scored a run.  He has gone 6-for-11 through three games on the road trip.

Conor Mullee allowed the first run of his Triple-A career.

In his first SWB start, Richard Bleier tossed four innings plus two batters.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk. He struck out one and threw 81 pitches (47 strikes).

The RailRiders issued a season-worst-tying seven walks and hit a batter.

SWB batters had not struck out all game before the top of the order all went down on strikes in the ninth.

Rochester’s bullpen tossed 3.2 scoreless innings.

The announced paid attendance of 6,918 made for the biggest road crowd to watch the RailRiders play this season.

 

Thunder Open Road Swing with Victory

Outfielder Dustin Fowler helped ignite the Trenton offense in Erie Friday night (Photo by Martin Griff)

ERIE, PA – With four successive hits to begin a three-run second inning, the Trenton Thunder positioned themselves well out-of-the-gate in Friday’s 8-4 win over the Erie SeaWolves.

The Thunder loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning when Kyle Higashioka singled home Tyler Austin to start the scoring in the frame and give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. After consecutive RBI fielder’s choices from Jared Mitchell and Cito Culver the Thunder had an early 3-0 advantage.

Erie’s offense chipped away throughout the night to try and draw even with Trenton, but they never were quite able to get the job done. The SeaWolves got back to within 3-2 entering the 5th inning when the Thunder plated three more runs with a two-out, bases-empty rally. Tyler Wade had an infield single, Jake Cave walked and Dustin Fowler singled him home. Austin followed by dumping a two-run double into right field for a pair of runs and a 6-2 Thunder lead.

Offensively, the SeaWolves relied on a pair of longballs from Dean Green for three of their four runs on the night. All four runs came off Thunder starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery who improved to 3-0 on the season. He entered with consecutive starts of 6.0 innings without allowing a run, but was tagged for four runs in 5.0 innings of work Friday night.

In the 6th inning Matt Wotherspoon entered out of the bullpen and proceeded to retire all 12 batters he faced, including eight-of-12 on strikeouts. He entered when the game was a 7-4 Thunder lead, which was enough for his first save of the season.

The Thunder and SeaWolves return to action Saturday night with a scheduled 6:35 p.m. doubleheader from Jerry Uht Park. Pregame coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on the 91.3 FM and www.trentonthunder.com.

 

RailRiders Notch Sweep in Rochester

Outfielder Slade Heathcott contributed to SWB's sweep Friday night. (Photo by Martin Griff)

ROCHESTER, NY – The SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) swept the host Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) in a Friday night doubleheader at Frontier Field, 6-4 and 10-2. The RailRiders (12-10) have won four of their last five while the Red Wings (9-13) have lost consecutive home games to SWB for just the second time since April of 2013.

In game one, the RailRiders rallied from a 4-2 deficit after five innings. Pete Kozma’s bloop RBI single snapped an 0-for-25 slump to make it 4-3 in the sixth. An inning later, run-scoring extra-base hits by Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez led the RailRiders to the victory.

Reliever Tyler Olson (1-1) got the win, J.R. Graham (0-2) shouldered the loss and Conor Mullee continued his dominance of Triple-A hitters with a perfect seventh for his second save.

The nightcap was decided far earlier when the RailRiders plated six runs in the second inning against starter Taylor Rogers (0-1).The inning included run-scoring hits by Ben Gamel and Aaron Judge, giving starter Phil Coke (1-0) more than enough support to notch the win.

The weekend series continues at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. SWB is scheduled to toss southpaw Richard Bleier (0-0, 2.25) against fellow southpaw Andrew Albers.

The RailRiders return home for a nine-game homestand on Saturday, May 7. It starts with a two-game renewal of the IronRail Series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies). The first 1,000 kids in attendance will receive a CHAMP bank courtesy of the Times Leader. It will also be Fit Track Day, a community outreach initiative that helps promote physical activity, healthy eating choices and a good night’s rest for kids. Participating children from area schools will be recognized on the field for their Fit Track efforts. For tickets or more information, please call 570-969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

Phil Coke allowed one unearned run over five innings of three-hit ball. His seven strikeouts made for his highest total since he whiffed seven Kansas City Royals as a Detroit Tiger on April 9, 2011.

Slade Heathcott was activated off the DL before the twinbill got underway. In his first action since April 20, he drove in two runs in each of the games, posting a pair of hits including a triple. 

Eddy Rodriguez launched an impressive home run to left field in the nightcap, his first career dinger with SWB.

The RailRiders scored a combined 16 runs on 21 hits in the doubleheader. They went 10-for-22 with men in scoring position over the two games. Rochester plated six total scores on six hits and went 1-for-12 with men in prime real estate.

Rob Refsnyder entered the day in a 4-for-30 funk with no RBIs over his prior eight games. He finished the night a collective 3-for-7 with a walk and three runs scored.

 

April Stars at Each Yankees System Level

Right-hander Domingo Acevedo, works against Lakewood Wednesday. He is 2-1, 1.91 in five starts. (Photo by Martin Griff)

The season is no longer in its infancy stage after a month of play, but it can be stated we are starting to get a read on many players.

Many are off to solid starts. Several have shown they are still prospects, or have made a comeback, notably Nick Swisher at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, who is batting .367 in 11 games since being signed by the Yankees. At Double-A Trenton, outfielder Jake Cave is hitting a solid .292 in 18 games, while Tyler Wade, who slumped a bit to .250 last week, is looking much better at both the plate and at bat.

Outfielder Michael O’Neill is rolling at Tampa with a ,333 average in 15 games, while shortstop Kyle Holder showed he could hit at Charleston with a .290 average in eight games before being sidelined with what was reported as an upper-body injury.

All of the above – and others – still have helped their teams get the job done, but an additional group really stood out with their performances in April:

TRIPLE-A (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

POSITION PLAYER – OF Ben Gamel – The brother of Mat Ganel, who was briefly in the Yankees system, Ben, who just turned 24, continued to show while he doesn’t have one tool that stands out, has a myriad of abilities when put together produce a pretty good player.

He’s following up his .300 effort of 2015 with a .314 (22-70) average in 18 games. He’s put it all together since he first reached Triple-A last season and has placed himself ahead of the pack among Yankees system outfielders other than Aaron Judge.

PITCHER – Right-hander Chad Green – This gentleman struggled to a 5-14 mark in the Eastern League in 2015, but his other numbers were quite good. His ERA of 3.93 was not shabby, considering he pitched most of his games in the Erie bandbox known as Jerry Uht Park when he was in the Detroit system. His strikeout/walk ration was 137-43. He is 0-3 so far in 2016, but with an ERA of 1.44 in five starts running into some tough luck.

DOUBLE-A (Trenton)

POSITION PLAYER – C Kyle Higashioka – Always an excellent defensive backstop, the 26-year-old Higashioka has found consistency at the plate. He is off to a .306 (15-for-48) start and is handling the Thunder pitching staff well. A seventh-round draft pick in 2008, the Huntingdon Beach, Calif., native is keeping himself in the prospect mix.

PITCHER – Left-hander Dietrich Enns and right-hander Ronald Herrera – The two earned mention by dominating Eastern League opposition in impressive fashion. Both are 3-0. Enns has not allowed a run in four starts and 23.2 innings and has a strikeout/walk ratio of 25-13. Herrera, with a microscope ERA of 1.29 in four Double-A starts, pitched eight innings of no-hit ball this past Tuesday vs. New Hampshire. His strikeout/walk ratio is 20-4.

Either could legitimately be named Eastern League Pitcher of the Month for April.

HIGH-A (Tampa)

POSITION PLAYER – IF Billy Fleming – As a free-agent signed after a solid career at West Virginia University, Fleming, 23, and a native of Churchville, Pa., has had battle vs. players the Yankees ate more invested. He has certainly responded at Tampa, batting .364 (24-for-66) in 17 games with an OPS of .940. He will be taking a journey to Central Jersey, with several of his present teammates, later in the 2016 season.

PITCHER – Left-hander Ian Clarkin – A Yankees first-round draft pick in 2013, Clarkin appears to be healthy after a few setbacks. He’s putting his fastball on the corners and mixing in his big breaking ball with an improving change. Clarkin is 2-1, 2.35 in four starts. The Yankees would like nothing more to see him throw 125-150 effective innings as a 21-year-old this season.

LOW-A (Charleston)

POSITION PLAYER – SS Thairo Estrada – The Yankees system is full of excellent shortstops, and Estrada, signed out of Venezuela for $50,000 in 2012, is showing he belongs as well, with a .324 (22-for-68) start in 17 games. He also has added 14 RBIs. He is only 20.

PITCHER – Right-hander Domingo Acevedo – The question is whether this native of the Dominican Republic, signed by the Yankees in 2012 for just $7,500, can harness his awesome talent, including a fastball that has reached 103 mph. He also has an improving changeup and developing slider, which the Yankees installed after scrapping his curve. So far, he is 2-0, 1.91 in five starts, with a strikeout/walk ratio of 32-4. His command appears to be improving.

Wes Wilson Embraces Leadership Role with Yankees

Wes Wilson has embraced a leadership role with the Yankees.  (Bryan Green)

Tampa, FL- On a breezy April day, righty Gabe Encinas took the mound for his third start of 2016.

Earlier in the day, Tampa Yankees manager Patrick Osborn voiced his concerns about Encinas and his need to improve this time around. But in the first inning, he was already struggling with command and walking guys. Behind the plate, catcher Wes Wilson was doing all he could to hold the seams together. The game was quickly spinning out of control. At times, Encinas was visibly frustrated. Wilson never appeared rattled, though. He continued to lead, as best he could.

In his third year with the High-A Yankees club, Wilson’s focused on what he can contribute, not what the Yankees plans are.

“It’s important that you don’t get lost in the fact that you’re not playing,” Wilson said before that day’s game. “You have to come to work and get lost in the process.  Treat everything up to 7 o’clock as your game. So, that way, anything happens, you’re ready to go. That keeps you locked in. It keeps you from letting the mind wander, and think negative things. That doesn’t help anybody.”

On the day he was in the lineup, #WesDay as he calls it on Twitter, Wilson, 26, worked a walk in what was his 4th game of the season. He played in 41 games in 2015, hitting .220/.292/.580 in 118 at-bats. This year, he’s splitting time with Santiago Nessy, a 23-year old from Venezuela that the Yankees picked up in the Rule 5 Draft.

The life of a backup catcher’s not easy, really no backup spot is. The challenge is staying on top of their game when the game is being played without them. A backup catcher in the minors once said he was simply there to keep himself ready to be called on, a kind of spiritual take on riding the pine. Keeping their spirits strong is as important as the body.

“It’s little things you learn. Things that suit your game, that suit what you want to do. Working with the catching coach, we work on so many things with everybody on the team. We stay active. Adjust the process as the pitching schedule changes. I try to do a lot of the same things every day, so that nothing throws me for a loop,” said Wilson.

Kentucky-born and bred, Wilson was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011 after graduating from Indiana State University. In the New York Penn League as a 21-year old, he was known for the same things he is now. He was animated and fun to be around, but also thoughtful and good for an in-depth conversation. His attitude doesn’t change and that’s likely helped him in a system he says people might not realize is as deep as it is. A few years ago, there was even more catching depth, when Austin Romine and Jesus Montero were in the mix, and Montero looked poised to be a future middle-of-the-lineup power hitter for the Yankees. Romine was the more defensive-minded, and far more disciplined. Eventually, Montero was dealt to the Mariners. Romine became a backup catcher, which wasn’t entirely surprising. Gary Sanchez is now waiting in the wings, ranked 3rd in the organization by MLB.com.

Wilson is a bit like Romine in personality. He’s clear-minded about the specialness of the pitcher-catcher relationship. He values the quality of the communication. When playing in Trenton for the Double-A Thunder, Romine often dodged questions about his own development, preferring to discuss his pitchers. Wilson doesn’t want the focus to be on what he can’t control, he’s more interested in how he can contribute, especially as a veteran among younger players.

“Being in my third year in this league, with this team, my sixth year in the organization, whatever clubhouse I go into, I’m going to be one of the older guys. I think I’m looked to, to lead and show the way. We’ve got guys who were drafted last year or the year before. I feel very responsible for them, to show them what it is to be a pro like guys showed me when I was coming up. I take that responsibility very seriously,” said Wilson.

When the season began, Tampa manager Patrick Osborn talked about Wilson being in an uncertain situation as rosters were being decided. As the decks were flipped and set on the table, there wasn’t a clear place for him; eventually, one would emerge. That anxiety-laden position was one that Wilson had faced before. He handled the dilemma with patience, in part, because he’s the veteran that he is. His experience helped him when things began to shake out.

“I kind of did that dance last year and had to wait,” Wilson said. “I got sent here for a couple days, and then sent back. It didn’t hit me as hard this year. I’ve seen the way it works. I can see the rosters unfolding. I saw something coming. There’s a lot of guys and not a lot of spots.”

The teammate relationship made a difference, while playing the waiting game in Tampa, at extended spring training.

“This year, I had a couple of veterans with me [there]. That’s a big part of it, not going through it alone,” he said.

This is a season in Wilson’s career where he’s looking ahead just a bit. Most players entertain the thought of a post-career plan. But for minor leaguers, the future is so much less certain. It provides only a small sense of security. Wilson is neither focused on that day, nor afraid to discuss the reality.

“On one hand, I still have that dream of getting to the big leagues. On the other hand, you start to change your expectations,” he said.

When asked, simply, ‘How do you do that?’ he reached back into that catcher’s bag, drawing from it the leadership qualities that drive him.

“I’m a player first. And that’s the main thing. I’m going to come to work every day and work hard. At the same time, I realize I’m getting older and I’ve got to help bring these guys up, especially because I speak Spanish. I’m communicating with the coaching staff, because I’m a more mature player. Not necessarily being their eyes and ears in the clubhouse, but being kind of an intermediary sometimes. It’s something I’m still learning how to do.”

Again, he’s only glimpsing the future, and what else he’s capable of. He’s focused on the present.

“I’m not ready to do anything else just yet.”

Enns Continues Pitching Dominance in Thunder Win

Dietrich Enns (Steven Eggert)

No one would’ve held a bad outing against Dietrich Enns. Not Wednesday morning.

The first 10:30 a.m. game of the season just happened to transpire about 12 hours after a combined no-hitter on Tuesday night started by Ronnie Herrera.

Enns took the torch passed to him and carried over the near-perfect pitching leading the Thunder to a 1-0 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Wednesday.

He took a no-hitter, with just a walk, into the sixth inning before a bunt single by Ian Parmley, batting ninth spot for the Cats, took away from what could’ve been.

“You start to wonder, it would be amazing,” said a laughing Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell about a potential second no hitter. “He’s definitely capable of doing it. But I don’t blame (Parmley) for bunting. It’s a 1-0 game. You’re trying to get on base.”

He would give up a double later in the game putting runners on second and third (from a walk) with nobody out, but Enns battled out of that jam. Enns’ final line read 7.0 innings, two hits and walks apiece with eight strikeouts. Dan Camarena came in for the two-inning save.

Seeing Herrera’s gem Tuesday night, he admits, gave him positive energy and mentality going into the morning start.

“A lot,” Enns said. “Herrera threw an unreal game. That was impressive. I just tried to go out there and go after those guys like he did. Good results would come.”

“I just tried to wake up early, get the body moving and treat it like a normal day. Just trying to get to the park early and do my normal routine.”

Enns’ one run of support came from a two-out triple by Cito Culver scoring catcher Sebastian Valle in the fifth.

The pitching from Enns was the show. Combined from Tuesday and Wednesday, the Thunder pitching went a total of 15.1 innings without giving up a single hit.

He got a fair share of punchouts both swinging and looking and extended his season-long shutout streak to 23.2 innings. The 4-0 Enns is the only multiple-game starter in the entire Eastern League who hasn’t given up a run.

“Every time out he’s had, he mixes his pitches well and he keeps the ball down really good,” Mitchell said. “He throws strikes when he’s behind in the count. He’s down 2-0 in counts, he comes back to throw strikes and he’s done that all year. Really impressive.”

It’s impressive for a guy who less than two years ago was just trying to pitch again after Tommy John Surgery. Having this past offseason to progress and not heal has been huge for Enns.

He remained hopeful throughout the recovery process and his confidence level is high seeing his work pay off.

“Guys tell you that there’s guys who come back stronger [from Tommy John],” Enns said. “You’ve just got to put in the work. That’s what I tried to do from the day after I had surgery to now to continually put in the work and keep working hard. And good things will happen.”

“I don’t even think about it anymore.”

Herrera, Holder Combine to Throw No-Hitter For Trenton

Trenton Thunder starting pitcher Ronald Herrara warms up in the bullpen before a recent start. (Photo by Martin Griff)

TRENTON, NJ  – On a night when Mother Nature threatened to wash out Trenton’s match-up with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Ronald Herrera and Jonathan Holder overcame a 48-minute delayed start and combined to throw the second nine-inning no-hitter in Thunder franchise history.

“I want to first thank God for allowing me to feel this way,” said Herrera. “During the offseason, I was very focused and I worked very hard and now it’s starting to pay off. I just need to continue to stay focused and do my job.”

The Yankees traded utility man Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres this past winter in exchange for the 20-year old Herrera. Since his acquisition, Herrera has made three starts for Trenton and has gone 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA..

After throwing 105 pitches over eight innings, the 20-year old Herrera was pulled by Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell in favor of Jonathan Holder in the ninth.

“We extended him beyond his limit a little bit ” explained Mitchell. “It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision.”

“There is no doubt that I would have loved to go back out for the ninth inning,” admitted Herrera. “But, I respect the decision that the staff made on it, and I understand that the decision was made with my future in mind.”

Mitchell had stated multiple times since the team broke camp and reported to Trenton in early April that Herrera had been the most impressive player that he had seen all spring. The skipper was left astonished by his historic performance on Tuesday.

“The guy is just amazing,” said Mitchell when describing Herrera’s outing. “He is just so cool under pressure at all times. He has proven already that he is a big-leaguer in the making.”

Mitchell added, “for a kid at 20-years old to mix pitches the way he does is really impressive.”

Staked to a 4-0 lead and a no-hitter hanging in the balance, the 22-year old Holder took the mound in the ninth with a little added pressure than he would find in an ordinary save situation.

“They called down to the pen and told me to get going,” said Holder. “I thought it was against the no-hitter rule, but I just stayed in tune with the game and when they told me I was in, I knew I had to do it for Herrera.”

After striking out leadoff hitter Jorge Flores, Holder snagged a comebacker to the mound that nearly snuck past him for the party crashing hit. He then struck out Jon Berti to cement the historic moment in Trenton Thunder history.

Herrera and Holder’s nine inning no-hitter is the first since Tyler Clippard fired the only other one in franchise history on August 17, 2006, at Harrisburg.

Summerville Native Reeves and Former Clemson Standout Koerner Get Call Up to Tampa

Brody Koerner was superb for the RiverDogs (Jerry Coli)

LAKEWOOD, NJ – The New York Yankees have announced that LHP James Reeves and RHP Brody Koerner have been called up to High-A Tampa from Class A Charleston. In two corresponding moves, the Yankees have recalled RHP Jose Mesa from Tampa and have called up RHP Yefrey Ramirez from Extended Spring Training.

The former Citadel standout and Summerville, SC native, Reeves, along with former Clemson Tiger Koerner will not join the RiverDogs on their upcoming road trip and begin their assignments in the Florida State League immediately.

A former Ashley Ridge High School product, Reeves had his return to The Joe cut short after impressing in his four relief appearances for Charleston. The lefty went 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA over 10 innings of work, yielding just two hits, three earned runs, and three walks while striking out 15 batters. Opponents hit a measly .065 off Reeves during his stint with the RiverDogs.

The 2015 Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year and 10th round pick by the Yankees made his pro debut in Staten Island last season where he accumulated a 1-1 record with a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 innings in relief. As a senior at The Citadel, Reeves ranked first in the Southern Conference in strikeouts (115), averaging nearly 11 K’s per nine innings, good for 19th in the NCAA. Other highlights for Reeves as a member of the Bulldogs included tossing the sixth no-hitter in school history on March 21, 2015 against Mercer at Riley Park.

Koerner, the Yankees 17th round selection in 2015 after his junior year at Clemson, logged three solid outings as a member of the RiverDogs in his first pro season as a starter to earn the call up to Tampa. Over three starts with Charleston, the righty posted a 1-0 record with a 1.74 ERA while striking out 21 over 20.2 innings. Known for his sinker ball and command of the strike zone with all four of his pitches, Koerner proved his worth as a starter issuing just three walks while posting a 0.75 WHIP, a mark that ranks third best in the league among qualifying pitchers.

Koerner began the season with the RiverDogs after finishing the 2015 season in eight games as a closer to conclude his pro debut. The Winchester, VA native went 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA and eight saves while logging 29.1 innings split between rookie ball Pulaski and Charleston in 2015.

Mesa joins the RiverDogs staff after beginning the season in Tampa where he logged one scoreless inning of relief while issuing one walk on April 22 against Daytona. The former 24th round pick by the Yankees in 2012 out of Miramar, FL spent last season in the Gulf Coast League, Short Season Staten Island, and Charleston, compiling a 4-0 record with a 2.23 ERA in 19 relief appearances while striking out an impressive 60 batters in 40.1 innings. Mesa is the son of the former two-time Cleveland Indians All-Star closer of the same name.

Ramirez gets the call up from Extended Spring Training after being claimed on waivers by New York from the Missoula Ospreys in the Diamondbacks system last December. Originally signed as an 18-year old out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic by the Diamondbacks as a position player in 2011, Ramirez spent the last four seasons as an Arizona farmhand, accruing a 13-14 record with a 3.78 ERA in 58 minor league games at the rookie ball level. Across 221.1 career innings, the righty has racked up 206 Ks to 65 walks.

With the retooled roster, the RiverDogs begin their second road trip of the season and face the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, from April 26-28 and the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Baltimore Orioles’ SAL club, from April 29-May 2.

Fans can tune into WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area as well as online at riverdogs.com. Ticket information for any of the RiverDogs remaining home games this season may be secured by contacting the box office at (843)577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.

 

–RIVERDOGS–

Yankees Place James Kaprielian on MiLB Disabled List

James Kaprielian (©Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)

The regular season is less than a month old, but the injuries continue to pile on Yankees’ pitching prospects, with the latest victim being the crown jewel of the farm system, James Kaprielian after an MRI showed inflammation in his pitching elbow during a visit with team physician Dr. Chris Ahmed. The Yankees will place Kaprielian on the minor league disabled list and treat the injury with rest before transferring him to a throwing program.

The 16th overall pick in last year’s draft out of UCLA, Kaprielian was off to a blistering start with the Class-A Tampa Yankees with a 2-1 record, a 1.50 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .136 average first three appearances. Kaprielian tied a career high with nine strikeouts in his most recent outing against the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Entering the season, the Yankees initially hoped that Kaprielian would advance quickly though the system and possibly make his major league debut by the end of the regular season or sometime in 2017. Kaprielian split the 2015 season between the Yankees’ minor affiliates in the Gulf Coast League and Short-Season Staten Island, touching 96 miles per hour with his fastball and led Staten Island to a berth in the NYPL Championship Series.

Kaprielian is the third Yankees’ pitching prospect to suffer a major injury in the last three weeks after Nick Rumbelow and Branden Pinder succumbed to season-ending elbow injuries, with Rumbelow undergoing Tommy John Surgery earlier in the month. The Yankees plan to bring Kaprielian along at a conservative pace as a precaution and expect him to return to the mound later this season.