Legends edge Drive on Ramirez single in 10th, 2-1

June 5, 2009

The Lexington Legends, coming off Thursday’s doubleheader sweep of Bowling Green, are back at home tonight (Friday).

The Greenville Drive come into Fireworks Night at Applebee’s Park on a five-game winning streak.

Tonight’s starting lineups:

GREENVILLE 15, David Mailman, lf; 18, Tim Federowicz, dh; 25, Anthony Rizzo, 1b; 33, Ryan Lavarnway, c; 17, Mitch Dening, cf; 11, Will Middlebrooks, 3b; 22, Ryan Dent, ss; 7, Zach Gentile, 2b; 21, David Marks, rf. Pitching — 14, RH Stephen Fife (0-0, 0.00).

LEXINGTON — 4, Michael Diaz, dh; 7, Eric Suttle, rf; 24, Steve Brown, lf; 45, Brian Pellegrini, 1b; 13, Ebert Rosario, 3b; 46, Federico Hernandez, c; 15, Brandon Barnes, cf; 11, Ronnie Ramirez, 2b; 40, Jorge De Leon, ss. Pitching — 20, RH Jordan Lyles (2-5, 3.31).

UMPIRESJay Pierce, plate; Matt Cumbee, field.

Charley Taylor is in the house
Charley Taylor

Charley Taylor

Charley Taylor, pitching coach for each of the Legends nine seasons, made his first appearance of the season Friday.

Travis Driskill

Travis Driskill

Travis Driskill has filled in admirably in Taylor’s absence, which came as a result of a cancerous bladder. Taylor had his bladder and prostate removed in April.

At the time of his surgery, Taylor said he hoped to be back on the job, perhaps as soon as mid-June. That timeline now looks unlikely, Taylor said. Although he looks good and has regained his appetite, he still has a way to go before he’ll be strong enough to rejoin the team.

In a class move, Driskill pulled the pitchers aside from pre-game drills so that Taylor could speak briefly with them. Having missed spring training, Taylor was meeting many of the players for the first time.

“K”iller P’s

Pitchers Jordan Lyles of the Legends and Stephen Fife of the Drive have dominated through two scoreless innings.

After giving up back-to-back singles to open the game, Lyles has retired six in a row, including four straight strikeouts.

Fife has tossed two perfect innings, striking out four (two in each inning) and getting a pair of groundouts.

Wounded warriors
Tom Lawless

Tom Lawless

Jay Austin

Jay Austin

Five Legends are on the disabled list. Two are close to being ready to return to action, two are out long-term and the other is awaiting results of a doctor’s re-check.

CF Jay Austin, who suffered a concussion a week ago when he collided with SS Jorge De Leon, should be back in two or three days, according to Manager Tom Lawless.

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

Phil Disher

Phil Disher

RHP Jose Trinidad (strained shoulder) has resumed throwing and is “close” to being ready, Lawless said.

1B Phil Disher (hip, labrum) will have surgery in Houston and will be on the shelf for an extended time.

Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

SS Ricardo Bonfante (dislocated left shoulder) will be heading to the Astros’ training facility in Florida to begin rehabiltation. However, Lawless said Bonfante likely is done for the season.

2B Albert Cartwright (broken forearm) was to be examined Friday, but Lawless had not received a report before game time.

Middlebrooks goes deep for Greenville; Fife still perfect

Will Middlebrooks led off the top of the fifth inning with his first homer of the season, to near-dead center.

That not only snapped a scoreless tie, but it was the first hit for either team since David Mailman and Tim Federowicz led off the game with back-to-back singles.

Legends RHP Jordan Lyles retired the next 12 batters in order. After Middlebrooks’ homer, he set the next three batters down in order. Through five innings, Lyles has 10 strikeouts — two in each inning.

His counterpart, RH Stephen Fife, has been even better, tossing five perfect innings. He has struck out seven, including all three batters in the fifth inning. He also has retired four on grounders and eight on fly balls.

Legends tie with run in seventh

The Legends finally got untracked with a hit in the sixth inning and a run in the seventh.

Greenville starter Stephen Fife, who is coming back from shoulder soreness detected during spring training, was lifted after five perfect innings. He struck out seven.

Facing another right-hander, Mike Lee, Ronnie Ramirez broke up the perfect game with a one-out single in the sixth.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Brian Pellegrini

Brian Pellegrini

The Legends went one better in the seventh.

Steve Brown was credited with a one-out triple when he lined to left and left-fielder David Mailman had trouble making the pickup. Brian Pellegrini brought Brown in with the tying run, blooping a single to center.

That takes Legends starter Jordan Lyles off the hook. He gave up a run on three hits over six innings, striking out 11 and walking nobody.

Henry Villar is working for a second inning of relief in the eighth.

Tied 1-1 in ninth inning

Villar retires Greenville in order in the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, the Legends notch their fourth hit — Jorge De Leon’s two-out infield single — but get nothing. So we go to the ninth, tied at 1.

Legends try to win it in ninth

Tim Federowicz started the Greenville ninth with a drive to the left-field wall. Steve Brown played the carom perfectly to hold him to a long single.

Henry Villar struck out the next two batters. Manager Tom Lawless then summoned his left-handed closer, Patrick Urckfitz. He got Mitch Dening on a fly to Brown in left.

Villar finished with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief. He walked one and struck out four.

Winning run stranded at third in bottom of ninth 

Eric Suttle led off the bottom of the ninth with a bloop double down the right-field line.

Drive right-hander Mike Lee got a comebacker from Steve Brown, looked Suttle back to second and threw to first for the first out. Suttle tagged up and went to third on Brian Pellegrini’s fly to deep right.

Lee escaped by getting Ebert Rosario to ground out to shortstop.

Martinez delivers winning hit in 10th

Patrick Urckfitz retired Greenville 1-2-3 in the 10th.

Ronnie Ramirez

Ronnie Ramirez

After knocking the ball out of the park, but just a bit foul down the right-field line, Federico Hernandez led off the bottomo the 10th with a single to short center. Brandon Barnes bunted Hernandez to second.

Manager Tom Lawless put speedy Marques Williams in to run for Hernandez.

Ronnie Ramirez singled to center. With Lawless waving him in all the way, Williams slid in just ahead of the throw from center fielder Mitch Dening, which was slightly up the third-base line. The final: Lexington 2, Greenville 1.


De Leon single in 14th gives Legends 3-2 win

May 11, 2009
The Lexington Legends are back in town for eight games, tied for first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division and itching to snap a four-game losing streak.

Things are off to a fast start on a Monday night at Applebee’s Park.

The Charleston RiverDogs package three hits and a walk in the first inning. Abraham Almonte’s bases-loaded single to center gives the New York Yankees affiliate a 2-0 lead.

Jay Austin

Jay Austin

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

The Legends come back with two in the bottom of the inning.

Jay Austin leads off with a double to the right-field corner. One out later, Federico Hernandez rips an Andrew Brackman fastball for a home run off of the awning over the right-field deck.

Legends right-hander Robert Bono, who wasn’t missing his spots by much in the first inning, settles down to blank the RiverDogs in the second and third, although yielding three more singles.

Robert Bono

Robert Bono

The first of those hits, by Mike Lyon, nearly turned into a spectacular out. Shortstop Jorge De Leon made a diving stop of a hard-hit ball up the middle, but was unable to make a clean glove-to-hand transfer.

Jorge De Leon

Jorge De Leon

DeLeon and DH Michael Diaz are making their Legends debuts Monday. A third, second baseman Andy Simunic, is making his home debut.

More on the newcomers coming up. The Legends have just been retired, so the totals after three innings:

Charleston: 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 error. Lexington: 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors.

* The arrival of new players reflects the team health, rather than any player promotions.

Simunic was called from extended spring training when 2B Albert Cartwright suffered a broken forearm.

De Leon is filling in at short for Ricardo Bonfante, who has been placed on the DL due to a dislocated left shoulder.

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

Diaz trades places with infielder Kyle Miller, who has been sent to extended spring training.

* Meanwhile, both teams put up zeroes in the fourth inning.

Charleston shortstop Carmen Angelini, called out on strikes to end the top half of the inning, was ejected for arguing the call.

Michael Diaz

Michael Diaz

De Leon, a 6-foot, 168-pound 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, signed with the Houston Astros in 2006. He spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League and spent last season with the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League. His three-year totals include a .216 average, six homers, 50 RBI and nine stolen bases.

Diaz (5-10, 180, age 22), from Monroe, Conn., was selected by the Astros in the 30th round of last June’s draft, out of Southern Connecticut State University. He broke in with Tri-City of the New York-Penn League last summer, hitting .282 with five homers and 22 RBI over 48 games. He also stole six bases.

Andy Simunic

Andy Simunic

Ashton Mowdy

Ashton Mowdy

Simunic (6-0, 175, 23), from Collierville, Tenn., was taken in the 17th round of last year’s draft, out of the University of Tennessee. He hit .234 for Tri-City last summer, with 14 RBI and four stolen bases over 53 games. He was the ValleyCats’ Defensive Player of the Month for July.

* Back to the game … Still 2-2 through five innings.

To open the sixth, the Legends have turned to right-hander Ashton Mowdy. Bono went five innings, giving up two runs, eight hits and a walk, while striking out three.

Through five innings: Charleston 2 runs, 8 hits, 1 error; Lexington 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors.

Andrew Brackman

Andrew Brackman

* We’re through six innings now, and the Legends are hoping 6-foot-8, 240-pound right-hander Andrew Brackman is about at the end of his night’s work. Still tied, 2-2.

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

* Still 2-2 through seven. The Legends changed pitchers with two out and one on (via a walk) in the top of the seventh. Lefty Patrick Urckfitz took over from righty Ashton Mowdy, striking out Taylor Grote.

* Still 2-2, although the Legends threatened in the eighth. With runners on second and third, Brandon Barnes took a called third strike that he clearly thought was outside.

Going to the ninth, the Legends bring in right-hander Jose Trinidad.

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

* Trinidad retires the RiverDogs in order, getting a foul out to his catcher, Federico Hernandez, then striking out Mike Lyon and Ray Kruml.

In the bottom of the ninth, Charleston goes to right-hander Dan Kapala. Starter Andrew Brackman finishes with a season-long stint of eight innings, giving up two runs, seven hits and a walk, striking out nine.

Kapala gets Russell Dixon on a liner to center. Phil Disher picks up a golden sombrero with his fourth strikeout. Andy Simunic flies to right. So we go to extra innings, tied 2-2.

10th inning
Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

Addison Maruszak leads off the top of the 10th with a base hit to right. Dan Brewer bunts him to second. Taylor Grote singles through the right side. Maruszak, running all the way, gets cut down at the plate as the throw from right fielder Russell Dixon arrives on the fly. Maruszak tries to bowl over catcher Federico Hernandez, who holds on to the ball. Grote takes second on the throw. Legends Manager Tom Lawless calls on his closer, Daniel Meszaros, to face Abraham Almonte. A called third strike over the outside corner makes Almonte the latest in a long list of batters to grumble to umpire Joey Amaral.

In the bottom of the 10th, Ebert Rosario and Jorge De Leon ground out. Jay Austin coaxes a full-count walk, but Michael Diaz strikes out.

11th inning
Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

Charleston goes down in order as Corban Joseph strikes out and Neall French flies to right, where Russell Dixon breaks in late but makes a diving catch. Then, left-fielder Brandon Barnes saves the day. Mitch Abeita’s two-out fly ball rockets deep to the power alley in left-center, but Barnes races back to make an outstanding catch at the wall, just below the “K” board.

Federico Hernandez leads off the Legends’ 11th with a single to left. Brandon Barnes pops a foul bunt to catcher Mitch Abeita. Russell Dixon’s potential double-play grounder is bobbled by second baseman Corban Joseph. That gives Hernandez enough time to reach second, although Dixon is nabbed at first. Phil Disher, 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, works the count full but goes down swinging. On to the 12th, tied 2-2.

12th inning
Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

Right-hander Brian Wabick becomes the sixth Legends pitcher of the game. Mike Lyon tries to bunt for a hit, but Wabick throws him out. Ray Kruml and Addison Maruszak go down swinging.

Right-hander Cory Arbiso comes in to pitch for Charleston. Andy Simunic and Ebert Rosario ground out. Jorge De Leon strikes out. Through 12 innings: Lexington 2, Charleston 2.

13th inning

Dan Brewer leads off with a single through the left side of the infield. Taylor Grote strikes out. With the hit-and-run on, Abraham Almonte swings and misses — and Brewer is thrown out at second base by Federico Hernandez. Almonte then takes a called third strike.

In the bottom of the 13th, Jay Austin bounces out to pitcher Cory Arbiso. Michael Diaz chops one just over the pitcher to reach on an infield single. Federico Hernandez singles to the left-field corner, moving Diaz to third. Hernandez takes second as left-fielder Taylor Grote bobbles the ball for his first error of the season. Charleston brings its infield in. Brandon Barnes grounds to third baseman Mike Lyon, whose throw to catcher Mitch Abeita is in plenty of time. Diaz comes in with a full body block, but Abeita holds on. Hernandez holds at second. Russell Dixon taps out to Arbiso. On to the 14th!

14th inning

Corban Joseph draws a leadoff walk. Neall French bunts him to second. But Mitch Abeita grounds to third and Mike Lyon strikes out.

Kody Hinze pinch-hits for Phil Disher, who finishes 0-for-5, all strikeouts. Hinze swings and … misses for a sixth strikeout in the slot. Andy Simunic singles sharply to left. He takes second on Ebert Rosario’s bouncer to third. Jorge De Leon singles to right. Simunic never slows and right-fielder Ray Kruml fails to make a clean pick up. Simunic scores standing up, with no play. Final: Legends 3, RiverDogs 2.

Charleston    200 000 000 000 00 — 2  12  2
Lexington     200 000 000 000 01 – 3  12  0
W:
Wabick (1-0); L: Arbiso (1-3). HR: Lex, Hernandez 4. LOB: Chas.10, Lex. 10.
Leading hitters:  Hernandez, De Leon (Lexington), 3 hits each; Brewer, Grote, Almonte, Abeita (Charleston), and Simunic, Rosario (Lexington), 2 hits each. Att: 3,076.

Pitching summary

Charleston
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Brackman 8.0 7 2 2 1 9 1 4.06
Kapala 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 2.78
Arbiso (L, 1-3) 2.2 4 1 1 0 2 0 3.18
 
Lexington
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Bono 5.0 8 2 2 1 3 0 1.91
Mowdy 1.2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
Urckfitz 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4.50
Trinidad 1.2 2 0 0 0 2 0 4.91
Meszaros 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Wabick (W, 1-0) 3.0 1 0 0 1 5 0 8.80

Meet the 2009 Lexington Legends

April 9, 2009
The 2009 Lexington Legends at a glance

PITCHERS

Robert Bono

Robert Bono

Robert Bono
Bats/throws
:  R/R              Height/weight:  6-2, 175
Birthdate: 12-12-88         
Hometown: Waterford, Conn. 

Notes: Will open the season as No. 4 in the starting rotation, looking for his first professional victory.  Selected by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, out of Waterford High School. Went 0-4, 7.34 for Greeneville in 2007; 0-4, 4.68 for Tri-City last year. Walked 20 and struck out 18 at Greeneville. Corrected that at Tri-City, with 11 walks to 46 whiffs. He was Tri-City’s  Pitcher of the Month in July.

Brad Dydalewicz

Brad Dydalewicz

Brad Dydalewicz

B/T:  L/L                              Ht./wt.:  6-1, 180
D.O.B.:  3-24-90                  
Hometown:  Spicewood, Texas

Notes:  Opens the season at No. 3 in the starting rotation. An eighth-round draft pick out of Austin High School last June, Dydalewicz is listed by Baseball America as the 14th-best prospect in the Astros system, armed with the “best changeup.” BBA notes that he signed for an above-slot $425,000 bonus and “throws a live fastball and plus curveball, with enough arm strength to suggest his heater will consistently sit in the low 90s as he advances. He was 90-94 mph in the spring, an encouraging sign considering he tore his ACL in 2007 while playing football.”  He worked 10 innings over four appearances with Greeneville last year, with no decisions, a 2.70 ERA, six strikeouts and three walks.

Kyle Greenwalt

Kyle Greenwalt

Kyle Greenwalt
B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 200
D.O.B.:  9-29-88                  
Hometown: Sellersville, Pa. 

Notes:  Scheduled to start the Legends’ fifth game of the season, the April 13 home opener vs. Kannapolis. Selected by the Astros in the 20th round of the June 2007  draft, out of Souderton (Pa.) Area High School. Made his pro debut with Greeneville,  going 0-7 with a 7.53 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 12 walks. Settled in nicely in 2008, earning team MVP honors at Greeneville by going 6-4, 3.14, 53 strikeouts and 14 walks over 13 starts. Also won his lone start for Tri-City. Has a 90-92 mph fastball with sink, slider and changeup. Ranked by Baseball America as 31st-best prospect in the Houston system.

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-1, 162
D.O.B.:  9-22-86                  
Hometown: Maracaibo, Venezuela

Notes:  Signed as a non-drafted free agent Feb. 7, 2005. Went 3-6 over two seasons with the Venezuelan Summer League Astros, striking out 30 and walking 30. Spent the last two seasons with Greeneville, improving from 0-7, 4.67 in 2007 to 3-1, 3.33 in 2008. Also improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 43-27 to 42-19.

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-4, 185
D.O.B.: 10-19-90                 
Hometown:  Hartsville, S.C.

Notes: A first-round supplemental draft pick (38th overall) last June, out of Hartsville (S.C.) High School, Lyles is scheduled to start Thursday’s season opener at West Virginia. Baseball America ranks him sixth among Astros minor-league prospects and projects him as Houston’s No. 4 starter in 2012. Signed for $930,000 on the night of his high school graduation. Baseball America on Lyles: “He shelved his cutter once in pro ball, and saw an immediate improvement in his fastball as it jumped from 86-88 mph in the spring to 90-96 all summer. He had good command of it even with the added velocity. His curveball has rotation and shape to it, and he has show a feel for a changeup.”  Went 3-3, 4.23 with 68 strikeouts and 17 walks over 15 games with Greeneville (13 games) and Tri-City last season.

Daniel Meszaros

Daniel Meszaros

Daniel Meszaros

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 170
D.O.B.: 9-6-85                     
Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla. 

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 48th round of the June 2008 draft, out of the College of Charleston. Made his pro debut last summer with Tri-City, finishing 1-3, with one save and a 4.44 ERA. He worked 26 1/3 innings over 12 relief appearances, striking out 46 and walking eight. Opens this season as a late-inning reliever. 

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton
B/T: L/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-4, 190
D.O.B.: 9-18-89                   
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Notes: A third-round supplemental draft pick last June, out of Second Baptist High School in Texas, where he was class valedictorian.  With a fastball touching 96 mph, he signed for $700,000 Baseball America ranks him as the Astros’ third-best prospect, armed with “best curveball” in the system.  Starts the season as Lexington’s No. 2 starter. Had no decisions and a 13.50 ERA at Greeneville last season, but that came over a total of four innings.  Baseball America: “He has a smooth and easy delivery that’s repeatable, allowing his fastball to sit consistently at 90-94 mph. His slider can be devastating to young hitters, and his changeup is a nice weapon.”

Jack Tilghman

Jack Tilghman

Jack Tilghman

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 205
D.O.B.: 5-19-87                    Hometown: Telford, Pa.

Notes: Signed to a minor-league contract last Aug. 5, Tilghman finished the 2008 season by making nine relief appearances for the Legends: 1-0, 2.70, five strikeouts, nine walks, 13 1/3 innings. Out of Walters State (Tenn.) Community College, he also worked 13 2/3 innings for the Rookie League Phillies in 2007, going 1-1 with a 2.63, six strikeouts and seven walks.

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 150
D.O.B.: 7-13-87                   
Hometown: Sabana Grande de Palenque, D.R.

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, Feb. 22, 2006, Trinidad led all Astros minor-leaguers last season with a 2.73 ERA at Greeneville. He went 3-2 over 10 starts and 56 innings, striking out 40 and walking six. He spent 2006 and 2007 with the Dominican Summer League Astros, going a combined 6-6, with 69 strikeouts and 41 walks. 

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

B/T: L/L                               Ht./wt.: 6-3, 190
D.O.B.: 7-21-88                   
Hometown:
Rochester, N.Y.

Notes: Signed as non-drafted free agent out of Monroe (N.Y.) Community College last June 29. Worked 15 games in relief for Greeneville, going 1-0 with one save and a 1.40 ERA. Had 23 strikeouts and nine walks over 19 1/3 innings. Starts this season as a late-inning reliever. 

Henry Villar

Henry Villar

Henry Villar

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 150
D.O.B.: 5-24-87                   
Hometown: Bonao, Dominican Republic

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, July 19, 2005. Made 13 relief appearances with Greeneville last season. Over 65 1/3 innings, he went 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 12 walks. His 2006 and 2007 seasons were spent with the Dominican Summer League Astros, where he was a combined 5-5, with 101 strikeouts and 21 walks. 

Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 180
D.O.B.: 8-3-87                     
Hometown: Des Plaines, Ill.

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 34th round of the June 2007 draft, out of Oakton (Ill.) Community College.  Pitched the last two seasons at Greeneville, going 1-3 over 28 games (one start), with six saves, 44 strikeouts and 22 walks. Also spent part of 2008 with Tri-City, where he was 2-1 with two saves and a 2.14 ERA over 11 relief outings. Over 21 innings with Tri-City, he struck out 23 and walked only one.

CATCHERS

Jonathan Fixler

Jonathan Fixler

Jonathan Fixler

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.:  6-1, 205
D.O.B.: 6-13-86                   
Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.

Notes: Among six players who spent all or part of last season with the Legends. Hit .248 with eight homers and 50 RBI over 80 games. Also played three games for 2A Corpus Christi, going 1-for-7 with an RBI. Selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the June 2007 draft, out of Indiana University. Played seven games for Tri-City in 2007, with one double in 16 at-bats. 

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

B/T: S/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 170
D.O.B.: 2-9-88                     
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Notes: Hernandez is rated by Baseball America as 20th among Astros prospects. Over three seasons – two with the Venezuelan Summer League Astros and last year with Greeneville – Hernandez hit .291 with six homers. Defense is what impresses Baseball America, though: “A cousin of Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, he was regarded by Rookie-level Appalachian League managers as the top defensive catcher in the league last year. That’s an impressive feat, considering he did not take up the position until signing. He has a good arm and good accuracy, and he showed 1.95-second pop times consistently in instructional league. His receiving skills, feet, soft hands and ability to call a game also got hit marks. Hernandez also blocks balls well, with good range behind the plate, and always shows good hustle.”

INFIELDERS

Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante

B/T: S/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-9, 140
D.O.B.: 10-21-88                 
Hometown: Cartegena, Colombia

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, July 2, 2005.  A shortstop, he hit .261 (36-for-138) with 12 RBI, 19 runs scored and 10 stolen bases over 43 games with Greeneville last season. Hit .308 versus left-handers and batted .361 for the month of June.  Played for the Venezuelan Summer League Astros in 2006 and 2007. 

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-10, 180
D.O.B.: 10-31-87                 
Hometown: Winter Haven, Fla.

Notes: A June 2007 36th round draft pick, out of Polk (Fla.) Community College. Second baseman played 57 games over the last two seasons at Greeneville. Last year, over 39 games, hit .306 (37-for-121) with three homers, 17 RBI, 23 runs and 13 stolen bases (caught four times). Had a .410 on-base percentage over the last 39 games. Batted .373 against lefties and .333 at home. In August, hit .351 and had an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.019.

Phil Disher

Phil Disher

Phil Disher
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 215
D.O.B.: 6-17-85                    Hometown: Cary, N.C.

Notes: With Justin Smoak (11th overall draft pick) at first base, Disher played catcher for the University of South Carolina. The Astros selected him in the 15th round last June and moved him to first. He played 71 games for Tri-City, hitting .304 (85-for-280) with 13 homers, three triples and 20 doubles. He drove in 56 runs and scored 40, with a .381 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage. Baseball America, which pegs him as the 27th best prospect in the Houston system, says the Astros also may want to look at Disher in left field.

Kody Hinze

Kody Hinze

Kody Hinze

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 225
D.O.B.: 7-29-87                    Hometown: Houston

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, Oct. 5, 2007, out of Angelina (Texas) College. First baseman made his pro debut last season with Greeneville, hitting .269 (53-for-197) with eight homers and 32 RBI over 55 games. Had 34 walks (second in the Appalachian League), 46 strikeouts.  His first game, against Kingsport, he drew four walks, scored three runs and drove in two. 

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-1, 200
D.O.B.: 9-1-86                     
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 21st round of the June 2007 draft,  out of Central Florida Community College. Third baseman broke in with Greeneville in 2007 (.234, 7 HR, 23 RBI, team-leading 74 total bases and team second-best 22 runs), then split 2008 between Greeneville and Lexington. Played 32 games for the Legends, batting .234 (30-for-128) with seven homers and 24 RBI, but also with 50 strikeouts to only eight walks. 

Ronnie Ramirez

Ronnie Ramirez

Ronnie Ramirez
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 165
D.O.B.: 1-30-86                   
Hometown: Cartegena, Colombia

Notes: Middle infielder signed as a non-drafted free agent Jan. 13, 2003. Played three years in the Venezuelan Summer League, then came to the U.S. in 2006 with Greeneville (.314, all-star and team MVP over 57 games) and Lexington (2-for-10, three games).  Split last two seasons between Tri-City and the Legends. Minor-league career totals: 310-for-1,248 (.248), 10 HR, 135 RBI and 43 SB. 

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-3, 165
D.O.B.: 5-27-87                   
Hometown: La Romana, Dominican Republic

Notes: Third baseman was Greeneville’s Defensive Player of the Month last July. In his second season with Greeneville, hit .304 (51-for-168) with two homers and 18 RBI. In 2007, led Greeneville in average (.273), RBI (26), hits (60), total bases (86), games (59) and tied for the lead in doubles (14).  Signed as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 31, 2005, then spent one season in the Dominican Summer League. 

OUTFIELDERS 

Jay Austin

Jay Austin

Jay Austin
B/T:
L/L                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 170
D.O.B.: 8-10-90                    Hometown: Atlanta

Notes: Now 18, Austin cranked out 50 homers in high school and committed to Southern Cal, but a $750,000 bonus swayed him to sign with the Astros, who took him in the second round of last June’s draft. Broke in with Greeneville last summer, hitting .198 with 14 RBI and no homers. Baseball America, which rates him the 10th-best prospect in the Astros system, notes that he was one of the youngest players in the league. BBA continued: “While Houston has a few toolsy outfielders in its system, none have the same all-around potential as Austin. A left-handed hitter and center fielder, he has the range to patrol the middle garden, the bat to handle leadoff and speed that could make him a major base-stealing threat.” BBA also designates Austin as “Best Athlete” and “Fastest Base-runner” among Astros prospects. 

Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 210
D.O.B.: 5-15-86                    Hometown: Orange, Calif.

Notes: A June 2005 draft pick out of Cyprus College, Barnes was the Legends’ Defensive Player of the Month last July. Over 87 games, he hit. 241 (75-for-311) with two homers, 19 RBI and seven stolen bases. Barnes began his pro career with two seasons at Greeneville, then moved up to Tri-City in 2007. There, he was the ValleyCats’ MVP and team leader in homers (10) and RBI (41). His 10 homers ranked second in the New York-Penn League. 

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 180
D.O.B.: 9-3-86                     
Hometown: San Andres Island, Colombia

Notes: Signed Dec. 1, 2003 as a non-drafted free agent, Brown was Legends Defensive Player of the Month last June. Over 102 games with Lexington, he hit .212 (72-for-340) with 10 homers, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Began his pro career in the Venezuelan Summer League (2004, ’05), then a season at Greeneville and one at Tri-City. Five-season totals include a .267 average, 19 homers, 128 RBI and 55 stolen bases. 

Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

B/T: L/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 205
D.O.B.: 8-28-85                    Hometown: Houston

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the seventh round of the June 2007 draft, out of Auburn, Dixon hit .237 (96-for-405) for the Legends last season, adding three homers, 33 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Hit .278 before the all-star break, .185 after that. Broke in with Tri-City in 2007, hitting .256 (57-for-223) with 40 RBI, five homers and four stolen bases. 

FIELD STAFF

Travis Driskoll

Travis Driskill

Tom Lawless

Tom Lawless

Pete Rancont

Pete Rancont

Manager: Tom Lawless

Pitching coaches: Charley Taylor and Travis Driskill*

Hitting coach: Pete Rancont

Trainer: John Patton

Strength and conditioning: Dan Barmantje

* Driskill is interim pitching coach while Taylor is on medical leave.

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARY LAY


As Legends have it, baseball season beckons

February 4, 2009
Fernando Nieve

Fernando Nieve

Hard to tell in snowy Central Kentucky, but baseball season soon will be here. (Not soon enough, though!)

The Houston Astros, parent club of the Lexington Legends, open spring training at Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 14, when pitchers and catchers are due to report. Position players report for the first full-squad workout on Feb. 17.

Eleven Astros are on provisional rosters for the World Baseball Classic, including former Legends pitchers Wandy Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) and Fernando Nieve (Venezuela). Rodriguez, known as Eny Cabreja during his time in Lexington, recently signed a one-year deal worth $2.6 million, plus incentives.

Spring training invitees include past Legends Sergio Perez, Chris Johnson, Lou Santangelo and Bud Norris.

Watch out for camels

Meanwhile, the Legends annual radio caravan will visit Cynthiana, Somerset, Richmond, Danville and Lexington, Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 10-12.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Josh Anderson, a former Legend and Eastern Kentucky University standout, will join the Caravan for its visit to Somerset. Anderson is a native of nearby Eubank.

Another former EKU Colonel, Legends pitching coach Charley Taylor, will be along for Caravan stops at Somerset and Richmond.

Doug Flynn's 1978 Topps card

 

The final stop, at Applebee’s Park, will feature Lexington’s Michael Bertram, Doug Flynn, Ben Revere and John Shelby.

Bertram, a third baseman, hit .285 with eight homers, 55 RBI and 51 runs over 102 games last year with the Detroit Tigers’ Class A Lakeland, Fla., team. Bertram has risen through the minors with Ryan Strieby, a teammate on Kentucky’s 2006 Southeastern Conference co-championship team.

Flynn won World Series titles with Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” in 1975 and ’76. He also won a Gold Glove in 1980 as second baseman for the New York Mets.

Minnesota Twins prospect Revere earned MVP honors in the Midwest League last season, leading all of minor-league ball with a .379 average for the Class A Beloit Snappers. He also had a homer, 43 RBI, 51 runs and 44 stolen bases (57 attempts) over 83 games. He had nearly as many walks (27) as strikeouts (31).

Shelby, a Chicago White Sox prospect, was a teammate of Bertram on UK’s SEC co-championship team. He hit .295 with 15 homers, 80 RBI and 81 runs over 114 games for High-A Winston-Salem last season. In addition, he stole 33 bases in 38 attempts. His father, a former big-league outfielder of the same name, is first-base coach for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Legends note that other guests may be added, and that the schedule of guests is subject to change.

The schduled stops:

Tuesday, Feb. 10 – Live broadcast (8-9 a.m.) of Coffee Break with Rick Chasteen on WCYN-AM 1400, Biancke’s Restaurant, 102 South Main, Cynthiana. Harrison County High School coach Mac Whitaker will be a special guest.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 – Backyard Burgers (3-4 p.m.), Highway 27, Somerset; and

Powell Building (5:15-6:15 p.m.), Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.

Thursday, Feb. 12 — Danville (details incomplete); and

Maker’s Mark Club (5:30-6:30 p.m.), Applebee’s Park, Lexington.

Talking Legends baseball

Keith Elkins hosts a weekly radio show, Legends Inside Scoop, on WLXG-AM 1300, Tuesdays from 7:20-8 p.m.

Recent guests include Manager Tom Lawless, pitching coach Charley Taylor and Astros “Scout of the Year” Nick Venuto.

* The Legends will host their annual national anthem tryouts Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14-15, at Lexington’s Fayette Mall.

The auditons will take place in the mall wing nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods, noon-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

For details, or to reserve an audition time, call the Legends at   (859) 252-4487  . Walk-up entrants also are welcome.

* You say you’ll save the fans from your vocals, but you’d still like to be at the park?

Well, senior slugger, the Legends have a pitch to make to you about the Silver Sluggers Club.

SSC membership, for fans 55 and over, costs $30. That will get you “a special package of gifts,” as well as Sunday tickets for half price, meal vouchers for Sunday games and “exclusive sale opportunities at the Legends Locker merchandise store.” Those registering before April 1 will receive a free box seat to the April 13 home opener.

Club members who attend six Sunday home games will receive a dinner for two in the Maker’s Mark Club. Those who attend all 10 Sunday home games will receive an autographed set of team cards. More details are available from the Legends:   (859) 252-4487  .


Talking baseball: Legends and Cats

December 17, 2008

The Lexington Legends aren’t alone among South Atlantic League teams in changing managers (Tom Lawless in, Gregg Langbehn out).

Other new bosses in 2009 include Matt LeCroy (Hagerstown), Dusty Wathan (Lakewood), Ernie Young (Kannapolis) and Aaron Holbert (Lake County). West Virginia, switching affiliations from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh, also will have a new manager.

Young, part of the 2000 Olympic gold-medal team, will work on occasion with a man familiar to Reds fans. Ron Oester is the roving infield instructor in the White Sox organization.

Ex files

Off-season moves by the Astros include the release of right-handers Raymar Diaz, Jake Leonhardt and Luis Pardo, catcher Kevin Carceek, second baseman Greg Buchanan, shortstops Bryan Brown and Tim Torres and outfielder Cesar Quintero. All are ex-Legends.

Pitchers Doug Arguello, Chance Douglass, Paul Estrada, Mark McLemore became free agents, as did shorstops Osvaldo Fernando and Roberto Mena, and outfielder-turned-hitting-coach Todd Self. Arguello has since re-signed with the Astros.

* More on ex-Legends: catcher Danny Fatheree signed with the Cubs, and left-hander Phil Barzilla with the Padres. Catcher Hector Gimenez was granted free-agency by Tampa Bay, right-hander Cory Doyne by Baltimore.

* Two former Kentucky Wildcats have come or gone with New York teams. Second baseman Andy Green, out of Lexington Christian Academy, signed with the Mets. Shortstop Ryan Wilkes was released by the Yankees.

Young Wildcats rank high

We recently went over Kentucky’s fall signing class, which projects for the 2010 season. Of course, there’s always the danger (likelihood?) of losing committments to the Major League draft.

So what of the 2007 fall class — the first-year players who actually made it on to campus and are eligible to play for the Wildcats this season?

The class of 11 players, which includes five high school all-Americans, is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Baseball America. That’s the best ranking ever for a UK class – and not a bad way for former pitching coach Gary Henderson to start out his first season as head coach. Four of the top five teams and six of the top 11 are from the Southeastern Conference. Louisville is No. 20.

“We are very excited about our new group,” Henderson said in a UK press release. “These young men are very gifted physically, but even more impressive as people and competitors. Despite losing some signees to the 2008 MLB Draft in June, we are ecstatic about this group and we expect several of them to contribute in SEC play immediately.”

The high school all-Americans in the class are right-handers Alex Meyer and Braden Kapteyn, catcher Michael Williams, middle infielder Andy Burns and outfielder Cory Farris. According to Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt, the 6-foot-7 Meyer is “the (Southeastern) conference’s best recruit.”

Five recruits are from Kentucky – Farris (Boone County), outfielder Chad Wright (Heath) and three right-handers: Chase Greene (West Jessamine), Sean Bouthilette (Elizabethtown) submarining junior-college transfer Nick Kennedy (Paducah). Wright is the brother of Cats outfielder Brock Wright.

Two more Cats are JUCO transfers: Gunner Glad and Will Campbell.

Only three recruits from the fall 2007 signing period didn’t make it to Lexington — pitchers Robbie Ross and Seth Lintz signed as second-round draft picks and Daniel Webb landed in junior college.

The rankings and the players are listed below. 

Baseball America’s Top-25 Recruiting Classes (SEC team in bold)

1. Arizona State; 2. Vanderbilt; 3. Georgia ; 4. KENTUCKY; 5. Florida; 6. Texas A&M ; 7. UCLA; 8. Arkansas; 9. Texas Christian; 10. Oregon; 11. Mississippi; 12. Texas; 13. Clemson; 14. Virginia; 15. Cal State Fullerton; 16. Wichita State; 17. Fresno State; 18. Stanford; 19. Oklahoma State; 20. LOUISVILLE; 21. Pepperdine; 22. Southern California; 23. North Carolina State; 24. Florida State; 25. Duke. 

2009 UK Baseball Newcomers

Name, POS.        B/T          Ht./Wt.          Cl.           Hometown/School

Michael Williams , C             R/R          6-2 /210          FR           Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS

Andy Burns, IF             R/R          6-2/185          FR           Ft. Collins, Colo./Rocky Mountain HS

Nick Kennedy, RHP        R/R          6-1/170          R-SO       Los Angeles/East Los Angeles

Alex Meyer, RHP        R/R          6-8/205          FR           Greensburg, Ind./Greensburg HS

Sean Bouthilette, RHP        R/R          6-2/195          FR           Elizabethtown, Ky./E-town HS

Gunner Glad , IF/RHP    R/R          6-0/190          R-JR        Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Union/E. Okla.

Chad Wright , OF           L/R          5-10/180          FR           Paducah, Ky./Heath HS

Chase Greene, RHP/IF    R/R          6-1/180          FR           Nicholasville, Ky./W.Jessamine HS

Braden Kapteyn, IF/RHP    R/R          6-4 /205          FR           Lansing, Ill./Illiana Christian

Will Campbell, 1B/OF      R/R          6-5/265          JR            Seattle/Bellevue CC

Cory Farris, C/OF       L/R          6-1/195          FR           Florence, Ky./Boone County HS