South Atlantic League
vs. Rome Braves
What: Four-game series
Where: State Mutual Stadium (Rome, Ga.)
When: Tuesday through Friday (7 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights; 1 Wednesday afternoon)
Major League affiliates: Houston Astros (Legends), Atlanta Braves
Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Tuesday, RH Tanner Bushue (4-5, 4.95) vs. RH Cory Rasmus (6-5, 3.16); Wednesday, RH Juan Minaya (4-8, 5.35) vs. LH Brett DeVall (5-6, 4.23); Thursday, RH Jose Cisnero (4-5, 4.14) vs. RH Caleb Brewer (3-1, 4.30); Friday, LH Luis Cruz (4-2, 3.04) vs. LH Chris Masters (1-5, 3.27).
Brave to watch: 1B/DH Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (6-foot-2, 235 pounds, from Pretoria, South Africa) was a 16th round draft pick last year out of Nova Southeastern in Florida, the same alma mater as Legends recent callup J.D. Martinez. He went 2-for-7 in two games with the Gulf Coast League Braves this season and is 32-for-109 (.294) with 10 RBI and 14 runs over 29 games with Rome. Spanjer-Furstenburg came into this season ranked by Baseball America as the 29th-best prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ system. At Coral Glades (Fla.) High School, he also played football. Last season, Spanjer-Furstenburg was Player of the Year and battinig champion in the Appalachian League, hitting .359 with eight homers 53 RBI and 36 runs over 62 games for Danville. He was on his native South Africa’s provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic.
Legend to watch: Wednesday starter Juan Minaya (6-4, 192, from Maimon, Dominican Republic) lost his first seven decisions of the season but is 4-1 over his last seven starts. Over 17 starts this season, Minaya has 62 strikeouts, 47 walks and 17 hit batsmen, but has surrendered only three home runs. Over his last seven starts, he has struck out 29 and beaned six, with an ERA of 4.06. Throw out his one bad showing during that stretch — six runs and three walks over two-third of an inning — and Minaya’s recent ERA drops to 2.37. However, that one bad start came against Rome. By month this season, Minaya’s ERA has dropped from 6.75 in April to 5.93 in May, 5.40 in June and 2.51 thus far in July. Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in September of 2008, Minaya made 12 starts for the Gulf Coast League Astros in 2009. Over 52 2/3 innings, he was 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA, issuing 18 walks while striking out 30.
Radio: WLXG AM-1300