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Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Latest: Nice updates from Southern League All-Star Game

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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Helena bounces back
#21

Posted: June 20, 2012, 6:16 AM Post
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Audio from Nashville — “Mondays with Mike (Guerrero)”…on a Tuesday due to yesterday’s day off

Jeff Hem's note -- Here is this week’s installment of “Mondays with Mike” with Sounds manager Mike Guerrero, though it comes on a Tuesday because the Sounds had the day off Monday. This week Guerrero talks about off days in the minors, the rehab assignments to the Sounds for Brewers infielders Cesar Izturis and Travis Ishikawa, the Sounds’ solid starting pitching lately (7 straight games where the starter hasn’t allowed more than 2ER), the continued great hitting of Logan Schafer, where to place certain guys in the batting order and Wily Peralta’s start last Sunday.


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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Helena bounces back
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 7:37 AM Post
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Scooter Gennett audio interview with Joe Block on the Brewers' pre-game


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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Helena bounces back
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 9:25 AM Post
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A year removed from tough season, Stars' Jesus Sanchez appears in Southern League All-Star Game
By Mark McCarter, The Huntsville Times

KODAK, Tennessee - This time a year ago, Jesus Sanchez was on a lake. He and some friends rented a boat when he had the three-day midseason break.

"It was a rough year," said the Huntsville Stars right-hander from Venezuela. "I wasn't doing good. I think I needed a break. I just wanted to hang around friends and not think about baseball."

Sanchez smiled, then added, "To be honest, I like it better this year."

Sanchez was one of three Huntsville Stars participating in the Southern League All-Star Game Tuesday, a game in which their North squad lost to the South 6-2 in front of an announced crowd of 5,406. That's well below the record 7,782 set in Huntsville in 2010.

The South's victory was its first in eight games since the league went to a North-South alignment in 2005.

Sanchez allowed a misplayed flyball that landed for a double, but struck out the other two batters he faced in the eighth inning.

"I was relaxed," he said. "It was nice to have fun with the other guys and make new friends."

Hunter Morris, after a slow start, cracked four homers in the Home Run Derby; another was a borderline fair-foul call. It wasn't enough to advance to the finals.

In two at-bats in the game, he had a strikeout and popout.

Second baseman Scooter Gennett was 0-for-4.

Tyler Thornburg, who won his first eight decisions, was also chosen to the team but learned on Monday that he had been promoted to the major leagues. He started for the Brewers on Tuesday night, allowing seven hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings. he got no decision.

Evan Anundsen, the fifth Stars selection, was put on the disabled list last week and was unable to participate. He did attend the festivities and the game.

Jackson's Denny Almonte, who struggled during the home run derby, put the North on top with a leadoff homer in the first.

"I thought, 'All right, we're going to score some runs," said North manager Buddy Bailey of the Tennessee Smokies. "But that didn't happen. Good pitching always beats good hitting. And their pitching was better than our hitting."

Former Jacksonville State star Todd Cunningham, a Mississippi outfielder, singled home a run to spark a three-run South second, then Mobile's David Nick led off the third with a triple and scored on a wild throw. Teammate Matt Davidson was hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single by the Bay Bears' Alfredo Marte for a 5-1 lead. Marte, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored, was named MVP.

All-Star notes

Three finalists, whose names have not been made public, have been chosen to fill the vacancy of Southern League president. Since the retirement last fall of the late Don Mincher, the spot has been filled on an interim basis by Steve DeSalvo. ... Participation in this game is obviously no guarantee for future success, but 14 players who were in the 2011 game have appeared in the major leagues this season. ... The home run derby winner was Jackson's Joe Dunigan, edging Tennessee's Justin Bour in the championship round. ... The 2013 All-Star Game has been awarded to Jacksonville in July 2013. Some officials were opposed to that late date, which comes after the second half has started, since many top prospects will have already earned promotions. ... The tentative 2013 schedule was given to teams, but it must go through several layers of tweaking and approval before it becomes final.


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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Helena bounces back
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 9:29 AM Post
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Huntsville Times All-Star Player Photo Gallery (from when they learned of their selections)


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Posted: June 20, 2012, 9:38 AM Post
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Southern League All-Star Game an 'awesome experience' for Stars' Hunter Morris
By Mark McCarter, The Huntsville Times

Hunter Morris, the Stars' first Huntsville-born player, started in Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game and participated in the Home Run Derby.

Morris shared his reflections on the All-Star Game and other matters with Times columnist Mark McCarter.

KODAK, Tenn. - It was an awesome experience being out here. I had a great time with it.

Obviously I wish I could have done a little better at the plate (0-for-2) but not the end of the world. I had a fun with it. Now I'll rest up for a few hours and get the second half of the season started.

I actually knew a decent number of the other guys on the team. Playing first base, I get to talk to most of them during the season. The position players anyway. It's a great group of guys. I didn't get to know as many of them as well as I'd like to, but hopefully this isn't the last time I'll see them at something like this.

Physically, I felt fine after the Home Run Derby. I got there and put a lot of pressure on myself to get started. It was a little taxing taking six outs before you get one out and try to regroup. It took more out of me mentally than physically.

Then they asked me to do the color commentary on the PA system. I had fun with that. I think it adds life to the game, and I think the fans liked it. I think more other guys should do that.

I did a home run derby in the fall for Tim Hudson's charity foundation in Auburn. I had a great time there. Tim's a great guy, had a good group of guys to compete with. Guys like Gabe Gross, Kevin Patterson, David Ross, guys I had played with, guys who had been with Auburn before me. I'd love to do this one along with Tim Hudson's and anybody who wants to invite me to another one along the road.

After Sunday's ballgame in Huntsville, we heard Tyler (Thornburg, Stars pitcher) was going to come up here for the All-Star Game, then drive over to Nashville and join the Triple-A team.

Then we found out he was starting in Milwaukee (Tuesday) night. I'm happy for him. I'm excited for him to get that opportunity. Everybody knows he's got a great career ahead of him. I'm glad to see him get started this early.

I talked to him Monday right before we started the off-the-field activities here. He was getting ready to fly up there.

We did a charity mini-golf tournament and had a lot of fun with that Monday. I actually did OK. I think I shot like a 32 and I had six or seven hole-in-ones. I putted it pretty well. Better than I do in my normal golf game.

We had a dinner at Neyland Stadium, which is pretty cool. As an Auburn guy, I'm obviously not a Tennessee fan, but being in one of the skyboxes for one of the biggest football stadiums in the country, it's cool. If you appreciate college football, you have to appreciate that.

I'm going to try to play golf (today) whether we go back early and I try to play when we get home, or maybe let my wife and son sleep in and get nine in over by the hotel and try to have something of an off-day.

Sunday turned out great with the bobblehead doll of me holding my son Tripp. Buck Rogers (Stars general manager) and Jill (Cacic, media relations director) did a great job putting that together and promoting it.

Some of the guys gave me a hard time, but they really liked it too. They thought it was one of the cooler ones they'd ever seen.

For me, it was exciting to know that once my son Tripp gets a little older and he understands, he's probably the only 1-year-old to have his own bobblehead, and with the impact that my family has on me in the game of baseball, that's one thing I treasure.

First baseman Hunter Morris, right, with pitcher Evan Anundsen

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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Latest: Nice updates from Southern League All-Star Game
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 9:59 AM Post
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Watch Helena's Chris McFarland's triple among the game highlights here.


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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Latest: Nice updates from Southern League All-Star Game
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 9:59 AM Post
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struggling Shelby Miller with candid interview at bottom of the main story link, it's worth it to watch if you have the time
Memphis treats: BBQ nachos, Miller
Crowds love Redbirds' dry rub, but Miller still warming to town
By Benjamin Hill / MLB.com

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Memphis' signature barbecue nachos have inspired other local restaurants. (Benjamin Hill/MiLB.com)

In most Minor League ballparks, the thought of nachos outselling hot dogs would be patently absurd. It sounds like some sort of alternate reality scenario, taking place in a world in which the Cubs have 27 world championships and Howard the Duck is the highest-grossing movie of all-time.

But that's just the situation at AutoZone Park, the home of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Barbecue nachos are the team's signature concession item, one so popular that it does indeed outsell the iconic hot dog. The barbecue nachos can be traced back to the team's days at old Tim McCarver Park (where they were known as "Pig Nachos"), and they were re-christened with their current name when the team moved to AutoZone Park in 2000. From there, an enthusiastic cult following soon blossomed into full-on mainstream adoration.

They are a relatively simple concoction -- consisting of tortilla chips topped with pulled pork, nacho cheese, barbecue sauce and dry rub -- but the details are crucial. The latter two ingredients are supplied by Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous, a downtown Memphis barbecue institution located just a few minutes walk from the ballpark, and it's the dry rub in particular that gives the nachos a memorable kick.

When I visited AutoZone Park last week, Ovations concessions general manager Mike Brulatour placed an order of the nachos in front of me, pointed out the copious amounts of dry rub sprinkled on top, and asked, "Do you like Old Bay Seasoning? Well, this is better."

Better is in the eye of the beholder, and I am still pondering whether the Rendezvous rub is indeed superior to Maryland's No. 1 seafood enhancer. The two are certainly comparable (Rendezvous has more of a kick to it), and there's no doubt that the Redbirds have hit upon the right recipe. Brulatour notes with pride that the Redbirds sparked a trend throughout Memphis, with established barbecue joints throughout the area copying the team.

"We were the first place that had barbecue nachos," he said. "And now, almost every restaurant has them on the menu."

Growing pains

Though food may be the first order of business for many Memphis fans, there are also those whose top priority is seeing the future of the St. Louis Cardinals organization in an intimate environment. And this season, there is no greater prospect on the Redbirds' roster than 21-year-old right-hander Shelby Miller.

The Cardinals' first-round Draft pick in 2009, Miller possesses the sort of innate talent that had led to smooth sailing in his professional baseball career. He was named the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in each of the past two seasons and, in 2011, compiled a stellar 2.77 ERA while pitching in the usually challenging environs of the Double-A Texas League.

And then came Memphis.

Miller is currently sporting an unsightly 6.00 ERA, opponents are batting .306 against him, and he is averaging fewer than five innings per start. Most unsettlingly, he has surrendered 15 home runs over 66 innings pitched (for perspective, he entered the season having yielded 13 home runs over 247 career innings).

I requested an interview with Miller the day after his dispiriting start against the Nashville Sounds on June 11 (he took the loss, allowing six runs over four innings), and considering the circumstances I would have understood if he declined or, at the very least, kept himself at a safe remove. Instead, he sat down in the home dugout and spoke candidly about his struggles in a largely unprompted and refreshingly unguarded manner.

"There has been a lot of adversity for me this year. I think it's travel stuff, waking up at four o'clock, and you might have a start that day," he said. "The hitters are better; the parks play different -- they play weird. You can't really make excuses for it. A lot of people will say it's a fair league, but it's tough to pitch here, that's for sure. It's the biggest jump for me so far."

Nonetheless, Miller is doing his best to find silver linings amidst the clouds.

"[A positive attitude] is something I'm working on, actually, because I haven't really dealt with adversity and having to deal with bad numbers," Miller said. "Through my Minor League career, I've done really well. The story of my life right now is I'm giving up big innings, and it's due to home runs. Once I finally cut that out and eliminate the long ball -- just bear down in the fourth and fifth or whenever that long inning presents itself -- it's gonna be a way better season then it's been looking like so far."

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
- Plato
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
- Plato


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Offline  Re: Link Report for Tue. 6/19 -- Latest: Nice updates from Southern League All-Star Game
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Posted: June 20, 2012, 10:07 AM Post
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Marauders' Taillon snaps out of funk
Bucs prospect yields one hit over career-high seven innings
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com

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Jameson Taillon had allowed 20 earned runs in his previous four starts. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

Jameson Taillon felt like he earned the right to pitch on Tuesday. Then he went out and proved it.

The Pirates' top prospect allowed one hit over seven innings in his longest outing as a pro, pitching Class A Advanced Bradenton to a 7-0 blanking of St. Lucie.

Taillon (4-6), who struck out five and walked three, allowed only a fifth-inning single to Blake Forsythe. He threw 47 of 78 pitches for strikes and faced only four over the minimum in his 14th start for the Marauders.

"It's one of those days where I felt like I had all three pitches working for me," Taillon said. "I had good command of my fastball, in and out and up and down. I worked it inside early, that was the key. I was trying to make them uncomfortable. After that, it was three-pitch mix."

Taillon, who pitched six innings on June 2 against Brevard County to match his longest previous outing, had struggled in his six starts. Over 31 innings, he surrendered 28 earned runs on 41 hits while striking out 26. The biggest difference Tuesday was mental, not physical.

"I'd say it was attitude," Taillon said. "My attitude tonight was that I deserved to be there and I've been working hard -- have some fun, play the game and have a positive outlook. Honestly, it's a lot more fun when you throw well. We've started off the second half really well."

The second overall pick in the 2010 Draft was excited to make his way past the sixth for the first time. Despite walking two in the inning, it was a great experience.

"I was pumped to see the seventh," Taillon said. "You have to earn it at this level. It's all about the pitch count and how efficient you can be. Whenever you can see the seventh at this level, you know you've done something right."

MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect lowered his ERA to 4.10 in his second season as a pro. He ranks seventh in the Florida State League with 67 strikeouts over 74 2/3 innings and opponents are batting .234 against him.

The 20-year-old right-hander began the season in the rotation with Gerrit Cole, who will make his Double-A debut Wednesday. Taillon hopes to follow the top overall pick in last year's Draft but understands he has to earn a promotion.

"It was awesome that [Cole] got to move up, it's always good to see a good friend get moved up one step closer," Taillon said. "It's one of those things that I can't really control and I have to keep going out there and doing my thing.

"I'd say [I have to] show consistency and not have as many ups and downs. Just string together good starts. You don't have to be great every time, just show you can be good on a consistent basis."

Kenn Kasparek allowed a hit and walk in the eighth and Zach Foster tossed a hitless ninth to wrap up Bradenton's fifth shutout.

Mel Rojas was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Kirk Singer plated a pair of runs for the Marauders.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
- Plato
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
- Plato


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