Tag Archives: A.J. Pierzynski

Fort Fragments: Blanks, Venable, Ready, Latos, Peavy, Pierzynski

Padres’ youth movement hits Triple-A Portland hard: Several former Fort Wayne players; including Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, Mat Latos and Greg Burke have seen big league action this year. It’s also spelt a drain on talent for Triple-A Portland. With the likelihood of others (such as Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby winner, Chad Huffman) trickling onto the Padres’ roster in the coming weeks, the chances of Portland improving upon their league worst win-loss record doesn’t look good.

Speaking of Kyle Blanks, he’s starting to earn more widespread attention:

Speaking of Will Venable, the former Wizards outfielder has been fortunate enough to play under close tutilage of his father, Max Venable, a former big leaguer who used to be the hitting coach in Fort Wayne. But apparently it was his mother’s advice that kept her son in baseball rather than the pursuit of hooop dreams. See Also: Venable Has Been a Quick Study.

Former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready has been promoted to the Padre’s hitting coach. Probably a move that also is intended to help keep him in the organization rather than jumping ship to be a big league manager when teams start interviewing to fill soon-to-be vacancies.

Mat Latos is also drawing a lot of acclaim since rising from Fort Wayne to the big leauges earlier this season. He netted his first MLB win in his second start. He allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-2 Padres’ win over the Washington Nationals. He went seven innings in his next start before allowing former Wizards, Michael Ekstrom and Burke to finish his win in a game that also saw a Blanks homer.

While it’s early to call Latos the next San Diego ace of the staff, it’s probably refreshing news following the trade of the former incumbant, Jake Peavy, to the White Sox. In fact, Friday night, Latos gave up seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, leading to a 9-2 loss to the Cardinals. The 21-year-old had won his last four starts and was the first Padres pitcher in history to win four of his first five career starts.

More Latos:

On another Jake Peavy note, the former Wizard and Padre has begun his rehab work with the White Sox. He struck out five in his first assignment.

TinCaps right hander, Simon Castro took the seventh Midwest League honor earlier in the month when he was selected as MWL Pitcher of the Week for the week ending Augst 2nd. At the time, he was leading the league in strikeouts with 125 and had just concluded two dominant startswhere he allowed just one run while struck out out 15 over ten innings.

Current White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski hopes to remain in Chicago but realizes tha the might have to try the free agent waters if the up and coming (and cheaper) competition continue to press.

Off the DL: Nick Hundley, Torii Hunter

Taking a Look at the Padres Prospects (requires MadFriars subscription):

Speaking of MadFriars, FriarForecast recently caught up with John Conniff following his trip to Fort Wayne. He provides his take on the new erea of baseball in Fort Wayne

Wizards Where R They?

  • Paul McAnulty: After being released by Boston, McAnulty signed with the Colorado Rockies. He’s now playing with the Triple-A SkySox.
  • Jose Lobaton: The Tampa Bay Rays claimed the catcher off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Double-A Montgomery.
  • Freddy Guzman: Now playing in Triple-A Norfolk with the Orioles organization.
  • Josh Barfield: After not getting claimed off waivers, Barfield was outrighted from Indian’s 40-Man Roster.

Finally, Paul DePodesta shares his thoughts on the current prospects in the Padres’ system. Many of them are former Wizards/TinCaps.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Donovan, Hunter, Condrey, Pierzynski, Soria, Perez

Here’s some good articles about former Fort Wayne Wizards:

Kevin Gray’s On Baseball: He still plays like a kid (UnionLeader.com)

A look at Todd Donovan, now a Blue Jays farmhand, and why he has not yet made a big league roster.

“I’ve tried not to talk about it as much as I can, but the conversation always seems to come up,” said Donovan, drafted in the ninth round by the Padres in 1999. “There’s a lot of built-up frustration. I’m not young anymore. I’m not a prospect anymore. I basically have to prove myself every single day.”

 Beckett sparks bench-clearing brawl (ESPN.com)

Angels center fielder Torii Hunter was ejected by West and had to be restrained by teammate Howie Kendrick.

Manuel: Phillies’ Condrey ‘a staff saver’ (SportingNews)

The 33-year-old Philadelphia Phillies pitcher gets the ball after Cole Hamels and before Brad Lidge. He’s a middle reliever that lacks the unhittable pitch or the highlight-reel flash of his more popular starter and closer teammates.

Sox love Pierzynski even if others don’t (MLB.com)

“Certain events that have occurred have led people to believe I’m a certain way, and I can’t control that. What I can control is how I prepare myself to play for this team, and that’s all I worry about.”

Joakim Soria:

Soria now one of Majors’ elite closers (MLB.com)
Hardly anyone in the Major Leagues was better at nailing down games last season than Soria, who converted 42 of 45 save chances, or 93.3 percent. The only closers topping that were the Phillies’ Brad Lidge (41-for-41, 100 percent) and the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera (39-for-40, 97.5 percent).

Soria dispels doubts with save (MLB.com)
“I remember when Trey first got here and saying to me, ‘That’s going to be our closer, huh?’ Just for the fact that he wasn’t sharp yet,” McClure said. “And he goes on to get 42 saves, but we had seen him pitch; I didn’t know he’d get 40, but you knew that he’d save a lot of games. So to me, he looks behind.”

Oliver Perez:

  • Mets’ Oliver Perez is wild in appearance against Tigers – 3/25/09 (SportingNews)
  • Mets’ Perez believes World Baseball Classic put him behind – 3/26/09 (SI.com)
  • Johan talks to Perez after tough outing – 3/26/09 (MLB.com)
  • Praise all around for Perez – 3/30/09 (MLB.com)
  • Perez sharp in Mets’ 2-1 victory against Orioles – 3/30/09 (SportingNews)
  • Perez shows rust in spring finale – 4/3/09 (MLB.com)

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Luis Cruz, Pierzynski, Burroughs, Quezada

  • Luis Cruz (from the 2003 Wizards’ squad) went 3-4 with a double and his second homer of the season; a two-run shot that broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth to outlast a Louisville rally to give Indianapolis a 5-4 win Thursday night at Victory Field. He launched another homer on Friday to lead the Indians to another victory over the Bats in front of 13,558 fans at Victory Field.
  • Controversy again found A.J. Pierzynski. During a rundown between second and third, Pierzynski appeared to get tagged out after falling, but umpire Doug Eddings called him safe, citing interference by Rays third baseman, Willy Aybar. Replays showed that Pierzynski initiated contact by hitting Aybar with his elbow before falling. So, Pierzynski was awarded third base and scored a couple batters later. The White Sox ended up winning by one run. Both Eddings and Major League Baseball later admitted the blown call.
  • Geoff at Ducksnorts rounds out his reviews of the farm by spotlighting Portland. Looks like he’s softening his stance on Will Venable: “I like Venable’s chances a little better now than I did at the same time last year, but he still looks like a fourth outfielder to me.” He also takes a look at Matt Antonelli, Peter Ciofrone, Wade LeBlanc and more.
  • Yes, you saw Sean Burroughs in the headline. Friar Forecast took a look at Burroughs’ fielding and found that his dissappointing offense underscored his above average defense. Good reading here.
  • It’s a Wizards reunion in San Diego: “[Chase] Headley welcomed newcomers [Josh] Geer and outfielder Will Venable, who also was promoted from Triple-A. The trio and rookie catcher Nick Hundley, along with last night’s starting pitcher, Dirk Hayhurst, helped Double-A San Antonio win the Texas League championship last year. Rookie utility man Sean Kazmar also played for the Missions.”All six of those players are former Wizards as well.
  • Midwest Leaguesaves leader, Jackson Quezada was the lone Fort Wayne representative of the Midwest League postseason all-star roster.
  • Paul DePodesta takes a look at the 2008 late round draftees.
  • Torii Hunter is still doing his thing in the Outfield, having robbed a couple crucial home runs lately.
  • Finally, MadFriars has been going crazy with Wizards-related headlines (subscription required for the links below):

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Pierzynski, Cuddyer, Condry, Headley and Matt Bush News!?!?

  • White Sox walk off behind Pierzynski: Former Wizards catcher, A.J. Pierzynski hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the White Sox to their second straight extra-inning win over the Indians, 6-5, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. Figures . . . I just traded him in my fantasy league.
  • Cuddyer’s MRI shows sprained knuckle: The last player in the Twins system from the Wizards’ days as a Minnesota affiliate, Michael Cuddyer has had a pretty banged up season. I think this is his third DL stint. BTW: he’s on my fantasy team.
  • Condrey has big off-day plans: The former Wizards and current Phillie pitcher, Clay Condrey and his wife welcomed their first son on Monday, Cashton “Cash” Lee. Interestingly, Fort Wayne native and current Indian’s skipper, Eric Wedge, and his wife named their son Dalton Cash after his arrival shortly before the season.
  • Headley continues to improve in left field: I still think he’ll ultimately end up at third in the long run, but Chase Headley‘s star continues to rise as he adapts in the outfield. For what’s it’s worth, there were some Oakland A’s scouts at the Castle on Sunday. Maybe its just a coincidence that Chavez went on the DL a couple days later. They’re just five games out of first and three-and-a-half out of the wild card.
  • Padres land bevy of international talent: A possible look at some future Wizards (or whatever the team is next year and beyond). They forked over 5 million dollars to secure four highly-touted players from Latin America and an Australian outfielder on the first day of the international signing period; Adis Portillo (Venezuela), shortstop Alvaro Aristy (Dominican Republic), outfielder Luis Domoromo (Venezuela), right-handed pitcher Elvin Tavarez (Dominican Republic) and outfielder, Corey Adamson (Australia). They’re all around 16 years old, so it will be a while before we see any of them in the Fort if we ever do.
  • Encouraging News on Matt Bush: “He isn’t on a mound yet but he’s long tossing from 130 feet and one third of the way through his throwing program. He could be back getting in serious work by Instructional League.” Matt Antonelli may be finally coming out of his funk and Eric Sogard is drawing some attention. Add him to your watch lists.
  • Peavy nominated for an ESPY: Not much I can add to that. The guy is a stud and deserves to be recognized.
  • McDaid promoted to Lake Elsinore: I haven’t cataloged any of my 2008 photos yet. Hope I got some good shots before Derek McDaid, an MWL All-Star, was promoted.

Don Ehrke Discusses the MiLB Experience

I recently came across a Minor League Baseball retrospective by Don Ehrke. In it, he discusses some early Wizards memories:

When we lived in Fort Wayne, however, Sean Burroughs played the better part of a season with the Wizards. He tore the cover off the ball, but even at the Single A level, his lack of power was already looking like a detriment. We also saw A.J. Pierzynski and Michael Cuddyer stop off in Fort Wayne as 19-year-olds on their way to bigger and better things in Minnesota.

Full article can be read here.

Interleague Play Takes Pierzynski Back to San Francisco

Former Wizards catcher, A.J. PIerzynski returned to San Francisco with the start of the first installment of interleague play in 2008. As far as I can tell, it was in San Francisco that Pierzynski first started developing the reputation that follows him wherever he goes.

But as he makes his return to San Francisco, he attempted to downplay the troubled times he saw there. He recently told some Chicago beat writers about his experiences . . . about how he was asked to play multiple positions, about how many of the stories that originated from the era simply weren’t true, and more.

The story where I supposedly kicked the trainer in the nuts. I think if I would have done that in Scottsdale Stadium in front of 15,000 people, it would have come out before I was gone.

Among these things, he also talks about the trades that sent him from Minnesota to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Chicago.

Update: As expected, Pierzynski was booed greatly on Friday. “I think A.J. loves that,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But look at the best games he has, look at Anaheim — they start booing him and he got big hits.” In the game, Pierzynski hit a triple; which was his first triple since 2004 . . . when was with the San Francisco Giants.

Pierzynski Heckles Fans on Redline

AJ Pierzynski taunting fansSo, I am on my way home from the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds game on Thursday. I’m a little bummed that the Reds busted out a rare win and took it to the Cubs pretty much all day, and I’m not looking too forward to the long train ride and drive home. So, I’m sitting on the Red Line and what do I see? AJ Pierzynski taunting fans!

Okay, so it wasn’t the real Pierzynski. Rather, it was an ad of the White Sox (and former Wizards) catcher holding up a sign that reads “Hey Fanna Fanna Fanna.” In some fashion, it’s a collaborative effort of the CTA and the Chicago White Sox to promote their mutual interests. I couldn’t find any further info on the campaing on-line. However, as I looked around, I saw other White Sox players holding similar messages on their signs.

Pretty clever. Effective? I don’t know. But clever indeed.

Pierzynski is AL Player of the Week

Former Fort Wayne Wizards and current Chicago White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski is the opening week American League Player of the Week (presented by Bank of America). The now leaner Pierzynski went 10-20 with two home runs, seven runs batted in and seven runs scored during the 2008 season’s opening week. he also posted a 1.000 slugging percentage. It’s the first time in Pierzynski’s career that he has earned the award. [Source: MLB.com]