Tag Archives: San Diego

Ernesto Frieri is 87th Fort Wayne Alum to Make MLB Debut

Frieri on the Mound with the WizardsFormer Fort Wayne Wizard, Ernesto Frieri becamse the 87th former Fort Wayne Wizare/TinCap to make his Major League Baseball debut last night when he entered the eight in place of San Diego Padres starter, Luke Gregerson.

He faced the minimum for the inning by striking out the Diamondbacks’ Gerardo Parra and then getting Chris Young to line out to third baseman and fellow former Wizard, Chase Headley. He then struck out Stephen Drew to end the inning and his outing.

Frieri appeared in one game with the Wizarads in 2006. He returned in 2007, where he appeared in 40 games, compiling a 1-2 record with a 2.64 ERA and striking out 65 while walking 23 over 64.2 innings piched.

Photograph (Daryl Jones #28 and Ernesto Frieri #19) by Chad Gramling taken at Memorial Stadium during the 2007 season. Autographs are authentic and obtained in person.

Two More Fort Wayne Alumni Invited to San Diego

Though I have not seen any official transaction details yet, it appears that former Wizards, pitcher Ernesto Frieri and outfielder Luis Durango may soon be joining the MLB roster in San Diego. Reportedly, they were informed of their new assignments following the (Double-A) San Antonio Missions exit from the playoffs.

An overwhelmed Frieri bounced from handshake to handshake, on the brink of tears, all but speechless at the announcement of the news. Durango stood bewildered in front of his locker, quietly accepting congratulations from teammates and staff.

The duo join Cesar Ramos, who recently joined the team, as they await their first opportunities at the big league level.

Frieri appeared in one game with the Wizarads in 2006. He returned in 2007, where he appeared in 40 games, compiling a 1-2 record with a 2.64 ERA and striking out 65 while walking 23 over 64.2 innings piched.

Durango played most of the 2008 season in Fort Wayne with the Wizards, where he appeared in 93 games. He hit .305 with 56 runs and 14 stolen bases. This season wiht San Antonia, the speedy Durango swiped 44 bags.

Greg Burke’s MLB Debut

Former Fort Wayne Wizard, Greg Burke, made his Major League debut yesterday. He’s the third of the season and the 79th overall. He pitched a scoreless inning of releif in a game that saw former Wizard, Nick Hundley win the game for the Padres with a sixteenth inning home run.

The game became tied in the eighth when Cincinnati Reds reliever, David Weathers wallked former Wizard, Drew Macias with the bases juice to plate the run.

With the Wizards in 2006, Burke appeared in 24 games where he compiled a 3.57 ERA with 87 strike out sin 121 innings pitched. He had an ERA above 5.00 over two combined stints with Lake Elsinore. But something must have clicked when he got into the closers role, where he drastically lowered that to 2.24 on the year.

Related BBIFW Greg Burke Posts:

Jodam Rivera Leading Off the Lake Erie Crushers

Jodam Rivera with the WizardsThe Lake Erie Crushers announced during a press conference that former Wizards shortstop, Jodam Rivera is among the first signees for the startup new entry in the independent Frontier League.

Rivera was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round (702nd overall) of the 2004 amateur entry draft. He played five years in the Padres system and got as high as Double-A. While with the Wizards in 2006, Rivera appeared in 31 games. He hit .217 with 23 hits and eight runs batted in over 106 at-bats. He spent the entire 2007 season with Fort Wayne, hitting .225 in 284 at-bats in 91 games. He also produced five home runs and 26 runs batted in while walking 43 times.

Rivera suffered a hand injury that brought an early end to his 2008 season before the Padres gave him his outright release. Despite receiving offers from other Major League affiliated clubs, the 22-year-old Rivera chose the Crushers for the opportunity to get more playing time and develop:

“For me, the biggest thing is the chance to play every day,” Rivera said. “Baseball players, when they play more, they can develop more. I had a couple offers with affiliated teams but I wanted to come here because it’s a new team and I’ll get to play every day. That’s a lot better for me. I want to be an every day player so I can get to the big leagues [The Morning Journal].”

Joining Rivera as the first Crushers signees are former Marlins and Astros farmhand, Drew Saylor and former Anaheim Angels minor leaguer, Gordon Gronkowski. The Lake Erie Crushers are the newest expansion team in the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league with 12 teams throughout the Midwest. The team will open its Inaugural Season on June 2, 2009 in a new 5,000 capacity ballpark located at the intersection of I-90 and Route 611 in Avon.

Video from the press conference can be viewed here.

Photo by Chad Gramling

Taking a Look at the Prospects

Former Wizards Cedric Hunter and Mat Latos will join the big league club during Spring Training which begins next month. That’s right – next month (it’s coming!). Even though neither prospect has played above single-A, but both are highly touted and rank highly on the organization’s top prospects list.

Paul DePodesta talks about non-roster signings, including Pete Ciofrone:

Pete has played the last four and a half seasons in the Padres organization, but was due to become a minor league free agent after the 2008 season. After a .314/.389/.519 season in Portland, we wanted to keep the versatile left-handed hitter. Pete has always done a good job of putting the ball in play, and his power has emerged over the past two seasons. His ability to play all four corner positions also provides options for any manager.

Former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready, dishes on San Diego prospects via MadFriars (Subscription required). The list includes many former Wizards, like Luke Carlin, Matt Antonelli, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Brett Dowdy.

Last year’s hitting coach at San Antonio, Terry Kennedy, takes on the San Diego prospects who played at Double-A. Former Wizards include Josh Alley, Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks, Craig Cooper and Chad Huffman. Pitching Coach, Bill Masse talks about the Double-A pitchers, such as Manny Ayala, Greg Burke, Mike Ekstrom, Jon Ellis, and Stephen Faris.

Former Wizards pitching coach, Wally Whitehurst (who is now in the Pittsburgh Pirates system) talks about the pitchers from Lake Elsinore last season. Among the former Wizards are Nathan Culp, Ernesto Freiri, Corey Kluber, Cory Luebke, Brandon Gomes and John Madden.

The Rays Party Chairman of the Rays Party of America blog wants the Rays to consider former Wizards infielder, Bobby Scales, as a potential minor league free agent signing:

Scales primary position is second base but has played in the outfield in as many games as second. Scales is a switch hitter and hits about the same on both sides, slightly better as a right handed hitter. He has started to hit for more power recently but has increased his strikeout rate in addition. Not too good but adequate filler at Durham.

Local native, Jarrod Parker, tops the list of Diamondbacks prospects over at FutureBacks.com.

Josh Geer’s MLB Debut

Former Wizards Pitcher, Josh Geer made his Major League Debut tonight. He became the 71st Wizards player to reach the MLB level one night after another former Wizard, Will Venable became the 70th. Venable was also in tonight’s lineup, as was former Wizard Chase Headley.

Geer pitched 5 innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and walked three while striking out five. Thanks to some timely Friar’s offense, it was enough to garner his first MLB win.

“That’s special, to go out and win your first start,” said Padres catcher [and fellow former Wizard] Nick Hundley after the 9-4 win at Petco Park.

Geer, a 25-year-old promoted from Triple-A on Friday, escaped after the Rockies put runners on second base and third with none out in the first inning [source: SanDiegoOnline].

The right-hander was selected by the San Diego Padres in round three (98th overall) of the 2005 draft. He joined the Wizards for 5 games that year and collected a 1-1 record with a 4.25 ERA. He struck out 23 and walked nine in 29.2 innings pitched.

He spent about half of 2006 with the Wizards too. In 12 games, he went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA while striking out 46 and walking 13 over 72.2 innings pitched. He also had one complete game.

After Fort Wayne, Geer quickly rose through the Padre’s ranks and had his best career year last season while at Double-A San Antonio where he went 16-6 with a 3.20 ERA. This year, he is 6-7 with a 4.08 ERA at Triple-A Portland.

Geer is the ninth Wizard to make his MLB debut this season. That number currently ranks second to 2002; which saw eleven former Wizards make their MLB debuts.

Will Venable’s MLB Debut

Will VenableIn the bottom of the second inning versus the Colorado Rockies, former Fort Wayne Wizard Will Venable launched a shot to deep right and landed a triple in his first Major League at-bat. He then promptly scored his first Major League run on a wild pitch. Not a bad way to make your MLB debut.

Venable grounded to second two innings later in his second at-bat. In the sixth, he grounded out to the pitcher and struck out in the eighth to go 1-4 on the night.

Former Wizards catcher, Nick Hundley also had a home run in the contest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get Hayhurst his first Major League win in his second career MLB start. He took the loss after giving up four runs over four innings.

“I was just in that ‘I can’t believe I’m here, this is great’ mode,” he said. “I got the first hit out of the way and it was great, but it was kind of surreal. I was really on auto-pilot. I was just there reacting and got a pitch to hit” [source: Marin Independant Journal]

Venable is the 70th former Wizard to reach the Major League level and the eighth to do so this season; Luke Carlin, Jared Wells, Eddie Bonine, Leo Rosales, Nick Hundley, Sean Kazmar and Dirk Hayhurst being the others in that respective order.

Venable was drafted out of Princeton in 2005 and spent 2006 with the Wizards. By all accounts, it was a very good year for him. He hit .313 with 11 home runs and 92 runs batted in. It was enough to garner the Wizards Most Valuable Player season award. With Portland on the season, he’s hit .292 with 26 doubles, four triples, 14 home runs and 58 RBIs.

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Haiston Injured, Venable and Geer to Get Callups

Scott Hairston was putting together his best season Major League season, so it is unfortunate that it will come to an early end due to a torn thumb ligament that was suffered Wednesday during the outfielder’s diving attempt at a play. He could have surgery as soon Friday to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Former Wizard and a personal favorite here at BBIFW, outfielder Will Venable will more than likely will be promoted from Triple-A Portland to replace Hairston’s spot on the roster, General Manager Kevin Towers said.

Venable was scratched from the lineup Thursday night in Portland, a sign which is solid sign that he’s in store for a promotion. The the former Princeton baseball and basketball star could join the Padres before Friday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

UPDATE: MadFriars is reporting that right-hander, Josh Geer will also likely debut this weekend for San Diego:

After winning the Texas League Pitcher of the Year last season with Double-A San Antonio, Josh Geer has gone 8-9 with a 4.54 ERA across 28 games, including 27 starts, for Triple-A Portland. The right-hander has logged 166.2 innings, giving up 187 hits and 45 walks while striking out 107 . . . Geer is expected to start on Saturday and the announcement of the move could wait until then

So now the race is on to see which will be number 70 and 71!

So Much For That: Allan Dykstra, Padres Snub Fort Wayne

Remember a few weeks ago when I suggested the new PDC between the Padres and the soon-to-be the team formerly known as the Wizards might result in better players coming through? Yeah . . . not off to a good start.

Seems that top pick Allan Dykstra has bypassed us and gone straight from rookie league ball to Class High-A Lake Elsinore. Thanks Padres. Can’t wait to watch another team almost compete for a playoff spot in 2009!!!

And to think I have defend you!