Goss: Ruettiger’s 6-for-6 highlights local pro baseball review
May 18, 2012 11:54PM
Wilmington graduate Tanner Roark, who spent the 2012 season with Washington's Triple-A affiliate at Syracuse, will begin spring training with the parent club as a non-roster invitee. | Supplied photo
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:48AM
Since we last visited our local pro baseball players, there has been movement within organizations, both up and down.
For example, outfielder John Ruettiger (Joliet Catholic/Arizona State) was promoted from Baltimore’s Class A team at Delmarva to the Orioles’ affiliate at Frederick Keys in the A-Advanced Carolina League. The left-handed hitter was batting .305 (32-for-105) at Delmarva with 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts.
He was hitless in his first five at-bats at Frederick Keys. That changed Thursday when, hitting in the 2-hole, he went 6-for-6, including a double, in a 10-9 loss to Potomac.
Regardless of how Ruettiger’s career progresses, imagine being able to tell the grandkids some day that you went 6-for-6 in a professional nine-inning game. He also drove in two runs and stole a base.
As for moves in the opposite direction, outfielder Joe Benson (Joliet Catholic) and pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth (Plainfield South/Western Michigan) both have struggled this season and were shifted from their organizations’ Triple-A affiliates to Double A.
Benson, who made his major league debut in September with Minnesota, was hitting .179 (17-for-95) with three homers and eight RBI for Triple-A Rochester and entered the weekend 4-for-27 at Double-A New Britain, although he was 2-for-3 Thursday.
Hollingsworth was 2-2 with a 6.45 ERA in 221/3 innings at Omaha, Kansas City’s Triple-A team, before being sent to the Royals’ Double-A affiliate at Northwest Arkansas. He was rocked in his first relief appearance there, but in his most recent outing threw three shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out two.
Right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark (Wilmington/Illinois), 2-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 39 innings, has been up and down as a starting pitcher at Syracuse, Washington’s Triple-A affiliate. In his most recent start, he threw six shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out six. He followed that with three more shutout innings, enhanced by five strikeouts and no walks, in his first relief outing of the season.
Also in Double A, second baseman Dean Anna (Lincoln-Way East/Ball State) is at San Antonio, San Diego’s affiliate, while Ken Williams Jr. (Plainfield Central/Wichita State) is at Birmingham in the White Sox organization. Anna is hitting .274 (26-for-95) and Williams is at .202 (17-for-84).
Good vibes continue from the A-Advanced ranks that Ruettiger just joined, led by left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani (Lincoln-Way Central/Rice), who has been lights-out all season at Bakersfield, Cincinnati’s team in the California League. He is 4-1 with a 0.68 ERA. In 40 innings, he has allowed 23 hits and 10 walks while striking out 53.
Also in the California League, right-hander Ryan Quigley (Joliet Catholic/St. Xavier/Slammers) recently had two lesser outings for San Diego’s team at Lake Elsinore. But in his last appearance he worked three hitless, scoreless innings, striking out three. He is 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA. In 231/3 innings, he’s allowed 19 hits and six walks while striking out 26.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (Minooka) is enjoying a strong season at Greenville, Houston’s affiliate in the Class A South Atlantic League. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA. In 441/3 innings, he’s struck out 39, walked 18 and yielded 39 hits.
Brian Stroud (Providence/Western Michigan), a right-hander in the Detroit system, had been informed earlier he would be joining Lakeland in the A-Advanced Florida State League. But the organization had a change of mind. He now is scheduled to pitch for Connecticut in the short-season New York-Penn League, which begins play next month.
The only current major leaguer with local ties is former JackHammers pitcher Tim Byrdak. In 22 relief appearances with the Mets, the specialty lefty has worked 11 innings and is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA. He has struck out 16 and allowed six hits and three walks.
In the independent ranks, Brandon Sing (Joliet Township) has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
In the past four seasons, Sing has more homers (98) and RBI (323) than anyone in independent ball. He has averaged 24 homers, 80 RBI and 29 doubles and has a .300 batting average over that span.
This is Sing’s 14th professional season. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 20th round in 1999 and played in their system and in the Baltimore organization.
Of course, active players are not the only representatives for our area in pro ball.
For example, former JackHammers manager Wally Backman is managing the Buffalo Bisons, the Mets’ Triple-A team, while Minooka resident and local offseason instructor Sal Fasano is managing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Toronto’s Double-A affiliate.
Then there’s big-league umpire Mark Carlson (Joliet West). Did you happen to see the highlights a week ago, when the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier was chased for arguing a strike call on a pitch over the inside corner? After he was booted, manager Don Mattingly came out to have his say and was tossed as well.
Yes, the thumbing umpire was Carlson.