July 9th, 2011
We knew the clock was ticking on Leonys Martin. He was hitting .348 in 29 games in Double-A and was batting an astounding .429 with runners on base. Although it’s no surprise that just hours ago his promotion to Round Rock was made official (we prophesied this on the latest Roundtable Podcast), his call up was aided by the injured ankle of former RoughRider Julio Borbon (whose x-rays came back negative).
Martin was a joy to be around and no doubt made a lasting impression on virtually all who saw him play. His offensive abilities and strong arm stand out, along with his humility off the field. We don’t know the exact details about what his life in Cuba was like, or how exactly he made it over to the United States, but it’s a sure bet that no matter what, he was placed in an entirely new world once he rolled up to Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.
For a guy who signed a contract in excess of $20 million, Leonys remained humble, kind, and hardworking. He was taking English lessons three times a week in Frisco and was really improving quickly. There’s no doubt that I’ll be rooting for Leonys in Round Rock and then one day in Arlington.
Need another guy to root for? I offer you Guilder Rodriguez. He’s played in the minors for 10 seasons and is getting his second-ever call up to Triple-A. G-Rod may never make it to the major leagues (he turns 28 on July 28th), but this is great news for a guy who works hard everyday and is about as good as an organizational shortstop as you’ll find in the minors.
One scout back in Frisco on the previous home stand told me he’d love to have a guy like Guilder in his farm system because of his veteran presence and defensive ability. Not to mention that at 27-years-old he’s having a career offensive season with a new single-season high 37 RBIs, including four last night.
Guilder gets moved to Round Rock following Omar Quintanilla’s promotion from Triple-A to Arlington. Quintanilla, who is two years older than Rodriguez, played college ball at Texas and hit .298 in 51 games for Round Rock this year. The Rangers placed infielder Andres Blanco on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Thursday with a stress reaction in his lower back, thus the move to bring Omar up. Welcome to the musical chairs of professional baseball.
Funny story: Let’s just say that I received some inside info midway through last night’s game that G-Rod would more than likely be getting the call to Triple-A. Of course I couldn’t say anything about it on-air (big time no-no) because I had to wait for it to be made official. However in the late innings last night Guilder took one of nastiest hops of the season on a ground ball the jumped up and caught him almost square in the face. First thought I had after Guilder fell down to the ground was “great, the guy doesn’t even know yet that he’s going to Round Rock after this game is over and now he might go on the DL.” Somehow Guilder was alright and finished the game. Close call.
OK, maybe that wasn’t so funny after all. Interesting at best.
Both Leo and G-Rod will be active tonight for the Express against Memphis. Here in Springfield, the ‘Riders and Cards conclude their series at 6:07 p.m. It’s the final time in the regular season the RoughRiders will play at Hammons Field. Brian and I will be on at 5:37 p.m. with the pre-game show. Talk with you then.