May 2012

Chris Davis, Seven Other Former ‘Riders Involved in MLB Marathon

Chris Davis. Winning Pitcher. Let that one sink in for a little bit.

In a game built for ridiculousness, it took 17 innings for there to be a winning and losing team between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox on Sunday. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-6 in 17 innings thanks to a 3-run home run by Adam Jones in the top of the 17th inning.

It’s always interesting to look at box scores that involve games like this; although I don’t pity the person who has to print out the box score… it’s probably 10 pages long. Among the craziness of the game were the 18 pitchers used and 570 pitches used between the two teams to get to the decision.

Why would we talk about these two teams on a blog about the Frisco RoughRiders though? Well, the story of that game was Chris Davis, a former RoughRider.

But beyond even Davis, there were SEVEN other former Frisco RoughRiders used in the game and nine former Texas Rangers in all. Of the eight former RoughRiders used in the game, five of them are on the Baltimore Oriole’s 25 man roster, or 20% of their roster. How many minor league teams can say they have 20% of a different organization’s roster? To go further, how many minor league teams can say that about an organization that is currently 19-10?

Here is a look at how the former RoughRiders did in the 17 inning marathon:

Tommy Hunter, P- 4.1 IP 8 H 5 R 1 BB 2 K 1 HR 82 Pitches- 54 Strikes

Darren O’Day, P- 0.2 IP 1 BB 1 K 22 Pitches- 13 Strikes

Pedro Strop, P- 2 IP 1 H 1 K 25 Pitches- 14 Strikes

Chris Davis, DH- P- 0 for 8 with 5 strikeouts; 2 IP 2 H 0 R 1 BB 2 K 23 Pitches- 15 Strikes —- W (1-0)

Endy Chavez, PH- LF- 0 for 3

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B-  0 for 8 with 2 strikeouts

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C-  1 for 5 with a double, RBI, run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, Sac Fly

Vicente Padilla, P- 1 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 2 K
Yes, the former RoughRiders were a combined 1 for 24 in the game with 9 strikeouts. However, they had the winning pitcher, so that has to count, right?

What Chris Davis did in the game was quite interesting and historic. Davis pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. And it’s not as if he faced a bunch of hitters who don’t belong in the major leagues to accomplish that. Davis managed to strikeout Adrian Gonzalez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, both of whom did appear in a Frisco RoughRider uniform.

By earning the win in the start, he became the first American League position player to earn a win as a pitcher since 1968. The pitcher that day was Rocky Colavito, for the New York Yankees, per ESPN.

Chris Davis also pitched as much as any non-starting pitcher in the game did and had the fifth best strike percentage of any pitcher in the game that pitched more than 10 pitches (17 pitchers did that).

Obviously the most interesting aspect of this start was how Chris Davis went 0 for 8 with 5 strikeouts as a hitter and then earned trending status on twitter as the winning pitcher with 2 scoreless innings. The final outs of the game came on a double play that Darnell McDonald, the “losing pitcher” and also a position player, hit into.

Davis was the last in a string of five consecutive Baltimore Orioles relievers to pitch two scoreless innings, one of which was former RoughRider/Ranger Pedro Strop.

Former RoughRider/Ranger, Tommy Hunter, started the game for the Baltimore Orioles. In his six starts for Baltimore this season, the combination of Pedro Strop and Darren O’Day have come in relief in four of the starts. Pedro Strop, alone, has pitched in relief of five of the six starts. In Hunter’s start on April 29th, the three pitchers that the Orioles used that day were Hunter, O’Day, and Strop. The winning runs that game were Endy Chavez and Chris Davis.

It’s always interesting when one of these types of games takes place. If something like this happens again with the Orioles, chances are that we’ll be talking about it again.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look into what might happen if something like this happened to Frisco.


Written By: Michael Damman

Photo Credit: Frisco RoughRiders

Dynamic Duo Help Build Better Ballplayer Bodies

It’s 1 p.m. Game time is at 7 p.m. and Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas and Strength and Conditioning coach Eric McMahon are already in their offices preparing for the day’s activities. Olivas is spending his lunch break eating a sandwich at his computer going over expense receipts while McMahon is updating exercise programs for each of the players.

Pitcher Fabio Castillo is the first player of the day to enter their office, asking if McMahon is ready to time him on his workout. McMahon tells him to work on the bike and stretch and then they’ll start Castillo’s plank routine. While Castillo starts his bike ride, McMahon unpacks the “mobile gym.” The mobile gym is a big bag packed with things like elastic bands and smaller exercise equipment that might not be at other clubhouses. The equipment is used if players don’t have time to visit a gym or get a workout in at away games. McMahon then goes out to the field to set up the cones for workouts and drills that will take place up until batting practice.

It’s 1:17 p.m. and McMahon sets up the cones in a straight line at varying distances. For starting pitchers, there is a set program that starts off with a heavy workout routine and tapers down in intensity leading up to the day that person pitches. Although many of the workout routines are set, McMahon says there is always some flexibility to the programs.

“I like to give guys choices for their conditioning,” McMahon said. “A guy needs to like his routine. I take suggestions from the guys on what they like and try to incorporate it into their programs.”

Castillo and McMahon set up in the training room and started doing the plank routine together timing each side for 30 seconds and doing a “marching” set for 15 seconds where the player rotates lifting his legs while in a plank position. After completing the routine, McMahon and Castillo walk down the player’s tunnel together out to the field. This week, the pitchers will have a choice for part of their routine. They can choose between having an off day, running sprints, or running a 300-yard shuttle. Castillo elects to run the 300-yard shuttle to get it out of the way. He lines up on one end of the cones and waits for McMahon’s signal to begin. On his signal, Castillo takes off. McMahon explains this drill is one way to gauge a player’s endurance.

“The goal of this drill is for a player to make it in less than a minute,” McMahon said. “After the first time through the drill, the player rests for two minutes before running it again. The goal is to get the same time or a better time than the first drill.”

Castillo rests before running again and he bests his time by a second. The two walk back to the clubhouse to work on more game preparations. One fixture of the training room that has become a player favorite is the snow cone station. Next to the ice machine in the training room, a line of Hawaiian Punch flavored syrups wait to be poured.

While McMahon and Castillo go through their routine on the field, Olivas is in the training room going through a big box of black and white socks. He was going to ship the socks to all the trainers. He explained that when there are lulls throughout the day, he finds side stuff to do such as counting out the socks and filling up the Whirlpool tubs full of water. The next player to make their way to the training room is third baseman Mike Olt who needs his hand to be looked at. Olivas examines it and instructs Olt to lay down on the table. Olivas grabs some gel, puts some on Olt’s hand, and massages it for about 10 minutes. While Olt is getting his hand worked on, Chris McGuiness comes in and grabs a bottle of Aleve off the counter asking Olivas how many he needs to take. He takes two before putting the bottle back with the towers of bottles of aspirin, baby powder, sunscreen, and rolls of tape. After Olt leaves the training room, Olivas heads back to his desk when outfielder Val Majewski comes in asking about what he should do about the nosepiece on his sunglasses since they were a bit big. A bit of hand lotion solved the problem and both went their separate ways.

Olivas was working on paperwork when pitcher Tim Murphy came in the training room looking to find some relief for his shoulder. Murphy laid on his back on the training table while Olivas massaged to find kinks to work out. While massaging Murphy’s shoulder, they talked about their family. Murphy had a bullpen session that day and Olivas wanted to make sure that his shoulder was as loose as possible. Olivas said he is hands-on with player treatment and he works with an orthopedic doctor and a chiropractor for more serious injuries.

During Murphy’s treatment, pitcher Jake Brigham walks in looking for baby powder. Olivas looks up from Murphy’s shoulder to kid Brigham about needing a haircut. Brigham laughs admitting it is getting pretty long and he needs to cut it. As Brigham walks away smiling, catcher Zach Zaneski comes in to borrow a pair of nail clippers. He sits on the other training table and watches Olivas massage Murphy’s elbow. They kid as Olivas says there is no way he would cut any of the guy’s nails. Zaneski, satisfied with the look of his nails, returns the nail clippers. Outfielder Brad Hawpe comes in and lays down on the second training table to wait his turn with Olivas. He jokes with Olivas as he finished Murphy’s treatment. Olivas then turns his attention to treating and massaging Hawpe’s lower back.

While Olivas is busy treating players, McMahon is overseeing the player’s workouts in the weight room although McMahon said he never really has to be on top of anyone because they are all very motivated.

At 3:10 p.m., McMahon heads back out to the field to prepare for the pitchers to begin their pre-game routine on the field. While he waits, he works one-on-one with Majewski getting in some wall sprints and foul poles. At 3:30 p.m., the pitchers line up to start drills. They work on lunges, side twists, and squats before lining up in a circle to stretch. After about 12 minutes of stretching, the pitchers start throwing with each other. Olivas throws with pitcher Miguel De Los Santos on the end of the line. When De Los Santos is warm, Olivas heads back to the training room with pitcher Ryan Rodebaugh.

It’s 3:56 p.m. and the TV in the training room is turned on to a show about cars. Olivas turns to Rodebaugh asking if he really wants to watch this. Saying no, Olivas hands him the remote which eventually ends up on ESPN. The upcoming football draft is the subject of conversation as Olivas begins to massage Rodebaugh’s oblique. After about 15 minutes, Olivas puts gel on the tender spot for an ultrasound treatment. Olivas then gets up and prepares an ice pack. He puts electrodes on the oblique and puts the ice pack on top of that before adding a light weight to keep slight pressure on the spot. Pitchers begin to trickle into the training room as their warm-up has ended for the day and the position players head out to do their drills. Olivas heads out to the field at 4:30 p.m. for batting practice. He has bonding time with pitching coach Jeff Andrews before every game by throwing with him before Andrews throws batting practice to the second group of hitters. Olivas and McMahon both talk to coaches and trainers for the Missions who are warming up and doing drills in right field while Frisco takes batting practice. Olivas eventually moves into right field to help shag balls.

Eventually batting practice concludes and the team heads to the clubhouse along with Olivas and McMahon. Final pre-game treatments like De Los Santos’ shoulder will be mended before dinner is served. The guys then await first pitch to watch the game. In the first inning of the April 23 game against the San Antonio Missions, Carlos Pimentel was hit by a line drive. He fielded the ball and got the runner out at first but Olivas went out to check on him anyway. Seeing that he was okay and fine to continue pitching, Olivas headed back to the dugout, and the two of them sit back and watch the rest of the game.

After the ‘Riders victory, Olivas meets up with his family while McMahon heads back down to the club house to do final training sessions with some of the players signaling the end of another successful day at the ballpark.

Written by: Jarah Wright

Photos by: Alex Yocum-Beeman

The C+ Team

Ever wonder what a minor league baseball clubhouse manager does? After a few hours with ‘Riders clubhouse manager CJ Allen, I can assure you that it’s not an easy job, but at the end of the day it can be a rewarding one. You just have to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Allen, originally from Iowa, has been in a baseball clubhouse since 2006 starting with the El Paso Diablos. At the time, the team was an independent league baseball team and their manager was Mike Marshall, a former All-Star outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After El Paso, CJ worked for the Las Vegas51s, who were then the Triple-A team for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a season in the Texas Rangers clubhouse. He has been with the Frisco RoughRiders for the last three seasons.

One of his “claims to fame” might be that his cousin is Casey Blake, a former major league third baseman/outfielder/first baseman for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. His hope back then was to work in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse when Casey was there, unfortunately for a variety of reasons, that didn’t happened.

Philip Fleitman, from Lindsey,TX, is in charge of the visitors’ clubhouse and has also been working for the ‘Riders for three years.

The main objective of the clubhouse manager is to prepare the clubhouse and take care of the players with mostly whatever they need. Those are common things like laundry, clothing, equipment and food, but also any obscure player requests that they may have.

The job begins early, especially when the team is coming back home after a road trip.

On Monday morning, the ‘Riders arrived around 12:15 a.m. after a four game road trip with the Corpus Christi Hooks. CJ and Philip unloaded the team bus. Each player and coach has a bag along with the general equipment bags.

From 12:15 until 2 a.m., they took the bags off the bus, unloaded the bags and did the laundry of the players.


By that time, Allen went back home to get some sleep, but by 7 a.m. it’s time to get started again by going out and getting the food ready for the players. Sometimes it involves making the food and sometimes it involves getting orders prepped for later pickup.

I joined CJ and Philip at around 12:45 p.m. on Monday, April 23 for what I expected to be a whirlwind day. It was every bit of that and more.

After going through the home clubhouse looking for CJ, I was finally able to find him at the opposite end of the stadium. They were waiting for the visitors’ bus to get in, so that the team could unload the San Antonio Missions’ bags. The bus, which was supposed to get there around 12:30 p.m., eventually pulled up at 1:37.

I was told that when you’re around minor league baseball, you find that this can be very typical, as buses aren’t exactly perfectly timed and things can happen during a road trip. I helped them unload the bus, which again had one bag per player and coach along with other bags with equipment. The bags were taken by cart on the freight elevator down to the clubhouse level. The easy part was unloading the bus. The hard part of this particular process, however, was unloading the bags and making sure the lockers looked uniform.

Jerseys went on the locker so that the numbers faced towards the door. This made sure that the players could easily find their lockers when they walk in to the room. They were going to wear the black jerseys, so the black jerseys were hung up this way and the gray jerseys were hung on the right side of the locker next to the pants. Belts went on a hook just below the hook of the jerseys. Shoes went on the bottom of the locker.

Many of the players have clothing items that are put into a “loop”, which is easily hung. Any other clothing items that were loose, like shirts, underwear, etc. were put on a hanger and hung by color, going from grays to darks. If the player was a position player, their helmet was put up on the right side of a shelf at the top of the locker. Other loose items, such as batting gloves, were put on the shelf next to the helmets as well. The chair, which was originally in the back of each locker, was put in the front of the locker facing out.

Once all of the bags were unloaded, CJ started putting up the names of each player on tape on the edge of the shelf in the locker. I helped hang the hats in the lockers. Black hats were going to be worn for the game, so they went on the same hook as the jersey and the gray hats were hung on another hook in the locker.

By the time the bags were unloaded, CJ took one of the carts that was used to bring the bags down from the bus to the locker room, to the home clubhouse tunnel. It was now 2:15 p.m., and a few of the ‘Riders were taking batting practice, which potentially made the trip from the visitors’ clubhouse to the home clubhouse a bit like a game of dodge ball.

Once he put the cart in place, we headed into his office, so that he could handle some things. One being that he had to go over to the gas station near the ballpark to get a special kind of soda. With the station being literately across the street from the ballpark, they got a bike that can they can ride over for these quick trips.

When CJ got back, it was time to go get the food for the pre-game meal for the players. Today it was chicken sandwiches and fish. We also got four big trays of fruit, two big trays of sandwiches, 40 bags of chicken and eight gallons of lemonade.

After the food was loaded into the car, we went back to the ballpark to get the food prepared. In order to get the food from the car to the clubhouses, a shopping cart was used. It was also used to deliver food to the visiting clubhouse. I helped CJ set up the food to look presentable before the players got there.

By the time all of the food was set up, there was a period of down time before the players came in to eat. It was about 4:40 p.m. and I sat on the couch to relax. Something that CJ did during this time was look to see if he had a sign for the locker of Jayce Tingler, a Texas Rangers rover instructor that was in town. Tingler played in Frisco in 2006.

When the players came in after batting practice, they went into the clubhouse to eat and get ready for the game. By this time I was told that there was not much else to do before the game starts, so I went to set up my usual spot in the press box.

After each game, the post-game meal is put out in the kitchen area. Today it was a Mexican lasagna dish that CJ made. I was lucky enough to try it, and trust me when I say it was very, very good. The lasagna was also served with corn, Spanish rice and chicken.

Then, after every game, CJ is at the ballpark for three more hours taking care of the player’s laundry and cleaning up around the clubhouse. Throughout the season, the ‘Riders go through on average 16-20 loads of laundry a day. I don’t know about you, but it’s tough for me to do a few loads of laundry in a short time, let alone going through that many in one day.  After that, it’s time to get home and get some sleep because another game is going to be there soon enough.

The life of a clubhouse manager wasn’t quite as glamorous as anyone might think. They have to deal with a lot of issues and are considered the solution for every problem that might arise in the clubhouse. At the end of the day, though, they are going to be the ones that make the minor leaguer’s lives easier and every organization should want their players to be in good hands. In the case of Frisco, they are in the best that the Texas League has to offer.

Written By: Michael Damman

Photo Credit: Alex Yocum-Beeman

Former RoughRiders Make Major League Debuts

RoughRiders’ alum Robbie Ross recently won the distinction of having the favorite opening week photo as voted by the fans. On April 18, the Texas Rangers posted the photo poll on their Facebook page. Ross had some stiff competition. Fans could vote for Mitch Moreland talking to Michael Young in the dugout, Josh Hamilton sliding into home plate, Elvis Andrus making a catch over the shoulder, or Robbie Ross making his rookie trot out to the bullpen complete in cowboy gear riding a stick horse. Almost 2,000 votes were cast and Ross won with 35 percent of the vote followed by Hamilton, Andrus, and Moreland and Young.

The rookie has had a stellar season so far in the “Bigs.” He made his major league debut on April 8 this year after earning a spot in the Rangers bullpen during spring training. Ross has a record of four wins and no losses in six appearances, a new MLB record. The ninth-youngest player currently has the most wins and the best win-loss percentage in the American League.

Ross spent most of the 2011 season in High-A Myrtle Beach before making his Frisco debut last August against the Midland Rockhounds. He made six appearances for Frisco ending with a record of one win and one loss. Over the course of 38 innings, he had a 2.61 ERA striking out 36 batters. Ross performed well throughout 2012 Spring Training and earned a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Former RoughRiders pitcher Joe Wieland, who also spent part of 2011 in Frisco, began the 2012 season in Tucson before being called up by the San Diego Padres. He made his major league debut on April 14, 2012 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He continues to be a vital part of the Padres pitching staff.

Joe Wieland began the 2011 season with Ross in High-A Myrtle Beach and was promoted to Frisco in June. During his time with the RoughRiders Wieland posted a record of four wins and no losses, including a no hitter against the San Antonio Missions who would become his teammates after being sent to the San Diego Padres organization as part of the Mike Adams trade. Wieland spent the beginning of the 2012 season in Triple-A Tucson before getting the call to join the Padres in the Bigs.

The future looks bright for these former RoughRiders pitchers as they continue their quest for perfection.

Written by: Jarah Wright

Photo Credit: Robbie Ross (Texas): Texas Rangers

Robbie Ross (Frisco): Alex Yocum-Beeman

Joe Wieland (San Diego): San Diego Padres

Joe Wieland (Frisco): Alex Yocum-Beeman

RoughRiders Kid’s Day

The sun is shining on a beautiful Saturday morning. Kids and their parents waited in anticipation to enter Dr Pepper Ballpark and participated in a variety of fun activities with their favorite players on RoughRiders Kid’s Day on April 28.

Daisy and a young fan smile for the camera in the concourse during Kid’s Day. Deuce and Daisy made many new friends throughout the course of the day.

Kids race across the field to be the first ones in line for some of the on-field activities to receive instruction from their favorite RoughRiders players.

One little girl works on her form, keeping her eye on the ball wihle taking a big swing in one of the batting cages.

Tim Murphy winds up to throw the perfect pitch during a whiffle ball game with the kids in left field.

 Deuce meets up with RoughRiders’ outfielder Engel Beltre on the concourse.

One little girl had fun sliding down Verticle Rush, one of several inflatable activities throughout the ballpark.

This little boy works on his throwing accuracy while trying to pitch to the catcher on the other side.

RoughRiders’ infielder Mike Olt tries to tag some of the kids as they run past him on the field.

Two little girls smile and show off their creative face paint.

Barret Loux focuses on putting the ball over the tee as the batter gets ready to swing for the fences.

Two little boys focus on knocking each other off their pedastals during a friendly jousting match.

Deuce focuses on throwing a ball to try to knock a ball off of a tee while kids and RoughRiders’ infielder Alex Buchholz watch.

A strong swing and a look of determination help this little boy hit the whiffle ball across the field.

Miguel De Los Santos gives teammates Johan Yan and Joe Oritz horns as they take time out to smile for the camera.

One anxious young fan looks on while waiting to see if he can get his ball signed during an autograph session.

Val Majewski takes a picture with his son during the autograph session. Many smiles marked the success of another fun event at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Photos by: Alex Yocum-Beeman

Written by: Jarah Wright