June 2012

The Name Game

There are many guys who play professional baseball so it’s only natural for some of them to have the same last name. However, this doesn’t mean they are always related. To end some of the confusion and also for fun, we decided to look at players who have the same last name but aren’t related to current RoughRiders.

Jason Hart/Corey Hart

Corey Hart was drafted in 2000 by the Milwaukee Brewers. He made his major league debut with the Brewers in 2004. So far this season, Hart has been hitting .251 with 14 home runs and 31 RBIs. The Brewers are currently converting the strong-armed outfielder into a first baseman.

Chad Bell/Heath Bell

Heath Bell was signed as a free agent in 1998 by the New York Mets. Like Hart, Bell made his big league debut in 2004 with the Mets. He pitched for them until he was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of the Jon Adkins, Ben Johnson trade. At the end of the 2011 season, Bell decided to sign with the Miami Marlins. So far in 2012, he has posted a record of two wins and three losses with an ERA of 5.68 while earning 14 saves.

Wilfredo Boscan/J.C. Boscan

J.C. Boscan was signed as an amateur free agent in 1996 by the Atlanta Braves. He made his major league debut in 2010 with the club. He has gone back and forth between the Braves’ Triple-A club, the Gwinnett Braves, and the Bigs over the past three seasons. Boscan started the 2012 season in Triple-A but was called up after Chipper Jones was placed on the 15-day DL and stayed in the majors after backup catcher David Ross injured his groin. The catcher has been batting .143 after making it to The Show.

Barret Loux/Shane Loux

Shane Loux was drafted by Detroit in the 1997 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Tigers in 2002. He spent two years pitching in the majors before being sent back down to the minors in 2004. He sat out for the 2005 and 2007 seasons before returning to the MLB with the Los Angeles Angels. He played two seasons in the Angels minor league system before he was granted free agency. Loux also spent a season with Round Rock in the Astros system in 2010 before joining the Giants organization in 2011. Loux returned to pitching in the big leagues in 2012. So far this season he has pitched in eight games. Pitching 13.1 innings in relief, Loux has struck out six and has an ERA of 1.35.

Tim Murphy/David Murphy

David Murphy was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with Boston in 2006. In 2007, the outfielder was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the Eric Gagne trade. He’s been a mainstay of the Rangers’ lineup ever since. So far in 2012, Murphy has a .282 batting average with 7 home runs and 25 RBIs.

Joseph Ortiz/David Ortiz

David Ortiz was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2003. He stayed with the organization playing in their farm system until 1996 when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins as a player to be named later in the Dave Hollins deal. He made his MLB debut in 1997 with the Twins. Due to injuries, the Twins released Big Papi after the 2002 season and was then picked up by the Boston Red Sox where he has played ever since. This season he has hit 16 home runs with 43 RBIs and a .311 batting average.

Alex Buchholz/Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz was drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft by the Boston Red Sox.  The pitcher made his debut for the club in 2007 and has been a vital part of their starting rotation. In his second start, he recorded a no-hitter against Baltimore giving him a place in baseball history as he was only the third MLB pitcher to do so in his first or second start since 1900. Coming off of a back injury in 2011, he has posted a record of seven wins and two losses with an ERA of 5.38 in 2012.

Guilder Rodriguez/Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez was drafted in the first round of the 1993 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He made his major league debut with them in 1994. He became a free agent in 2003 and signed with the Texas Rangers for three years. Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees in 2004 in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. Rodriguez has been playing third base for the Yankees ever since. This season he is hitting .270 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Engel Beltre/Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre was signed as a free agent in 1994 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his debut with the club in 1997 and played with them until 2005 when he was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a free agent. After the 2009 season, Beltre declared free agency and he was picked up by the Boston Red Sox with a one-year contract. In 2011, he signed a six-year deal with the Texas Rangers. So far this season, he has a .305 batting average with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs.

Leury Garcia/Jaime Garcia

Jaime Garcia was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 and made his major league debut with the club in 2008. He underwent Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch in 2009 but returned to pitch in 2010. In 2012, he has posted a record of three wins and four losses with an ERA of 4.48 and has recorded 51 strikeouts in 66.1 innings of work.


Chris McGuiness’ Culinary Tour of Charleston

At the beginning of the season, we asked the guys what were some of their favorite things about their hometowns. ‘Riders first baseman Chris McGuiness said the names of two restaurants which led us to believe there must be some really good places to chow down. Here are four of his favorite places to eat around his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

Melvin’s had celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s seal of approval.

Melvin’s BBQ:

“Melvin’s BBQ is like probably five minutes from my house. It’s one of those places like Chic-Fil-A that are closed on Sunday and you always want it worse on Sunday so I get my fix during the week. Emeril Lagasse voted it the best cheeseburgers in America. They have good BBQ there but I get the cheeseburger every time. It’s been there my whole life. It’s one of those places you look forward to going to every time, eat it two or three times a week, it doesn’t matter.”

Duke’s is a Sunday favorite of the McGuiness family.

Duke’s BBQ:

“Duke’s is a BBQ buffet in Walterboro, South Carolina where I go hunt on weekends and that’s where I was originally introduced to Duke’s. We know the owners a little bit and joked with him saying he should move one to Charleston and it would do really well. They put one in Charleston about a year ago and it’s just a small, homemade, country buffet type place that’s open on Sundays so we normally go there after church.”

Fried shrimp is Chris’ dish of choice here.

Gilligan’s Seafood:

“Gilligan’s is a seafood restaurant on John’s Island. We normally go there on birthdays or something like that. They have all-you-can-eat fried shrimp and me and my dad just put it under the table there. The joke is when we go there my mom and my brother want to take two cars so they can leave when they get done eating and we can still crush all-you-can-eat fried shrimp.”

This was one of McGuiness’ favorite places to eat while going to college.

Mama Kim’s:

“The last place is a place down by my college, downtown Charleston, called Mama Kim’s. It’s a hibachi-style restaurant but it’s like a fast food restaurant. She cooks it right in front of you and it’s right in the middle of Charleston and a big hit with the college kids. Mama Kim is always really friendly. We’d always give her tickets to the ballgames and stuff. It’s just a real nice place to go.”

So the next time you’re in Charleston, check these places out. You might just bump into a RoughRider.


Making Music

The RoughRiders have many talents on and off the field. Earlier this season we talked to outfielder Jared Prince, infielder Alex Buchholz, and pitcher Chad Bell to see if they would let us film their musical talents. Here is their rendition of Kenny Chesney’s You and Tequila. The guys also take requests which can be sent to media@ridersbaseball.com.

Video shot by Alex Yocum-Beeman

Justin Grimm Makes Big-League Debut With Rangers

Tonight former RoughRiders’ starter Justin Grimm will be making his major league debut pitching in front of a sold-out crowd at the Ballpark in Arlington. It’s his first start in the big league rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, and Colby Lewis.

Grimm led the Texas League with the lowest ERA at 1.87 and also set the record for the lowest ERA among Frisco pitchers with at least 10 starts in a single season. He was also named a Texas-League All-Star after posting a record of eight wins and three losses in 11 starts.

Pitching in 77 innings, Grimm only allowed 65 hits, 16 earned runs and three home runs while striking out 67 and walking 14. After tallying up such numbers, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that Grimm was their best option with so many starters on the DL.

“We looked at all our options, the guys on the ballclub and the guys down below, and felt Justin was most ready to step in and help us win a game,” Daniels said.

With so many injuries Daniels added there isn’t a time frame for how long Grimm will remain in the rotation.

“Right now, Justin is one of our five starters,” Daniels said. “It may be one start or more. There are no guarantees. If he pitches well, the way things have gone with injuries the past few weeks, you never know.”

Grimm told MLB.com’s Christian Corona how he found out about the promotion saying Steve Buechele called him into his office to tell him he had been named a Texas League All-Star before telling him the big news.

“He said, ‘Have your parents left yet?’ I said, ‘No. I’m waiting to say goodbye,” Grimm said. “He goes, ‘Good. While you’re at it, you can get them a ticket to Arlington’s game tonight. Because you’re going to pitch Saturday.’”

Grimm said it’s a moment that will be ingrained in his mind for a long time to come.

“My jaw kind of dropped, my heart started beating fast, and my knees started shaking. But that’s good. I want that feeling. It’s a feeling I’m never going to forget.”

Former ‘Riders pitcher and current Texas Rangers’ pitcher Robbie Ross told ESPNDAllas.com’s Clint Foster that he’s happy for Grimm.

“I’m fired up for him,” Ross said. “It’s going to be sweet. I hope he can come in here and enjoy it and not let any pressure get to him. I’m just excited for him.”

Story and video by Jarah Wright

2012 RoughRiders Baseball Academy

The 2012 RoughRiders Baseball Academy was held at Dr Pepper Ballpark on June 11th, 12th, and 14th. Eager young baseball players were able to get the chance to learn from current RoughRiders’ players and coaches.

Over 100 boys showed up for this year’s baseball academy. (Michael Damman)

Coach Jason Hart reads off the teams and what players will be with each group. (Jarah Wright)

One little boy focuses on listening to instructions on the first day. (Jarah Wright)

The guys meet out in center field to stretch before starting the day’s drills. (Michael Damman)

Everyone spreads out in a circle to stretch. (Michael Damman)

Three players focus on perfecting their squats during stretching. (Jarah Wright)

Bats and gloves line the rim of the circle. (Jarah Wright)

One player looks at another player to make sure he is stretching his fingers out correctly. (Jarah Wright)

Outfielder Jared Prince works on showing the boys how to perfect the “ready” position. (Jarah Wright)

After fielding the ball cleanly, he flips the ball to throw it back. (Michael Damman)

‘Riders reliever Joseph Ortiz hits balls to the boys to work on their fielding skills. (Michael Damman)

‘Riders reliever Ryan Rodebaugh imparts wisdom to the players. (Michael Damman)

One player keeps his eye on the ball while fielding some pop ups in center field. (Michael Damman)

One player focuses on throwing the ball in quickly. (Michael Damman)

One player tries his best to avoid looking into the sun while making the catch. (Michael Damman)

While working on catching fly balls with ‘Riders infielder Alex Buchholz, one player makes the grab at the wall. (Michael Damman)

In left field, players worked on turning double plays. (Michael Damman)

The flip made it to second and the pair turned the double play. (Michael Damman)

Bunting is the focus of the drill in the visitor’s bullpen. (Michael Damman)

Outfielder Ryan Strausborger worked with the boys on reading the pitcher’s pickoff move and diving back to the bag. (Jarah Wright)

Ladder drills helped the boys improve their footwork. (Jarah Wright)

Frisco Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon timed the boys as they ran shuttle drills. (Jarah Wright)

After knowing his first time, this player works on being even quicker. (Jarah Wright)

Under the watchful eye of pitching coach Jeff Andrews, this player focuses on hitting the ball. (Jarah Wright)

The boys earned points for where they hit the ball. (Jarah Wright)

One player looks on while another one takes swings off a tee in the batting cages. (Jarah Wright)



Our All-Star Picks

In the Texas League, each team is allowed an all-star ballot for the lead broadcaster and a beat writer for their team. With the all-star team lineups being announced today, we decided to pick who we think will make the cut.

Michael Damman

Texas League North:

Catcher-Lars Davis, Tulsa Drillers

First Baseman- Johnny Whittleman, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Second Baseman- Kolten Wong, Springfield Cardinals

Third Baseman- Nolan Arenado, Tulsa Drillers

Shortstop- Josh Rutledge, Tulsa Drillers

Outfielder- Oscar Taveras, Springfield Cardinals

Outfielder- Wil Myers, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Carlo Testa, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Designated Hitter- Ben Paulsen, Tulsa Drillers

Starting Pitcher- Trevor Rosenthal, Springfield Cardinals

Reliever- Steven Geltz, Arkansas Travelers

Texas League South:

Catcher- Ali Solis, San Antonio Missions

First Baseman- Jonathan Singleton, Corpus Christi Hooks

Second Baseman- Jose Martinez, Corpus Christi Hooks

Third Baseman- Mike Olt, Frisco RoughRiders

Shortstop- Jurickson Profar, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Jeremy Barfield, Midland RockHounds

Outfielder- Brandon Barnes, Corpus Christi Hooks

Outfielder- Cody Decker, San Antonio Missions

Designated Hitter- Nathan Freiman, San Antonio Missions

Starting Pitcher- Justin Grimm, Frisco RoughRiders

Reliever- Jason Stoffel, Corpus Christi Hooks

Jarah Wright

Texas League North:

Catcher- Lars Davis, Tulsa Drillers

First Baseman-  Johnny Whilttleman, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Second Baseman- Ryan Mount, Arkansas Travelers

Third Baseman- Nolan Arenado, Tulsa Drillers

Shortstop- Christian Colon, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Oscar Taveras, Springfield Cardinals

Outfielder- Carlo Testa, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Outfielder- Nick Van Stratten, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Designated Hitter- Ben Paulsen, Tulsa Drillers

Starting Pitcher- Trevor Rosenthal, Springfield Cardinals

Reliever- Ryan Dennick, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Texas League South:

Catcher- Zach Zaneski, Frisco RoughRiders

First Baseman- Jonathan Singleton, Corpus Christi Hooks

Second Baseman- Jonathan Galvez, San Antonio Missions

Third Baseman- Mike Olt, Frisco RoughRiders

Shortstop- Jurickson Profar, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Jeremy Barfield, Midland RockHounds

Outfielder- Engel Beltre, Frisco RoughRiders

Outfielder- Reymond Fuentes, San Antonio Missions

Designated Hitter- Nathan Freiman, San Antonio Missions

Starting Pitcher- Dan Straily, Midland RockHounds

Reliever- Ross Seaton, Corpus Christi Hooks

The All-Star teams will be announced today at 4 p.m. We will announced who made the cut on our Facebook and Twitter later today.

Taking Time To Improve

Roy Oswalt talked with reporters after his start last night in Frisco. He pitched for 3.1 innings allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs while walking 1 and striking out 3. Oswalt said it wasn’t his best outing and that there are things to work on.

Video shot by Jarah Wright

Roy Oswalt Rehabs With ‘Riders

For many of our readers, Roy Oswalt needs no introduction. He’s a known name throughout Texas mainly because of pitching for the Astros and now progressing through the Rangers organization. We’ll take a brief look back at the career of tonight’s man on the mound.

Oswalt was drafted by the Houston Astros in 1996 and worked up through the minors. He made his Major League debut on May 6, 2001 and was a staple of the Astros’ starting rotation up until July 2010. During July, Oswalt was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villar.

Over the course of two seasons with the Phillies, Oswalt posted a record of 16 wins and 11 losses. After the 2011 season, he became a free agent after the Phillies declined his option. On May 29, Oswalt signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. Since then, he has made two starts for Triple-A Round Rock before starting tonight for Frisco.

In his first start with Round Rock on June 2, Oswalt faced the Albuquerque Isotopes. He pitched for two innings allowing three hits while walking one and striking out one. His second start was on June 7 against the Omaha Storm Chasers. He pitched for four innings allowing six hits and five earned runs while walking one and striking out four.

Tonight Oswalt is making his third minor league start and first Texas League start. He will be facing the Midland RockHounds. Here’s a quick look at his bullpen session before the game.

Story by Jarah Wright

Video shot by Michael Damman

Texas League Connections

Whenever the four of us in the media department started the season, we didn’t anticipate having personal connections with people in the Texas League. However, all of us do and here are our stories.

Jarah Wright

I was born and raised in Tyler, Texas, a town of about 100,000 people that sits halfway between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s also home to the University of Texas at Tyler which is how I’m connected to Texas Rangers’ scout and one of Frisco’s coaches James Vilade. Vilade coached at UT-Tyler and in 2007 when they had their 37-1 season, I remember it being on the news everywhere. One of the guys I went to high school with played for Vilade the last season he coached at UT-Tyler. My brother also played for Vilade when he coached one of the Dallas Patriots baseball teams.

Geoff Arnold

When I went to professional umpire school in 2010, I got to know Texas League umpire Nick Bailey. He is the crew chief of one of the umpiring crews (he and his crew will be coming back to Frisco shortly). On the final day of umpiring school, you will find out if you will get the chance to compete for a professional job. Well, after having a little bit of fun with me, Nick was the guy that told me I would have a chance to go pro. Needless to say, it was a pretty emotional moment. And yes, we hugged it out.

Alex Vispoli

My first job in baseball was as an assistant broadcaster for the Advanced-A Salem (Va.) Avalanche of the Carolina League in 2007. Back when I was in Salem, it was affiliated with the Houston Astros. During the season, a 23-year old middle infielder named Tim Torres was promoted from Single-A Lexington and helped the Avs earn a second half playoff berth. Tim was a quiet guy, but good to chat with and be around. I always remembered him as one of my favorite guys on the team and was happy to see him with the Tulsa Drillers when Opening Day rosters were announced. Now 28 and on his third organization, Tim is playing mostly outfield this season. We had a chance to catch up a bit when the Drillers were in Frisco and he is still the same thoughtful person I remembered from years ago in the Roanoke Valley. Last season he played for the Marlins’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates and said it’s been “kind of a crazy career.” Not too many players from that ’07 Salem team are still playing in affiliated ball, so it was great to see a link from my past joining the present here in the Texas League.

Michael Damman

When the season began I didn’t think that I would have a connection to a player in the Texas League. It wasn’t until I was looking into Nick Schmidt’s background for the video interview that I realized that I did. Schmidt, who pitches for the Tulsa Drillers, is from St. Louis, MO, where I was born and raised. He also went to Vianney High School, which is a rival of the High School (Chaminade) that I went to for 9th and part of 10th grade before moving here. My brother-in-law also graduated from Vianney two years before Nick did.

Johnny Whittleman Interview, June 3, 2012

During the last home stand we caught up with former RoughRider Johnny Whittleman. Whittleman played parts of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons with Frisco. He was drafted in the second round by the Texas Rangers in the 2005 draft.

Shot by Michael Damman and Jarah Wright