Results tagged ‘ Justin Smoak ’

First Time ‘Riders Pitcher Rehabs

Mark Lowe became the third Texas Rangers player to rehab with the Frisco RoughRiders this season tonight when he joined first baseman Mitch Moreland in Frisco. The other, Neftali Feliz, pitched two innings in a rehab start on July 16 against the San Antonio Missions. He was the only one of the three to not have pitched in Frisco as a RoughRiders before.

He pitched one inning of relief tonight against the San Antonio Missions. He gave up a game tying home run to Edinson Rincon and struck out two batters.

The right handed reliever has made 26 appearances for the Rangers this season and posted a 2.30 ERA. In 31 1/3 innings Lowe has struck out 25 batters and given up 22 hits.  He was placed on the Disabled List by the Rangers on June 29 with a strained right intercostals muscle.

The 29 year old was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the Cliff Lee blockbuster deal at the trade deadline on July 9, 2010. The Rangers sent first baseman Justin Smoak, utility player Matt Lawson, and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke to Seattle, all of whom played for the Frisco RoughRiders in either 2009 or 2010.

Written By: Michael Damman

Photo Illustration By: Jarah Wright

Photos courtesy of: Texas Rangers, Frisco RoughRiders, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies

Former RoughRiders on the Move

It’s that time of year where major league teams are wheeling and dealing.  Here are three former ‘Riders who have recently packed their bags because of a major league trade or free agency:

1. Taylor Teagarden

Of the three, the Rangers’ trade of Taylor is the most recent and the most talked about in DFW.  The Rangers announced the trade yesterday afternoon, dealing the Dallas native, and former University of Texas star, to Baltimore for right-handed pitcher Randy Henry and a player to be named later. According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the PTBNL won’t be determined until after the Rule-5 draft next Thursday.

We’re now all familiar with what Mike  Napoli is capable of, and Yorvit Torrealba proved to be capable as well.  With both catchers  under contract for 2012, the odds of Taylor making the major league roster out of spring training wasn’t good. In Baltimore he’ll now be backing up Matt Wieters.

Meanwhile, Henry is a 21-year-old Arnett Ok. native.  Selected in the 4th round of 2009 by Baltimore, Henry has worked exclusively out of the bullpen in his brief two-year minor league career.  He spent 2011 in Low-A and High-A and combined to go 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA in 52 2/3 innings with eight walks and 40 strikeouts.

According to Durrett, “Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted that Henry has a plus fastball with command and good velocity and sink on his pitches. One scout said he throws between 90-93 mph with a nice slider and is a good athlete.”

Always a chance we’ll see him in Frisco in 2012.

2. Josh Lueke

The Seattle Mariners have sent former RoughRiders’ reliever Josh Lueke and a PTBNL (or cash considerations) to the Tampa Bay Rays for catcher John Jaso.

Josh only made 15 appearances with the ‘Riders in 2010 before being dealt with Matt Lawson, Blake Beavan, and Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee deal.  Josh had an overpowering 96-98 mph fastball that he struggled to control at times against Texas League batters.

In 25 games with the M’s this year, the former 16th round pick went 1-1, 6.06 ERA in 25 games.  Now 26-years-old, Josh also pitched in 30 games with Triple-A Tacoma in 2011 and went 2-4, 2.76 ERA.

3. Brandon Boggs

The RoughRiders’ center fielder in 2007, Brandon Boggs recently signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Originally from (my hometown of) St. Louis, Boggs was a 4th round pick of the Rangers in 2004.   On November 23, 2010, Boggs signed a major league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, but was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville near the end of spring training 2011.  He declared for free agency on October 17, 2011.

In 104 games with Frisco in 2007, the switch hitter hit .266 with 19 home runs and 66 runs batted in.  Now 28-years-old, Boggs played in 94 games with Nashville in 2011 hitting .241 with 9 homers and 28 RBIs.

All the best to these three former ‘Riders in new homes.

-AG

Catching Up With Matt Lawson

Matt and me outside the 'Riders hotel in Springfield

Matt and me outside the 'Riders hotel in Springfield

I’m sure you remember Matt Lawson.  He was a 2010 Midseason Texas League All-Star and manned second base for the  RoughRiders while hitting .277 in 76 games with Frisco with seven home runs and 34 RBIs.

As I talked about some on the broadcast last night, a year ago yesterday, Lawson, along with Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, and Blake Beavan were all shipped to Seattle in exchange for Cliff Lee.  Just like this year, the ‘Riders were in Springfield (Lawson’s hometown) playing the Cardinals when the trade happened.

“Law Dog,” as many teammates referred to him, was assigned to West Tennessee following the trade where he played for the Diamond Jaxx and hit .319 in 42 games.  However, after a successful showing in the prospect driven Arizona Fall League, Lawson was traded again just days before spring training.  This time he was dealt to Cleveland for another big leaguer, Aaron Laffey.

Lawson broke camp with Double-A Akron in the Indians’ system and played in 30 games for the Aeros before voluntarily retiring from baseball on June 14.

Matty now resides with his wife Mallory in Springfield, Mo. where he plans on finishing his schooling at Missouri State University where he played collegiately, and will also work as a volunteer assistant with his college coach, Keith Guttin.

Safe to say his retirement saddened many of us who got to know him well and rooted for him to make it to the bigs. However, if you know Matty well, you also know that he’s a clear thinker who wouldn’t make a decision of that proportion without really thinking it through. Matt was, and still is, one of my favorite players I’ve ever had the chance to cover.  I had the opportunity last year to share some meals with him on the road and learned more about him off the field. It’s relationship I’ll always value.

I had a hard time finding someone last season who was more genuine and worked harder day in and day out than Matt.  Let me be the first to say that I don’t see everything, and that there are plenty of hard working players throughout the minors.  However, from what I observed, Matt was a hard one to top.

I had the chance to grab lunch with Matty in Springfield the other day and then, in true minor league fashion, interview him in the Panera parking lot (classy).  In my conversation with him that played the other night on our pre-game show, what struck me the most was when we mentioned that contemplating retirement was a “battle of identities.”  The conflict between the guy who wanted to keep playing and chasing a dream, with that of someone who has a passion to coach and enter the second phase of his professional career.

After eating lunch with Matt, I was grateful to see that he is genuinely happy.  He’s excited to spend more time at home with Mallory and to experience professional coaching for the first time.

I don’t know how often our paths will cross in the future (at least twice a year when the ‘Riders travel to Springfield), but I do know that if I had a son and was looking for a coach, I can’t think of many better than Matty.

RoughRiders ABCs

Over the course of nine years, hundreds of players have donned the RoughRiders red. So, who are the best players by letter? We are going by the first letter of former RoughRiders’ last names. And yes, rehabs count.

The year(s) with the ‘Riders is/are in parentheses.

Elvis Andrus (2008): Currently with the Rangers, Andrus was second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. He made the All-Star team in 2010 and was an integral part of Texas’ journey to the World Series. (honorable mention: Antonio Alfonseca, Joaquin Arias)

Hank Blalock (2008): Blalock, who originally came through the Rangers system before the RoughRiders existed, stopped by in 2008 for six rehab games. Blalock hit 153 home runs in his big league career, a total that does not include his game-winning blast in the ’03 All-Star Game. (honorable mention: Kris Benson, Jason Bourgeois)

Nelson Cruz (2010, 2011): Cruz rehabbed with the ‘Riders late in the 2010 season and early this year. Not much explanation needed here. He’s a candidate to hit in the Home Run Derby this year. (honorable mention: Frank Catalanotto, Endy Chavez)

John Danks (2005-06): This one is close between Danks and Chris Davis. Danks pitched in 31 games for the RoughRiders before ascending to Triple-A and eventually the bigs. The lefty is 49-52 with a 3.99 ERA in the big leagues (honorable mention: Davis)

Cody Eppley (2010): Eppley made it to the big leagues for the first time earlier this season. There have only been seven people with a last name that starts with “E” play with Frisco. Watch out for the current one listed here. (honorable mention: Robbie Erlin)

Neftali Feliz (2008): Last year’s American League Rookie of the Year, Feliz has struggled a bit as the Rangers’ closer this year. Still, he is an exciting young arm who figures to be in the majors for a long time. (honorable mention: Scott Feldman, Frank Francisco)

Adrian Gonzalez (2003): Little did we know that the inaugural RoughRiders unit had such a good player. Gonzalez is tearing it up in his first season in Boston. This letter is loaded, by the way. (honorable mention: Eric Gagne, Armando Galarraga, Craig Gentry, Doug Glanville, Cristian Guzman)

Josh Hamilton (2009, 2011): I’m just going to say this–sorry to the honorable mentions. This rehabbing Ranger takes it, easily. After all, he did homer for Frisco last month. (honorable mention: Jerry Hairston, Jr., Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter)

Jesse Ingram (2006-2007): A right-handed reliever, Ingram is the ONLY “I” to ever play for the ‘Riders. He never made it to Triple-A, but he’s at the top of this list!

Andruw Jones (2009): Another rehabber, Jones has played with five different teams over 16 seasons. His middle name is Rudolf, so that’s cool. (honorable mention: Brian Jordan)

Ian Kinsler (2004, 2009, 2010): Kinsler climbed the organizational ladder during the early days of the RoughRiders, and he liked Frisco so much that he returned for a brief visit in ’09 and ’10. He has manned second base for the Rangers for a while. (honorable mention: Steve Karsay, Michael Kirkman)

Josh Lueke (2010): Lueke emerges out of a group with 12 players in it. The hurler was a part of the Cliff Lee deal, and he made it to the big leagues for the first time earlier this year.

Gary Matthews (2005): Matthews went 2-for-5 in his one and only game as a RoughRider. He played in 1281 games at the big league level. There are plenty of M’s in Frisco history, but not many good ones. (honorable mention: Ron Mahay, Nick Masset)

Laynce Nix (2003-2004): Nix played in 94 games with the RoughRiders in their first two seasons of existence. He has appeared for four different major league teams, including suddenly above average Washington this year. (honorable mention: Jeff Nelson)

Alexi Ogando (2010): Ogando blew through Double-A while with the ‘Riders last season. He is 7-3 and an All-Star candidate in his first season in the bigs. Only five “Os” have been in RoughRiders uniforms (honorable mention: Darren O’Day).

Martin Perez (2009-2011): OK, so this may not be totally true yet, but I’m confident Perez can have a better big league career than the three guys I mention honorably. (honorable mention: Vicente Padilla, Chan Ho Park, Herbert Perry).

Daisy Q‘RuffRider (yea right): Of course there haven’t been any Q’s in Frisco. If you know of a RoughRider fan whose last name starts with Q, comment here and we can add him/her.

Nick Regilio (2003): Not a lot of substance with “R.” Regilio made 24 career appearances with the Rangers in ’04 and ’05. He last played professional baseball with Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit organization in ’09.

Justin Smoak (2009): Smoak was the cornerstone of the Rangers’ trade for Cliff Lee last year. So far in Seattle this year, Smoak is hitting .260 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs. (honorable mention: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Pedro Strop)

Mark Teixeira (2004, 2007): He’s really, really good at baseball. My dad, a fantasy baseball player, would always call him “Mark Tex-e-air-uh.” (honorable mention: Taylor Teagarden, Chad Tracy)

U (2003-2011): All of you for being such great fans throughout nine seasons! Really, this is just a cop out because, surprisingly, there has not been a “U” in a ‘Rider uniform, but you can still enjoy it!

Edinson Volquez (2005, 2007): Volquez equaled Josh Hamilton. That’s good enough for me.

C.J. Wilson (2003, 2005, 2006): Brandon Webb has better overall numbers at this point in his career, but Wilson has more upside. (honorable mention: Webb).

X: I have nothing cute or witty about this. The letter is worth 8 points in Scrabble, though.

Chris Young (2004): There have only been three “Y’s” in RoughRiders history. This one is pretty good. His is 49-34 with a 3.74 ERA in his career in the majors.

Z: I need some Zs after this countdown. Hope you enjoyed.

- Brian

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