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All Hands on Deck: Jesus Valdez es en fuego por Bristol

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Jesus Valdez
Michael Grennell/Bristol Pirates

On a day where losing is contagious, Francisco Cervelli catches a game in Altoona while Indianapolis tries to sort out a pitching staff.

Transactions

Besides Cervelli heading down US 22 to Blair Co, RHP Rookie Davis started a rehab assignment at Indianapolis. Cervelli (193/279/248) has been on the IL since May 26 with his latest concussion, while Davis (4.81 ERA in 43 IP in minors) has been out since June 8, originally diagnosed with a right middle finger blister. Expect both back when the roster expand twenty days from now on Sep. 1.

The Pirates then optioned recently obtained RHP Parker Markel (1.88 ERA, 67 K’s in 37 IP) to Indianapolis when they activated Clay Holmes from the IL, and RHP Cody Ponce (3.65 ERA, 50 K’s in 44 13 IP), obtained two weeks ago in a trade for Jordan Lyles, was promoted to Indianapolis.

Faced with an overload of pitchers, left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons (3.35 ERA, 55 K’s in 45 23 IP) was released. Awful in only four innings for the Pirates, who was signed to a minor league contract over the winter, survived being designated for assignment and after being outrighted on May 12 turned in a decent season for the Triple-A team - but at this point it’s clear the veteran 31 year old was not part of the Pirates’ future.

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Games

Triple-A

Indianapolis (58-60) blanked 4-0 at Durham (67-52)

Starter Dario Agrazal (4.29 ERA in 84 IP) picked up where he left off in Pittsburgh while Rookie Davis (4.81 ERA in 43 IP) followed with a fairly impressive performance.

Agrazal served up a three-run homer in a four-run fourth inning for Durham that saw them score all their runs for the game. Agrazal surrendered seven hits and four runs in his four innings, not walking a batter while fanning five. With 59 strikes out of 84 pitches, Agrazal was pounding the strike zone at a 70% rate, but threw 36 pitches in the fateful third inning and averaged 16 pitches over the other three. In his last five minor league starts, dating back to June 4, Agrazal has allowed 21 earned runs in 21 23 innings.

Davis followed with three scoreless innings where he allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out four.

The Indians had just five hits, two by CF Jason Martin (270/314/436), who’s hit 340/386/489 in 41 games since June 18.

Double-A

Altoona (59-60) falls 7-3 to visiting Reading (71-48)

Pedro Vasquez had thrown four scoreless innings until Reading hit him with a three-spot in the fifth, including a two-run homer. Credited with four and two thirds innings of work, Vasquez allowed the three runs on four hits and three walks, fanning four.

1B Logan Hill (239/321/398) and RF Bligh Madris (260/330/393) both doubled as the Curve scored twice in the sixth to tie the game, but closer Matt Eckelman (4.33 ERA in 43 2.3 IP) was crushed for four runs in the top for the ninth, managing to get just one out in between three hits and two walks.

Altoona had eleven hits despite scoring just three runs. CF Jared Oliva (287/362/423), SS Oneil Cruz (302/348/490) and 3B Brett Pope (250/318/310) had two hits apiece.

C Francisco Cervelli, rehabbing in his first game since May 25, doubled off the left-center fence in his third trip to the plate.

High-A

Bradenton (63-53) defeated 3-2 in 7 innings by visiting Dunedin (67-48)

Osvaldo Bido (12-7, 3.32 ERA in 130 IP) didn’t pitch that poorly but his teammates could muster only three hits in his support. Over four innings, Bido allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and a walk while striking out four. Hunter Stratton (4.25 ERA in 65 23 IP) followed with three scoreless innings, giving up just one hits along with three walks.

Bradenton (63-54) loses again, 7-5 in 7 innings, to visiting Dunedin (68-48) in makeup of Ag. 10 postponement.

The Marauders erased a 4-1 deficit with one swing of the bat, 1B Mason Martin’s (260/364/562) sixth inning grand slam, his 30th home run of the year, giving him 110 RBI, but Dunedin struck right back against closer Nick Mears (3.63 ERA, 61 K’s in 39 23 IP), scoring three runs on three hits in the top of the seventh.

The 22 year old right-handed Mears was signed in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of Sacramento City College and logged only four innings at Morgantown last summer and 11 23 at Greensboro this year before being promoted to Bradenton, where he’s walked 7 and struck out 42 in 28 innings.

Low-A

Greensboro (70-47) beaten 9-3 by visiting Asheville (56-63)

Steven Jennings (5-11, 5.24 ERA in 110 IP) served up a pair of solo homers and allowed four runs in total over five innings, on seven hits and two walks. Jennings has allowed five long balls in his last four starts, with at least one in each of seven of his last eight starts.

2B Ji-hwan Bae (309/391/393) had a single and a double while Jack Herman (260/335/500) slugged his 12th home run, a solo shot in the second inning.

Short Season A

West Virginia (29-25) goes down 7-2 to visiting Auburn (21-33)

2018 2nd Round pick Braxtan Ashcraft (1-8, 6.19 ERA in 48 IP) was hit hard, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks in just three and two thirds innings.

SS Ethan Paul (184/304/253) and 1B Will Matthiessen (198/305/270) each went 2-for-4.

Advanced Rookie

Bristol (25-26) rolls 14-5 over visiting Bluefield (25-26)

A day after pounding Kingsport pitching for nineteen runs on fifteen hits, the Pirates’ bats were at it again, wit fourteen runs and seventeen hits against Bluefield, scoring at least one run in six of the eight innings in which they batted.

3B Jesus Valdez (320/409/458) continued his scorching pace, with a pair of doubles and a first inning two-run homer, driving in five runs in the game. Valdez was acquired last summer from the Dodgers for David Freese. In his last twelve games, Valdez has gone 24-for-50, batting 480/519/720, and striking out just five times in 54 plate appearances.

1B Ernny Ordonez (242/318/326) had four singles in five at bats, 2B Aaron Shackelford (261/319/464) hit his sixth home run, a two-run shot in the eighth, and DH Yovner Fajardo was 3-for-4.

Starter Dante Mendoza (6.75 ERA in 33 13 IP) was adequate, allowing two runs in four and two thirds innings on five hits and three walks, striking out four. Saul de la Cruz (0.53 ERA in 17 IP) was credited with the victory, striking out four without walking a batter in two and a third scoreless innings.

Rookie

No games scheduled.

Dominican Rookie

No games scheduled.

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Disabled List

Triple-A Indianapolis

2019-08-04 LHP Blake Weiman, left shoulder tendonitis.

2019-04-28 RHP J.T. Brubaker, right forearm strain

2019-04-04 RHP Tom Koehler (rehabbing with the GCL Pirates)

Double-A Altoona

2019-08-01 RHP Austin Coley, sprained left ankle

2019-07-29 OF Bralin Jackson

2019-06-12 LHP Elvis Escobar, left shoulder strain (rehabbing with West Virginia)

2019-04-26 2B Stephen Alemais, right shoulder strain

2019-04-04 RHP Gage Hinsz, right forearm strain

High-A Bradenton

2019-07-23 RHP Nick Mears

2019-07-13 2B Raul Siri

2019-07-07 LHP Braeden Ogle

2019-07-06 RHP Logan Stoelke

2019-06-30 2B Chase Lambert, right big toe sprain.

2019-05-17 LHP Oddy Nunez, back strain

2019-05-04 RHP Drew Fischer, right elbow strain

Low-A Greensboro

2019-07-04 SS Mariano Dotel

2019-06-28 LHP Zach Spears (60 day)

2019-04-04 RHP Travis McGregor (60 day), recovering from Sept 2018 Tommy John surgery

2019-04-04 RF Conner Uselton

2019-04-04 RHP Wander Romero

Advanced Rookie

2019-06-17 LHP Roger Santana

Rookie

2019-06-24 RHP Andres Arrieta (60 day)

Dominican Rookie

2019-07-25 LF Stilwatt Valerio (60 day)