The Mud Hens returned home Thursday and claimed a 4-2 victory over Charlotte. Here are a few thoughts that may have slipped through the cracks Thursday ...
- Avisail Garcia is an impressive athlete. He showed a lot of his talents in his first game for the Mud Hens, both at the plate and in the field. He showed some speed chasing down a hard liner to right to make a good catch and end the second inning, and he would have easily stolen a base had not a Mud Hens hitter put the pitch in question in play.
In terms of arm strength, he nearly threw out a Charlotte baserunner on what should have been an easy double -- had Argenis Diaz held onto the throw, the runner would have been out easily.
At the plate, Garcia went 2-for-4 with two hard singles. It will be interesting to see if he makes an adjustment after the Knights pitchers seemed to adjust to him -- and struck him out in his last two at-bats. From what I saw of Garcia late last season with Detroit, his hitting is the main area he needs to work on.
- Brayan Villarreal looked sharp in his inning of work. Villarreal pitched the eighth, and he collected two strikeouts in his 1-2-3 inning (the other out was a groundout). Villarreal threw 11 pitches, eight of which were strikes, and got ahead of two of the three hitters he faced. Most impressive? Of his eight strikes, four were swings and misses, two were taken (including a called third strike), one was fouled and one was put in play. Don't have pitch speeds (gun wasn't on until game's end), but Villarreal was impressive.
- Bruce Rondon wasn't quite as sharp in his inning of work. Rondon got the final three outs to record the save, true, but there were cautions about his work. For example, he threw just four strikes among his 13 pitches (the first six pitches he threw were all outside the strike zone). He fell behind all three hitters he faced -- 3-0 to the first batter, 2-0 to the second (who hit into a double play) and 3-0 to the third (who flew out on a 3-1 pitch). Simply put, Rondon needs to throw more strikes. It's interesting to note that with the last hitter, he threw nothing but fastballs (one at 102 mph, one at 101 and three at 99), and threw three straight pitches outside the strike zone, a called strike and a ball that ended up as a harmless flyout. So those clamoring for work on his breaking stuff will have to wait until he gets fastball command back.
- A quick injury report on Danny Worth and Pat Misch. Mud Hens IF Danny Worth worked out in cleats yesterday, which is the first step in trying to come back from his heel problem. The next step will be determined by how the heel feels today. As for LHP Pat Misch, he played catch yesterday, and if his arm is up to it he will throw a side session today.
- The Mud Hens will add C Ramon Cabrera to the roster today. The player the Tigers received in trade for Andy Oliver, Ramon Cabrera hit extremely well for Double-A Erie to start this season. Cabrera batted .351 -- second-best in the Eastern League -- with no home runs and 20 RBIs in 24 games for the SeaWolves. He also had 12 walks -- giving him a .421 on-base percentage -- and just seven strikeouts. His average of a strikeout every 15.29 plate appearances was the best in the Eastern League.
Cabrera's promotion brings the Mud Hens roster to the limit of 25 players (by releasing John Lindsey, the Hens had a roster spot open). But it also gives Toledo three catchers, with isn't typical for a minor-league team.