08/09/2014 11:21 AM
Article By: Joe Sherman
HIGH AND INSIDE: San Diego pitcher Jason Lane (Hyannis, 1998) set a franchise record when he made his first major league start against the Atlanta Braves on July 28. The converted big league outfielder became the oldest starting pitcher in Padres’ history (at 37 years, 219 days old) when he took the mound in place of Ian Kennedy, who was scratched with minor oblique soreness. Lane destroyed the previous club mark of 32 years and 94 days, set by Walter Silva in 2009, and he also became the oldest pitcher to start a game in the big leagues since Troy Percival (38 years, 52 days) did so for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007. Lane, who spent parts of six seasons with the Houston Astros (2002-2007) and Padres (2007) before making the move to pitcher, pitched well enough to win – six innings, six hits, one earned run, two strikeouts and two walks – but Ervin Santana tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 11 as the Braves beat Lane and the Padres 2-0. Lane’s best season as a position player was with the Astros in 2005 when he hit 25 regular-season home runs and three more in the postseason, including one in the World Series. He singled in his first at-bat against the Braves, his first major league hit since Sept. 11, 2007 ... There’s a definite Cape Cod Baseball League flavor these days in Baltimore, where the first-place Orioles are making a strong bid for the American League East title. After acquiring late-inning relief specialist Andrew Miller from Boston shortly before the nonwaiver trading deadline, Baltimore is the only team in Major League Baseball to have three Cape League Hall of Fame members on its payroll: Miller (Chatham, 2004-05; Class of 2012), manager Buck Showalter(Hyannis, 1976; Class of 2002) and injured All-Star catcher Matt Wieters (Orleans, 2006; Class of 2013). With Wieters rehabbing from mid-June Tommy John surgery, Baltimore’s catching duties are being shared by two ex-Cape League receivers, 30-year-old Nick Hundley (Y-D, 2003) and 28-year-old Caleb Joseph (Cotuit, 2007). Other familiar names on Baltimore’s active roster are pitchers Brad Brach (Cotuit, 2007) and Kevin Gausman (Harwich, 2011), second baseman Ryan Flaherty(Hyannis, 2006) and outfielder Steve Pearce (Cotuit, 2004), a recent American League Player of the Week ... Kudos to Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis (Cotuit, 2008), a recent American League Player of the Week. Kipnis says he first heard about the honor when friends began texting him congratulations. “With social media nowadays, my friends saw it before I even saw it,” Kipnis told MLB.com’s Alex M. Smith. Kipnis was chosen for the period ending July 20 in which he batted .333 (5-for-15) with two homers, six RBIs, four walks and three runs scored in four games. It was his third career weekly honor ... August’s MLB debuts by players from the CCBL: RHP Anthony Ranaudo (Y-D, 2008; Brewster, 2009) for Boston vs. New York Yankees on Aug. 1; 2B Matt Duffy (Orleans, 2011) for San Francisco against the New York Mets on Aug. 1, and 3B Jake Lamb (Y-D, 2011) for Arizona against Kansas City on Aug. 7.
LOW AND OUTSIDE: Josh Phegley (Wareham, 2007), the former Indiana University star who last year became the 1,000th Cape Leaguer to play in the major leagues, is working hard to earn another call-up. On Wednesday, Phegley collected three hits, including a home run, and drove in a season-high six runs in Triple-A Charlotte’s 12-10 International League win over Gwinnett. The 26-year-old catcher was red-hot in the 17 games following the IL All-Star game, batting .368 with five homers and 23 RBIs. A three-time IL All-Star and a Futures Game selection in 2013, Phegley hit just .206 with a .522 OPS in 63 games with the parent Chicago White Sox last season. But he seems to have put that behind him and he currently stands third in the International League in both home runs (20) and RBIs (68) while batting at a very respectable .289/.348/.556 clip. Phegley wasn’t the only player from the Cape League who participated in Wednesday’s 22-run offensive explosion. Charlotte teammate Andy Wilkins (Y-D, 2008) slugged his league-leading 27th home run (he now has 28), while Michael Taylor (Y-D, 2006) went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Gwinnett’s Todd Cunningham (Falmouth, 2009), the Atlanta Braves’ No. 18 prospect, was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and ended the night a triple short of hitting for the cycle ... Another Indiana University product, Kyle Schwarber (Wareham, 2012-13), the Chicago Cubs’ No. 8 prospect, is adjusting to life with the Class A Advanced Daytona Cubs. After signing a $3.125 million bonus contract, the fourth overall pick in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft tore through two lower-level leagues before being promoted to the Florida State League. In five games for Low-A Boise in the Northwest League, he hit .600 with four home runs before being sent to Kane County in the Class A Midwest League, where in 23 games he batted .361 with four more homers and 15 RBIs. Clearly the 6-foot, 235-pound former linebacker needed stiffer competition, so the Cubs dispatched him to Daytona, where he’s currently hitting .268 after a 3-for-4 performance in an 18-2 rout of Clearwater which included a solo home run, three RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. The homer was Schwarber’s third in the FSL, giving him 11 across three levels. Overall, the former CCBL playoffs MVP is batting .341 with 39 RBIs in just eight weeks of play-for-pay baseball … Sean Manaea (Hyannis, 2012) is finding professional baseball a lot more challenging than the Cape League, where his 5-1 record, 1.22 ERA and record-shattering 85 strikeouts earned him the B.F.C. Whitehouse Award as the league’s outstanding pitcher and the Robert A. McNeece Award as the outstanding pro prospect. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound southpaw was Kansas City’s first-round draft pick in 2013 (34th overall), but his career took an immediate downturn when he underwent hip surgery, which cost him the entire 2013 season. Then he got off to a 2-7 start with a 4.68 ERA in his first 16 games this season for Wilmington in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. But with improved mechanics, he has turned things around and in his last 10 starts for the Blue Rocks, encompassing 50 innings of work, he has pitched to a 1.98 ERA while striking out 51 and walking 28. Thanks to his recent success, he has lowered his ERA to a very respectable 3.49 in 21 games, all starts, while running his strikeout total to 114 against 49 walks in 95 1/3 innings. All good signs for the former CCBL star.