It is difficult to imagine anyone wielding a hotter bat than veteran Jay Gibbons, who is going to make it increasingly difficult for the Los Angeles Dodgers to keep him out of the major leagues if he maintains anything close to his current pace.
After starting the season 1-for-9 in three road games for Triple-A Albuquerque, the 33-year-old outfielder has pounded out 13 hits in the first five home contests, including back-to-back four-hit games. The lefty hitter, who needed two Atlantic League stints (Long Island, NY in 2008 and Newark, NJ last season) to get his career back in gear, is at .467 (14-for-30) with six doubles, two home runs and 12 runs batted in. His slugging percentage is sky high at .867, and Gibbons has struck out only three times.
ANOTHER SOUTHPAW SIZZLING ON MOUND
Tom Cochran may be nearly as impressive as Jay Gibbons although his level of attention may not be quite as high since he has only pitched twice in the young season.
The former Can-Am League all-star (Worcester, MA) has given up only one earned run (two overall) in a pair of Double-A outings for Cincinnati's Carolina Mudcats. His ERA is a skimpy 0.75, and he has only surrendered five hits in 12 innings while fanning 15.
Cochran, who did not sign with the Reds until he had pitched seven times (three starts) for Lancaster, PA in the Atlantic League early last season, shut down Montgomery, AL (Tampa Bay) on two hits over six scoreless innings Friday. He struck out eight and walked only one. He had limited Birmingham, AL (White Sox) to three hits and the one earned run in six innings in his season debut.
The 27-year-old also spent three seasons in the Frontier League (Ohio Valley and Washington, PA) after a two-year trial as a reliever in the Boston organization right after he had finished at Middle Georgia Junior College.
ALL-STAR 1B LEAVES ATLANTIC LEAGUE FOR NORTHERN
It could not have been two weeks ago when we heard all-star first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke and Bridgeport were in negotiation for the 32-year-old slugger to return for a fourth season with the Bluefish. But news came down late last week that both Jesse and younger brother Casey, a pitcher, have signed to play with Fargo, ND of the Northern League.
It seemed likely Bridgeport would feel some loss of power, although that may have changed when the ‘Fish signed major league vet Josh Phelps. Another right-handed power guy, Phelps hit 31 homers as recently as 2008 for Triple-A Memphis. He played only 17 games in the San Francisco system last year (two homers) before going down with a shoulder injury. Seven months younger than Hoorelbeke, Phelps has had a better career, hitting 64 major league home runs in 465 games (.273 average), with 52of them coming between 2002 and 2004 with Toronto and Cleveland.
In the meantime, Jesse Hoorelbeke will be a welcome addition back in the Northern League where his 21 homers in only 74 games led not only the RedHawks but also the league in 2006.
Monday, April 19, 2010
GIBBONS ON EXCEPTIONAL HITTING STREAK, COCHRAN VERY STINGY ON MOUND
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.