Minor League Recap for July 1

Wade LeBlanc is converting on his AAA return

Wade LeBlanc is dealing back in the PCL. Mike Watt turns in an impressive outing for Elsinore. And relievers around the system are putting up strong numbers.

Tucson defeats Sacramento 7-3
Wade LeBlanc continues to get his mojo back in Triple-A, tossing eight shutout innings. The lefty, who looked utterly defeated in his last big league appearance, gave up only two singles and a walk while striking out six. Over his last four starts for Tucson, he has surrendered only four runs in 29 innings, allowing 26 baserunners and recording 26 strikeouts.

Luke Gregerson, making his first rehab appearance, was touched for three runs on three hits and a pair of walks in just one third of an inning. Evan Scribner came in and recorded the final two outs to leave a pair of inherited runners on base.

Kyle Blanks extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single and double. He was also a contributor defensively, recording an assist from left field. Blanks now sports a .390/462/780 line across 21 games in the PCL.

San Antonio beats NW Arkansas 4-1
Jorge Reyes and a parade of five relievers scattered 11 hits and three walks as the Missions continued post-All-Star break much as they played before. Reyes, on a limited pitch count, worked a choppy three innings, but did not allow a run. In all, the righty yielded five hits and a walk, striking out two. While his strikeout totals have dropped off, his ERA has improved every month of the season.

Blake Tekotte reached base four times with a double to three walks, and scoring a run. The left-handed hitter has gotten on at a .440 clip since coming back down to San Antonio.

Brad Brach is well on his way to a third saves title in three professional seasons. The big righty grabbed his 22nd save of the year, striking out a pair in his inning of work. Only two other Texas League relievers have hit double digits in saves this season.

Lake Elsinore downs Visalia 5-1
Mike Watt turned in a great outing on the road, giving up only three hits over six scoreless innings as the Storm opened their series with a win. The former first-round pick matched his season high with seven strikeouts. While his ERA has hovered around six for the last two months, he continues to whiff a hitter an inning.

Reymond Fuentes hit his first home run of the season as one of three Storm hitters with multiple hits on the day. While the left-handed hitter has gotten on at a .356 clip for the year, his .064 isolated power remains a concern.

Reliever Zach Herr extended his scoreless innings streak to 11 with two frames of work. While the short lefty issued a pair of walks, he also recorded his first five outs by way of strikeout. A 38th-round pick from University of Nebraska in 2008, the undersized reliever has improved his walk rates significantly this year, while continuing to strike out a hitter an inning.

Fort Wayne falls twice to West Michigan
After resuming the previous night's suspended game and allowing the Whitecaps to walk off with a win, the TinCaps got whacked in the regularly-scheduled contest, falling 16-11

Starter Zach Cates gave up seven earned runs on seven hits and two walks over 4.1 innings, stopping a short streak of two strong performances. While his raw stuff remains his strength, the one-time catcher continues to give up ill-timed extra-base hits, leading to a 5.03 ERA on the year.

Rymer Liriano paced the offense with a 3-for-5 night, coming up just a triple short of the cycle. The toolsy outfielder also swiped his 38th base of the year. After collecting just four extra-base hits in June, the start to July helped push his slugging percentage back up to .482.

Eugene tops Vancouver 5-2
The Emeralds won their 10th straight and now sport a 13-2 record overall. James Needy tossed four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and a walk and earning three strikeouts. Over three appearances after a spring in the desert rehabbing from last year's knee problems, the 2009 draftee has allowed 11 runners with six strikeouts over eight innings.

Chris Wilkes, another big former high school pitcher who is trying to make it back from years of injury, worked 2.2 innings, also surrendering one run. The one-time quarterback yielded a homer, but otherwise had a strong effort, recording four strikeouts and avoided giving up any walks.

Jace Peterson had a pair of triples in the leadoff spot, his second consecutive multi-hit game for the Ems. The supplemental pick out of McNeese State has a .232/ .333/.429 line through his first 14 professional games. First-rounder Cory Spangenberg had his hitting streak snapped, but did draw three walks to keep his on-base percentage at a silly .583 mark for the year.

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