Martinez was a fixture in the heart of the order and was a constant threat to get on base with a .430 OBP. Batting as the clean-up hitter, Conlon left in the midst of a hot streak, hitting 9-for-18 with four extra-base hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in the past week, figures good enough to garner Northwest League Player of the Week honors.
In Conlon’s place, the Emeralds promoted Yefri Carvajal, an 18-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic. The young outfielder from the Arizona Rookie League Padres is thought to be one of the top prospects in the San Diego Padres’ farm system. In 25 games for Peoria Carvajal hit .340 with 13 doubles, 27 runs scored, and 22 RBIs.
“He’s a young kid that’s been down in Arizona playing and about the last five weeks he’s earned the right to be the next guy to help above,” said manager Greg Riddoch.
With the departure of Conlon and Martinez, Eugene needs a player to fill their production. Carvajal nominated himself in his first at-bat for the Emeralds Tuesday night against the visiting Tri-City Dust Devils. In the bottom of the second, Carvajal blasted the second pitch he saw past the left field wall for Eugene’s only two runs of the game. The Ems (22-13) eventually lost to the Dust Devils (12-13) by a score of 3-2 in front of 3,173 at Civic Stadium.
After Danny Payne began the second inning with a strikeout, Robbie Blauer hit a line drive single to centerfield against starting pitcher Cory Riordan. Carvajal then followed up with his two-run shot to the right of the flag pole behind the left field wall.
“His first at-bat and he hit one out of the ballpark, and it got out in a real hurry,” said Manager Greg Riddoch. “It’s good to see him get a chance to help out.”
The Dust Devils immediately responded in the next inning against Matt Teague. Local Thurston High graduate Johnny Bowden led off the inning with a grounder to shortstop Eric Sogard. Bowden advanced to second as Sogard launched the ball past first base into the Eugene dugout. Three batters later, Everth Cabrera brought in Bowden on an RBI-single to right field.
Teague retired the side and left the game with one unearned run and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Mat Latos (0-2) came into the game in the sixth with a 2-1 advantage, but could not hold onto the lead. Latos ran into trouble in the seventh inning when Brian Lapin hit an RBI-double into left field to tie the game. Derek Kinzler hit an RBI-grounder two batters later to hand Latos his second loss of the season and first blown save.
The loss drops the second place Emeralds even further behind rival Salem-Keizer. The Volcanoes have been on a torrid start to the season, winning 29 of their first 35 games. With a seven game deficit to make up, the Ems will need every break when they play the Volcanoes in six straight games in Eugene and Salem after their series with Tri-Cities.
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