Bucs Minor League Notes

Evan Meek

News,notes and quotes from around the Pirates minor league system. Who's hot and who's not. A look at the Triple A Indianapolis Indians, the Double A Altoona Curve, the Single A Lynchburg Hillcats, Class A Hickory Crawdads, Class A State College Spikes and Rookie League GCL Pirates.

Indianapolis jumped out to an eight-run advantage after three innings and never looked back in an 11-3 win over Toledo on Saturday night.The Tribe's offensive explosion comes after 20 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to Wednesday night's win at Toledo. Indianapolis tied its season high with 18 hits in game two of the series as 10 different individuals collected at least one base knock. The Indians improve to 53-62 overall and 29-32 at home. Entering play on Sunday August 3 - the Tribe is in last place in the International League West Division.

MEEK WINS AWARD:Right-handed reliever Evan Meek has been named the Indianapolis Indians Player of the Month for July. Meek turned in an 0.51 ERA with no decisions over nine relief appearances in July. He allowed just one walk, eight hits and a .133 batting average, while striking out 16 in 17.2 innings. During the month, Meek led all Tribe hurlers in ERA, batting average against, strikeout-to-walk ratio and WHIP (0.51).

"Evan is very deserving of this honor," Tribe Manager Trent Jewett says. "Evan had a terrific month all the way around. He has a very heavy fastball, and has worked hard to set up his breaking pitch."

Meek owns a 2.84 ERA with no decisions in 14 Triple-A relief appearances this season. He has allowed just five walks, 20 hits and a .211 BA while striking out 19 in 25.1 innings. He also owns the Tribe's longest scoreless innings streak of 2008 -- 17.2 from June 28 to July 29.

THE HOT HITTER IS MOVING ON: Indianapolis INF Josh Wilson has been traded to the Boston Red Sox organization for a player to be named later. The 27-yearold hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games for the Indians and batted .351 (20-for-57) during that stretch.

LET'S GO STREAKING: Indians INF Luis Ordaz extended his hitting streak to six games with a single on Saturday evening against Toledo. The 32-year-old is batting .327 with two home runs and 16 RBI.

THE BEST TANDEM IN TRIPLE-A: Indians OFs Nyjer Morgan (32) and Andrew McCutchen (27) own the most stolen bases of any tandem in Triple-A Baseball. McCutchen has already eclipsed the best single-season total in his four-year professional career, while Morgan swiped 55 bases for Low-A Hickory (N.C.) in 2004.

Entering play on Sunday August 3 - the Curve are 51-63 and in fourth place in the Eastern League Southern Division.

CURVE GET "RYCH": 3B Jim Negrych is 6-for-14 (.400) in his first four games with the Curve since being promoted from Class-A Lynchburg on Tuesday. Despite his promotion to Double-A, Negrych continues to lead the Carolina League inbatting average (.370), hits (143), on-base percentage (.448) and runs scored (77). His combined .372 average is third-best among all minor league batters entering Friday and his 149 hits are tied for second.

ROMAK WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY: After going hitless in his first 12 at-bats with Altoona, 1B Jamie Romak recorded his first Double-A hit with a first-inning home run in Friday's game vs. Bowie. The longball was Romak's 19th of the season, which leads all Pirates' minor leaguers.

JUAN MEANS WINS: RHP Juan Mateo has earned wins in each of his last three appearances and leads all Curve pitchers with six victories. The right-hander, who joined Altoona in mid-May after signing with Pittsburgh as a minorleague free agent, had an excellent month of July, going 4-0 with two saves and a 0.98 ERA (18.1 IP/2 ER) in nine outings during the month.

WHO'S HOT: Entering action on Saturday INF Melvin Dorta is hitting .347 (34x98) in his last 26 games. INF Jim Negrych is 6x14 (.400) over his first four games with Altoona and in his last 30 games overall is batting .406 (43x106). RHP Ronald Belisario has posted a 2.17 ERA (29.0 IP/7 ER) over his last 20 outings. RHP Jeff Sues has 28 strikeouts in 17.2 IP over his last eight outings.

ON THE D.L.: OF Jonel Pacheco (7/18, lower back) is the only Curve player currently listed on the Disabled List.

The Hillcats extended their season-long losing streak to nine games Saturday night, falling to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans by a score of 6-5. Lynchburg now carries a 17-25 record for the second half, and is now 2.5 games behind Wilmington for the final playoff spot in the Northern Division.

POWERFUL PRESLEY: CF Alex Presley collected a career-high five RBI against Myrtle Beach on Friday night. He went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and a two-run single. His five runs driven in matched Jared Keel (July 23rd) fr the most RBI in a single game this season by a Hillcat.

WELCOME BACK: SS Brian Friday made his return to the Lynchburg line-up Thursday night and was 1-for-5 with a single and a run scored. He had not played since June 11th at Myrtle Beach with a back injury. The 2007 third round pick played seven games with the GCL Pirates prior to his return to the Cats...Friday was batting .295 and was one of two Mid-Season All-Star selections for the Hillcats.

CRUSHING CATCHER: C Kris Watts went a combined 2-for-5 in a doubleheader on Friday night. In his last 19 games entering play on Saturday the catcher has gone 24-for-62 (.387) with six doubles, four home runs, 16 RBI and nine runs scored.

The Crawdads continued to struggle at home against the Rome Braves, falling 7-4 Saturday for a fifth straight loss. Hickory starter Matt McSwain, fresh off eight no-hit innings in his last start, allowed solo home runs to Cody Johnson in the second and David Berres in the third to allow Rome (20-19, 53-56) a 2-0 advantage. By the time McSwain left after five, Hickory trailed 4-1. McSwain took the loss for Hickory, dropping to 4-5 after surrendering four runs on eight hits in five innings. Hickory is now 3-15 in its last 18 games and the Dads are still tied with the Lexington Legends with fewest home wins in the league this season, each with 17. Hickory is now 14-28 in the second half and in last place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.

HUBER PROVIDES OFFENSE: In Saturday night's loss to Rome Erik Huber had two hits. Huber now has 11 hits in his last six games. The left fielder is batting .269 with eight home runs and 50 RBI.

HAGUE HOT: Hickory, rookie Matt Hague extended his season-long hitting streak to nine games in Saturday night's loss. The third baseman is hitting .339 with five home runs and 17 RBI.

State College, the Pirates' short-season Class A affiliate, is off to a 9-33 start, making for the worst winning percentage of any team in professional baseball. The Batavia Muckdogs pulled off the 6-5 victory over State College on Saturday night by scoring two runs on a 10th inning error. A bright spot for the Spikes - Alan Knotts came in to pitch 4 2/3 innings of early relief for the Spikes. The righty allowed only two hits and no runs while striking out four in his longest outing of the season.

The Spikes poor record has caught the attention of Pittsburgh Pirates director of player development Kyle Stark.

"Obviously I'm not thrilled about it," Stark told the Centre Daily Times. "But I think the reality is that they have played better as of late. Guys are getting better. It's a situation where a number of our top picks were college picks and they are not there whether it's because they haven't signed or they have been pushed to Hickory. The record is definitely not something we want to see. But I think the team is starting to stabilize." The Spikes lost third-round draft pick Jordy Mercer and ninth-rounder Matt Hague, who both played collegiately at Oklahoma State, to promotions less than two weeks into the season. Hague and Mercer are now with full-season Hickory.

LATIMORE LEAPING IN OFFENSIVE LISTS: With his 4-for-4 game on Thrursday, Entering play on Friday OF Quincy Latimore was hitting .444 (12-22) over his last five games, with seven RBI and his first homer of the season. Latimore had also gone 7-for-9 in the last two games entering play on Friday.

Bradenton has one of the Gulf Coast League's best records at 22-14 entering play on Sunday.

WHO"S HOT: OF Jose Tabata recently acquired from the Yankees - saw his first action going 1-for-2 with a double and a RBI. SS Jarek Cunningham is batting . .316 with three home runs and 11 RBI. 3B Adenson Chourio continues to put up solid numbers hitting .347 with no home runs and 12 RBI. On the pitching side - RHP Gabriel Alvarado is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 31 innings of work and lefty Nelson Pereira is 2-2 with a 1.61 ERA.

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