A Minor No-No
Finally got into my hotel room in Atlanta, and before I head out to Turner Field, I'd thought I'd fire off the first installment of WGTBITPT (What's Going To Be In The Paper Tomorrow) (mostly because I don't have anything for DMTP, what with yesterday being an off day and all):
First off, we'll have our first minor-league notebook. It'll be small. Too small. But we'll let the $.35-edition folks get a bit of news through that, and I'll try to dump whatever other farm stuff I find out into the Journal.
Secondly: Emiliano Fruto threw six innings of no-hit ball for Class AAA Columbus last night.
(Wait. Did I hear grumbling? Yes, it's coming from Seattle, where Jose Vidro entered this afternoon's game at Boston 1 for his first 11 this year. You remember Vidro, right? Supposed second baseman. Dumped on the Mariners for Fruto and OF Chris Snelling. Mariners paying him $12 million over next two years, Nationals eating $4 million.)
So anyway, Fruto was converted into a starter just before the Columbus season began. I talked about that last week in the Journal. The reason: He has three pitches (necessary for a starter, who has to face a lineup multiple times in a game) and has a power arm, not to mention the fact that this franchise needs to look for starting pitchers under every rock it can find.
"We can always move him back," GM Jim Bowden said last week.
Not yet. Fruto's line: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 61 pitches, 40 strikes.
The Columbus Clippers ended up losing to the Louisville Bats (Reds affiliate) 1-0, when Mike Bacsik finally allowed a couple hits. Louisville only got two in the game.
But here's a quote, lifted from the Louisville Courier-Journal, from Louisville outfielder Bubba Crosby, who got the game-winning hit, on Fruto:
"He didn't really bust out the changeup until like the third inning," Crosby told the paper. "Everybody was seeing sinkers, sinkers, sinkers. Then when we came through the lineup a second time he started showing that changeup and curveball."
The changeup is supposed to be Fruto's best pitch. And, if he's mastered that at 22 and he can mix it in with a hard two-seam fastball (sinker), look out. The Mariners used him as a starter when he was a teenager in the low minors, but found he had trouble concentrating over six or seven innings. This is a very, very encouraging sign for Washington, and it'll be interesting to see how Fruto does when he gets stretched out to 80 or 100 pitches.
Tonight: Matt Chico's second career start. Really interested in this kid. Nothing seems to rattle him. I've got a story from Randy St. Claire on one of his bullpen sessions that I'm saving for the $.35-edition at some point, but if I can't use it soon, I'll drop it into the Journal. Fascinating stuff.
One other housekeeping note: We started a small feature that will run on Mondays yesterday, a "Ballpark Update" that will run in the $.35-edition up where "By the numbers" and "Quotable" run, at the top of the inside page where my game stories jump to. Just a way to point out what the latest projects down on South Capitol St. are. Hope it helps.
That's it for now. Headed down to the ballpark. I'll probably get you some lineups when I have them (though with this 7:35 p.m. start, I probably won't get them to you till you're all home from work).
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