I often forget that behind the uniforms there are real players. They have families, lives outside their work and even non-baseball problems. It's easy to just call them by their uniform number and judge them by their stats, but that wouldn't be the whole story. Every once in a while something happens to remind me of that. Last week Midland catcher Jed Morris had a nose bleed that just wouldn't stop. After seeing a doctor, Morris was urged to immediately check himself into a hospital, where he was diagnosed with leukemia; specifically acute lymphatic leukemia. Luckily, it was caught early and is a cancer that has a high recovery rate. While baseball may be the furthest things from his mind, his current and former clubs are stepping up to the plate to deliver him support. The Stockton Ports and Modesto Nuts held a silent auction on Friday to raise money for his hospital care. The RockHounds also held a benefit to raise money. If you wish to donate money to show support, you can send donations to the following address with checks made out to "Jed Morris Victory Fund":
5514 N. Champions Drive
Midland, TX 79706
Stockton has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games as their offense has come alive. Tom Everidge has four homers over that span, including 10 RBI. Luis Perez, a Venezuelan in his 7th season with Oakland, has an impressive 23 hits in the 10 games, good for a .561 batting average. Four other Port starters are hitting over .300 during their 7-3 run. Time is running out on them though, as the are four games back with nine to play.
Landon Powell, who was called up to Midland late last week, has struggled in his first six games. He has just four hits in those games, where he has been batting ninth, with a walk and four strikeouts.
On the other hand, Dallas Braden, who is rehabbing in Arizona, has been destroying the young hitters. In his last two starts, 10 innings, he has struck out an impressive 20 batters. Also playing well in Arizona is Cliff Pennington. After going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles on Sunday, his average is up to .464 in 28 ABs. He has played six full games at shortstop in the past week and may be close to returning to (probably) Stockton.
With September just a stone's throw away, players in Sacramento are surely pushing for a call-up. Charles Thomas, the "forgotten" player from the Tim Hudson trade, has been playing well lately for the River Cats. While he is hitting just .281 with 38 walks and 19 extra-base hits in 352 ABs this season, he has hit six homers since August 15.
Meanwhile, Dan Johnson and Jason Windsor, two players who are virtual locks to be called up, have been on a cold streak. Windsor, who hadn't lost a minor league game since opening night in Double-A, finally lost this week. Over his past two starts he has given up 12 earned runs and 14 hits. Johnson, who had been red hot since being sent down, has just seven hits in his last 40 ABs with no home runs and just two runs scored.
So the question is, who will be called up when the rosters expand? Keep in mind, that despite being 16 games over .500, Tucson is running away with their division, and the Cats won't make the post-season.