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BLUE JAYS (2-4)
1 Alex Azor CF
2 Christian Lopes 2B
3 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
4 Art Charles 1B
5 Jacob Anderson RF
6 Dickie Joe Thon DH
7 Seth Conner C
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 Carlos Ramirez LF
LHP Deivy Estrada (0-0, 21.60)
ROYALS (4-2)FIRST-PITCH TIME: 7:00 P.M.
1Terrance Gore CF
2 Humberto Arteaga SS
3 Patrick Leonard 3B
4 Fred Ford RF
5 Mark Threlkeld DH
6 Beau Maggi C
7 Henry Moreno 1B
8 Adrian Morales 2B
9 Cam Conner LF
RHP Jakob Junis (0-0, 0.00)
BROADCAST INFO: You can listen live right here on BluefieldJays.com! Pregame is at 6:50.
WEATHER: 88 degrees and overcast but up here in the booth it's about 1,088.
UMPIRES: __ PLATE __ FIELD
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Johnson City Cardinals were one strike away from no-hittiing the Blue Jays on Sunday, but newcomer Seth Conner grounded a clean single up the middle to break it up. Still, the visitors won 4-2 at Bowen Field to take two out of three from Bluefield. Cory Jones started the Cards’ gem and went three innings. Mike Aldrete pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and recorded the victory. Jeffrey Rauh kept the no-hit bid alive by getting through the eighth before closer Ronald Shaban came in to finish it. He walked Art Charles to start the ninth, but he retired the next two hitters and got two strikes on Conner before allowing the hit. Carlos Ramirez doubled home two runs to put the Jays on the board and bring the tying run to the plate, but Shaban struck out Christian Lopes to end the game.
VS. THE ROYALS: The Royals struggled last year to a 24-44 finish in 2011 and the Jays feasted on Burlington throughout the summer, going 7-2 in the season series. Bluefield took two of three at home from July 18-20, with the only loss coming in 11 innings. They swept the Royals a week later on the road by a combined score of 22-3. They played again at Bowen Field from August 16-18 and won the series again, winning a rain-shortened rubber game. Returning reliever Les Williams pitched five scoreless innings against the Royals spanning two appearances.
ESTRADA: A native of Valencia, Venezuela, this lefty looks to improve on a disappointing 2012 debut. In the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday in Bristol, ineffectiveness and poor defense behind him led to six runs, of which four were charged as earned against him. In 2011, he potsed a 2.25 ERA in the GCL, but he had an ERA of 6.94 in Bluefield upon his promotion. He did contribute the clinching victory in the Mercer Cup last year, turning in five shutout innings on August 10. He allowed only four hits, striking out six without walking a man. He took a tough loss in the final game of the Appy League Championship Series when he gave up one earned run in five innings, but was charged with the defeat. He spent the 2010 season in the GCL and was in the DSL in 2009 when he K’d more than one batter per inning (48 in 44 IP).
RODGERS: 18-year-old lefty Colin Rodgers starts the series opener for the Royals. He was taken by Kansas City in the third round of this month’s draft out of Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge, LA. Prior to the draft, Baseball America ranked him 207th on their top 500 list. He signed for $700,000 (476,500 over the suggested signing bonus). Armed with a low-90s fastball and plus-curveball, he had signed to play college ball with the Auburn Tigers before joining the Royals. In his pro debut on Wednesday, Colin worked around two walks and a single to post two scoreless innings in a start at Pulaski.
THE TERMINATOR: Seth Conner arrived to the ballpark moments before game time, but he came through late for the Blue Jays. The catcher, just called up from the Gulf Coast League to replace the injured starter Santiago Nessy, replaced Hector Alvarez behind the plate in the middle of the contest. He flew out to right in his first trip to the plate in the seventh, but he broke up the no-hit bid with the Baby Birds down to their last strike. The Rogersville, MO native hit .250 in four GCL games this year prior to his promotion. He batted .276 in 50 games as the primary third baseman for the GCL Jays in 2011. Last year he finished third in the GCL in walks (30) and eighth in on base percentage (.395).
ACE OF BASE: With two walks yesterday, Art Charles has now reached base in all six Blue Jays games this season. He is one of only eight Appy Leaguers to reach in all six games thus far in 2012. The others are Chris Elder and Patrick Leonard of Burlington, Eris Peguero of Kingsport, Elizabthton’s Rory Rhodes, Brock Hebert of Pulaski, Princeton’s John Alexander and Ariel Ovando of Greeneville.
Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 6-25