ARKANSANS ACROSS THE MINORS

By: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin, left, and pitcher Duke Welker congratulate each other after the team beat the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Seattle. The Pirates won 9-4. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin, left, and pitcher Duke Welker congratulate each other after the team beat the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Seattle. The Pirates won 9-4. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

News and notes

In two short appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitcher Duke Welker (Arkansas Razorbacks) has impressed Manager Clint Hurdle. The Pirates optioned Welker to Class AAA Indianapolis on Wednesday to make room on the 25-man roster for Jeanmar Gomez, who was activated from the disabled list. Welker pitched 1 1/3 innings in two appearances without allowing a hit or base runner. “The two times out, everyone kind of went, ‘Yeah, good for him, good for us,’ ” Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pitcher Justin Thomas (Southern Arkansas) pitched an inning and picked up a save in his professional debut for the Washington Nationals’ Gulf Coast League rookie-league team June 21. Thomas, the Muleriders’ all-time saves leader who was chosen by the Nationals in the 21st round of this year’s draft, allowed a lead off single but went on to strike out the side to earn the save. “I was definitely a little nervous running out to the mound,” Thomas said after the game. “But once I got out there, all I was thinking is that I’ve done this my whole life and have nothing to worry about.”

Third baseman Zack Cox (Arkansas Razorbacks) was activated from the disabled list by the Class AA Jacksonville Suns on Monday. Cox was placed on the disabled list June 19, retroactive to June 17, with a left calf strain.

Pitcher Hayden Simpson (Southern Arkansas) was released by the independent Southern Illinois Miners on June 14. Simpson made just 3 appearances for the Miners and had an 0-1 record with a 15.95 ERA. He allowed 17 hits with 5 walks and only 4 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

Pitcher DJ Baxendale (Arkansas Razorbacks/Jacksonville) was placed on the disabled list by the New Britain Rock Cats (AA Twins) on June 18 with inflammation in his right (pitching) shoulder. Baxendale took the loss in his last appearance against Harrisburg on June 16, allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 1 strikeout in 6 innings. Jeff Dooley, the Rock Cats’ director of media relations, said Baxendale “is doing better and should be returning soon.”

First baseman Andy Wilkins (Arkansas Razorbacks) was promoted by the Chicago White Sox organization to Class AAA Charlotte on Monday. Wilkins batted .288 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI in 67 games for Class AA Birmingham. He’s been even better in Charlotte, batting .368 in five games through Friday.

Two other former Arkansas Razorbacks pitchers have been promoted. Daryl Maday was promoted by the San Francisco Giants organization to Class AAA Fresno on June 22 and Colby Suggs was assigned to Class A Batavia on Wednesday after only one appearance with the Marlins’ rookie league team.

Sports, Pages 25 on 06/30/2013

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