Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Checking out where some former Pigs have landed

Friday, July 19, 2019 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

Are you going through ‘Pig withdrawal yet?

The IronPigs haven’t played a home game since July 7 and they won’t be back home for another week yet, leaving Coca-Cola Park empty for 15 straight days. The current 11-game road trip saw the ‘Pigs fly from Rochester to Gwinnett Sunday night to start a four-game series against the Stripers.

With the gang out of town, it’s a good time to take a look at some former IronPigs who have also flown out of town, only on a more permanent basis.

After making a strong MLB debut with Baltimore on July 1, Tom Eshelman was sent right back to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles needed another starter for this past Sunday and recalled him to start against Tampa Bay. In the game, Eshelman made it through five innings, allowing just two runs. The O’s sent him out for the sixth inning and he got the first two outs before giving up a single to Nate Lowe, which was followed by a home run by Mike Brosseau that put Tampa Bay up 4-0 and ended Eshelman’s day. If that Sunday Orioles/Rays game sounds familiar, it may be because the Rays Ryan Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough combined on a perfect game for eight innings before Yarbrough gave up back-to-back singles to start the ninth.

After being released by the Tigers back in May, Cameron Rupp signed a minor league deal with Oakland and is playing in Las Vegas for the past couple of months. While the PCL is known as a hitter’s league, it hasn’t been very hospitable to Rupp, who is batting just .204 with three home runs in 17 games with the Aviators. Another former IronPigs catcher, Erik Kratz, is with his third organization so far this season. He opened the year with San Francisco, was released and wound up with the Rays and is now playing for the Yankees at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 39-year old is batting .314 with three home runs and eight RBI in 17 games with the RailRiders.

Carlos Carrasco was a member of the IronPigs starting rotation when he was dealt to Cleveland on July 29, 2009 in the deal that brought Cliff Lee to the Phillies. The ironic part of it was that the ‘Pigs were at home against the Indians Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers when the deal was made. Carrasco literally packed up his locker and walked down the hall to the Clippers clubhouse. Carrasco, who has been on the IL since June 5 when he complained of severe fatigue, was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Carrasco, 32, is undergoing treatment and hopes not only to pitch again, but to return to the mound at some point this season.

Carrasco’s battery mate from that 2009 team is also still playing. Tuffy Gosewisch is a member of the San Antonio Missions, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Gosewisch, who is now 35, is batting just .149 in 34 games with the Missions.

Carrasco also pitched for Lehigh Valley in 2008, the first year of the team’s existence. He is one of just two players from that team to still be playing. The other is J.A. Happ, who is 7-5 with a 4.93 ERA in 18 starts with the Yankees this season. Happ was the starter in the first-ever International League game at Coca-Cola Park against the Richmond Braves.

ROTATION HELP... The IronPigs have had to piece together a starting rotation for a while now, but they received some help in the form of 24-year old lefty Damon Jones. The Phillies bumped Jones up from Reading and he made his Triple-A debut with the ‘Pigs on Sunday, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs. With Clearwater (11 starts), Reading (4 starts) and Lehigh Valley, Jones is 5-3 with a 1.47 ERA this season and has struck out 125 batters in 85 2/3 innings of work.

CATCHING DILEMMAS... Rob Brantly, made his first major league appearance since 2017 on Friday when he pinch-hit for the Phillies after having his contract purchased when J.T. Realmuto went on paternity leave for the birth of his second daughter. Brantly struck out to end the game and following the game was designated for assignment to make room for Realmuto’s return. The question of whether Brantly (3-18-.306 with Lehigh Valley) should have been kept on the Phillies roster over Andrew Knapp, who is batting just .155 in 42 games with the Phillies. Knapp still has all three options remaining and could have been sent out to Lehigh Valley either by being optioned or designated for assignment.

LO-MO... The Phillies signed former major leaguer Logan Morrison to a minor league deal and assigned him to Lehigh Valley. Morrison has played in 959 major league games with four different organizations. He was given his release by the Yankees, who had him playing with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he was hitting .289 with 15 home runs in 43 games. Morrison could wind up being a bat off the bench in Philadelphia.