Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Horne To Rejoin Scranton,
Kontos, Melancon Dominate AA

Alan Horne will return to the Scranton rotation and, as a result, one of Karstens, Igawa, Giese, McCutchen or Marquez will be getting demoted or converted to the bullpen. Horne is now officially scheduled to pitch Sunday for Scranton.

Phil Coke's stay at AAA will be an abbreviated one as he is to be sent down to Trenton in order to make room for Horne. Though Dan McCutchen has been struggling during the start to his AAA campaign, the recent big league bullpen problems may call for converting Danimal to the bullpen.

It may have been the plan for McCutchen all along to become a major league bullpen contributor. And, considering someone must be moved to make room for Horne, now might be the opportune time for such a conversion. [This is merely spitballing on my part]

McCutchen's fastball, which regularly hovers above and below 92 mph, could receive a few extra ticks. The compliment of his changeup and curveball as potential outpitches could make him a valuable commodity out of the pen. Maybe most importantly is McCutchen's bulldog mentality on the mound and his eagerness to attack the strikezone.

Meanwhile in Trenton, George Kontos continues to flash dominance over AA hitters by tossing 7 innings of one-run ball, allowing 3 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2. Wednesday night's performance from Kontos lowered his season ERA to 3.01.

It's been a major turnaround for Kontos considering early April saw him pile up more walks than strikeouts. As of today, Kontos now boasts a very respectable 63 strikeouts to 25 walks over 68.2 innings. In his last five starts Kontos tossed 33 innings [going seven innings in four of five starts] with 30 strikeouts, 9 walks and 8 earned runs on just 19 hits.

Joining Kontos in AA dominance is Mark Melancon who tossed another three scoreless innings of work, earning his third victory of the year. Over the three frames Melancon struck out 2, walked zero and allowed one hit, dropping his ERA to 1.53 on the year. Through 17.2 innings at the AA level, Melancon has allowed just 10 hits and 2 walks while striking out 15 and limiting opposing hitters to a .169 batting average.

A promotion to AAA may soon be in order for the dominant Melancon should he continue such a high level of success. I would venture to guess Melancon will find himself pitching to AAA hitters by mid June.

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