Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
RedHawks put more hurt on Goldeyes
Winnipeg clings to division lead by single game
The Winnipeg Goldeyes are clinging to a one-game lead atop the American Association's North Division after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Wednesday at Shaw Park.
After the loss before 4,811 spectators, the Goldeyes are on a three-game losing slide and have lost five in a row to Fargo.
The two teams will meet again today at 7 p.m. at Shaw Park with lefty Tony Butler (2-2, 4.03 ERA) expected to take the mound for Winnipeg and Paul Burnside (4-3, 2.70) for Fargo. The 26-18 Goldeyes are now two games into the 12-game homestand, the longest of the season.
In Wednesday's loss, the 23-21 RedHawks got a solo home run in the third inning from ninth-hole hitter Buddy Sosnoskie to take the early lead. The Goldeyes led 3-1 after seven on scoring runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings on RBI singles by Chris Roberson and Luis Alen and on a Price Kendall fielder's choice.
Winnipeg's starting pitcher, Ace Walker, left the game after seven innings and Fargo had a field day, scoring four runs in the eighth inning off relievers Billy Spottiswood (loss) and Craig James to win the game.
The Goldeyes have managed to stay in first place in the North, currently leading the Sioux Falls Pheasants (25-19) despite a recent raft of player losses, including third baseman Amos Ramon (shoulder), infielder Yurendell de Caster for 10 games to Mexico, starting pitcher Fabian Williamson (contract bought by Atlanta), closing pitcher Nick Carr (shoulder), and at least a half-dozen men playing hurt.
"Not everybody can get through hurdles like this. It says a lot about the character of this group," Forney said. "They play hard for you, no matter what."
Goldeyes second-baseman Kendall, playing hurt since rolling his ankle May 22 in Laredo, Texas, against the Lemurs, is one of three Goldeyes to play in all 43 games, along with catcher Luis Alen and Roberson, and 40 games have been played by first-baseman Josh Mazzola and Jon Weber, who was forced to miss two in May because he was suspended.
"I'm here to play 100-plus ball games," the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Kendall said, referring to the 100-game American Association season, with the "plus" being playoffs. He's developed shin splints and has been fitted for an orthotic for his right foot to correct a fallen arch. "It's just a mind-over-matter thing, overcoming the pain and the sensations. You play for your teammates, your manager, these fans that come out here every day. This is my job. I love it and it's fun, but my teammates expect me to go out there and play hard, and that's what I'm going to do."
With the AA's 22-player rosters, of which half are pitchers, Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said there's no chance to rest sore bodies.
"When I talk to my guys during the signing period, you be up front with them and let them know you play 100 games in 110 days and there's not a whole lot of days off," Forney said. "When I see a guy get hurt, I just kind of put my head down and hope that it's not serious."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2012 D4