Cliff Lee named to 3rd All-Star Team

July 6th, 2011

The 2011 MLB All-Star team was announced Sunday night, June 2nd. Among those selected were Cliff Lee, who will represent Arkansas as the only state-born play in the game.

Lee, a native of Benton, AR, is now a three-time All-Star, making his first appearance in the Mid-Summer Classis in 2008 and reappearing last year. Lee now joins Lon Warneke, Dizzy Dean, Preacher Roe and Johnny Sain as the only Arkansas-born pitchers to be selected at least 3 times.

So far in 2011, Lee is 9-6 with a 2.92 ERA with a league-best 4 shutouts in 18 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Cardinals release veteran Ryan Franklin

July 6th, 2011

After a nightmarish season, Ryan Franklin has been released by the St. Louis Cardinals, effective Wednesday, June 29th. The Fort Smith, AR area native went 1-4 with a 8.46 ERA in 21 games with the Cardinals, blowing 4 out of 5 save opportunities.

The all-time games pitched leader among Arkansas-born players, Franklin was an all-star in 2009 for St. Louis when he went 4-3 with a 1.92 ERA and set the single-season record for Arkansas-born players with 38 saves.

Franklin now has the option to retire, an option he had been considering taking after the season.

Burnett K’s 4 in 1 inning for second time in career

June 25th, 2011

In a encore performance of the same feat he accomplished in 2002, AJ Burnett dazzled spectators by striking out 4 batters in 1 innings Friday night at Yankee Stadium. In doing so, he became only the second player in history to record 4 strikeouts in 1 inning twice during a career, as well as the only player in history to accomplish the feat in both the American and National leagues.

Burnett fanned Chris Iannetta, Carlos Gonzalez, and Dexter Fowler in succession in the 6th inning Friday. However, strike three on Fowler wildly bounced away from Yankee catcher Russell Martin, allowing the runner to reach 1st. Burnett then came back to strikeout Tod Helton to end the inning with 4 K’s. Unfortunately, Burnett was later charged with the loss after allowing 4 runs in 6.1 innings.

Previously, Burnett struckout Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn Timo Perez and Roger Cedano in the 1st inning of a July 5th, 2002 game. Burnett also allowed 3 hits and 2 runs that inning in addition to 2 wild pitches.

Currently, as a native of North Little Rock, AR, Burnett is the only player ever born in Arkansas to complete the feat.

Long time Traveler Riggleman resigns as manager of Nationals

June 24th, 2011

Former Arkansas Travelers player and manager Jim Riggleman has effectively resigned as manager of the Washington Nationals as of Thursday, June 23rd. The move reportedly came as a result of contract disagreements between he and GM Mike Rizzo.

Riggleman, 56, played for the Travelers on and off from 1977-1981, hitting .285 with 32 homeruns in 343 total games with Arkansas. He later managed the Travelers from 1985 through the first half of 1988, compiling a 233-237 record. He led the Travelers to the playoffs in ‘85, but the team lost in the first round.

Riggleman took over the Nationals as interim manager in 2009 before being named acting manager for the 2010 season when Washington went 69-93. However, the Nationals have done much better this season under Riggleman’s leadership, going 38-37.

Reds option Travis Wood to AAA Louisville

June 24th, 2011

Bryant, AR native and Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Travis Wood has been demoted to AAA Louisville. The Reds made the somewhat-surprising move on Wednesday, June 22nd to make roster room for pitcher Sam LeCure.

Wood has not pitched dominantly this year for the Reds, but that fact remains true for Cincinnati’s rotation in general. In 16 games started, Wood has won 5 and lost 5 while posting a somewhat unlucky 5.11 ERA. Wood has suffered all season long from a sagging LOB% that has been far lower than the league average. In result, he’s allowed an unfortunately high number of runners to score. His decent 4.12 FIP reflects this, and is actually second best among Cincinnati starters.

Nonetheless, Wood will be returning to the minor leagues. He last appeared there on August 14th of last year.

Forsythe again returns to Minors

June 20th, 2011

Since his original call to the Major Leages to make his big-league debut with the San Diego Padres on May 4th, former Arkansas Razorback Logan Forsythe has been demoted back to AAA (May 17th) and recalled again back to the bigs (May 27th).

Forsythe’s journey continued on Sunday (June 19th) when we was yet again send down to AAA Tuscon. The 24-year old was playing for the injured Orlando Hudson, who returned from his injured and forced out Forsythe on the Padres Roster.

In 22 games with San Deigo, Forsythe hit only .167 with 2 RBIs and no homeruns.

Day 3 of Draft features 9 more Arkansas-connected players

June 9th, 2011

After 14 players with connections to Arkansas were selected on Day 2 of the 2011 MLB Draft, 9 more followed on Day 3. Combined, a total of 23 Arkansas-connected players were selected, 3 more than last year’s total of 20.

Those drafted were:

Jarrod McKinney (Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 31st Round, 940th overall, by the Houston Astros.

Heath Wyatt (Searcy, AR), selected in the 33rd Round, 1010th overall, by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Daniel Bream (Southern Arkansas Muleriders), selected in the 33rd Round, 1020 overall, by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Choate (Southern Arkansas Muleriders), selected 38th Round, 1170 overall, by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jason Nappi (Harding Buffaloes), selected in the 42nd Round, 1275th overall, by the Los Angeles Angels.

Geoffrey Davenport (Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 43rd Round, 1298th overall, by the Cleveland Indians.

Chretien Matz (Arkansas – Pine Bluff Golden Lions), selected in the 44th Round, 1337th overall, by the Detroit Tigers

Mark Reyes (Jessieville, AR), selected in the 46th Round, 1385th overall, by the Baltimore Orioles.

Austin White (Texarkana, AR), selected in the 49th Round, 1472nd overall, by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

14 Arkansan-connect players selected in Day 2 of MLB Draft

June 8th, 2011

Though no Arkansan-connect players were drafted on the first of the 2011 MLB Draft, a number of players with connects–14 to be exact– were selected on Day 2. The first to go was Searcy, AR high school pitcher Dillon Howard, who was considered a potential first rounder, but instead was selected 67th overall in the 2nd round by Cleveland. Others drafted include:

James McCann (Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 2nd Round, 76th overall, by the Detroit Tigers.

Kentrell Hill (Ashdown, AR, Arkansas Baptist Buffaloes), selected in the 10th Round, 327th overall, by the San Francisco Giants.

Collin Kuhn (Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 17th Round, 531st overall, by the Chicago White Sox.

Andy Ferguson (Benton, AR, Arkansas State Red Wolves), selected in the 18th Round, 546th overall, by the Kansas City Royals.

Dustin Ward (Little Rock, AR, Central Arkansas Bears), selected in the 19th Round, 575th overall, by hte Baltimore Orioles.

Travis Henke (Arkansas – Little Rock Trojans), selected in the 22nd Round, 667th overall, by the Washington Nationals.

Trent Daniel (Bryant, AR, Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 23rd Round, 707th overall, by the Detroit Tigers.

Matt Johnson (Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys), selected in the 23rd Round, 720th overall, by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Chris Oliver (Sprindale, AR), selected in the 27th Round, 720th overall, by the Baltimore Orioles.

Matt Sample (Bentonville, AR), selected in the 28th Round, 844 overall, by the Arizona Diamondbacks

Kyle Robinson (Arkansas Razorbacks), selected in the 28th Round, 861st overall, by the Chicago White Sox.

Montreal Robertson (McGhee, AR), selected in the 29th Round, 887 overall, by the Detroit Tigers.

Gregory Millhorn (Texarkana, AR), selected in the 29th Round, 917 overall, by the Detroit Tigers.

In addition, numerous Arkansas Razorbacks committed players were selected, including Brandon Nimmo, drafted #13 overall by the New York Mets.

Former Trojan Kouzmanoff demoted to AAA

June 8th, 2011

Oakland Athletic third baseman and University of Arkansas-Little Rock alumni Kevin Kouzmanoff was demoted to AAA Sacramento on Monday, June 6th. Kouzmanoff last appeared in the minors in 2006.

As a 2002 UALR Trojan infielder, Kouzmanoff hit .364. However, he has not been as successful this season with Oakland, hitting only .221 with a .262 OBP.

During his 6-year career, Kouzmanoff has hit .255 with an average of 21 homeruns a season.

Torii Hunter collects 1,000th RBI

June 8th, 2011

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter collected his 1,000 career major league run batted in on Friday, May 3rd against the Kansas City Royals. Hunter knocked in 4 runs all total in the game on two two-run homeruns.

A native of Pine Bluff, AR, Hunter is now one of only three Arkansans ever to reach the 1,000 RBI mark, joining Brooks Robinson and Willie Davis. Presently, Hunter ranks 26th among active baseball players in RBIs.