Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’

Phillippe Aumont Signed…

Recently, the Chicago White Sox announced their list of players who will each receive a non-roster invitation to spring training. With that, the club also announced the signings of a number of players to minor league contracts. Let’s take an in-depth look at one of those recent signings. phillippe

RHP Phillippe Aumont, who was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round (11th overall) of the 2007 draft, was one of those players signed. Aumont, 27, is a native of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada and has pitched in the majors over parts of four seasons — all with the Philadelphia Phillies (2012-15).

Aumont appeared in two minor league seasons with the Seattle Mariners organization before being dealt to the Phillies organization as part of the blockbuster trade that brought Cliff Lee to the City of Brotherly Love. That trade, which also featured Seattle prospects J.C. Ramirez and Tyson Gillies, took place on December 16, 2009. All three players began the 2010 season with the Reading Phillies (Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies). I remember it well since I was the team’s PR Director that season.

The Canadian native made his way to the majors over the course of a four-year stretch from 2012-2015. He compiled a 1-6 mark with two saves and a 6.80 ERA in 46 big league games with the Phillies.

Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Last season, the 6’7″ right-hander was converted back to a starting pitcher after moving to the bullpen full-time in 2011. The moved paid off for him at the Triple-A level with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

As a starter last season with the ‘Pigs, Aumont posted a 3-4 record with a 2.55 ERA (10 starts). He beat the Knights in a start on May 23rd in Allentown (W, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 SO). Overall, Aumont posted a 3-4 record with a 2.35 ERA in 14 games for the ‘Pigs to earn a promotion to Philadelphia.

After appearing in one game with the Phillies last season, however, the team designated him for assignment. Four days later, he elected free agency.

Aumont later joined Team Canada and pitched in the Pan Am games. He pitched 13 scoreless innings for his native country and helped lead the team to win the gold.

On July 28, 2015, Aumont signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, where he made five appearances.  He was later released by the Jays on August 20.

Now, Aumont will get a chance to shine in the White Sox organization. The 27-year-old brings with him a career 20-38 record and a 3.99 ERA over 256 games at the minor league level.

Winter League Update: October 23, 2015

While Major League Baseball is in the midst of an exciting World Series, Winter League Baseball is underway from Arizona (Arizona Fall League), the Dominican Republic (Liga de Beisbol Domincano), Mexico (Liga Mexicana del Pacifico), Puerto Rico (Liga de Profesional Roberto Clemente), Venezuela (Liga Venezuela Profesional Beisbol), and Australia (Australian Baseball League).

Hundreds of current Major Leaguers, former Major Leaguers, and up-and-coming Major Leaguers are playing baseball all across the world. Each week, I’ll take a look at some former Knights players who are playing in one of the winter leagues.

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano:

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Charlotte Knights infielder (2013 & 2015) Leury Garcia has appeared in three games with Gigantes del Cibao so far this winter and is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with one run scored, one walk, and a .429 on-base percentage. Garcia hit .298 (104-for-349) with 57 runs scored, 19 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 31 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases. He became just the 10th Knights player in franchise history to steal 30 bases in a season and the first since 2008 (Jason Bourgeois and Jerry Owens).

Slugger Andy Wilkins (2013-14) has appeared in five games with Aguilas Cibaenas and is hitting .267 (4-for-15) with one RBI.

Wilkins had a special season in 2014. A year after hitting seven home runs for the Knights in 2013, the Tulsa, OK native smashed 30 home runs for the team in 2014. Overall, Wilkins hit .293 (144-for-491) with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs in the team’s return to Charlotte.

Wilkins, who was drafted by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, was selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays on March 29, 2015 — just days before the season. He appeared in 21 games for Triple-A Buffalo and hit .264 (19-for-72). He was later purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Blue Jays on May 3 and finished the 2015 campaign with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Wilkins hit .249 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs. Most recently, Wilkins was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles on September 6, 2015.

RHP Hector Noesi made his first start of the winter season on October 18 and earned the win after allowing just one run on five hits over 5.2 innings pitched. Noesi walked one and struck-out one batter. The 6’3″ Dominican native compiled a 4-4 record with a 3.32 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) with the Knights in 2015.

RHP Parker Frazier started for Gigantes del Cibao on October 16 and allowed two unearned runs on three hits over four innings in a no-decision. Frazier posted a 0-1 mark with a 5.08 ERA in 15 games with the Charlotte Knights in 2014.

RHP Jairo Asencio is currently tied for the league lead with two saves. Asencio has allowed just two hits over four scoreless innings while pitching for Tigres del Licey. Asencio was 0-0 with nine saves and a 5.03 ERA in 17 games in 2015 with the Charlotte Knights.

Former Knights in the Postseason: Clayton Richard

LHP Clayton Richard has become a key contributor to the Chicago Cubs out of their bullpen during the 2015 Major League Baseball postseason. Richard, who was acquired by the Cubs from the Pirates on July 3, 2015, appeared in two games during Chicago’s NLDS matchup against the Cardinals and didn’t allow a run (0.2 IP).

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 18:  Pitcher Brooks Raley #43 poses during Chicago Cubs photo day on February 18, 2013 at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Currently, Richard and the Cubs are competing against the National League East-winning New York Mets in the NLCS and are down 3-0 in the series. Richard has appeared in all three games out of the ‘pen and has allowed just two hits over two scoreless innings.

Originally a starter, Richard has become a solid left-handed pitcher for the Cubs during the playoffs.

It’s fitting for Richard to perform well in Chicago, since he’s been there before.

The Lafayette, IN native was originally drafted by the the Chicago White Sox in the eighth round of the 2005 draft and made his way through the White Sox system over the next three seasons.

Richard eventually made his way to Fort Mill, SC to pitch for the Charlotte Knights in 2008, before a promotion to the South Side was in his cards later that year.

He excelled during his time with the Knights.

Appearing in seven games with the club in 2008, Richard posted an impressive 6-0 record with a 2.45 ERA over 44.0 innings pitched. During that 2008 campaign, he worked his way up to Charlotte after compiling a 6-6 record with a 2.47 ERA over 83.2 innings pitched with the Double-A Birmingham Barons.

At 24 years old, Richard made his Triple-A debut for the Charlotte Knights on June 12, 2008 in Norfolk and went seven solid innings for the win (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO). He continued to dominate Triple-A hitters over his short stint with the Knights — winning his first six starts. After those six games, he was 6-0 with a 2.37 ERA. 

Richard’s dominating run led to a promotion to the White Sox and his major league debut on July 23. On that day, the University of Michigan product tossed four innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in a no-decision.

He returned to the Knights and made one more start with the team on August 8 — allowing two runs over six innings in a no-decision.

The following season, Richard was a key piece in the trade deadline deal that brought RHP Jake Peavy to Chicago from San Diego. In five season with the Padres (2009-2013), Richard went 40-39 with a 4.16 ERA in 108 games (107 starts). He became a free agent after the 2013 season.

After undergoing surgery in February (2014), Richard signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 1 and finished up the campaign with four games pitched over two levels (Double-A & Triple-A).

Richard signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 3, 2014 and pitched for both Bradenton (A+) and Indianapolis (Triple-A) in 2015, before finding a role in Chicago’s bullpen. Now, the 32-year-old left-hander has found a role in Chicago’s ‘pen and has excelled in the process.

Spotlight On: Dayan Viciedo

Throughout the offseason, I’ll have a weekly blog highlighting one of Charlotte’s players from the 2015 campaign. The Knights finished at 74-70 in the International League South Division, which was tied for third with the Durham Bulls. On-the-field and at-the-gates, the 2015 season was a successful one in Uptown Charlotte.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Dayan Viciedo, who hit .254 with 66 home runs and 211 RBIs over parts of five seasons with the Chicago White Sox from 2010 to 2014, returned to the White Sox organization on August 1, 2015 when he signed a minor league contract with the club. He was assigned to Charlotte and appeared in 36 games with the Knights.

Viciedo’s return to the organization was a successful one. He hit .341 (47-for-138) with 17 runs scored, seven doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBIs. He launched his seventh home run of the season with the Knights on Thursday, September 3. It was the 47th home run of his Knights career, which tied Jeff Liefer (47) for fifth all-time in franchise history.

Before returning to the organization in August, Viciedo hit .221 (25-for-113) with 13 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, one home run, and eight RBIs for Triple-A Nashville in 30 games in 2015. He was released by the Oakland A’s organization before signing with Chicago.

A Look Back:
The Cuban native broke on to the United States baseball scene on December 12, 2008 when he signed a four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox. He spent the entire 2009 campaign with the Double-A Birmingham Barons and hit .280 (141-for-504) with 12 home runs and 78 RBIs. A season later, Viciedo made his Knights debut and hit .274 (94-for-343) with 20 home runs and 47 RBIs. He made his major league debut on June 20, 2010 and hit .308 (32-for-104) with five home runs in 38 games for the White Sox that season. viciedo_full

In 2011, Viciedo returned to the Knights and hit .296 (134-for-452) with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs. He then spent the next three years with the White Sox and hit 20 or more home runs in two of his three seasons. He recorded a career-best 25 home runs and 78 RBIs with Chicago in 2012.

In 2013 during the final season at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC, the Charlotte Knights named Viciedo as a member of the “All Knights Stadium Team”, a team comprised of the best Knights players in the 24-year history of Knights Stadium.

Spotlight On: Drew Garcia

Throughout the offseason, I’ll have a weekly blog highlighting one of Charlotte’s players from the 2015 campaign. The Knights finished at 74-70 in the International League South Division, which was tied for third with the Durham Bulls. On-the-field and at-the-gates, the 2015 season was a successful one in Uptown Charlotte.

A familiar face returned to the Chicago White Sox organization in 2015.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Infielder Drew Garcia, who was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 21st round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was back in the Chicago system and back in a Charlotte Knights uniform in 2015.

While he began the 2015 campaign in Double-A Birmingham, Garcia returned to the Knights for his fourth season on April 23 when he was promoted from the Barons.

An eight-year minor league veteran, Garcia appeared in 227 games with the Knights from 2011-13. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies organization in 2013 and spent the remainder of that season, as well as the 2014 season, in Colorado Springs (Triple-A).

In 2015, Garcia returned to Charlotte and began to move up the ranks in Knights franchise history. He played in his 300th career Knights game on Friday, August 28, which moved him into an elite club.

On that date, Garcia became just the fifth player in Knights franchise history to appear in 300 career Knights games. He joined four other Knights (Jordan Danks, Joe Borchard, Rusty Crockett, and Chris Clapinski).

After playing in the final game of the 2015 regular season on September 7, Garcia finished his fourth season with the Knights and tallied a total of 310 games (fifth in Knights franchise history).

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Also in 2015, Garcia totaled his 1,000 career Knights at-bat on August 14. During the season, he passed Carlos Sanchez for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time at-bats list and later went on to pass Josh Fields for fourth place. Overall, Garcia finished his fourth season with Charlotte with a total of 1,074 career Knights at-bats, which ranks fourth in franchise history.

Garcia also added 13 doubles in 2015 and has 63 doubles during his Knights tenure, which ranks eighth all-time in franchise history.

Spotlight On: Matt Davidson

Throughout the offseason, I’ll have a weekly blog highlighting one of Charlotte’s players from the 2015 campaign. The Knights finished at 74-70 in the International League South Division, which was tied for third with the Durham Bulls. On-the-field and at-the-gates, the 2015 season was a successful one in Uptown Charlotte.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

3B Matt Davidson finished the 2015 campaign as the IL leader in home runs with 23. His league-leading shot came on Friday, September 4 at BB&T Ballpark where he hit 18 of his 23 long balls in 2015.

For his career, Davidson has recorded at least 20 home runs in each of the last five seasons.

Originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the 2009 draft, Davidson has compiled 123 home runs at the minor league level over parts of seven seasons. The Yucaipa, CA native was traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Addison Reed on December 16, 2013.

While the 2015 season saw Davidson lead the IL in home runs, the talented third baseman also finished at or near the top in a number of other categories in 2015.

Davidson led the IL in games played (141) and finished second in the IL in at-bats (528), as well as second in walks (62). His 141 games played in 2015 are now the second most in a single season by a Knights player. Only Tim Hummel and Bry Nelson appeared in more games in a single season with the Knights (142). Davidson’s 528 at-bats now rank as the sixth most at-bats for a Knights player in a single-season.

In two seasons with the Knights, Davidson has compiled 43 home runs, which puts him in ninth place in franchise history. He is also now 10th in at-bats (1,006), and 10th in games played (271). His 129 RBIs in two seasons rank 11th in franchise history.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Defensively, Davidson also shined at the hot corner for the Knights in 2015. He led all IL third baseman in fielding percentage (.971), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (281). He also finished the season tied for first in double plays (24) with Syracuse third baseman Jason Martinson.

He was a 2015 International League All-Star and also represented the Knights in the Triple-A All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

For his efforts throughout the year, Davidson was named by Baseball America as the Best Defensive 3B in the International League.

Spotlight On: Erik Johnson

Throughout the offseason, I’ll have a weekly blog highlighting one of Charlotte’s players from the 2015 campaign. The Knights finished at 74-70 in the International League South Division, which was tied for third with the Durham Bulls. On-the-field and at-the-gates, the 2015 season was a successful one in Uptown Charlotte.

The 2015 season was a memorable one for Charlotte Knights RHP Erik Johnson.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

A year after he was tabbed by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in Chicago’s system, Johnson began the 2015 ready to pitch. And that’s just what he did — and he did it well.

  • He was a 2015 International League All-Star.
  • He started the Triple-A All-Star Game for the IL squad and tossed two scoreless innings.
  • He was a 2015 International League Post-Season All-Star
  • He was named as the IL Most Valuable Pitcher

Let’s take an in-depth look back at Johnson’s memorable 2015 campaign:

His 2015 season began with his first appearance on April 13 out of the Charlotte bullpen. He tossed three shutout innings and earned a win that day over the Durham Bulls. He later worked his way into Charlotte’s rotation — where he became the ace.

Johnson made his first start of the 2015 season on April 18 against the Gwinnett Braves and was solid over five innings en route to his second win of the season. He was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA at that point. He won one more time in April and finished the first month of the season with a 3-1 record and a 2.04 ERA (four games).

The calendar turned to May and Johnson hit his first — and only rough patch of the season. He made six starts for the Knights and compiled a 1-3 record with a 5.29 ERA. His only win came on May 20 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO).

As the days heated up, so did Johnson. His June was one for the ages and he was awarded for his solid pitching.

On June 22, Johnson was named as the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of June 15-21 after he  struck-out 20 batters over 14 scoreless innings in two starts over that week.

The 25-year-old began the week on Tuesday, June 16 by throwing six scoreless innings against the Pawtucket Red Sox from BB&T Ballpark. On that day, he earned his fifth win of the 2015 campaign and struck-out a career game-high 11 batters. The Mountain View, CA native followed up that impressive performance on Sunday, June 21 with eight scoreless innings and nine strikeouts for his sixth win of the season. He finished the week 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (14.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 20 SO). At that point in the season, Johnson improved to 6-5 with a 3.00 ERA and he was the IL leader in strikeouts with 88.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Overall in June, he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.03 ERA in five starts. He struck-out 41 batters over 35.0 innings pitched and allowed just 23 hits. He didn’t allow an earned run over 29-consecutive innings pitched (June 5-June 26). Then came July.

He didn’t allow a run in the month — including his three Knights starts (15.0 IP) and his start in the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game (2.0 IP).

A member of Chicago’s 40-man roster, Johnson along with three of his teammates, represented the Charlotte Knights as 2015 International League All-Stars. He started the Triple-A All-Star Game, which took place on July 15 in Omaha, NE, and became just the fourth Knights pitcher in franchise history elected to start the Triple-A All-Star Game. After tossing two scoreless innings for the IL squad that night, Johnson joined Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010) as the only Knights to start the game.

Johnson wrapped up his final month of the season with Charlotte in August and posted a 3-2 record with a 2.20 ERA in five starts. He won his final three starts with the Knights (8/13-8/25) — allowing just three runs over that 21.0 inning span. His final start of the season came on August 25 at BB&T Ballpark against the Gwinnett Braves. He threw eight solid innings for the victory.

In 23 games (22 starts) with the Charlotte Knights in 2015, Johnson posted an 11-8 record with a 2.37 ERA. His 11 wins finished in a tie for third place, four behind IL leader Toru Murata. His minuscule 2.37 ERA led the IL. He also led the league in strikeouts (136), strikeouts per nine innings (9.23 ratio), and WHIP (1.12).

Originally selected in the second round of the 2011 draft out of the University of California-Berkeley, Johnson appeared in 132.2 innings overall with the Knights in 2015 and allowed 40 runs (35 earned) total.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

For his outstanding season, Johnson was named as the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher on September 1st and the starting pitcher on the International League’s 2015 Postseason All-Star Team. Just hours later, he was promoted to Chicago to finish the season with the Chicago White Sox.

Johnson became the first Knights starting pitcher elected to the IL Postseason All-Star Team since Carlos Torres in 2009. He also became Charlotte’s first IL Most Valuable Pitcher since Heath Phillips in 2006.

Overall, Johnson’s 2015 numbers were some of the best by a Knights starter in franchise history. His 2.37 ERA ranks second in Knights single-season history, while his 136 strikeouts rank seventh in Knights single-season history.

Johnson also moved up the all-time ranks in Knights franchise history in a number of categories. With 20 career Knights wins, Johnson is now tied for ninth with Mike Porzio. His 256 strikeouts are now seventh all-time in franchise history.

You can continue to follow Johnson this month as he is now pitching for the Chicago White Sox. He continues to shine, too. He won his 2015 White Sox season debut on September 6 after tossing six solid innings over the Kansas City Royals. As of September 14, he is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts for the White Sox this season.

Three Former Knights are 2015 Triple-A All-Stars – Andre Rienzo

The Charlotte Knights brought four players to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha, Nebraska — third baseman Matt Davidson, outfielder Trayce Thompson, and pitchers Zach Phillips and Erik Johnson. Davidson made noise in last night’s Home Run Derby, finishing in fifth place with nine long balls. Johnson is scheduled to start the game for the IL squad on Wednesday.

While the Knights are well-represented at this year’s mid-summer classic, three former Knights are also on-hand as 2015 all-stars. Let’s take a look at those three former Knights, who are having all-star years for their new teams. First up, Andre Rienzo.rienzo_full 7-7

Rienzo is the only former Knights player on the PCL side. Rienzo, a native of Brazil — who became the first-ever Brazilian-born pitcher in the Majors in 2013 — is currently in the Miami Marlins organization. He was traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Marlins in exchange for LHP Dan Jennings, on December 11, 2014.

Rienzo has appeared in three games for the Marlins this season (0-0, 2.57 ERA), but has played the majority of the year with the club’s Triple-A affiliate — the New Orleans Zephyrs. In 13 games with Zephyrs, Rienzo has compiled a 2-5 record with a 2.88 ERA (72.0 IP, 62 H, 28 R, 23 ER, 25 BB, 54 SO). His 2.88 ERA is the sixth lowest in the PCL.

The 27-year-old righty will forever be known for his “Christmas in July” performance on July 25, 2013 at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill. On that day, the Knights hurler tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against the Indianapolis Indians. He struck-out 11 batters that day in game one of a doubleheader.

Overall on that epic evening in Fort Mill, Rienzo allowed just five baserunners on the evening en route to Charlotte’s second-straight win over first-place Indianapolis. He walked four batters and had one batter reach on an error. In all, Rienzo threw 112 pitches – 69 for strikes.

Charlotte’s only run of the game came on an Andy Wilkins RBI single in the bottom of the second inning off Indians starter Stolmy Pimentel (2-3, 2.60).

Rienzo was promoted to the White Sox on July 30 — just five days after his no-hitter. At the time of his promotion, the Brazilian native was leading the International League in strikeouts (113), and also ranked tied for the league lead in complete games (three), and second in shutouts (1). He made his Major League debut later that night and became the first Brazilian-born pitcher in Major League Baseball history — second Brazilian-born player to Cleveland’s Yan Gomes (who he faced in the game).

For the Knights, it was the third no-hitter in franchise history and first since Carlos Torres threw a five-inning perfect game on June 18, 2009 in Pawtucket. Before that, the last Knights no-hitter was thrown by Tetsu Yofu on August 1, 2004 at Knights Stadium.

Next up… Jhan Carlos Marinez.

Knights Knotes — July 11, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue their three-day, four-game series against the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) tonight at 7:05 p.m. from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. The Knights split yesterday’s doubleheader and enter today’s game 1.5 games behind the first place Tides in the IL South Division. The Knights and Tides are 7-7 head-to-head this season and will wrap up the first half of the year with this series on Sunday. The Triple-A All-Star Break runs Monday, July 13 to Wednesday, July 15. The Knights return home on July 16 to open an eight-game homestand.  knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Knights dropped game one of Friday’s twin bill to the Norfolk Tides by a score of 4-3 when Dariel Alvarez came through with an RBI, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Blake Smith (0-2, 5.91). In the nightcap, the Knights came back to score six runs to beat the Tides 6-5. Reliever Jarrett Casey earned his eighth win.

DOUBLEHEADERS: The Charlotte Knights played their fourth doubleheader of the season yesterday and split the two games. In eight games this year in doubleheader play, the Knights are 2-6. Yesterday’s doubleheader was Charlotte’s third in less than two weeks.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Kyle Drabek (4-5, 2.64) will make his 15th Knights start of the season tonight. Drabek has limited opposing batters to a .221 batting average this season – fourth lowest in the IL among starters. He also has the third lowest WHIP (1.11), has allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings (10.23) and his 2.64 ERA is third in the IL. Drabek_KyleThe former Phillies farmhand was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox (April 20) and officially outrighted to Charlotte on April 22. He made his Knights debut on April 24 at Norfolk — his first start in Triple-A since August 31, 2014 when he made his final appearance of the season with Buffalo at Syracuse (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB). In three games with the White Sox this year, the Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by Chicago on March 27, 2015 off waivers from Toronto. Last season with the Bisons, Drabek appeared in 32 games and started 13 – posting a 7-7 mark with a 4.18 ERA (99.0 IP, 116 H, 57 R, 46 ER, 30 BB, 68 SO). In six Major League seasons, Drabek owns a career mark of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 42 games (30 starts). He’s appeared in 177.2 IP during that span in the majors. He won a career-best 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire in 2010. That season, he went 14-9 with an impressive 2.94 ERA in 27 games (all starts). He earned 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. He was also a mid-season and postseason EL All-Star as well as a MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of Doug Drabek, who won 155 games in the majors. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for Pittsburgh.

99 K’S: RHP Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.73) made his return to the mound in game one of yesterday’s doubleheader and tossed four scoreless innings (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO). Johnson extended his season strikeouts total to 99 – tops in the IL this season. He is also tops in the IL in strikeouts per nine innings (10.05), while his 2.73 ERA is fifth lowest, and his 1.12 ERA is fourth lowest. Johnson will start Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game for the IL squad — just the fourth Knights hurler to do so joining Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010). Johnson has allowed one earned run over his last 36.0 IP.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats had a doubleheader to remember on Friday. In game one, the former TCU standout went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. In game two, he went 2-for-4 with one RBI – combining to go 5-for-8 with a home run and four RBIs. He is now tied for third in the IL in RBIs with 51 and is hitting .333 (12-for-36) with six runs scored, two home runs, and eight RBIs in July (9).  Coats_Jason

WHO’S HOT: 1B/OF Chris Marrero went 1-for-3 in each game of Friday’s doubleheader and now has a nine-game hit-streak. Marrero homered in game two yesterday and now has four home runs with the Knights (two over his last five games). In 19 games with the Knights since being promoted from Birmingham, Marrero is hitting .359 (23-for-64)… 2B Micah Johnson had four hits over the course of Friday’s doubleheader and now has nine hits over his last four games. Johnson is hitting .313 (63-for-201) on the season with five home runs, 18 stolen bases, and 24 RBIs in 50 games with Charlotte… Matt Tuiasosopo slugged his third home run over his last eight games last night – his seventh of the season. The home run – a two-run blast off RHP Eddie Gamboa – was hit in game two of the doubleheader… Catcher George Kottaras has now reached base in 20-straight games dating back to 5/17. During that stretch, he is hitting .339 (20-for-59) with seven home runs, 18 RBIs and a .487 OBP.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is tied for third in home runs (14) and tief for second in walks (46)… OF Trayce Thompson is first in games played (90), second in runs scored (48), second in at-bats (337), and third in extra-base hits (34)… Tyler Saladino and Leury Garcia are tied for second in steals (25)…

CHARLOTTE’S PEN: Overall, RHP Jarrett Casey (8-1, 4.78) is tied for second in the IL in wins (8)… Among relievers, RHP Maikel Cleto (3-2, 2.74) is third in the IL in batting average against (.168) and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.17)… IL All-Star Zach Phillips (1-0, 2.50) has the second-best strikeouts rate per nine innings ratio (10.25) and opponents are hitting .176 against him (fourth lowest).

Knights Knotes – July 10, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will begin a three-day, four-game series against the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) today at 5:05 p.m. from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA with a doubleheader. The Knights dropped two of three games on their latest homestand against the Durham Bulls and enter today’s game 1.5 games behind the first place Tides in the IL South Division. The Knights and Tides are 6-6 head-to-head this season and will wrap up the first half of the year with this series. The Triple-A All-Star Break runs Monday, July 13 to Wednesday, July 15. The Knights return home on July 16 to open an eight-game homestand. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Charlotte native Richie Shaffer slugged two home runs in front of family and friends as the Durham Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights 10-8 last night in the finale of their three-game series from BB&T Ballpark. The Bulls used four long balls and 13 hits to beat the Knights. RHP Shawn Haviland (4-5, 4.09) allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings and was saddled with the loss. Tyler Colvin and Micah Johnson homered in the loss.

KNIGHTS GAME 1 STARTING PITCHER: RHP Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.86), who will start the Triple-A All-Star Game for the IL squad on Wednesday, will make his 15th start of the 2015 season, and appear in his 16th game tonight when he gets the nod against the Tides – his first start since June 26 at Rochester. Johnson leads theerik johnson IL in strikeouts (96), is averaging 10.21 strikeouts per nine innings, which is tops in the IL, and is eighth in the IL in ERA. Over his last 32.0 innings pitched, the 25-year-old has allowed just two runs (one earned). He was named as the IL Pitcher of the Week (week of June 15-21) after going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts (14.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 20 SO). He is just the fourth Knights pitcher in franchise history to get the Triple-A All-Star Game starting nod — Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010), are the others. He made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief against Durham and earned the win after three scoreless innings. He won his first start of the season (second appearance in 2015) on April 18 in five innings of one-run ball against the Gwinnett Braves. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the 2nd best prospect in the White Sox system.

KNIGHTS GAME 2 STARTING PITCHER: RHP Terance Marin (3-0, 0.96) will make his sixth start of the season today (seventh overall game). Marin did not allow a run over his first five games (29.0 IP) and had a 31.0 consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped in the third inning of his last start – back on July 5. Still, the Modesto, CA native tossed 8.2 innings to earn his third win of the season. Marin was assigned to Charlotte on Friday, June 5, 2015 after he was on loan to the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League earlier this year. He posted a 2-5 record with a 4.94 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in 47.1 innings pitched for the Toros. Other notable names on that Toros team with Marin this season were Jose Contreras, Miguel Olivo, and Yuniesky Betancourt. Before returning this season, Marin last pitched in Chicago’s organization last season – going 4-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 14 games (70.0 IP) for the Winston-Salem Dash. He also spent time last season with Double-A Birmingham and was 0-2 with a 5.11 ERA in two games (12.1 IP). Marin, who was originally signed by the White Sox as a free agent on July 12, 2010, was released by the organization last year. He then signed with the Frontier League’s Evansville Otters, made six starts, and then was re-signed by the White Sox on June 19, 2014. Marin went undrafted out of Modesto Junior College.

DOUBLEHEADERS: The Charlotte Knights have played three doubleheaders this season (six games) – most recently a day-night doubleheader at BB&T Ballpark on July 3 – and are 1-5 this year in twin bills. Charlotte split the day-night doubleheader on July 3 against the Gwinnett Braves, but lost the other two twin bills. Today’s doubleheader is Charlotte’s third in less than two weeks. They dropped both games of their June 28th doubleheader in Rochester.Saladino_Tyler

SALADINO RECALLED: Tyler Saladino, who is third in the IL in stolen bases with 25 this season, has been recalled to the Chicago White Sox today. Saladino, a member of Chicago’s 40-man roster, earns his first promotion to the majors. Saladino, 25, was hitting .255 (50-for-196) with 28 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 29 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases this season for the Knights. The San Diego, CA native was enjoying a solid month of July with the Knights. In eight games this month, Saladino was hitting .323 (10-for-31) with six runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. He homered in back-to-back games (July 7-8).

FLURRY OF ROSTER MOVES: A flurry of roster moves have been announced today including RHP Shawn Haviland being placed on the DL, RHP Matt Lindstrom released by Chicago, as well as RHP Scott Carroll and infielder Ethan Wilson have been added to the roster, which is now at 24 active players. RHP Scott Carroll, who was optioned down to the Knights on Thursday from Chicago, takes the roster spot of Lindstrom. Carroll posted a 1-1 record with a 3.28 ERA in 12 games for the White Sox. The Kansas City, MO native began the 2015 campaign with the Knights and is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA in six games with the club this year. Lindstrom, 35, posted a 2-1 record with two saves and a 5.56 ERA in 18 games out of Charlotte’s bullpen this season. Infielder Ethan Wilson, 26, has appeared in 17 games with the Dash this season and was hitting .170 (8-for-47) with seven runs scored, one home run, and eight RBIs. Haviland is 4-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 18 games this season.

ATTENDANCE LEADERS: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, has welcomed 21 sell-out crowds in 44 Knights games this season – nearly half of the team’s games. Adding in the White Sox Exhibition Game (April 3) and the Team USA Game (July 4), BB&T Ballpark has welcomed 23 sell-out crowds this season. Overall during the 2015 regular season, BB&T Ballpark has welcomed 417,089 fans – tops in all of Minor League Baseball. The Knights led the minors in attendance last season – their first at BB&T Ballpark – with a mark of 687,715 fans (71 openings).

ALL-STAR GAME NOTES: 3B Matt Davidson, OF Trayce Thompson, and pitchers Erik Johnson, and Zach Phillips, will take part in the 28th Annual First National Bank Triple-A All-Star Game, presented by Gildan.Davidson_Matt The Charlotte foursome will represent the Knights and the International League against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, July 15. The Knights are one of just two IL teams with four All-Stars, along with the Norfolk Tides. Both Thompson (outfield) and Davidson (DH) were elected to start the game, while Johnson and Phillips were selected. Davidson will participate in the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday, July 13 — his second career Triple-derby. In 2013 — as a member of the Reno Aces — he won the Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby at Aces Ballpark in Reno, NV. His 2013 title came just a day after he competed in the Futures Game at Citi Field in New York, where won the game’s Most Valuable Player Award. Other Knights to take part in the Triple-A All-Star Game Home Run Derby over the years are: Jim Thome (1993), Russ Morman (1997), Joe Crede (2002), and Dayan Viciedo (2011), and Dan Johnson (2012). Knights manager Joel Skinner will leave the team after tonight’s doubleheader and make his way to Cincinnati, OH to coach the U.S. Team on Sunday in the SiriusXM Futures Game for the second time in his career.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is second in home runs (14) and first in walks (46)… OF Trayce Thompson is first in games played (88), tied for second in runs scored (47), second in at-bats (329), and third in extra-base hits (34)… Tyler Saladino is third in the IL in steals (25) and Leury Garcia is fourth (23)… RHP Kyle Drabek (4-5, 2.64) has the third lowest WHIP (1.11) and fourth lowest ERA (2.64).