March 2010

Ta-Da! New Site Unveiled!

As you’ve hopefully noticed, www.albuquerquebaseball.com got a makeover! 

Our new site includes several new features that bring fans closer to the team, its players, and the game.  An expanded game center includes live in-game scoring and player information, upcoming schedle, and promotional news.  Albuquerquebaseball.com also has feature areas dedicated to the latest video content and highlights, along with one-click access to social media platforms that give fans opportunities to directly connect with the Isotopes and other ‘Topes fans.  You’ll also be able to easily access our ticket center and view detailed information on upcoming homestands, as well as browse the latest headline news from the Isotopes, the Los Angeles Dodgres, and Minor League Baseball. 

So, surf away and let us know what you think! 

Gagne To Albuquerque? Now Looking More Probable

Today  Eric Gagne was reassigned to Minor League camp, making the probability of the former Cy Young Award winner starting the season in Albuquerque better and better. 

In a text message to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Gagne wrote, “I’m on my way back I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. But I’m gonna go down there and work my butt off and be ready if they need help!! Long season.”

Now, whether “down there” means Albuquerque remains to be seen but it’s doubtful they would send someone with Gagne’s resume down to Double-A.  However, Gagne does have an opt-out clause that releases him from his contract if he’s not on the Major League roster by April 5.  If he’s not with the Dodgers on that date, Gagne could either exercise his out and become a free agent or accept his assignment to the Minor Leagues.   

Left-hander Scott Elbert was also optioned to Minor League camp today, and there’s a very good chance the young southpaw will start the year in an Isotopes uniform.  Last year, Elbert went 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for the ‘Topes before getting a September call-up to Los Angeles.  Elbert showed some signs of absolute dominance at Triple-A last season, tossing a rain-shortened, six-inning, one-hit shutout against Nashville on June 25.   

Other players also reassigned to Minor League camp today include pitcher Scott Dohmann, outfielder Michael Restovich, and infielder John Lindsey, a trio of players almost guaranteed to break Spring Training with Albuquerque.   

Gagne To Albuquerque? Now Looking More Probable

Today  Eric Gagne was reassigned to Minor League camp, making the probability of the former Cy Young Award winner starting the season in Albuquerque better and better. 

In a text message to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Gagne wrote, “I’m on my way back I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. But I’m gonna go down there and work my butt off and be ready if they need help!! Long season.”

Now, whether “down there” means Albuquerque remains to be seen but it’s doubtful they would send someone with Gagne’s resume down to Double-A.  However, Gagne does have an opt-out clause that releases him from his contract if he’s not on the Major League roster by April 5.  If he’s not with the Dodgers on that date, Gagne could either exercise his out and become a free agent or accept his assignment to the Minor Leagues.   

Left-hander Scott Elbert was also optioned to Minor League camp today, and there’s a very good chance the young southpaw will start the year in an Isotopes uniform.  Last year, Elbert went 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for the ‘Topes before getting a September call-up to Los Angeles.  Elbert showed some signs of absolute dominance at Triple-A last season, tossing a rain-shortened, six-inning, one-hit shutout against Nashville on June 25.   

Other players also reassigned to Minor League camp today include pitcher Scott Dohmann, outfielder Michael Restovich, and infielder John Lindsey, a trio of players almost guaranteed to break Spring Training with Albuquerque.   

Dodgers Send Four To Minor League Camp

Today the Dodgers exiled four players from Major League camp to Minor League camp, two of whom could very well start the season in Albuquerque.  Right-handed reliever Francisco Felix, right-hander Kenley Jansen, outfielder Brian Barton, and catcher Gabriel Gutierrez were all sent to the Minor League side of the complex at Camelback Ranch after very limited play in Spring Training Games. 

Felix, who finished the season in Albuquerque last year, and Barton are probably the best bets to start the season in Isotopes uniforms, given the pair’s extensive Triple-A experience. Jansen, a converted catcher who saw action last year in Albuquerque as a back-stop, could reach Triple-A this season.  After being converted to a pitcher, Jansen finished last year at Single-A Inland Empire.

 Barton only got two at-bats with the Major League team (0-for-2) this spring and Felix combined for one inning in two appearances, allowing six hits and three runs.  Barton and Jansen got the news in Taiwan, where they’ve been with the Dodgers on a goodwill series.  

  

Wallach = Scioscia?

In his Dodgers Blog for the L.A. Times, Steve Dilbeck makes an interesting comparison between ‘Topes manager Tim Wallach and Angels skipper (and former Dukes manager) Mike Scioscia.  Interesting food for thought… read it here. 

AJ On The Spot

News today on Dodgers.com that catcher Russell Martin will be sidelined four to six weeks with a pulled groin has thrust former Isotope A.J. Ellis to the front of the Dodgers’ catching depth chart, meaning there’s a good chance Ellis will open the 2010 season as Los Angeles’ starting backstop. 

Joe Torre has stated that Brad Ausmus will continue to serve as the backup during Spring Training and there are no plans to pursue a catcher outside the organization so it looks like, at least for now, the job is Ellis’s to lose.  

It’s a quite a reversal from a few months ago when Ausmus signed a one-year contract, essentially guaranteeing Ellis another year in Albuquerque.  Now Ellis will get a chance to prove himself for a prolonged period (an opportunity he didn’t really get last year in two brief call-ups) and maybe earn a spot that would keep him in L.A. when Martin returns.

As for the ‘Topes, there’s still plenty of time left in Spring Training but an early candidate for the lion’s share of Albuquerque’s catching duties is J.D. Closser, who joined the Isotopes last June and was the team’s starting catcher in the playoffs last year after Ellis got called up.  Also keep an eye on Lucas May, a prospect who is well thought of in the Dodgers organization, getting his third straight invitation to Major League camp this year.  Last season, May got off to a solid start at Double-A Chattanooga before going on the DL in late May with a fractured wrist.  He came back in July and ended the season batting .306 with six homers and 32 RBI in 68 games.  To get some more at-bats, May spent last fall in the Arizona Fall League and batted a scorching .325 with two homers and 12 RBI in 12 games.

May has played the last two seasons at Double-A so it makes sense that this year he’d get a chance to prove himself at Triple-A.         

 

A Celebration Worth Celebrating

With a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians last night, the Minnesota Twins became the first team to reach the Major League post-season by clinching the American League Central Division. Among the jubilant Twins celebrating at Target Field was outfielder Jason Repko, who just a year earlier was involved in a similar celebration at Isotopes Park when the ‘Topes reached the post-season.   

Repko, who entered this year having spent each of his 11 professional years in the Dodgers organization, was brilliant for the ‘Topes in 2009, battling through injuries to post a .277 average with 20 doubles, 16 homers, 47 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in 110 games.  As the Isotopes were celebrating their clinching of the PCL’s American Southern Division, Repko was informed he would be joining the Dodgers, with whom he finished the season and where he celebrated again when Los Angeles won the National League West. 

The outfielder’s latest celebration comes after a season that started with his release by the Dodgers on March 31, near the last day of Spring Training, and his subsequent signing by the Twins, who assigned him to Triple-A Rochester. After batting .281 in 60 games for the Red Wings, Repko was called up to Minnesota on June 25 and has been in the Major Leagues ever since, providing a key component off the Twins’ bench. 

As many of you know, the Isotopes have always been a fan-first organization and this decision was not entered into lightly, but with consultation with our partners UNM, it became apparent that this was needed to establish a long-term solution to parking issues throughout the Sports Complex.   Changes like these can be difficult at times to accept, but we’re confident that in the long-run fans will appreciate the improvements.    

We appreciate your understanding, and if you have any questions, please contact us at: (505) 924-2255 or info@albuquerquebaseball.com.

Why The Change In Parking Procedures?

In 2010, the Albuquerque Isotopes will be enacting new parking procedures consistent with those used at the University of New Mexico for football and men’s basketball games where fans will be charged a $5 fee for cars with three for fewer people in them.  Parking will remain free for cars containing four people or more to encourage car-pooling which alleviates strains on the environment as well as traffic snarls.  The new parking procedures also will open up more space for disabled parking, for which we’ve gotten requests over the years.  These procedures, while new to the Isotopes, are merely a continuation of the policy started by UNM in September 2009.  The fees go directly toward improvements to the entire Sports Complex area, which will lead to greater convenience and better safety as well as contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the entire area.  These improvements will manifest themselves in replacing worn and cracked parking surfaces, add more parking lot lighting, and eventually create UNM residential as well as even possibly commercial property in the not-to-distant future.  

 

As many of you know, the Isotopes have always been a fan-first organization and this decision was not entered into lightly, but with consultation with our partners UNM, it became apparent that this was needed to establish a long-term solution to parking issues throughout the Sports Complex.   Changes like these can be difficult at times to accept, but we’re confident that in the long-run fans will appreciate the improvements.    

 

We appreciate your understanding, and if you have any questions, please contact us at: (505) 924-2255 or info@albuquerquebaseball.com.

'Topes Spring Training Slate Revealed

The Isotopes’ 2010 Spring Training schedule has been released and features a 16-game slate that begins with a battle against the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Friday, March 19. 

Click here for the complete schedule.

The Reds are the latest team to pick-up Spring Training stakes in Florida and head to the Valley of the Sun, where they are sharing a facility with intra-state rival Cleveland in Goodyear, Arizona. Prior to moving, the Reds has spent the previous 12 years training in Sarasota, Florida. The Isotopes will play the Bats six times this spring, more than any other team.

In other news from Dodgers camp, if you’re hoping Jeff Weaver and Brian Giles will start the season as Isotopes, don’t.  Both Weaver and Giles have stated (Weaver more definitively) that they have no interest in returning to Triple-A and would most likely retire if they didn’t make the Dodgers.  Weaver, of course, started the 2009 season in Albuquerque before quickly getting called up to Los Angeles on April 30, where he was a versatile component on the Dodgers’ pitching staff, pitching effectively out of the bullpen and in the rotation.  Weaver went 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in five games (one start) for Albuquerque and 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 games (seven starts) for Los Angeles.  

The fifth-starter sweepstakes has also begun at Camelback Ranch with Eric Stults getting the first chance.  According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Stults will start the spring in the rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla.  Last year, Stults opened the year with Albuquerque and spent one day here before getting called up and going 4-3 with a 4.86 ERA in 10 starts for Los Angeles.  Stults’s season was derailed on May 15, however, when he sprained his left thumb against Florida.  After a stay on the DL, the left-hander was optioned back to Albuquerque, where he finished the year going 5-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts). 

‘Topes Spring Training Slate Revealed

The Isotopes’ 2010 Spring Training schedule has been released and features a 16-game slate that begins with a battle against the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Friday, March 19. 

Click here for the complete schedule.

The Reds are the latest team to pick-up Spring Training stakes in Florida and head to the Valley of the Sun, where they are sharing a facility with intra-state rival Cleveland in Goodyear, Arizona. Prior to moving, the Reds has spent the previous 12 years training in Sarasota, Florida. The Isotopes will play the Bats six times this spring, more than any other team.

In other news from Dodgers camp, if you’re hoping Jeff Weaver and Brian Giles will start the season as Isotopes, don’t.  Both Weaver and Giles have stated (Weaver more definitively) that they have no interest in returning to Triple-A and would most likely retire if they didn’t make the Dodgers.  Weaver, of course, started the 2009 season in Albuquerque before quickly getting called up to Los Angeles on April 30, where he was a versatile component on the Dodgers’ pitching staff, pitching effectively out of the bullpen and in the rotation.  Weaver went 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in five games (one start) for Albuquerque and 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 games (seven starts) for Los Angeles.  

The fifth-starter sweepstakes has also begun at Camelback Ranch with Eric Stults getting the first chance.  According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Stults will start the spring in the rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla.  Last year, Stults opened the year with Albuquerque and spent one day here before getting called up and going 4-3 with a 4.86 ERA in 10 starts for Los Angeles.  Stults’s season was derailed on May 15, however, when he sprained his left thumb against Florida.  After a stay on the DL, the left-hander was optioned back to Albuquerque, where he finished the year going 5-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts). 

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