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Around the Minors Starring Pedro

Reading – As J.A. Happ spun a complete-game shutout at Citizens Bank Park, Pedro Martinez was an hour away doing his part to earn a rotation spot last night. Martinez struck out 11 batters in 6 innings against the Trenton Thunder to earn the win in what should be his third and final rehab start before joining the Phillies next week. He needed just 82 pitches (60 strikes) to finish the sixth, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits. Martinez did not walk a batter.

It was smooth sailing for Martinez through five innings, as the 3-time Cy Young winner struck out 10 batters while allowing just two hits, including a first-inning homer to Eduardo Nunez. As was the case in his last start for triple-A Lehigh Valley, Martinez struggled pitching from the stretch in the sixth inning. After allowing a leadoff single, Pedro gave up two more base-knocks in the sixth, and all three runners came across after two errors by the R-Phils. Martinez topped out at 92 mph on the radar gun, effectively fooling double-A hitters with his dazzling changeup and curveball. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 23 batters.

Domonic Brown provided the offense to back Pedro, slugging a 426-foot first-inning homer that cleared the right-field wall at FirstEnergy Stadium and skied into the parking lot. It was his first in four games with Reading. Brown also roped a double off into the gap and knocked in two runs in the game, raising his average to .286 at double-A. Strangely enough, it wasn’t until tonight (with hordes of media in town to see Pedro) that Brown told everyone his first name is spelled Domonic, not Dominic. Turns out the 21-year-old 5-tooler was too shy to tell anyone they were spelling his name wrong.

Clearwater – For the fourth straight start, Darren Byrd kept opposing hitters desperate for hits as the Threshers won, 5-1, over Dunedin. Byrd allowed just one run on 3 hits in 6 innings, striking out 5 against 3 walks. He has now given up one run in his last 27 innings and won each of his last 4 starts.

Chad Durbin pitched a scoreless inning of relief in a rehab appearance, striking out two while allowing a hit and a walk.

Lakewood – Third baseman Travis Mattair went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, but the Blue Claws dropped their game with Lake County, 3-2 in 11 innings. Outfielder Anthony Gose walked twice and stole two bases, stretching his team record and minor-league leading total to 62 stolen bases. His two swipes Tuesday night set the club record.

Williamsport – The Crosscutters lost, 11-8, against Staten Island, but several players have had standout weeks at short-season A-ball for the Phillies. Third baseman Anthony Hewitt went 2-for-5 with two RBI and homered in his second straight game. Tuesday night he was a double short of the cycle with 3 runs knocked in. Shortstop Jeremy Barnes was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and now has 6 hits over his last two games, including a pair of doubles. He is now hitting .310 in 43 games with Williamsport.

With an RBI single last night, outfielder Zach Collier now has 8 hits and 6 RBI in his last 4 games, including a triple and his first home run of the season. Since dropping from Lakewood to Williamsport, Collier is hitting .262 with a .410 slugging percentage. Though he went 0-for-5 last night with three strikeouts, 19-year-old catcher Sebastian Valle still has 8 hits and 6 RBI in his last four games, and is also showing improvement after being dropped down from Lakewood, hitting .338 in 34 games with Williamsport.

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