Going for Four, MLB’s Female Groundskeepers, Jacque on CBS

It’s TinCaps and Silver Hawks in game two of a three-game swing in South Bend, sometimes known as The Wagon City, and at one point, known as The Lotion City, according to this article in The South Bend Tribune.

Fort Wayne has won three games in a row, and a win tonight would push the streak to a season-high-tying four. Here are a few notes to get you up to speed for tonight’s ballgame:

From Hebner to Garces: The TinCaps have scored 7.2 runs per game when Cody Hebner, who started Wednesday, takes the hill. However when Frank Garces pitches, that number drops to 3.9. In the last three starts for Garces, the team has scored exactly three runs in each game.

 Cropper on the Spot: Since being added to the roster nearly one month ago, Daniel Cropper had made for a reliable option out of the bullpen. He has gone 11-11 in retiring the first batter he’s faced and has collected four saves in five tries, tying Matt Stites, who is on the disabled list, for the team lead. The 24-year-old righty has allowed a run in just one of his 12 appearances, while walking one and striking out 13.

Successful Return: Jace Peterson’s return to the lineup saw him pick up where he left off. When Peterson went on the disabled list, he was leading the team in average and was in the league’s top five in OBP. He went 3-5 with two runs batted in on Wednesday, raising his average from .315 to .326. Peterson remains the team’s leader in stolen bases with 15.

JACQUE OPINES 

Hitting coach Jacque Jones was the featured guest on “Fantasy Baseball 360″, a daily web show on CBSSports.com, yesterday after the game. He talked about his approach as a teacher, his time as a player and weighed in on current MLB topics like the struggles of Albert Pujols.

Click here to watch the video of his interview.

MLB’S FEMALE GROUNDSKEEPERS

ESPN.com has a great feature on two female groundskeepers in Major League Baseball. There are not only Midwest League ties in the piece, but also a tie to a name you’ll surely know from the Padres farm system.

“(Heather) Nabozny joined the Tigers in 1999, Detroit’s final season at Tiger Stadium, becoming the first female head groundskeeper in the majors after working as the head groundskeeper for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Tigers’ Class A affiliate.

Scott Lane, the Whitecaps’ president, said Nabozny’s work at the minor league level caught the eye of the Tigers’ major league staff.

“Randy Smith was general manager at the time for the Tigers. Steve Lubratich [now the Indians’ director of player personnel] was their director of player development, so he was kind of a head guy at the minor leagues,” Lane said. “They are up in the owner’s suite level, and they are sitting there talking. Randy looks at Steve and says, ‘Why doesn’t our field at Tiger Stadium look this good?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know. Maybe it’s the groundskeeper.’ Shortly thereafter, they offered her the position.”

As you know, the Whitecaps are in the Midwest League and the TinCaps see them plenty through the course of the regular season.

Randy Smith, the former GM of the Tigers, is currently the director of player development for the Padres. He was recently in Fort Wayne, and you can see my interview with him by clicking here. 

MUSICAL GUEST

Billy Joel…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

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