August 2009

Kala Ka’aihue is picked up by Oakland

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       12 April 2008: Infielder Kala Ka’aihue (20) of the Mississippi Braves, Class 
       AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against the Mobile BayBears 
       at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam 
       Images/MiLB.com
It’s good news to hear that after being released by Atlanta, first baseman Kala Ka’aihue has been picked up by the Oakland organization and is playing in Stockton.
Kala has been one of my favorites for quite some time, and I recall the time in the Mississippi dugout last year when he patiently explained how to pronounce his name. 
Most of the PA announcers get it wrong, he said. The first name is pronounced Ka-LA, emphasis on the end. (I won’t even try to do the last name phonetically here.)
I hope you’ll get a chance to hear it pronounced on the MLB Network one of these days . . .
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       13 April 2008: Infielder Kala Ka’aihue (20) of the Mississippi Braves, Class 
       AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against the Mobile BayBears 
       at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam 
       Images/MiLB.com

Freddie Freeman continues impressive season

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       April 10, 2009: First baseman Freddie Freeman (12) of the Myrtle Beach 
       Pelicans, Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against the 
       Wilmington Blue Rocks at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 
       Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com
I’m terribly late with this, but first baseman Freddie Freeman was voted the Carolina League’s Topps Player of the Month for June in a poll of the league’s managers.
In my own defense, however, the league was a bit late with the award, too. By the time this came out he already had been promoted to Double A.

Behind the scenes at the Greenville Drive

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       July 5, 2009: Pitching coach Bob Kipper (13) of the Greenville Drive talks 
       mechanics with RHP Brock Huntzinger (24) prior to a game against the 
       Savannah Sand Gnats at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, 
       S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com
One of the things I really like about covering the Minor Leagues is that I get to see a lot of behind-the-scenes activity. It’s always interesting to watch hitting coaches and pitching coaches work with young players.
You won’t see many of those photos elsewhere – but at least I have a place for them here.
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       July 5, 2009: Manager Kevin Boles (19) of the Greenville Drive works with 
       infielder Oscar Tejeda (3) in a fielding drill prior a game against the 
       Savannah Sand Gnats at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. 
       Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com
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       July 5, 2009: Hitting coach Billy McMillon (51), right, of the Greenville 
       Drive talks with 2009 draft pick Jeremy Hazelbaker (15) prior to a game 
       against the Savannah Sand Gnats at Fluor Field at the West End in 
       Greenville, S.C. Hazelbaker, who played with Ball State, was a 
       fourth-round 2009 draft pick of the Boson Red Sox. Photo by: Tom 
       Priddy/Four Seam Images/MiLB.com

Kade Keowen greeted after hitting a homer

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       July 25, 2009: Greenville Drive designated hitter Kade Keowen (47) is 
       congratulated after hitting a home run against the Delmarva Shorebirds 
       in a game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: 
       Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

I just like it when they show some emotion after hitting a homer.


Tim Beckham was 2008’s top draft pick

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       June 14, 2009: Tim Beckham (26) of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, first 
       pick in the 2008 draft and No. 2 prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays, in a 
       game against the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field at the West End in 
       Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
I can’t believe I didn’t post a photo of 2008 top draft pick Tim Beckham when he was in Greenville this summer.
Well, better late than never.

Orioles prospect Hobgood gets lots of coverage

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       August 1, 2009: RHP Matthew Hobgood (34) of the Bluefield Orioles, 2009 
       first round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, pitches at Howard Johnson 
       Field in Johnson City, Tenn. He was 2008 Los Angeles Times Player of 
       the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year out of Norco High 
       School in Norco, Calif. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
Four shooters from Four Seam Images/ Baseball America/ MinorLeagueBaseball.com all showed up at the same rookie league game last night in Johnson City, Tenn., an occurrence more rare than a total eclipse of the sun.
And although we all compete with each other, we had a good time talking, having our own picture made and trying to stay out of each others’ way.
The main target of our attention was Matthew Hobgood, a 2009 first round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, fresh out of high school and still wearing braces.
Hobgood didn’t enjoy the evening as much as we did. He lasted only two innings, giving up three runs on six hits and boosting his ERA to 7.20