2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Postgame notes: Veteran pitchers Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis making progress

    Sat, June 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Francis MUGVeteran lefthander Jeff Francis gave himself a passing grade for his pitching performance in his return to Security Service Field on Friday. He did a good job keeping his pitches low in the strike zone to get groundouts; a focus during his time in Colorado Springs.

    “That’s No. 1,” he said. “Getting grounders and having a shortstop like Charlie (Culberson) playing well behind me has been key for me over the years.”

    Francis threw 76 pitches, including 49 strikes, and allowed three hits and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

    More importantly, the veteran pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, which was tied at 2-2 when the rain delay ended his night.

    Cook phillies mug“It was really good for his confidence to get that result,” Hill said. “That will open things up to be worked on now that, like any professional athlete, he has his confidence back.”

    There’s a lot of career wins to be found in one corner of the Sky Sox clubhouse with the lockers of veteran righthander Aaron Cook (72 victories) and Francis (63) next to each other, putting the No. 1 and No.2  Rockies all-times winners inches of each other.

    Sky Sox fans may see righthander Aaron Cook in action soon. Cook (injured arm) will throw a bullpen session on Monday, taking another step toward an eventual return to the lineup.

    “We’ll reevaluate after that,” Cook said. “I had a bullpen session a couple weeks ago and had a setback so we’ll see.”

    Notes

    Ben Paulsen’s triple Saturday was his 10th this season, making him the 10th Sky Sox to do so and push the pro baseball-lead team into fifth all-time with 54. The franchise record is 74 in 1992. … Starter Chris Volstad opened with eight strikes in a row before throwing a ball with one out in the second inning.

  • Pregame notes: Escalona headed back to Rockies

    Sat, June 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoIf you missed Friday’s game, you likely missed your chance to see hurler Edgmer Escalona during his rehabilitation assignment with the Sky Sox. The righthanded reliever appears to be headed back to the Rockies after a strong showing in 1 1/3 innings work, including one hit off a misplaced breaking ball and two strikeouts.

    Thee Sky Sox announced he ended the assignment prior to Saturday’s 6 p.m. game vs. Tucson.

    “Throwing the ball the way he did showed he could step back into Major League baseball right where he left off,” Hill said after confirming Escalona was no longer with the team. “I don’t think this (radar) gun has seen 97 m.p.h.; maybe 96 a few times. He kept the ball down in the strike zone and he threw high a couple times by design. His arm looked very strong.”

  • The Famous San Diego Chicken will visit Sky Sox July 4-5

    Fri, June 28, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Famous San Diego ChickenFor the first time since 1997, The Famous San Diego Chicken will be in the Sky Sox in-game festivities July 4-5. Both game are at 7:05 p.m. with gates opening at 5 Thursday and 6 Friday.

    The Chicken will stay after each game to sign an autograph for everyone in attendance.

    The appearances, the entertainer’s only this season, are during the baseball icon’s first summer off in 39 years. The Sky Sox reached out in an effort to attract fans after the Colorado Springs Fire Department set up a citywide fireworks ban.

    The Chicken, aka Ted Giannoulas, was named by The Sporting News as one of The Top 100 Most Powerful People in Sports of the 20th Century and has played before 60 million people in his career.

    “We are beyond excited to have the one and only San Diego Chicken come to Security Service Field,” Sky Sox president and general manager Tony Ensor said. “Many of our fans saw him as a teen or young adult and now have the opportunity to bring their own children to see the greatest entertainer in baseball history. A whole new generation of Colorado Springs fans will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness The Famous San Diego Chicken.”

  • Pregame notes: Tucson at Sky Sox

    Fri, June 28, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Starting pitchers: Tucson RHP Matt Andriese (NR) vs. LHP Jeff Francis (0-2, 11.57 ERA)

    Notes

    The Sky Sox added righthander Edgmer Escalona for a MLB rehab assignment. Escalona pitched 21 games (1-2, 4.18) for the Rockies before going on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. … Startiing pitch Juan Nicasio was optioned by the Rockies to Colorado Springs. Nicasio, 26,  went 4-4 with a 5.31 ERA (81.1 ip, 48 er) in 16 starts. Over parts of three seasons with Colorado, Nicasio, who skipped Triple-A, has 40 career starts and has gone 10-11 with a 4.91 ERA (211.0 ip, 115 er), 234 hits, 70 walks and 168 strikeouts. … Charlie Culberson enters tonight’s game on a 14-game hitting streak (.352). Culberson his his sixth triple on Thursday to up the team total to a professional baseball-leading 52 on the season. he is the third to hit at least five triples *Corey Dickerson 13, Ben Paulsen 9).

  • Postgame notes: Tucson sweeps Colorado Springs

    Thu, June 27, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    A lengthy scoreless innings streak came to a halt and with it, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox’s chance at a doubleheader split Thursday night.

    Tucson rallied with two runs in the sixth inning against reliever Mike McClendon to upend the Sky Sox 5-4 in Game 2 and sweep the PCL twin bill.

    The tight game turned when Tucson tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI single by Gregorio Petit in the sixth that ended the scoreless streak at 11 1/3 innings. A wild pitch on a strikeout against pinch hitter Rene Rivera allowed him to reach base and scored Petit for the winning run against Colorado Springs (43-36).

    “I was just trying to bury the breaking ball,” McClendon said. “It was a good pitch because he swung at a ball on the outside; it just got away.”

    The Pacific Southern Division-leading Padres (44-37) won the Thursday opener 7-4, powered by a two-run homer by Jonathan Galvez in the top of the seventh for a three-run advantage. The lead held after Tucson reliever Colt Hynes struck out two Sky Sox to earn his fourth save.

    The two seven-inning games, which drew 3,051 fans to Security Service Field, were played to make up a snowed-out game in April.

    Pregame notes

    Game 1: RHP Parker Frazier (0-0, 11.91 ERA) vs. Tucson RHP Brandon Kloess (2-2, 4.02)

    Game 2: RHP Cory Riordan (4-2, 6.23) vs. Jorge Reyes (4-3, 4.72)

    Notes: Tonight is the second time the two teams have played a doubleheader with Colorado Springs recording two walk-off wins on April 11. … Charlie Blackmon is batting .391 (9=for-23) with two triples, one homer, four walks and seven RBIs. … OF Kent Matthes has hit four home run in as many games with the Sk Sox since moving up from Class AA Tulsa. Charlie Culberson enters the twin bill on a season-high 12-game hitting streak (.352, 19-for-54) with three homers, three triples, a double an 11 RBIs.

  • Sky Sox roster update

    Mon, June 24, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoHere are the latest transactions for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, who continue their road series in Sacramento at 8:05 MT tonight.

    Chris Volstad gets the start as the visitors try to rebound from a 20-4 loss on Sunday for the series split with the Pacific Southern Division leaders.

    DEL        P Brett Jacobson released

    DEL        P Jeff Manship (No. 41) placed on the disabled list with a blister on his right hand (retro to 6/20)

    DEL        C Matt McBride placed on the disabled list with a neck injury (retro to 6/22)

    ADD       P Hisanori Takahashi (14) acquired in a trade from the Cubs

    ADD       OF Kent Matthes (25) promoted from Double-A Tulsa

    ADD       P Chris Volstad (44) activated from the temporary inactive list (cleared waivers & accepted assignment)

    ADD        P Logan Kensing optioned down from Colorado

     

  • Postgame notes: Colorado Springs 8, Tacoma 3; Fireworks cancelled

    Fri, June 21, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The Sky Sox connected on four triples, two by Ben Paulsen, to match a franchise single-game record (1991, 1998 and 2003) to cruise to a 8-3 victory over Tacoma. The hosts added two doubles and a homer for seven extra-base knocks out of 14 hits.

    The Friday win before 8,361 at Security Service Field gave the hosts the series, 3-1, and moved the Sky Sox to 1.5 games of the Rainiers (44-32) after starting the homestand 3.5 back in the PCL Pacific Northern Division.

    “Winning this is huge for us,” Paulsen said. “This gives us a lot of confidence going on the road.”

    A triple to lead off the fourth by Paulsen led to one run and his second in the fifth made it 5-2. The Sky Sox (41-32) pace professional baseball with 51 triples, which includes individual pro leader Corey Dickerson (13) who was called up to the Rockies before Friday’s game.

    Sky Sox starter Drew Pomeranz (8-1) is now tied for league lead with 8 wins and leads PCL with 96 Ks.

    Colorado Springs is now 11-2 on Thursday and 9-3 on Fridays. The Sky Sox were 25-19 on Thursdays and Fridays last season.

    Roster shuffle

    Outfielder Corey Dickerson, 24, was called up to the Rockies and was in uniform for Colorado at Washington on Friday night.  His .386 batting average leads the PCL as does his 13 triples, and total bases (179). He also had 19 doubles, 9 home runs, 38 RBIs and 56 runs this season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound eighth round draft pick (2010), had reached bases safely for 23-straight games before being called up. …. Righthanded pitcher Logan Kensing, 30, was designated for assignment to make room on the full Rockies 40-man roster. He went 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA (21 innings, six earned runs) in 19 PCL games. He appeared in one game for the Rockies with a scoreless 2/3 inning on Wednesday against Toronto. … Catcher Joe Gonzalez (No. 43) was promoted up from Double-A Tulsa.

  • McClendon shines in relief in Thursday night’s comeback victory

    Fri, June 21, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The four scoreless innings by reliever Mike McClendon Thursday allowed his teammates to mount an eight-run rally in a 12-11 come-from-way-behind victory over Tacoma. It cannot be underestimated how critical that was against a Rainiers squad hitting .300 on the road.

    “He was very aggressive and focused which is what we want all out pitchers to be, especially Mac,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “With his pitches and changing speeds he needs to have that attitude.”

    Those four innings extended his streak to eight and only one run in his last nine appearances with a perfect ERA over the past 10 days.

  • Postgame notes: Colorado Springs 12, Tacoma 11; Jim Tracy, Vinny Castilla added to charity roster

    Thu, June 20, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Colorado Springs recorded its seventh walk-off home victory this season to pull out a 12-11 win on Thursday night over PCL Pacific Northern Division leader Tacoma.

    Colorado Springs’ Drew Garcia hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Lars Davis moved him to third. Intentional walks to Charlie Blackmon and Tim Wheeler loaded the bases for a possible double play.

    But pinch hitter Hernan Iribarren, who hit a leadoff single against reliever Brian Moran in the eighth, knew exactly what to do.

    “I knew he would throw offspeed because of how he threw against me earlier,” he said of his RBI single. “I just stayed calm and held back a little.”

    The fans can thank reliever Mike McClendon, who allowed one hit over the final four innings against a team batting .300 on the road, for giving the Sky Sox a chance to pull off the comeback. Tacoma fell to 35-3 when leading after the seventh inning.

    “McClendon did an outstanding job,” Iribarren said. “He came in and shut them down. As a team, we never gave up.”

    Colorado Springs (40-32) knocked out Tacoma starter Hector Noesi after three runs in the fifth and a solo home run by Greg Golson that sparked a six-run sixth.

    It was the Sky Sox’s ninth last at-bat win this season.

    Notes

    Friday’s scheduled starters are lefthander Drew Pomeranz (7-1, 4.25 ERA) against Tacoma RHP Brian Sweeney (7-2, 3.81).

    Injured pitcher Aaron Cook (arm) threw a simulated game Thursday afternoon at Sky Sox stadium.  … Nine-year veteran left-hander Jeff Francis, 32, accepted an assignment in Colorado Springs. He could have moved to another organization but chose to stay with the Rockies. … Francis made 11 starts for the Rockies this season, going 2-5 with a 6.58 ERA (52 innings, 38 earned runs), 17 walks and 43 strikeouts. Francis is a 69-78 with a 4.93 ERA all-time. Francis was re-signed by Colorado during the offseason, who originally selected him ninth overall in 2002 rookie draft.  … According to the Denver Post, righthander Chris Volstad was waived to make room on the Rockies’ 40-man roster for righty Roy Oswalt, who started against Washington Thursday night.

    Former Rockies manager Jim Tracy and Colorado standout Vinny Castilla will be in the MLB lineup for Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. Heroes Classic celebrity charity softball game.

    The club announced that for each $10-30 ticket purchased for the event, $5 will be donated to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCMF) to assist victims of the Black Forest Fire. Also, anyone who has lost their home in the recent fire or is still evacuated may come to the game for free by stopping by the Sky Sox box office.

    A limited number of special VIP package tickets are available for $30 and include:

    o    A general admission ticket to the game.

    o    Access to a special VIP autograph session before the game with the former Major League players, including Rollie Fingers

    o    Membership in the MLBPAA

    Regular general admission tickets  will be $10. All seating is general admission so first come, first choice.

    Care & Share Food Bank will be on hand to accept nonperishable food donations and the Springs Rescue Mission will take clothing, household items and clean-up items such as work gloves, rakes, shovels and trash bags.

    The fire and police department teams include several former Major League players including Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers who saved over 340 games in his career and won both the Cy Young Award and American League MVP Award in 1981. The night will culminate with a fireworks display.

    The teams will wear custom-made jerseys that will be auctioned off during and after the game with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the PPCF.

    Other former Major League players who  will be participating in the game include:

    Rollie Fingers: Hall of Fame pitcher, Cy Young Award Winner & AL MVP in 1981, played 18 seasons with Oakland, San Diego & Milwaukee, won three World Series with Oakland 1972-74.

    Dave Henderson: Outfielder played 14 seasons with Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland & Kansas City, won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, hit 197 career home runs.

    Mike Timlin: Four-time World Series Champion with Toronto (1992-93) & Boston (2004, 2007), reliever played in 18 seasons with Toronto, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia & Boston.

    Turk Wendell: An 11 year veteran who played for the Cubs, Mets, Phillies & Rockies. Appeared in the 2000 World Series with the Mets and pitched in 552 career games.

    Bob Knepper: Two-time All-Star, pitcher played 15 seasons with San Francisco & Houston, won 146 games in his career including six season with 10 or more wins.

    Mark Knudson: A member of the Rockies inaugural 1993 team, pitcher played in eight seasons with Houston, Milwaukee & Colorado.

    Mark Lee: Pitcher played four seasons with Kansas City, Milwaukee & Baltimore.

    Gary Krug: Mitchell High School grad and current Pine Creek JV Baseball Head Coach played for the Cubs in 1981, former Head Baseball Coach at Cheyenne Mountain  High School.

    Brian Fisher: A 2nd round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1980, the righty won 36 games in seven seasons with the Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Mariners.

    Bobby Johnson: A catcher & first baseman who played three season with the Texas Rangers. He is also the nephew of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

    Mike Thompson: A right-hander who pitched for the Padres for two seasons after being a 5th round pick in 1999.

    Scott Randall: A former member of the Sky Sox where he played three seasons after being drafted by the Rockies in 1995. He pitched in the Majors for the Reds and three a no-hitter in 1996 with the Asheville Tourists.

  • Saturday celebrity softball game to benefit Pikes Peak Community Foundation

    Wed, June 19, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The name of this Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. Waldo Canyon Classic celebrity softball game was changed to the Heroes Classic. The club announced that for each $10-30 ticket purchased for the event, $5 will be donated to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCMF) to assist victims of the Black Forest Fire. Also, anyone who has lost their home in the recent fire or is still evacuated may come to the game for free by stopping by the Sky Sox box office.

    A limited number of special VIP package tickets are available for $30 and include:

    o    A general admission ticket to the game.

    o    Access to a special VIP autograph session before the game with the former Major League players, including Rollie Fingers

    o    Membership in the MLBPAA

    Regular general admission tickets  will be $10.

    Here is a link to purchase tickets online.

    Care & Share Food Bank will be on hand to accept nonperishable food donations and the Springs Rescue Mission will take clothing, household items and clean-up items such as work gloves, rakes, shovels and trash bags.

    The fire and police department teams include several former Major League players including Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers who saved over 340 games in his career and won both the Cy Young Award and American League MVP Award in 1981. The night will culminate with a fireworks display.

    The teams will wear custom-made jerseys that will be auctioned off during and after the game with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the PPCF.

    Former Major League players who  will be participating in the game include:

    Jim Tracy: Former Cubs outfielder, 2009 National League Manager of the Year, managed Rockies from 2009 to 2012 and took the team to the playoffs in his first season at the helm after taking over part way through the season.  In his 11 seasons as a Major League manager he compiled a 856-880 record. As a player, Tracy played parts of two seasons with the Chicago Cubs as an outfielder from 1980-81 and hit .249 with three homers and fourteen RBIs in 87 games.

     Rollie Fingers: Hall of Fame pitcher, Cy Young Award Winner & AL MVP in 1981, played 18 seasons with Oakland, San Diego & Milwaukee, won three World Series with Oakland 1972-74.

    Dave Henderson: Outfielder played 14 seasons with Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland & Kansas City, won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, hit 197 career home runs.

    Mike Timlin: Four-time World Series Champion with Toronto (1992-93) & Boston (2004, 2007), reliever played in 18 seasons with Toronto, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia & Boston.

    Turk Wendell: An 11 year veteran who played for the Cubs, Mets, Phillies & Rockies. Appeared in the 2000 World Series with the Mets and pitched in 552 career games.

    Bob Knepper: Two-time All-Star, pitcher played 15 seasons with San Francisco & Houston, won 146 games in his career including six season with 10 or more wins.

    Mark Knudson: A member of the Rockies inaugural 1993 team, pitcher played in eight seasons with Houston, Milwaukee & Colorado.

    Mark Lee: Pitcher played four seasons with Kansas City, Milwaukee & Baltimore.

    Gary Krug: Mitchell High School grad and current Pine Creek JV Baseball Head Coach played for the Cubs in 1981, former Head Baseball Coach at Cheyenne Mountain  High School.

    Brian Fisher: A 2nd round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1980, the righty won 36 games in seven seasons with the Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Mariners.

    Bobby Johnson: A catcher & first baseman who played three season with the Texas Rangers. He is also the nephew of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

    Mike Thompson: A right-hander who pitched for the Padres for two seasons after being a 5th round pick in 1999.

    Scott Randall: A former member of the Sky Sox where he played three seasons after being drafted by the Rockies in 1995. He pitched in the Majors for the Reds and three a no-hitter in 1996 with the Asheville Tourists.