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News and Notes

PCL Top 20 Prospects
Baseball America announced its Top 20 Pacific Coast League prospects Monday. Outfielder Leonys Martin, a Round Rock Express member each of the past two seasons, was ranked 17th on the list. He was the lone Express/Rangers player listed.

Martin hit .359 (83-for-231) in 55 games for the Express this season with 12 homers, 42 RBI, 18 doubles, two triples, 48 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. He also had seven outfield assists. His batting average is the best in Round Rock’s Triple-A history among players with at least 200 at bats, eclipsing Brian Barden’s .357 mark from last season.

Signed by the Rangers in after defecting from Cuba the previous summer, Martin began his professional career at Double-A Frisco in 2011 before joining the Express in mid-July. He hit .263 (46-for-175) in 40 games with Round Rock that season, collecting 17 RBI, seven doubles, 27 runs and nine stolen bases.

Martin appeared in 24 games with the Rangers this season, going 8-for-46 (.174) with six RBI, five doubles, two triples, six runs scored and three stolen bases. He made his major league debut Sept. 2, 2011, and hit safely in a pinch-hit role. Martin played in eight games for the Rangers in 2011.

With the Rangers season complete, Martin is playing the Dominican Winter League, which opened its season Sunday. Martin was 1-for-3 with two walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored for Licey.

Rangers in Winter Leagues
Several Rangers farmhands other than Martin are in Winter League Baseball this offseason. … Mike Olt, who made his major league debut this season, will report Licey in the coming days. … First baseman Chris McGuiness was named Arizona Fall League Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Houston Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton. McGuiness is with the Surprise Saguaros; he was 7-for-18 with two homers, six RBI, two doubles and two runs scored. A 13th-round pick of Boston in 2009, McGuiness was acquired by the Rangers in the 2010 Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade. He hit .268 with 23 homers and 77 RBI in 123 games with Double-A Frisco this season. … Shortstop Luis Sardinas also is off to hot start with Surprise, going 4-for-9 with three runs scored in two games. … A pair of 2012 Express members are in the Dominican Winter League in addition to Martin. Catcher Robinzon Diaz is with Gigantes del Cibao, while pitcher Johan Yan is with Aguilas Cibaenas. … Much heralded outfielder Engel Beltre also is playing with Licey in the DWL.

Other News
Dallas Morning News sports writer Gerry Fraley recently reported that 2012 Express member Luis Hernandez declined an outright minor-league assignment, opting instead for free agency. Hernandez hit .262 (136-for-519) in 129 games for the Express this season with eight homers, 70 RBI, 23 doubles, six triples, 64 runs scored and nine stolen bases. He hit .302 (55-for-182) after the All-Star break, including a .390 mark (41-for-105) in 24 games during August. Hernandez played two games and garnered two plate appearances (both outs) with the Rangers in late August.

Express Mute Sounds


23 August 2012  |  The Dell Diamond  |  Round Rock, Texas
Records:  Express (63-70), Sounds (61-72)

– Round Rock leads series 2-0
– Round Rock leads season series 7-6
– Game 3 of series Friday at 7:05 p.m. CDT
– Friday’s scheduled starters:  RR – RHP Justin Grimm (2-2, 4.37 ERA); NAS – RHP Hiram Burgos (0-2, 4.30 ERA)

ROUND ROCK four-game winning streak … won 10 of last 13 games … improved to 20-9 since July 26 – PCL’s best record in that time … won 12 of last 14, 18 of last 22 vs. Nashville at The Dell Diamond … clubbed eight homers over last three games … at least one homer in four of last five games, 10 of last 13 … improved to 50-4 when leading after eight innings.

CHAD BELL claimed first win since July 18 at Nashville … first win at The Dell Diamond since July 1 vs. New Orleans (0-3 in five home starts since) … held opponent scoreless for second time in 12 starts (6.0 innings, July 1 vs. New Orleans) … held opponent to three or fewer earned run for sixth time (four of last six starts) … allowed one run over 11.0 innings in last two starts … 10-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over last two starts.

JOE ORTIZ stranded both inherited runners … stranded 12 of 15 inherited runners with Express (80.0 percent).

JULIO BORBON (0-for-3, walk) snapped nine-game hitting streak (.462, 18-for-39).

LUIS HERNANDEZ (1-for-4) hit safely in 17 of last 18 games (34-for-82), 22 of last 25 games (43-for-113).

LEONYS MARTIN (0-for-4) snapped 12-game hitting streak (.444, 24-for-54) … second hitless outing in last 24 games with Express (.396, 40-for-101) … snapped streak of eight consecutive games with at least one run scored (15 runs).

BRAD NELSON (1-for-2, two walks) clubbed 22nd homer, 11th in 39 games since All-Star break … moved into tie for ninth-best season total in Express history (Triple-A era) … joined Mark Saccomanno and Brooks Conrad as the only Express players to hit at least 22 homers in multiple seasons (24 homers last season) … hit safely in 20 of 23 home games since All-Star break (.395, 32-for-81) … snapped streak of 10 straight games with at least one strikeout.

MATT KATA (2-for-4) clubbed ninth home run (third since June 1) … 30th career home run with Express (sixth in franchise history) … 113th career multiple-hit effort, one shy of Mark Saccomanno’s franchise record … 403rd career game with Express, two shy of Saccomanno’s record.

JOEY BUTLER (1-for-4) extended hitting streak to 11 games (.319, 15-for-47).

RYAN SPILBORGHS (2-for-3, walk) delivered second-inning, two-run double that proved to be game-winning hit … hit safely in 10 of last 12 games … hitting .500 (22-for-44) in 12 games vs. Nashville this season with three homers, 14 RBI, six doubles … hitting .434 (36-for-83) in 23 career games vs. Nashville.

ALBERTO GONZALEZ (0-for-1) left game after being hit by pitch in fourth inning.

YANGERVIS SOLARTE (0-for-2) dropped to 5-for-28 over last six-plus games … hit into 28th double play – six more than any other player in baseball regardless of level.

ROBINZON DIAZ (1-for-3) hit safely in all four games with Express.

Express vs. Nashville (Aug. 23)

Pivotal Inning:  Nashville loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but managed only one run on Logan Schafer’s sacrifice fly. Joe Ortiz spelled Derek Hankins and inherited runners on the corners with two outs. Ortiz stranded both inherited runners and has stranded 12 of 15 inherited runners with the Express. That was the only batter Ortiz would face as Willie Eyre takes over on the mound as we start the eighth. Express lead 5-1.

Here’s To You, Mr. Robinzon:  Robinzon Diaz delivered a two-out RBI single later in the sixth. Express lead 5-0 going to the seventh.

Catch 22:  Brad Nelson led off the bottom of the sixth with his 22nd homer of the season, tying for the ninth-best tally in Express history (Triple-A era). After hitting 24 homers last season, Nelson joins Mark Saccomanno and Brooks Conrad as the only Express players to hit at least 22 homers in multiple seasons. Nelson’s 46 career homers with Round Rock places him fifth in franchise history behind Conrad (67), Saccomanno (64), Luke Scott (51) and Cody Ransom (49). Behind Nelson are Joey Butler and Matt Kata with 29 each.

Bellwether Outing:  Express starter Chad Bell worked five shutout innings, scattering five hits (two doubles, one triple) and working around two walks. He struck out five, including two in the third inning. However, he had only one 1-2-3 inning (fourth) and was stretched to five full counts (Nashville batters were 3-for-5 with two doubles and a triple in those at bats). That added up to 85 pitches through five innings (51 strikes). Bell worked ahead on 11 of 20 batters faced, and the Sounds were 1-for-6 with four strikeouts when falling behind 0-2. As we suggested in tonight’s “Players to Watch,” Bell got through the third inning unscathed and left in line for the win. Derek Hankins spelled Bell to start the sixth with the Express still leading 3-0.

As a Matt-er of Fact:  Matt Kata clubbed a solo homer with one out in the fourth – his ninth of the season. Coupled with a second-inning single, this is Kata’s 113th career multiple-hit game with the Express – one shy of Mark Saccomanno’s franchise record (Triple-A era). Express lead 3-0 through four.

That Looked Very Familiar:  Ryan Spilborghs doubled just inside the third-base line with one out in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs. It looked almost exactly like his game winning hit from last night. As we mentioned in tonight’s “Players to Watch,” Spilborghs owns Nashville. He’s now 21-for-42 with three homers, 14 RBI and six doubles in 12 games this season against the Sounds. Express lead 2-0 going to the third.

Deja Blue All Over Again… Again:  Round Rock is wearing blue jerseys tonight for the fourth straight game. The Express won each of the last three. If it ain’t broke…

First Pitch:  Underway at 7:07 p.m. tonight. Temperature at first pitch was 91 degrees – that’s 33 degrees in Ponta Figa, São Tomé and Príncipe.



14 August 2012  |  Aces Ballpark  |  Reno, Nev.

Records:  Express (57-67), Aces (71-53)

– Round Rock leads series 1-0
– Express riding four-game winning streak
– Game 2 of series Wednesday at 9:05 p.m. CDT
– Wednesday’s scheduled starters:  RR – LHP Martin Perez (5-6, 4.73 ERA); RENO – RHP Charles Brewer (9-6, 5.59 ERA)

ROUND ROCK won 14 of last 20 … improved to 16-8 since July 22 … won 10 of last 13 road games … improved to 18-15 since All-Star break … improved to 12-19 in series openers (won five of last six) … scored five-plus runs in three straight games for first time since seven-game stretch June 8-14 … scored nine-plus runs in three straight games for first time this season, first time since July 27-29, 2011.

CHAD BELL claimed first win since July 29 at Memphis … worked six-plus innings for third time in last four starts.

JULIO BORBON (1-for-4, walk) snapped 0-for-15 skid with sixth-inning single.

LUIS HERNANDEZ (3-for-5) extended hitting streak to 10 games (22-for-46) … ninth straight multiple-hit game … seventh straight game with at least one RBI.

LEONYS MARTIN (2-for-5) homered for fourth straight game, tying franchise record … extended hitting streak to nine games (14-for-38) … fifth homer in 13 games since returning to Round Rock … 20-for-54 since returning to Round Rock.

JOEY BUTLER (1-for-5) hit safely in nine of last 11 games (13-for-44) … at least one strikeout in eight straight games (12 strikeouts).

MATT KATA (2-for-5) clubbed first homer since July 8 at Albuquerque … second homer since May 31 grand slam at Memphis (54 games) … extended hitting streak to four games (9-for-19) … third straight multiple-hit outing … third straight multiple-RBI outing (first multiple-RBI games since July 8 at Albuquerque).

YANGERVIS SOLARTE (0-for-4) snapped streak of six straight games with at least one run scored.

RYAN SPILBORGHS (1-for-4) extended hitting streak to five games (7-for-21) … hit safely in 11 of last 13 games.

BRANDON SNYDER (2-for-3, walk) extended hitting streak to six games (9-for-24) … hit safely in nine of 10 games with Express.

ROBINZON DIAZ (2-for-4) multiple hits in each of first two games with Express.

A Catcher Down, Express Pick Up Old Friend Diaz

By Wade Hilligoss

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With Luis Martinez filling a catching void in the big leagues, the Express were left with just Elio Sarmiento behind the dish while on the current eight-game road trip. Enter Robbie Diaz. The Rangers signed the 28-year-old and assigned him to the E-Train to give the top of the system some catching depth. Here’s the skinny on Diaz:

2012: The 28-year-old was signed to a minor league deal Aug. 11 … second stint with the Rangers … hit .285 with four home runs and 31 RBI in 46 games with Salt Lake (AAA) in the Los Angeles Angels organization … released by Angels Aug. 7.

CAREER: Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an undrafted free agent on Nov. 19, 2000 … MLB debut April 23, 2008, with Toronto against Tampa Bay Rays … Traded Aug. 25, 2008 to Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Jose Bautista … played 31 games in the Major Leagues with Pittsburgh in 2009 season … spent 2010 in the Detroit Tigers organization with the Toledo Mud Hens … signed minor league deal with Rangers in 2011 … appreared in 55 games between Frisco (AA) and Round Rock (AAA) in 2011 … signed minor league deal with Los Angeles (AL) and was assigned to Salt Lake (AAA) where he hit .285 with four home runs and 31 RBI in 46 games … released by Angels Aug. 7.

2011: Assigned to Frisco (AA) to begin the season … shuttled between Frisco and Round Rock as extra catcher during the season … promoted twice, demoted three times … hit .357 with three home runs and eight RBI in 17 games with the RoughRiders … .hit .303 with four home runs and 14 RBI with the Express … collected at least one hit in 25 of 35 games with the Express … 13 multiple-hit games … hit safely in nine of 14 games with at least one plate appearance at The Dell Diamond … hit .333 (18-for-54) at The Dell Diamond … each of first 16 hits with Express were singles … hit .308 (16-for-52) when designated hitter; .295 (26-for-88) when catching … hit .338 (25-for-74) with the bases empty.

NOTABLE: Robinzon Diaz Henriquez … 2003 Appalachian League All-Star … 2004 South Atlantic League All-Star … Florida State League All-Star C in 2005 and 2006 … Traded Aug. 25, 2008 to Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Jose Bautista.