Let's take a moment to empty some odds and ends out of the notebook so the slate is clean heading into the three-day All-Star break.
FUSSELL SELECTED: Clay High School graduate Chris Fussell was named International League pitcher of the week last Monday.
The Richmond right-hander won both of his starts, allowing just 12 hits and a pair of earned runs in 13 1/3 innings. Fussell struck out nine in victories over Indianapolis and Durham.
Fussell is 6-9 with a 4.53 ERA for the Braves.
While Fussell was named the league's pitcher of the week, Charlotte's Ryan Hankins and Fernando Seguignol of Columbus shared the hitter of the week award. It marked the first time in 15 seasons the IL had split the award.
THE BOSS HAS SPOKEN: George Steinbrenner wants a winning team in Columbus and is taking steps to make that happen, the New York Times reported.
The biggest change, according to the story, is that Clippers manager Bucky Dent has been given a bigger say in running the team along with Columbus GM Ken Schnacke.
The move would diminish the authority of Gordon Blakeley, who was promoted to senior vice president of baseball operations for the Yanks in January.
The story reports that a rift developed between Dent and Blakeley when Dent wanted to fire Clippers hitting coach Sal Rende earlier this season, but Blakeley blocked the move.
It's interesting to note that Dent also would like to try former Michigan quarterback Drew Henson in the outfield.
SOMEONE IS WATCHING: Soon after Syracuse left Fifth Third Field on Monday the parent Toronto Blue Jays made a trade involving outfielder Rich Thompson.
Thompson was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for pitcher John Wasdin.
The move is a good one for Thompson, especially if Pittsburgh follows through on rumors to trade outfielder Kenny Lofton.
That would clear a path to the majors for the 24-year-old Thompson.
While there's no telling how long the deal was in discussion, Thompson's play against the Hens had to raise his value. In four games against Toledo Thompson was 6-for-19 (.316), with five of those hits coming on bunts.
Thompson hit .295 with the SkyChiefs and stole 11 bases in 28 games.
OLYMPIC ASPIRATIONS: There's a familiar face on the Greek national baseball team.
Former Mud Hen Chris Lemonis is on the Greek squad playing in Holland this weekend in an attempt to qualify for the 2004 Olympics held in Athens.
Lemonis, who played for the Hens in 2000, was loaned to the Greek national team by the Ottawa Lynx, for whom he has hit .231 in 32 games.
IGNORE WINS AND LOSSES: A glance at Nate Robertson's 5-6 record might suggest the lefty hasn't been very effective for the Hens. That wouldn't be true, as Robertson's 3.50 ERA illustrates.
What is Robertson's problem? The Mud Hens are scoring just 3.88 runs per start for the southpaw. What's more, Toledo has been shut out three times on days when Robertson has started. Finally, 19 of the 66 runs he has been given came in two starts, meaning the Hens have averaged 3.1 in Robertson's other 15 starts.
It's tough to win that way, as any Tiger pitcher will attest.
Pat Ahearne has a similar problem. He has pitched well since joining the Hens a month ago but has only a 2-1 record. The right-hander's 3.02 ERA - and the team's 6-1 record in games he has started - are a better indicator of the boost Ahearne has given the rotation.
Those numbers are thanks to the Hens' daily game notes, a 14-page packet filled with every piece of Hens data you might wish to find.
Want to see these notes for yourself?
Fans can download them from the Mud Hens' Web site at: www.mudhens.com/down-loads/gamenotes.pdf
SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS: The Mud Hens wore special patriotic jerseys for their July 4 game against Syracuse, holding a silent auction for the jerseys during the contest.
That silent auction raised more than $6,000, with much of that total benefiting the Maumee Valley Girl Scouts.
Which one sold for the highest price?
The jersey of reliever Franklyn German went for $700.
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