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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Norfolk adds to Mud Hens woes


NORFOLK, Va. Andy Barkett had a bag of ice on his sore right ankle late last night as the Toledo Mud Hens prepared to bus to Charlotte for yet another two-game road series.

The visitors clubhouse he was standing in was lacking in activity and void of the typical background noise. This was the clubhouse of a team on the skids.

The Mud Hens fell for the ninth consecutive time last night, this time 7-1 to the Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park.

The Mud Hens definitely picked the wrong team to play while in a slump as Norfolk rates as the hottest team in the International League, having gone 25-8 since July 6 to climb back into the playoff picture.

Meanwhile, the Mud Hens are going to soon find themselves out of the playoff hunt if they don t turn things around.

This is the wrong time of the year to be playing this poorly, said Barkett, who scored the Mud Hens only run and had one of the team s three hits. We re at the point of the season where teams that are playing well go to the playoffs and the ones not playing well go home.

With pitcher James Baldwin making last night s start, the Mud Hens had to feel they had a legitimate chance to end the skid.

Baldwin had pitched at least into the eighth inning in each of his last four starts and was 3-0 with a 2.25 earned run average in those games.

So much for that theory.

The Mud Hens are still 0-for-August as Baldwin (7-5) gave up a season-high 13 hits and lasted just six innings.

Before yesterday s game the Mud Hens added first baseman Jorge Toca and pitcher Lino Urdaneta to the roster.

Toca played briefly for the New York Mets from 1999-2001. He began this season with the Cancun Lobstermen, for whom he hit .339 in 16 games. He signed with Montreal on April 29 and played in 55 games for Triple-A Edmonton in the Pacific Coast League, batting .302 with four homers and 21 RBIs.

Urdaneta was a Rule 5 pick of the parent Tigers last December who has been shelved March 29 with right elbow inflammation. He made one appearance for the Hens April 30 but felt discomfort and returned to the Tigers. In the past week Urdaneta made two starts for Single-A Lakeland, allowing five hits and three earned runs in 21/3 innings.

Also the Hens sent pitcher Felix Cuello to Double-A Erie.

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