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Published: Monday, 6/12/2006

Notebook: Mud Hens still hoping for a suitable fill-in for Miner


Even though the Mud Hens lost starter Zach Miner to the parent Tigers May 31, Toledo still hasn't fully filled Miner's spot in the rotation.

When Miner's spot in the rotation first came up June 8 in Buffalo, the Hens received one of the top prospects in Detroit's minor-league system, right-hander Humberto Sanchez.

But Sanchez, who earned the victory after limiting the Bisons to six hits and a run in 52/3 innings, returned to Double-A Erie following the game.

Prior to yesterday's contest, the Tigers promoted left-hander Lance Davis to Toledo from Single-A Lakeland to fill an open spot on the roster.

Davis began the season with the Mud Hens, posting an 0-2 record and 6.41 ERA in four April starts before getting sent down to Lakeland April 27. He then went 2-3 with a 5.26 ERA in seven starts for the Single-A Tigers before taking the place of Sanchez for a spot start in Erie June 8.

Davis was brilliant for the SeaWolves, allowing just two hits and a single earned run in six innings. He was saddled with a hard-luck loss, however, when Erie was shut out by New Hampshire 1-0.

But Sanchez has been brilliant with the SeaWolves all season. He is 5-3 for Erie, ranks third in the Eastern League with a 1.76 ERA and stands second in that league with 86 strikeouts.

So why did the Mud Hens receive Davis instead of Sanchez?

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish declined to talk about the reasons behind Davis' promotion, but did say Sanchez was impressive in his first-ever Toledo appearance.

"He showed a good fastball," Parrish said of Sanchez. "It looked like he threw a curveball that he expected hitters to swing at balls - and they didn't do it. He's got a good breaking ball, but it's not a strike, and guys weren't swinging at it.

"It looks like he'll be ready to pitch here in the not-too-distant future."

Miner's spot in the rotation comes up again tomorrow in the series opener against Syracuse, but Parrish said he did not know who would start the contest.

MORE ROSTER MATTERS: Before yesterday's game the Mud Hens reinstated pitcher Mark Woodyard from the temporary inactive list. Woodyard left the team June 8 for a family funeral.

After the contest the Hens released RHP Tony Fiore, who was 3-4 with a 7.62 ERA in 13 appearances. The release of Fiore leaves the Mud Hens one player short. Presumably Fiore's replacement will start tomorrow's game.

Josh Phelps, who went on the disabled list June 7 with a hip flexor injury, has taken batting practice. He'sld be eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday.

Don Kelly did not play for the second straight night.

Two factors kept the left-handed hitting Kelly out of the lineup - Ottawa used a left-handed starter for the second straight night, and Kelly has just two hits in his last 27 at-bats.

THREE-DOT DATA: Ottawa's Howie Clark singled in the third inning to extend his current hitting streak to 14 games. Last night's crowd of 9,740 was the Mud Hens' third sellout in as many days. It also was the team's ninth sellout this season and the 116th in the five-year history of Fifth Third Field. BG native Andy Tracy struggled in four at-bats against Toledo southpaws last night - he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

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