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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 5/5/2007

Espinosa makes big play for Hens

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The play of the game in the Mud Hens' 6-4 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Fifth Third Field last night probably won't show up in most box scores. But David Espinosa's fine running catch of a fly ball in the eighth was critical in preserving Toledo's victory.

"It goes in my box score. I'm [writing] it up in my game report," Hens interim manager Mike Rojas said. "He ran a long way to get that."

The play came with the Yankees' Andrew Beattie batting against Toledo's Corey Hamman with runners on first and second and one out. Beattie lofted a fly down the right-field line that seemed destined to drop, but Espinosa back-handed the ball on a dead sprint just a step shy of the line.

"Off the bat, I wasn't sure [I would catch it]," Espinosa admitted. "But an outfielder should always feel like you're going to catch it. If you don't feel you're going to catch it, you won't catch it.

"About half-way to it I thought I might have to dive to catch it. But then I got to it and was happy I did something, because I'm not doing much at the plate."

Espinosa had a sacrifice fly and a walk in three plate appearances last night, and is hitting just .105. He has only two hits in his last 31 at-bats.

"You have to put [your struggles] aside," Espinosa said. "If you're out there thinking about your hitting, you won't get to that ball.

"You have to keep the hitting in the hitting area; when you're in the field, you have to make plays."

"That was a great catch," said Scranton manager Dave Miley, who managed Espinosa when both were in Cincinnati's minor-league system. "Espy is a great athlete."

MATEO MOVES: Before last night's game the Mud Hens activated Henry Mateo, whom the parent Tigers signed to a minor-league contract.

Mateo, who flew in from the Dominican Republic and arrived late yesterday, was not in the starting lineup but was available to pinch-run or pinch-hit.

"He's a utility guy. He can play the infield, and he can play the outfield," Rojas said. "He had a long day [Thursday], so we'll give him a day to get his feet on the ground."

To make room for Mateo on the roster the Mud Hens sent left-handed reliever Ian Ostlund to Double-A Erie.

"We had eight relievers, and we already had three left-handers," Rojas said to explain the move. "We need Ian to make sure he gets his innings.

"Not that I would be hesitant to throw Ian, but he needs to get steady work."

Ostlund has not pitched since April 29.

THREE-DOT DATA: Dane Sardinha's RBI double in the fifth extended his current hitting streak to eight games, the longest active streak on the team. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Tigers are in discussions with pitcher Brian Lawrence on a minor-league contract. Lawrence, a right-hander who has pitched for San Diego, was released in April by Colorado after going 0-2 with an 8.69 ERA in three starts for Colorado Springs.



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