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Published: Saturday, 6/23/2007

Mud Hens back at full strength

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The Hens  Jack Hannahan belts his second home run of the night against Indianapolis.
The Hens Jack Hannahan belts his second home run of the night against Indianapolis.
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The Mud Hens recently completed a 6-2 road trip to Syracuse and Ottawa, which is impressive.

But the team's ability to play .750 baseball despite the turnover of its pitching staff was simply amazing.

Since the team finished its most-recent homestand June 12, the Hens have made nine moves involving pitchers. Three of those moves involved injuries to Jason Karnuth, Ian Ostlund, and Dennis Tankersley. Roman Colon left when he was suspended by the parent Tigers, and Eulogio De La Cruz was called up by Detroit.

That left the Mud Hens short of pitchers starting with the final game of the Syracuse series, but Vic Darensbourg saved the bullpen by pitching a season-high 31/3 innings.

The next day Preston Larrison allowed just one run in the final 31/3 innings to claim a save at Ottawa, and Yorman Bazardo covered five innings to earn the victory one day later.

The good news is that Toledo is back at full strength entering this series with Indianapolis. Jon Connolly and Anthony Tomey were called up from Double-A Erie, while right-hander Anastacio Martinez was acquired from Washington for a player to be named later.

Martinez was 2-3 with a 4.73 ERA while pitching for Columbus but has a 0.90 ERA in relief. Mud Hens interim manager Mike Rojas said Martinez, who joined the team yesterday, will work out of the bullpen.

Bazardo will re-enter the Hens' rotation Monday in the series finale against the Indians, while Jordan Tata will have his next start pushed back to Tuesday.

According to Rojas, the only bullpen role that is certain is that Aquilino Lopez will serve as the team's closer.

"With everybody else, I'll use them based on when I feel it's the right time," Rojas said.

CLEARING THE CLUBHOUSE: Rojas confirmed that an incident occurred in the Toledo clubhouse less than a half hour before the team's game against Norfolk on Tuesday, June 12.

Rojas declined to disclose what took place, and team members were not permitted to comment on the incident.

Colon reinjured himself in the incident, and Karnuth allegedly was struck by Colon while trying to break up a fight between Colon and Tata. Karnuth has been placed on the disabled list and since has had surgery for facial injuries.

The parent Tigers suspended Colon, who was with the Hens on a major-league rehab, for his role in the incident. Rojas said Tata also was suspended.

"It was an unfortunate incident to happen to this club," Rojas said. "This a great club with a lot of professional individuals. But now it's water under the bridge.

"I could make a comment about some of the stories I've read, but I'm not going to."

THREE-DOT DATA: Sandusky Perkins grad Brian Bixler had a tough night for Indianapolis, going 0-for-5 and striking out four times. Last night's crowd of 10,300 was the 11th sellout for the Mud Hens this season and the 151st sellout in the six-year history of Fifth Third Field. The Mud Hens turned two double plays last night to give them 100 on the season. That is tops in the International League, 21 more than the next-best team, Louisville.



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