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Published: Sunday, 7/29/2007

Time for Hens to watch scoreboard

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

As the end of the month of July quickly approaches, more than just the dog days of August are on tap.

A total of 36 games remain in the Mud Hens 2007 season, and the race for a third straight Governors Cup begins to intensify. What s more, the Hens begin to engage in another favorite pastime: scoreboard watching.

When you get towards the end of July, you start to watch [the scoreboard] a little at least I do, Mud Hens manager Mike Rojas admitted.

So far the scores Rojas has seen have been favorable.Toledo began play last night with a six-game lead over Indianapolis in the International League s West Division, with third-place Louisville one game in back of the Indians.

The key for the Hens this season was an impressive 20-9 run in June which lifted the team from two games in back of the Tribe to three games in front.

While Toledo has posted a 12-13 record this month, the Hens have stretched that advantage to six games thanks to Indy s 8-16 mark in July.

With the Hens magic number of 33 any combination of 33 Toledo wins or Indianapolis losses will give the Hens the division title there obviously are plenty of games to play.

Both Indianapolis and Louisville have more games to play than Toledo. But 28 of the Indians final 38 games are against teams above the .500 mark, while the Bats have 20 more games against pennant contenders, the same number as the Hens.

Toledo has 18 home games left, while Indianapolis has 19 and Louisville has only 16. The Hens have nine more games against the Indians and four more with the Bats.

You never know, Rojas said. It s great to have a six-game lead, but there s still plenty of games left, and we play [Indianapolis and Louisville] head to head a lot of times.

RODNEY WATCH: Fernando Rodney s first rehab appearance Friday saw the Detroit right-hander throw 16 pitches in a scoreless inning, striking out two and walking one.

Rodney threw nine strikes and relied primarily on the fastball, using it for 11 of his 16 pitches. He twice hit 95 mph on the speed gun located on the left-field scoreboard and generally threw pitches in the low-to-mid 90s.

He is expected to work one inning today and one more inning Tuesday, with his status to be re-evaluated after his effort Tuesday.

CULPRIT FOUND: A Richmond man was arrested Friday in connection with the bomb threat made during the Mud Hens game in Virginia one week ago.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Stacy Wiggins, 39, was arrested and charged with threatening to bomb, a felony, for the bomb threat made at the Diamond last Sunday. The game was suspended in the sixth inning with the Hens leading 6-0.

The game was completed the next afternoon, with Toledo winning 7-4.

The Times-Dispatch reported that Wiggins had been fired earlier in the day by Aramark, the concessions and retail sales vendor at the ballpark.

The call was made to the Aramark office around 3:30 p.m. and prompted Richmond Braves officials to evacuate the two teams and more than 5,000 fans from the ballpark. No explosive device was found.

THREE-DOT DATA: The thumb blister that knocked right-hander Anastacio Martinez out of Friday s game is better, but Martinez still isn t available to pitch. His status is listed as day to day. Last night s crowd of 10,300 was the Mud Hens 25th sellout this season and the 165th in the six-year history of Fifth Third Field. Henry Mateo extended his current hit streak to nine games by singling in the bottom of the first. During the streak Mateo has stolen five bases and scored eight runs.



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