The unseasonably warm temperatures in Toledo yesterday were welcomed by Toledoans thawing out from a long winter, and by a Mud Hen shaking the frost off his swing.
The temperature at game time for Toledo s 11-4 victory over Charlotte last night was 72 degrees. Hens designated hitter Timo Perez, who entered the game batting .100, responded with two doubles, a single, and four RBIs.
Following the game, both Perez and Toledo manager Larry Parrish said the warmest weather so far in this young season played a role in Perez s big night.
He likes that warmer weather, Parrish said. He wasn t being very selective at the plate last week, but he s a good hitter and he s going to hit.
Perez, who lives in San Cristobal, D.R., during the offseason, said: Those first [four] games it was too cold and you swing different. In nice weather you can swing hard, swing at inside pitches, everything.
Perez actually made one of Toledo s three outs in the first, but his teammates got to Knights starter Rob Bell for three runs in that frame. Brett Clevlen had a two-run single and Matt Joyce followed with an RBI hit both with two outs.
Perez struck with a two-run double in the Hens four-run second inning. Toledo (4-1) sent eight batters to the plate in each of the first two innings, pounding Bell for seven runs, eight hits.
Derek Wathan had two of those hits and stretched his hitting streak to five games. Wathan and Ryan Raburn, the Hens first two hitters last night, were on base a combined seven times and scored three runs apiece.
Tonight, everybody had a good night, Perez said.
The Hens scored their last two runs in the eighth off former Toledo pitcher Matt Anderson. Perez had an RBI double and Mike Hessman drove in a run.
Toledo s Caonabo Cosme blasted his first home run of the year in the sixth off Charlotte reliever Joe Winkelsas.
Knights center fielder Dewayne Wise, who played for the Hens in 2005, doubled twice and scored a run last night. His lead-off double in the fourth inning was the first hit off Toledo starting pitcher Eddie Bonine.
Bonine, making his first start of the year, was charged with three runs on four hits and three walks in 51/3 innings. Dating to last season, Bonine has won 11 of his last 12 decisions.
SECOND LOOK: Hens starting pitcher Macay McBride will get a second opinion after Tigers doctors yesterday found stretched ligaments in his left elbow.
McBride, who underwent an MRI in Detroit, was removed from his start on Saturday after one inning. Parrish said elbow surgery is a possibility.
Parrish confirmed that right-hander Jeremy Johnson will take McBride s place in the rotation Thursday.
COMING SOON: Parrish said relief pitcher Ian Ostlund (neck strain) threw a bullpen session yesterday with no ill effects and is eligible to come off the DL Thursday.
Parrish said he hopes Ostlund, who went 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA while with Toledo last year, joins the Hens pen when activated.
MAKING ROUNDS: Tigers minor-league hitting coordinator Toby Harrah is in Toledo and said of power-hitting prospect Jeff Larish, who hit his first homer Friday night and two more Saturday night: He gets a lot out of his at-bats. He puts his A swing on a lot of pitches. He s doing more right than he is wrong right now.
TONIGHT: Hens right-hander Virgil Vasquez (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will pitch against Charlotte right-handed knuckleball specialist Charlie Haeger (0-1, 2.57) at 6:30 p.m.