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Published: Sunday, 6/28/2009

Where do ex-Mud Hens go?

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Where do Mud Hens go when they are no longer Mud Hens?

Many different places, actually. Some end up managing major-league teams, which is the case in five different big-league dugouts.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel played for the Mud Hens in 1973, while Texas skipper Ron Washington saw extended action in Toledo in 1980-81 and 1986. Indians manager Eric Wedge played here in 1996, while A.J. Hinch, who took over as manager in Arizona recently, played in Toledo in 2003.

And current Phillies manager Charlie Manuel led the Mud Hens to a 62-77 record in 1986.

Others have begun the climb up the managerial ladder: One example is Andy Barkett, who played here in 2004 and now serves as skipper of the Tigers' Single-A club in Lakeland, Fla.

Some other former Hens managing in the minors include Ernie Young (2003), who is in his first year with the White Sox' Single-A team in Kannapolis, N.C.; Marty Pevey (1992-93), the skipper of the Cubs' Single-A team in Peoria, Ill., and Tim Leiper (1988-90, '95), who manages Florida's Single-A team in Jupiter, Fla.

Two former Hens have jobs as managers in the Mets' organization: Tim Teufel, who played here in 1982-83 and was International League MVP in 1983 is at Single-A St. Lucie, Fla., while Mike DiFelice (2004) is at Short Season Kingsport, Tenn.

And Marcus Jensen (1997) is the manager of Oakland's rookie-level team in the Arizona League, where his pitching coach is another former Hen, Ariel Prieto (2004).

Many former Hens are still on the field, including two who recently have joined International League teams.

Kody Kirkland was called up to Gwinnett from Double-A Mississippi and played in 13 games with the G-Braves before returning to Double-A. It's interesting to note that Kirkland, who played third base primarily for the Hens last year, played shortstop for Gwinnett.

And soon after leaving Toledo last month, Pawtucket added outfielder Freddy Guzman to the roster. Guzman has hit .252 in 35 games for the Red Sox with 11 steals after swiping an IL-best 56 bases for the Hens last year.

The Triple-A Pacific Coast League is dotted with former Mud Hens, the most notable being RHP Yorman Bazardo (2007-08). Bazardo ranks fifth in the PCL with a 2.67 ERA and has a 7-2 record for Round Rock, Texas.

One of his teammates is former Hen Jose Capellan (2007), who isn't faring quite as well. Capellan is 1-8 with an 8.31 ERA in 18 appearances for the Express; his eight losses is the second-most in the league, while his ERA is the worst in all of minor-league baseball among pitchers who would qualify for their league's ERA title.

Other former Hens of note in the PCL include Erick Almonte (2007-08), who is hitting .321 for Nashville; Eric Munson (2002), who is batting .294 with six homers for Sacramento; and Chris Shelton (2004-07), who is playing third base for Tacoma and hitting .319 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs.

In the Mexican League, former Hen Benji Gil (2004) is hitting well, batting .338 while leading the league with 31 doubles for Chihuahua, while Timo Perez (2007-08) is batting .307 for Veracruz and Raul Casanova (1996-99) is batting .270 in time split between Quintana Roo and Reynosa.

And several former Hens are faring well in independent ball. David Espinosa (2005-07) is among the hitting leaders in the American Association thanks to a .349 batting average for Grand Prairie, Texas, while Dustan Mohr (2006) is hitting .316 with six homers and 36 RBIs for Wichita.

A LONG DAY'S NIGHT: The Mud Hens' recent four-game homestand with Durham produced some of the longest games in Fifth Third Field history.

Tuesday's opener, which covered 13 innings and lasted 4:34, wasn't even the longest game in the series: that honor went to Friday's contest, which lasted 15 innings and was played in 4:37.

But both of those games fell just short of the Fifth Third Field records for longest games. The longest in terms of innings played was a 16-inning affair between the Hens and Syracuse on June 16, 2006.

Curiously, the longest game in terms of time was a contest between Toledo and Rochester that went 4:39 and was played on June 23, 2003 - exactly six years before Tuesday's game.

Out of the running for longest game is Thursday's contest, which was played in 2:44. If you add in the rain delay that pushed the start back 1:38, that contest covered "only" 4:22.



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