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Rob Brantly was excited when the Tigers promoted one of his friends, third baseman Nick Castellanos, to Double-A Erie Tuesday.
The pair only played together one day: Around midnight, Brantly found out that he was being promoted to the Mud Hens.
"I was kind of numb to it," Brantly admitted. "Once it set in, then it was pretty exciting.
"The drive from Erie to Toledo was the shortest three-hour drive in my life. It felt like it happened in a flash, and I was in Toledo."
Brantly collected one hit in three at-bats in the Hens' 5-1 loss to Charlotte at Fifth Third Field Wednesday. For Brantly, it was a continuation of a strong offensive start with the SeaWolves.
The 22-year-old native of San Diego ranked among the Eastern League leaders with a .311 average, and he was the toughest batter in the league to strike out, fanning once every 11.47 at-bats.
"I felt I came in with a good approach offensively and got off to a good start there," Brantly said. "I was seeing the ball well. Defensively, I was trying to 'mature' my catching, because that is the reason [the Tigers] make a move like this."
Brantly said much of his work is not focused on a physical aspect of catching.
"I'm working on my communication with my pitchers," he said. "You can tell, in the pace of a game, when a catcher is on the same page with his pitcher, and when he's not. You can see them working together.
"What's the body language like? Are you helping the pitcher, or are you frustrating him?"
Brantly joins a Toledo team that continues to struggle on offense, getting just one run on six hits Wednesday in the team's fourth consecutive loss. In those four losses the Hens have totalled six runs on 26 hits.
The Mud Hens lone run came in the fifth, when Ryan Strieby hit a high fly ball off the scoreboard in left for his eighth home run of the season.
"We just didn't get many hits," Toledo manager Phil Nevin said of Wednesday's game. "We did take some good swings."
The lack of offense spoiled a solid performance by starter Thad Weber. He gave up a home run to the first batter of the game, Charlotte's Tyler Kuhn, and gave up three straight singles for a third-inning tally. Otherwise the right-hander held the Knights in check on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven innings.
"It's kind of been an epidemic of giving up home runs in the first inning," said Weber, who has given up six first-inning home runs in his last four starts. "It's something I need to get away from because I don't want to put my team in here in the first inning. I was able to settle down, make some pitches, and the defense was outstanding behind me."
The Knights broke the game open in the eighth when Jordan Danks hit a three-run homer off the Hens' Collin Balester.
NOTES: Toledo's Brad Eldred went 0-for-4 to end his 11-game hit streak. … The Tigers announced that Austin Jackson will join the Hens today. He will have three at-bats in today's game, then play a full game Friday. … Ryan Raburn did not play Wednesday because of a tight hamstring. He remains day-to-day. … LHP Matt Hoffman left the game after facing two batters in the eighth. Nevin said Hoffman felt soreness in his left forearm and would know more about Hoffman's status today.
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.