Many fans at Fifth Third Field Wednesday recognized Francisco Lindor — even though he does not play for the Mud Hens.
Indians fans were especially excited to watch him play — the Clippers shortstop is considered the top prospect in Cleveland’s minor-league system.
Lindor, who had a single in five at-bats in the Clippers 9-4 victory over Toledo, said his status as the organization’s top prospect does not affect him.
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“I don’t care if I’m No. 1 or the last prospect, I’ve still got to go out and play,” Lindor said. “If I don’t play well, I won’t get to the big leagues.”
The 20-year-old was born in Puerto Rico, graduated from high school in Miami, then began this season with Double-A Akron, where he hit .278 with six homers and 48 RBIs in 88 games.
He was promoted to the Clippers on July 22 and kept hitting. He’s hitting .278 after Wednesday, thanks in part to an 8-for-9 streak in back-to-back contests earlier in the week, and he has four homers and 12 RBIs in 33 games.
While Lindor had only one hit Wednesday, his teammates made up for that with five doubles and a triple off Toledo starter Robbie Ray and three relievers.
The Hens scored a run in the first, but in the second Ray hit a batter and walked a batter in front of Elliot Johnson, who hit a hard liner to center. Tyler Collins originally came in on the ball, then watched it sail over his head for a two-run triple.
Daniel Fields tied the game in the second with a home run to right, but Columbus took the lead for good with a five-run third.
Ray gave up a double and two walks to load the bases, and Justin Sellers unloaded them with a three-run double. Ray got two more outs before hitting Ryan Rohlinger with a pitch, and reliever Mike Belfiore gave up a two-run double by Jesus Aguilar.
“He threw some good pitches — some good fastballs with a good plane, and some good breaking balls,” Parrish said of Ray, who gave up four hits, four walks, and hit two in 3 2/3 innings. “But he didn’t do it consistently.”
NOTES: Pitching coach Al Nipper was not with the team Wednesday, and Tigers roving pitching instructor A.J. Sager filled in. Parrish declined comment on Nipper’s absence. … The Mud Hens placed Mike Hessman on the temporary inactive list for personal reasons and activated Brandon Douglas from the disabled list.