*** Chicago White Sox Minor League Report - April 26th *** From The Sports Network
CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS - Catcher Ryan Hankins was 2-for-3 and knocked in both runs for the Knights on Sunday, but that was still one fewer than Norfolk scored as they picked up the one-run victory at home in Virginia. The setback capped a brief two-game trip to Norfolk against which Charlotte, now last in the South Division of the International League with a record of 7-10, will play a pair at home against to start the week. The team has now dropped five straight outings, with reliever Mitch Wylie being tabbed for two of those losses out of the bullpen. The Knights have a decent pitching staff at the moment, with the crown jewel of the group being Felix Diaz with his 3-0 record and 2.59 ERA in four starts. He has the most innings under his belt (24 1/3) and has struck out 21 batters, while issuing only a pair of walks. Even though his batting average has taken a bit of a dip over the last few games, Bryant Nelson appears to be one of the only hitters that the Knights can count on these days, with the 31-year old hitting .329 and leading the group with three home runs and 12 RBI heading into the week.
BIRMINGHAM BARONS - It had to happen sometime, and for the Barons it was on Sunday when the Greenville Braves handed them a 5-0 shutout at home. It was the first time in 2004 that Birmingham, now second in the West Division of the Southern League at 9-7, failed to get a run across the plate in a contest. The defeat also snapped a three-game win streak for the AA club, which closes out a four-game set with Greenville on Monday afternoon. Outfielder Micah Franklin was credited with one of the team's three hits on the day, but his batting average remains one of the worst on the team as well as among every day players in the league at just .120, having been to the plate 50 times with twice as many strikeouts (14) as he has total bases (seven).
WINSTON-SALEM WARTHOGS - How does a team start a season with just three wins in 15 games? Ask the Warthogs who dropped an 11-2 decision to Potomac on Sunday to account for their seventh setback in the last nine decisions. Except for a 10-0 loss to Myrtle Beach and a 13-2 blowout at the hands of Lynchburg, many of those contests have at least been relatively close, so to speak. On Sunday hurler Rob Purvis was tabbed for his second loss of the year after allowing seven earned runs on five hits and as many walks, while striking out only one in 3 1/3 innings of work. The outing inflated his ERA to a whopping 9.37, making him one of three players with an average of at least 9.0 at the moment. At the other end of the spectrum for the club is righthander Jose Espinal who has made six appearances in relief, resulting in 12 strikeouts and a 1.64 ERA over the course of 11 innings of action. Even with him making his share of appearances, the Warthogs are nine games out of first place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League.
KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS - Three powerful innings of offense on Sunday helped to lift the Intimidators to an easy 11-2 win over Augusta and to an 8-7 record in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League. Outfielder Seth Morris cracked his third home run of the season and accounted for three RBI, even though he still carries a .171 batting average into the final week of April. Fellow outfield Clinton King registered his first long ball of the campaign and also drove in three for Kannapolis in the victory. The two main power hitters for the Intimidators (catcher Charlie Lisk and outfielder Chris Young, both with four home runs) appear to have hit a snag as of late, combining for 39 strikeouts while Young fails to have knocked in anyone other than himself to this point.