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June 7, 2005 at 5:06 PM

Wilmington Blue Rocks Report with Steve Lenox by David Laurila

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - This is the third of several Wilmington reports that we will feature this season. Steve Lenox is the Blue Rocks radio voice and Director of Media Relations.

DL: It's been a month since our last report. How did the team look in the month of May?

SL: The club went 15-15 in the month of May. Mickey Hall really started to get going offensively, but had a fracture of his index finger on his left hand in a game against Frederick on May 25. It looks like he will be out for an extended period of time. Mickey hit .325 (25-for-77) with 8 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, and 17 RBI. He was recognized as the Blue Rocks Player of the Month for May and received a signature watch from a local jeweler. Anibal Sanchez turned in several impressive outings in May. He went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in five starts. People are really starting to pick up interest in him because he has done a terrific job in the starting role.
DL: Matt Van Der Bosch replaced Hall on the roster. Can you be more specific on how long will Mickey be out, and how has Matt looked since joining the team?
SL: It's going to be four to six weeks for Mickey. He has stayed with the club and continues to work hard with his conditioning. Our hitting coach, Bruce Crabbe, has told us that although Mickey is limited in what he can do, he does whatever he can to stay in shape. Matt has been in the lineup everyday, hitting in the leadoff spot and playing centerfield. He's a left-handed hitter who puts tremendous pressure on the infield defense when he hits the ball on the ground. He has shown the ability to work the count and see a lot of pitches. I am looking forward to the first time that he has to chase after a ball in our spacious outfield at Frawley Stadium. He can go after it and not too many balls are going to fall in with him patrolling centerfield.
DL: Has anyone else been out of the line-up due to injury?
SL: Ian Bladergroen is still out with a wrist injury. Ian and Mickey are together on most days with their conditioning programs. He is still a few weeks away.
DL: Steve Langone was activated recently, giving the Blue Rocks three New England natives in the bullpen. How have he, Pete Fisher, and Barry Hertzler been throwing?
SL: Pete was actually promoted to Double-A Portland last week. He's a great guy and was terrific working out of the bullpen, which is something that took some getting used to. I had one conversation with him (Pete) a while back about an outing that he had and he was very upfront and honest with the questions that I had for him. Steve is similar to Pete in that he is older and is here in Wilmington to build up arm strength. I joked around with him on our last road trip about having two wins already. The wins are not important for him right now. Building arm strength and staying healthy are the objectives. All three that you mentioned grew up as Red Sox fans. Barry is the youngest of the three and has been solid when called upon out of the bullpen.
DL: Who have been the stalwarts out of the bullpen so far this year?
SL: Everyone. They have all improved since the opening of the season. Edgar Martinez "El Guapo" is working on the feel for his change-up. He has a pretty good fastball and has been getting some opportunities to close out games recently. He had back-to-back outings where he did not allow a single base runner. Randy Beam is the only lefty out of the pen. He has great movement on his pitches.
DL: Give us a brief update on two other pitchers -- Tommy Hottovy and Jose Vaquedano.
SL: Vaquedano has moved into the starting rotation since the last time we talked. He has great poise on the mound. He keeps the club in the game and when he is on, he'll get a lot of groundball outs. Tommy had a rough stretch, but has turned things around. He is very mature and he is another one of the starting pitchers that works hard between starts. He is very much self-motivated.

DL: Is there anything else you'd like to pass along?
SL: The first half of the season wraps up on June 19. As of June 7, the club is a season-high nine games below .500 (23-32). Hall's injury really hurt the offense. The club is struggling to find consistency on the offensive side. Here are some numbers for you. The club has had 38 of their 56 games decided by three runs or less this season and 14 of the last 16 have been decided by two runs or less. A few clutch hits here and there and fortunes may turn. Andrew Dobies has been promoted to Wilmington from Greenville. Jarrett Gardner was sent down to Greenville. Dobies makes his first start in the second game of a doubleheader at home tonight.