Ex-66er Jansen makes big league debut; others go to Double-A

Kenley Jansen, who at the beginning of the 2010 season was still a project (albeit a promising one) as a converted catcher now a pitcher. Now, he’s a big leaguer. Jansen was recalled by the Dodgers from Double-A Chattanooga after Friday’s game. He had been 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 18 innings with the Sixers, then 4-0 with eight saves in eight attempts and a 1.67 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 27 innings at Chattanooga.

In his first game with the Dodgers on Saturday, he lived up to the hype. Facing the Mets in the seventh inning of a tie game, Jansen struck out Angel Pagan and David Wright and got Carlos Beltran to ground out. His fastest pitch was 97 miles per hour.

He’s an ex-Sixer who got the call, but the Sixers and Quakes have had a few moves in the last few days. Quake right-hander Jeremy Berg (1-0, 1.45) was sent to Double-A, as was right-hander Steven Geltz (3-1, 2 saves, 3.44 ERA). Among those returning to the Quakes was shortstop Darwin Perez, who had been at Double-A.

As for the Sixers, RHP Kyle Smit went to Double-A, after going 5-3 with six saves and a 2.49 ERA with the Sixers. RHP Eric Krebs (0-2, 3.24 with the Sixers last year, 0-2, 3.89 at Double-A this year) returned to the Sixers.

RHP Nate Eovaldi (oblique strain) was placed on the DL with LHP Miguel Sanfler starting in his place Saturday. Earlier in the week OF Preston Mattingly was placed on the DL and sent to Arizona. He might not be hurt. Mattingly was seen in an argument in the Sixer dugout late in Monday’s game at High Desert, then went on the DL.

ex-Quakes dealt to Royals

Right-hander Sean O’Sullivan and left-hander Will Smith, two former Quakes, were traded by the Angels to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday for infielder Alberto Callaspo.

O’Sullivan, 22, went 16-8 with a 4.73 ERA for the Quakes in 2008, leading the Cal League in wins. He made his big-league debut last year, and on Tuesday he was the starter and winner at Yankee Stadium.

Smith, 21, had made three stops in the Angels system this year. He started with the Quakes, going 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts before he was promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake, where he was 2-4 with a 5.60 ERA in nine starts. He was then sent down to Double-A Arkansas, where he went 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA In four Double-A starts.

To me, it seems like a lot to give up two young arms for a guy who’s versatile, but hardly an established veteran. Callaspo is a former Angel farmhand who skipped the Quakes, going from Cedar Rapids in 2003 to Arkansas in 2004. He was traded to Arizona before the 2006 season for reliever Jason Bulger before going to Kansas City.

Callaspo was batting .275 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs in 88 games this season. He played at second base or third base for the Royals. He had his breakthrough in 2008 when he batted .305 in 74 games for the Royals, then hit .300 with 11 home runs in 155 games last year.

Trout gives Quakes fans a peek at his talent

Mike Trout, the 18-year-old wunderkind who plays center field for the Quakes, made his Epicenter debut on Tuesday.

It was a solid night: he was 1-for-2 with a walk and a successful sacrifice bunt.

The bunt might have been the most impressive.

Manager Keith Johnson said that frequently when speed guys lay down a bunt in a sacrificing situation, they do so trying too much for a hit. Then, it’s not even successful as a sacrifice. But what he liked about Trout was that he got the bunt down first, a solid one between the mound and third base.

That was good, but the impressive part was that the play started out as a relatively routine out at first. Yet Trout didn’t treat it that way, blazing down the line and nearly beating it out.

Bullpen woes continue for Sixers

It’s hard to understand the pitching moves the Sixers have made in the sweep at Lake Elsinore that ended Friday.

Whatever they are, they haven’t worked.

In Game 1, they brought in closer Matt Sartor to pitch the ninth, protecting a 7-6 lead. Sartor gave up two runs, as the Sixers lost 8-7 on Jesus Lopez’s sacrifice fly.

In Game 2, seldom-used Robert Boothe needs to get his work in, but protecting a 3-1 lead in the seventh? But after Boothe allowed four in the seventh and the Sixers fall behind 5-3, wasn’t it time to pull the plug on Boothe while the game was still close? The Sixers didn’t and Boothe allowed four more in the eighth in a 9-3 loss.

In Game 3, left-hander Miguel Sanfler came with a 3-2 lead and two on and no outs in the eighth. He pitched out of that jam. Instead of turning to Sartor for the ninth, the Sixers stuck with Sanfler. With two outs and runners on first and second, the right-handed Sartor was warming up. But manager Jeff Carter chose to stick with lefty Sanfler to face right-handed Lopez. Lopez delivered the game-tying single.

Then, having already pitched two full innings, Sanfler came out for the 10th and allowed a leadoff double to Adam Zornes off the wall in left-center that let to Bo Davis’ walk-off single to left with one out.

You don’t want to overwork the bullpen, to be sure. But surely there were other options out there than what Carter chose.

Area teams represented in Futures Game

I’m usually off on Sunday, but today, I’m covering the Futures Game in Anaheim. The game, part of the all-star festivities, represents some of the minor leagues’ best prospects.

Nearly every organization is represented in the game, with no team getting more than 3 players in the game.

The 66ers and Quakes starting third basemen, Pedro Baez and Luis Jimenez, respectively, are playing for the World Team. Other players in the game include ex-Quakes Hank Conger and Alexander Torres (now with Tampa Bay), Mike Trout (reportedly expected to join the Quakes after the game) and Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect Dee Gordon, who skipped the Sixers.

Trout, 18, seemed to get the biggest round of applause during pregame introductions, but Jimenez and Conger did too.

Gordon walked and scored a run in the first inning and Conger flew out. Trout did not start but pinch-ran for Phillies No. 1 prospect Domonic Brown in the first inning. Baez and Jimenez are not in the game yet. U.S. currently leads the World 2-1 in the bottom of the second. The U.S. serves as the home team.

Sweep is a thing of beauty for 66ers, Manny’s next

The 66ers hadn’t swept the Lake Elsinore Storm in any series since June 10-12, 2008, and hadn’t swept a series at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore since July 31-August 2, 2007.

So despite each pitching staff walking a season-high 11 batters and the Sixers leaving 13 men on base, the Sixers’ 10-8 victory over host Lake Elsinore was a thing of beauty for them, giving the Sixers a three-game sweep and a fifth straight win.

It gives the team a lot of momentum heading home for a three-game series against Lancaster. Manny Ramirez is expected to play in a rehabilitation assignment for Saturday’s game.

The Sixers snapped a 6-6 tie with four runs in the top of the ninth, the last two of which were unearned against Aaron Breit (2-5). Chris Gutierrez’s RBI double snapped the tie, and an insurance run scored on a fielding error by Jesus Lopez on a Brad Ausmus grounder. Two more runs scored to make it 10-6 on a bases-loaded walk by Travis Denker and a sacrifice fly by Pedro Baez, which proved important.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Storm rallied. Allan Dykstra hit a leadoff homer and Jesus Lopez walked before Adam Zornes struck out against Brandon Mann (3-0), who had allowed the tying run to score in the eighth.

Matt Sartor (fifth save) then replaced Mann and allowed an RBI single to Daniel Robertson to make it 10-8, and a double off the wall in right by Cole Figueroa, after Vince Belnome walked for the fourth time in the game to load the bases, Sartor got Cody Decker to pop up and Jaff Decker to fly out to end the game.

It was the second straight crazy win. On Thursday, the Sixers trailed 4-2 entering the ninth, only to score three times to take the lead. Lake Elsinore tied it 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth before Austin Gallagher’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th gave the Sixers the lead. They had to hold on, however, as the Storm left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.

The real Manny is coming back to I.E.

Fans of Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez were already expected to be well-represented for Saturday’s 66er home game at Arrowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino. After all, the Sixers are giving away Ramirez action figures to the first 1,000 fans 12 and under.

But now, Ramirez himself will be in a Sixers uniform for the game.

Ramirez (hamstring) is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment with the 66ers beginning on Saturday, his third such rehab assignment in the last two years.

Ramirez is scheduled to serve as DH for Saturday’s game against Lancaster, the opening of a three-game series. He might return to play Sunday and Monday with the team. Both of those games are at home as well.

Earlier this year, Ramirez served a two-game rehab assignment with the Sixers May 4 and 6, going 1-for-4 at Lake Elsinore  He was recovering from a calf injury.

Last year, on June 27-29, Ramirez played three games for the Sixers, as he was returning from a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test. He went 3-for-7 in the three games, homering in his first game, at Lake Elsinore, then playing two games at home against the Quakes.

Also expected to play for the Sixers is Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus, recovering from a strained back. It would be Ausmus’ fourth game of a rehab assignment with the Sixers. He served as DH Wednesday and Friday, and caught Thursday. He is expected to catch Saturday.

Barely old enough to shave, Corbin gets shaving cream treatment

At 20 years old, Quakes left-hander Patrick Corbin is the youngest player on the team. And he doesn’t look any older than that. He does, however, pitch like he’s older than that.

After going 8-0 with low Single-A Cedar Rapids earlier this season, Corbin improved his Cal League record to 3-2 with  3.26 ERA after pitching six shutout innings on Saturday in the Quakes’ 3-2 win over Lake Elsinore.

During the postgame interview with yours truly, at least three teammates (I believe two were Gabe Jacobo and Beau Brooks) pretending bats were microphones, sticking them near us as a radio reporter would.

Corbin was enjoying the moment and answering my questions. He did not notice teammate Luis Jimenez sneak around behind him. As I asked him a question about the strike zone, Jimenez shoved a (plate or towel) full of shaving cream in his face as his teammates watched.

Corbin didn’t seem to mind, except he admitted the taste of it wasn’t his favorite.

Dodgers release ex-all star Koss

Paul Koss, a USC product, who was a Cal League all-star for the 66ers in 2008, has been released by the Dodgers from the 66ers.

Koss went 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 14 saves for the Sixers two years ago, earning a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga last year. He was 0-0 with two saves an a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances, but was placed on the disabled list on June 28 and missed the rest of the season with right shoulder soreness.

He was sent back to the Sixers to start 2010, and never regained that form. Koss was the closer to start the season, but never regained his form from 2008. He was 1-5 with a 5.93 ERA and only two saves in eight opportunities for the Sixers. At 25, Koss is a little on the old side, but could get another shot with an independent league team if another organization doesn’t pick him up.

The Sixers activated LHP Geison Aguasviva off the disabled list to replace Koss.

Amarista promoted, Baird returns

The last of the three Quakes all-stars still with the team, second baseman Alexi Amarista, was promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake after Wednesday’s game.

There, he will be reunited with his Quakes double play partner for most of the first half, Darwin Perez.

Whether Amarista will remain with Salt Lake remains to be seen, the Angels have several middle infield injuries in their system. But he likely won’t be back with the Quakes.

Returning to the Quakes is third baseman Dillon Baird, who had been out of action since he was hit on the hand by a pitch on May 8.

Baird, Gabe Jacobo and Luis Jimenez are expected to anchor the middle of the Quakes lineup, with one of them likely the DH the majority of days. Jacobo plays first, Jimenez plays third and Baird can play first or third. Baird served as the DH Thursday, his first game back and delivered an RBI double on the first pitch he saw.