Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
JULY 2011

It is intended that this page will maintain a historical record of previous news published on this site. From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages. It may interest some people to read the developments in chronological order right here.

ARCHIVED NEWS FROM JULY 2011 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
JU
LY 2011

To make things easier for our loyal subscribers we will adopt a new format of
providing news involving
AUSTRALIAN Players in yellow text, while 
news about former AMLB IMPORT Players will be in white text.

  28 JUL 2011 - BALFOUR CLOSES THE DOOR ON TAMPA!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour
Established Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR closed out a comfortable 6-1 win for his Oakland Athletics over the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday with a solid 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (1.98ERA).

Grant ensured that there could be no last inning heroics for his former club when he shut down the top of the ninth. To start the inning most positively he fanned former team mate B.J Upton on four pitches but he then put a runner in scoring position when Matt Joyce doubled to deep right field. Joyce moved to third on a Robinson Chirinos ground out to the short stop, then Sean Rodriguez also grounded out to short to end the inning and the game.
  27 JUL 2011 - BALFOUR & SPENCE STRONG AGAIN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour



Josh Spence
Australian power pitcher GRANT BALFOUR has been mentioned as a possible mover before the 2011 trade deadline but in the meantime he continues to do a fine job for the Oakland Athletics. In yesterdays 7-5 win over his former club the Tampa Bay Rays, Grant collected his 18th hold of the season with a most efficient 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (2.03ERA). Balfour made pretty short work of the the top of the eighth with Casey Kotchman flying out to left field, Sam Fuld also flying out to left and Elliot Johnson called out on strikes. Most importantly he preserved a precarious 6-5 lead for his team at the time.

Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN was given another opportunity to pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers during yesterday's 8-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies. With two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth Trent battled 'Rox' reliever Esmil Rogers before striking out swinging to end the inning. This left the Dodgers holding a huge 8-1 lead at the time, even though this was trimmed to 8-5 in the top of the ninth. The 0-1 day lowered his major league average to .243.

and on Monday:

Australia's 29th and most recent new major league player JOSH SPENCE continues to rack up more scoreless innings for the San Diego Padres with his latest 1.1ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (0.63ERA) in their 3-5 loss to the strong Philadelphia Phillies. His first duty yesterday was to win an important "lefty v lefty" battle with star hitter Chase Utley with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth. He got the job done by getting Utley to fly out to right field to end the inning. Spence returned to put away the bottom of the seventh with powerhouse Ryan Howard struck out swinging before Shane Victorino drew a one out walk. He moved no further than first when Raul Ibanez flied out to centre field and Domonic Brown flied out to right field.
  25 JUL 2011 - BALFOUR HOLDS 17th v YANKEES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour



Josh Spence


Rich Thompson


Trent Oeltjen


Geoff Blum
Australian relief ace GRANT BALFOUR had to battle a bit yesterday to record his 17th hold with 1.1ip 2h 0er 1bb 0k (2.08ERA) while helping his Oakland Athletics to squeeze past the New York Yankees 4-3. Grant came to the hill in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on second and two out and he soon had runners on the corners when Mark Teixeira floated a bloop single into shallow right field. He killed off that threat by getting Home Run Derby king Robinson Cano to fly out to centre field. Back for the eighth inning, Balfour caused himself another potential headache when he issued a four pitch leadoff walk to Nick Swisher who was moved to second base when Russell Martin singled into left field. Once again he kept his team in the lead by getting Eduardo Nunez to fly out to left, then he had pinch hitter Jorge Posada ground into an inning ending double-play to the short stop. As often he played a key role in the victory.

Australian lefty JOSH SPENCE threw the last innings for the San Diego Padres with 1.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 1k (0.69ERA) at the end of their disappointing 6-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Josh was made to sweat on this occasion after pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz led off the bottom of the eighth with a booming double into deep left field. Spence got the important out of star slugger Ryan Howard, who flied out to left field, then he got pinch hitter Ben Francisco to fly out to right field. He was told to intentionally walk dangerous Jimmy Rollins before finishing the inning with Victor Martinez struck out swinging.

On Saturday JOSH SPENCE pitched an even more authoritative 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k in the Padres 1-3 defeat by the Phillies. Spence mowed down the bottom of the seventh with pitcher Cole Hamels struck out swinging, Jimmy Rollins popping out to the short stop and Michael Martinez called out on strikes.

Experienced Aussie RICH THOMPSON was also in action yesterday, pitching 1.0ip 2h 0er 0bb 0k (2.79ERA) for the Los Angeles Angels during their tight 2-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Things started very well for Thompson when he came into the game with one out and a runner on second base in the bottom of the sixth when he got Josh Bell to line into an inning ending double play to the first baseman who promptly doubled off the runner at second. Richard went to work again in the seventh and he got Robert Andino to fly out to centre field ahead of Craig Tatum's single up the middle and J.J Hardy's back-to-back single into left field. This brought out the hook for Thompson in this game.
In this game Thompson's new team mate VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) cranked his 16th home run of the season with 1-4 (.223) with two RBIs. Wells had belted his 15th home run of the year the previous day with a punishing 3-5 and four RBIs to propel the Angels to their 6-1 win over the 'O-Birds'.

Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN had to warm the bench again before taking over at left field for the Los Angeles Dodgers with 0-1 (.250) in their 7-6 win over the Washington Nationals. Trent came into the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth and he was immediately in action with the glove by making the first put out of the inning with a tidy catch. He also saw plenty of action offensively in the bottom of the ninth when he was asked to bunt the leadoff runner into scoring position after he had singled. Unfortunately he dropped the ball a little too close to the catcher who cut down the lead runner with a strong throw to second base for the fielder's choice. Later in the inning Oeltjen had the joy of crossing the plate for the winning walk off run on Rafael Furcal's game winning RBI double.

Australia's versatile LUKE HUGHES was called upon to pinch run for the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in their 2-8 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Once again Luke was summoned from the pine to run for the ageing legs of slugger Jim Thome in the bottom of the ninth with one out and runners on the corners. Unfortunately his only action saw him forced out at second base on an inning ending double play to the short stop.

Former ABL import infielder GEOFF BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) has returned to the big leagues again recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks and he nailed his first home run of the season on the weekend while batting 1-4 (.214) with two RBIs in their 4-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
  22 JUL 2011 - BALFOUR & SPENCE SHINE!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour



Josh Spence

Live armed Australian GRANT BALFOUR collected his 16th hold of the year when he helped his Oakland Athletics to overcome the Detroit Tigers 7-5 with a polished 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (2.15ERA). In typical fashion Balfour took good care of the lead in the bottom of the eighth, even after evergreen Carlos Guillen threatened with a leadoff single into left field. Grant responded with three outfield outs as Alex Avila lined out to centre field, Don Kelly flied out to left and pinch hitter Jhonny Peralta flied out to centre.

Australia's most recent new major leaguer JOSH SPENCE was most impressive again, pitching 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 3k (0.82ERA) for the San Diego Padres in their unusually high scoring 14-3 thumping of the Florida Marlins. Josh banked a scoreless bottom of the seventh with three swinging strike outs and only a carefully pitched two out walk issued to Gaby Sanchez interrupted his domination of the hitters. His strike out victims were Logan Morrison, Greg Dobbs and Mike Stanton.

Australia's utility infielder LUKE HUGHES doesn't seem to be bothered by spending more time on the pine lately when he made the most of another appearance as a pinch runner for the Minnesota Twins during their 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians yesterday. As he had done the previous day, Luke was required to pinch run for veteran slugger Jim Thome after he had milked a one out walk. Hughes later scored the seventh and final run for the Twins in the eighth inning when they broke open what had been a 4-4 tie when the inning began.

His Aussie compatriot TRENT OELTJEN has also done his fair share of bench warming lately and he pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their tight 1-0 win over their bitter rivals the San Francisco Giants yesterday. As he most often seems to do, Trent did his job effectively when he was asked to bat for pitcher Clayton Kershaw with one on and one out in the top of the ninth. He required only one pitch to lay down a sacrifice bunt that moved a runner into scoring position... job done!

Backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) batted 1-4 (.288) and drove in one of only two runs scored by the Atlanta Braves in their 2-3 defeat by the Colorado Rockies.
  21 JUL 2011 - THOMPSON TOUGH FOR HALOS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Rich Thompson



Luke Hughes
Australian reliever RICH THOMPSON provided some extended duty in middle relief for the Los Angeles Angels in their 0-7 shutout defeat by the Texas Rangers with a solid 2.2ip 2h 0er 0bb 2k (2.87ERA). Richard took over for the top of the sixth inning and he struck early trouble when Mitch Moreland singled into left and Mike Napoli doubled to deep right to put runners on the corners with nobody out. He responded strongly to get Endy Chavez to ground out to the first baseman, Ian Kinsler to pop out to the second baseman and Elvis Andrus struck out swinging. Back for the seventh to face the heart of the dangerous Rangers' lineup he had Josh Hamilton to fly out to left field, Adrian Beltre struck out swinging and Michael Young grounding out to the short stop. Thompson added two more quick outs in the top of the eighth with Nelson Cruz grounding out to the third baseman and Mitch Moreland flying out to centre field before he was relieved having done the important job of keeping his team in the contest.

Yesterday Australia's LUKE HUGHES was inserted off the bench as a pinch runner for the Minnesota Twins during their 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians. Luke was asked to run for veteran slugger Jim Thome in the bottom of the ninth with one out and the bases loaded, just after Thome had been intentionally walked to fill the empty first base and to put on the force at all bases. Hughes was still running the bases when the next batter, Danny Valencia, singled in the walkoff winning run.

... and from the previous day:


Aussie infielder LUKE HUGHES hasn't been getting as much playing time lately with the Minnesota Twins since Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka has returned from the disabled list. However, he did get another start at second base in the nightcap of a double-header and he batted at #7 in their 3-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians who took both games on a disappointing day for the Twins. Facing tough Indians' starter Fausto Carmona in the bottom of the second Luke made the second out of the inning when he grounded out sharply to the third baseman. Next he led off the fourth inning with a ground out to the short stop off Carmona. Hughes battled Carmona again in the sixth before eventually striking out swinging for the second out in what was then a ties 2-2 ballgame. For his fourth at bat Hughes fouled out to the first baseman when facing 'Tribe' closer Chris Perez to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It left him with 0-4 (.237) after a tough day at the office.
  18 JUL 2011 - THOMPSON LOSES TO BALFOUR'S As!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Rich Thompson


Grant Balfour



Josh Spence


Trent Oeltjen
Back after the All-Star break which, by the way, is a refreshing mid-season break for 'Flintoff & Dunn'.

Australia's RICH THOMPSON hurled a tidy last inning for the Los Angeles Angels in what was already a well out of sight 1-9 defeat at the hands of the Oakland Athletics with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (3.09ERA). In a clinical 1-2-3 inning Thompson had Coco Crisp fly out to right field before fanning both Ryan Sweeney and Hideki Matsui.

The day before THOMPSON was in direct competition with fellow New South Welshman GRANT BALFOUR and it was Thompson who took the loss when his Angels were pipped 3-4 by the Athletics in the tenth inning. Balfour pitched a dominant eighth inning for Oakland with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k. He first won an eight pitch battle to have Maicer Izturis called out on strikes before getting Torii Hunter struck out swinging and Bobby Abreu to pop out to the second baseman. Thompson took over to pitch the tenth inning for the 'Halos' and it started in perhaps the worst possible fashion with a fatal four pitch walk issued to Josh Willingham that allowed David DeJesus to follow with a sacrifice bunt. He secured the second out with Conor Jackson grounding out to the third baseman before Landon Powell battled for a full count walk. The leadoff walk came back to haunt him as they nearly always do when Scott Sizemore slammed the game winning RBI single into deep right centre. Richard's 0.2ip 1h 1er 2bb 0k saw his record slide to 1-3, 3.18ERA.

Aussie lefty JOSH SPENCE contributed a couple of handy outs for the San Diego Padres today with 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (0.90ERA) but it was not enough to get them over the line in what was a 3-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants after eleven innings. Spence got Nate Shierholtz struck out swinging and Aubrey Huff grounded out to the second baseman in the top of the tenth before he was lifted with the game still deadlocked at 3-3.

The day prior SPENCE pitched a reasonably comfortable inning for the Padres as they cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Giants for the line of 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k. Josh took good care of the top of the eighth, even though Andres Torres hammered a one out double to deep left field after Emmanuel Burriss had grounded out to third. Torres moved to third when Aaron Rowand grounded out to the first baseman but he was left there when Spence had veteran Miguel Tejada called out on strikes to end the inning.

In yesterday's game Australian TRENT OELTJEN was again asked to pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their narrow 2-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks with 0-1 (.257). In the top of the seventh Trent was called from the bench to hit for pitcher Hiroki Kuroda but he was struck out swinging on three pitches from Ian Kennedy. Pinch hitting can be tough folks!

On Saturday LUKE HUGHES made a pinch hit appearance for the Minnesota Twins with 0-1 (.243) during their 1-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. With runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Luke was unable to be the hero when he grounded into a fielder's choice back to the pitcher Joakim Soria who cut down the runner at home plate. It pretty much killed the last rally for the Twins.
  11 JUL 2011 - LUKE HUGHES HOMER BEATS CHISOX!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes


Trent Oeltjen


Josh Spence


Grant Balfour




Vernon Wells
Aussie infielder LUKE HUGHES was cast in his familiar role lately, playing at first base and hitting 7th for the Minnesota Twins in their 3-4 loss to the unpredictable Chicago White Sox. Luke was only one of his Twins lineup to struggle against the 'Chisox' pitching, especially starter Mark Buehrle, in this game with 0-3 (.244) as the entire team could only cobble together four hits. It started OK for Luke when he led off the top of the third by reaching on an error by the third baseman that allowed him to score later in the inning. He led off again in the fifth but this time Buehrle had him called out on strikes for the first out. Hughes then made the second out in the seventh when Buehrle had him pop out to the second baseman.

On Saturday (AUS time) HUGHES had one of his best days in the majors with a mighty 3-4 that included a walk and a three run jack to help to ignite an 8-5 win for the Twins over the White Sox. It started quietly enough with a hustled infield single to the short stop from Gavin Floyd in the top of the second. Next he won a battle of patience over Floyd when he walked to load the bases with two out in the top of the third. Hughes came to the plate for the third successive inning immediately after Will Ohman had taken the ball from Floyd in the fourth and he greeted him very rudely by swatting a huge 436ft three run homer over left centre to give the Twins the winning lead in the game. Hughes then faced Brian Bruney to lead off the seventh where he was called out on strikes for the first out. His memorable day ended on another positive note when he slapped a Jesse Crain pitch into right field with one out in the top of the ninth for his third hit of the day. Luke was clearly a hero for the 'Twinkies' in this win.

Australia's TRENT OELTJEN has been a little starved of action lately and he was only allowed another brief appearance as a pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their narrow 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres yesterday. Following a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth in a 0-0 game Trent's bat control and speed were recognised when he was called in to hit for pitcher Mike McDougal specifically to lay down a predictable sacrifice bunt. It proved an inspired tactical move when he hustled to reach on a throwing error by the third baseman on the successful bunt play. It did not result in breaking the deadlock, but it was still a nice piece of execution by our man.

The day prior OELTJEN also made a successful bench appearance as a pinch runner for the Dodgers who edged another 1-0 victory in a game where fellow Aussie JOSH SPENCE pitched for the Padres. Trent came into the game to pinch run for A.J Ellis after he had opened the eighth inning with a leadoff single and he eventually scored the go-ahead and winning run later in the inning. Compatriot Spence came into the game immediately after Trent's run had scored and he did a good job to kill off the inning with 0.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (0.00ERA) considering that he faced some very tough hitters. Josh fanned Andre Ethier on four pitches for the second out of the frame before being instructed to issue an intentional walk to red-hot Matt Kemp. Spence finished the inning by getting James Loney to fly out to left field.

Back after a brief rehab assignment, Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR was quickly back into stride with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (2.34ERA) for his 14th hold of the year, even though his Oakland Athletics were overrun by the Texas Rangers in a tight 6-7 affair. Balfour did his job in the bottom of the eighth to keep his team ahead by fanning Nellie Cruz, getting Mitch Moreland to foul out to the third baseman and Yorvit Torrealba ground out to the second baseman for a tidy 1-2-3 frame.

The previous day BALFOUR was also strong with an identical 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k during Oakland's 5-8 loss to the Texans. As often Grant was entrusted with the eighth inning and he once again provided an efficient effort with three up and three down from an economy of pitches. He started by getting Ian Kinsler struck out swinging on three pitchers before getting Elvis Andrus to fly out to right field and Josh Hamilton to fly out to centre field. Unfortunately his effort was to no avail in a game that had already got away for the A's.

Former star ABL import VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted a handy 2-5 (.225) yesterday to help his Los Angeles Angels to stomp the struggling Seattle Mariners 9-3. Wells also batted a potent 3-4 with a vital RBI the previous day to help the Angels to scramble to a narrow 4-3 win over the M's.
  8 JUL 2011 - THOMPSON & SPENCE BOTH CLEAN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Rich Thompson


Josh Spence



Aussie pitcher RICH THOMPSON was very solid yesterday with 2.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 3k (2.97ERA) but his Los Angeles Angels were unable to rally late in a 4-5 defeat by the Detroit Tigers. Rich put up "goose eggs" for the final two frames of the game to do everything he could to keep the 'Halos' close enough to challenge but it was not to be on this occasion. Taking over for the top of the eighth Thompson was a study of efficiency with Alex Avila struck out swinging, Brandon Inge called out on strikes and Don Kelly grounding out to the second baseman for three up and three down. His only slight blemish came in the top of the ninth when he walked leadoff batter Austin Jackson on four pitches. The subsequent bunt play saw the lead runner cut down on a fielder's choice throw by the catcher. There was to be no more drama when Andy Dirks flied out to centre field and powerhouse Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging.

Australia's new lefty reliever JOSH SPENCE fired another scoreless inning yesterday with a tidy 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (0.00ERA) for the San Diego Padres who were outlasted 5-6 by the San Francisco Giants after 14 long innings. Josh kept the score deadlocked at 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th which started with the 'Kung Fu Panda' Pablo Sandoval called out on strikes. Aubrey Huff followed with a single into right field to get aboard but both he and the inning were erased when Spence induced Emmanuel Burriss to ground into an inning ending double play to the short stop. It certainly wasn't his fault that his team were shaded by the single run in the 14th inning.

Australia's 28th major league player LUKE HUGHES was cast in the pinch hitter role with 0-0 (.236) for the Minnesota Twins during yesterday's 5-12 hammering by the Tampa Bay Rays. With the game already well out of reach, Hughes was asked to pinch hit for veteran slugger Jim Thome with one out in the bottom of the ninth. As it transpired Luke never saw a pitch that he could hit as he walked on four successive balls and then found himself stranded on third base when the final out of the game was in the books.
  7 JUL 2011 - OELTJEN WALKS & PLUNKED!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Trent Oeltjen
Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN earned a start at right field for the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday and he batted 0-2 (.273) in their 0-6 shutout defeat by the New York Mets. His first plate appearance came in the bottom of the second when Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey had him called out on strikes after three pitches to end the inning. Next he faced Pelfrey in the fourth with one on and one out and he was "plunked" by a pitch to, as they say, "take one for the team". Trent saw only one pitch from Pelfrey in the sixth when he led off the inning by grounding out to the second baseman. Oeltjen found himself on base for the second time in the game when he faced veteran reliever Jason Isringhausen with one out in the eighth and he walked on four successive balls.

In the context of a barren offensive game for the Dodgers, Oeltjen's contribution wasn't too bad at all!
  6 JUL 2011 - JOSH SPENCE MAINTAINS 0.00ERA!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence



Luke Hughes








Vernon Wells
Australia's freshest new major leaguer JOSH SPENCE has now pitched 5.2 innings in the "bigs" and he is still yet to be tagged for a run! In his most recent outing yesterday he pitched 0.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k (0.00ERA) for his second hold to help the San Diego Padres to overcome the San Francisco Giants 5-3. Spence came into the game just after the 'Kung Fu Panda' Pablo Sandoval had smacked a two run bomb to trim the Giants deficit to 2-3 and he was asked to face the toughest hitters in the 'Frisco lineup. He got Aubrey Huff to ground out to the second baseman before losing a carefully pitched full count battle with Cody Ross who walked on six pitches. Josh then needed just one more pitch to get Nate Schierholtz to foul out to the third baseman to keep his team in the lead. On his performance so far Josh Spence can look forward to an extended stay in the majors... Let's hope that it is many years!

Australia's utility infielder LUKE HUGHES was patrolling first base again and batting in the #6 hole with 0-4 (.236) for the Minnesota Twins in their 7-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. Facing Rays' tough No.1 starter David Price, Luke was fanned on three pitches for the first out with one aboard in the bottom of the second inning. Price struck him out swinging again for the last out in the third, this time on a full count. Unfortunately Hughes suffered an identical fate for the third time in the bottom of the sixth when Price fanned him again on a full count for the second out of the inning. He finally made decent contact in the eighth when he flied out to centre field for the second out from the pitching of reliever Adam Russell. It was not Hughes best day with the stick but he is by no means the first major league hitter to find David Price extremely difficult to solve when he is on form.

Aussie TRENT OELTJEN was back on the bench yesterday when he was asked to pinch hit with 0-1 (.290) for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 2-5 defeat by the New York Mets. With a runner on second base and one out in the bottom of the ninth Trent came into the game to hit for A.J Ellis. He saw two pitches from respected closer Frankie 'K-Rod' Rodriguez before grounding out to the first baseman, allowing the runner to advance to third. There was to be no late heroics for the Dodgers on this day.

One thing that we know to be true about baseball is that high quality players do not remain in extended slumps without breaking loose at some stage... Unless of course they are at the end of their careers and/or injury has blunted their skills. Obviously this is not the case for former No.1 overall draft pick and All-Star slugger VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) who has emerged from a "career worst" batting slump with a major bang lately. Wells has taken some time to find his feet after joining the Los Angeles Angels this season after his long career with the Toronto Blue Jays. In yesterday's game he batted 2-4 (.215) with a RBI coming via his 12th home run of the season. It was Vernon's fifth home run from his last ten games and he has lifted his average a long way from below the 'Mendoza Line'.
  5 JUL 2011 - HUGHES HITS; SPENCE STILL CLEAN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes

Josh Spence


Trent Oeltjen
The boot was on the other foot as far as Aussie LUKE HUGHES and his Minnesota Twins were concerned when they followed a horrible high-scoring 7-8 loss the day prior with a similar style 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. Hughes played his part with 1-4 (.242) after starting at first base and hitting in the #8 hole. 'Brew Crew' starter Zach Greinke got the better of him in the bottom of the second when he struck out swinging to end the inning. Luke then suffered the same fate when Greinke had him struck out swinging again to end the fourth, but this time after the Twins had rallied back to cut a 1-6 deficit to a more encouraging 4-6. Grienke completed his "hat trick" over Hughes when he fanned again to end a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth. The Aussie may have been glad to see the back of Greinke when he had much better luck against reliever Kameron Loe with a leadoff single up the middle in the eighth.

Australia's 29th and latest new major leaguer JOSH SPENCE continues to maintain his "perfect" 0.00ERA after closing the last inning of his San Diego Padres 1-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners yesterday. Josh pitched 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k after being asked to take over for the bottom of the eighth inning. He started strongly by getting Adam Kennedy to fly out to left field and then Justin Smoak to pop out to the first baseman in foul territory. Dustin Ackley interrupted his momentum with a single into shallow left field before Spence polished off the inning with Greg Halman struck out swinging. He had done all he could to keep his team in the contest.

After playing as the designated hitter recently, Aussie TRENT OELTJEN would have been pleased to get a start at left field for the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday and he batted at No.7 in a 1-3 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels. Trent batted 0-3 (.300) in a pitching dominated game that saw the Dodgers take the lead late in the game, only to see the Angels rally for the win. In the top of the second inning Trent was to be the first of three successive strike outs by Ervin Santana that bailed him out from having two on and none out. Santana had Oeltjen struck out swinging again in the fourth inning for the third out in a 1-2-3 frame. In the sixth inning Trent utilised his s
peed and hustle to induce an underarm throwing error by pitcher Santana, allowing him to reach safely on an infield "squibber". He was deprived of another plate appearance when Juan Uribe pinch hit for him to lead off the ninth inning.
  4 JUL 2011 - HUGHES & OELTJEN BOTH START!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes



Trent Oeltjen

Aussie infielder LUKE HUGHES was at first base again yesterday, batting 2-5 (.242) from the #6 hole for the Minnesota Twins in their skin tight 7-8 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. It didn't start brilliantly for him when he made the third out in the first inning with a runner in scoring position via a fielder's choice ground out to the third baseman off Chris Narveson. In the bottom of the third he followed back to back solo home runs with a one out single up the middle off Narveson. Luke was then part of a big Twins rally in the fourth when he kept the line moving with his two out RBI single off Narveson into left field. It would be galling to Minnesota fans that they led 7-0 at the end of that inning, only to lose the game. Hughes then made the second out in the bottom of the sixth when reliever Marco Estrada had him fly out to left field. For all his good work on the day Luke was unable to rescue the Twins from the 7-8 deficit in the bottom of the ninth when Brewers closer John Axford had him called out on strikes after a full count for the second last out of the game.

Hot hitting Australian outfielder TRENT OELTJEN was again used as the designated hitter by the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday when he batted 0-2 (.333) in their 1-7 defeat by the local Los Angeles Angels. Hitting in the #7 slot, facing tough Angels' starter Jared Weaver Trent first struck out swinging when leading off in the top of the third. Then, in the fifth inning, he delivered the Dodgers' only run when he lofted a sacrifice fly to centre field for a RBI. Oeltjen then missed an opportunity to drive in more runs when he was struck out swinging by Weaver to end the seventh.
Meanwhile, former ABL import VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) launched his 11th home run of the season with 1-4 (.212) with two RBIs for the 'Halos'.

Atlanta Braves backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) was a star for his team in their narrow 5-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles yesterday when he batted 2-3 (.305) including a game winning GRAND SLAM home run for four of the Braves five runs.
  2 JUL 2011 - OELTJEN OPPOSES RICH THOMPSON!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Trent Oeltjen


Rich Thompson
Australia's LUKE HUGHES seems to have become a fixture at first base for the Minnesota Twins lately and he batted in the #8 hole with 0-3 (.236) during their 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday.
Facing the Brewers' tough Yovani Gallardo in the bottom of the second he grounded out to the third baseman. Up again to face Gallardo in the fourth, Luke again made the second out on two pitches when he flied out to right field. He then faced a few more pitches from Gallardo before making the third out by popping out to the first baseman. It wasn't his day with the stick!

Australians TRENT OELTJEN and RICH THOMPSON found themselves in opposition yesterday when Trent batted for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 5-0 shutout win over Thompson who pitched in relief for the Los Angeles Angels. In fact Oeltjen had the unusual experience of playing as the designated hitter for a National League team in interleague play. Batting at No.7, Oeltjen flied out to right field from the first pitch he saw from Tyler Chatwood for the second out in the top of the second frame. He was then showed a lot of respect in the third when he was issued a two out intentional walk by Chatwood. In the top of the fifth he put two runners aboard with none out when he drilled a single into left field from Chatwood. Facing the same pitcher in the sixth Trent made the third out when he was struck out swinging. He missed facing compatriot Thompson when he was relieved by Trevor Bell who got Trent to ground into a fielder's choice to the second baseman. Rich Thompson was handed a poisoned chalice when he was called from the bullpen with one out and runners threatening, just after Dee Gordon had stolen home on an unsettling play. He started by hurling a wild pitch to advance the runners before fanning Andre Ethier and then getting Matt Kemp also struck out swinging.
Also in that game VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted 0-4 (.212) for the 'Halos".
  1 JUL 2011 - SPENCE HOLDS WHILE HUGHES & OELJEN HIT!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence

Trent Oeltjen
Australia's most recent new major leaguer JOSH SPENCE finally allowed a couple of hits, but he kept his sheet clean for his first hold with 0.2ip 2h 0er 0bb 0k (0.00ERA) to help his San Diego Padres to top the Kansas City Royals 4-1. Josh took over for the top of the eighth and he began by getting Melky Cabrera to fly out to left field before allowing his first major league hit when Chris Getz singled into right field. He got Eric Hosmer to pop out to the second baseman, but when Alex Gordon singled into right centre Spence was lifted in favour of the more experienced Chad Qualls.

The interleague series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins has seen Australian players LUKE HUGHES and TRENT OELTJEN pitted in opposition this week. In the third game of the series Hughes batted 1-4 (.241) to help the Twins to squeak a 1-0 win, while Oeltjen batted 1-1 (.381) as a pinch hitter for LA. Starting at first base and batting #7, Luke started by taking a Rubby De La Rosa pitch into left field for a single with one on and one out in the bottom of the second. In the fourth he made the third out by flying out to centre field to give De La Rosa a 1-2-3 inning. Facing the same pitcher again in the seventh Luke lined out sharply to the short stop as the leadoff batter. His final at bat in the bottom of the eighth saw him make the third out when he popped out to the first baseman facing reliever Scott Elbert.

Once again Trent Oeltjen did all that he could with a first pitch single up the middle off closer Matt Capps when he was asked to pinch hit with two out in the top of the ninth.

 

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