Flintoff & Dunn's NEWS ARCHIVE
AUGUST 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 From time to time we will archive old or outdated news on our "WHAT'S NEW" & "AUSSIES IN THE US LEAGUES" pages.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 AUGUST 2011 BEGINS BELOW:

ARCHIVE
AUGUST
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.

  31 AUG 2011 - SPENCE & THOMPSON RELIEVE!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes


Josh Spence

After a power surge this past weekend, Australia's LUKE HUGHES was just one of the Minnesota Twins hitters to be "cooled off" by the pitching of Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox who beat them 3-0 and inflicted a four-hit shutout. Luke went 0-4 (.241) as the starting second baseman and #6 hole hitter. His day at the plate began when he made the third out in the top of the second as Buehrle had him ground out to the third baseman. He again made the third out in the fourth when Buehrle got him to fly out to centre field. In the top of the seventh Hughes did his best to make something happen as the leadoff batter when he battled seven pitches from Buehrle for a full count before he eventually struck out swinging. Finally, Luke made the last out of the game when he lined out to centre field from the pitching of closer Sergio Santos. It was a tough day to hit for Hughes and the Twins.

Aussie right hander RICH THOMPSON needed just three pitches to get the final out of the contest for the Los Angeles Angels who couldn't over come the Seattle Mariners in a 3-5 defeat. Thompson was able to get the third out in the bottom of the eighth when he got Brendan Ryan to fly out to right field with two on and two out. His pitching line was 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (3.06ERA). In this game his team mate and former star ABL import VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted 1-4 (.216) in the losing cause.

Australia's JOSH SPENCE threw a tidy 9 of 12 pitches for strikes to record two outs for the San Diego Padres during their 1-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday. Josh took over from Padres' starter Matt Latos to begin the bottom of the seventh and he would have been annoyed that opposing pitcher Clayton Kershaw was able to reach on an infield single to lead off the inning. It didn't faze Spence who then got Justin Sellers to fly out to centre field before striking out James Loney to conclude his contribution for the day. His line for the game was 0.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (2.08ERA).
  30 AUG 2011 - OELTJEN HITS & WALKS v ROX!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Trent Oeltjen
Given the opportunity to play, Australia's TRENT OELTJEN has already shown that he can be a solid contributor in the major leagues and he did so again yesterday when he was given a start at right field to bat No.7 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their narrow 6-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Trent batted 1-3 (.241) plus a walk and he drove in a run to demonstrate his value. His first plate appearance was fruitless when Jhoulys Chacin had him called on strikes after just three pitches to lead off the bottom of the second inning. It was not looking good when he suffered the same fate, struck out looking by Chacin, to lead off the fourth. In the bottom of the sixth Oeltjen battled Chacin to take the second walk of the inning with nobody out and he later scored to narrow the gap in the game to 4-7. Facing Matt Lindstrom in the seventh Trent helped his team to get within a run via a two out RBI single to right centre.

Former All-Star slugger VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted 1-4 (.216) with a RBI for the Los Angeles Angels but it was not enough to prevent them from being overrun 5-9 by the home standing Texas Rangers.
  29 AUG 2011 - HUGHES JACKS THREE FOR TWINS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes


Grant Balfour


Rich Thompson


Trent Oeltjen


Josh Spence

Just recently Australian LUKE HUGHES was struck out by the Yankees legend Mariano Rivera... This weekend he may have enjoyed an even bigger occasion when he homered off Detroit's All-Star Justin Verlander in the same game in which he recorded his 20th win for the season. In fact, Luke batted 2-3 with three RBIs for the Minnesota Twins who went down 4-6 to Verlander's Detroit Tigers. Hughes led off the bottom of the second where Verlander had him ground out to the third baseman. Leading off again in the fifth Hughes lifted a Verlander pitch into the left field corner that bounced off the foul pole for a home run measured as 377 feet to score the Twins' first run. With two on and two out in the sixth he again got the better of Verlander with a ringing two RBI double into deep right field that tied the game at 4-4. He could do no more in the bottom of the ninth when Jose Valverde had him foul out to the third baseman to lead off the final inning. He would have been a bigger hero if the Twins had won the game... they didn't.

If that served as a morale booster for HUGHES then he really let loose today with two more home runs to drive in five big RBIs for the Twins who pounded the Tigers 11-4. With 2-5 he lifted his season average to .245. The day started quietly when Brad Penny had him ground out to the third baseman with one out in the bottom of the second. The fire works started in the fourth when he cranked a splitter from Penny over left centre field for a two run jack. In the sixth David Pauley won a six pitch battle when Luke flied out to right field. Pauley didn't fare nearly so well in the seventh when Hughes broke the game wide open with his two out, three run, homer that sailed over left field. It completed a huge couple of days for Luke Hughes in the big leagues!

Australia's hard throwing GRANT BALFOUR was asked to contribute just one out for the Oakland Athletics during their 15-5 blowout win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Grant was asked to make sure that the 'Bosox' did not close a 9-4 gap with two out in the bottom of the seventh and with runners threatening on second and third bases. He did this in most effective fashion by striking out Jed Lowrie swinging on five pitches. His line for the game was 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (2.06ERA).

Seasoned Aussie reliever RICH THOMPSON pitched a most effective 2.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 3k (3.09ERA) for the Los Angeles Angels to keep them in the contest at the end of their 7-11 loss to the Texas Rangers. The first batter Thompson faced registered the only hit he allowed when Elvis Andrus led off the bottom of the seventh with a single up the middle. There was no real threat when Josh Hamilton struck out swinging then Michael Young and Mike Napoli both grounded into fielder's choice outs to the short stop. Richard was even more efficient in the eighth with Mitch Moreland struck out swinging, Nelson Cruz flying out to centre field and David Murphy struck out swinging. He could do little more than that!

Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN got a couple of plate appearances after being asked to pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers who fell 6-7 to the Colorado Rockies after 11 innings. Trent saw just one pitch before former ABL import Kevin Millwood had him popped out and caught by himself when leading off the bottom of the sixth. Oeltjen also made the final out in the same inning when Rex Brothers had him struck out swinging to end a long inning for the Dodgers who climbed back into the game. It left him with 0-2 (.235). As mentioned, former ABL import KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) pitched a decent 5.1ip 5h 2er 1bb 2k (4.26ERA) to depart with a no-decision.

Australia's newest major leaguer JOSH SPENCE contributed one out with 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (2.13ERA) for the San Diego Padres who were topped 1-3 by the "surprise packet" Arizona Diamondbacks. In fact Spence hurled just one pitch to get Gerardo Parra to ground out to the second baseman as the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh. When Arizona called in right hander Colin Cowgill as a pinch hitter Spence was lifted in favour of righty Erik Hamren.

Also yesterday, veteran former ABL slugger VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) slammed his 18th home run of the season while batting a productive 2-4 (.215) with two RBIs to help his Los Angeles Angels to overcome the Texas Rangers 8-4.
  26 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR BLOWS SAVE IN WIN v YANKEES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour


Luke Hughes
It may not have been the best of games for Aussie fireman GRANT BALFOUR with his fourth blown save of the season yet, on the upside, his Oakland Athletics were able to fight back to beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in ten innings. Balfour was unable to hold a one run lead for his team with 1.0ip 3h 1er 0bb 1k (2.08ERA) after taking the ball for the bottom of the eighth inning. In fact it didn't take long for the trouble to start when 'Bronx Bomber' Mark Teixeira took his fifth pitch for a game tying leadoff homer well over the short right field wall. Grant re-grouped to get Home Run Derby king Robinson Cano to pop out to the short stop and then he had Nick Swisher out, well... "swishing". There was another moment of pressure when veteran Jorge Posada singled into left centre and Eduardo Nunez reached on an infield single to the short stop. Thankfully 'Balf' was able to keep the game tied when he got the dangerous Eric Chavez to line out to the third baseman

Aussie LUKE HUGHES earned another start at second base yesterday but it didn't happen for him offensively when he batted 0-3 (.232) for the No.7 hole for the Minnesota Twins in their 1-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. He started by being struck out swinging by Jeremy Guthrie for the second out in the bottom of the second. In the fourth Guthrie had him foul out to right field for the third out of the frame. Luke next battled to milk a two out walk from Guthrie in the seventh. He also made the final out of the game when Jim Johnson got him to ground out to the third baseman.

Australian outfielder TRENT OELTJEN got to stretch his legs briefly at right field yesterday when he again cam off the bench for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 9-4 victory over the St.Louis Cardinals. Trent didn't get to see any real action after coming into the game as a defensive replacement at the beginning of the bottom of the last.
  25 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR & SPENCE EARN HOLDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour


Josh Spence
Aussie ace GRANT BALFOUR required just four pitches to get the one out asked of him to collect his 23rd hold of the season with the Oakland Athletics who held off the New York Yankees 6-5. Grant pitched 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (1.94ERA) after coming into the game with two out in the bottom of the eighth just after Nick Swisher had hammered a three run jack to halve the lead to 6-3. His only task for the day was to finish the inning and he obliged by getting veteran Eric Chavez to ground out to the second baseman.

Australia's LUKE HUGHES got another start at second base yesterday and he batted 1-3 (.297) from the #8 slot for the Minnesota Twins in their 1-8 thumping at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles. His team was already in a 1-7 hole when Hughes got his first chance to bat and he delivered with a double to deep right field in the bottom of the third off Alfredo Simon... he was later thrown out at home plate on an inning ending double play. Facing Simon again in the fifth Luke made the third out when flied out to centre field. His final at bat came against the same pitcher in the bottom of the eighth when he again made the third out struck out swinging on four pitches.

Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN finally got a fleeting chance to swing the bat when he took over at left field for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 13-2 romp over the St.Louis Cardinals. Trent had the opportunity to lead off the top of the ninth and he was to face the unlikely presence of infielder Skip Schumaker on the mound in an unusual end to a blowout game. Unfortunately he will have to live with the fact that the "non pitcher" struck him out swinging on four pitches... It happens!

Australian lefty reliever JOSH SPENCE had to trade a run for an out to collect his seventh hold of the season with the San Diego Padres who trumped the San Francisco Giants 7-5 yesterday. Taking over for the bottom of the eighth with a 5-2 lead Spence got Aubrey Huff to fly out to left field but, after Brandon Belt reached on an infield single to third, he was lifted in favour of Luke Gregerson who allowed his runner to score on a Cody Ross double. This left Josh with the line of 0.1ip 1h 1er 0bb 0k (2.22ERA).
  24 AUG 2011 - LUKE HUGHES 0-4 v ORIOLES!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes
Australian utility infielder LUKE HUGHES was required to show his versatility again for the Minnesota Twins when he started at third base and finished at third while batting #8 in their 1-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. His first plate appearance came in the bottom of the second inning when he made the last out with one aboard via a fielder's choice ground out to the third baseman facing Zach Britton. In the fourth he made the first out with a runner on second when Britton struck him out swinging on just three pitches. Hughes then made the second out in the sixth when Chris Jakubauskas had him struck out looking. Finally, facing Mike Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth, a barren day with the bat was completed when he battled before being struck out swinging for the final out of the frame. The 0-4 game lowered his batting average to .234 for the season so far.

The leg speed of Australia's TRENT OELTJEN was recognised again yesterday when he was called from the bench to pinch run for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 2-1 win over the St.Louis Cardinals. Trent was asked to pinch run for team mate James Loney with two out in the top of the eighth but he didn't get to influence the game when Matt Kemp flied out to left field to end the inning just two pitches later. He didn't see any other action in the game.
  23 AUG 2011 - HUGHES FANNED BY GREAT 'MO' RIVERA!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Luke Hughes


Rich Thompson
Following a couple of impressive starts versatile Aussie infielder LUKE HUGHES found himself back on the bench for the Minnesota Twins as they fell 0-3 in a shutout loss to the New York Yankees. As fate decreed, Luke was to make the final out of the game when he was struck out swinging on five pitches from the Yanks legendary closer Mariano Rivera. Even though it left him with 0-1 (.239) it was a moment that he can dine out on having faced a "great one" and certain future first ballot Hall-Of-Famer.

Australian reliever RICH THOMPSON grasped the opportunity to improve his record yesterday with a solid enough 2.0ip 0h 0er 2bb 1k (3.22ERA) to close out the Los Angeles Angels' comfortable 7-1 win over the scuffling Baltimore Orioles. Thompson took over for the top of the eighth and he was immediately faced with a leadoff runner in scoring position when Blake David reached second on an outfield error. He then steadied to get J.J Hardy to ground out to third and Nick Markakis to fly out to centre field on two pitches each. After Adam Jones walked to put two aboard Richard canned the inning with veteran Vlad Guerrero flying out to centre field. Returning for the ninth he was quickly in command with Matt Weiters grounding out to second and Robert Andino called out on strikes. For the second time Rich allowed a two out walk, this time to Felix Pie, but again he escaped punishment when Craig Tatum fouled out to the catcher. In the same game veteran slugger VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted 2-4 (.204) for the 'Halos'.

Evergreen pitching "horse" KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) has shown that he still has some currency in the big leagues since making a comeback with the Colorado Rockies in the latter part of this season. 'Big Kev' earned his first win of the year yesterday with a quality 7.0ip 7h 3er 1bb 4k start for the 'Rox' who prevailed 5-3 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. His season record now stands at 1-1, 4.50ERA.
  22 AUG 2011 - OELTJEN & HUGHES BOTH HIT; BALFOUR HOLDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Trent Oeltjen


Luke Hughes


Josh Spence


Grant Balfour
Australian outfielder TRENT OELTJEN was finally given another chance to start in the outfield yesterday and, guess what, he rewarded the faith with 2-5 (.250) with a RBI for the Los Angeles Dodgers who eventually lost 6-7 to the Colorado Rockies in a 13 inning heart-breaker. Trent started at right field and batted in the #6 hole before shifting across to left field during the extended five hour game. In the first inning Oeltjen made the third out when he battled 'Rox' Starter Esmil Rogers for a full count before being called out on strikes to end the inning. Up next in the top of the third Rogers had him struck out swinging after another seven pitch battle. Trent finally got his own ball rolling in the game when he led off the fifth with an infield single off Rogers than was fielded by the second baseman. Facing reliever Matt Belisle in the top of the seventh he grounded out to the second baseman to end the inning. In the tenth inning he faced Josh Roenicke where he worked a one out walk and stole second base to give the Dodgers a chance to bust open a tied game. A memorable moment came for the Aussie in the top of the 12th inning when he ripped a two out hit into deep centre field and then used his speed to leg out a rare inside the park home run to give his team a 6-4 lead with two out. He didn't get a chance to bat again as the home standing Rockies tied the game in the bottom of the 12th, then snatched it with a walkoff run in the 13th. On Saturday Oeltjen also did his job as a pinch hitter with 1-1 for the Dodgers in their 8-2 win over Colorado.

Aussie compatriot LUKE HUGHES also made the most of a rare starting opportunity when he batted 2-3 (.241) and he drove in a run to help his Minnesota Twins to bully the New York Yankees 9-4 yesterday. Starting at second base and batting #8, Trent was deprived of his first RBI in the bottom of the second when his raking double into left field off A.J Burnett came after Rene Tosoni had been caught stealing during his at bat... Hughes later scored after igniting the game breaking seven run inning. In the bottom of the third Hughes punched a one out single into left centre off Luis Ayala. His RBI came in the fifth when he milked a bases loaded walk from a struggling Aaron Laffey to push across a run with nobody out. With the game sort of meandering to s conclusion Hughes made the first out in the seventh when Cory Wade got his to fly out to left field. It was a good day for Hughes and the Twins. On Saturday Hughes collected another big league hit with 1-3 after starting at second base in the Twins 1-8 loss to the Yankees.

Australia's newest major leaguer JOSH SPENCE enjoyed another "low pressure" opportunity to close the San Diego Padres dominant 14-1 romp over the Florida Marlins with 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (1.88ERA). Josh rolled out the final inning of the game after issuing an annoying five pitch leadoff walk to Bryan Petersen. He hit back well to get Gaby Sanchez struck out swinging, Dewayne Wise to ground out to third but a throwing error by his third baseman extended the inning when Brett Hayes was allowed to reach base to place runners at the corners. At is happened, the game was to last just one more pitch when Emilio Bonifacio fouled out to the first baseman to mercifully end the game.

On Saturday Australia's GRANT BALFOUR picked up hold No.22 with 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (1.95ERA) to help his Oakland Athletics to lock out the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0. Balfour took care of the top of the eighth with Eric Thames struck out swinging before he "pitched around" home run leader Jose Bautista who eventually walked on a full count. There was to be no damage when Adam Lind grounded out to second and Edwin Encarnacion fouled out to the first baseman.
  19 AUG 2011 - GRANT BALFOUR HOLDS No.21!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour


Luke Hughes
Australia's GRANT BALFOUR played his usual integral role out of the Oakland Athletics' bullpen, pitching 1.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 0k (1.99ERA) to rack up his 21st hold of the season in their narrow 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles. As often, Grant took good care of the eighth inning with Nick Markakis grounding out to the first baseman ahead of Adam Jones single up the middle. Veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero fouled out to the right fielder, followed by Mark Reynolds who walked to push the lead runner into scoring position. There was no damage done when Balfour got Nolan Reimold to fly out to centre field to end the inning.

Aussie lefty JOSH SPENCE struck out the only batter he was asked to face yesterday with 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (1.99ERA) for the San Diego Padres in their 3-7 loss to the New York Mets. With two runners on and two out Spence did his job to shut down the inning with Lucas Duda struck out swinging at fresh air.

Still being starved for regular playing time lately is Australian
TRENT OELTJEN who pinch hit yet again yesterday with 0-1 (.214) for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 1-3 loss to the streaking Milwaukee Brewers. Once again pinch hitting for the pitcher in the top of the seventh Trent saw four pitches from starter Zach Greinke before he grounded out to the short stop. In today's 5-1 win over the 'Brew Crew' Oeltjen was given a couple of innings at right field after coming in as a defensive replacement at the start of the eighth inning... he did not get to bat in this game.


Aussie LUKE HUGHES was back in the big leagues today pinch hitting with 0-1 (.232) for the Minnesota Twins during their 4-8 defeat by the New York Yankees. Trent was given the opportunity to lead off the bottom of the ninth for the Twins, but he was unable to set the table when he struck out swinging on three pitches from Cory Wade.
  18 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR HOLDS 20th; OELTJEN WALKS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour
Aussie relief ace GRANT BALFOUR was most effective again with 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (2.03ERA) to earn his 20th hold of the season as his Oakland Athletics doubled the Baltimore Orioles 8-4. Grant entered the game with one aboard and two out in the top of the seventh and he quickly got the final out of the inning with Nolan Reimold grounding out to the short stop. Back for the top of the eighth, 'Balf' had J.J Hardy struck out swinging, Nick Markakis called out on strikes and Adam Jones flying out to right field.
Grant threw a total of 18 pitches, comprising 12 strikes.

Once again there was not much else that Australia's TRENT OELTJEN could do as a pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 1-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. After warming the bench again for most of the game, Trent was summoned to pinch hit for pitcher Chad Billingsley with two out in the top of the eighth. Oeltjen took a first pitch strike and then saw little else to hit apart from one pitch that he fouled off before he earned a walk. He advanced to third base on a Tony Gwynn Jnr. single but was stranded there with the game still deadlocked at 1-1. It was not his fault that Dodgers went on to lose. Trent's batting average remains at .220 after this 0-0 game.
  17 AUG 2011 - THOMPSON AND SPENCE BOTH STRUGGLE!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Rich Thompson


Josh Spence



Kevin Millwood
Experienced Aussie reliever RICH THOMPSON was certainly hurt by the long ball while pitching a torrid 1.2ip 3h 2er 0bb 2k (3.38ERA) for the Los Angeles Angels in their 4-8 defeat at the hands of the Texas Rangers. Richard took over in a tough spot just after the Rangers had expanded their lead to 5-1 during a fifth inning rally, with one runner still aboard and just one out. Texas provided him with a rude introduction to say the least when Nelson Cruz took him deep to left field for a two run bomb and Mike Napoli followed with back-to-back homers to blow out the game to 8-1. After the air raid sirens had stopped blaring Thompson settled to get David Murphy to fly out to left field and then Yorvit Torrealba to ground out to the short stop. Returning for the top of the sixth our guy was again tempting fate when leadoff batter Mitch Moreland reached on an infield single to first and then advanced to second on his own throwing error. Moreland then advanced to third on Ian Kinsler's ground out to second but he was to move no further when Thompson finished strong by fanning both Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton to end the inning. As we said, he was certainly hurt by those two long balls that put the game further out of reach for the 'Halos'.
In this game evergreen outfielder VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) batted 1-4 (.205) with a run batted in for the Angels.

Aussie compatriot JOSH SPENCE also endured a tough outing that resulted in his second loss of the season when he pitched a wayward 0.0ip 0h 1er 2bb 0k for the San Diego Padres who were "squeaked" 4-5 by the New York Mets in ten innings. After such a brilliant start to his big league career this season Josh seems to have lost his radar lately and, as we know, walks just about always hurt, especially leadoff walks! On this occasion Josh was asked to take the ball for the tenth inning and a four pitch walk to Jason Pridie was far from the ideal start. Worse was to follow when Josh Thole began by looking to bunt, but then he battled to milk a full count walk from six pitches. A disappointed Spence was then lifted in favour of veteran Chad Qualls who could not prevent the winning run from scoring later in the inning. With the earned run and the loss saddled to Josh his season record now stands at 0-2, 2.01ERA. Relief pitching is an "up and down" career and we would expect the Aussie to see better days again.

Another veteran import from the early days of the original ABL KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) made his second start for his latest team the Colorado Rockies in their 7-4 win over the Florida Marlins. Millwood was consigned to a no-decision after pitching a solid 6.0ip 7h 4er 1bb 3k (4.85ERA) when the 'Rox' rallied late to overrun the 'Fish'.
  16 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR STRONG; OELTJEN WALKS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour
Not unusually, Australian reliever GRANT BALFOUR did his job to keep his Oakland Athletics in a game they eventually lost to the Texas Rangers 6-7 in late innings. Grant pitched 1.1ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k (2.09ERA) after coming into a tied ballgame with one on and two out in the top of the seventh inning. He killed off that frame by getting the dangerous Ian Kinsler to fly out to right field. Back to deal in the eighth Balfour had Elvis Andrus fly out to left and Josh Hamilton line out to left before he pitched a "careful" five pitch walk to Michael Young. Our man kept the game locked at 6-6 by getting Nellie Cruz to fly out to right field to end the inning and his work for the day. Texas snatched the victory with a run in the top of the ninth.

I'm not sure what Australia's TRENT OELTJEN has to do to receive more playing time as a starter because he has done little wrong since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers big league team this season. Once again he was consigned to the bench before being inserted as a defensive replacement at right field to start the seventh inning in their 7-0 shutout win over the Houston Astros. Trent got a chance to bat with one out in the bottom of the eighth and he worked a seven pitch full count walk from Aneury Rodriguez.
  15 AUG 2011 - SPENCE FINALLY FALTERS v REDS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Rich Thompson


Trent Oeltjen



Josh Spence
Seasoned Australian reliever RICH THOMPSON was given the ball to close a heavy defeat for his team, pitching 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (3.07ERA) for the Los Angeles Angels who were shelled 2-11 by the Toronto Blue Jays. On this occasion Richard caused himself an immediate headache when his second pitch to Eric Thames resulted in a leadoff double to deep right centre field. Thames was to get no further than third base when Edwin Encarnacion struck out looking, Adam Lind grounded back to the mound and J.P Arencibia flied out to left field. At least he kept his own sheet clean even if his bullpen mates couldn't.

Aussie outfielder TRENT OELTJEN made another pinch hit appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers with 0-1 (.220) in their 6-1 win over the Houston Astros. Trent pinch hit for pitcher Clayton Kershaw with one out in the bottom of the eighth. He grounded out to the second baseman from the very pitch he saw from Wilton Lopez.

Former IBLA import DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) batted a typically handy 2-4 (.267) for the Atlanta Braves who fell 4-8 to the Chicago Cubs. The previous day Ross also batted 2-4 to help the Braves to pound the 'Cubbies' 10-4.

... and on Saturday:

Up until this weekend Australia's 29th and latest major leaguer JOSH SPENCE had been riding the crest of outstanding success since his debut, but in baseball as in life all things eventually come to an end. Spence saw his ERA rise above one for the first time when he suffered a blown save and a loss with 1.0ip 1h 3er 2bb 0k when he pitched the last inning for the San Diego Padres in their 3-5 defeat by the Cincinnati Reds. Taking over the bottom of the eighth Josh got the vital first out when Dave Sappelt flied out to left field but Ramon Hernandez worked a full count walk to begin the rally. Veteran pinch hitter Edgar Renteria grounded back to the mound to advance the runner and this prompted an intentional walk of the dangerous Joey Votto. The tactic proved costly when slugger Jay Bruce took our Aussie star deep to right field for a game deciding three run jack. The damage had been done before Spence ended the inning with Miguel Cairo grounding out to the third baseman. His record now stands at 0-1, 1.61ERA.
  12 AUG 2011 - SPENCE HOLDS 5TH v METS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence




 

Australia's latest new major leaguer JOSH SPENCE required just three pitches, two thrown for strikes, to collect his fifth hold of the season yesterday. He pitched 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (0.42ERA) as a minor contributor to the San Diego Padres 9-5 win over the New York Mets. Spence was asked to get the final out in the bottom of the seventh with the Mets threatening to get back into the contest having runners at the corners. He did precisely what was required by getting Josh Thole to fly out to centre field.

I happened to watch a recording of the Los Angeles Dodgers blowing a 5-0 lead in a painful 8-9 loss to the league leading Philadelphia Phillies last night and Australia's TRENT OELTJEN wasn't given much opportunity to affect the result. Trent was summoned from the Dodger's' bench in the bottom of the ninth to pinch run for Juan Rivera who had just reached on a fielder's choice for the second out of the final inning. He was left stranded on first base when team mate Rod Barajas flied out to centre field to end the game with his team one agonising run short.

Former ABL import KEVIN MILLWOOD (Melbourne Monarchs 1997) returned to the big leagues after a long absence yesterday after having been released by the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox during this season. Evergreen Millwood took a hard-luck loss in his comeback game after pitching a workmanlike 7.0ip 6h 3er 1bb 6k for the Colorado Rockies in their tight 2-3 defeat by the Cincinnati Reds.
  11 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR HOLDS; SPENCE DOESN'T!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour


Josh Spence



 

The live arm of Australia's GRANT BALFOUR did its job for him again yesterday when he collected his 19th hold of the season with 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k (2.15ERA) for the Oakland Athletics, helping them to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Grant threw 10 of his 15 pitches for strikes in another typically efficient relief effort. After getting Yunel Escobar to ground out to the third baseman, he was threatened with a runner in scoring position when Eric Thames doubled to left field. Thames moved to third when home run leader Jose Bautista grounded out to the short stop but he progressed no further when Balfour got Adam Lind to line out to left field to end the inning.

Young Aussie JOSH SPENCE lowered his ERA yesterday, but a rather wayward effort saw him saddled with his first blown save after hurling 1.0ip 0h 0er 3bb 1k (0.43ERA) at the pointy end of his San Diego Padres 4-5 defeat by the New York Mets. Josh inherited a perilous situation with two on and none out in the bottom of the eighth and he saw those runners advance on a successful sacrifice bunt from Lucas Duda that was fielded by the catcher. With first base opened, Josh was then instructed to issue an intentional walk to the dangerous Jason Bay that loaded the bases. Unfortunately Spence could not preserve the lead when pinch hitter Nick Evans lofted a sacrifice fly to centre field to tie the game at 4-4. This may have unsettled our man when he followed with a five pitch walk to Ronny Paulino to re-load the bags. He then battled Ruben Tejada to a full count before walking him to push what proved to be the winning run across the plate. It was all a bit too little too late when he fanned Mike Baxter to end the inning.

Australia's TRENT OELTJEN batted 0-1 as a pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 1-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday. Trent had the very difficult assignment of hitting for Dee Gordon who had to be replaced mid-count with two strikes already against him with one on and one out in the bottom of the eighth. Oeltjen managed to battle the ultra-tough Cliff Lee for four pitches before, unfortunately, grounding into a double play to the short stop.
  9 AUG 2011 - SPENCE & BALFOUR PROVIDE RELIEF!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence
Australian lefty JOSH SPENCE threw 11 of 15 pitches for strikes while closing the San Diego Padres 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates with yet another decisive 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (0.45ERA). Pitching the bottom of the ninth, Josh had Ryan Ludwick struck out swinging and Garret Jones pop out to the short stop before he hit Ryan Doumit with the first pitch he faced. It mattered little with two out in the inning when he soOn had Pedro Alvarez ground out to the third baseman to terminate the game.

Aussie flame thrower GRANT BALFOUR suffered a rare blown save with 1.1ip 1h 1er 0bb 1k (2.20ERA) while pitching for the Oakland Athletics in their eventual 5-4 win over his former Tampa Bay Rays team. It was an abrupt start for Grant in this game when he was asked to take the ball with his team leading 4-3 and with two out in the bottom of the seventh. Out of form Tampa star Evan Longoria drilled the second pitch he saw from Balfour over the left field wall to tie the game and the save opportunity was blown even after he got Ben Zobrist to foul out to the catcher to end the inning. However, he did a most important job in the bottom of the eighth by keeping the game tied at 4-4 with a strong 1-2-3 inning. In this frame Grant got Casey Kotchman to fly out to centre field, B.J Upton struck out swinging and Matt Joyce to fly out to left field. After that one errant pitch to Longoria, our man would have been relieved that the A's hit back to win the game in the tenth inning. It was Balfour's third blown save of the season.
  8 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR TAGGED; OELTJEN WALKS!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Trent Oeltjen


Grant Balfour

Australian star TRENT OELTJEN continues to sit on the bench more often than play lately with another brief pinch hit appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trent came into the game in the top of the sixth inning just after the Dodgers had grasped control of the game and he had team mates camped on first and third with two out in the inning. Trent was called upon to pinch hit for pitcher Nate Eovaldi and he held his nerve to load the bases with a five pitch walk milked from the pitching of 'Snakes' reliever Brad Ziegler.

As usual productive Atlanta Braves' backup catcher DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) did his best for the team with 1-4 (.250) and two RBIs in their 7-11 defeat by the division rival New York Mets.

... and in other weekend action:

Aussie relief ace GRANT BALFOUR was tagged by his former team with 0.2ip 1h 1er 0bb 1k (2.06ERA) for the Oakland Athletics during their 4-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Grant was asked to take over the bottom of the eighth with his team already trailing 2-7 and he started by getting Evan Longoria to ground out to the short stop before Ben Zobrist crushed a double to deep right field. He got the second out with Casey Kotchman called out on strikes before he was lifted in favour of bullpen partner Andrew Bailey. Unfortunately Bailey saddled our man with the earned run when Zobrist scored on B.J Upton's triple.

Former Toronto Blue Jays #1 overall draft selection VERNON WELLS (Sydney Storm 1999) delivered the only run of the game with his 1-5 (.214) and RBI for the Los Angeles Angels who squeezed past the Seattle Mariners 1-0.
  5 AUG 2011 - SPENCE EARNS HIS 4TH HOLD!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence
Aussie southpaw JOSH SPENCE earned his fourth hold of the season yesterday with another competent 0.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k (0.47ERA) as a setup reliever for the San Diego Padres in their 3-0 shutout win over the local rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Spence was asked to tidy up a two on and one out mess left by starter Tim Stauffer in the top of the seventh and his task was made more challenging when he was told to issue a bases loading intentional walk to experienced pinch hitter Casey Blake. Josh did his job in convincing fashion by getting Dee Gordon to line out back to himself on the first pitch he threw, then he won an eight pitch battle with Aaron Miles who he had called out on strikes to end the frame. The young Victorian is certainly consolidating his standing as a big league pitcher with a long term future.

  4 AUG 2011 - SPENCE ERA DOWN TO 0.49!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Josh Spence
Australia's freshest new major league pitcher JOSH SPENCE lowered his tiny ERA below "fifty cents" yesterday when he pitched a masterly 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (0.49ERA) to help his San Diego Padres to stay in a tight contest that they ultimately lost 0-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Josh took over for the top of the eighth inning and he kept the Padres within a run by getting Dioner Navarro to ground out to the third baseman, Tony Gwynn Junior struck out swinging and pinch hitter Eugenio Velez also struck out swinging. He returned to get one more out in the ninth when he had Dee Gordon fly out to right field.

and the day before:

Former IBLA import DAVID ROSS (MLB All-Stars 2001) continues to prove himself one of the best backup catchers in baseball with his fifth home run of the season not quite enough to prevent his Atlanta Braves from falling 3-5 to the Washington Nationals. He batted 1-4 (.268) with the run batted in.
  2 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR POSTS ANOTHER ZERO!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour

Australian relief specialist GRANT BALFOUR continues to lower his very good ERA with another positive 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k (1.88ERA) for the Oakland Athletics in their 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins yesterday. In his usual setup role, Grant took over to hurl the top of the eighth inning but this time he caused himself some initial pressure when Danny Valencia clipped a leadoff single up the middle. He quickly erased that threat by getting Delmon Young to ground into a double play to the short stop before finishing off the inning with Tsuyoshi Nishioka called out on strikes after four high voltage pitches.

Seemingly consigned to starting on the bench for the moment, Aussie TRENT OELTJEN contributed another 0-1 (.231) as a pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 3-6 defeat by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trent got his fleeting chance in the bottom of the seventh when he pinch hit for pitcher Blake Hawksworth, but he saw just two pitches from Joe Saunders before lifting a fly ball to centre field.
  1 AUG 2011 - BALFOUR & SPENCE SCORELESS AGAIN!
Here is an update of what some Aussies and former AMLB imports have been doing in the US major leagues:

Grant Balfour


Rich Thompson


Luke Hughes


Josh Spence
GRANT BALFOUR was back on the bump representing Australia in the US major leagues when he pitched a tidy 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (1.93ERA) for the Oakland Athletics as part of their conclusive 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins. Balfour tucked away the top of the eighth inning with Ben Revere grounding out to the third baseman, Trevor Plouffe popping out to the short stop and Joe Mauer grounding out to the second baseman. That was the extent of his job on this occasion with eight strikes among 13 pitches.

Australian reliever RICH THOMPSON was one of three Los Angeles Angels' pitchers to feel the brunt of a heavy 2-12 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Tigers with 1.1ip 3h 2er 0bb 2k (3.15ERA). Thompson was summoned to take the ball at a challenging time with two on and one out just after the Tigers had blown out the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth. He did a solid job to limit the damage in that inning with Ramon Santiago flying out to right field and Austin Jackson struck out swinging. Returning for the seventh he was immediately under the pump when Andy Dirks punched a leadoff single up the middle, even though he followed by getting Brennan Boesch struck out swinging. The runner advanced when Miguel Cabrera grounded out to the catcher but Richard could not escape unscathed when veteran Victor Martinez hammered a RBI ground rule double that hopped over the fence at deep left field. When the even more experienced veteran Carlos Guillen followed with another RBI double to deep right it signalled the end of Thompson's day at the diamond. He was probably one out away from another strong outing!

... and on Saturday:



Aussie infielder LUKE HUGHES made another start at third base for the Minnesota Twins with 0-3 (.233) from the #7 slot in their 9-5 win over the Oakland Athletics. His first plate appearance ended with a four pitch leadoff walk while facing Gio Gonzalez in the top of the second inning. In the top of the fourth Gonzalez made made him the second out with a ground ball to the second baseman. Luke again made the second out in the sixth when Gonzalez had him called out on strikes after just three pitches. Next he made the third out in the seventh with one runner aboard when he was fanned by reliever Fautino De Los Santos. In a long top of the eighth Hughes was hit by a pitch from Michael Wertz to load the bases with two out.

Left hander JOSH SPENCE further lowered his miniscule ERA to 0.53 after pitching another impressive 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k for the San Diego Padres in their 2-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Josh kept the game well within reach in the top of the eighth with Dexter Fowler grounding back to the mound, Todd Helton flying out to left field and Troy Tulowitzki popping out to the short stop. Spence returned for one more out in the ninth when he got Seth Smith to ground out to the second baseman. It was certainly not his fault that his team was unable to overturn the one run deficit at the end of a tight contest.

Aussie TRENT OELTJEN was given just one chance to pinch hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend when he went 0-1 (.237) in their 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trent was the last of the Dodgers to bat in the game when he made the final out in the bottom of the eighth inning. He saw three pitches from Alberto Castillo before grounding out to the first baseman.


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