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Brooks Hatch Blog: Alum Matt Duffy Returns To Tampa Bay Rays

Brooks Hatch Blog: Alum Matt Duffy Returns to Tampa Bay Rays

Happy Wednesday, everyone, from the world-wide headquarters (WWHQ) of the Corvallis Knights, your 2016-2017 and 2018 West Coast League champions!

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated third baseman Matt Duffy (pictured above, 2010) from the injured list. He made his 2019 MLB debut on Tuesday and was 2-for-3 with a walk in a 5-4 loss to Boston. He had been on rehab assignment at Durham and with the Gulf Coast League Rays.

“I feel like it’s Opening Day,” Duffy told MLB.com. “When they called me to tell me to get on a flight and come back, I felt like I was getting called up to the big leagues again. I’m just really excited.”

Duffy will also see some time at shortstop and maybe first base depending on matchups. The original plan coming out of spring training was to try and get Duffy in the outfield, but that’s unlikely given the hamstring issues he suffered this season.

Matt played at Long Beach State.

Also:

  • The Mets recalled right-handed pitcher Stephen Nogosek (2013) from triple-A Syracuse for the second time this season on July 19. He played at Oregon.
  • Arizona placed right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese (2009) on the 10-day IL on July 20 for a bruised right foot. He played at UC Riverside.

Twelve Knights are/have been on MLB rosters this season: Duffy; Nogosek; Andriese; Arizona pitcher Jimmie Sherfy; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Rocky Gale; Chicago White Sox pitcher Josh Osich; Colorado pitchers Tyler Anderson (2009) and DJ Johnson (2008-09); Detroit pitcher Matt Boyd (2010); Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger (2010); Chicago White Sox pitcher Jace Fry (2011), and Toronto pitcher Sam Gaviglio (2009).

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In case you missed it, the North Division defeated the South Division 14-1 on Tuesday at the WCL All-Star Game before a crowd of 2,284 at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend.

Seven Knights played for the South team. Lefty Tim Josten (Cal State Fullerton) pitched a scoreless inning of relief; he was the only Knights’ pitcher to appear.

Outfielder Jake Holcroft (Portland) was 1-for-4; catcher Zack Moeller (Utah) and second baseman Michael Curialle (UCLA) were 1-for-2; first baseman Andy Atwood (Texas Rio Grande Valley) was 0-for-3; shortstop Brooks Lee (Cal Poly) was 0-for-4 and pinch-hitter Briley Knight (Utah) was 0-for-1.

Lee was named the game’s Top Prospect by the MLB scouts in attendance. The future Cal Poly Mustang was ranked as the No. 37 overall prospect going into the 2019 MLB Draft by MLB.com. He was drafted by San Francisco in the 35th round but did not sign.

Bellingham outfielder Jack Machtolf (Gonzaga) earned MVP honors. He was 4-for-5 with four RBIs.

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We have added a position player and a pitcher for the West Coast League stretch drive. The newest Knights are redshirt sophomore catcher Tristan King of Texas Rio Grande Valley and freshman right-handed pitcher Marques Johnson of Riverside City College.

King is a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder who played at Timberline High School in Boise. He played at Palomar JC in 2018 and hit .346 (54-186) with 22 RBIs. He is a native of Perth, Australia.

He played for the Walla Walla Sweets earlier this season and hit .273 in eight games, with three doubles and five RBIs.

Johnson is a 6-2, 195-pound righty from Hemet High School in Hemet, Calif. He was 2-2, 3.22 in 17 games at RCC this spring, with 21 strikeouts in 22.1 innings.

Also, pitcher Alex Williams (Stanford) and Chase Watkins (Cal Poly) have left the team. Williams is being shut down for the balance of the summer; Watkins is attending a private pitching academy in the Seattle area.

Williams was 1-0, 0.96 in seven games, with three saves and 13 strikeouts in 9.1 innings. Watkins was 2-0, 0.o90 in five games, with 28 strikeouts in 20 innings.

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We resume our WCL schedule at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday against the Portland Pickles at Walker Stadium in Portland. Game 2 of the series is at Goss Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday; the finale is set for 7:05 p.m. Friday in Portland.

We then head to Bend for a Saturday-Monday series with the Elks. Our next home series, also against Bend, starts on Tuesday, July 30.

Our attendance through 25 home dates is 39,340, an average 1,574 per opening. We are 2,309 fans ahead of last year’s pace through a corresponding number of openings.

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This happened while the Blog was on break, but good news always bears repeating. Knights’ outfielder/catcher Briley Knight was the West Coast League’s Moss Adams Player of the Week for July 8-14, as announced by league commissioner Rob Neyer.

Briley hit .409 (9-for-22) with a double, a triple, two homers, two stolen bases, eight RBIs and eight runs scored in five games. This past spring he hit .255 in 40 games as a freshman at Utah.

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We clinched the first-half South Division title on July 6, earning an automatic playoff berth and home-field advantage in the best-of-3 divisional round, which begins on Aug. 13. The best-of-3 Championship Series begins on Aug. 17.

Our first home playoff game will be Wednesday, Aug. 14. We will host Game 3 on Aug. 15, if necessary. Playoff tickets are available by clicking here.

The Championship Series starts on Aug. 17 and resumes on 19, following a travel day. A Game 3, if needed, will be Aug. 20. The team with the best regular-season record will earn home-field advantage.

The Knights have qualified for the playoffs every season since the current divisional postseason format began in 2007. We have won six championships, the last three in a row.

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Birmingham (AA Southern, White Sox) second baseman Nick Madrigal (2015) was 2-for-4 with a run and two steals, raising his average to .370 in a 1-0 victory over Chattanooga on Tuesday night to earn Corvallis Knights Minor League Player of the Day honors. He played at Oregon State.

Honorable mention goes to:

  • Albuquerque (AAA Pacific Coast, Rockies) reliever DJ Johnson (2008-09) pitched a scoreless inning and had one strikeout in a 17-6 loss at Salt Lake. He played at Mt. Hood CC.
  • Potomac (A Carolina, Nationals) designated hitter KJ Harrison (2015) hit a solo homer in a 3-2 loss to Wilmington. He also played at OSU.
  • The Royals have promoted catcher Nate Esposito (2012) to triple-A Omaha in the Pacific Coast League from Northwest Arkansas in the double-A Texas League. It’s the second stint in triple-A for Nate, who also reached Omaha in 2017. He played at OSU and Concordia.

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Our 2019 regular season is two-thirds completed but there are still seven more home games! Our next home game is Thursday against the Portland Pickles.

The starting time for Monday-Saturday games is 6:30 p.m. Sunday games will start at 3 pm. Our final Fireworks game will start at 7:05 p.m.

Reserve the best seats in the house for the 2019 season now by emailing [email protected] or by calling (541) 752-5656. Our entertainment schedule is available by clicking here.

Here’s the remainder of the 2019 schedule:

JULY: 24, at Portland. 25, Portland. 26, at Portland. 27-29, at Bend. 30-31, Bend.

AUGUST: 1, Bend. 2-4, at Cowlitz. 6-8, at Bellingham. 9-11: Wenatchee.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

The West Coast League’s Moss Adams Player and Pitcher of the Week for July 15-22 were Xavier University infielder Ryan Altenberger of the Wenatchee AppleSox and George Fox University pitcher Matt Voelzke of the Kelowna Falcons. Please click here for more details.

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That’s all for today. See you again next Wednesday!

 

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