Category: Roster moves

Chukars Notebook: I.F. hitters explain walk-up songs

Idaho Falls Chukars first baseman Josh Banuelos hits a fly ball to center field during the first inning of the game against the Missoula Osprey July 17 at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls Chukars first baseman Josh Banuelos hits a fly ball to center field during the first inning of the game against the Missoula Osprey July 17 at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

A smile was absent from Josh Banuelos’ face as he approached home plate two springs ago.

Banuelos was making his first home plate appearance of the 2014 baseball season, his redshirt junior season for Fresno Pacific University. Banuelos felt nervous that his new introduction song was “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey.

The 1995 R&B song fits awkwardly in baseball’s macho culture, so Banuelos expected some perplexed reactions. That song? Really?

So he was surprised when he returned to the dugout after his at-bat.

“All of the guys were like, ‘That song is tight,’” Banuelos said. “I was like, ‘If they like it, I know it’s a good song.’”

Banuelos has walked up to “Fantasy” ever since, including the 17 home games he’s played for the Idaho Falls Chukars this season. The first baseman’s song choice taps into the layered world of baseball hitters’ walk-up songs.

“It makes you smile, you’re relaxed and I’ve had success with it,” Banuelos said of “Fantasy.” “I don’t want to change things up.”

Walk-up songs appear in professional leagues all the way down to high school. The songs run for about 30 seconds before each hitter’s plate appearance, and they’re only played for the home team. But some players draw a line between walk-up song and results.

Banuelos had a .378 batting average, a .432 on-base percentage and a .575 slugging percentage for Fresno Pacific last season. His batting average is .343 for Idaho Falls this season.

In other words, Banuelos has excelled since he started walking up to “Fantasy,” and he doesn’t think that’s coincidental.

Banuelos mainly chose “Fantasy” because he likes it, just like DJ Burt. The Chukars second baseman walks up to “My Way” by the rapper Fetty Wap. He started using it this season, and he only chose it because it’s a song he regularly listens to.

Idaho Falls outfielder Amalani Fukofuka also walks up to a Fetty Wap song (“Again”). His reasoning is similar to Burt’s, but it also helps his performance, he said.

“When you have a catchy beat walking up to the plate, it gives you a little rhythm,” Fukofuka said. “You have to stay relaxed.”

Chukars third baseman Ryan Dale disagrees. He walked up to Darude’s “Sandstorm” for most of the season and now walks up to a different techno song, Disclosure’s “You & Me” (remixed by Flume). Other than the home ties (Dale, Darude and Flume are all Australian), Dale likes to get pumped up before each plate appearance. “Sandstorm” and “You & Me” fulfill that requirement.

The Kansas City Royals’ mental skills coach Freddy Sandoval walked up to Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in college and during his 10-year playing career in the Los Angeles Angels organization. But the song was not used to pump him up.

“That was the first song I listened to when I met my wife,” Sandoval said. “It puts me in a happy place.”

Sandoval’s agrees with Banuelos and Fukofuka about the purpose of walk-up songs — to be relaxed and positive.

“Music alone can retrieve a lot of information from your past,” Sandoval said. “If a player chooses a song that reminds him of negative thoughts or negative situations, it’s detrimental to what he’s trying to achieve.”

Banuelos still gets some negative reactions to “Fantasy.” But it brings a smile to his face, and that’s all he cares about.

“As long as I’m in baseball, I’ll probably stay with that song,” Banuelos said.

CHUKARS’ WALK-UP SONGS

  • Josh Banuelos — “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey
  • DJ Burt — “My Way” by Fetty Wap
  • Roman Collins — “Vampire” by Tribal Seeds
  • Ryan Dale — “You & Me” by Disclosure (Flume remix)
  • Nick Dini — “Epic Sax Guy” aka Sergey Stepanov (via YouTube)
  • Jeckson Flores — “Fireball” by Pitbull
  • Amalani Fukofuka — “Again” by Fetty Wap
  • Marten Gasparini — “Heart Upon My Sleeve” by Avicii
  • Pedro Gonzalez — “Farruka” by Chapi Chapi
  • Brawlun Gomez — “Aposento Alto” by Quien Vive
  • Cody Jones — “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith
  • Logan Nottebrok — “Tops Drop” by Fat Pat
  • Kyle Pollock — “Savior” by Andrew Ripp

Orem player’s connection to the Royals

The Chukars and Orem Owlz were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning on July 6. Idaho Falls center fielder Cody Jones faced Orem’s left-handed pitcher Tyler Watson with a runner on first and one out.

On a full count, Watson threw a changeup. Jones softly hit the pitch into right field for an RBI double. The run was the difference in Idaho Falls’ 4-2 win.

“If there was one person in this league who would throw a 3-2 changeup to me, it would be him,” Jones said. “He’ll pitch backwards, and he’s good at it.”

Jones didn’t know this purely based on scouting. He played with and against Watson since childhood. Jones, by association, has also know Watson’s father, Gene Watson. Gene currently serves as the director of professional scouting for Kansas City, Idaho Falls’ MLB affiliate.

The two played little league baseball in Austin, Texas, from about 7 years old until high school. Jones played for Stony Point and Watson played for Georgetown (both schools are in Austin suburbs).

Jones attended Texas Christian University, and Watson went to McLennan Junior College in Waco, Texas. Watson was drafted in the 38th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Royals selected Jones in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.

Jones and Watson’s Rookie-level teams face each other 16 times this season, including a four-game series wrapping up today in Orem.

“I texted him last night — I told him if he needed anything while he was here, let me know,” Watson said on Saturday. “He said he needed a vehicle and a fishing pole. I said, ‘Alright, bud, I’m on my way.’”

Gene Watson hasn’t seen Orem play yet this season, but he plans to make a trip out in a couple of weeks to see his son play. He missed Watson throw 3.1 scoreless innings against the Chukars on Saturday.

Gene wouldn’t say who he roots for when the Chukars and Owlz play. All he said was how bizarre it feels to watch those games.

“It’s really strange to see the players we talk about every day and know that your kid is in the other dugout,” Gene said.

Roster move

On Monday, right-handed pitcher Brooks Pounders was promoted from Idaho Falls to the Advanced Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Pounders, who was on a rehabilitation assignment, pitched three scoreless innings for Idaho Falls in his July 16 start. He posted a 4.80 ERA in 15 innings for the Chukars last season.

Who’s hot?

LHP Brandon Thomas

Thomas has been the Chukars most consistent relief pitcher this season. He’s pitched the third most innings (27.0) of any Idaho Falls pitcher despite making only one start (on July 12, when he allowed three earned runs in five innings). Thomas has given up one home run and 12 walks against 23 strikeouts, and his season ERA is 2.00.

Who’s not?

LHP Tripp Davis

The side-armer threw 10.1 innings without an earned run to start the season. That streak ended on July 15, when he gave up a walkoff solo home run to Missoula’s Luke Lowery. Davis pitched 2.1 scoreless innings three days later against Great Falls, but he was shelled by Orem on Friday. Davis gave up seven runs (five earned) on six hits and a walk in 0.2 innings pitched against the Owlz. His season ERA is now 4.05.

Chukars Notebook: Royals legend Mike Sweeney mentors Idaho Falls

Mike Sweeney applauds the Idaho Fall Chukars on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Mike Sweeney applauds the Idaho Fall Chukars on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

It didn’t take long for Mike Sweeney to return to the Kansas City Royals.

Sweeney, 43, spent 13 of his 16 MLB seasons in Kansas City, retiring in 2010. In February 2014, he was hired as a special assistant to baseball operations. In August, he’ll be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.

This week, Sweeney made his second trip to Idaho Falls in two years to help coach the Idaho Falls Chukars.

Royals’ baseball operations assistant for player development Chris Getz, hitting coordinator Bill Springman, pitching coordinator Larry Carter and baserunning, bunting and outfield coordinator Milt Thompson joined Sweeney in Idaho Falls this week.

The Post Register sat down with Sweeney on Friday to discuss his duties this week and the end of his playing career.

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

His duties this week

“I’m here for three and a half days. I’m really here to help speed up the process for these young prospects to get from Idaho Falls to Kansas City. I’m here to teach them, encourage them, kick them in the rear, pat them on the back and hopefully use my experiences of 16 years in the major leagues and 20-plus years in professional baseball to make that process happen.”

Specific advice he’s given to the Chukars

“Some it is, ‘Try to slow the game down, have fun, enjoy the moment.’ Some of it’s more mechanical stuff, working on hitters in the cage, game awareness, telling DJ Burt, ‘Hey, you should’ve already had your helmet and spikes on in the eighth inning to pinch run. You’ve gotta be ready. Expect that.’ These guys are young, they don’t have the experience of guys like me. It’s our job to help teach them, and it’s a joy.”

The Chukars who have impressed him

“I really like (outfielder Amalani) Fukofuka. Last year I saw him play. He’s a young kid with a lot of talent, and he’s starting to believe and put it together. To see Roman Collins hit his first professional home run (Thursday) night, being a walkoff… I actually got a ball, doctored it up and presented it to him before stretch today. That’s my job. Put a smile on their faces. Help them remember these days because there are only about 4,000 people on the planet that can say they play minor league baseball today.”

The 2010 NLDS with the Philadelphia Phillies

“My last at-bat in the big leagues was against (Cincinnati Reds reliever) Aroldis Chapman in the playoffs. First pitch: 103 (miles per hour). Second pitch: 103. Third pitch: 102. Thankfully, I got a nice line drive into left field for a base hit. I finished my career the right way.” (This was the only postseason plate appearance in Sweeney’s career)

On facing Chapman

“No once throws the ball like him. It’s a different level. You don’t see it. The only time you might see it is if you go to the batting cage, crank up the pitching machine as fast it will go and stand 30 feet away from the machine. That’s the only time you’re going to see something that fast.”

On his final MLB game: Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants

“I felt the spirit of God inside of me saying, ‘Hey, this is it. You just played your last game.’ I put my head down. The Giants are running out on the mound, cheering and celebrating. I feel a tap on my shoulder. I look up and it’s (Giants reliever) Jeremy Affeldt. He goes, ‘Hey man, I just came over to tell you I love you and congratulations.’ It shocked me. He was a 21 year-old kid in the big leagues when he came up. I was a veteran, and I mentored him. Really neat. That was my last moment in the big leagues, and one I’ll never forget.”

BUTLER RETURNS TO I.F.

Oakland Athletics first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler spent this week’s MLB All-Star break in Idaho Falls.

Butler played 74 games for the Chukars as an 18-year-old in 2004, batting a Pioneer League-best .373.

But Butler’s ties to Idaho Falls go deeper than the Chukars. He met his wife, Katie Hansen, in 2004. Hansen, a Skyline High School graduate, worked at the hotel where Butler lived while playing for Idaho Falls.

Butler was called up to Kansas City in 2007, but Idaho Falls was still embedded in his mind. He lived there in the offseasons from 2007 to 2011.

Butler, 29, now lives in Arizona.

Other than meeting Katie, Butler’s favorite memory in Idaho Falls was when the 2004 Chukars clinched their first Pioneer League playoff spot since 2000.

“I made lifelong friends on that team,” Butler told the Post Register Saturday.

CHUKARS’ ROSTER MOVES THIS WEEK

July 15: Right-handed pitchers Brooks Pounders (Pittburgh’s 2009 second round MLB draft pick) and Josh Staumont (Kansas City’s 2015 second round pick) were promoted from the Arizona League Royals to Idaho Falls. Pounders, who pitched 15 innings for the Chukars last season, made one start for Idaho Falls this week on a rehab assignment.

July 16: Kansas City released left-handed pitcher Carlos Herrera (organization decision). Herrera, 22, posted a 9.45 ERA with 10 walks and eight strikeouts in 20 innings for Idaho Falls this season. The San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native was picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

WHO’S HOT?

RHP Derek Gordon

Gordon has pitched 10.1 combined innings in his last two starts, giving up one earned run and striking out seven in each outing. His ERA has fallen from 5.65 to 4.01 in that span.

WHO’S NOT?

SS Marten Gasparini

Gasparini has three hits in his last 20 at-bats (he’s drawn two walks in that span, as well). Gasparini’s season batting average is .218, and he leads the Pioneer League with 46 strikeouts

Chukars notebook: Owlz’s new broadcaster has calmed the storm

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

The Orem Owlz were left scrambling.

Their media director and road play-by-play broadcaster Joey Zanaboni resigned June 19, in light of the Owlz’s controversial announcement of their promotion “Caucasian Heritage Night.”

Zanaboni’s resignation left the Owlz, the Los Angeles Angels’ Rookie-level affiliate, without a road play-by-play voice for their upcoming road trip, which started June 22.

Orem’s front office frantically searched for a replacement. One of them was David Winkworth, whom the Owlz knew after he (unsuccessfully) applied to be their public address announcer years earlier. Winkworth had broadcasting experience, lived in the Salt Lake City area and was available for the rest of Orem’s season.

The Owlz hired him on June 21.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from fans on social media and from the Owlz,” Winkworth said in a phone interview. “They said, ‘You’re doing a good job so far,’ and I’m really enjoying my time.”

Two days before “Caucasian Heritage Night” was announced, nine African-American people were shot and killed in a Charleston, S.C., church. Dylan Roof, a white man, has been charged with the murders.

According to Zanaboni, via Twitter, he warned the Owlz’s front office about the potential public outcry “Caucasian Heritage Night” would create. He resigned after the team went ahead with the announcement and the outcry arrived.

In a statement, the Owlz said their announcement of the event — scheduled for Aug. 10 — was ill-timed.

“We understand in light of recent tragic events that our intentions have been misconstrued,” the Owlz’s statement said, via the Salt Lake Tribune. “For that, we sincerely apologize.”

The Owlz quickly cancelled the event. Orem’s general manager Justo Vazquez declined to talk about the situation.

As Orem searched for Zanaboni’s replacement, Winkworth’s public address application put him on their radar. Lack of experience cost him the PA job. His resume has grown since.

Since 2012, the Utah Valley University alum has interned at ESPN 700 (a Salt Lake City sports radio station), hosted a sports podcast, helped produce a sports TV show for Salt Lake Community College and covered the Utah Grizzlies (an East Coast Hockey League team affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks) for KSL.com, among other work.

That experience, along with his local residence and summer availability, made him a clear favorite for the Owlz over the four to five other candidates.

Vazquez has been impressed with Winkworth’s performance so far.

“He learned everything from scratch — the team, the players — so I think he’s done an admirable job,” Vazquez said in a phone interview.

Winkworth said he’s enjoyed his four weeks with the Owlz.

“I love just sitting there, talking sports,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for me.”

Winkworth was in Idaho Falls on Fourth of July weekend for Orem’s three-game series against the Chukars. He’ll return two more times: from July 27-29 and August 5-6.

Winkworth is only guaranteed this job through the end of the season. If a more attractive opportunity opens up after the season, he’ll take it. But if he wants to return as Orem’s road play-by-play voice next year, he’ll have an advantage over other candidates.

“If he goes through the season, keeps improving and shows us something, he obviously has the experience, so he’ll have the upper hand on anyone going into next year,” Vazquez said.

Chukars’ transactions

After Idaho Falls’ 8-5 loss to Orem on July 5, three Chukars were promoted to the Single-A Lexington Legends, most notably Alexis Rivera.

The left-handed outfielder and first baseman still leads the Pioneer League in home runs (seven) and walks (17), despite leaving Idaho Falls a week ago. He also hit .362 in his 69 at-bats with the Chukars.

Idaho Falls also lost left-handed pitchers Eric Stout (3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings for the Chukars) and Brennan Henry (1.69 in 5.1).

Those three joined former Chukar infielder Luis Valenzuela, who transferred to Lexington on July 2. Valenzuela leads the Legends with a .375 batting average and a .974 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage (OPS) in 16 at-bats.

Rivera has gone 1 for 9 with a walk in his three games with Lexington. Henry, who transferred from Lexington to Idaho Falls on June 22, has a 3.95 ERA in 13.2 innings for the Legends. Stout’s ERA is 3.00 in 3.0 innings.

Right-handed pitcher Carter Hope moved up from the Arizona League Royals to the Chukars on July 5. He’s made one appearance (a start) for Idaho Falls, giving up two earned runs in 3.1 innings against Great Falls on Wednesday.

Former Chukars make All-Star team

Seven Kansas City Royals made this year’s American League All-Star team. Two are former Chukars — third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Salvador Perez.

Moustakas played 11 games for Idaho Falls as an 18-year-old in 2007, hitting .293.

Perez played 12 games for the Chukars in 2008 (at age 18) and 59 games in 2009. He hit over .300 both seasons.

Cuthbert’s short MLB stint

Former Chukar Cheslor Cuthbert made his major league debut for Kansas City on Tuesday. He lasted four games, all starts at third base, going 5 for 15 (.333) with a triple.

Cuthbert played 14 games for Idaho Falls in 2010 (at age 18), hitting .233.

Who’s hot?

The Chukars’ bullpen

Singling out one reliever would be unfair. Idaho Falls’ bullpen has not allowed an earned run in its last 25 innings pitched (it has allowed an unearned run). The starters, however, have allowed 24 earned runs in their last 23 innings.

Who’s not?

OF Brawlun Gomez

Gomez posted a .327 batting average and four home runs through his first 13 games. He has gone 1 for 20 with 11 strikeouts since, dropping his batting average to .253.

Saturday’s game rained out

Idaho Falls’ scheduled game at Missoula on Saturday was rained out. Both teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader today starting at 5 p.m. Both games will go seven innings, barring extra innings, and the second game will start 30 minutes after the first concludes.

Strong pitching lifts Chukars 4-2 over Orem

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

A win’s a win, especially for the struggling Idaho Falls Chukars. But no one in pinstripes wanted to see another poor pitching performance, even in victory.

They didn’t.

Led by starting pitcher Derek Gordon, the Chukars (6-13) got a 4-2 win over the first-place Orem Owlz (13-6) on Monday at Melaleuca Field, preventing an Owlz sweep.

Gordon.
Gordon.

“You could tell pre-game, there was a different feeling in the clubhouse,” said Gordon, the younger brother of Kansas City Royals’ All-Star Alex Gordon. “When you go out with the feeling that you’re going to win, it’s tough to lose.”

Before Monday, a Chukars pitcher had gone 5.2 innings or more only three times this season.

Gordon made that four.

Gordon, who lasted

5.2 innings on June 26 against Grand Junction, gave up two hits Monday in his fourth start of the season. The right-hander gave up two runs (one earned) on three walks and seven strikeouts. That’s the most strikeouts by any Idaho Falls pitcher in a single game this season.

“I felt more comfortable on the mound tonight than I have this season,” Gordon said. “I was locating my pitches all night.”

Milligan
Milligan

Stephen Milligan arguably pitched better than Gordon in his 3.1 relief innings. The left-hander gave up zero runs on two hits, a walk and three strikeouts.

At the plate, center fielder Cody Jones continued his hot start. Jones, who joined Idaho Falls on Saturday after a week in Arizona, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs on Monday. He’s now 7 for 13 in three games.

Catcher Pedro Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with a double, and Jeckson Flores went 2 for 3.

Other than their 2-0 loss to Grand Junction on June 26, this was the Chukars’ lowest-scoring game of the season.

“They’re going to need to learn to play in these types of games,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said. “So, it’s good for us to have a close game every once in a while.”

The Chukars travel to Great Falls for a three-game series starting tonight at 7.

Sunday’s loss

On Sunday, the Chukars fell behind 5-0 after four innings and never recovered in an 8-5 loss to Orem.

Starting pitcher Dylan Sons went 5 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

1-2-3 hitters Cody Jones, DJ Burt and Josh Banuelos each went 2 for 4 with a walk, with Banuelos adding three RBIs.

Roster shakeup

Three Chukars were promoted to Single-A Lexington after Sunday’s 8-5 loss to Orem — outfielder/first baseman Alexis Rivera and left-handed pitchers Brennan Henry and Eric Stout.

Rivera played for Idaho Falls for parts of each of the last three seasons. He exited Idaho Falls with a .362 batting average and Pioneer League-highs in home runs (seven) and walks (17) in 69 at-bats.

Henry transferred from Lexington to Idaho Falls on June 22. He made four relief appearances for the Chukars, posting a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings.

Stout joined the Chukars on June 29 and made one start, giving up three runs (one earned) on five strikeouts and no walks.

“We’re trying to develop players and get them better so we can push them up the system,” Gemoll said. “For us as coaches, we’re real happy anytime that happens.”

These three players will join former Chukars’ infielder Luis Valenzuela, who moved from Idaho Falls to Lexington on July 2.

Former Chukar joins Royals

On Monday, the Kansas City Royals called former Chukar Cheslor Cuthbert. The infielder replaced fellow former Chukar Mike Moustakas, who was placed on the family emergency/bereavement list after leaving the team Sunday for a family emergency, according to the Kansas City Star.

Cuthbert, 22, played one season for the Chukars as a 17-year-old in 2010. The infielder played 14 games for Idaho Falls, hitting .233 with two home runs in 64 plate appearances.

Cuthbert (.256 in 76 games for Triple-A Omaha this season) was set to make his MLB debut Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays starting at third base and batting eighth, but the game was postponed due to tornado warnings.

Chukars Notebook: Q&A with Royals senior coordinator for player development John Wathan

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

Few people have more knowledge of the Kansas City Royals’ organization than John Wathan.

Wathan, 65, is a Royals’ senior coordinator for player development. Wathan has been in Idaho Falls this week to evaluate the Chukars, along with director of minor league operations Ronnie Richardson, fellow senior coordinator for player development Chino Cadahia and Rafael Belliard, an infield coordinator and advisor to the general manager.

Wathan has spent 39 years with Kansas City. He played all 10 of his MLB seasons with the Royals, managed them for four years and worked in the team’s front office for a quarter century.

Wathan sat down with the Post Register on Thursday to discuss his job duties this weekend and overall.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

What does your role entail?

“I do a little bit of instruction. I used to do baserunning and bunting a lot, so I occasionally do that. More than that, I’m an evaluator. I go around to all seven clubs (affiliated with Kansas City) and evaluate all the pitching and the position players.”

Are you looking for anything specific this week in Idaho Falls?

“Nothing specifically. I’m just evaluating everything they do, from a hitting standpoint to defense to baserunning to pitching.”

How long do you spend watching each affiliate?

“I usually see every team five games, so I can see the whole starting rotation. Maybe I’ll see all of the bullpen, see all the guys play, position-wise. It’s enough time to make an evaluation.”

From the spring until the fall, are you traveling from team to team?

“I get home some. I live in Kansas City. I’ll be home for a few days, then head out again. I get home Monday, and I’ll leave Kansas City Thursday to Wilmington. I’ve seen (Double-A affiliate) Northwest Arkansas twice already. I usually see each team twice, with the exception of short-season clubs. This one, I’ll just see once.”

Civic Stadium

On Monday, Civic Stadium in Eugene, Ore., was engulfed in flames and declared a total loss by Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Randy Groves. Four juvenile boys were charged with second degree arson.

The baseball stadium has been unused since 2009, but before that, its history was rich. It opened in 1938, and in 1969, it became the home of the short-season Class A Eugene Emeralds, a Chicago Cubs affiliate since 2014.

The Emeralds, who moved to PK Park in 2010, are owned by Dave Elmore. The owner of Elmore Sports Group owns six other minor league baseball teams, including the Chukars.

Elmore, who has owned the Emeralds for more than 30 years, remembers how much the fans would intermingle around Civic’s concessions. He heard stories of fathers and sons bonding at the stadium, and people meeting their future spouses there.

“It was kind of a magical thing, and I think it was for a lot of people for a lot of years,” Elmore said in a phone interview Saturday. “I’m hoping that out of this will come a new desire and mission on the part of the community to rebuild it.”

The nonprofit Eugene Civic Alliance, which purchased Civic Stadium in April, vowed to build a sports complex where the stadium once stood, according to the Eugene Register-Guard.

Who’s hot?

OF/1B Alexis Rivera

Rivera has gone hitless in one game this season — an 0 for 4 performance against Ogden on June 24. He’s hit .368 in his last 10 games, one of which was Idaho Falls’ 25-2 win over Grand Junction on June 28. Rivera reached base in all seven plate appearances that game. Rivera leads the Pioneer League in home runs (7), RBIs (25) and walks (16).

Who’s not?

LHP Hunter Haynes

In four starts, Haynes has given up 25 runs (19 earned) on 27 hits and 10 walks in 15.1 innings pitched. He owns a 11.15 ERA, the second-worst among Chukars pitchers (reliever Brian Bayliss has a 12.71 ERA).

Roster moves

Here is a timeline of the Chukars’ roster moves so far this season:

June 21: Outfielder Riley King (a Helena, Mont., native who was selected in the 24th round of the 2013 MLB draft out of Carroll College) transfers to the Rookie-level Riley King.

June 22: Left-handed pitcher Brennan Henry (17th round, 2014 draft, Bellevue University) transfers from the Single-A Lexington Legends to Idaho Falls.

June 23: Idaho Falls adds left-handed pitcher Nick Green (10th round, 2014 draft, Utah) to its active roster.

June 29: The Chukars add left-handed pitcher Eric Stout (13th round, 2014 draft, Butler University) to their active roster.

July 2: Infielder Luis Valenzuela transfers to Lexington. Valenzuela hit .486 in 35 at-bats for the Chukars this season. The Chukars also add Arizona League infielder Logan Nottebrok (undrafted) to their active roster.

July 4: Idaho Falls adds outfielder Cody Jones (6th round, 2015 draft, TCU) to active roster from extended spring.

Dozier called up to Lexington

Dozier

POST REGISTER

The Idaho Falls Chukars lost their most productive bat Monday when infielder Hunter Dozier was promoted by the Kansas City Royals.

Dozier, the Royals No. 1 draft pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft, will move up to play with the Class A long season Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League.

Dozier is currently No. 7 on the Royals prospect chart according to mlbpipeline.com, and led the Pioneer league with 22 doubles through 47 games.

The Denton, Texas native also ranked in the top five among Pioneer League hitters in runs (35), hits (55), RBIs (35), total bases (95) and walks (31).

Dozier is the fifth Chukars player to be promoted this season, and will join the Legends who are currently in first place in the South Atlantic’s Southern Division.

SUNDAY RECAP: The Chukars completed a four-game road sweep over the Grand Junction Rockies on Sunday with a 10-2 victory.

Continue reading “Dozier called up to Lexington”

Chukars add Cy Young winner’s son

Infielder Logan Davis joined the Chukars on Thursday and will start at second base.

The 2013 undrafted free agent is the son of Mark Davis, who won the Cy Young with the San Diego Padres in 1989. Mark Davis is also the Royals’ minor league pitching coordinator.

He hit .244 for the rookie-level Arizona Royals this summer with one triple, one RBI and six stolen bases in 25 games.

Cuckovich promoted to Low-A

The Kansas City Royals promoted Chukars utility player Nick Cuckovich to its Low-A affiliate in Lexington, Kent., late Tuesday.

Cuckovich led the Chukars in RBIs last season but saw limited playing time in his second stint in Idaho Falls. He hit .226 with six doubles and five steals in 16 games this summer.

He joins reliever Zeb Sneed, promoted earlier Tuesday, as Chukars headed up to the next level on the Royals’ organizational ladder.

Twin Falls grad promoted to Lexington

The Kansas City Royals promoted reliever Zeb Sneed to its Low-A affiliate in Lexington, Kent., on Tuesday. The 2009 Twin Falls High School graduate owned a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched this summer. He appeared in eight games in his second season in Idaho Falls and ranked second in the league in strikeout rate (13.5 per nine innings).

Right-handed pitcher Andrew Brockett, the Royals 22nd-round pick in June, joins the team today as Sneed’s replacement. Brockett has appeared in eight games in the Arizona League this summer and sports a 1.04 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk in 8 2/3 innings.

Evans sidelined with concussion

Chukars catcher Zane Evans suffered a concussion Tuesday, and Ramirez said he’ll remain out for at least four more days.

A Helena batter completed his swing with one hand and the bat came back around and struck Evans, leading to a concussion and the Chukars to pull him from the game.

The concussion sidelines Evans for the third time this season. He took a bouncing pitch off his right hand on Opening Day, forcing him to sit out two games. He also hurt his hand in pregame work at the start of the month and missed two games.