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Aaron Wilkerson flirts with no-hitter for OKC, Cody Bellinger & Zach McKinstry inch closer to LA return

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19-year-old Diego Cartaya debuts with Quakes

Aaron Wilkerson pitches for the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2021.
Photo credit: Cody Roper | OKC Dodgers

Tuesday in the Dodgers minors featured flirtation with a no-hitter, a prospect making his season debut, and a pair of Dodgers continuing their minor league rehab assignment.

Player of the day

Triple-A Oklahoma City has a rotation mostly filled with veterans, especially with top prospect Josiah Gray currently sidelined with a right shoulder impingement. On Tuesday, it was right-hander Aaron Wilkerson’s time to shine.

Wilkerson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and settled for 6⅔ scoreless frames with seven strikeouts. He scattered two walks and a hit by pitch through the first six innings, his shot at history broken up by left fielder Ryan Vilade singling to open the seventh.

The fourth time turned out to be the charm for Wilkerson, who pitched in parts of three seasons (2017-19) with the Brewers, and signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on April 30. In his first three starts with OKC, Wilkerson allowed 12 runs on 16 hits, including four home runs, in 11⅓ innings, losing all three. But with Tuesday’s gem he lowered his seasonal ERA to 5.50 to go with 17 strikeouts and four walks.

They say with age comes wisdom, and Tuesday was Wilkerson’s first game as a 32-year-old, just one day after his birthday. Not a bad way to celebrate.

The Cavalry

Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry continued their rehab assignment, each playing their fourth game with Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Both contributed in the blowout win, and each played seven innings in the field; Bellinger in center and McKinstry in left.

Bellinger homered in the fifth inning off 28-year-old right-hander Heath Holder, Bellinger’s second homer on the rehab assignment.

McKinstry singled twice, doubled, walked, and scored a pair of runs. The plan continues to be for those two to join the Dodgers at some point this weekend — “Still fair to say that, yes,” Dave Roberts said Tuesday — but with Oklahoma City off on Wednesday, the question is just how soon they will be activated.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

We’ve already talked a lot about Oklahoma City’s win, but that’s because their romp over the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies) was chock full of notable performances. Luke Raley homered, singled, and drove in five while playing first base for the first time since 2018 in Double-A, unless you count the one game he played at the position during spring training this year.

Catcher Hamlet Marte doubled and drove in four, and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. doubled, singled, and walked.

Double-A Tulsa

The Drillers didn’t score in a one-run loss to the Arkansas Travelers (Mariners), but it wasn’t for lack of opportunities. Michael Busch doubled to lead off the game, one of eight hits for Tulsa in the game.

Three of those hits came in the eighth inning, the last by Donovan Casey. But Arkansas right fielder threw out catcher Hunter Feduccia at the plate for the final out of the inning to preserve the one-run advantage.

Drillers pitcher Andre Jackson, on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, talked with Guerin Emig at Tulsa World about the 26x40 mural of Jackie Robinson at the Drillers’ ONEOK Field that was unveiled earlier this season:

“I would love to be a Hall of Famer. I would love for that to be part of my legacy. But I think the biggest thing is leaving a mark on people’s lives. I think that’s what Jackie encompasses, especially being a Dodger. A guy that changed the game on and off the field while going through stuff that people can’t even fathom. I can’t fathom.

“There’s probably no right answer to what he means to me, for anybody. But I think that living up to those morals and that character is kind of the big thing.”

High-A Great Lakes

Great Lakes allowed five runs in the eighth to break a tie in a loss to the Lansing Lugnuts (A’s). The Loons got home runs from catcher Ryan January and shortstop Leonel Valera, the latter finishing a double shy of the cycle for the second time in a week.

Bobby Miller struck out two and walked two in his 2⅔ innings, and a runner on base when he left in the third inning scored, the first run charged to Miller in three games and 7⅔ innings this season.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

Shortstop Eddys Leonard drove in three, including the game-winning RBI double in the eighth inning to lead the Quakes over the Stockton Ports (A’s). Leonard also homered earlier in the game.

Right fielder Edwin Mateo singled twice, scored twice, and had three of Rancho Cucamonga’s five stolen bases on the night.

Nineteen-year-old catcher Diego Cartaya, playing in his first game of 2021, had an RBI single and a walk in his Class-A debut. Cartaya was ranked the 75th-best prospect in MLB by Keith Law at The Athletic before the season.

Hyun-il Choi struck out six in four innings in relief, allowing a run on three hits. Cameron Gibbens, a 6’8 left-hander out of Australia, got the win with a scoreless inning. The 25-year-old struck out two, giving him a 56-percent strikeout rate to go with his 0.87 ERA in 10⅓ innings.

Transactions

Low-A: Diego Cartaya was activated, and catcher Marco Hernandez was placed on the seven-day developmental list.

Tuesday scores

Wednesday schedule

  • 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Jose Martinez) at Lansing Lugnuts (Brady Basso)
  • 5:10 p.m.: Tulsa (Ryan Pepiot) at Arkansas (Adam Hill)
  • 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Kendall Williams) vs. Stockton (Jose Dicochea)

Oklahoma City is off on Wednesdays this season.