Thursday was moving day for some Dodgers pitchers who got promoted, plus a 2023 debut for another pitcher after an injury-plagued 2022.
Player of the day
Hyun-il Choi followed in his first affiliated game of the season, pitching three scoreless innings in relief for High-A Great Lakes, stranding a pair of doubles while striking out two. He was added to the Loons roster earlier in the day from extended spring training.
The right-hander missed all but two games last season while injured before pitching nine games in the Arizona Fall League. Choi was the Branch Rickey Award winner as the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year in 2021.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Jonny DeLuca drove in four runs in Oklahoma City’s road win over the Sacramento River Cats (Giants).
First baseman Justin Yurchak hit a three-run shot in the second inning, and Devin Mann hit a two-run shot in the fourth. Also in the fourth, DeLuca hit his first Triple-A home run.
It was a three-hit night for DeLuca, who capped his night with a three-run triple in the eighth. The outfielder was 7-for-33 (.212) with two doubles in his first eight games with Oklahoma City before Thursday.
Jonny DeLuca's first Triple-A homer is a ! pic.twitter.com/CfMyYhIDBc— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) May 26, 2023
Tired: Bases-clearing doubles.— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) May 26, 2023
Wired: Bases-clearing triples.
Jonny DeLuca smokes a triple with the bases loaded, giving him 3 hits and 4 RBI tonight! pic.twitter.com/poaguVKquh
Starter Robbie Erlin allowed two runs for the win, pitching a season-high six innings for the third time this season.
Wander Suero, who cleared waivers and was sent outright to Oklahoma City, entered the ninth with a nine-run lead. He allowed four hits, a walk, and two runs in his first game back in Triple-A, but also struck out three.
Yusniel Díaz singled home the free runner in the 11th inning, lifting Tulsa over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals) in the Drillers’ third consecutive walk-off win.
BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK WALK OFF WINS! pic.twitter.com/o3LzJlGH0J— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) May 26, 2023
Scoring has been a chore for Tulsa for nearly two weeks, held to three or fewer runs six times in the last 10 games. The Drillers are averaging 3.44 runs per game since outfielders Andy Pages and Jonny DeLuca were promoted to Triple-A, compared to 5.39 runs per game before.
Kyle Hurt allowed a run in the first inning on a two-out single following a walk, wild pitch, and groundout. He then walked two more in the frame, but recovered nicely by retiring his final 10 batters faced. Hurt struck out six in four innings, and has a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings, with 50 strikeouts on the season.
Ben Casparius was promoted from Great Lakes, and piggybacked with Hurt, pitching four scoreless innings in relief in his Double-A debut. Casparius allowed two hits, walked none, and struck out three.
High-A Great Lakes
Great Lakes got a pair of impressive mound returns on Thursday in a one-run win over the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals).
Yon Castro didn’t miss much, spending eight days on the developmental list, but on Thursday he struck out three in his three-inning start, allowing only one single. Choi followed with his own three scoreless frames.
Damon Keith singled twice and drove in one of the Loons’ two runs. Dalton Rushing drove in the other with a bases-loaded walk, and scored once.
Jake Vogel doubled, was hit by a pitch, and scored a run.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
Two runs in the ninth off Madison Jeffrey saddled Rancho Cucamonga with a home loss to the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres).
Nick Biddison doubled home the Quakes’ only run of the game, in the eighth inning. Jorge Puerta had three hits.
Peter Heubeck struck out four in his four-inning start, allowing a run on two hits and a walk.
Joel Ibarra followed Heubeck with two scoreless innings of relief, with three strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander started as an infielder in the Dominican Summer League, but this is his third year pitching, and he has one of the standout pitching lines of the season. He’s allowed only two runs in 19⅓ innings. Opposing batters have three hits (two singles and a double) in 58 at-bats against him (.052). Ibarra has faced 80 batters, striking out 22 and walking 19.
Triple-A: Right-hander Wander Suero, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Oklahoma City. Reliever Trevor Bettencourt (2.81 ERA, 25.8-percent K rate) was promoted from Tulsa.
Double-A: Starting pitcher Ben Casparius (2.68 ERA, 29-percent K rate) and reliever Antonio Knowles (1.53 ERA, 34.7-percent K rate) were promoted to Tulsa from Great Lakes. Left-hander Lael Lockhart was placed on the development list.
High-A: Starter Yon Castro was activated off the developmental list. Right-hander Hyun-il Choi was assigned to Great Lakes from extended spring training.
- Oklahoma City 11, Sacramento 4
- Tulsa 2, Northwest Arkansas 1 (11 innings)
- Great Lakes 2, Peoria 1
- Lake Elsinore 3, Rancho Cucamonga 1
- 4:35 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Jerming Rosario) at Peoria (Alex Cornwell)
- 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Nick Nastrini) vs. NW Arkansas (Andrew Hoffmann)
- 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Payton Martin) vs. Lake Elsinore (Henry Baez)
- 6:45 p.m.: Oklahoma City (William Cuevas) at Sacramento (Drew Strotman)