A few notes from the clubhouse after tonight’s game.
Higashioka leaves game
Catcher Kyle Higashioka left Wednesday’s game between the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth inning. Higashioka hit a high flyout to left in the seventh, then Eddy Rodriguez took his spot on defense the following inning. Manager Al Pedrique said Higashioka will see a doctor Thursday morning.
“He told me his back was a little sore, and that’s how we’re going to treat it right now,” Pedrique said.
It was a bust night behind the plate for Higashioka, with Syracuse taking advantage of starter Domingo Acevedo’s slow pace. Andrew Stevenson stole three bases. Higashioka made two throws second, but didn’t attempt to throw to third on one of Stevenson’s steals — mostly because the Chiefs outfielder got a ridiculous jump.
Higashioka just came off the disabled list June 7 after an oblique issue, then was called up to New York on June 15.
Speaking of RailRiders players and doctors …
— Gleyber Torres (@TorresGleyber) June 22, 2017
Good to see Gleyber is in good spirits. Still a bummer, though.
Praise for Cito
You watch enough minor league games, you get a real appreciation of guys who play good defense. Reegie Corona. Nick Punto. Greg Golson. Guys who you could buy tickets to a game just to watch them in the field.
Cito Culver is one of those guys.
Culver made a couple stellar plays Wednesday night. In the fifth, he charged a chopper from Adrian Sanchez. He got an in-between hop — any hop he got at that point was going to be in-between — but fielded it cleanly and slinged a throw to first. In the seventh, Clint Robinson hit a shot to short. Culver gobbled it up and made the out at first in plenty of time.
Pedrique heaped praise on his infielder after the game.
“That’s another guy like (Mark) Payton,” he said. “They come to the park ready to go, and he’s been doing a great job with short, second and third. And he’s been playing outstanding at shortstop. Getting ready for every pitch. Tonight, he got about three tough plays. He made them all. So, he’s doing a great job defensively. Offensively, he’s a little slow at the plate right now, he started out real good. Cooled off for a little bit. But for me, a guy that’s a utility player, I’d rather see good defense than offense. And that’s what he’s done so far right now. He’s done a great job for us.”
So far, so good for Andujar
Pedrique also said he’s impressed with what he’s seen so far from Miguel Andujar. The 22-year-old made a nice play on a really tough hop to end the sixth. He had to go down to the ground to make sure he came up with it, but that arm of his — which MLB.com ranked a 70 on the 20-80 scale, and boy are they right about that — gives him some extra time at the hot corner.
“That’s one thing I was told, we’re going to have to stay on his defense,” Pedrique said. “And I think he’s playing great at third base so far. He’s moving his feet well. Getting good reads on hops. His throwing arm, he’s been making solid throws across the diamond. And offensively, you can tell in this game, that he’s feeling comfortable. He started getting some good pitches to hit.”
At the plate, Andujar is making solid contact. He went 2 for 3 on Wednesday — one a line drive, the other a well-placed infield hit — and is 5 for 10 with four runs, a walk and no strikeouts in three games with the RailRiders.