For the rest of the week, the Travelers’ third-base coaching spot will be occupied by a fill-in coach. With manager Tim Bogar taking a week off for vacation, former Major League infielder Omar Vizquel, now a roving infield instructor for the Angels, guides the Travs while Bogar is away. An 11-time Gold Glove and three-time all-star, Vizquel retired last season from Toronto. His career spanned 24 years and he was with Seattle, who drafted him in 1989, and also Cleveland, San Francisco, Texas and the Chicago White Sox.
Last Thursday, outfielder Luis Montanez joined the Travelers after being signed by the Angels from the independent Somerset Patriots. Not participating in Spring training, Montanez joined the Atlantic League independent team in March after the birth of his second daughter.
The 31-year-old was drafted in the first round and third overall of the 2000 draft out of Coral Park (Florida) High School. He made his major league debut in August 2008 with the Baltimore Orioles and hit a home run in his first Big League at bat. Montanez spent part of four seasons in the Big Leagues, three with Baltimore (2008-2010) and one with the Chicago Cubs (2011).
Last Thursday in his debut against the Springfield Cardinals, Montanez made a grand impression with RBI singles in the first and eighth innings, a single in the third, home run in the fifth and RBI-double in the ninth frame.
On that same day, right-hand pitcher Josh Judy moved up to AAA Salt Lake City while right-hander David Carpenter was transferred from Salt Lake City to Arkansas.
Last Friday, left-hand pitcher Buddy Boshers was promoted to Salt Lake City. His exit leaves Nick Maronde as the only left hand option in the bullpen. Also, outfielder Ryan Jones came off the injured reserve list and gives the Travs another left-hand hitting option.
On Tuesday night, eight Travelers participated in the annual all-star game held at Springdale’s Arvest Ballpark. Catcher Jett Bandy and first baseman C.J. Cron were picked as starters with infielder Taylor Lindsey and outfielder Randal Grichuk chosen as reserves. Right-handed pitchers Brandon Hynick, Kevin Johnson and Mike Piazza were also selected. Additionally, right-hand pitcher Lay Batista had a spot but the Travs’ coaching staff requested time off for him to rest a sore arm. Lefthander Michael Cisco was named to take his place. Cisco leads the Travelers relief pitchers with a 2.37 ERA. Arkansas’ selections are the most of any Texas League team.
Better start to second half
After losing five of seven games to end the first half and let a chance at North division titlists slip away, the Travelers were 3-3 going into the all-star break. Arkansas split two games at home against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and then split a series at Springfield. At the break, they were one game behind the Springfield Cardinals and began a six-game home stand Wednesday with Frisco and Midland.