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Friday, June 26, 2009

Durham Bulls on the Move: Bradford, Eldridge, Richard

Posted by on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 3:52 PM

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Good news for Bulls fans: Chris Richard has been activated after his second stint on the disabled list with hamstring tightness. Despite having missed 30 of the team's 74 games, most of them in the last month, the 35-year-old Richard still leads the team with 11 home runs, and his 37 RBIs are just one behind Ray Sadler's team-leading 38. Richard's .855 OPS is also tops on the team except for the very-small-sample-sized Rhyne Hughes's .978.

Speaking of Hughes, I had suggested more than once that he would be sent back down to Montgomery once Richard was activated, but as recent commenter Jack, uh, commented, pure performance logic argued that Hughes stay and share time with Richard. Jack got it right (and I got it wrong): instead of Hughes, outfielder Rashad Eldridge (pictured) was Bisquicked. The 27-year-old Eldridge played reasonably well for the Bulls, hitting .301 and covering ample ground in the outfield. But he had little power, and for a speedy guy didn't do much on the basepaths, stealing just two bases and getting caught three times. He was also the Bulls' fifth outfielder, and that surplus meant more games as designated hitter for Matt Joyce, Justin Ruggiano, Ray Sadler and Jon Weber. With Eldridge's demotion to Montgomery, the Tampa front office made the tacit choice to give more of those DH at-bats to Hughes and Richard, both left-handed sluggers who play the same position and will only get sufficient plate appearances by doing some time at DH. The transaction should give a boost to the team's hitting; it also affords immediate protection should Richard tweak the hamstring again.

It needs to be said that Hughes forced the Rays to keep him in Durham by swinging a hot bat in his short (so far) stint. He took advantage of the opportunity. Kudos to him for that.

Reliever Chad Bradford's rehab assignment ended, and he has been promoted to Tampa as expected. A pitcher will have to move off of the major-league roster, and the speculation on who that will be has included Winston Abreu, David Price and Andy Sonnanstine, all for different reasons. According to a couple of sources, Abreu is out of options, although I couldn't figure out why, based on his professional history. But transaction rules befuddle me sometimes. Sonnanstine has been mostly awful and still has options; so does Price, and the young phenom has performed erratically since his callup about a month ago. I'd like to see him back in Durham for more seasoning. But I'd also like my mortgage loan application to be approved, and that hasn't happened yet either.

Regardless of who's on and off the Tampa-Durham shuttle, Triangle Offense will keep you up to date.

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