FAIRFIELD — In the game of dominos that is professional baseball, one player’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.
In the middle of his best season in years as starting shortstop for the Louisville Bats of the Triple-A International League, Vanden High graduate Kris Negron was called up to the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips suffered torn ligaments in his left thumb while diving for a ground ball in a game Wednesday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Even before getting the results of Phillips’ MRI, the Reds purchased Negron’s contract, bringing him to the major leagues for the second time. According to The Associated Press, Phillips is expected to miss six weeks after having surgery on Friday.
Negron got into four games with Cincinnati in 2012, going 1 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.
This season with the Bats, Negron was batting .269 in 75 games through Wednesday with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 25 RBIs. His average is his highest for a season since batting .269 in 127 games in 2010, most of which was spent with Carolina of the Double-A Southern League.
The area’s only current Triple-A player is Drew Carpenter (Vacaville), who is 2-0 with a 6.08 earned run average in three appearances with the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Carpenter got a win in his last start on Monday, going six innings while giving up five hits and five runs with five strikeouts.
Ryan Lipkin (Vanden, Solano) has seen much of the Oakland A’s organizational ladder this season, playing at three different levels (Class A, Double-A and Triple-A). The catcher landed back with the Stockton Ports of the Class A Advanced California League after spending two and a half weeks on the 7-day disabled list with the Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League.
Lipkin sizzled in his first stint with Stockton, batting .440 (11 for 25) in seven games before moving on to the Midland RockHounds of the Double-A Texas League for one game.
It was then off to Sacramento, for whom he was batting .269 (7 for 26) in seven games before getting hurt. In his last three games he batted .455 (5 for 11).
Another Vanden grad, Andrew Aplin, has had a roller coaster season with the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Houston Astros’ team in the Texas League. The starting center fielder earned a spot in the league’s midseason all-star game but is batting .194 in July, though he was 2 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs on Friday.
Aplin, who has a .324 on-base percentage for July and .367 for the season, is following up his productive 2013 campaign with Lancaster of the California League by ripping nine doubles, one triple and five home runs with 43 RBIs, 40 runs scored and a .254 average.
Also at the Double-A level, Jonathan Jones (Vanden) is on the temporary inactive list with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Toronto Blue Jays’ team in the Eastern League.
Jones, who last played on June 26, is batting .233 with seven doubles, two triples and one home run (hit June 24) with 15 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
A rung lower in the Toronto system, Nick Baligod (Fairfield) is batting .240 for the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class A Advanced Florida State League. The outfielder’s best game of the month was against Clearwater on July 3, when he was 2 for 6 with a home run, a stolen base and three RBIs.
Geno Escalante (Rodriguez) has struggled mightily while splitting his season evenly between the Augusta GreenJackets of the Class A South Atlantic League (.176 in 16 games) and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Class A short season Northwest League (.173 in 15 games).
In one of his most recent outings, Escalante, a catcher, was 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs against Vancouver on July 2.
Jordan Brown (Vacaville) is tearing it up south of the border for the Piratas de Campeche of the Triple-A Mexican League. The former Bulldog leads the Piratas in batting (.374) and on-base percentage (.417).
While in the Texas Rangers organization earlier this season, Brown batted .200 in 23 games with the Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League and .242 in nine games with the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League.
Three former Solano Community College pitchers – Dustin Crenshaw, Ethan Gibbons and Kagen Hopkins – are having solid seasons with the Gary SouthShore RailCats of the independent American Association.
Crenshaw upped his record to 6-4 by going 7 2-3 innings in a 2-1 win over Fargo on Thursday, allowing one run and five hits. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has a 2.56 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 87 2-3 innings.
Gibbons (Armijo) came on in relief of Crenshaw on Thursday, striking out two of the three batters he faced in two-thirds of an inning. In 18 games, the right-hander has a 0-0 record and a 1.63 ERA in 22 innings and hasn’t allowed a run in his last nine appearances.
Throw out four rough outings – 12 earned runs surrendered in 6 1-3 innings – and Hopkins (Vanden) would be having a dazzling season. He’s allowed just one earned run over the other 19 innings and 13 appearances, giving him a 2-2 record and a 4.55 ERA overall.
Chris Elder (Armijo, Solano) is batting .270 in 40 games as an outfielder with the Evansville Otters of the Independent Frontier League. He has six doubles, two home runs and nine stolen bases with 19 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.