Three Storm Chasers Named to PCL All-Star Team

Here’s a press release from our friends in Omaha:

 A trio of Omaha Storm Chasers have been chosen to represent the Pacific Coast League in the 2011 All-Star Game in Salt Lake, the league office announced Wednesday. Second baseman Johnny Giavotella and first baseman/designated hitter Clint Robinson will be in the PCL’s starting lineup, while league ERA leader Luis Mendoza will be in the bullpen for the PCL All-Stars when they take on the International League on Wednesday, July 13.

Giavotella, who will celebrate his 24th birthday July 10, is hitting .323 with five homers and 53 RBI as the Chasers’ primary No. 2 hitter. Through 79 games, he has collected a team-best 105 hits, rapped 22 doubles and has stolen nine bases. He is tops in the league defensively at second base in total chances, putouts, assists and double plays, and ranks third in fielding percentage among second basemen with a .979 mark.

Robinson, last year’s Triple Crown winner in the Texas League, leads the Storm Chasers in hitting (.330), home runs (17), runs batted in (54), runs scored (54) and slugging percentage (.573). He has started 38 games at first base and 38 at designated hitter this season, but will be the starting DH for the Pacific Coast League All-Stars. Both Robinson and Giavotella represented Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League All-Star Game a season ago.

Mendoza, far and away the PCL leader in earned run average, will be in the bullpen for All-Star manager Lorenzo Bundy. The 27-year-old righthander is 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 22 appearances for the Storm Chasers this season, including seven starts. He has allowed one run or fewer in eight-consecutive appearances (five starts) dating back to May 26, going 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA in 45.2 innings pitched during that stretch. Mendoza’s 2.75 ERA is a remarkable 0.95 better than the next qualified pitcher in the league leaders, Nashville’s Sam Narron (3.70).

Starting along with Giavotella and Robinson in the PCL lineup will be catcher Anthony Recker (Sacramento), first baseman Bryan LaHair (Iowa), third baseman Brian Barden (Round Rock), shortstop Cody Ransom (Reno) and outfielders Collin Cowgill (Reno), Trayvon Robinson (Albuquerque) and former Nebraska Cornhusker Andrew Brown (Memphis). Las Vegas lefthander Brad Mills is expected to be the starting pitcher for the Pacific Coast League.

The Storm Chasers will also be represented by All-Star hitting coach Tommy Gregg, who will have the privilege of working with two of his top pupils in Salt Lake. The 47-year-old Gregg is in his third season in Omaha, fifth in the Kansas City organization and ninth overall in Minor League Baseball.

The 24th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game, pitting the best players from the 16-team Pacific Coast League against the 14-team International League, will be broadcast nationwide on MLB Network Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. Central Time.

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