Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Barons (29-14) went 3-5, but still had the best record in the league and led the South Division by six games. They lost three games at West Tenn, ending a five-game winning streak, then went 3-2 at Tennessee.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Jordan Danks was 13-for-31 during an eight-game hitting streak, lifting his average to .368 since being promoted from Winston-Salem. ... RHP Brian Omogrosso suffered his first two losses after four victories, allowing five runs in each outing.
PLAYER TO WATCH: LHP Aaron Poreda fell to 3-4 despite 12 strikeouts in seven innings against West Tenn. He allowed three hits and two earned runs. Poreda, 22, had a 2.53 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings. The first-round selection in the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft appeared to be headed to the Padres before RHP Jake Peavy rejected a trade to the White Sox.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: SS Gordon Beckham had a four-hit game with a homer and two RBIs in the series opener at Tennessee. He was hitting .296 with 16 doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs. In addition to playing shortstop, he's also seen time at both second and third base. Beckham, 22, missed nine days in early May with an abdominal strain. The former Georgia standout was a first-round draft pick last June.
Carolina Mudcats (Cincinnati Reds)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Mudcats (20-23) won the first four games of a series at Chattanooga to complete a 6-2 week. They were third in the North Division, two games behind first-place Huntsville.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Chris Heisey had a three-hit game with two doubles and a homer, driving in three runs. He was batting .348 and reached base in his first 35 games before being stopped. ... OF Sean Henry had four multi-hit games, lifting his average to .310. ... OF Todd Frazier raised his average to .301 with a three-hit, three-RBI game. ... 2B-3B Eric Eyemann (.276) was promoted to Triple-A Louisville. ... OF Shaun Cumberland was 3-for-26 in his last 10 games.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Jordan Smith improved to 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He allowed only three earned runs over 23 1/3 innings in four starts since being reinstated from the disabled list. He worked six scoreless innings against Jacksonville and followed that up with seven solid innings against Chattanooga, allowing two runs. Smith, 23, had walked only seven in 40 1/3 innings. He was a sixth-round pick in 2006.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: RHP Zachary Stewart won his first start after being promoted from the Florida State League, pitching seven scoreless innings against Chattanooga. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out eight. Stewart, 22, was 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA in seven starts for Sarasota. He was a third-round pick last year out of Texas Tech.
Chattanooga Lookouts (Los Angeles Dodgers)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Lookouts (18-25) dropped the first four games of a home series with Carolina, stretching their losing streak to five games. They were 2-6 for the week.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: SS Tony Abreu, batting .310, had four multi-hit games during an eight-game stretch. ... OF James Tomlin capped the week with a three-hit game, lifting his average to .299. ... RHP Travis Schlichting finally allowed a run, but was 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in seven relief appearances. ... RHP Jesus Castillo dropped to 1-4.
BAD BREAKS: C Lucas May and OF Gaby Martinez, two of the Lookouts' top hitters, will both be sidelined at least a month. May fractured his wrist and Martinez broke a bone in his hand. "It's a big blow for us," manager John Valentin told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Both players were hitting .298, and Martinez was second in the league with 31 RBIs at the time of his injury.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: OF Andrew Lambo, finally out of his slump, had a three-hit game with a homer and a double. He was 13-for-34 over a nine-game stretch, including six doubles. Lambo, 20, was batting .281 with four homers, a triple, 15 doubles and 15 RBIs. He hit .321 in April, but then went into a two-week skid.
Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Stars (20-19) were 4-3, holding on to first place in the North Division by a game over Tennessee. Huntsville went 1-2 to finish a series at Mobile, then 3-1 against West Tenn at home.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: 3B Taylor Green was 5-for-12 with two doubles and three RBIs in his first four games. ... SS Shane Justis hit .457 over a 10-game stretch, lifting his average to .307. ... RHP Jeremy Jeffress was sent down to Brevard County of the Class A Advanced Florida State League after going 1-3 with a 7.57 ERA.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Mike Jones pitched six scoreless innings against West Tenn in his first game after being promoted from Brevard County. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four. Jones, 26, didn't get a decision, as the Stars finally scored in the ninth for a 1-0 win. He was 4-0 with a 4.13 ERA in seven starts for Brevard County.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: LHP David Welch (2-3) limited Mobile to five hits over seven scoreless innings to win his second straight start after a horrible start to the season. He walked none and struck out three. Welch, 25, was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in May compared to 0-3 with a 10.43 ERA in April. He pitched a seven-inning no-hitter for the Stars last season.
Jacksonville Suns (Florida Marlins)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Suns (23-21) were 5-3, going 2-2 at Carolina and starting a home series with Montgomery by taking three of four. Jacksonville was third in the South Division, a half-game behind second-place Mobile.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: RHP Kyle Winters (1-1) allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings to get his first Double-A victory. ... RHP Cristhian Martinez, 4-2 with a 1.84 ERA, pitched once for Florida before returning to the Suns. ... LHP Sean West (4-2) was promoted to the Marlins to make a start and RHP Chris Leroux joined the Florida bullpen. ... LHP Graham Taylor fell to 2-3 with his third straight loss.
PLAYER TO WATCH: LHP Aaron Thompson snapped a five-game losing streak, working six innings in a victory at Carolina. He allowed two runs and seven hits. Thompson, 23, was 2-5 with a 4.53 ERA in eight starts and opponents were batting .298 against him. He was a first-round pick in 2005, taken by the Marlins with the 22nd overall choice.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: RHP Brad Stone had an impressive debut with the Suns, allowing one hit and no walks over four innings in a spot start against Montgomery. He struck out five. Stone, 25, had made nine relief appearances for Class A Advanced Jupiter and five for Triple-A New Orleans. RHP Adalberto Mendez (2-2) followed Stone with three hitless innings to get the win.
Mississippi Braves (Atlanta Braves)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Braves (20-22) had the only losing record in the South Division. They were 3-4 for the week, finishing a series at Montgomery 1-3 and going 2-1 at home against Mobile.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: C J.C. Boscan was hitting .441 with 11 RBIs in 16 games. ... OF Matt Young was 11-for-24 over five games, raising his average to .255. ... RHP Kyle Cofield improved to 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA. ... RHP Rafael Cruz had 11 saves in 14 chances. ... 2B Antonio Perez was 4-for-12 before returning to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... 2B Travis Jones, batting .311, came off the disabled list after being sidelined with a sore hamstring. ... 1B Kala Ka'aihue was 1-for-24 in his past 10 games, dropping his average to .167.
PLAYER TO WATCH: SS Brandon Hicks had a 3-for-3 game with a double and was 8-for-18 during a five-game stretch. He was batting .244 with two homers, 17 RBIs and eight steals in as many attempts. Hicks, 23, impressed Atlanta manager Bobby Cox with his fielding in Spring Training, but needs to make better contact at the plate. He had struck out 43 times and drawn 15 walks.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: OF Gorkys Hernandez was 14-for-34 over a nine-game stretch, getting three hits a trio of times and two hits once. He was batting .339 with nine doubles, two triples and 18 RBIs. Hernandez, 21, had nine stolen bases, but had been caught six times. He was hitting .374 in 35 night games, but just .172 in seven day contests.
Mobile BayBears (Arizona Diamondbacks)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The BayBears (23-20) went 3-3 and were in second place in the South Division, six games behind Birmingham. They were 2-1 at home against Huntsville and 1-2 at Mississippi, leaving 15 runners on base in a shutout loss.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: RHP Jarrod Parker (2-2) had a 2.52 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings. ... LHP Clay Zavada, whose ERA was 2.60 in 11 relief outings, was promoted to Arizona for the second time. ... RHP Matt Torra lost his fourth start in a row, falling to 1-5 with a 5.36 ERA.
PLAYER TO WATCH: LHP Daniel Schlereth had a 1.65 ERA and two saves in 13 relief appearances, striking out 17 and walking 10 in 16 1/3 innings. Opponents were batting .160 against him. Schlereth, 23, was drafted in the first round last year after pitching for the University of Arizona. His father, Mark, was a standout lineman with the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins, and now works as an NFL commentator for ESPN.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: OF Cyle Hankerd was 8-for-10 with eight RBIs during a three-game stretch and had a trio of three-hit effort in seven contests. By hitting .457 over nine games, he raised his average to .356. Hankerd, 24, had 13 doubles, three triples and 27 RBIs. He had only 19 strikeouts in 132 at-bats.
Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Biscuits (22-22) remained at .500, going 1-3 at Jacksonville after finishing a home series with Mississippi 3-1.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: RHP Heath Rollins improved to 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA. ... RHP Aneury Rodriguez fell to 2-6, despite allowing only a run on two hits in five innings against Jacksonville. ... RHP Neal Frontz posted an 8.64 ERA and suffered three blown saves in as many chances.
PLAYER TO WATCH: 1B Rhyne Hughes had nine RBIs over a five-game stretch and hit his 13th homer, tied for best in the league. He led in RBIs with 40. Hughes, 25, was batting .260 and had 10 doubles. He had a .550 slugging average, but was second in the league with 63 strikeouts.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: OF Desmond Jennings had his hitting streak end at 10 games, but still led the league with a .371 average. He was hitting .395 in May. Jennings, 22, had four homers, five triples, 11 doubles and 24 RBIs. He had stolen 15 bases in 19 attempts, including a swipe of home. He'd struck out just 22 times in 167 at-bats and boasted a 1.001 OPS.
Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Smokies (20-21) trailed first-place Huntsville by a game in the North Division after a 4-5 week that featured two doubleheaders. They were 2-2 to conclude a series at Chattanooga, then 2-3 at home against Birmingham.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: 3B Marquez Smith, batting .309, had six hits, including two homers, in a doubleheader at Chattanooga. ... C Steve Clevenger was 9-for-18 during the week, lifting his average to .365. ... RHP Casey Coleman (4-1) lowered his ERA to 3.21 with five scoreless innings. ... 1B Blake Lalli had consecutive multi-hit games, raising his average to .361. ... RHP Jay Jackson struck out 16 over 12 innings in two starts, improving to 3-3 with a 3.57 ERA. ... OF James Adduci went 3-for-29 in his past 10 games and was hitting .171 in May.
PLAYER TO WATCH: 2B Tony Thomas was hitting .324 with eight homers, but had other areas of his game to work on. As a baserunner, he was just 3-for-10 in steal attempts and had also been picked off twice. Defensively, he had made eight errors. Thomas, 22, was a third-round Draft pick in 2007 after starring at Florida State. His only issue at the plate is strikeouts. He had 37 in 145 at-bats.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: LHP Casey Lambert (3-2) turned in his second straight scoreless outing, limiting Chattanooga to three hits over seven innings. The former reliever gave up one hit over six scoreless frames in his previous start against West Tenn. Lambert, 23, struck out five and walked none against Chattanooga, lowering his ERA to 1.91 in seven starts.
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (Seattle Mariners)
THE WEEK THAT WAS: West Tenn (17-25) won three straight to close a home series with Birmingham, but went 1-3 at Huntsville. The Diamond Jaxx were still last in the North Division, a half-game back of Chattanooga, despite the 4-3 week.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: OF Ezequiel Carrera had five multi-hit performances in eight games, raising his average to .351. ... SS Oswaldo Navarro was hitting .305. ... OF Greg Halman hit his 13th homer to tie for the league lead, but was also tops with 71 strikeouts. ... 3B Leury Bonilla was 1-for-26 since joining the team.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RHP Kyle Parker allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings, but got a no-decision at Huntsville. He walked one and struck out two. Parker, 24, was 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA in eight starts. Opponents were batting .224 against him, and he had 32 strikeouts and 21 walks in 43 1/3 innings. He missed part of last season in the California League because of an elbow problem.
PERFORMANCE OF WEEK: RHP Justin Souza (3-2) allowed three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings for a victory against Birmingham. He struck out six and walked one. Souza, 23, had a 3.27 ERA with 29 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 innings. He made six relief appearances before moving into the starting rotation. Souza was a ninth-round pick by Seattle in 2006.
Southern League Notebook is a publication of Minor League Baseball.