WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Memphis Redbirds
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 7 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs RH Alex Sanabia (3-5, 5.06 ERA) vs. Redbirds LH Marco Gonzales (0-0, 0.00)
BROADCASTS: WMTI-FM, 106.1; MiLB.tv
Danny Black is batting just .229 with the Zephyrs after 13 games. And, that was an improvement over the 63 he spent with Double-A Jacksonville, during which he hit .225.
However, the Miami Marlins remain high on Black, who was drafted in the 14th round in 2010 from the University of Oklahoma.
“He’s a really good athlete,” said one scout at a Zephyrs home game before their recent road trip. “He’s got a great arm and he runs really well. He’s fast.”
Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said Black’s potential and development is in keeping with the Marlins’ philosophy of versatility being a key to winning.
Black came up to replace Derek Dietrich at second base when he was called back up to the Marlins, but also played some at shortstop and third base. In a recent road game, he played in left field.
That might not be the best thing about him, Haines said.
“He’s the kind of guy managers like because he will do anything for the team and he can play anywhere on the field,” Haines said. “He’s a guy who’ll impact winning for you.”
Heading into Thursday night’s game, Sanabia was the only Zephyrs pitcher to have gone six innings or more in the past 14 games. … The Zephyrs will employ a pitching system known as “piggy-backing” during Saturday and Sunday’s games. It’s a system in which a starter is relieved midway through the game by another starter to ensure the work load is shared by the pitching staff more evenly. It is used more in the lower minor leagues but some Triple-A teams also use it. On Saturday, Andrew Heaney, optioned back from the Marlins on Monday, will start. He will be relieved by Anthony DeSclafani midway. On Sunday, two-time MLB All-Star Brad Penny will start, making his Triple-A debut. He will be relieved by Adam Conley. Haines is using the system to ensure his pitchers get work before the Triple-A All-Star break, which will take place Monday through Wednesday. … In part because of the All-Star Game break, New Orleans and Memphis are playing their second three-game set this month. The teams met in Memphis on July 4-6, with the Redbirds sweeping all three games. The Zephyrs followed that series with four games in Oklahoma City. The Pacific Coast League rule that each team must have a home game on July 3 or July 4 to receive the benefit of the holiday crowd attendance, played a part in the three-game sets. The teams will make it up with five-game series Aug. 7-11 in Memphis and Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in New Orleans to close the season.