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FSL: Yankees finally hit stride

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
Published July 22, 2005

The Tampa Yankees are 51/2 games out of first place in the Western Division, but they are ahead of other teams in awards.

First baseman Cody Ehlers was named Florida State League player of the week for July 10-17 after hitting .462 with two home runs and four doubles in seven games. He also scored nine and drove in four.

Ehlers, drafted in the 11th round by the Yankees in 2002, is hitting .360 since being called up from low Class A Charleston on July 2. With Ehlers' hot bat helping Tampa win close ones, the Yankees are making a second-half turnaround. Tampa scored 47 runs last week to finish 5-2.

The Yankees also have been able to keep runs off the board.

The pitching has been just as strong with former Mitchell standout Tyler Clippard leading the way. Clippard, a right-hander, was named FSL pitcher of the week (July 10-17) after going 2-0 and striking out 12 last week. On July 11, he relieved major-leaguer Brian Boehringer, allowing four hits while striking out six in six innings.

Clippard came out of the bullpen to fill the void created by Jeff Kennard, who was suspended 15 games by the commissioner's office for violating baseball's minor-league drug policy. Kennard returned from suspension July 14.

That allowed Clippard to return to the starting rotation. He struck out six in six scoreless innings to pick up his second win of the week on Sunday.

Selected in the ninth round of the 2003 amateur draft, Clippard has made the necessary steps on the organizational ladder. He started off in the Gulf Coast League as a rookie before making his way to Battle Creek (Mich.) last season. This season, Clippard is 8-7 with a 3.34 ERA and league-leading 118 strikeouts.

POWER PLAYER: Clearwater Threshers second baseman Tim Moss is on a surprising power surge. The Phillies' top pick (third round) in 2003, Moss fell off the radar after hitting .217 with three home runs in 121 games in the minors entering this season.

He's back in the spotlight after showering the bleachers with baseballs at a rapid pace. Moss needed just 23 games to triple his career home run total and now has 15. He provided nearly all of the offense by slugging a pair of home runs in a loss to Vero Beach on July 14.

ON A TEAR: Dunedin first baseman Adam Lind had an 11-game hitting streak through Sunday and hit .444 (12-for-27) in six games last week.

[Last modified July 22, 2005, 00:34:06]


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