BRISTOL, Tenn. - Former Bradley shortstop Jason Leblebijian made his professional debut Tuesday night for the Bluefield (W.Va.) Blue Jays in the Rookie Appalachian League, highlighting the activities of seven former Braves currently playing minor league baseball.
Leblebijian entered Tuesday's 7-2 win against the Bristol White Sox as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning. He struck out in his first plate appearance, then remained in the game at third base, where he successfully handled his only defensive play. He was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning.
Rookie pitchers Joe Bircher (Tri-City, N.Y., ValleyCats) and Jacob Booden (Johnson City, Tenn., Cardinals) both are waiting to make their professional debuts. Tri-City has split its first two games in the New York-Penn League, while Johnson City began its Appalachian League schedule with a 4-2 win Tuesday night versus the Greeneville (Tenn.) Astros.
Booden and Leblebijian could face each other this weekend when Bluefield hosts Johnson City in a 3-game series starting Friday night. The teams will play another 3-game series Aug. 1-3 in Johnson City.
Moving up the minor league ladder in the Double-A Eastern League, former Bradley pitcher Patrick Cooper earned his first career Double-A victory Sunday by allowing only three hits in 6.0 scoreless innings in an eventual 4-3 win for the Erie SeaWolves at New Britain. After starting the season as a reliever for Detroit's the Class A affiliate Lakeland in the Florida State League, Cooper has started in three of his last five appearances for Erie, where he is 1-0 overall with a 4.61 earned run average in nine total appearances.
Also in the Eastern League, former Brave Dan Brewer remains on the 7-Day Disabled List for the New York Yankees' affiliate Trenton Thunder. Hitting .221 in 27 games this season, Brewer had hit safely in his last four games, going 6-for-14 (.375) with two doubles and a home run, before landing on the DL May 23.
At the Triple-A level, former Bradley pitcher Rob Scahill ended a personal 6-game losing streak Friday by allowing three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in a 4-3 victory at Las Vegas. In 14 starts this season, Scahill is 4-8 with a 5.90 ERA, but is fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 77 strikeouts.
Meanwhile, former Bradley catcher Ryan Eigsti has appeared in just eight games for the Omaha Storm Chasers and the Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate placed him on the Temporary Inactive List following the June 13 game at Iowa. Eigsti is hitting .111 (1-9) in his eight games.