Salt Lake Bees continue to compete despite being out of the playoff hunt
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Following Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Round Rock, the Salt Lake Bees found themselves 20 games below .500. Looking at some of the reactions of Salt Lake players during the game, however, you might think they were in the middle of a pennant race.
With the Bees trailing 4-0 in the fourth inning, Salt Lake catcher John Buck walked into the batter's box with runners on the corners. Buck popped up a fly ball that just got out of the infield, landing harmlessly in the glove of Round Rock second baseman Jason Donald. As Buck trotted out of the batter's box, the veteran took his bat and broke it on his thigh, frustrated he wasn't able to get the runners in.
He wasn't the only one showing frustration.
The next inning, outfielder J.B. Shuck came up to bat with a man on first and one out. Shuck lined a ball right to Round Rock pitcher Robbie Ross Jr., who quickly fired to first for the inning-ending double play. As Shuck left the batter's box, he took his helmet and slammed it hard to the ground.
"It's just the professionalism of our crew out there," Bees manager Keith Johnson said. "Obviously offensively the numbers speak for themselves. The guys take pride in what they're doing out there and they're wanting to win ballgames and we've actually been winning some, and they want to keep that going.
"It's good to see. Obviously you don't want to see frustration, you'd like to see some laughter and some joking in there too, but tonight was one of those nights that they hit some balls right at people and they made some good plays."
Helping cause the frustration was Ross Jr., who bent many times, but the Bees could never get him to break. Ross Jr. wasn't unhittable but was able to get the outs before Salt Lake could do too much damage. The Round Rock starter pitched eight innings, surrendering two runs on eight hits.
"He was pitching inside and it was effectively pitching inside," Johnson said. "Mixing up speeds and locations and getting us to swing at his pitch."
Salt Lake has seen its fair share of shake-ups this season, and more will soon be in the works. Angel starting pitcher Garret Richards injured his left knee in Los Angeles' 8-3 win over Boston, attempting to cover first.
"There's going to some action," Johnson said. "There will be some official word (Thursday). It's unfortunate that he went down, from his reaction it doesn't look like it will be minor."
The Angels did announce that Brennan Boesch had been optioned to Salt Lake, but no word on who will be joining the big league club was made known at deadline.
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