Knights Knotes: April 15, 2017

Jason Bourgeois is third all-time in franchise history in hits. Photo credit: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights.

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) continued their seven-game road trip through the International League South and opened up a three-game series in Norfolk , VA last night against the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles). The Knights, who lost all four games in their four-game series against the Durham Bulls (Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) from April 10–13, dropped last night’s opener by a score of 3–1 to the Tides. Charlotte is in search of its first road win of the season tonight after having dropped each of the first five games of this road trip. The team’s last road win came on August 28, 2016 at Norfolk. Overall, the Knights are 2–11 over their last 13 road games dating back to August 19, 2016 at Gwinnett.
: RHP Tyler Danish (1–1, 2.25) tossed seven solid innings, Jason Bourgeois racked up his 350th career Knights hit, but Charlotte dropped the opening game of their three-game series to the Norfolk Tides by a score of 3–1 on Friday night from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. Danish gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits over seven innings and was saddled with the loss. The 22-year-old hurler walked just one batter and fanned three. He allowed a solo home run in the second inning to Norfolk’s Robert Andino.
: OF Jason Bourgeois, 35, is back for his fourth season with the Knights and ranks among the all-time franchise leaders in a number of categories. Last night, Bourgeois ripped his 350th career Knights hit — a single in the seventh innings. Bourgeois ripped two hits and moved into sole possession of third place on the Charlotte Knights all-time hits list back on Sunday. On that day, he passed Yolmer Sanchez (347), who is now fourth. Bourgeois is just one of five players in franchise history with 300 or more hits (Jordan Danks, 449, Joe Borchard, 439, Bourgeois, Sanchez, and Josh Phegley, 312). Bourgeois is also among the leaders in a number of other categories, including he is fifth in at-bats (1,213), eighth in games played (306), tied for third in triples (10), fourth in runs scored (170), and second in stolen bases (67). A native of Houston, TX, Bourgeois rejoined the Knights last season after playing for the team in 2007 and 2008. In 2013, he was named to the All Knights Stadium Team.
: Earlier today, the Knights placed infielder Everth Cabrera on the disabled list and activated outfielder Rymer Liriano off the DL. Charlotte’s active roster is now set at 25 players. Cabrera has appeared in six games for Charlotte and is hitting .143 (3-for-21) so far this season. He played for his native country, Nicaragua, all of last year. Liriano has appeared in two games so far this season and was placed on the DL on April 8. For the season, he is hitting .273 (3-for-11) with one RBI.

THREE GARCIAS: Outfielder Willy Garcia, who earned International League Batter of the Week honors on Monday, was recalled by the Chicago White Sox yesterday and made history with his new Chicago White Sox teammates. Garcia, who took the place of outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was placed on the Paternity List by the White Sox, started in an all “Garcia” outfield for the White Sox. Chicago’s outfield yesterday consisted of Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, and Willy Garcia — all former Knights. It was the first time in Major League Baseball history in which one team had all three starting outfielders with the same last name (i.e. exact same spelling).There have been only three games in MLB history in which one team had three outfielders in the game at the same time, all with the same last name — the Alou brothers for the Giants in three different games in September 1963. They did not all start in those games but they were all in the outfield at the same time late in those three games.
 FROM THE SOUTH TO THE SOUTH SIDE: Outfielder Willy Garcia, who was recalled yesterday, became the third Charlotte player this season to earn a promotion to Chicago. RHP Tommy Kahnle became the first player to earn a promotion when he was recalled on April 6th by the White Sox. On Thursday, catcher Kevan Smith had his contract purchased by the White Sox. At the time of his promotion, Smith was leading the team with a .438 (7-for-16) batting average and nine RBIs in four games this season.

 JACKIE ROBINSON DAY: Today is the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. The Knights will celebrate when they return home to BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday, April 18th and all Knights players will wear #42 jerseys in honor of Robinson. The Knights will also welcome five former Negro League players to the ballpark to meet and greet fans. They will be honored on the field before the game. Also on hand will be a traveling museum and other artifacts from the Negro Leagues for fans to see.
: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0–1, 10.13) will make his second start of the season as he gets the ball for the Knights tonight in game two of the three-game series. Pelfrey and outfielder Ryan Raburn were both signed by the Chicago White Sox and assigned to the Charlotte Knights just one week ago (April 8). He made his Knights debut on April 10 in Durham and allowed three runs on five hits over 2.2 innings and was saddled with the loss. Pelfrey was added to Charlotte’s roster and took the spot of RHP Tommy Kahnle, who was the first player this season to earn a promotion to Chicago. Pelfrey, 33, was originally drafted in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the New York Mets. The 6’7” righty was recently released by the Detroit Tigers (March 30) after spending the 2016 campaign with the team. Last season, he compiled a 4–10 record with a 5.07 ERA in 24 games (22 starts). Over the course of his 11-year major league career, Pelfrey owns a 65–91 record with one save and a 4.57 ERA in 241 games (235 starts). He won a career-best 15 games in 2010 while pitching for the Mets.
 TONIGHT’S NORFOLK STARTING PITCHER: RHP Zach Stewart (0–1, 9.00)– a former Knights hurler — gets the start tonight for the Tides in game two of the three-game series. Tonight’s start is his first of the season and he takes the place of RHP Alec Asher, who was promoted to Baltimore. Stewart has appeared in three games this season out of Norfolk’s bullpen, including two appearances against the Knights. He was the losing pitcher on April 6th — Opening Knight — when he allowed a game-winning, walk-off single to Kevan Smith in the bottom of the 11th inning. Stewart has the distinction of starting and winning the final game ever at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC. On September 2, 2013, Stewart tossed eight shutout innings and beat the Gwinnett Braves 4–0 as the Knights played their final game in 24 seasons at Knights Stadium. A year later, the team, which spent a total of 25 years in Fort Mill, moved into BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte.
 MONCADA MANIA: Yoan Moncada, who entered the 2017 season ranked as the number two prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to Baseball America and, is hitting .308 (12-for-39) with seven runs scored, two home runs, three RBIs, and two stolen bases over his first nine games with the Knights this season. Moncada, 21, was acquired by the White Sox from the Boston Red Sox on December 6, 2016 as part of a package that sent LHP Chris Sale to Boston. Moncada, a native of Cienfuegos, Cuba, made his professional debut during the 2015 season with Single-A Greenville. Over the course of 190 games in the minors, Moncada owns a .290 batting average with 25 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 96 stolen bases. He made his Major League debut with the Red Sox on September 2, 2016. Following the 2016 campaign, Moncada was named as Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.