A change of scenery has been good for Cartersville High graduate Connor Justus.
After slumping to a .186/.313/.239 slash line in 57 games with Double-A Mobile, Justus is hitting a hearty .283/.377/.550 with Inland Empire, albeit in just 16 games.
Even with the small sample size, it's encouraging to see Justus, who has made it this far in professional baseball mainly on the strength of his defense, post solid numbers following a midseason demotion.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Howard made his 13th and 14th starts of the year for the Isotopes last week in games at El Paso and at home against Tacoma. Howard was tagged with the pitching loss July 2 at El Paso after allowing five earned runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out five. Saturday’s six-inning performance at home against Tacoma resulted in a no-decision for the southpaw. Howard yielded just one earned run on six hits and a walk. He fanned six. For the year, he has worked 68 innings for the ‘Topes and has a 3-6 record. Howard has struck out 55 and walked 26 with a 5.43 ERA. Albuquerque (44-45) is currently third in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division and trails division-leader El Paso by five games at the Triple-A all-star break. The Isotopes return to action Thursday through Sunday in a four-game series at Las Vegas.
Connor Justus (Inland Empire 66ers, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — Since his demotion from Double-A Mobile on June 22, the middle infielder’s bat has been productive. Justus has now hit safely in 13 of 16 games at Inland Empire (17-for-60, .283 BA) and has four, two-hit games with the 66ers. In his last 16 games, he has eight extra-base hits, including four doubles and four home runs, with 13 RBI and five walks. In 73 MiLB games this season with Mobile and Inland Empire, Justus is now up to a .210 batting average in 248 official at bats. The 66ers (8-10, California League second half) already trail the South Division-leading Rancho Cucamonga Quakes by eight games. The L.A. Dodgers’ affiliate is off to a 16-2 start in the second half. Inland Empire started a four-game series at Lake Elsinore Monday night before returning home to host the Quakes in a four-game set Friday through Monday, July 16.
Anthony Seigler (GCL Yankees West, N.Y. Yankees organization; Cartersville) — As one of six catchers on the roster, Seigler has started half of his team’s 14 games through Sunday. He has hit safely in six of those games with a pair of two-hit games. The switch-hitter is 8-for-21 (.381) with two RBI, two doubles, four runs scored, and five walks. Defensively behind the dish, Seigler has not committed an error and has denied two of nine would-be base stealers. The GCL Yankees West are currently 7-7 and trailing Tigers West by two games in the GCL Northwest Division. The Yanks West have a home doubleheader with Yankees East today followed by games this week at the GCL Braves, home against the GCL Phillies, and finish the week with road games at Phillies West, Tigers West and the GCL Pirates.
— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.