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This Week in the Minors: All-Star breaks, AA debuts

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Yordano Ventura rehabbing; a trio of Double-A debuts; Balbinos gonna Balbino; Injury updates; and a tiny bit of rookie ball!

Yordano Ventura threw 70 pitches in four innings for Omaha on Friday.
Yordano Ventura threw 70 pitches in four innings for Omaha on Friday.
Minda Haas

This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (40-36)

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No Chasers had scorching hot weeks at the plate, it seems. But carry on we must!

Second baseman Gabriel Noriega returned to the Omaha lineup this week from a hand injury that was previously thought to be season-ending. He picked up a hit in each of his first two games back, and stole a base.

Dusty Coleman, who was promoted when Noriega got hurt, led all Omaha hitters this week with 8 hits, including two doubles. Through 39 games with Omaha, Coleman is hitting .301/.354/.485.

Yordano Ventura made a rehab start on Friday, throwing 70 pitches over four innings, giving up three hits, three runs (all earned), three walks, and striking out five. Fastball velocity was consistently 95-96.

Clayton Mortensen took a tough-luck loss at Iowa, when he struck out eight over five innings, and only gave up one run.

John Lamb became the first Pacific Coast League pitcher to notch eight doubleyoos, if you're into that kind of thing. He pitched five shutout innings, striking out five and walking two.

Left-handed reliever Scott Alexander has a bit of a streak going. He hasn't given up a run since May 24, in 16.1 innings and 10 appearances. Alexander, 25, was a 6th-round draft pick in 2010.

On the DL:
-Outfielder Rey Fuentes, right leg, as of June 18. Was sent to AZ, should be back soon.
-Outfielder Jose Martinez, oblique, as of June 6, retroactive June 5. Might also have gone to AZ? He was not in the dugout Monday.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (42-34)

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Utility man Alex Liddi hit two home runs this week, the only Naturals player with more than one. Liddi, a native of Sanremo, Italy, is very much a Guy in the organization, and has spent time at first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field in 2015 alone.

Hunter Dozier had another quiet week at the plate, going 5-23 with a walk and seven strikeouts. Dozier, whose season was broken down in more detail in this FanShot on Sunday, is hitting .212 /.279 /.342. Also here he is teaching some kids at a baseball clinic. Do with that what you will, you critical spirits.

Naturals 3B Hunter Dozier teaching hitting to the kids at today's Youth Baseball Clinic! #NaturalPastime #ArvestBallpark

A photo posted by Northwest Arkansas Naturals (@nwanaturals) on

Bubba Starling also had a quiet week, with four hits (all singles) in six games, and nine strikeouts.

Once again, Balbino Fuenmayor's bat was the hottest in the NWArk lineup, with 9 hits. His 15 total home runs has him tied for tops in the league, and his batting average and slugging percentage are both in the Top 5. And the only guys slugging better are/were Carlos Correa (top prospect, now in the Majors), Joey Gallo (top prospect, now in the Majors, and Corey Seager (top prospect).

Jake Junis, a righty out of the late rounds of the 2011 draft, made his Double-A debut on Tuesday. He gave up four earned runs in four innings, with three strikeouts and a walk.

Lefty Cody Reed also made his Double-A debut this week, picking up a W in six one-run innings. He struck out five, but walked three. Another lefty making his Double-A debut was Luis Rico, who pitched four relief innings on Wednesday, and gave up two runs.

On the DL:
-RHP Reid Redman since May 9, retroactive to May 8. He had Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.
-RHP Glenn Sparkman since April 30, last I heard he is expected to return sometime in July.
-Infielder Angel Franco, evidently since early June

-Outfielder Mike Bianucci was suspended 80 games for PEDs and is on the Restricted List.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (40-33)

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Wilmington's week was greatly abbreviated by both their All-Star break, and some bad weather.

Outfielder Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado was promoted to Wilmington this week, and picked up hits in each of his first two games at the level.

First baseman Frank Schwindel turned 23 yesterday. His four hits in three games this week brought his season line to .276/.312/ .424.

Right-hander Ashton Goudeau allowed six hits in five innings out of the 'pen on Thursday, but none of them scored. Goudeau also struck out two and didn't walk anyone.

A Lexington Legends (33-39)

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Much like their high-A brethren, the Legends had an abbreviated week. In that limited amount of time, RF Elier Hernandez still managed six hits, including two doubles and a home run. Ryan O'Hearn homered too, to add to his league-leading total. He's got 16 so far this season, after hitting 13 in about the same number of games last year, his first professional season.

Scott Blewett, the right-handed 2nd-rounder from last year, threw six solid innings in a start on Thursday. He gave up two runs, but didn't walk anyone and struck out three. He only threw 71 pitches.

Last year's first round pick, Foster Griffin, started on Friday and threw five shutout innings, with six Ks and two walks.

Kyle Zimmer made two relief appearances, going two innings on Thursday and one inning on Sunday. In each, he allowed one hit but no runs.

Left-hander Matt Tenuta, a late-round pick from 2012, was activated from the DL and sent to Burlington. There is nobody on the disabled list for Lexington now.

Rookie Burlington Royals (2-4)

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In the very young season for Burlington, the batting leader is first baseman Brandon Dulin, who is 22 and repeating the level. He's got 11 hits in the first six games, including six doubles and two home runs.

18-year-old catcher/DH Meibrys Viloria is also in his 2nd season at Burlington. He's got hits in every game so far.

Ashe Russell made his debut for Burlington last night, with a strange line. He went two innings, with no hits and no runs, but walked four and struck out one.

Rookie Idaho Falls Chukars (4-7)

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Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini is still basically an infant (born in late May of 1997. Ninety-seven!) and still quite intriguing. He has already hit two home runs this season, after hitting just one last year. His line so far is .244/.319/.390.

Roman Collins, taken in the 5th round from Florida Atlantic, is the highest-drafted of the 2015 picks on the IDF roster.

Also, Alex Gordon's brother Derek, a RHP is on the Chukars roster. Through two starts, he's 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA.