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This Week in the Minors: O'Hearn, Bonifacio & Cuthbert mash

Terrance Gore returns from an ankle injury; Ryan O'Hearn back to his 2014 form; Jorge Bonifacio leads Naturals in dingers; Cuthbert takes demotion in stride.

Cheslor Cuthbert has been up and down I-29, but keeps hitting when he's in Omaha.
Cheslor Cuthbert has been up and down I-29, but keeps hitting when he's in Omaha.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

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 (67-55)

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Outfielder Jose Martinez is batting  .367/.435/.534 this season for Omaha. He's not on the 40-man roster, and does not have any Major League experience, but he has sustained this level of hitting all season despite missing some time with an oblique injury.

Cheslor Cuthbert responded to his most recent demotion by doing well at the plate all week, going 7-for-22 with a triple and two home runs in six games. He also made some impressive defensive plays at first base last week.

Right-handed reliever Louis Coleman is working on a bit of a shutout streak, with his last run surrendered on July 23. In the seven appearances since then, he has only allowed four hits and a walk. He has struck out 14 in those 11.1 innings.

On the DL:

  • Yohan Pino, since July 30, retro to the 27th. He left in the middle of an at bat, reportedly holding his throwing shoulder.
  • Balbino Fuenmayor, since July 25, left knee. He had surgery last Monday, and will be out 4-6 months.
  • Gabriel Noriega, since August 5.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (58-61)

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Terrance Gore has returned to action after missing three weeks with a sprained ankle. He only got on base twice this week, but his return is significant, as he is widely considered a lock for another September callup.

Outifelder Jorge Bonificio took sole possession of team lead in home runs this week, when he hit his 16th. He also doubled twice and hit four singles, but even this good week only pulled his season slash line up to .236/.302./.424.

The conductor of the singles train this week may have been catcher Zane Evans, who hit eight singles and no extra base hits. He also didn't walk, so his line for the week is .421/.421/.421.

Last week, we noted that lefty Jonathan Dziedzic had thrown seven shutout innings. He followed that start up with seven one-run innings on Thursday, with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Right-hander Luke Farrell pitched six innings on Friday, allowing just one run on five hits. He struck out four and walked two.

On the DL:

  • RHP Christian Binford since August 16, sore elbow
  • 2B/SS Logan Davis since August 14
  • C Micah Gibbs since August 5, left foot contusion
  • RHP Reid Redman since May 9, retroactive to May 8. He had Tommy John surgery.
  • RHP Glenn Sparkman since April 30, also had Tommy John surgery.
  • Outfielder Mike Bianucci was suspended 80 games for PEDs and is on the Restricted List.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-64)

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Ryan O'Hearn had a monster week, with three (!) home runs and four doubles. He's slashing .240/.321/.479 since his move to High-A a month ago. That's down from his Lexington performance in the first half of this year, and way down from his huge debut season in 2014, but this week was a noteworthy one.

Also with a good week for the Blue Rocks was second baseman Carlos Garcia. Garcia walked six times (once intentionally), and collected six hits. Garcia is hitting .286/.354/.387 for Wilmington, after being promoted from Lexington in May.

Right-hander Zachary Lovvorn pitched seven one-run innings on Sunday, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out a pair.

On the DL:

  • LHP Eric Skoglund since July 20, right elbow.

A Lexington Legends (49-68)

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Austin Bailey, still fresh out of the University of San Diego, went 7-for-21 this week. These included his first double for Lexington. Bailey was drafted as an outfielder, but has primarily played second base since joining the Royals farm system.

Outfielder Brandon Downes took all week to accomplish it, but he accomplished a cycle. The double, triple, and home run were among 11 total hits for Downes.

Left-handed outfielder Anderson Miller hit his first professional triple this week as part of a 9-for-23 week. Miller had four two-hit games for the Legends, for whom he's played since July 19. Miller was a third-round pick this summer out of Western Kentucky University.

On the DL:

  • RHP Bryan Brickhouse, who hadn't pitched since August 4 of 2014, is now listed on Lexington's roster. He has made three rehab appearances in Arizona.

Our minor leaguers have just a few weeks to prove themselves for potential callups. Remember that the Naturals and Blue Rocks were first-half champions, so they will have a postseason. The Storm Chasers are in 3rd place and 6.5 games back, so they may miss the playoffs for the first time the name change. This column will follow any playoff teams, however far they go.