A player the Bowie Baysox call "The Rock" may finally be on the roll that will get him to Triple-A.
David Gibralter, the slugging first baseman who will represent the host team in the Eastern League All-Star Game at Prince George's Stadium on Wednesday, obviously has nothing left to prove at his current level after surpassing the 300-RBI mark in his fourth season in the league.
And conditions may be fertile for a promotion with Rochester scrambling for a first baseman, now that struggling Calvin Pickering is in Florida trying to resurrects himself.
The inability to take the next step has been a sore point with Gibralter, who spent three productive years with the Trenton Thunder trying to convince the parent Boston Red Sox that he was worthy of the move.
"Two of those years I deserved to be up there [Triple-A] during the season," Gibralter said. "But there was no question I wasn't going to get it. It didn't have anything to do with the way I played the game; it was on a personal level. I was there too long, longer than I wanted."
Last winter, the resident of Duncanville, Texas, who had a record 97 RBIs for the Thunder last season, ceded his hopes for reaching Pawtucket. He signed with the Orioles as a free agent, bypassing the Cincinnati organization in which his brother, Steve, had played because he felt this was the better opportunity.
And, again, the 25-year-old has done his part, ranking fourth in the league in hits and fifth in home runs.
"I honestly believe I'll get there," he said. "I know I have to keep hitting and thinking something good will work out. I'd just like to get a fair shot."
Baysox manager Andy Etchebarren refers to Gibralter as "a legitimate home run hitter who doesn't strike out much. He has hit well all year except for one stretch."
Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Etchebarren rates Gibralter - who has 11 errors in 83 games - as "adequate, a guy who makes the routine plays and catches what he gets to. His hands are OK and he saves some infielders some errors, but his range is limited because he's not very quick."
Fellow minor-league veteran Rick Short received his due recently when - after also being named an All-Star - he was promoted to the Red Wings. Gibralter wants nothing less than to join him.
"I'd just like to see some reward for playing well," he said.
Howie Clark, who has played every position during his minor-league career, was knocked out for the season last week with a fractured wrist after doubling in his final at-bat. Clark hit .283 in 54 Red Wings games. ... Either Josh Towers or Javier de la Hoya could start the Triple-A All-Star Game in their home park Wednesday after the Chicago White Sox called up the International League's top pitcher, Jon Garland of Charlotte. Karim Garcia of the Red Wings, second in the IL with 21 homers, starts in the outfield. ... The Red Wings reached .500 for the first time in 82 days, then promptly lost seven straight games. ... Pickering is in Sarasota, Fla., after continuing to complain about tendinitis in his left knee. He has struck out 70 times in 197 official at-bats and is hitting .218. ... A two-run, two-out triple by Wady Almonte gave the Wings their first victory of the season when trailing after eight innings. They had been 0-31 in that situation.
Infielder Ivanon Coffie will replace Short on the American League roster for the Double-A All-Star Game on Wednesday at Prince George's Stadium. The Orioles were attempting to find a way to allow Short to play in the game before Clark's injury made Short's presence vital at Rochester. ... Jayson Werth is batting .333 since June 15 with five doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. Teammate Roberto Rivera is also at a .333 clip with three homers and nine RBIs over 11 games. ... Darrell Dent has thrived since moving into the leadoff spot with 20 hits, 11 walks and one hit batsman since June 15. ... Matt Riley won his first game Sunday a week ago by giving up six hits in six innings against Reading, which has the best record in Class AA.
Right-hander Jay Spurgeon earned a promotion to Bowie after throwing 8 1/3 no-hit innings against Winston-Salem for his eighth Keys' victory. He had 13 strikeouts in the game. In his first start for the Baysox, Spurgeon fashioned a complete-game two-hit shutout against Erie. ... OF Papy Ndungidi was selected to play for the World Team in the Futures Game in Atlanta yesterday in connection with the Major League All-Star Game. ... After winning the Carolina League's first-half title in the Northern Division, the Keys entered last weekend with the worst second-half record in the league.
The Shorebirds are staying in contention for the second-half title of the South Atlantic League's Northern Division. They went 5-2 last week, including a three-game sweep of Cape Fear. ... Delmarva's bullpen continues to be a strong point with Travis Fleming and Matt Schwager tied for fourth in the league with 33 appearances.
Outfielder Auntwan Riggins stole four bases in five games despite getting only two hits. ... Closer Rob Hamann has three wins, two saves and a 0.66 ERA over eight outings.
The Arsenal will have six players at the Atlantic League All-Star Game in Somerset, N.J., on Wednesday. Three are starters for the South Division team, catcher Alex Andreopoulos, outfielder Gil Martinez, the league's leading hitter, and third baseman David Steed. Closer Jose Alberro and infielders Matt Taylor and Victor Rosario also made the team.