Grizzlies Notebook: "We're Banged Up"

Injuries are a part of any professional sport, but they have hit the Fresno Grizzlies particularly hard in recent weeks.

Three key players currently find themselves on the disabled list with various injuries.

Starting pitchers Andrew Kown -- who leads Fresno starters with a 2.87 ERA and is tied for second on the team with four wins -- and Matt Yourkin have been out for the Grizzlies, causing managers to mix and match the team's starting rotation.

There is not a timetable for either of their returns.

Shawn Sanford, originally called up May 25 in what was supposed to be a one-start gig, has stuck with the team due to injuries. He has started three games for Fresno with mixed results. While Sanford pitched well in his debut, he has lost all three of his starts with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP, with more walks than strikeouts.

Jason Stevenson, who was recalled from Richmond on May 26, at the time taking Sanford's place on the roster, has stuck with the team thanks to Kown's injury. In three starts with Fresno, he is 1-1 with an 8.18 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP.

Additionally, Roger Kieschnick, the team's leader in home runs, has been out since May 30 after injuring his shoulder crashing into the outfield wall trying to rob a home run.

He has left the team to begin his rehab, but his exact return date is unknown.

Most recently, outfielder Justin Christian, the team's leader in batting average and on-base percentage, has missed time with separate back and rib injuries. He has not been placed on the disabled list and manager Bob Mariano hopes that he could return sometime on this current home stand.

"We're banged up a little big," Mariano said. "Everybody goes through it, it's part of the game. Different guys will get their shots. They just have to make the most of the opportunity."

Missing are two key pieces to the lineup: Christian normally leads off while Kieschnick has been batting cleanup. The injuries have led Mariano to mix and match his lineup, including batting Francisco Peguero leadoff.

"I don't have many choices when you look at it," Mariano said. "[Peguero's] got a little speed, so we'll put him at the top of the order, so we'll see what happens."

Star power at the park

Part of the reason the Grizzlies have still been able to field a competitive lineup has been the presence of Pablo Sandoval on a major league rehab assignment.

He joined the team on Tuesday, and will stay with the team through the weekend.

Sandoval wasn't the only star power at the ballpark this weekend. The Las Vegas 51's, Fresno's opponent, brought a few with them, including former American League MVP Vladimir Guerrero.

Guerrero was promoted to the team June 1 after a short stint with single-A Dunedin.

Additionally, former 30-home run player Adam Lind was with the 51's after being outrighted to the minors by the Blue Jays earlier this season.

"It should be great for the fans to see these guys," Mariano said. "It's always great for our guys to face a hitter of his caliber."

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