Minor league roundup

Howard leaves start after taking liner off shoulder


Sam Howard hasn't pitched much recently, and it's unclear when he'll do so again.

The Cartersville High graduate reportedly took a line-drive off his throwing shoulder in the first inning of his start Sunday with the Albuquerque Isotopes. The extent of the injury is not currently known.

Howard had recorded just one out when New Orleans batter Isan Diaz lined the ball off the left-hander's left shoulder.

Since July 7, the former third-round draft pick has thrown just 2 1/3 innings. Granted, he spent a good chunk of that time with the Colorado Rockies in the big leagues with no appearances to show for it. However, his past two starts with the Isotopes have seen him record just seven combined outs.

Elsewhere in the minors, Connor Justus keeps hitting well and Anthony Seigler begins adjusting to his new surroundings.

Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville)— Since returning to the Isotopes July 28, following a second stint with the MLB Rockies, the Bartow southpaw has made a pair of brief starts and left Sunday’s game in the first inning after being struck by a line drive. Howard went only two innings in a start against Colorado Springs on July 30. He allowed a walk and a second-inning, two-run home run before being lifted. In Sunday’s start against New Orleans, Howard left the game with only one out in the first inning after he was hit in the left shoulder by a liner off the bat of Baby Cakes second baseman Isan Diaz. The latest report by Rotowire and CBS Sports indicated Howard’s injury was still being evaluated. Howard has a 3-6 mark this season in 16 starts at Albuquerque with a 5.50 ERA and 70 1/3 innings pitched. The Isotopes are in fourth place in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division, trailing El Paso by 10 1/2 games.

Connor Justus (Inland Empire 66ers, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — The offensive success for Justus since returning to the 66ers from Double-A Mobile on June 22 continued this past week. The 23-year-old has hit safely in 29 of 40 games at Inland Empire and has a dozen multi-hit games, including another Sunday night. The middle infielder has a .288 batting average in the 40-game stretch with the 66ers that includes over 150 at bats. He has six home runs and 27 RBIs with a strong .380 on-base percentage. After hitting only .186 in 57 games in the Southern League, Justus has now raised his 2018 batting average to .230 in 97 games and 341 official at bats. His defensive work has continued to impress. He sports a .955 fielding average in 374 total chances with both clubs. He has played 528 defensive innings and been a part of 49 double plays with his two teams in 2018. Inland Empire (26-18, second half standings) is currently third in the California League’s South Division. The 66ers trail Rancho Cucamonga by six games.

Anthony Seigler (Pulaski Yankees, N.Y. Yankees organization; Cartersville) — Since joining the Appalachian League Pulaski Yankees last Tuesday, Seigler has hit safely in three of four starts and is 3-for-14 (.214) with four walks in that stretch of games against Burlington and Elizabethton. He has also scored a pair of runs, hitting in the two-hole of the order in each of his starts. Seigler started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League with Yankees West before moving last week to the slightly higher Advanced Rookie League. In his first 50 official at bats in the pro ranks, he has a .300 batting average with one homer and four RBI. Pulaski (20-25) is currently in fourth place and 8 1/2 games behind the Princeton Rays in the Appy League East Division. The Yankees continue a three-game series at Princeton through Wednesday, travel to Burlington for three games Thursday through Saturday and host a three-game series with the Danville Braves Sunday through Aug. 14.

Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.