Professional baseball roundup

Howard optioned back to Triple-A; Seigler hits 1st HR


Sam Howard's second cup of coffee with the Colorado Rockies lasted longer, but it probably didn't taste as good as the first.

His second call-up was always going to have a high bar to clear. Making an MLB debut after years of struggling to get to that point will always be a major milestone.

On the plus side, Howard's most recent stint with the Rockies lasted much longer. On the down side, the Cartersville High graduate didn't pitch at all this time around.

He was optioned back to Triple-A over the weekend, ending a journey with the big league club that lasted, roughly, two weeks.

Elsewhere in the minor leagues, former Canes Connor Justus and Anthony Seigler have been hitting the ball at a more-than-adequate clip.

Justus continued to hit well at the High-A level with a slash line just above the solid .300/.400/.500 threshold.

The precocious Seigler, meanwhile, stroked his first professional home run in the first inning Monday.

He had struggled a bit as he began to work his way back from a hamstring injury suffered in July. Seigler, who debuted at No. 6 in the Yankees list of top prospects on MLB Pipeline, will look to carry over the momentum as the calendar flips to August.

Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — The Colorado Rockies optioned Howard back to Triple-A Albuquerque, of the Pacific Coast League, on Saturday. The southpaw was returned to the minor leagues to make room on the Rockies’ 25-man roster for the acquisition of Seunghwan Oh. A right-handed reliever, Oh was officially acquired last Thursday from Toronto in an attempt to bolster Colorado's bullpen. Howard did not make an appearance for the Rockies in this second stint of the year with the major league team. The 25-year-old made his first appearance in the big leagues this season, tossing a scoreless inning June 10 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 14 starts with the Isotopes this year, Howard’s results in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League have come against hitters who are, on average, 1.6 years older than himself. Over 68 innings in Albuquerque, the 6-foot-3 southpaw has a 5.43 ERA (5.02 FIP) with a 1.59 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 rate and 3.4 BB/9 rate. Howard was not listed as a probable starter for any of the Isotopes' remaining games in July. Albuquerque (50-57) is currently fourth in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division and has a seven-game homestead against Round Rock and New Orleans that begins Wednesday.

Connor Justus (Inland Empire 66ers, L.A. Angels; Cartersville) — Justus continued his productive offensive summer with the 66ers, hitting .325 over his last 10 games with a home run, five RBI, eight runs scored, seven walks and a pair of stolen bases. In 34 games since returning to Inland Empire on June 22, Justus is hitting a robust .305 with a .409 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .516. The recent hitting surge has the middle infielder up to a .234 batting average for 91 games split between Double-A Mobile and Inland Empire. He has totaled six homers and 38 RBI for the year with a .352 on-base percentage. Defensively, Justus has a .953 fielding percentage in 85 games combined with the two Angels’ affiliates. He has started 56 games at shortstop and 29 at second base with 17 errors in 360 total chances. He has also been a part of 48 double plays. Inland Empire (54-54 overall, 20-17, second half, third place California League South Division) hosts Lancaster Tuesday through Thursday in a three-game series before entertaining Modesto for three games Friday through Sunday.

Anthony Seigler (GCL Yankees West, N.Y. Yankees organization; Cartersville) — Seigler now has 11 starts as a professional, going 3-for-14 with one home run, two RBI and three runs scored in four games since returning from a hamstring injury. In his 11 games with Yankees West, Seigler is 11-for-35 (.314) with a pair of doubles and four RBI. He has walked six times for a .415 on-base percentage, has scored seven times and has typically hit in the two-hole of the batting order. Defensively, the Yankees' first-round selection has thrown out 2 of 13 stolen-base attempts and has a fielding percentage of .987. Yankees West (16-15) are currently tied for second in the Gulf Coast League’s Northwest Division and have eight games scheduled for the remainder of this week, including two doubleheaders, to catch up a schedule that has been hampered by recent rainouts.

— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.