The Albuquerque Isotopes are being extremely cautious as they look to build back up the endurance of Cartersville High graduate Sam Howard.
After spending a few weeks in the Colorado Rockies bullpen, Howard is slowly being transitioned back into a starter at the Triple-A level. It's not an easy process, and a line-drive off the should in his last start limited him to just two batters, setting him back a bit.
Thankfully, Howard didn't need to miss a start. He toed the rubber Saturday against Fresno and almost helped Albuquerque make some history.
Howard went four hitless innings and the bullpen added four more before a double to lead off the ninth ended the no-hit bid.
The third-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern struck out five and walked two in his nearly flawless outing.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Although he had to leave the game in the first inning after being struck by a liner in his start Aug. 5, Howard was back in the starting rotation Saturday night and tossed four innings in a no-decision outing eventually won by Albuquerque, 10-0. He did not allow a hit but issued a pair of walks and fanned five. For the year, Howard has a 3-6 record in 17 starts and 74 1/3 innings for Albuquerque. He has totaled 62 strikeouts and walked 29. The southpaw has also spent two brief stints with the Rockies, although he has only worked one inning at the MLB level. The Isotopes (55-64) are 12 1/2 games behind El Paso in the PCL Pacific Southern Division and are destined to miss the league’s postseason.
Connor Justus (Inland Empire 66ers, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — Justus continued a five-game hitting streak Sunday night and was 6-for-19 (.316) this past week at the plate with two RBI and a stolen base. He also scored five runs as his season batting average improved to .236 in time split between Double-A Mobile and Inland Empire. In his time with the 66ers, he has a .291 batting average in 46 games. Inland Empire (28-22, second half) is eight games behind Rancho Cucamonga in the California League’s South Division. The 66ers host San Jose in a three-game series through Wednesday before heading to Modesto for a three-game set that begins Friday.
Anthony Seigler (Pulaski Yankees, N.Y. Yankees organization; Cartersville) — Seigler was 5-for-22 (.227) with five RBI this past week in six starts. He also walked four times and scored a run. Seigler’s batting average is now .286 in 21 professional games split between the Gulf Coast League Yankees West and currently with Pulaski. He has one home run, three doubles and nine RBI. Pulaski (24-28) is in fourth place in the Appalachian League’s East Division and trails Princeton by eight games. The Yankees continue a three-game home series with Danville through today and host Kingsport for a three-game series starting Thursday.
— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.