Roger Brown's On Baseball: Portsmouth's Fransoso a N.Y./Penn League star
MIKE FRANSOSO'S transition from Division I college baseball to the pros has been a smooth one.
Fransoso is in his first season with the Class-A Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers - Pittsburgh's affiliate in the New-York/Penn League - and was selected to participate in the league's all-star game, which will be held Tuesday night at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn.
"Things are going really well," Fransoso said. "I started hot, and I'm still hitting the ball well. I'm comfortable with my fielding. It's just a matter of adjusting to the pitching in a professional league - it's a lot better than in college."
Fransoso, a 23-year-old Portsmouth resident, is playing both shortstop and second base for the Jammers, who were a league-best 31-19 entering Saturday's game against Tri-City. He was a shortstop during his days at Portsmouth High School and during a four-year career at the University of Maine, but has been playing more second base since Adam Frazier - a shortstop out of Mississippi State - was added to the Jamestown roster.
"I've been switching back and forth," he said. "I'm comfortable at both, but shortstop is a natural position for me. It helps being a utility guy - even being able to play some outfield if needed."
Fransoso helped the Portsmouth baseball team win the Division II title in his junior and senior seasons. The Clippers went unbeaten both years, which was the foundation for the program's 89-game winning streak.
He also played basketball, football, golf and ice hockey for Portsmouth. As a quarterback, he guided the Clippers to the Division III championship game as a senior.
He was named the America East Player of the Year during his senior season at the University of Maine, where he set the program's record for career stolen bases. The Pirates selected Fransoso in the 27th round of last June's First-Year Player Draft.
"When they say minor league baseball is a grind, they're not kidding," Fransoso said. "The toughest part is the travel and the everyday schedule. We usually play at 7 (p.m.) and we have a practice and (batting practice) before that. It's a full work day.
"Baseball is my job now. It's what I do for a living, but at the same time I still enjoy the game."
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FORMER Salem High School standout Terry Doyle hasn't been given much run support during his time with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. Doyle has allowed 21 earned runs in his seven starts, but his record dropped to 1-4 following Thursday's 4-1 loss to Richmond. He's surrendered three runs or fewer in five of those seven starts.
Doyle, who helped Salem win the Class L championship as a junior, began the season with Triple-A Pawtucket, but was sent to Portland in July. He held Richmond to one run on six hits through six innings Thursday, but gave up a three-run homer to second baseman Joe Panik in the seventh. Baseball America has Panik rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Giants' organization.
Doyle, 27, has a 4.14 ERA and has 32 strikeouts and 12 walks in 45 2/3 innings with the Sea Dogs.
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RELIEF PITCHER Brian Wilson pitched in his first professional game in 16 months Wednesday, when he tossed a scoreless inning for Rancho Cucamonga, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Class-A affiliate.
Wilson, who attended Londonderry High School, was a three-time all-star in seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, but is currently working his way back to the major leagues following his second Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers signed him to a 1-year, $1 million contract on July 30.
Dodgers' general manager Ned Colletti was working in the Giants' front office when San Francisco drafted Wilson out of LSU. Wilson, who has 171 saves at the major league level, made a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday night.
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PITTSBURGH PIRATES starting pitcher Jeff Locke of Conway is 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA this season, but is 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA since the All-Star break. He gave up three runs on nine hits and walked three in 5 2/3 innings when Pittsburgh rallied to beat Miami 4-3 Tuesday night. In his previous start Locke failed to pitch out of the fifth inning in a no-decision against St. Louis.
Locke, who pitched for Kennett High School, is scheduled to pitch against Colorado today.
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FORMER Hollis resident Jeff Fulchino has a 1-1 record with a 0.84 ERA in 31 games with the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish.
Fulchino, 33, has pitched for three major league teams: the Marlins, Royals and Astros. He has a 9-10 record and a 4.84 ERA with 163 strikeouts in 163 innings at the major league level.