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April 05. 2014 11:11PM

Roger Brown's On Baseball: NH guys in the minors

While Durham's Sam Fuld and Londonderry's Brian Wilson were preparing for major-league opening days last week, Conway's Jeff Locke was finishing up a stint on the disabled list and other pro ballplayers from around New Hampshire were learning of their minor-league destinations.

At least six Granite Staters in affiliated baseball received their minor-league assignments, including Nashua High South graduate Kevin Nolan, back for his second season as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats' starting shortstop.

Nolan helped the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliates get off to a 2-0 start, with two hits in the Fishers' season-opening, 6-0 win at Trenton Thursday night and two runs in their 7-3 win over the Thunder on Friday.

The Fisher Cats were scheduled for two more games at Trenton and three at Reading before their home opener in Manchester Thursday night, when they host Mets affiliate Binghamton at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

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WILSON'S second appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season was as much fun as waking up with a hangover.

Wilson, 32, entered last Sunday's game against the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning with the Dodgers leading 1-0. San Diego scored three runs against Wilson in the eighth and held on for a 3-1 victory. Wilson failed to retire a batter in the inning.

The Dodgers placed Wilson on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with ulnar nerve inflamation in his right elbow. The move is retroactive to March 31.

Wilson was 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 18 regular-season games with the Dodgers last season. He also pitched six scoreless innings in the National League playoffs. Prior to joining the Dodgers in 2013, Wilson hadn't pitched in 16 months while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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THINGS have started much better for Fuld, who spent last season with Tampa Bay but signed a minor-league deal with the Oakland A's in February.

Fuld, who played at Phillips Exeter Academy, found a spot in the Oakland outfield when Craig Gentry began the season on the disabled list and is making a case to remain on Oakland's 25-man roster when Gentry returns.

Through Friday, Fuld was 3 for 9 with two RBIs in two games with the Athletics. Two of his three hits were triples, and one was nearly an inside-the-park home run. He was thrown out at the plate while trying to stretch an RBI triple against Seattle on Thursday night.

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LOCKE, who began the season on the 15-day disabled list, was eligible to come off the DL Saturday and was due to start the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Locke, 26, missed most of spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates after suffering an oblique injury in his first game, on Feb. 27.

He made 30 starts for the Pirates last season, when he was named to the National League All-Star team. He went 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA with the Pirates, but walked a league-high 84 batters in 166 1/3 innings and was left off the postseason roster after struggling down the stretch.

Locke was scratched from last year's NL All-Star roster because of an injury.

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LIKE NOLAN, right-handed pitcher Terry Doyle began the season at the Double-A level.

Doyle, who played at Salem High School and Boston College, is with the Southern League's Birmingham Barons, the Double-AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

Doyle, 28, spent last year in the Red Sox organization, dividing the season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket.

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THREE former New Hampshire high school players began the season in the Class-A South Atlantic League: Former Portsmouth infielder Mike Fransoso is with the West Virginia Power (Pirates); former Winnisquam of Tilton pitcher Jordan Cote is with the Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees); and former Nashua High North and Franklin Pierce pitcher Kevin McGowan is with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets). ... Former Pinkerton Academy of Derry and Franklin Pierce first baseman Zach Mathieu is on the Kingsport Mets' roster. Kingsport competes in the Appalachian (Rookie) League. Mathieu also spent last season with Kingsport. ... Former Dartmouth College infielder Ed Lucas made the Miami Marlins roster out of spring training but started the season on the disabled list. Lucas needed surgery on his hand after he was hit by a pitch.

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AS GOOD as New Hampshire starter Aaron Sanchez was for the Fishers in their opener against Trenton, Portland starter Henry Owens was even better that same night at Reading.

Sanchez, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Blue Jays organization, allowed one hit, walked two and struck out five over five innings in the Fisher Cats' 6-0 victory.

Owens, the 6-foot, 6-inch left-hander considered the Red Sox' top pitching prospect, pitched a rain-shortened, six-inning no-hitter against the Fightin Phils. He struck out nine and walked two.

In fact, despite the rain, Thursday was a good night all-around for the top prospects on the Portland roster. Second baseman Mookie Betts had four hits in the game, and shortstop Deven Marrero and catcher Blake Swihart had two apiece.

Email staff reporter Roger Brown at rbrown@unionleader.com.


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