Monday, April 14, 2014

Notes: Scott Carroll wins IL Pitcher of the Week, Frank Francisco added to Knights roster

By Seth Lakso, Charlotte Observer Correspondent 

IL's Pitcher of the Week, Scott Carroll, emerging as rotation possibility for White Sox 

On Monday, Charlotte Knights' sinkerballer Scott Carroll was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week after not allowing an earned run in two starts over the course of the week. 

Carroll, 29, who is now 3-0 on the season, held the Durham Bulls scoreless through six inning on Tuesday, April 8, before blanking the norfolk Tides through seven innings at BB&T Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. 

In 19 innings pitched this season, Carroll -- who had Tommy John surgery in November of 2012 -- has yet to allow an earner run. He needed just 76 pitches to get through seven innings on Sunday. 

Three ground ball double plays made it so that Carroll faced just one over the minimum batters it would require to pitch seven innings. 

Carroll pitched just 41 innings between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Double-A Birmingham last year.

"He's been real good," said Knights pitching coach Richard Dotson. "He's worked on some things and put a lot of effort into coming back and it's a wonderful thing to have him back.

"Last year, we talked about cleaning up his direction a little bit, not being so, 'Iron Mike-ish.' He had a tendency to kind of come off the ball and lead with his front shoulder coming out and that exposed his arm a little bit and he's cleaned that up."

Asked what's he's seen from Carroll this season, Dotson responded: "He's used his curveball well and he has a really good sinker and when he's getting on top of it and putting it over the plate to where he's getting ahead of guys and they need to swing, he's real tough."

The International League Player of the Week was Gregory Polanco of Indianapolis. The Knights had nominated shortstop Tyler Saladino, who entered Monday hitting .417 with six doubles and a home run.  

White Sox sign former Mets closer Frank Francisco and add him to Knights roster

The Knights bullpen is starting to fill up with veterans, who have experience pitching late in games.

On Monday, they added Former Mets closer Frank Francisco to a list that already included Mitchell Boggs, who led the National League in saves in 2012 with 34 and Javy Guerra, who saved 21 games for the Dodgers in 2011.

Francisco, 34, who signed as a free agent, will likely spend some time getting in game shape before appearing with Charlotte. His addition give the Knights 25 men on their roster. 

Francisco appeared in just eight games for the Mets last season after recovering from offseason elbow surgery. He owns a career Major League record of 20-22 with 73 saves and a 3.93 ERA in 387 games.

The White Sox bullpen currently ranks last in the American League in ERA (6.93) and the idea that they may look to Charlotte for some relief is becoming less and less far fetched.

Castle storming 

Through three sold-out home games this season, the Knights have drawn 30,631 fans to Uptown Charlotte's BB&T Ballpark. Last season, it took the Knights eight games to get to that mark in Fort Mill, S.C.

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