By RENALDO DORSETT
An ankle sprain relegated Antoan Richardson to the disabled list for approximately three weeks, but the veteran outfielder made his return just in time as the Rochester Red Wings are set to make a playoff run.
Richardson returned to the lineup this week for the first time since August 3 as his team prepares to make a late season home stand. He flew out in his first at-bat in the Red Wings’ 7-0 win over the Louisville Bats as Rochester clings to a slim lead in the International League’s North Division.
They entered a four-game series with the Indianapolis Indians last night. However, results were unavailable up to press time.
Rochester (72-60) leads the Pawtucket Red Sox (71-60) by a half-game in the division.
Pawtucket owns a 2.5 game lead over Norfolk Tides in the wild card standings.
Indianapolis (73-59) leads the IL West by nine games.
The Red Wings are amidst a seven-year playoff drought and will end the regular season with 10 of their final 12 games at home.
In 2013, split between the Red Wings and AA New Britain Rock Cats, Richardson is hitting .273 with an on-base percentage of .389 and a slugging percentage of .383, in what has been his best season statistically in his nine-year minor league r�sum�.
In 2005 he hit .321 with an on-base percentage of .378 and a slugging percentage of .465 for the AZL Giants as a 21-year-old rookie.
Prior to the injury, Richardson had been mired in a brief slump, hitting .216 in his last 10 games and in the month of July he hit .260 with an on-base percentage of .330 and a slugging percentage of .365.
The Red Wings return to the Flower City on Saturday, August 17 to begin one of the most exciting stretches of baseball in Frontier Field history.
Not only are the last two weeks of the season jam-packed with promotions but the IL North leading Red Wings return to Rochester to play 14 of their final 16 regular season games with a chance to secure just their third playoff appearance in 17 seasons at Frontier Field.
After an off-day Wednesday, the Wings open a four-game set against the IL West leading Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) on Thursday night at 7:05pm.
The Rochester Red Wings are in their 11th season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings are operated by Rochester Community Baseball, Inc. and have been a community-owned pro baseball franchise since 1957. Rochester’s pro baseball history dates back to 1885.
Richardson, who played in nine games for the Atlanta Braves in 2011, was called to the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A International League Rochester Red Wings from their Double-A Eastern League’s New Britain Rock Cats back in May.
He got off to a scorching start with Rochester In 21 games after hitting hit .306 with an on-base percentage of .468, scored 15 runs, with seven RBI and eight stolen bases.
Prior to his triple-A promotion, he hit .336/.456/.403 in 119 at-bats with Double-A New Britain, the sixth time in his nine minor league seasons that his OBP has reached .398 or higher.
Despite missing weeks due to injury, Richardson currently leads the Red Wings in stolen bases with 22, is third in runs scored with 50.