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Suns' Gale gets called to Triple-A

June 04, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

Roster changes in minor league baseball are as common as long bus rides.

The only thing, though, is promotions usually involve players.

The Hagerstown Suns made a move on Wednesday before starting a four-game set with Lake County at Municipal Stadium. They got a new pitching coach.

Rich Gale, who was in his first year with the Suns, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse when the team got back to Hagerstown on Tuesday night. The coaching shakeup started on Monday when the Washington Nationals fired pitching coach Randy St. Claire and replaced him with Syracuse's Steve McCatty.

"They called me first and then they called Rich," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy shortly after the Captains-Suns game was suspended with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning in a 1-1 tie. "It's not surprising, because he has been a major league pitching coach before."

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Gale was replaced by Franklin Bravo, who was promoted to the Suns from extended spring training. He was to be the pitching coach for Vermont in the New York-Penn League.

"All I've heard is good stuff about him," LeCroy said. "I've worked with him a little during spring training."

Bravo spent five years pitching in the minors in the Pittsburgh organization and reached as high as Single-A Lynchburg in the Carolina League. He also pitched for Augusta and Hickory in the South Atlantic League.

St. Claire, who had been the longest-tenured member of the Nationals staff, was in his seventh year. He had been guiding a pitching staff which had the least wins and the worst team ERA (5.69) in baseball.

Gale, who pitched for four major league teams, returned to coaching after taking some time off. He had worked in the Boston and Florida organizations, but mostly in the Double-A and Triple-A levels. The guided the Suns to a 4.10 ERA.

"Rich was excited. He had trouble sleeping last night," LeCroy said. He liked it here and he learned a lot. We all did. He worked the guys like they were in Double-A or Triple-A. It was a good experience for everyone."

Tuesday's game will be completed today at 5:30 p.m. followed by a seven-inning game.

The Captains took a 1-0 lead in the first when Donnie Webb stole home on a walk. The Suns tied it in the fourth when Steven Souza bounced a triple off the center-field wall and scored on Charlie Fermaint's groundout.

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