Former Lower Columbia College pitcher Jeff Ames is on the mend after recent surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Ames, a member of the Charlotte StoneCrabs, an advanced Single-A farm team of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Florida State League, has been on the disabled list since May 27.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is an ailment that compresses nerve bundles that pass through the upper body and can be caused by sports-related trauma or defects such as the presence of an extra rib.
“The surgery to fix it is they remove my first rib to free up the space that is being compressed,” Ames explained on his Facebook page. “Figuring this out has answered all my questions of why my arm has felt the way it has for the past year and a half.”
A former first-round pick of Tampa Bay in the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Ames is the 15th-ranked Minor League prospect in the organization. Prior to going on the DL, he was 1-6 with a 6.29 earned-run average in seven starts.
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He’s expected to return to the field later this season.
Fassold traded: Ex-LCC pitcher Cody Fassold started the season as a member of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, but he won’t finish with them.
Fassold, who signed a free-agent contract with Kansas City in 2011 and pitched his way to the Royals’ Double-A Texas League farm team, was traded to the Atlanta Braves on June 25. During his stint with the Naturals, Fassold was 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 40 innings of relief. He allowed 45 hits, struck out 43 batters and walked 11.
As a member of the Mississippi Braves in the Double-A Southern League in Pearl, Miss., Fassold is 0-0 with the 4.50 ERA. He’s appeared in seven innings spanning four games, allowed seven hits, struck out six batters and walked one.
Williams shines in Wisconsin: Former Cowlitz Black Bears pitcher Taylor Williams has pitched his way into the Single-A Midwest League All-Star Game as a member of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Williams, who was picked in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft, is ranked 15th on the Brewers’ top 20 prospect list. This season, he’s 6-1 with a 2.87 ERA. Through 78 innings, he’s scattered 62 hits, struck out 71 batters and walked 19. Among Midwest League pitchers, Williams is ranked first in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 1.03, seventh in ERA, tied for 10th in victories and tied for 12th in strikeouts.
Frontier League has two LCC hurlers: Alex Phillips and Travis Bradshaw, both former LCC pitchers, are playing for teams in the independent Frontier League.
Phillips, who was drafted in the 21st round of the 2012 MLB Draft by Detroit, is with the Traverse City Beach Bums of Traverse City, Mich. Phillips, a starter, is 0-4 with a 3.51 ERA. In 26 innings,, he’s allowed 26 hits, walked 11 batters and struck out 10.
Bradshaw, who went undrafted, was signed earlier this month as a starter for the Joliet Slammers of Joliet, Ill. Last season, Bradshaw pitched for the rival Southern Illinois Miners and was 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA in 13 starts.
Black Bears in the South Atlantic: Two former Cowlitz Black Bears, Mitchell Walding and Stefan Sabol, are playing for minor league teams in the Single-A South Atlantic League.
Walding, a fifth-round pick of Philadelphia in the 2011 MLB Draft, is with the Lakewood BlueClaws of Lakewood Township, N.J.
After missing the early part of the season following rib surgery, he’s hitting .208 with two home runs and 23 RBIs in 221 at-bats. Walding is the teammate of Centralia’s Andrew Pullin, a fifth-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Pullin is hitting .272 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.
Sabol, a 17th-round pick of the New York Mets in the 2012 MLB Draft, is with the Savannah SandGnats of Savannah, Ga. In 70 games, Sabol is hitting .186 with six home runs, 40 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
Ex-locals on A’s farm: Former Mark Morris catcher Ryan Gorton and ex-LCC outfielder Ben McQuown are getting time at the Single-A level in the Oakland Athletics farm system.
Gorton, picked in the 31st round of the 2012 MLB Draft, is hitting .191 with three RBIs in 68 at-bats for the Stockton Ports, an advanced-A team in the California League. In a recent matchup against rival San Jose, Gorton was 3 for 6 with two RBIs.
McQuown, a 30th-round pick in 2013, is hitting .227 in 66 at-bats with a home run, four RBIs and four stolen bases with the Vermont Lake Monsters, a short-season A team in the New York/Pennsylvania League. In a recent contest against Lowell, McQuown went 3 for 5, including a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Napiontek, Flamion earn mound time: Ex-LCC pitcher Easton Napiontek and former Cowlitz Black Bears pitcher/outfielder Billy Flamion have posted winning records with their respective teams this season.
Napiontek, a 34th-round pick of Texas in 2013, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his lone relief appearance with the Rangers’ Arizona Rookie League team. Last summer, he was 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA, which included 17 hits and 18 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Flamion, a 15th-round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA with the Ogden Raptors, a rookie level team in the Pioneer League. In nine innings spanning six games, Flamion has allowed nine hits, walked 10 batters and struck out seven.
Rick McCorkle is a sports reporter for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-2529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.