The Augusta GreenJackets will be without their top innings-earner in the bullpen for the rest of the season, a blow to a staff that has remained consistent despite a heavy early-season workload.
Brandon Farley broke his right hand and was sent home for the rest of the year, according to manager Mike Goff.
Goff didn’t comment on how Farley broke his hand. The right-hander hasn’t pitched since July 5 at home against Charleston, when he threw two scoreless innings.
Farley has the most innings pitched among GreenJackets relievers, totaling 56 ⅔ while sporting a 3.65 ERA in 28 games. Despite a relatively low 39 strikeouts, he has a walk percentage below 10 percent while avoiding hard contact and keeping the ball on the ground, allowing just one home run with a ground ball percentage above 50 percent.
Farley was officially taken off the roster Friday, the same day infielder Stephen Branca was activated from the disabled list. The utility player picked up where he left off by extending his hit streak to five games with a pinch-hit single Thursday.
Branca is hitting .234 with seven extra-base hits in 145 plate appearances, but he has proven to be flexible on defense, playing six positions this season, including two innings on the mound.
SPEEDY JACKETS: Although the GreenJackets’ .316 on-base percentage ranks near the bottom of the South Atlantic League, they continue to take advantage of their time on base with one of the best stolen base totals in the league.
Augusta entered the week with 106 stolen bases, good for fourth in the league. Despite being an aggressive team on the basepaths, only eight teams have been caught stealing fewer times.
A total of 65 stolen bases have come from a player not named Jesus Galindo. The speedy center fielder has 41 swipes in 77 games this season, already surpassing last year’s total of 40 in 66 games. Galindo has been on base more and is staying healthier this season, a big reason for the increase in stolen bases.
The next-highest total is Matt Duffy’s 17. The shortstop has benefited from a .408 on-base percentage (and a hot bat), sparked by 41 walks in 309 plate appearances, to record double-digit steals for the second consecutive year.
The other GreenJackets hitter with double-digit steals is Andrew Cain with 12. Despite being 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, the athletic outfielder is a perfect 12 for 12 in swiping bags in 65 games.
Goff hinted before the season that the offense would base its success on manufacturing runs, utilizing its speed.
That took a hit with the early-season loss of second baseman Travious Relaford, who was called up to Double-A Richmond after recording five stolen bases in 14 games.
Galindo’s consistency and Duffy’s emergence have filled the hole, and efficient baserunning has helped; only one player has fewer stolen bases than his caught stealing number.