For the throng of major-league scouts in the stands, there was plenty of fodder to include in their reports.
With baseball's midnight Tuesday trade deadline fast approaching, more than a half-dozen clubs sent scouts to Lake Olmstead Stadium, where the Augusta GreenJackets dropped their second straight decision, 2-1, to the Columbus RedStixx.
For the scouting contingent, the primary task was to provide updates on prospects their clubs have identified as potential trade material.
And if Sunday's starting pitchers - Augusta's Rene Miniel and Columbus' Brandon Matheny - are among those targeted, both should receive favorable reviews.
Matheny won the duel, working six innings of one-hit shutout ball to run his record to 6-4. In nine of his 16 starts this season, the 22-year-old left-hander did not allow a run, including six no-hit innings at The Lake in a win over the Jackets on April 30.
But Miniel, who is beginning to form a significant blip on the Boston Red Sox radar screen, was just as impressive in defeat.
The 20-year-old Dominican did not allow an earned run and scattered three hits in six innings of work. He fanned eight batters - giving him 19 strikeouts in his past two starts (11 2/3 innings) - and showed excellent command, walking just one.
After starting the year in the bullpen, Miniel (6-4) has become one of Augusta's most consistent starters since the all-star break. In his past 13 starts, the hard-throwing right-hander has posted a 2.24 ERA while striking out 66 and walking only 15 during that stretch (68 1/3 innings).
Whether Boston pulls off a deadline trade involving one of their minor leaguers remains to be seen.
The Red Sox reportedly have shown interest in acquiring Expos reliever Ugueth Urbina, and a pair of Pirates - closer Mike Williams and utility outfielder/infielder John Vander Wal - among others.
Scouts with the Pirates and Dodgers, Boston scouting director Wayne Britton and Red Sox scouts Joe Mason and Chester Atkins were on hand Sunday. Montreal was not represented Sunday but had a scout in attendance the previous three nights.
Boston made two trades last season involving Augusta players. In June, they dealt pitcher Dennis Tankersley and shortstop Cesar Saba to the Padres for journeyman infielder Ed Sprague. Tankersley has since blossomed into one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, while the Sox released Sprague last September.
Last September, the Sox traded Jackets all-star Lew Ford to Minnesota for reliever Hector Carrasco, who re-signed with the Twins in the off-season.
RedStixx 2, GreenJackets 1
Players of the game: Jackets starter Rene Miniel (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 8 K) and RedStixx starter Brandon Matheny (6 IP, O ER, 1 H) waged an entertaining pitching duel. Matheny got the win, running his record to 6-4, while Miniel took the hard-luck loss to fall to 6-4.
Turning point: RedStixx DH Nate Janowicz reached on an error by first baseman Dustin Brisson leading off the eighth inning, advanced twice on wild pitches and scored on a single by Joe Inglett, putting Columbus up 2-0.
Ballpark fun: Jackets left fielder Antron Seiber gave the fans a show with a remarkable diving catch in the fourth inning to rob Columbus' Henry Pichardo of extra bases.
Today's game: Columbus (21-16) vs. Augusta (16-20), 7:15 p.m.
Probable starters: Columbus - RHP Fernando Cabrera (4-3, 3.49); Augusta - LHP Mauricio Lara (3643-3, 2.48).
Promotion: The famous San Diego Chicken makes his final Augusta appearance.
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