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Opponent Profile: Grizzlies return seeking a second sweep

Slugger Adam Duvall and his 26 home runs have been promoted to the Giants and will not be with the Grizzlies for their series with the Isotopes.
Slugger Adam Duvall and his 26 home runs have been promoted to the Giants and will not be with the Grizzlies for their series with the Isotopes.
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Fresno Grizzlies were scuffling along with a 12-16 record the last time they visited Albuquerque in early May. Four games later and they were a .500 ballclub.

Fresno returns in much the same condition, sitting at 50-52 overall, as a second series starts Monday. The Grizzlies have many familiar faces back for this rematch, though with a few notable additions and subtractions.

Slugging infielder Adam Duvall (.303/.361/.636, 26 HR, 79 RBI), second baseman Joe Panik (.321/.382/.447, 5 HR, 45 RBI), veteran outfielder Tyler Colvin (.267/.315/.408, 2 HR, 16 RBI) and reliever George Kontos (2-3, 2.50 ERA, 3 saves) are among the players now up with the parent San Francisco Giants. Pitchers Mitch Lively (6-4, 5.08) and Mason Tobin (1-2, 4.24, 1 save) opted out of their contracts and became free agents.

Veteran second baseman Dan Uggla was just signed to a minor-league deal and should join Fresno for this series. Also down from the big leagues is another second baseman, Brandon Hicks.

The Grizzlies are sending lefty prospect Edwin Escobar (3-8, 5.06) to the mound for Monday's series opener. He will be followed by right-hander Jason Berken (7-6, 4.32) on Tuesday and lefty Jose DePaula (4-3, 3.91) on Wednesday.

Thursday's starter has not been named. It figures to be either lefty Chris Heston (8-5, 3.78) or lefty Mike Kickham (7-5, 3.53).

Closer Heath Hembree (1-2, 3.46, 18 saves) is still hanging around in the bullpen. His top setup men include right-hander Erik Cordier (2-2, 3.29, 1 save) and lefty Dan Runzler (1-4, 3.32, 1 save).

Fresno got a boost from the return to health by catcher Andrew Susac (.265/.376/.456, 10 HR, 31 RBI). Veteran Travis Ishikawa (.256/.343/.409, 9 HR, 35 RBI) has handled the bulk of the duties at first base.

With Uggla and Hicks on board, that caused former Isotope Tony Abreu (.281/.329/.434, 6 HR, 29 RBI) to opt out of his contract Monday and become a free agent. Nick Noonan (.244/.288/.300, 2 HR, 19 RBI) is still the primary shortstop, better with the glove than the bat.

The outfield is a mishmash of players, with prospect Gary Brown (.272/.325/.398, 8 HR, 44 RBI, 18 stolen bases) holding down center field most of the time. Other starters include Chris Dominguez (.261/.294/.417, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 17 stolen bases), Darren Ford (.306/.371/.383, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 22 stolen bases) and Marc Minicozzi (.291/.374/.434, 5 HR, 38 RBI), with Dominguez also playing third and Minicozzi appearing at first.

The Grizzlies feature the Giants' No. 2 (Escobar), No. 7 (Hembree), No. 11 (Susac), No. 19 (Brown), No. 20 (Kickham), No. 26 (DePaula) and No. 30 (Cordier) prospects according to Baseball America. Also just back with the team is outfielder Juan Perez (.337/.394/.416), the No. 22 prospect.

Albuquerque will look to avoid being swept again at home starting Monday at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday have the same game times, while Thursday's series finale will be a day game starting at 12:05 p.m.

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