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.