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Knee surgery ends Ziegler’s season; four from Cape win August honors in MiLB

Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler / photo courtesy of Major League Baseball

      HIGH AND INSIDE Brad Ziegler (Chatham, 2001; Harwich, 2002) underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Tuesday. The Arizona Diamondbacks were hoping the reliever just needed arthroscopic surgery, but a more serious procedure was required. If Ziegler's rehab progresses with no setbacks, he's expected to be ready for spring training, according to MLB.com writer Steve Gilbert on Twitter. The reliever is under contract for $5 million next season … Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes (Cotuit, 2007; Chatham, 2008) homered, doubled and knocked in three runs Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. The homer was his first in 12 games since he returned from a concussion. Gomes has 18 homers and 62 RBIs for the year, making him one of the game's best offensive catchers ... Chase Headley (Cotuit, 2004) is not out of the woods yet, as he still needs to see a neurologist to check for a concussion. But the good news after the New York Yankee third baseman was hit in the face by a pitch Thursday was that there was no fracture and he needed only a couple of stitches as a result of the incident. Headley did not travel with the Yankees to Baltimore but could rejoin them there at some point this weekend if he's cleared of a possible concussion ... Ryan Braun (Brewster, 2004) was back in the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting lineup Thursday against Miami. Braun didn’t start Tuesday or Wednesday because of a lingering right thumb injury, which has now become a full-blown hand issue ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that Milwaukee's medical staff is evaluating the star outfielder on a day-to-day basis. It's more bad news for a free-falling Milwaukee team … Dustin Ackley (Harwich, 2008) returned to the Seattle Mariners’ lineup on Friday after an MRI showed bone spurs in his left ankle. Ackley had surgery in October 2012 to remove a bone spur from the same ankle. It's not clear at this point whether he might eventually require another operation, but for now he'll try to gut it out through the rest of the season. Ackley is batting .251/.300/.399 with 11 homers and 60 RBIs for the season ... Brandon Belt (Harwich, 2008) said Tuesday he's hoping to be ready for postseason play with the San Francisco Giants, but admitted he doesn't know "how realistic that is." Belt has felt a bit better in recent days and is slated to resume baseball activities next week. Even if he progresses without any setbacks, the best the Giants can probably hope for is a few token games at the end of the regular season. Belt has been limited to just five games since the beginning of August due to post-concussion issues … Toronto’s Marcus Stroman (Orleans, 2010-11) pitched a three-hitter Monday against the Chicago Cubs for his first career complete game and shutout. Stroman went nine innings a month ago against the Tigers, but that game was decided in extra innings. Stroman is now 10-5 with a 3.53 ERA, which probably would have been good enough to win the American League Rookie of the Year award last year. He figures to be shut down a little early unless the Blue Jays can somehow stay in wild-card contention ... Sean Doolittle (Harwich, 2005) threw 20 pitches off the mound Monday and felt good, but was annoyed that his mechanics felt off. On Friday, the Athletics activated the lefty from the 15-day disabled list. Doolittle has missed three weeks with an intercostal strain, but he’s now expected to resume his role as Oakland’s closer … Aaron Harang (Cotuit, 1998) dominated the Nationals Wednesday, striking out nine Washington batters while allowing only an unearned run in Atlanta's 6-2 victory. Harang gave up six hits, all singles, without walking a batter. The win moved Harang, who had lost three straight decisions, back above the .500 mark at 11-10 and gave him a 3.72 ERA through 30 starts. He's got a rematch with the Nationals on deck next week ... Collin Cowgill (Y-D, 2007) played a big part in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with a three-run triple, a stolen base and a run scored. In the eighth inning, Cowgill led off the frame with an infield single, stole second base and scored on Mike Trout's triple. The Angels batted around, with Cowgill's bases-loaded triple capping a seven-run inning. Cowgill was hitting .260/.333/.379 in 94 games … Josh Donaldson (Harwich, 2006) went 5-for-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the Oakland Athletics' 11-2 thrashing of the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. Donaldson hit a two-run double in the fifth inning and drove in two more runs with a ninth-inning single. It was the first five-hit game of Donaldson's career. It was needed, too – he had just three hits in 29 September at-bats coming into the game. His 93 RBIs tie a career high he set last season, and Donaldson was batting .257/.345/.459 overall … San Francisco’s Joe Panik (Y-D, 2010) went 5-for-5, all singles, in Tuesday's win over the Diamondbacks. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Panik became the first player since Adam Kennedy (with the 2009 A's) to have at least five hits and not score a run or drive in a runner. The hit total set a career mark for Panik, and tied Buster Posey (Y-D, 2006-07) for the Giants’ single-game high this season. Panik is 14-for-33 (.424) in September. He's batting .327/.369/.397 in 199 at-bats.

Kyle Schwarber (Wareham, 2011-12) / photo courtesy of Daytona Cubs
     LOW AND OUTSIDE –The last time the Binghamton Mets won the Eastern League championship, Jayce Boyd (Orleans, 2010-11) was 2½ months shy of his third birthday. Boyd ended the Mets' 20-year title drought Friday night, delivering a walkoff single as Binghamton completed a sweep of Richmond with a 2-1 victory. Pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth inning, Boyd lined a single to center field to score Gavin Cecchini with the winning run and send the Mets' Double-A affiliate to the third title in team history and first since 1994. Boyd, a 2012 sixth-round pick out of Florida State, batted .293 with eight homers, 59 RBIs and a .382 on-base percentage in 119 games this season. He was ranked among the Mets' top 20 prospects earlier this year but slipped, despite hitting .333 in July and .378 in August ... Konner Wade (Wareham, 2011-12) gave up five hits over seven scoreless innings Saturday night as Asheville captured its second South Atlantic League championship in three years with a 4-1 win at Hagerstown. Wade struck out six without walking a batter and recorded 10 ground-ball outs en route to his second win of the series. He was responsible for the Tourists' first and final wins in the finals, and did not allow a run in either start. Said Asheville manager Fred Ocasio: "He came up huge in the first game and today he was outstanding. He kept the ball on the ground and gave us seven strong innings." Troy Neiman followed Wade and allowed an unearned run on one hit while recording a pair of outs, Trent Daniel (Cotuit, 2011) tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings to earn his third playoff save and Zach Osborne (Hyannis, 2010) wrapped up Asheville's scoring with a two-run double in the fourth … Minor League Baseball has announced the top players in each of its leagues for the month of August, with four former Cape Leaguers among those named. Each player will receive an award from MiLB and a congratulatory letter from Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. The winners from the CCBL and their on-field accomplishments in August are as follows: Chris O'Brien (Falmouth, 2009-10) of the Chattanooga Lookouts was fourth in the Southern League in slugging percentage (.592) and extra-base hits (13). The switch-hitting catcher ended August with a three-game home run streak, raising his batting average from .248 to .266 and his OPS from .707 to .779. Brian Hernandez (Y-D, 2009), first baseman for the Arkansas Travelers, topped the Texas League in on-base percentage (.458) and doubles (8). The 25-year-old was second in the league in batting average (.364), hits (36) and total bases (53), and third in extra base hits (11) and slugging percentage (.535). Kyle Schwarber (Wareham, 2011-12) nabbed the top spots in the Florida State League in home runs (8), slugging percentage (.660), extra-base hits (17) and total bases (68). His 20 runs, 34 hits and eight doubles also landed him in the top-10 lists. The Daytona Cubs left fielder was named Player of the Week three times in 2014 while playing for three different teams (Boise, Kane County and Daytona). Brock Stewart (Wareham, 2013) went 3-0 and recorded two saves in August for the Ogden Raptors. The right-handed pitcher tossed 21 1/3 innings, giving up 10 runs while striking out 30, a feat that was second best in the league ... The Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks announced Wednesday that outfielder Preston Tucker (Orleans, 2010) is the team’s Player of the Year for 2014. Tucker, 24, batted .276 with 17 doubles, 17 home runs and 43 RBIs in the 65 games he played for the Hooks. When he was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City in mid-June, he was leading the Texas League in at-bats (261), extra base hits (34), total bases (140), homers and RBIs and was tied for first in games played and runs scored (41). Including his time in Oke City, Tucker hit .282 and paced the Houston Astros’ organization with 24 home runs and 94 RBIs. The Texas League Postseason All-Star went deep twice in a game on four occasions, including June 10 against San Antonio at Minute Maid Park, his penultimate performance in a Corpus Christi uniform. Selected by Houston in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, Tucker was a first-team All-America for the Gators in 2012 and left Florida as the school's all-time leader in at-bats, hits, RBIs and doubles.