Lexington Legends

Delmarva snaps losing streak with 18 hits

Friday, the Delmarva Shorebirds took batting practice for the first time in six games.

They had such a good time, they continued swinging throughout the game and matched their season high of 18 hits en route to a 10-5 victory over the Lexington Legends at Applebee's Park.

Delmarva's lack of recent pre-game hacks began after an 18-inning loss to Lakewood on Saturday. Two days later, the Shorebirds lost in 10 innings. So Manager Ryan Minor gave his players some time to rest.

T.J. Baxter, Ty Kelly, Kieron Pope, Justin Dalles and Garabez Rosa all had three-hit nights for the Birds, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Jose Altuve, Grant Hogue and Brian Kemp each had two of the Legends' nine hits. Altuve led off the first with his 11th homer of the year.

While the Shorebirds had spent nearly a week without batting practice, the Legends are minus a manager.

Danny Sheaffer, roving catching instructor for the Houston Astros, has been filling in for Rodney Linares since last weekend.

"It's just personal leave. I'd rather leave it at that," Linares said Friday by phone from his home in the Dominican Republic. "I'm missing Lexington. I wish I was there. But I've just got to take care of what I've got to take care of."

Linares said he alerted the Astros months ago that he may need time off.

"The people in the front office, they've always been supportive of me in terms of 'if I had to.' I wanted to wait until the last minute, until I couldn't wait anymore," Linares said. "It didn't come as a shock to all the staff because I kind of hinted to them earlier, a couple months ago, that I was going through some stuff. ... I love my guys. I love my staff. I love my players."

The players have carried on "without missing a beat," according to Sheaffer.

"We are doing the same thing that we were doing with Rodney," Altuve said. "You don't let things outside the field affect how you play."

Said infielder Aaron Bray: "The only thing that has changed are the signals. The Astros are a great organization and a lot of us know Sheaffer. ... It's not a big change."

Linares said his leave could last a few more weeks, but "hopefully it'll be resolved in the next couple days."

Linares said he has been watching the Legends on the internet and has been in touch with many of his players via Facebook and text messages.

Sheaffer had just finished a visit to Lexington and was at his home in Mount Airy, N.C., when he got a "heads up" a few days before he took over.

"I think (the players) have handled it great," Sheaffer said. "I've already had a relationship with most of them, coming in here roving, although it's a different relationship now. But mutual respect, and they've been pros, doing whatever we want them to do. It's a testament to the staff that's here in the first place, in them making my transition a little bit easier."

Bray said he doesn't know what's going on with Linares, but their hearts are with him.

"We all just wish him the best," Bray said. "And we miss him."

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