Major League pain for Grizzlies – Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons continued to torch Fresno Grizzlies pitching. Simmons, who is rehabbing in the minors while coming back from thumb surgery, batted 2 for 5 to help the Salt Lake Bees down the Grizzlies 6-3 on Friday before an announced crowd of 8,978 at Chukchansi Park. In his two games against the Grizzlies – Simmons’ first Triple-A games ever after skipping the level on his way up to the majors – the 26-year-old has batted 5 for 10 with five RBIs. Simmons was expected to miss 6-8 weeks but might be able to return sooner than initially scheduled. Salt Lake finished with 11 hits, marking the fifth time in the past six games that the Grizzlies have given up double digit hits. Fresno’s A.J. Reed knocked a solo homer to deep center that almost went over the batter’s eye and added a triple to highlight the Grizzlies’ outing. Fresno finished just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Up next – Fresno’s oldest player will take the mound Saturday, with RH Cesar Valdez (2-1, 5.40 ERA) set to start against Salt Lake RH Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 5.27) at 7:05 p.m. Valdez, 31, has spent the majority of the season in the bullpen but will be making his fifth start. As a reliever, Valdez is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings. As a starter, he has a 9.45 ERA in 20 innings. Kendrick is also 31 but is fourth oldest on the Bees, a couple of months younger than fellow starter Tim Lincecum. Kendrick spent much of the previous nine seasons in the majors.
“Star Wars” promotion fights cancer – The Grizzlies continue their “Star Wars” Weekend theme, with players wearing special pink jerseys that will be up for auction after the game. Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Central Valley foundation, a nonprofit breast cancer awareness and prevention organization. In addition, “Star Wars” characters will be walking around the stadium and the Grizzlies team store will sell lightsabers.
Prospect watch – With two more hits and a pair of RBIs on Thursday, Grizzlies first baseman A.J. Reed is hitting .267 with a homer, seven doubles, seven RBIs and 10 walks in 17 games since returning from the disabled list (hamstring).
The Fresno Bee