Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free Press Lookouts left fielder Elian Herrera hits a home run in the bottom of the third inning against Birmingham bringing the score to 1-0 Thursday night at AT&T field.
The Chattanooga Lookouts have won a season-high five consecutive games after beating Birmingham 7-3 Thursday night at AT&T Field.
Now they get Andrew Lambo back.
Lambo's 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse has expired, and the 21-year-old left fielder is slated to be in the lineup tonight when the Lookouts continue their six-game series against the Barons. Before getting suspended, Lambo hit .342 in 19 games with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and 13 RBIs.
"We look forward to him getting out there playing and playing hard," Los Angeles Dodgers farm director De Jon Watson said before Thursday's game. "He's done everything Major League Baseball has asked and everything that we have asked from an organizational standpoint, and we're going to do everything we can to support him through this difficult time for him.
"I think the kid understands the ramifications of his actions."
Lambo is rated by Baseball America as the No. 7 organizational prospect after holding the top spot last year, when he hit .256 in 130 games with the Lookouts and led the team in hits (126), doubles (39) and runs scored (70).
Also joining the Lookouts today is the organization's No. 3 prospect, left-handed pitcher Aaron Miller, who is scheduled to start tonight. The 22-year-old was the 36th overall pick in last year's draft out of Baylor University and made seven starts last season in the Midwest League, going 3-1 with a 2.08 earned run average.
Miller began this season at high Single-A Inland Empire and went 2-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). He tallied 75 strikeouts in 74 innings.
"He's a very competitive kid who will attack the strike zone with a three-pitch mix -- fastball, slider, change," Watson said. "He really ran through the Midwest League last year and has pitched really well in the California League, so he's progressed basically at the right time frame to where we thought he would be."
The Lookouts, who have started the Southern League's second half at 3-0, now possess the top three organizational prospects with shortstop Dee Gordon, right-handed starter Chris Withrow and Miller.
Making his own introduction Thursday was first baseman Jerry Sands, who homered to left-center field in the fourth inning to put the Lookouts up 2-0. Sands arrived from Great Lakes, where he led the Loons with a .333 average in 69 games and with 16 doubles, three triples, 18 homers and 46 RBIs.
Sands homered in Tuesday night's Midwest League All-Star Game in Fort Wayne, Ind.
"It's been a pretty big few days for me, coming from an all-star game and getting promoted, but it's been fun," Sands said. "I thought I was going to the Cal League, but you always hope for the highest level, so I was surprised. I just wanted to come out here and not be overwhelmed too much."
Sands was one of three Lookouts who homered in the win. Elian Herrera opened the third inning with a homer to right, his first this season, but the biggest blast was Corey Smith's three-run shot off the scoreboard in left that made it 7-3 in the seventh.
Smith had only one homer in April but now leads the team with eight.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...