The Chattanooga Lookouts are playing their first homestand since Major League Baseball's trade deadline, which left Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim saying farewell to three former pupils.
Gone from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization are former Lookouts starters Nathan Eovaldi and Ethan Martin and former reliever Logan Bawcom. Eovaldi is now in the starting rotation for the Miami Marlins, while Martin and Bawcom are in the farm systems of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Seattle Mariners.
"It is bittersweet," Crim said Sunday. "I try and treat these guys like they're my kids, and we grind this thing out every day together and have relationships. I understand the situation and I understand that we have to make moves to make our big-league club better, but it is bittersweet."
Eovaldi was promoted from the Lookouts to Los Angeles in late May, and last Tuesday's departure of Martin leaves Matt Magill and Aaron Miller as the only pitchers who have been in Chattanooga's rotation all year. Allen Webster, who started Sunday's 6-4 rain-shortened victory over the Mississippi Braves, has been in the rotation with the exception of five relief appearances.
Chris Reed and Zach Lee joined the Lookouts in June and are expected to round out the rotation the rest of the season. Reed and Lee have yet to taste a Double-A victory.
"It's hard to see those guys go away, but they are benefiting by going into great situations," said Lee, the top organizational prospect according to Baseball America. "With Ethan gone, that does put a little more pressure on us to learn a little quicker. We're doing the best we can, and it will all come through in the end."
Said Crim: "It's development, and we have to take it at that. The veteran staff isn't there anymore, but it's about development."
The Lookouts trailed 3-2 in the sixth inning Sunday when Luis Nunez singled to left to score C.J. Retherford and Anthony Jackson. Rafael Ynoa followed with a double to left to score Nunez and put the Lookouts up 5-3.
Mississippi pulled within 5-4 in the seventh when Mathew Kennelly doubled to center and scored on a Joe Leonard ground out. Heavy rain arrived at the seventh-inning stretch, forcing an hour-plus delay, and the game was halted before the eighth inning when more rain came.
Lee (0-3, 7.58) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Gary Moran (4-9, 3.13) scheduled for the Braves.