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Full Count

  • TinCaps' groundskeeper honored
    TinCaps head groundskeeper Keith Winter was named the Single-A Sports Turf Manager of the Year, an honor he also landed in 2013.
  • TinCaps named Ballpark Digest's team of the year
    Citing sustained success and an "amazing" commitment to community service, the online trade magazine Ballpark Digest recognized the TinCaps as its 2014 team of the year.
  • Ex-TinCap Mallex Smith voted minors' top offensive player
    Mallex Smith, who was the TinCaps' center fielder for the 2013 season and the first half of 2014, was voted by fans as the top offensive player in the minor leagues during the past season.

TinCaps Notebook: Collins in win-now mode

TinCaps manager Michael Collins has juggled dueling assignments all season. Part of his job, of course, is to win games. But the main goal in Class A is to develop players’ skills and habits – especially those players with major league potential.

Amid a must-win week, and coming off Monday’s dramatic 3-2 win over Great Lakes, Collins is shifting a bit more toward managing to get his franchise back into the Midwest League playoffs for a sixth straight season.

“Talking with some other people about it, there are definitely what I like to call turning points in a ballgame,” he said. “It can either be a pitcher making a big pitch to get one of their hitters out, the defense making a great play or one of our hitters getting a hit or a walk or even a sacrifice bunt.

“That puts the pressure on the other team or swings the momentum in your favor. In these situations (with playoff implications), that turning point can become magnified and possibly (arise) earlier in the ballgame.”

Collins said managing differently could lead to quicker hook for a struggling starter or use of a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner in the later innings.

RADIO SILENCE: A report by the San Diego Union-Tribune said that the Padres will consider soon promoting Trea Turner and Ryan Butler to high-A Lake Elsinore. Both Turner and Collins said they had not been contacted about such a possibility.

“I have not heard anything about that,” Collins said. “That’s news to me. The minor league system is all about getting players to the major leagues. If a player is ready for that next level, we wish them nothing but the best.”

Turner, the leadoff hitter, and Butler, the closer, each arrived on July 12 and immediately became key components.

STRIKE OUT ALS: The TinCaps have been swept up by a nationwide trend. Seven of their players (Turner, Butler, Justin Livengood, Cody Hebner, Kyle Lloyd, Ronnie Richardson and Josh VanMeter) have taken the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a degenerative neurological disease named after the legendary Yankees first baseman.