Joe Martinez and Ryan Rohlinger first crossed paths in their baseball lives while playing in the low minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants in 2006.
“I signed in ’06 and I think he signed in ’05,” Rohlinger said. “We got together in instructional league in ’06 and hung out. He was always like a year ahead of me. But, yeah, we’ve played together.”
The two are together again this season with season with the Clippers. They played large roles last night to help the team top the Rochester Red Wings 5-1 in Huntington Park.
Martinez (1-2) pitched 72/3 shutout innings in the win, and Rohlinger had three hits, scored two runs and had a shot at starting a triple play in the sixth inning from third base.
“Rolly is a really good player,” Martinez said. “He’s a good hitter. If you give him a season of 400 at-bats, he’s going to be hitting at or around .300 with a little bit of power and great defense. He’s great defensively.”
Rohlinger, likewise, enjoyed playing behind Martinez.
“He works fast and he throws strikes,” he said. “Fielders like that. He knows what he’s doing.”& amp; amp; lt; /p>
Rohlinger singled in the first inning and scored ahead of Matt LaPorta’s second home run in the two games he has played since coming off the disabled list. Rohlinger also singled in the three-run fifth and came home on LaPorta’s single.
A year ago, Rohlinger spent most of the season with Clippers manager Chris Tremie at double-A Akron. In the three seasons before that, he had played with the Giants or at the triple-A level. Tremie never heard a gripe from him.
“Never one time in the year and a half that he’s been around me have I seen him do one thing that’s unprofessional,” Tremie said. “He’s just a good baseball player. He was great for our team last year. He helped a lot of the players with his knowledge.
“This was a good night for him. He hit the ball the other way a couple of times and had some big at-bats. He almost had a triple play today. He’s a smart player.”
The Red Wings began the sixth inning with back-to-back singles by Chris Herrmann and Clete Thomas. Chris Colabello hit a chopper to Rohlinger at third. He stepped on the base to force Herrmann. His throw to second baseman Cord Phelps got Thomas, but was off line and prevented a throw to first.
“I should have had it,” Rohlinger said, smiling. “I just rushed it.”
Martinez was happy enough with the double play.
“This whole team plays great defense,” he said. “It’s a credit to our defense that I felt confident as I did. Nine times out of 10, they’re going to make the play.”