Former Aces infielder Ildemaro Vargas was called up to the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday and outfielder Travis Snider, who has eight years in the major leagues, was transferred from extended spring training to Triple-A Reno.
Vargas is filling the roster spot of third baseman Jake Lamb, who was placed on the 10-day injured list after straining his left hamstring Wednesday running out a double in a game against San Diego.
The versatile Vargas has been optioned from Arizona to Reno three times. He batted .367 in the spring and is 1-for-6 with a double for the Dbacks so far this season. His one Major League start was at third base on March 30. Vargas did not play in the Aces season debut against the Fresno Grizzlies. Dominican Republic infielder Domingo Leyba started at shortstop and went 1-for-5 with an RBI triple for his first hit Triple-A hit.
Vargas, 27, was optioned back to the Biggest Little City on April 1 when the Dbacks called up top-pitching prospect Jon Duplantier. Duplantier, 24, played later that night a recorded a three-inning save with two strikeouts in a 10-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Snider, 31, was on the Aces’ injured list to start the season and was sent to extended spring training. He has not appeared in the big leagues since 2015. He signed a minor league contract with the Dbacks on Jan. 10.
Snider and Aces’ fan favorite Cody Decker played together as members of the Omaha Storm Chasers and Las Vegas 51s during the 2016-17 seasons, minor league affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets. Snider elected for free agency in 2017 and did not play at all in 2018.
The slugger has played all three outfield positions during his eight-year big-league career with the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. He has two seasons with double-digit home runs.
Thursday, the Aces’ 5-4 loss to the Grizzlies in extra innings snapped a four-year opening day win streak. The Grizzlies walked it off with an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Kevin Cron blasted his first home run of the year to left-center field. Abraham Almonte went 1-for-5 with two RBIs. His two-RBI single in the top of the first that scored the Aces’ first runs of the year. Leyba’s RBI triple knotted the contest 4-4 in the top of the ninth.
Tonight, the Aces look to even the the five-game road series, with Taylor Widener making his first Triple-A start. He was called up to Reno after a solid season in Double-A Jackson. The right-hander went 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA and 176 strikeouts last season.
Scott Copeland will pitch for Fresno, the newest Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Copeland sported a 3-3 record with a 3.09 ERA for the Las Vegas 51s last season, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets. This past offseason, the 51s became the Aviators and are now the big-league affiliate of the Oakland A’s.
Reno will make its home debut Tuesday, April 9, at 6:35 p.m. against the Albuquerque Isotopes to start a seven-game home stand.
Notes: The New York Yankees claimed former Aces pitcher Jake Barrett off waivers on Thursday. Barrett’s previous team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, designated him for assignment last week. Barrett, 27, appeared in 42 games with Reno last season and has a 4-0 record and 2.87 ERA. The right-hander has been assigned to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. … Taylor Clarke became the second pitcher in franchise history to record a hit on opening day. Kevin Mulvey was the first player to accomplish that feat in 2010. Clarke, 25, gave up two solo home runs on four hits with two strikeouts in five innings. He has a no-decision. … The Grizzlies and Aces have squared off on opening day four times. Reno holds an all-time record of 3-1. The Aces have hit 10 opening day home runs in franchise history. … During the offseason, the Fresno Sports & Events LLC ownership group invested $3.4 million in Chukchansi Park. Some notable additions to the park include a remodeled club level, a new social gathering space/bar in left field and a “state-of-the-art” kids’ splash park beyond right field.
— Isaiah Burrows