Brito called 'special kid,' undergoes second surgery after collapsing at Frontier Field
The six-game series against Lehigh Valley last week could have moved the Rochester Red Wings ahead of the Iron Pigs in the Northeast Division standings had it gone well.
Instead, the series was cut in half.
Bad weather played a role, but more importantly, there was the unfortunate situation that occurred Saturday night when Lehigh Valley third baseman Daniel Brito suffered a medical emergency which led to the postponement of the final three games.
After Thursday morning’s game was rained out, it was rescheduled as part of a Saturday doubleheader. But in the bottom of the first inning in the first game, Brito experienced what is believed to be some type of seizure.
He nearly collapsed on the field, but Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy and Iron Pigs manager Gary Jones rushed to his side and were able to prevent him from falling. They gently guided him to the ground and he received on-field medical attention before being transported by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital.
The Philadelphia Phillies, parent team of the Iron Pigs, released a statement Saturday night that said Brito was undergoing surgery. On Sunday, Phillies general manager Bryan Minniti said Brito underwent a second operation early that morning, but there was no news regarding what it was for, and his condition has not been updated.
Matt Gelb, who covers the Phillies for The Athletic, quoted Minniti as saying, “This is a special kid. A lot of people are worried.”
Gelb reported that word of the Brito situation reached the Phillies while they were taking batting practice prior to their game Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
One of Brito’s good friends, backup catcher Rafael Marchan, was escorted into the dugout by manager Joe Girardi and was shown the video of what happened. An upset Marchan later told reporters of Brito, “He’s a very joyful person in the clubhouse and on the field, all around. He’s a very positive person. So it’s very unfortunate what he’s going through.”
Phillies farm director Josh Bonifay arrived in Rochester Sunday morning while Lehigh Valley trainer Christian Bermudez, who originally went to Strong with Brito, has remained by his side.
Gelb also reported that the Phillies made arrangements for Brito’s girlfriend and her sister to travel to Rochester Saturday night. Minniti said the team was trying to get Brito’s mother there from his native Venezuela.
The Red Wings parent club, the Washington Nationals, hosted the Cubs on Sunday and before the game, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said, “There was a kid yesterday in Lehigh Valley that went down. I just want to give my thoughts and prayers to Daniel Brito and his family. I wish him well and recovery. And to the Phillies. You never want to see a kid, or anybody, go down like that. So my thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”
So, not your typical weekend in the world of Red Wings baseball.
The games that were played
As for the games that were played earlier in the week, the Wings lost two of three dropping their record to 30-43 as they remain in fifth place in the Northeast, ahead of only Syracuse who happen to be coming to town Tuesday for the start of a six-game series.
Rochester won the opener 5-3 last Tuesday behind six strong innings from starter Tyler Eppler and a pair of home runs from Daniel Palka. In that game, Brito had an RBI single for the Iron Pigs.
Lehigh Valley flipped it around the next night and won 5-3 thanks to a four-run fourth inning, most of the damage coming against Wings starter Ben Braymer who saw his ERA rise to 7.29. In their big inning, Brito drew a walk against Braymer and later scored on Rodolfo Duran’s three-run homer.
And in the only other game that was concluded, the Iron Pigs earned a 3-2 victory Friday night by breaking a 1-1 tie in the eighth when Charlie Tilson hit an RBI triple and then scored on Nick Maton’s single off reliever Nick Wells.
That, and Rochester’s 1-for-11 hitting with runners in scoring position, ruined a solid six-inning start from Matt Tomshaw.
Saturday’s game was suspended with Rochester leading 3-0 on a three-run homer by Brandon Snyder. There was no announcement on whether that game, or the two that were postponed, would be continued and/or made up. Lehigh Valley comes to Rochester for one last series Aug. 17-22. Both teams have an off day on Monday, Aug. 16.
Offense is heating up
As the Wings begin their series with Syracuse, here are a few interesting tidbits:
► Since June 22, they have thehighest team batting average in Triple-A East at .277. That is partially due to the red hot stretch that infielder Jake Noll has been on. He now leads the league in total hits (82) and batting average (.327) and is third in total bases with 137. Since July 8, his slash line is .412/.468/.735 with five homers and 13 RBI.
► Palka, whose two-homer game was the 16th of his minor league career, ranks ninth in Triple-A East with a .546 slugging percentage and his 13 homers is tied for the team lead with Luis Garcia.
► Home runs have become a thing in Wings games. In the 14 games since July 14, the Wings have hit 20 but have allowed a whopping 28.
► The Wings pitching has been brutal of late. They now rank 17th in Triple-A East in ERA (5.13) and batting average against (.263). They rank last in strikeouts with 568.
► The Wings are just 14-18 at Frontier Field this season and at 13 games under .500 overall, that’s now a season high.
► Given the trade deadline sell off that occurred in Washington, the Wings roster has naturally been affected. The top two prospects who started the year in Rochester, Garcia and third baseman Carter Kieboom, are now with the Nationals and may stay there the rest of the year. Position players Gerada Parra, Yadiel Hernandez (who hit a walkoff homer Sunday vs. the Cubs), Tres Barrera, and Adrian Sanchez, and pitchers Ryne Harper, Gabe Klobosits, and Andres Machado are also up with Washington.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.