Bernardo Brito, the undisputed Salt Lake Buzz fan favorite, wants out. The 30-year-old slugger simply can't understand why he's still playing for the Buzz at the Triple-A level.
"I'm too good to be in this league," said Brito, whose numbers back up his bold, even arrogant, assertion. "There's nothing I can prove here anymore."For the umpteenth time this season, Brito knocked home the winning run for Salt Lake Tuesday night. Brito's double to the gap in left-center drove in the tying and the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh. Salt Lake went on to win the game, 9-4, in front of 11,922 Franklin Quest Field fans.
Brito now has 82 RBI for the season, which leads all of professional baseball.
"Bernie is just an incredible clutch hitter," Buzz manager Scott Ullger said.
Brito, the leading active home run leader in minor-league baseball, can't understand why he hasn't had more of a chance to show his talent in the majors. He's spent a total of 109 days - and played in only 35 games - in the big leagues.
Not being much of a defensive player, Brito would likely have to be a designated hitter if he were called up by the parent Minnesota Twins. But with Dave Winfield already in Minneapolis as a more-than-adequate everyday DH, there's no great demand for Brito's services.
Since the Twins don't appear to need him, Brito hopes they'll let him go to a major league team that does. "If nothing happens after the all-star break, I hope they trade me or something," Brito said Tuesday. "I've been (in the minor leagues) too long."
Ullger agrees. "I understand his point," the Buzz manager said. "In fairness to Bernie I'm hoping (the Twins) let him go."
While Brito has the most runs batted in, he's only one of a bushel of Salt Lake players who is having an outstanding offensive year. As a team Salt Lake is batting .312, and they pounded out 13 more hits Tuesday.
First baseman Steve Dunn, who entered the game hitting .366, went 3-for-4 with a homer, his eighth, and two RBI. Third baseman Scott Stahoviak drove in three runs, including two on a long home run to right in the eighth, while left fielder Juan De La Rosa hit a solo homer and started the seventh-inning rally with a bunt single.
Buzz starter Greg Brummet gave up one earned run in six innings (three runs total), but the victory went to reliever Mo Sanford. Matt Stevens and Erik Schullstrom each hurled a scoreless inning to keep the Trappers from coming back in the eighth and ninth. Edmonton reliever Jim Newlin got rocked for six runs in 11/3 innings to suffer the loss.
Today the Buzz will have their first non-rainout day off since May 11 before starting a four-game series in Calgary Thursday evening.
"The day off comes at a good time," Ullger said. "I hope everybody just relaxes a bit and enjoys it."
Salt Lake's Eddie Guardado (8-6, 4.79 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday against Calgary's Reggie Harris (4-4, 7.33).
BUZZ BRIEFS - Buzz shortstop Denny Hocking was recalled by Minnesota Tuesday when Twins' shortstop Pat Meares was put on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 22) with a strained right shoulder. Hocking caught a 4:30 p.m. flight out of Salt Lake to Minneapolis, somehow managed to not only be in uniform but actually play late in the Twins' game against Texas. He went 1-for-1 from the plate and had a stolen base. It wasn't as good a night for other former Buzzmen, however. Reliever Kevin Campbell gave up a three-run homer and Dave Stevens was saddled with the pitching loss . . . Buzz left fielder Marty Cordova missed his second straight game with a sore wrist. He should be ready to play Thursday in Calgary.