MINOR LEAGUE MENTIONS: Update on Rivers, Cruz, Blandino and Fitzsimons

You’re long overdue for an update on local minor leaguers Kevin Rivers, Manny Cruz, Matt Blandino and Connor Fitzsimons, so here you go:

Kevin Rivers, York Revolution
This former Bristol Eastern standout has been one of the hottest hitters on his team in the second half of the season.
Rivers has a hit in eight of the last 10 games, including three multi-hit efforts. That span included good performances against his former team, the New Britain Bees. On Tuesday, Rivers went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored in a 9-2 Revolution victory over the Bees at New Britain Stadium. On Thursday, he followed up with a hit and two RBI in a 7-3 loss.
In 31 games with the Revolution, Rivers is hitting .317 with 15 doubles, three triples, a home run and 20 RBI. That’s compared to the .246 he hit in 39 games with the Bees before he was traded.
Rivers has gotten used to his new home in the Atlantic League, and York is happy to have him along.

Manny Cruz, Arizona League Reds
Cruz has added a second home run since I last reported on the former Wolcott and Wilby standout. That dinger came on Sunday against the Arizona League Dodgers in a game where the right-handed hitter had three hits and three RBI.
With a rookie level team, playing time can be sporadic. Cruz has played in 10 games since July 5 (including July 5).
For the season, Cruz is hitting .260 in 18 games with two homers, nine RBI, two triples, a double and 14 runs scored. Cruz has 12 walks, compared to 22 strikeouts.

Matt Blandino, Arizona League Reds
The former Bristol Central standout’s last appearance was on July 15 against the Padres. Blandino came on in relief and pitched three innings. He gave up four runs on four hits, but only run of the runs was earned. Blandino struck out one, but he also didn’t walk a batter for the third time in four appearances this season.
For the year, Blandino has pitched 12.2 innings and owns a 2.84 ERA. He has given up eight runs on 14 hits (four earned runs), struck out 11 and walked just one. 

Connor Fitzsimons, Arizona League Angels
This former Bristol Eastern backstop last took the field on Saturday. He went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
It has been a struggle at the plate for Fitzsimons, who has one hit in 17 at bats. At catcher, Fitzsimons owns a .958 fielding percentage. He has caught 41 innings and made two errors in 48 chances. Fitzsimons has played in seven games this season, four of them starts.