BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Zack Dodson probably figured he would get to Double-A a long time ago, but after two violations of baseball's drug policy and struggles in Single-A, he's now fortunate to have made it at all.
Dodson, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, was suspended for 50 games encompassing the end of last season and beginning of this one. He finally has a shot in Double-A with a promotion to the Curve, although he had a rough debut Tuesday night.
Dodson struggled from the outset and gave up six runs over four innings as the Curve lost to Binghamton, 6-1, in the second game of a doubleheader. The B-Mets also won the first game, 6-2, so Altoona has lost four in a row.
Dodson was caught violating baseball's drug policy for a second time in 2012. It was for a "drug of abuse" rather than steroids, and it ended his season at low-A West Virginia in late July.
Dodson also missed the first month of this season at high-A Bradenton, then went 4-8 with a 5.05 ERA in 17 games (16 starts).
None of Dodson's numbers with the Marauders would seem to warrant a promotion, but the Pirates need to find out if he can pitch in Double-A. They gave him a $600,000 signing bonus and have to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason if they want to avoid potentially losing him in the Rule 5 draft.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Former Curve OF/1B Andrew Lambo hit two more homers Tuesday night for Triple-A Indianapolis and now leads all of minor league baseball with 31 homers (14 with the Curve). Lambo also has 92 RBIs.
SAFE AT FIRST: Lambo went 2-for-4 Tuesday and is hitting .273 for Indy. He's only played 54 games but leads the team with 17 homers and has a .939 OPS.
STEALING SECOND: RHP Kenn Kasparek (right ankle) was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 4. That created a spot for LHP Zack Dodson to join the roster from high-A Bradenton.
ROUNDING THIRD: Binghamton is far and away the best team in the Eastern League, with Tuesday's DH sweep giving the B-Mets a 72-43 record. By comparison, no other team in the league was more than seven games above .500 entering play Tuesday.
HEADING HOME: The Curve are 25-32 on the road and 28-29 at home.
- Cory Giger
Dodson (0-1) gave up three runs in the first inning Tuesday and finished allowing six runs on eight hits with four walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
Binghamton starter Mark Cohoon (7-3) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on four hits.
The B-Mets' Cory Vaughn had a big game in the opener, belting a three-run homer in the third inning to put his team on top to stay. He also had an RBI single in the fifth, plus he had two more RBIs in the second game to finish with six on the night.
Curve starter Eliecer Navarro (3-5) took the loss in the opener. Jonathan Niese, coming back from a shoulder injury, gave up two runs on four hits in five innings in a rehab start from the New York Mets.
Key player: LF Cory Vaughn went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in the first game for Binghamton and added two more RBIs in game two.
Key plays: Vaughn's three-run homer in the third inning put the B-Mets on top to stay, and they scored three times in the first inning off Curve starter Zack Dodson to take control of game two.
Key stat: The Curve have lost four in a row.
How they scored
Top 1st: Hanson doubled, scored on Polanco single (1-0).
Bottom 1st: Muno walked, scored on d'Arnaud double (1-1).
Top 2nd: Rojas walked, scored on Maggi groundout (2-1).
Bottom 3rd: Rodriguez doubled, Dykstra walked, both scored on Vaughn three-run homer (2-4).
Bottom 4th: Taijeron solo homer (2-5).
Bottom 5th: Rodriguez singled, scored on Vaughn double (2-6).
Top 1st: Santos doubled, scored on Hughes error (1-0).
Bottom 1st: Harris walked, scored on Vaughn single (1-1); Rodriguez walked, scored on Hughes single (1-2); Forsythe double play groundout scored Vaughn (1-3).
Bottom 2nd: Tovar singled, scored on Vaughn sacrifice fly (1-4).
Bottom 3rd: Taijeron singled, scored on Forsythe double (1-5); Tovar sacrifice fly scored Forsythe (1-6).