Dodgers farmhands thrive in Beijing Olympics

Tiffee.jpgInfielder Terry Tiffee and pitcher Mike Koplove, both of whom play for Triple-A Las Vegas, led the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team to a bronze medal in Beijing with standout performances.

Tiffee ranked second on Team USA with a .324 batting average while tying a U.S. Olympic record with six doubles. He twice hit a pair of doubles, including Aug. 16 against Canada when a two-out RBI double ended up accounting for the winning run in a game the Canadians once led, 4-0.

Tiffee started all nine games at either first base or designated hitter and batted either third or fourth in the lineup. He drove in five runs and scored four more while collecting a team-high 12 hits.

That should surprise nobody who followed the 51s this season, as Tiffee raked Pacific Coast League pitching all summer. Tiffee leads the PCL with a .375 batting average after flirting with .400 all year and ranks second with 37 doubles to a player who had appeared in 36 more games than him through Aug. 22.

Tiffee, a corner infielder who has spent parts of three seasons with the Twins, was on the Dodgers’ roster from May 25-June 7. He got one hit in four at-bats while appearing in six games.

Koplove.jpgKoplove, meanwhile, was the only American pitcher not to give up a hit, yielding just a walk in his 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. He also struck out six in his four appearances.

Koplove has spent parts of seven seasons in the Majors but has not earned a callup this year. He has compiled a 2-1 record with a 3.48 ERA and nine saves in 51 2/3 innings for Vegas.

Stults impresses after demotion

Stults.jpgDodgers manager Joe Torre said he could not sense if Eric Stults was more disappointed than usual with his latest demotion being that he was recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 14 and sent back down on Aug. 19 to make room for Greg Maddux without making an appearance 

If he was, he let his actions do the talking, as Stults yielded just one unearned run on two hits in six innings while walking one and striking out six Aug. 23 at Colorado Springs.

Earlier in the day in Philadelphia, Torre said Stults would be a strong candidate for a September callup.

An outing like this certainly helps his case, as does his 2-2 record and 3.18 ERA in six starts with the Dodgers, one of them a four-hit shutout of the White Sox, who boast one of the top five offenses in the Majors.

— Michael Schwartz

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