For Quad-Cities manager Mickey Storey and members of the River Bandits coaching staff, the Midwest League all-star break will be a working vacation.
Storey will manage the Western Division team at the Midwest League All-Star Game, which will be hosted by Lansing two weeks from today.
Quad-Cities pitching coach Graham Johnson, hitting coach Dillon Lawson, development coach Rafael Pena, athletic trainer Elliot Deal and strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Hoffman will join Storey on the all-star staff.
“A couple of days off would be great, but I’m looking forward to being a part of an all-star event and getting the chance to be around some great players, hopefully including some of our own,’’ Storey said.
Midwest League all-star rosters are scheduled to be announced later this week and the Quad-Cities staff will lead the Western Division team because of the River Bandits’ on-field success a year ago.
Quad-Cities won the Midwest League championship for the third time in seven years last season, positioning Storey and the River Bandits’ 2018 staff to manage in this year’s all-star event under league rules.
“It’s a good chance to represent the River Bandits and Astros organizations and having been to Lansing earlier this season with our team, I’m looking forward to returning to a great ballpark and having a good experience,’’ Storey said.
“We will want all of the guys who are there to have a good time and enjoy a reward for their work this season. I’ll manage to win the game, but mostly we want this to be an experience that all the players who are participating can enjoy.’’
The 54th annual Midwest League All-Star Game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on June 19 at Cooley Law School Stadium and will be the first all-star game hosted by the Lugnuts since 2002.
A pregame autograph session and home run derby and postgame fireworks are planned.
The home stretch: Following a league-wide off day on Monday, Midwest League teams hit the home stretch of the first-half schedule beginning today.
In the chase for two available Western Division playoff berths, four teams are within two games of first place and all four will play two of the other teams in the hunt before the first half ends on June 17.
“Every win we can get is important, but our focus doesn’t change. It’s on one pitch at a time, the same approach we’ve had all season,’’ River Bandits infielder Adrian Tovalin said.
Currently, Quad-Cities and Peoria are currently tied for first at 32-25 and Clinton is one-half game back at 31-25 with a doubleheader remaining on Sunday against a Kane County team which is two games out of first at 29-26.
The River Bandits begin a four-game series at Peoria on Friday and welcome the LumberKings to Modern Woodmen Park for a three-game series starting on June 12.
Clinton hosts Kane County for five games this weekend beginning Friday before visiting Quad-Cities, while Peoria travels to Kane County for three games starting today before hosting the River Bandits.
Things are nearly settled in the Eastern Division, where Bowling Green and Lansing have a six-game lead on the rest of the division.
Transition time: Sunday’s promotion of Jonathan Arauz and Jake Adams by the Astros to high-A Buies Creek leaves Quad-Cities dealing with a transition heading into the final weeks of the first half of the season.
Arauz and Adams typically filled spots in the first five in the River Bandits’ batting order, with Arauz leading the league in triples and Adams moving into the top five in home runs over the weekend.
“It will mean some changes, but it will provide some other guys with a chance to step up and lead,’’ Storey said. “Our job here is to get guys ready for the next level and those two are ready for that step. They did a good job of helping get us to where we are at right now.’’
A first: Hunter Greene, the second overall selection in the 2017 draft, earned his first professional win Sunday for Dayton.
Greene equaled a career high with eight strikeouts over five innings, allowing one run on two hits during the Dragons’ 11-8 win over Lansing. The 18-year-old right hander is 1-3 on the season with a 6.32 earned run average.
Weekly honors: Cedar Rapids outfielder Alex Kirilloff was named Monday as the Midwest League player of the week.
The Twins’ first-round pick in the 2016 draft went 13-for-30 at the plate last week with multiple hits in five of the seven games he played.
Lake County’s Zack Draper followed last week’s pick, the River Bandits’ Cristian Javier, as the Midwest League pitcher of the week.
On a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno, Houston outfielder Derek Fisher hit for the cycle on Friday in a win over Albuquerque.
A .305 hitter over 39 games to start the 2015 season with Quad-Cities, Fisher had a career-high five hits and drove in four runs during an effort which ended with a three-run home run in the seventh inning.
On the disabled list since May 19 with a gastronomical ailment that was a byproduct of an adverse reaction to medication, Fisher doubled in the first inning, singled in the third and tripled in the fifth before completing the cycle.
He’s the second former River Bandits player to hit for the cycle for Fresno in the last three weeks. Third baseman J.D. Davis, a .303 hitter for Quad-Cities in 2014, accomplished the feat on May 17 when he became the third player in the franchise’s 20-year history to hit for the cycle.
Quad-Cities River Bandits
Today: at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Thursday: at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Friday: at Peoria, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Peoria, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday: at Peoria, 2 p.m.
Monday: at Peoria, noon
Today: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
Friday: Kane County, 6:30 p.m., Star Wars Night, Kyle Seager Star Wars bobblehead giveaway
Saturday: Kane County, 6:30 p.m., LumberKings team photo giveaway, postgame concert by Stone Cold Moonshine
Sunday: Kane County, doubleheader, noon, Children’s Discovery Center Family Funday, All Faiths Day, LumberKings baseball card strip giveaway, Bark in the Park
Monday: Kane County, 6:30 p.m.