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Larks without players this weekend. ...Rodriguez signs

By The Hays Daily News

The Hays Larks will be without the services of several players for this weekend's series against the Derby Twins in Derby.

Larks manager Frank Leo announced late Thursday night in an e-mail that Elvin Rodriguez has signed to play independent league baseball in the Frontier League.

A starting shortstop and fourth-year Lark, Rodriguez is batting .353 in 11 starts this summer with six RBIs and 12 runs scored. Rodriguez will be with the team for today's 7 p.m. series opener, but flies out of Wichita on Saturday.

Last summer, Rodriguez hit .225 in 32 games played. He recorded 15 RBIS with four doubles and a home run. In 2011, he hit .276 in 45 games with 11 RBis, six doubles and a triple. In his first summer with the Larks in 2010, Rodriguez played in 31 games, hit .233 with 12 RBIs, two doubles and a homer.

The Larks' top hitter this summer, Jake Placzek (.405, 16 runs, 14 RBIs, five doubles) is attending a family funeral and will miss the Derby Series.

Also, starting outfielder Mackenzie Handel (.259, 11 RBis, two doubles, nine runs) is attending a wedding, and will miss the series.

In addition, Leo said left-handed starting pitcher Chandler Hawkins (4-0, 2.45 ERA) will be gone until June 29.

Leo said a new infielder will join the team during the series. Brent Gillispie from San Jose Community College, who signed to play at Youngstown State, will join the team.

Hays is 14-2 overall, and leading the Jayhawk League at 10-2. The Larks had their 11-game win streak snapped Wednesday with a 6-2 loss to the Liberal Bee Jays. Derby is 8-6, 6-6 in league play coming off a 4-1 victory Thursday against second-place El Dorado (10-5, 7-5).

Jason Zgardowksi (2-0, 2.08 ERA), Nick Goza (2-0, 2.00 ERA) and Colin Hightower (1-0, 1.50 ERA) are scheduled to make the three starts this weekend.