Snakes suspend starters

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:16 PM ET

In a shocking move, the Calgary Vipers have suspended two of their core players.

Fan favourite Greg Morrison, who hails from Medicine Hat, and left-handed reliever Matt Miller are now suspended indefinitely by the Northern League club.

Neither player was in the lineup for yesterday's 9-0 loss against Fargo-Moorhead and both had cleaned out their lockers.

Snakes skipper Mike Busch said he wouldn't elaborate on why two of his key guys are no longer around but it's likely the duo won't return.

"We suspended them for internal purposes," said Busch, whose team is battling for a wildcard playoff berth. "It's an in-house matter and we'll keep it at that. It was a clubhouse matter and I felt this was the best way to handle it."

It didn't take long for the Vipers to replace Morrison, acquiring power-hitting first baseman Juan Thomas from the Sioux Falls Canaries yesterday for future considerations.

Morrison, who has been fighting a back injury, was hitting .295 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI, while Miller had a 1-2 record with a 6.21 ERA in 33 appearances, mostly out of the bullpen.

Vipers reliever J.P. Fauske was shocked by the move.

"There was (no problem) as far as I know. I don't know the reasons or anything like that," he said.

"A lot of guys are shocked and don't know why."

Starting pitcher Evan Greusel expressed the same thoughts.

"It was a shock and it's tough losing guys like that," he said, adding he didn't want to comment any further on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Vipers (17-18) lost their third straight yesterday to the North Division-leading Fargo Moorhead RedHawks (29-5) in front of an announced crowd of 2,500 at Foothills Stadium.

Hawks pitcher Brandon Culp (12-0) was virtually unhittable, allowing just two hits and three Vipers baserunners. The 6-ft. 6-in., 250-lb. righty also struck out seven.

Richard Austin hit a two-run shot in the seventh off Calgary reliever Ben King as the RedHawks sent 10 batters to the dish and scored five runs in the frame.

Austin also hit for the cycle, notching a ninth-inning double to accomplish the feat.

Greusel (9-5) had a strong outing, giving up four runs and striking out six in seven innings.

The two clubs wrap up the series tonight (Foothills, 7 p.m.)


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