The Montreal Expos reshuffled the rosters of their top minor league teams Tuesday, and Chad Bentz of Juneau has been sent back to his 2003 team, the Class AA Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators.
Bentz, a 24-year-old left-handed relief pitcher, spent most of this season with the Expos, but had made two brief trips to the Class AAA Edmonton Trappers. The Expos picked up a half-dozen top minor league prospects during trading-deadline deals last week, and that forced the Expos to reshuffle some of their lineups. Montreal also needed another roster spot when veteran lefty reliever Joey Eischen came off the disabled list on Monday.
On July 23, Bentz had been sent down from Montreal to Edmonton so he could develop a slider to be more effective against left-handed hitters. In Harrisburg, Bentz is expected to continue working on his slider.
"And I will have plenty of time to work on it," Bentz told the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News when he joined the Senators on Tuesday night.
Before joining the Trappers, Bentz took a few days off so he could be with his wife Christy as she gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Kyla Robin who was born on July 24. He rejoined the Trappers late last week and made just two appearances. His last appearance came Sunday at Nashville, pitching two scoreless innings.
Bentz, a 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, spent all of last season with the Senators, winning the team's top pitcher and community service awards. Bentz didn't become the team's closer until midway through the season, but he saved 16 games for Harrisburg and finished third in saves for the Eastern League.
On his arrival in Harrisburg, the Patriot-News reported that Bentz began negotiations with catcher Jason Brown, who had been assigned Bentz's old No. 29. Brown said he wants Bentz's blue Montreal Expos equipment bag in exchange for the number.
"I'll show up in Montreal with that," Brown told the Patriot-News, "and say to Frank (Robinson, the Expos manager), 'OK, where do you want me? I'm in the big leagues now.'"
This season, Bentz had a 0-0 record with a 3.60 ERA in five innings and five appearances with Edmonton, allowing two runs, five hits (including one homer), three walks and two strikeouts. In Montreal, Bentz posted an 0-3 record with a 5.86 ERA in 27 2/3 innings over 36 games. He allowed 23 hits, 19 runs (18 earned), 23 walks, five homers and had 18 strikeouts.