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KC Cougars

Almora leaves game in Cougars' loss to Quad Cities

Cougars second baseman Giuseppe Papaccio waits for a throw as Quad Cities' Rio 
Ruiz attempts to steal second base during Saturday's game at Fifth Third Bank 
Cougars second baseman Giuseppe Papaccio waits for a throw as Quad Cities' Rio Ruiz attempts to steal second base during Saturday's game at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

GENEVA – Albert Almora one day hopes to be under the glare of intense scrutiny as an outfielder for the Cubs.

Saturday provided an example that the relative obscurity of life in the minor leagues has its upside.

The Kane County Cougars' most heralded prospect left Saturday night's 5-0 loss against Quad Cities at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark with a delicate medical situation – hemorrhoids.

Cougars manager Mark Johnson said that was the condition to blame for Almora requiring medical attention after sliding toward second base on Cougars first baseman Dan Vogelbach's double play ball in the fourth inning.

"I think when he slid to second, obviously he aggravated it," Johnson said.

Almora temporarily remained in the game, heading back to center field for the fifth inning. Naturally, Quad Cities' leadoff batter in the inning, Dan Gulbransen, drilled a ball right at Almora that he gingerly and unsuccessfully chased. It wound up as a triple.

"Always happens," Johnson said of the ball immediately finding an embattled player.

Almora finished the half inning but was replaced by Oliver Zapata to start the sixth. He was in the trainer's room receiving attention after the game.

"Obviously it was killing him after the ball was hit over his head and he couldn't get to the ball," Johnson said. "You can't go out there like that."

Almora, the Cubs' top draft pick in 2012, continues to swing a hot bat, having homered and tripled in Friday's win. He legged out an infield single in the fourth inning Saturday leading up to Vogelbach's double play ground ball.

The Cougars were hoping to build off their first consecutive wins of the season's second half but starting pitcher Jose Rosario was wild and dug the Cougars (34-48, 4-12 second half) an early hole.

Rosario (0-5) walked three consecutive River Bandits – the bottom three hitters in Quad Cities' order – in the top of the fourth, and lasted only five innings, yielding five runs off six hits and four walks.

There wasn't much for the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark crowd of 8,369 to cheer, though it was another quality outing for left-handed relief pitcher Sheldon McDonald, who pitched three innings of one-hit ball.

McDonald, who excelled in the Midwest League with Peoria in 2012, has yet to allow an earned run in 10 innings of work since being demoted from High-A Daytona last month.

Johnson called the 24-year-old Canadian a "pro's pro."

"He's nice to have on the staff here, for sure," Johnson said. "It's a shame for him that he's back [in the Midwest League] but you know how the game is and numbers are. If he keeps throwing like he's throwing, he'll be right back where he belongs."

Quad Cities righty Mike Hauschild (6-1) threw seven innings of three-hit ball despite striking out only two.

The Cougars and River Bandits (49-36, 11-5) will play the fourth game of their five-game series on Sunday afternoon.

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