Friday, March 09, 2007


I was all excited to report on the fact Philadelphia started an all-Independent Baseball battery yesterday for its Grapefruit League game against Cleveland in Winter Haven, FL, then the tough news came in that Frontier League grad Josh Kinney has been lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, probably for the season.

Kinney had that meteoric climb that started with River City (O'Fallon, MO) and ended up in the bullpen of the eventual World Champion Redbirds, including some key postseason appearances last October, and now needs Tommy John (elbow) surgery. I knew he had suffered a couple of tough spring training outings, but the verdict that he needs surgery has to be a major blow to the young man who spent his winter hunting as well as to the St. Louis bullpen.

The brighter side for Independent fans is that lefty Brian Mazone (Joliet, IL, Northern League and Zion, UT, Western League) and catcher Chris Coste (Fargo, ND, Northern, and Brandon, Prairie League) made up the Phils' battery for the first three innings Thursday.

Mazone, off that exceptional season in Triple-A, had a decent outing except for one pitch which Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez swatted for a three-run first inning homer. The Indians did not score off Mazone again, while Coste, the .328-hitting surprise of 2006 as a 33-year-old rookie, had a double and scored the tying run (3-3)in the fifth. Coste reportedly needs to keep his bat working well to stick with the Phils, even though he was catching at least two of every five days at the end of last season.

Curtis Pride, Luther Hackman, Jason Simontacchi, Jason Shiell, Tagg Bozied and all of the other Independent Baseball grads getting a look in spring training make scouring the boxscores daily fun. I will be doing more reporting on my findings, both here and in my Independent Baseball Insider column, the next of which will reach subscribers on Thursday.

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