Anytime two Independent Baseball graduates make it to the major leagues in the same week it seems worthy of getting out the trumpet.
Joe Thatcher, one of those who got his first professional opportunity in an Indy league, made his debut with San Diego Thursday night, hurling a scoreless seventh inning at Houston. It took him only 14 pitches (nine strikes) to dispatch of three Astros, collecting one strikeout along the way. Bud Black picked a non-pressure situation for the 26-year-old lefty to get some of the nerves out of the way since the trade that brought Thatcher from Milwaukee was only about 24 hours old and the Padres were trailing, 7-1. Thatcher, who we wrote about again in some detail in Thursday's Independent Baseball Insider column, broke in at River City (O'Fallon, MO) of the Frontier League in 2004 and 2005 after pitching at Indiana State.
Kansas City called righthander Jason Shiell up from Triple-A Omaha Thursday, giving the 30-year old who played part of last season in the Atlantic League (3-2, 2.92 in nine games for Somerset, NJ) his fourth major league opportunity. He already has worn the uniforms of San Diego, Boston and Atlanta, compiling a 2-2 record and one save so far over 24 appearances.
While Thatcher and Shiell are drawing major league meal money, two Independent managers got their pink slips this week. Neither lasted a full season. Defending Atlantic League champion Lancaster replaced Frank Klebe with pitching coach and longtime major leaguer Rick Wise. Klebe was a coach under Tommy Herr last year.
Edmonton fired Frank Reberger, replacing him with coach Gord Gerlach.
Friday, July 27, 2007
A GOOD WEEK FOR TWO, NOT SO GOOD FOR TWO OTHERS
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.