Friday, March 28, 2008

Our series of reports on how Independent Baseball players have been doing in major league spring training camps will wrap up on Monday (March 31). This is the Friday post. Websites may reproduce this story by giving credit to

Patterson Keeping Pressure on Yankees;

Rivera's Bat Hot, Redman Continues in Roster Battle

The only things that can possibly keep Scott Patterson from winning one of the remaining slots in the New York Yankees' bullpen is if someone else is out of options or if reputation comes into play.

Pretty strong statement, right? What else could keep this veteran of more than four season in Independent Baseball from being on the 25-man roster after the 28-year-old right-hander extended his string of scoreless pitching in spring training to 7.2 innings Friday. That tells only a piece of the story in that Patterson has given up only one hit in his eight appearances and has not walked anyone. He has seven strikeouts, the last one in the 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh when Patterson picked up the final out of the fifth inning and worked the entire sixth.

It seems worth repeating the quote we used from Manager Joe Girardi in yesterday's Independent Baseball Insider column: "He's been as good as anybody in camp," the new skipper told Newsday.

Patterson, who started his career pitching for the Gateway Grizzlies at Sauget, IL in the Frontier League and eventually moved on to the Atlantic League's Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers, had only one day in a major league camp coming into this spring. He has not yet debuted in the majors in the regular season.

Edwar Ramirez, the other Indy grad trying to nail down one of the last three spots in New York's bullpen, got into 21 games in the majors in 2007. Ramirez, who did his Independent pitching with Pensacola, FL (now in the American Association) and the United League's Edinburg (TX) Coyotes, has worked 7.1 innings in eight games with an impressive 12 strikeouts and a 4.91 earned run average.

BREWERS' RIVERA AT .317--Maybe we are getting ahead of ourselves, but the way Mike Rivera seems to be swinging the bat perhaps this will be the season when the 31-year-old Puerto Rican gets a full season in the majors. He had two doubles and a single in five at bats, scoring once and driving in two runs in the Brewers' 10-10 tie with the Chicago Cubs Thursday. The catcher-first baseman, who spent part of 2005 with Atlantic City, NJ, when the Surf still were in the Atlantic League (they now are in the Can-Am League), is hitting .317 in a busy spring in which he has been in 20 games (13-for-41) with four doubles and seven RBI. Rivera has 119 major league games to his credit, but only 11 of them came last season.

Have you visited yet today? Everything from books to tryouts to jobs to the sale of an Independent team is being advertised.

REDMAN STILL BATTLING FOR SPOT WITH O'S--Outfielder Tike Redman's effort to retain a job in Baltimore is going right down to the wire, although his chances may have taken a hit Friday with Major League Baseball's announcement that it was staying the drug-related suspension of outfielder Jay Gibbons for 10 days. It had appeared either the 31-year-0ld Redman or 24-year-old infielder Scott Moore would win the last bench job. " comes down to those two guys, I would think," Manager Dave Trembley told this week. Both hit left-handed. Redman, who played briefly at York, PA in the Atlantic League last season, has done about all the Orioles could ask. He hit .318 in 40 games for them the last two months of 2007, and has hit .268 (11-for-41) this spring, including two doubles, a homer and four runs batted in.

THIS 'N THAT--It may be a good thing Cleveland had already decided newly-acquired Craig Breslow would be part of its season-opening bullpen. The lefty, who got his second affiliated opportunity after part of a season with the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls) in 2004, was touched up for three runs (two hits, two walks) in two innings Thursday. It was his second outing since being picked up on waivers from Boston...veteran major leaguer Tim Byrdak, lost his job in Detroit's bullpen and was released one day after a bad outing this week. Byrdak, who played for both Gary, IN and Joliet, IL in the Northern League, was hit hard this spring, finishing with a 13.50 ERA for 10 innings in which he surrendered 21 hits and nine walks...Another release is that of former major league all-star infielder Edgardo Alfonzo. He was trying to make it back to the majors with Texas after spending last summer in the Atlantic League. He hit .266 with 23 doubles, five homers and 56 RBI in 384 at-bats for the Long Island (NY) Ducks...two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez, continuing to be plagued by injury woes, has been placed on the temporarily inactive list by St. Louis. He showed some renewed ability with the Cardinals, if only he could get healthy. Gonzalez last played with Long Island in 2006.

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