Wednesday, March 26, 2008

These reports on how former Independent Baseball players are doing in major league spring training camps continue every Monday-Wednesday-Friday right up to Opening Day. Websites may reproduce the posts by giving credit to

While Myrow's .586 On-Base Mark Not Enough for Padres,

Breslow Looking Good With Indians

My, how fortunes change.

Brian Myrow and Gary Knotts have been sent back to the minor leagues, Craig Breslow is looking solid with Cleveland and Nathan Haynes and Tike Redman are making the decisions difficult. For Robinson Cancel, a very untimely injury.

These are some of the "headlines" regarding former Independent Baseball players as Opening Day (except for the two games already played in Japan) looms within the next six days.

MYROW'S BAT EXPLOITS NOT ENOUGH--With a bench overloaded with left-handed hitters, Brian Myrow was optioned to Triple-A Portland, OR Tuesday despite a .400 spring batting average and an imposing .586 on-base percentage. He is the defending Pacific Coast League batting champion (.354), but at 31 this isn't the news the onetime Winnipeg Goldeyes (Northern League) star wanted to hear.

KNOTTS'S SPRING EXPERIENCE ENDS--Philadelphia sent right-hander Gary Knotts to its minor league camp one day after his most recent solid outing. Knotts, who had the Atlantic League's top earned run average last summer (2.45) while pitching for eventual champion Newark, NJ, had struck out two Yankees in an inning of work (one walk) Monday.

BRESLOW'S STAR IS RISING--The southpaw, who resurrected his career with the New Jersey Jackals (now in the Can-Am League) in 2004 after the Milwaukee farm system gave up on the Yale graduate, debuted with Cleveland Tuesday with a save in the Indians' 7-5 win over the New York Yankees. He picked up two strikeouts in a hitless ninth after another former Indy hurler, closer Joe Borowski (Newark, Atlantic League), had shut down the Yankees in the eighth. The best news for the 27-year-old Breslow came Wednesday morning when he learned a chief competitor for a spot in the Cleveland bullpen, Tom Mastny, was optioned. Cleveland's roster is at 27, two over the limit, but if the Indians keep 12 pitchers one of the spots belongs to Breslow. Scott Patterson (Gateway, Frontier League, and Lancaster, PA, Atlantic) continued his quest for a spot in the Yankees' bullpen by striking out the only batter he faced in Tuesday's game. Joe Girardi has used the big right-hander to get the final out of an inning on multiple occasions this spring.

REDMAN, HAYNES HANGING TOUGH--Tike Redman and Nathan Haynes are making it tough on decision-makers as they try to keep the jobs they had last summer in crowded outfields with Baltimore and the Los Angeles Angels, respectively. Haynes, who played his Independent baseball at Gary, IN of the Northern League, singled and tripled in four at-bats, scored twice and drove in two runs in Tuesday's 9-8 win over Arizona. Redman, who made a brief appearance at York, PA in the Atlantic League last summer before signing with the Orioles, had a single in his only time at bat in Baltimore's 8-1 spanking of Florida. Indy star Kevin Millar (St. Paul, MN, now in the American Association) is going to start the season as Baltimore's cleanup hitter. Tuesday, he hit one notch higher and had a run-scoring double and a sacrifice fly in his two plate appearances.

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KNEE INJURY SIDELINES CANCEL--Catcher (and part-time first baseman) Robinson Cancel may not have made the New York Mets' opening day roster even though our sources say "he was really ripping the ball", but he suffered a torn meniscus of his left knee. Surgery was planned for this week, and he is not expected back on the diamond before sometime in May. This onetime Atlantic and United League player had two doubles and a homer among his seven spring hits (7-for-28). He scored seven times and drove in five runs. Cancel, 31, whose only major league experience was a 15-game run with Milwaukee in 1999, last appeared in Independent Baseball with Edinburg, TX in the United League in 2006 after earlier stints at Somerset, NJ and with the traveling Road Warriors in the Atlantic League.

ENJOYING THESE REPORTS? More complete news from throughout Independent Baseball is available weekly via the Independent Baseball Insider. Subscriptions are available at

GONZALEZ STILL AILING--Juan Gonzalez's comeback with St. Louis, two summers after he played for the Long Island (NY) Ducks in the Atlantic League, remains stalled because his abdominal strain has not come around. As a non-roster player entering spring training, his future status has not been determined.

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