Friday, March 07, 2008

This is our March 7 post in our continuing series of Monday-Wednesday-Friday reports on former Independent Baseball players in major league spring training camps. If any portion of the blog is reproduced credit is to be given to

Hitting Machine Brian Myrow Goes 4-for-4, Average at .500
In Quest to Start Season With Padres

Brian Myrow is a career .305 hitter for nine minor league seasons, highlighted by winning the Pacific Coast League batting title last summer (.354) while at Portland, OR, but in his only two major league trials he has come in at a combined 5-for-30 (.167). Mostly pinch hitting and trying to impress are a difficult combination.

If the last couple of days are any indication, the 31-year-old lefty hitter may be getting into the groove he needs to convince the San Diego Padres he should be on their opening day roster. Myrow, who started his pro career with Winnipeg in the Northern League (1999-2001), went 2-for-2 while playing first base on both Wednesday and Thursday (three singles, one double) and scored a run in each game. He entered play Friday with a lofty .500 average for the spring.

OH, THOSE HOME RUN-HITTING CATCHERS—Led by the budding author and finally-established No. 2 Philadelphia catcher Chris Coste, three Indy grads hit home runs in the last two days. Coste, who played most of his Independent baseball in his hometown of Fargo, ND (Northern League) after a year in the Prairie League, hit a two-run shot in a rain-shortened game Thursday against Tampa Bay. Another catcher, Eliezer Alfonzo, an MVP in winter league play, hit a solo shot the same afternoon for San Francisco. His Independent action had been at St. Paul, MN. Then Robinson Cancel, normally a catcher but at first base for the injury-riddled New York Mets, homered as part of an 8-6 win over Cleveland on national television Friday. Cancel, 31, went 1-for-3, but also walked twice, scored twice and drove in two runs. These feats should bring smiles in Atlantic League (Somerset, NJ) and United League (Edinburg, TX) offices. Cancel also can play the outfield, with the versatility an asset although he probably remains a long shot to go north with the Mets.

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FLUKE SAVE FOR DAMIAN MOSS—Southpaw Damian Moss, who collected all 22 of his major league victories in 2002 and 2004, still is trying, at age 31, to get back in that groove. He apparently did not dazzle in a brief stint with the home-state Atlanta Braves Thursday because he was touched for three hits, a walk and two runs in what turned out to be one inning of work. Moss, who pitched briefly for Macon, GA when the South Coast League debuted last summer, was credited with an unusual save, however, because the game was ended by rain before Detroit could hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Braves would have been protecting a 5-4 lead. Moss also spent time at Long Island, NY in the Atlantic League in 2006.

DAVIS, WILLHITE TOUGH ON HILL—Toronto hopeful Kane Davis and the Los Angeles Angels’ Matt Willhite were two of the former Independent pitchers to turn in solid performances of late. The sidearming Willhite, who started in pro baseball with Kenosha, WI of the Frontier League in 2003 and may be getting closer to his first regular season major league appearance, had another steady two-inning stint against Seattle Wednesday. He gave up only one hit while striking out a pair in the scoreless outing which lowered his spring earned run average to 1.50. Davis, who has pitched for two of the New Jersey-based Atlantic League teams (Somerset and Camden), blanked Pittsburgh while protecting a slim lead in the seventh and eighth innings Thursday. The righthander, who pitched briefly for Philadelphia late last season, did not give up a hit (1 walk) while striking out three Pirates.

THIS ‘N THAT—Scott Patterson, who has gotten into three games in the last few days in his bid to join the Yankees bullpen, restored calm for New York in Thursday’s 12-8 loss at Cincinnati. Chien-Ming Wang was roughed up for six first-inning runs before Patterson came in for the final out of the inning. The onetime Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier League) and Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers (Atlantic League) fireballer also silenced the Reds in the second inning…Lefty Craig Breslow (New Jersey Jackals, Can-Am League) was wild in his one-inning of work for the Red Sox Thursday. He walked three and was charged with one run…Nate Field continued his stingy work in the New York Mets bullpen Thursday. The former Sioux City, IA hurler had a line of zeroes behind his name in working the eighth inning of a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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