We continue our Monday-Wednesday-Friday blogging to keep everyone abreast of key developments for Independent Baseball players in major league spring training camps. Websites may reproduce any portion of these reports by giving credit to www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.
Myrow, Lindsey Carry Hot Bats and Hopes
On Historic Trip to China
Onetime Independent Baseball stars Brian Myrow of the San Diego Padres and John Lindsey of the Los Angeles Dodgers had to be feeling at the top of their game--and somewhat on top of the world--as they headed to Beijing Wednesday for the historic two-game exhibition series in the new Chinese stadium where Olympic baseball will take center stage this summer.
Not only a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but both carry strong spring training batting averages as they attempt to nail down regular season major league jobs. Onetime Winnipeg Goldeyes (Northern League) star Myrow is hitting .538 (7-for-13) with a .684 on-base percentage in 10 games. The left-handed hitting Myrow had a 5-for-5 string snapped Monday. Lindsey, who played for the New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am League) on two occasions, is hitting .316 (6-for-19) with six runs batted in in nine spring appearances as he attempts to become a first-time major leaguer.
"I don't really know what to expect (in China) and I don't know how the trip is going to affect sleep and that", Myrow told MLB.com's Corey Brock. Realizing this is the first professional game, "it might be an extraordinary event."
Lindsey, who had not even been a fulltime non-roster invitee to spring training until this year, made no effort to hide his enthusiasm for "the chance to see that part of the world" when we interviewed him for the lead story in last week's Independent Baseball Insider column. The visit to the Great Wall of China on Friday is likely to feel a million miles away from the Jackals' home at Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls, NJ.
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FLORIDA OR ALBUQUERQUE FOR BOZIED?--Onetime Sioux Falls, SD (now American Association, then Northern League) slugger Tagg Bozied is making his presence in the Florida Marlins' camp known with both his bat and his words. Sidetracked from a very promising career when he suffered a severely torn left patellar tendon in a freak accident in 2004, Bozied is hitting .286 for nine games (4-for-14) with a .412 on-base percentage, five runs and three runs batted in.
"Worst-case scenario, he's a great fit for (Triple-A) Albuquerque," the Marlins' vice president for player development and scouting, told Jack Etkin of the Rocky Mountain News. "Best-case scenario, he helps our big league team and puts some pressure on the guys that are here."
The 28-year-old, who is in his fifth major league camp but has never played in a regular season major league game, doesn't have any doubt where he belongs. "I believe I'm a major league player," he told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I don't hesitate to say that. I feel like I'm an impact player and I believe in my ability..."
The story of Bozied's freak injury, which we have told on more than one occasion in our Independent Baseball Insider columns, is such an unusual one it bears repeating. It was suffered when Bozied jumped on home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run while playing for San Diego's top farm club at Portland, OR. The first baseman-outfielder is completely healthy today, even though he likely would have been in the majors long before now had the injury not happened.
KANE DAVIS MAKING STRONG CASE--Kane Davis, who always seems to come back to the Atlantic League between major league stints, is making a strong case for himself with Toronto, which would be his sixth major league team. He allowed four hits and struck out four (one run) in three innings against the Yankees Tuesday. That lowered his spring ERA to 1.42 with eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings during four outings. Davis, 32, pitched for Camden, NJ in 2003 and 2004 and for Somerset, NJ in 2006.
THIS 'N THAT--Bobby Brownlie's transfer to the Washington Nationals' minor league camp two days ago indicates he got less of a look this spring than one might have expected. The onetime Chicago Cubs' first-round draftee had been signed out of Newark, NJ last summer after starting in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, and this writer thought he might get a serious look from the pitching-starved Nationals. He was not scored on in his brief appearances...Nate Field (Sioux City, IA, American Association) has a 0.00 ERA in the New York Mets' camp after several appearances. What's more, this veteran of 89 major league games with three other teams, has only given up two hits...Matt Wilhite, who has been strong in several Angels games, got roughed up (three runs, two walks, one hit) in one-third inning against Oakland Monday. Wilhite, who started his pro career in the Frontier League in 2003, is bidding for his first major league job...Outfielder Chad Hermansen (Sioux Falls) is hitless in four official at-bats for the Angels, though he has walked three times during his five appearances.