Sunday, March 16, 2008

With two weeks remaining in major league spring training, we continue our Monday-Wednesday-Friday blogging to inform fans how former Independent players are doing. We welcome websites reproducing all or part of the blog entries as long as credit is given to

John Lindsey Got First Hit of Historic Trip With Dodgers
But Was Reassigned to Minors Before Leaving China

How odd is this? Other words can be substituted for odd, if you like. Words of a more harsh nature.

The Dodgers and Padres finished their two-game exhibition series in Beijing, China before 4:00 a.m. EDT Sunday. Yet, while checking daily major league transactions late that afternoon, this corner discovered that onetime Can-Am League first baseman John Lindsey and some of the other players on the long junket to promote baseball worldwide had been reassigned to the Dodgers' minor league camp.

With further checking, we found out the players were notified by Manager Joe Torre at his Wukesong Stadium office. Why not wait until they were back in Florida, where Los Angeles has two more games before heading West?

Lindsey, who had played for the New Jersey Jackals in 2005 and 2006, does have this to savor. He collected the very first hit--a single to left--of the historic trip to Wukesong Stadium, where the Olympic baseball competition will take place this summer. This 31-year-old, who homered 30 times and drove in 121 runs in the Dodgers' minor league system last summer while still trying to reach the majors for the first time, went 2-for-3 and walked in another plate appearance while batting fifth in the China opener, then took an 0-for-4 in the second game to finish his major league spring training with a .308 batting average.

Brian Myrow, the former Winnipeg (Northern League) slugger who made the trip with San Diego, went 0-for-3 in China along with two walks, and still is hitting .438.

PATTERSON'S STINGY PITCHING CONTINUES--Six-foot-six righthander Scott Patterson is 6-for-6 in another manner, too, after his latest spring outing for the Yankees Sunday. Six appearances covering exactly 6.0 innings while allowing only one hit and no walks and striking out five. He heaped praise on two former major league pitchers who had helped him on his lengthy journey through the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues when we chatted before the game.

Entering with one out and one on in the fifth before a record crowd at Tampa, he induced the first batter he faced, Cleveland cleanup hitter Victor Martinez, to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play. It took only six pitches for Patterson to dispose of the Tribe in the sixth, ending it with a sweeping curve to leave Franklin Gutierrez watching.

Patterson had strong praise for his Lancaster, PA pitching coach, Rick Wise, and his first year pitching coach-second year manager, Danny Cox, with the Gateway Grizzlies (Sauget, IL). "A lot of good knowledge I got out of him (Cox)," Patterson said. "Never give in to hitters; always challenge them".

"I'm real comfortable here," said Patterson of his first major league spring training (except for one day last year). But he and fellow bullpen hopeful Edwar Ramirez, who we will be reporting on in this week's subscriber-only Independent Baseball Insider column, can only continue doing their job as they await the final cuts which will determine the Yankees' opening day roster.

HAVE YOU VISITED recently? Maybe it is time you consider this vehicle to promote your tryout camp or your overstock of merchandise that is merely taking up space without bringing in revenue.

CARRASCO'S ERA DOWN TO 1.29--Chicago White Sox hopeful D. J. Carrasco, who signed to play in the Frontier League (Johnstown, PA) but never actually got into a game there, picked up his second Cactus League save of the spring with two shutout innings against the crosstown rival Cubs Saturday. Carrasco lowered his earned run average to 1.29 during the outing in which he allowed three hits but was not scored on.

WEBER HAS A CHANCE TO OPEN WITH RAYS--Jon Weber, who retured to Fargo, ND for a 16-game tuneup last summer (.283-1-10; 5 doubles), is in the running to start the season with Tampa Bay. Although the Rays may acquire someone to take the place of the health-troubled Rocco Baldelli before the March 31 opener at Baltimore, Weber and John Rodriguez are getting solid auditions for the fifth outfield job.

"You have to come out here and try to impress everybody, because in this game you never know what could happen," Weber, a 30-year-old without a single major league at-bat, told The Tampa Tribune's Marc Lancaster. "You always want to impress everybody--not only our coaching staff and front office, but there's 30 other teams (29, actually) that are in the stands as well." Unfortunately, an 0-for-1 Sunday dipped the southpaw's average to .185. Weber had 142 games while playing for Doug Simunic at Fargo in 2002-03 after spending 2001 with Canton, OH in the Frontier League.

THIS 'N THAT--Brendan Donnelly, signed by Cleveland last month and invited to spring training, will not actually report until the end of March to begin his rehab from Tommy John surgery of last August. The veteran major leaguer had two stints with Indy teams, Ohio Valley in the second year of the Frontier League (1994) and Nashua, NH, which at the time was in the Atlantic League, five years later...Edwar Ramirez's latest bullpen appearance for the Yankees was a dandy. This graduate of Pensacola, FL (now in the American Association) and Edinburg, TX of the United League, struck out four of the five Cincinnati hitters he faced Friday. He used a different approach from his normal pattern, which we will write about in Thursday's Independent Baseball Insider column...Two of Baltimore's Independent players, continue to hit well this spring. First baseman Kevin Millar (St. Paul, MN) is at .323, including his first homer Saturday, and outfielder Tike Redman is at .320. We saw Redman hit two ropes against Boston Friday in his continuing bid to stay with the O's, for whom he hit .318 in 40 games after a short stint with York, PA in the Atlantic League earlier in '07...Craig Breslow took a loss for Boston Saturday, but perhaps more troubling for this onetime New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am League) southpaw is his 6.75 ERA...Robinson Cancel, who has played in both the Atlantic (Somerset, NJ and traveling Road Warriors) and United Leagues (Edinburg) has had a solid spring while catching and playing first base for the New York Mets. He is at .292 with sevens runs, five RBI and a homer in 10 apperances.

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