Jon Weber got some consolation even though he does not get to open the season with the New York Yankees.
His name now goes alongside the likes of Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, Tippy Martinez, Roy White, Tom Tresh, Tony Kubek and Norm Siebern as a winner of the James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training.
Weber was honored in a pre-game ceremony at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa Friday.
By now, you probably know Weber's story. The 32-year-old, who formerly played Independent Baseball at Canton, OH in the Frontier League and Fargo, ND in the Northern League, led the Bronx Bombers in hitting this spring at a lofty .483 (14-for-29) in 17 games, and was second in hits at the time he was sent to the minor league camp. He is a left-handed-hitting outfielder.
Weber is the first non-roster player to win the award since Eric Duncan in 2006. The honor is named for the longtime New York Times writer who died during spring training in 1953. Yankees beat writers vote on the winner. Weber also will receive a Raymond Weil watch from William Barthman Jewelers.
ANOTHER FEAT FOR CORY ALDRIDGE
Onetime Atlantic Leaguer Cory Aldridge is making it tough on Los Angeles Angels brass by continuing a terrific offensive pace in spring training.
The latest feat for the former Newark (NJ) Bears outfielder was a leadoff triple in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday when more than 40,000 fans were watching the homestanding Angels as they tried to erase a 3-2 deficit to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in a spring training game at Angel Stadium. Aldridge, now hitting .395, later scored the tying run and the Angels rallied for a 4-3 victory.
Michael Ryan, the other former Atlantic League player trying to climb from a non-roster invitation to the major league roster, went 0-for-1. The onetime Somerset star is now at .270.
SPEEDY COBY SMITH GETS A CHANCE
Still another former Independent Baseball outfielder made the best of a one-day trip from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim minor league camp to play in a Cactus League exhibition.
Coby Smith, who started his pro career with a traveling team (Aces, Northeast League, 2004), entered a game against Cleveland as a pinch runner, then went to leftfield and eventually had a run-scoring double in two times at bat in a 7-6 Angels victory. Smith stole 41 bases at Double-A Arkansas last season for a six-year total of 165. He also played for Indy teams in Shreveport, LA and St. Paul, MN, before the Halos signed him to start the 2007 season.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
WEBER HONORED AS TOP YANKEES ROOKIE; ALDRIDGE, COBY SMITH KEY ANGELS WINS
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.