Two recent Atlantic League players gave some Independent Baseball buzz to the major leagues over the weekend.
Jay Gibbons, who got prominent time with both Long Island, NY and Newark, NJ as he resurrected his reputation after being named in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs, is being given a chance to produce as the top left-handed pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now 33 and out of the majors since 2007, Gibbons's contract was purchassed from Albuquerque Sunday to replace Garret Anderson (designated for assignment), and he produced immediately with a run-scoring pinch single in the bottom of the sixth inning to increase the Dodgers' lead to 6-3 over Washington. LA won, 8-3.
Gibbons played 27 games for Long Island in 2008 (.280-5-19) and 40 for Newark last season (.233-4-19), and the Dodgers signed him during the winter although they did not issue the Lakewood, CA resident an invitation to the major league spring training camp. The outfielder-first baseman went to Triple-A and hit .347 with 19 homers and 83 RBI for the Isotopes.
Meanwhile, outfielder Matt Watson, who played at Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League until May 28 of this season and was getting increasing playing time with the parent Oakland Athletics, was taken to the hospital prior to Sunday's game when he complained of pain in his side and back. The team said later the issue was not baseball related. Watson had started five of the previous six games in left field, and while his season average was only .200 (6-for-30) he had gone 4-for-14 (.286) with three runs batted in the five games.
We expect to cover these developments in greater detail, including some of their own comments, in this week's Independent Baseball Insider column.
Monday, August 09, 2010
FORMER ATLANTIC LEAGUERS GIBBONS, WATSON MAKING NEWS IN MAJOR LEAGUES
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.