Friday, April 29, 2011

FORMER GOLDEN LEAGUER BETTER SERVED BY STINT IN MINORS

It obviously is not easy going back to the minor leagues after tasting the majors, but I have to believe Bobby Cramer is better off to be back in Sacramento instead of sitting idle in the Oakland Athletics bullpen.

The rust showed up in the left-handers' 2011 River Cats debut Thursday night when he was touched for two gopher balls and four runs in a starting appearance at Las Vegas which only lasted two innings. Still, the talented 31-year-old, who reached the majors via an '08 stint in the Golden League (7-4 for Orange County), showed some of his potential with four strikeouts.

Cramer had debuted in the majors in excellent fashion last September when he won two of his four starts (one no-decision) for the Athletics while compiling a 3.04 ERA. That stint launched talk of Cramer being a starter this season.

But when he did not land one of the starting roles during spring training Cramer got mired on the bench among Oakland's more experience relievers. He only got 3.2 innings spread over three appearances during almost the entire month. Cramer allowed only hit--a home run that cost the A's a decision. So, his future is better served by getting regular work in Triple-A and perhaps another major league opportunity later in the year.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

BELIEVE IT: 84 INDY GRADS PLAYED IN MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING GAMES IN 2011

It took some time, but I believe I have taken the research about as far as I can go in determining how many former Independent Baseball players got into at least one major league spring training game this year.

There were 50 players in the 30 camps fulltime, either as 40-man roster players or non-roster invitees, including pitchers Chris Jakabauskas and Ryan Drese, who Baltimore added rather late. Jakabauskas has been with the parent club, of course, although he is now disabled with a groin injury. Catcher Shawn Riggans (Milwaukee) was the only one of the 50 not to appear in any regular exhibition games.

The count goes up by an astonishing 35--84 overall--when all of the players brought up from the minor league camp for at least a day are added into the mix. This total is only of those who actually got their name in a box score because a number of others were on the bench (or in the bullpen) if the manager needed them.

Here is the list, including major league team and position with the Independent affiliations in parenthesis:

Arizona: SS Ed Rogers (Bridgeport, Atlantic League)
Atlanta: OF Gavin Dickey (Lincoln, American Association); RHP Jason Lowey (River City and Windy City, Frontier League; Macon, South Coast League); OF Antoan Richardson (Schaumburg, Northern League)
Baltimore: LHP Nick Bierbrodt (Long Beach, Golden League; Bridgeport and Somerset, Atlantic); LHP Alberto Castillo (Newark, Road Warriors and Camden, Atlantic; Schaumburg, Northern)
Chicago Cubs: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (Victoria, Golden)
Cincinnati: OF Brian Barton (Newark and Bridgeport, Atlantic); 3B Mike Costanzo (Camden, Atlantic)
Colorado: C Eliezer Alfonzo (St. Paul, Northern); 1B Jason Botts (Camden, Atlantic); RHP Chris Malone (Chico, Golden); LHP Josh Muecke (Somerset, Atlantic)
Florida: INF Mike Cervenak (Chillicothe, Frontier)
Houston: C Robinson Cancel (Long Island, Road Warriors and Somerset, Atlantic; Edinburg, United League)
Kansas City: INF Anthony Seratelli (Windy City, Frontier)
Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Stuart Pomeranz (New Jersey, Can-Am League); 3B Corey Smith (Newark, Atlantic)
Milwaukee: RHP Darren Byrd (Fargo, Northern); INF Anderson Machado (Lancaster, Atlantic); LHP Sam Narron (Camden, Atlantic)
New York Mets: LHP Justin Hampson (York and Long Island, Atlantic); 1B-DH Valentino Pascucci (Camden, Atlantic)
Oakland: RHP Jon Hunton (Fort Worth and Coastal Bend, American Association; Somerset and Lancaster, Atlantic; New Jersey, Can-Am)
Philadelphia: RHP Matt Anderson (Bridgeport, Atlantic); RHP Nate Bump (Camden, Atlantic); LHP Derrick Loop (Camden, Atlantic; Chico, Golden); OF Mike Spidale (Kansas City, Northern)
San Diego: INF Jacob Blackwood (Kansas City, Northern)
San Francisco: OF Justin Christian (River City, Frontier; Southern Maryland, Atlantic); LHP Justin Dowdy (Wichita and Shreveport, American Association; Alexandria, United; Calgary, Northern; Rockford, Frontier)
Seattle: RHP Scott Patterson (Gateway, Frontier; Lancaster, Atlantic)
Texas: OF Erold Andrus (York, Atlantic; Florence, Frontier; Tijuana, Golden)
Toronto: OF Jason Lane (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); RHP Vince Perkins (York, Newark and Camden, Atlantic; Joliet, Northern)

Andrus, Botts, Dickey and Hunton have since been released.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

RELEASED BY MAJOR LEAGUE ORGANIZATIONS, THESE PLAYERS RETURN TO INDEPENDENT TEAMS

It is not taking much time for a number of players recently released by major league organizations to return to Independent leagues. Recent signings, with player returning to same Indy team unless otherwise noted, plus position, team, league and most recent major league organization:

RHP Federico Baez, Camden, NJ, Atlantic League, released by Cincinnati
RHP Tim Brown, Lincoln, NE, American Association, by Philadelphia
INF-OF Kody Kirkland, Southern Maryland (Waldorf), Atlantic, by Houston
RHP Matt Sartor, Fort Worth, TX, American Association, by San Francisco (previously
with Lewisville, TX, Continental League)
RHP David Trahan, Sioux City, IA, American Association, by New York Yankees (also
played with Kansas City, KS, Northern League)
RHP Preston Vancil, Florence, KY, Frontier League, by Seattle
LHP Edwin Walker, St. Paul, MN, American Association, by Houston (previously with
Chillicothe, OH, Frontier; San Angelo, TX, United League; Gary, IN, Northern)
1B-3B Shawn Williams, Brockton, MA, Can-Am League, by Tampa Bay (previously with Fort
Worth)

Lincoln also has signed veteran lefty Lindsay Gulin, who was with Milwaukee's top farm club in Nashville in 2009 and is believed to have sat out last season. He has pitched for the Saltdogs and St. Paul previously.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

JAKUBAUSKAS MAY GET A START WITH ORIOLES

It is good to see that Independent Baseball veteran Chris Jakubauskas has not gotten lost in his move to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting the right-hander may get the parent Orioles' start Sunday against Texas if Jeremy Guthrie has not recovered from his bout with pneumonia. Jakubauskas is currently at Triple-A Norfolk, VA.

Jakubauskas, now 32, is coming back from the frightening line drive off his head in his very first inning with Pittsburgh last season. It cost him much of the year.

He was a non-roster invitee with Baltimore this spring, working 6.1 scoreless innings, all in relief, while giving up just four hits and a walk and striking out seven.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was primarily a first baseman and outfielder at the University of Oklahoma. It was only when he got to the professional ranks that he turned to pitching fulltime. He was a combined 14-1 his last two Indy campaigns, going 8-1 for Fullerton, CA (Golden League) in '06 and 6-0 in seven starts for Lincoln, NE (American Association) the next year before his contract was sold to Seattle.

Jakubauskas was in the majors after less than two full seasons in the Mariners' farm system, going 6-7, 5.32 in 35 appearances, including eight starts, in 2009 before the Pirates claimed him off waivers.

Jakubauskas's first three seasons were spent in the Frontier League, two at Florence, KY and one with Ohio Valley, a traveling team.

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