So I was delighted when I learned that Noah Hall will be coaching with the Boston Red Sox's team in the Gulf Coast League this summer. Hall played for 16 seasons, including 116 games last season with Camden, NJ in the Atlantic League, where he sneaked above his career batting average of .281 to .285 along with 15 homers and 64 runs batted in.
But at 34 and with only 74 games higher than Double-A even though he played in seven different organizations, the hand-writing was getting pretty solid he would not likely go any higher. Surprisingly, this California product never played in the Boston organization. His first Indy season was with St. Paul, MN when the Saints still were in the Northern League in 2001. He also has had three stints at Somerset, NJ, including 124 games in 2010.
NON-ROSTER COUNT CLIMBS TO 30
With still one more invitation--six in all--to players who were in Independent leagues only last season, the overall count of former Indy players with non-roster invitations to major league spring training camps has climbed to 30 with nearly a month before all 30 teams get going.
The latest addition from the 2011 Independent ranks is onetime prime Minnesota third base prospect Terry Tiffee, who will be in spring training with the Miami Marlins. The switch-hitting 32-year-old swatted 13 home runs in only 52 games with Butch Hobson's Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers in the Atlantic League last season. Tiffee hit .293 and drove in 46 runs and also hit .345 in 110 at-bats with the New York Yankees' top farm club in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA. He has 97 major league games to his credit with Minnesota and briefly in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mitch Lively, a 26-year-old who turned his career around in a month with the San Angelo (TX) Colts in the United League in 2008 (18 strikeouts without a walk in 12.2 innings during 11 appearances) will get a look from the San Francisco Giants after continuing his strikeout-an-inning performance last summer. The right-hander is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds.
Two veteran right-handers also have new invitations. Scott Richmond (Edmonton, Northern League) and Nelson Figueroa (Long Island, NY, Atlantic League) both will be with Toronto. Richmond has been with the Blue Jays, but it is a new team for Figueroa.
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