Justin Christian, one of the premier Indy names in recent years since he climbed all the way to the majors from a start in the Frontier League (River City, O'Fallon, MO), could not be blamed if he has a long face today.
Only days before spring training, San Francisco designated the 31-year-old outfielder for assignment when it signed Ryan Theriot and Guillermo Mota and needed 40-man roster space.
Christian, who debuted at River City in 2003 and also has played briefly at Southern Maryland (Waldorf) in the Atlantic League, is getting some nice support from certain Bay Area media because of the way he played the outfield and hit .255 in 18 games for the parent Giants late last season.
What could happen is that some other team will claim Christian (although 40-man space is pretty sparse right now) or the Giants could re-sign him if he clears waivers and bring him right back as a non-roster player. This would give the speedster, who pilfered 54 bases in 137 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season (and three more with the Giants), a renewed opportunity to be a spare outfielder in San Francisco. Christian also has had 24 games with the New York Yankees during his career.
LEFTY MIKE O'CONNOR GETS LOOK FROM YANKEES
Veteran Mike O'Connor is the most recent pitcher to join the impressive list of Independent grads with major league spring training invitations. O'Connor, 31, will try to grab one of the left-handed relief jobs in the New York Yankees bullpen.
He went 0-1, 2.70 in nine appearances for the New York Mets last season. O'Connor's Independent time was with Southern Maryland. He also has been in the majors with Washington, logging some time in both '06 and '08.
BALTIMORE HAS STU POMERANZ
We just discovered while pouring over some transactions that Stuart Pomeranz, who spent 2009 with the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls) in the Can-Am League, has been signed to a minor league deal by Baltimore.
While his Jackals numbers did not stand out (5-6, 6.50, mainly as a starter), he had 18 saves (1-6, 3.67 with 53 strikeouts in 49 innings over 51 relief appearances in Double-A in the Colorado organization two summers ago. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, only 27, got into three major league spring training games for the Los Angeles Dodgers one year ago (0-0, 3.86), but only worked in two games (at Class AA Chattanooga) during the regular season. One would have to guess he was injured.
Baltimore has placed him on its Frederick, MD (Class A) roster, but with the Orioles' pitching needs it would not be a shock to see him appear in a major league spring training game or two.
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