Another pitcher from the Can-Am League has made a nice jump, perhaps following the likes of Stu Pomeranz, Raul Valdes and Steve Delabar toward the major leagues.
This time it is left-hander James Leverton, who like Pomeranz and Valdes once played for the New Jersey Jackals. Miami had Leverton in both Class A and Double-A last season, and after his 3-0, 3.31, one save record at Jacksonville, FL where he both started and relieved, has elevated him to Triple-A New Orleans. Leverton struck out nearly one per inning (53 in 56.1) and allowed less than a hit per inning (49) in his 23 Double-A outings.
NEW SIGNING BY A.L. CHAMPS
Remember the hot summer right-hander Shawn Hill had, starting the season with York, PA (Atlantic League), then winning nine of 11 decisions for Las Vegas and getting one appearance with the parent Toronto Blue Jays? He became a free agent, but American League champion Detroit quickly signed the 31-year-old and placed him on the Triple-A Toledo roster. The Tigers may well have liked the fact right-handed hitters only accounted for a 3.33 earned run average off Hill. He was 4.52 overall.
It was last off-season when Pittsburgh signed infielders Keoni DeRenne (York) and Vince Harrison (York plus then Northern League cities Schaumburg and Joliet, IL and Winnipeg) and outfielder Michael Ryan (Somerset, NJ, Atlantic) as player-coaches.
The Pirates have signed DeRenne again, but released Ryan. Neither played in '12. We have not seen any change of status for Harrison.
RELEASES AND FREE AGENCY
Outfielder Chris Murrill (Laredo, TX, American Association) has been released by Tampa Bay.
While many more will follow as released six-year free agents, catcher Shawn McGill (Lincoln, NE, American Association) and outfielder Felix Pie (Camden, NJ, Atlantic) have become free agents after playing at least part of the season for Atlanta's top farm club in Gwinnett, GA. Righty hurler Greg Burke is a free agent after finishing the year with Baltimore's Triple-A club.
Major leaguers taking the free agency route include Mets lefty Tim Byrdak (Gary, IN and Joliet, when both were in the Northern League), Seattle southpaw George Sherrill (Evansville, IN, Frontier League, and Northern League cities Sioux Falls, SD and Winnipeg)) and Oakland shortstop Stephen Drew (Camden).
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