Catcher Cody Clark, still a free agent as best we know after being a non-roster invitee with the Kansas City Royals last spring and spending the summer at Triple-A Omaha, bears watching since he is pacing the Australian League in RBI (18) while hitting .338. He was a long-ago Indy leaguer when San Diego had a team in the Golden League.
Perennial Fargo, ND (American Association) stalwart Zach Penprase is swingino a .329 bat after a .311 season (his fifth) with the RedHawks. Among pitchers, Kansas City (KS) T-Bones (American Association) starter Brian Grening (10-5, 3.69) is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in the winter league. He also has played at Gary, IN. Kevin Reese, who was 4-9, 5.83 mostly as a starter for Camden, NJ (Atlantic League) this summer, is 0-2, 3.80. Reese also has had time with Somerset, NJ (Atlantic) and in the Frontier League with Washington, PA and Traverse City, MI. Washington righty Chris Smith (9-6, 2.92 with 116 strikeouts) is 2-2, 3.38 with 35 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.
Chris Oxspring, an Indy hurler way back in 2000 at Cook County in the Frontier League and 5-9, 4.17 as a starter in 2011 at Somerset, is on the Australian roster. The 35-year-old made it to the major leagues with San Diego for a brief time in '05. The World team also has Toronto minor league first baseman K. C. Hobson, the son of Lancastet, PA (Atlantic) manager Butch Hobson. Hobson is hitting .290 with three dingers and 13 RBI.
ATLANTIC LEAGUE'S KENSING SIGNS, INVITED TO SPRING TRAINING
Right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing is among another trio of former Independent players with major league spring training invitations. The onetime Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish (Atlantic League) hurler got the invite when he signed with Colorado this week. He worked in the Pittsburgh farm system last summer.
Catcher Jose Yepez (Pensacola, FL, American Association, and Gary, IN, when it was in the Northern League) has been invited to Atlanta's major league camp once again while recent St. Louis signee, outfielder Justin Christian, will be in the Cardinals' big-league camp. He started his pro career not far from St. Louis at River City (O'Fallon, MO) in the Frontier League and later spent time with Southern Maryland of the Atlantic.
It seems a virtual certainty George Sherrill will be in the Kansas City Royals camp after signing Wednesday, and another southpaw signing of the same day, Mike O'Connor, could be invited by Minnesota. Sherrill, coming off elbow surgery, is another who started his professional journey in Indy leagues (Evansville, IN, Frontier, and Winnipeg and Sioux Falls, SD, both American Association cities but in the Northern at the time). He likely needs only to prove his arm is healthy to resume facing left-handed major league hitters for the revitalized Royals. O'Connor's Indy experience was at Southern Maryland.
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