Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Recent Independent players have been making plenty of noise in major league spring training camps in recent days.  Here is a capsule, starting with comeback-minded Scott Kazmir and all-time Can-Am star Chris Colabello.
Kazmir, the onetime hot major leaguer who has not been at that level since 2011, has drawn raves from new Cleveland Manager Terry Francona where the lefty is a non-roster invitee.  What great news it will be for the Atlantic League if Kazmir can keep it up since he spent last summer with the Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters.  This is what Francona told The Cleveland Plain Dealer:  "He's looked so good it's scary.  I wish we could bottle it right now for the season."  Kazmir threw two scoreless innings (one hit, one strikeout) in his only Cactus League appearance so far.
Fox Sports said Colabello, who spent seven years in the Can-Am (mostly at Worcester, MA) before getting his first affiliated opportunity with Minnesota last season, probably ranks as the happiest player in spring training.  "Believe me: the smiles I have on my face all day, every day, are not fake," the first baseman said.  "It's very easy for me to come here and appreciate everything and be grateful to this organization."  Colabello is making the most of his time with the Twins before joining Italy for the World Baseball Classic by going 3-for-10 with a double and two runs batted in.  One infield hit tied a game in the bottom of the ninth inning and the next day Colabello hit a slicing double to right-center with the winning run, which, ironically came off of Kris Johnson.  This left-hander (Kansas City, KS, American Association) is expected to get a good look from Pittsburgh this spring.
In an intriguing pairing for the Can-Am League in a game at Dunedin, FL Tuesday, Colabello hit once against Toronto reliever Steve Delabar, who played in the league at the same time for Brockton, MA.  Delabar won this time, getting Colabello to bounce out.
OF Justin Christian (Southern Maryland, Atlantic League, and River City, Frontier League) had to impress St. Louis brass with a single and double in four at-bats plus a run and two RBI.  On one of those one-day pass situations occurring frequently, former York, PA (Atlantic League) southpaw Ryan Feierabend hurled an inning (two hits, one run) for Texas.  OF Lew Ford (Long Island, Atlantic) had a 2-for-3 game with two runs as he attempts to stay with Baltimore.  Nate Robertson (Wichita, KS, American Association) hurled a scoreless inning (two hits) for Texas, Jarrett Grube (Southern Maryland, Atlantic) had a scoreless four-out performance for the Angels (one walk, two strikeouts), invitee Bo Schultz (Grand Prairie, TX, American Association) got a scoreless inning and a save for Arizona and Jim Paduch (Lincoln, American Association; Evansville, IN and Rockford, IL, Frontier League; Gary, IN, Northern League; Chico, CA, North American League) picked up a win while getting four outs for Tampa Bay.
Pitchers James Paxton (Grand Prairie), Josh Kinney (River City) and Tom Wilhelmsen (Tucson, AZ, Golden League) all hurled a scoreless frame in the same 8-3 win for Seattle against the Padres. 
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