It is a great life experience and a terrific payday since his salary would have been about half that amount if he was with the parent Twins this season, which was far from guaranteed despite his whirlwind debut last season that started with 17.1 scoreless innings. The Twins had to release Albers as part of this transaction although one would think they might be interested in him again down the road.
ONE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION PLAYER IN, ANOTHER MAY BE OUT
The New York Yankees have added catcher Jose Gil to their major league spring training camp as a non-roster invitee. He spent years climbing through their farm system before ending up for a brief time last season in the Baltimore chain, and eventually needed a jump start back with a seven-game stint at Lincoln, NE (American Association) in mid-season last summer. He went 4-for-25 (.160, one homer) with the Saltdogs, then went back into the Yankees system.
Meanwhile, another American Association (Laredo, TX) graduate, Chaz Roe, who was up and down between the Arizona Diamondbacks and their top farm club in Reno, NV last season before ending up with Texas over the winter, has been designated for assignment before getting a chance to pitch for the Rangers. Roe should get another chance, perhaps even with Texas, after other teams have a chance to pick him up because the 27-year-old strikes out at least a batter per inning wherever he is. He fanned 24 in 22.1 innings in 21 appearances for Arizona, winning his only decision and posting a 4.03 earned run average. The right-hander was brilliant at Laredo in 2012, fanning 69 in 55 innings spread over 49 appearances and he had a 1.47 ERA.
ANOTHER INDY UMP REACHES MAJORS
A fourth Independent Baseball umpire can now call himself a major leaguer. American Association and Can-Am ump boss Kevin Winn tipped us that Anthony Johnson has been assigned to wear No. 48 and will get major league assignments this year in addition to continuing in the International League. Johnson’s trail started with Winn in the Central League, which has been gone for a few years now.
He joins Adam Hamari and Will Little (both Can-Am grads) and the All-American Association’s Lance Barrett in getting major league work, which is quite a feat.
ON TO THE CARIBBEAN SERIES
The four-team Caribbean Series opens on Saturday, and while I have not seen rosters it would appear at least five former Independent players will represent Mexico. It is almost certain the number will be considerably higher overall.
Outfielder Jon Weber, once the darling of a New York Yankees spring training camp even though he never got into any regular season games, reported on his Facebook page that he had been invited to play for Mexico even though his Navojoa team was eliminated by Hermosillo in the playoff finale Wednesday night. At least four other Indy vets were with Hermosillo for that 8-3 triumph before 16,000 fans. Jason Urquidez, a free agent who finished last season in the Los Angeles Angels chain after starting the year with Lancaster, PA (Atlantic League), continued his strong winter by getting four outs in the seventh and eighth innings. Lancaster teammate Jerry Owens, an all-Atlantic League outfielder and the league’s batting champion (.341), went 3-for-5 with a double, run and RBI, and still another Barnstormer, Daryle Ward, walked and singled in three times at the plate. He played for Newark, NJ in both the Atlantic and Can-Am Leagues prior to joining Lancaster. Third baseman Yunesky Sanchez hit cleanup although he took an 0-for-4. Sanchez has played for Southern Maryland and Somerset, NJ in the Atlantic League as well as for Laredo.
Weber’s teammates with Navojoa included centerfielder Chris Roberson (Winnipeg, American Association, 2012) and first baseman Wes Bankston (Bridgeport, CT, Atlantic, 2011). Weber was with Winnipeg the last two seasons after a previous stint with the American Association team in Fargo, ND.
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