Friday, February 28, 2014

FORMER INDEPENDENT STARS OFF AND RUNNING IN MAJOR LEAGUE EXHIBITIONS

It did not take long for several former Independent players to start making some type of statement in major league spring training camps. While I am gearing up for the start of Year 12 with my subscription publication, the Independent Baseball Insider, next Thursday (March 6), I have been pouring over the early Grapefruit and Cactus League box scores.

The most interesting finding took place in Thursday’s San Diego-Seattle game where recent Mariners signee and camp invitee Burt Reynolds (Newark, NJ, Can-Am League, and Camden, NJ, Atlantic League) entered as a pinch runner and ended up with a double in his only at-bat plus a run scored, slightly bettering the performance of his better known–and richer–cousin Robinson Cano, who singled and scored in his only time up. Reynolds seems to show up wherever Cano is, once being a Yankees farmhand for a brief time.

The 25-year-old Dominican product, a third baseman-outfielder, has never played above Class A, but he does have 36 minor league home runs, including 20 for Newark in the ’11-12 seasons and six in 71 games for Camden last year.

Logan Kensing (Bridgeport, CT, Atlantic) and Tom Wilhelmsen (Tucson, AZ, Golden League) each pitched a scoreless inning in Seattle’s 7-1 win. Catcher Rene Rivera (Camden), who has a decent chance of returning to San Diego, went 1-for-2 for the Padres.

WATCHING MARTE, FEIERABEND, MATTY JOHNSON AND OTHERS

Among others trying to get to the major league level:

–Andy Marte, who starred at first and third while playing for York, PA (Atlantic), has been in a game for Arizona each of the first two days, going 1-for-2 with a run so far.

–Lefty Ryan Feierabend, signed by Texas from York last summer, got a bonus not often accorded up-and-comers of two innings Thursday. He allowed two hits and a run while fanning three.

–Outfielder Matty Johnson (Gateway, Sauget, IL., Frontier League), was brought over from Boston’s minor league camp Thursday because the Red Sox were playing two games against Massachusetts college teams, and he went 1-for-2 with a run in a 5-2 win over Boston College. That had to be a thrill since Johnson is only on a Class A roster.

–Jose Gil, who played seven games in the American Association (Lincoln, NE) last season before returning to the New York Yankees farm system, has been used at first base in the first two Yankees exhibitions. Normally a catcher, the 27-year-old non-roster invitee has gone 0-for-2 with a walk. Robert Coello (Edmonton and Calgary, Canada, Golden League) had a rough outing for the Yankees, giving up five runs and being charged with the loss in only one-third of an inning

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