We can mark Cody Clark, John Lindsey and Mark DiFelice down as already receiving nice holiday gifts, even a few days ahead of December 25.
DiFelice's reward came in the form of a 2010 contract that is said to be for slightly less than $100,000. While that is less than one-quarter his '09 salary when he pitched in 59 games (4-1, 3.66) for the parent Milwaukee Brewers, the 33-year-old is going to miss most or all of next season as he recovers from December 3 shoulder surgery.
"They did me a favor bringing me back," the onetime Atlantic League (Somerset and Camden, NJ) right-hander told MLB.com. It seems to be a totally mutual admiration society between the Brewers and DiFelice. "If they're going to sign me knowing I won't be able to participate, I want to come back (with them after free agency at the end of 2010) the following year."
He will spend much of his rehab time at the team's year-round training facility in Phoenix.
Clark and Lindsey have been invited to major league spring training camps. They have been there before, but still are looking for the opportunity to get into their first regular season game in the "bigs".
Clark, a catcher who once played for San Diego in the Golden League and hit .304 as a backup and designated hitter for Class AA Northwest Arkansas last season, is with Kansas City and Lindsey, as we reported in last week's Independent Baseball Insider column, has returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers after a year of Triple-A (.251-19-83) for the Florida Marlins. Lindsey, a power-hitting first baseman now in the Mexican Pacific League, played his Indy baseball for the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League.
Non-roster invitations will continue to trickle in over the next several weeks. Pitcher John Halama (Southern Maryland and Long Island, NY, Atlantic League) got his Milwaukee invitation earlier as did lefty reliever R. J. Swindle (Schaumburg, IL, Northern League and Newark, NJ, Atlantic) when he signed with Tampa Bay.