Left-hander Tom Cochran, who needed a re-start on his professional career in 2005 after two undistinguished years as a Boston Red Sox farmhand, got the call from Triple-A Louisville in time to join the parent Cincinnati Reds in Atlanta Sunday.
Cochran spent three seasons in the Frontier League (Washington, PA and the road team known as Ohio Valley), then had a breakout season in 2008 in the Can-Am League (Worcester, MA) when Baseball America selected him as the top southpaw on its all-Independent team. He had just finished a 13-3, 2.79 season with the Tornadoes.
Now about to turn 28 (June 5), Cochran was at Lancaster, PA (Atlantic League) long enough to make seven appearances (3-2, 4.67) the next season before his contract was purchased by the Reds. That ran his Independent Baseball record to 37-24. The Wilmington, DE product was a Southern League all-star as well as the Cincinnati organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season(8-5, 2.69 at Carolina) and had started this season by going 5-1, 4.08 in eight appearances at Louisville before getting the call. He has not yet pitched for the Reds.
We expect to have more on Cochran in this week's Independent Baseball Insider, which gets to subscribers on Thursday.
ROBINSON CANCEL BACK IN MAJORS
Catcher Robinson Cancel, who was hitting a blistering .457 in his last 10 games at Oklahoma City, is back in the majors with Houston and is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night for the major league debut of the Astros' top prospect, Jordan Lyles, against the Chicago Cubs. Cancel has minor league experience catching Lyles.
Cancel, 35, was in the Atlantic League one year ago at this time, on his way to hitting .304 with 14 homers and 81 RBI over 105 games with the Long Island (NY) Ducks. He hit .324 with two home runs and 11 runs batted in in 30 appearances for Oklahoma City this season. He has 43 games of major league experience (.213-1-10), most recently with the New York Mets in 2009.
Cancel's Independent experience includes the 2003 season with Somerset, NJ and the traveling Road Warriors in the Atlantic League, a brief time with Somerset the next year and '06 with Edinburg, TX, then in the United League and now playing in the North American League.
THE UPS AND DOWNS FOR MIKE RIVERA AND BOBBY CRAMER
Southpaw Bobby Cramer (Orange County, Golden League) spent part of the weekend back in an Oakland Athletics uniform although he did not pitch this time before being optioned back to Sacramento. And catcher Mike Rivera (Atlantic City, NJ, Atlantic League) is back in the minor leagues (Huntsville, AL) after spending several days with Milwaukee. He appeared in only one game, going 2-for-6 May 20 against Colorado.
In all, 23 former Independent players have been on active major league rosters already this season. This compares to 30 for all of 2010.
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