Such was the case this week when stories started coming our way about a minor leaguer (well, he had a little experience), Breland Brown, who had represented that he was the agent for the Pirates' Xavier Paul and wanted an opportunity for the 26-year-old outfielder to play in the Australian Baseball League this winter. The only catch, it seemed, was the condition that the Aussies also give one Breland Brown an opportunity, at the same time.
Cutting through the apparently false details, the situation is now under review by Major League Baseball's Department of Investigations.
And why does this interest this blogger? Lengthy stories on CBSSports.com and deadspin.com included information indicating Brown also played three years of Independent Baseball. As best we can find, Brown had a grand total of 39 at-bats between the American Defenders of New Hampshire (Can-Am League) and Evansville, IN (Frontier League) in 2009.
This probably at best reminds everyone in the game one cannot be too careful in checking on the credentials of would-be players or staffers.
INTRIGUING STEP FOR QUARTET JOINING PIRATES
I was able to confirm today that the four former Independent Baseball players I identified in yesterday's Independent Baseball Insider column have indeed been signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as player-coaches, enabling them to begin transitioning from being fulltime players to coaching opportunities.
This would seem to represent nice career steps, especially since all of them have hit the 30-year-old plateau.
The four include standout third baseman Vince Harrison, who was a solid hitter for three seasons (2008-10) at Northern League stops in Schaumburg and Joliet in Illinois and at Winnipeg, Canada, then hit .327 for Atlantic League champion York, PA this past season.
Another in the group is outfielder Jason Cooper, who, a regular at St. Paul, MN in the American Association for three years through this season (.284-9-68) and had a brief stint at Lancaster, PA (Atlantic).
Former York infielder Keoni DeRenne, who already has some two-way experience in the Philadelphia farm system, and onetime Somerset, NJ (Atlantic) outfielder Michael Ryan round out the contingent. Ryan has considerable major league experience, including 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels after leaving the Atlantic League. Ryan is the only one of the quartet who has played in the majors or has been in the Pittsburgh system (Indianapolis, 2007).
ATLANTIC, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION GRADS SIGN NEW PACTS
First baseman-outfielder-DH Valentino Pascucci (Camden, NJ, Atlantic League) and right-hander Will Savage have signed contracts to remain with their 2011 organizations.
Pascucci was primarily with the New York Mets' Triple-A club in Buffalo, NY in '11 although he got 11 at-bats (three hits, one homer) with the parent club in September. The 6-foot-6 slugger had 29 doubles, 21 homers and 91 RBI while hitting
.264 at Buffalo. He turned 33 yesterday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Savage for Triple-A Albuquerque, which is one classification above Chattanooga, where he was a mid-season Southern League All-Star this season. The 27-year-old Savage was 12-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 25 games, including 23 starts. He spent most of 2009 pitching for Wichita, KS in the American Association, then finished the year with two appearances at Lancaster.
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