But news from the Independent Baseball scene has not stopped, so I will attempt to catch up with some of it here while also congratulating the Long Island (NY) Ducks for winning the Atlantic League championship and getting ready for this week's Independent Baseball Insider column, which subscribers will receive Thursday evening.
We always expect a great many job shuffles this time of year. The most recent Independent team to go looking for a new manager are the Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs of the American Association. They say a "mutual decision" was reached with Manager Chris Miyake that a managerial change was best for the organization, and they have started a nation-wide search for a replacement.
Among players who got some time in the major leagues this season, Toronto righty pitchers Robert Coello (Edmonton and Calgary, Golden League) and Shawn Hill (York, PA, Atlantic League) have opted for free agency instead of possibly continuing in the Blue Jays minor league system. Hill had a meteoric season of starting at York and finishing in the majors.
Outfielder Justin Christian (Southern Maryland, Atlantic, and River City, Frontier League), who finished the season with the parent San Francisco Giants, has gone back to the team's Triple-A roster in Fresno, CA.
FARGO'S BYRD AND BOLESKA INK NEW AGREEMENTS
We will see a great many of the approximately 200 onetime Indy stars now in major league farm systems (especially among the more seasoned players) become free agents later this fall, but one who does not need to worry over the offseason is Darren Byrd because Milwaukee has given the right-hander a new contract. Byrd, who turns 26 next week, was placed on the Triple-A Nashville roster after spending his summer making 50 appearances one level lower at Huntsville, AL, where he compiled a 2.59 earned run average while going 3-5 with six saves and striking out nearly one batter per inning. Byrd was a starting pitcher for a brief time at Fargo, ND when the RedHawks still were in the Northern League in 2010 before his contract was sold to the Brewers.
Meanwhile, Fargo's 2012 closer, Tom Boleska, who set a team record with 29 saves (2-1, 1.76) and was the American Association's Relief Pitcher of the Year, had his contract purchased by Minnesota. Boleska struck out 58 hitters in 46 innings. He finished the '11 season with Edmonton of the North American League.
ENTIRE NEW RADIO TEAM EXPECTED IN HOUSTON
A broadcasting job site indicates the Houston Astros are in the market for an entirely new radio team with veteran Milo Hamilton retiring and the contracts of Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan not being renewed. Raymond had gone directly to the Astros from Brockton, MA of the Can-Am League a few years ago.
CHAMP SUMMERS PASSES AWAY
Although he will best be remembered nationally as an 11-year major league outfielder and part of San Diego's 1984 World Series team, Champ Summers later became the first manager of the Gateway Grizzlies at Sauget, IL in the Frontier League.
Summers led the Grizzlies in 2001. He passed away last week at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer.
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