Only five days into the major league season and the tally of former Independent players on active major league rosters has improved to 24, with four new additions to the Alternate Training Site rosters including one player who started his professional career in an unaffiliated league.
One of the additions to active duty was an oversight in our Opening Day report in that we overlooked veteran utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, who is with the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals. The 35-year-old Bonifacio, who plays both the infield and outfield, is a longtime major leaguer although he played 70 games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League two years ago. The switch-hitter was leading the Atlantic League when his contract was sold to Milwaukee, hitting a robust .348 with 95 hits and 34 runs batted in.
Toronto has added its third pitcher with Indy experience, activating right-hander Wilmer Font (Ottawa, Can-Am League) off the 10-day injured list.
The count of Independent players in the Alternate Training Camps is up to 18 with Boston adding hurler Robert Stock (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and Normal, Frontier League) after he was designated for assignment by Philadelphia. He is on the Red Sox's 40-man roster.
Oakland added righty Ben Bracewell (River City, Frontier), southpaw Fernando Abad (Long Island) is now in the New York Yankees second tier camp after being released by Washington and veteran free agent outfielder Travis Snider (another former Long Island player) signed with Miami and was invited to the Marlins' camp. Snider was a non-roster invitee with Arizona during spring training.
Bracewell deserves special credit in that he broke into the professional game with River City in '14, the same season he finished a two-year stint at Mississippi State. The 29-year-old native of Alabama made four starts (1-0, 7.56) with the Rascals before joining the Oakland farm system where he has been ever since. At 6-foot, Bracewell spent most of last season at Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 3.13 ERA (1-3 record, two saves) in the often offensive-minded Pacific Coast League. All but one of his 41 appearances were in relief and he struck out 70 PCL hitters in 72 innings. He was a non-roster invitee to the Athletics' major league spring training camp.
Congratulations to the Atlantic League
It was announced today (Tuesday) that Gastonia, NC, which previously had an affiliated minor league team, will become part of the Atlantic League next season when the city opens a new 5,000-seat stadium. The league already has another North Carolina-based team (High Point).
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
MAJOR LEAGUE COUNT CLIMBS TO 24 AND 4 ADDED TO ALTERNATE TRAINING SITE
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.