The York Revolution and Lancaster Barnstormers played to a 4-4 tie in a spring training exhibition game at Santander Stadium on Thursday. At least that’s what Burt Wilson says. I wasn’t able to hang around for the game, but Wilson was there for all the action and posted a game story of it on Lancasteronline.com. Wilson covers the ‘Stormers for Lancaster Newspapers. All of the following info from the game is credit to Wilson’s article: Three of the four York runs came on homers. After Lancaster took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, York outfielder Sean Smith doubled and Eric Patterson homered with one out off Lancaster pitcher Dan Osterbrock in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 4. Osterbrock retired the next five batters, striking out two. Former Baltimore Orioles center fielder Al Bumbry, who was a York coach in the team’s inaugural 2007 season, has a son Steve, on the Revs’ roster. The younger Bumbry was 1-for-3 with a single, walk and run scored in Thursday’s game.
I was out at the stadium prior to the game. The lineup posted for York in the clubhouse went as follows: 1. Sean Smith, center field; 2. Eric Patterson, second base; 3. Johan Limonta, right field; 4. Chad Tracy, first base; 5. Steve Bumbry, left field; 6. Travis Garcia, designated hitter; 7. Ofilio Castro, third base; 8. Salvador Paniagua, catcher; 9. Tim Torres, short stop; 10. Brandon Chaves. I know, that’s 10 batters in the lineup. But that’s just how things roll in spring training games in the Atlantic League. On the clubhouse whiteboard of pitchers who were supposed to see action in Thursday’s game went as follows: Mike McClendon, Billy Spottiswood, Beau Vaughan, Stephen Penney, Mike Wuertz, Rommie Lewis.
Below is a Q&A from a conversation left-handed starting pitcher Chris Cody and I had prior to Thursday’s game. Cody arrived in York on Monday night after a deal with a team in Taiwan fell apart (players can make at least five times as much in Taiwan as they do in the Atlantic League). He said it’s the second such occurrence that’s happened to him this season. He chats about that and much more below. The Q&A is followed by some other newsworthy tidbits from across the Atlantic League this week.
To get a better read on Cody’s playing background, click here to check out the blog post from when he re-signed with York earlier this season. For a brief synopsis, he last pitched in affiliated ball in 2011, when the Braves picked him up off York’s roster. He did well at the Braves’ double-A club the remainder of the season but found himself right back in York in 2012. He’s posted the best numbers of his career each of the last two years in York, then played winter ball this past off-season for the first time in his career and put up stellar numbers there down in the Dominican Republic. He’s a 30-year-old left-hander who is back in York for his fourth-straight season, coming off a 2013 campaign in which he became the ace of the Revs’ rotation.
Q: First time playing winter ball south of the border. What was the whole experience like down there?
A: “It was awesome. I regret not doing it earlier in my career. I had a lot of fun. Grateful to (former Revs’ pitching coach John) Halama for hooking me up with it. Baseball is really competitive as I expected. Just the whole culture shock of being down there. I tried to pick up as much espanol as I could.”
Q: Do you know any?
A: “Un poquito (a little).”
Q: Did you need a translator down there?
A: “Luckily most of the players and the staff down there are bilingual. Getting comfortable there is easy to do.”
Q: I’m curious of your thoughts about possible wear and tear on the arm considering the amount of innings you’ve thrown the last 12 months? (Cody, the ace of last year’s staff, is coming off a season in which he tossed a career-high 176 innings, in addition to the 45-plus innings he pitched down in the Venezuelan winter league).
A: “I’m not concerned about it. I am aware of it. It feels fine. It feels great this year. I’m excited to crank it back up. I feel like the older I get the more I get to know my body and I know how to listen to it. I trust that I’ll be fine. It’s just being honest with myself. If I do feel aches and pains throughout the season I’ll have to stay ahead of them and take care of my arm and be open with my communication with Mase’ (Revs’ manager Mark Mason) and Fletch’ (Revs’ pitching coach Paul Fletcher).”
Q: So what’s going on with deal to go to Taiwan?
A: “Right now it’s dead. There have been two occasions now over the last two or three months where I got my hopes up. I had an opportunity to go over there and both times ended up falling through. It is what it is. It’s kind of frustrating.”
Q: But that’s something you’d consider? Going over to Taiwan?
A: “I would. I would. You get to a certain age you feel like you got to go where the money is. As much as I love being in York. The truth of the matter is it’s tough to save any kind of money when you play in the Atlantic League. I looked at it as a win-win. If the opportunity would’ve came up, I would’ve gone over there, made some money. It would’ve been a great life experience.”
Q: It sounded like it got to the point where it was pretty serious about them signing you. Is that fair to say?
A: “That’s what they made me believe. So we’ll see what happens going forward. I’ve learned not to believe anything until I see it in writing. I’ve learned not to assume anything until it’s a done deal. Like I said, it’s a win-win. I’m happy here in York. I’m comfortable. I know what to expect. I know it’s great baseball. Great fans. Great place to be.”
Q: I’m still baffled as to why you haven’t gotten picked up by a big league club the last two years despite putting up the best numbers of your career. Do you ever worry about that stuff?
A: “You hear so many stories of guys. There are Cinderella stories of guys my age or older getting their shot and making it back. I used to be so concerned with ‘I gotta make it to the big leagues. I gotta make it here, make it there.’ I feel like the older I get the more interested I am in just enjoying the moment and having fun.”
Q: Feel like you have a few more years left in you pitching?
A: “Absolutely. Yeah, if I’m fortunate enough be healthy. As long as that keeps going I don’t see why I should stop playing anytime soon. Sooner or later I’m gonna need a real paycheck.”
Q: Have you gotten any calls or bites or anything from scouts or any big league execs?
A: “Nope. Not at all. Kind of disappointed in that. I was told if you play well in the Dominican (Republic) you will have a spring training invite some place. And I was pretty happy with my performance in the Dominican. I didn’t get any phone calls. There was a potential tryout out in Arizona. An open tryout that didn’t work with my schedule. I just couldn’t do it. It was with the Rangers.”
Q: What do you mean it didn’t work out with your schedule?
A: “I was busy. I was busy and the fact that there are hundreds of people who go to those things and very rarely does anybody get a contract out of it. And lets be honest I’m not going to impress anybody with a bullpen session. My numbers do my talking. I’m not gonna light up a radar gun as we all know. So I didn’t see how it would be beneficial.”
Q: I get that. You’re more of a heady, strategy-type pitcher as opposed to throwing gas.
A: “Yeah. Somebody needs to see me in game action to prove my worth. I don’t see why I need to go throw a bullpen for somebody to tell them what I’m about. It is what it is. We’ll see what happens.”
Other Atlantic League-related items:
Arcade games added to Santander Stadium: Click here to check out a neat story from York Dispatch reporter Candy Woodall about refurbished skeeball and hammer games previously used at arcades at the Ocean City New Jersey boardwalk being added to York’s Santander Stadium this season.
Bridgeport: The Bluefish on Thursday announced the signing of pitcher Winston Abreu. Abreu returns to Bridgeport for the second straight year during his 19th season of professional baseball. The right-hander began the 2013 campaign with Carmen and Veracruz of the Mexican League, before finishing the season with the Bluefish. In Mexico, Abreu went a combined 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and three saves in 11 relief appearances. For Bridgeport, the 37-year-old pitched in 54 games going 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 12 saves in 55 innings. The ‘Fish now have 26 players under contract, including 12 former big leaguers.
Long Island: The Washington Nationals signed outfielder Quincy Latimore off the Ducks’ roster earlier this week. Latimore, 25, was a fourth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 and has played at the double-A level.
Camden: The Texas Rangers signed former big league outfielder Scott Cousins off the Riversharks roster. Cousins, 29, has 135 games of big league experience.
Somerset: A former Buffalo Bills wide receiver is giving baseball a try, currently trying out for the Somerset Patriots in spring training. Patriots’ beat reporter Mike Ashmore broke the news on Twitter on Thursday and the Patriots sent out a press release shortly thereafter confirming that Donald Jones is in camp with Somerset. Jones’s journey from Buffalo to Somerset is an interesting one and well worth the read. Click here to check out Ashmore’s story.Read More