The Sugar Land Skeeters and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs recently announced signings within the last couple days. Both clubs added former major league pitchers.
SUGAR LAND: The Skeeters announced on Feb. 17 that they added four more players for the 2012 campaign.
The biggest name of the bunch is former major league pitcher Pedro Liriano, who appeared in a combined 16 relief appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies in 2004 and 2005, going 0-0 with a 6.17 ERA.
A starter for most of his career, the right-hander has a career 42-67 record and 4.27 ERA in eight minor league seasons (141 starts, 43 relief appearances). It’s unclear where Liriano, 31, played in 2011, but in 2010 he went 0-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 11 starts with Nuevo Laredo (Mexican League).
The other three players to sign with Sugar Land – outfielder Bubba Bell and pitchers Eric Krebs and Trey Rackel – are all Texas natives.
BELL: Bell,29, has played at the Class AAA level for most of the last three seasons in the minor league systems of the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Cleveland Indians.
In 2011, Bell played in a combined 81 games between Binghamton (Class AA Mets), Columbus (Class AAA Indians) and Buffalo (Class AAA Mets), batting .239 (50 hits in 209 plate appearances) with two homers and 23 RBIs.
In Buffalo last season, he was teammates with Skeeters’ outfielder/first baseman Jason Botts.
KREBS: Krebs is a right-handed reliever who topped out at Class AA in 2009 and 2010. It’s unclear where Krebs, 26, played in 2011, but in 2010 he appeared in a combined 45 games with Inland Empire (Class High A Dodgers) and Chattanooga (Class AA Dodgers), going 0-4 with a 4.77 ERA.
RACKEL: Rackel is a true local for the Skeeters, having pitched at nearby Angelina Junior College before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Mets in 2009. That year, he pitched in a combined 17 games for St. Lucie (Class Low-A Mets) and the Gulf Coast League Mets team, going 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA. It’s unclear where he has spent the last two seasons.
Sugar Land now has seven players under contract for 2012 season. Earlier this month, they signed former Atlantic League MVP Josh Pressley, slugger Jason Botts and outfielder Drew Locke.
SOMERSET PATRIOTS: The Patriots announced the signings of outfielders Joe Holden, Jonathan Tucker and John Drennen on Feb. 17.
Holden returns for his third season with the Patriots, finishing an All-Star 2011 with a .272 average, 90 hits, 21 doubles, 32 RBI, and was among the league leaders with 31 stolen bases.
Tucker played 75 games in Double-A last season for Harrisburg and had 50 hits and 23 RBI. He has a career .260 average, 399 runs, 645 hits, 127 doubles, 23 triples, 18 home runs, and 238 RBI in 716 games played.
Drennen has spent all seven of his pro careers in the minor league system of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians took him in the first round of the 2005 draft. Last season, he batted .240 with six homers and 38 RBIs in 85 games at Class AA Akron. His best season came in 2010, when he batted .300 with seven homers and 58 RBIs in 119 games for Akron.
The Patriots now have six players under contract for the 2012 season. To view the Somerset roster, click here.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND: The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs made two additions to their bullpen for 2012. Manager Patrick Osborn announced on Feb. 16 the signings of former major league relief pitcher Ryan Speier and reliever Charlie Manning, who pitched for the club in 2011.
Speier, 32, pitched in a total of 90 games for the Colorado Rockies from 2005 to 2009, accumulating a 7-3 record and 3.99 ERA at the big league level.
The right-hander first played independent ball in 2010, when he went 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 56 games for the Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland won the Liberty Division crown that season. Speier spent all of last season with the Nippon Ham Fighters, of the Japan Pacific League, where he went 4-8 with a 4.60 ERA.
Manning’s only appearance at the major league level came in 2008, when he pitched in 57 games for the Washington Nationals, going 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA.
The 32-year-old left-hander pitched for the Blue Crabs in 2011, going 2-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 44 games (49 innings).
The Blue Crabs now have 12 players under contract for 2012. To view the Southern Maryland roster, click here.