Day Two: York Revolution Spring Training News & Notes
The York Revolution opened up spring training practice on Saturday, April 14 at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Throughout the week I’ll try to post updates from each day of spring training, leading up to Opening Day when York travels to Sugar Land to begin the season on April 26. Here’s some news and notes from Day Two:
Late arrivals: Infielders Ramon Castro, Liu Rodriguez and Danny Gonzalez and pitchers Adam Thomas, Stephen Penney, Dumas Garcia and Ricardo Gomez have yet to arrive in camp. Regarding Venezuelan natives Castro and Rodriguez, the team is dealing with paperwork issues with the Venezuela government to bring the two players to the United States. Gonzalez is in his native Puerto Rico to help with a family matter, but he should join the team soon. Thomas, Penney and Garcia will likely be in camp in the next couple days. Gomez is currently pitching for a playoff team in Panama and should join York when that season wraps up.
Thomas returns: Revs’ baseball operations manager Andrew Ball confirmed Sunday the team has signed Thomas, a 6-foot-4 right-handed reliever who pitched for York in 2007. That year, he posted a 1.50 ERA with five saves in 11 games with the Revs before being picked up by the Oakland Athletics and assigned to High Class A Stockton. Last season, Thomas posted a 1.73 ERA and collected 17 saves in 56 games for the Atlantic League’s all-travel Road Warriors. He struck out 49 batters in 57.1 innings of work. Ball said Thomas, 32, had earned a spring training invite with the San Francisco Giants but was later cut and then played a stint in the Mexican League.
Pitching overload: York currently has 29 players under contract – 17 pitchers and and 12 position players. Revs’ manager Andy Etchebarren said Sunday the team will likely break camp with 14 pitchers. It’s unclear how many position players will make the squad. Atlantic League teams can open the season with 27 players but rosters have to be paired down to 25 players by the end of May. Etchebarren said that by the end of spring training camp he might send one of his pitchers to the Somerset Patriots to complete an earlier trade when York acquired outfielder Michael Hernandez for a player to be named later.
“But you never know, Somerset might not like the pitcher I have for them,” he said.
Sunday’s practice: At Sunday’s practice, pitchers Ryan Feierabend, Jesus Sanchez, Omar Javier, Kris Regas and R.J. Rodriguez threw off the game-mound with batters standing in the batters box but not taking any swings. Position players who did take cuts in batting practice off of Revs’ pitching coach Mark Mason included outfielders Hernandez, James Shanks and Scott Grimes, catchers Salvadora Paniagua, Travis Scott and Alex Lentz, and infielders Joe Spiers and Andres Perez.
Big hitters: During batting practice, Nowak homered three times over the left-field wall and Paniagua homered to left-center. Lentz, who earned a spring training invite at the Revs’ open tryout a week ago, looked pretty good taking BP, hitting quite a few balls to deep left-center field.
Shed the pounds: Paniagua is a bit thinner this spring. He said he lost about ten pounds over the off-season mostly by running. He said he now weighs around 223 pounds.
Left-hander heavey starting rotation: Revs’ pitching coach Mark Mason said York’s starting rotation to start the year will likely be (in no particular order) RHP Corey Thurman, LHP Chris Cody, RHP Omar Javier, LHP Ryan Feierabend and LHP Jesus Sanchez. He also said the team may took a look at RHP Shaun Garceau, LHP James Houser and LHP Yunior Novoa as possible starters.
Outfield: York has four outfielders under contract – Shanks, Grimes, Hernandez and Stephen Douglas. Etchebarren said he will start three of them and use the fourth in the designated hitter spot.
Catching platoon: Paniagua and Scott will be used as a platoon at the catcher spot to start the season, Etchebarren said. Paniagua, a right-handed batter, will face left-handed pitching. Scott, a left-handed batter, will face right-handed pitching. Should both hit well this season, Etchebarren said each could see 250 to 300 at-bats this year. But one guy could win the everyday starting gig if one plays better than the other, Etchebarren said.
Got the green light: Etchebarren said Danny Gonzalez, Chris Nowak, Andres Perez, Stephen Douglas, Scott Grimes and Michael Hernandez will all have “the green light” to steal second this season when they reach base, but “not (Ramon) Castro.”
Retired: Etchebarren said 39-year-old outfielder/designated hitter Jose Herrera, who played for York each of the last two seasons, has retired. A former big leaguer with the Oakland Athletics in 1995 and 1996, Herrera spent the last six of his 12 pro seasons playing entirely in the Atlantic League. For York last season, he hit .283 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 86 games. In York’s 9-6 win in Game 3 of the Atlantic League Championship Series last year, Herrera broke an 0-for-18 postseason slump by going 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Etchebarren and Mason on Javier while he was pitching in practice – Etchebarren: “When he struck out a guy last year he didn’t make nothing of it.” Mason: “Yeah, he just said ‘Gimme the ball, let’s go.’” Etchebarren: “He pitched as good against us as any pitcher in the league last year.”
Observation: When they were pitching off the mound on Sunday, Mason noted Javier has a really good fastball Feierabend throws a nasty breaking ball.
Monday’s practice: Mason said the Revs will likely have an intra-squad scrimmage at Monday’s practice.