Revs cut ties with another pitcher
James Houser had been a starter his entire career before coming to York. And for the most part, he succeeded in the role. The 27-year-old reached the majors at the end of the 2010 season with the Miami (then Florida) Marlins and earned a spring training invite the following year with the Baltimore Orioles.
Unfortunately, that’s where things took a wrong turn for the 6-foot-5 right-hander. Houser soon found out he needed open heart surgery to repair an enlarged aorta. A former second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003, Houser would miss the entire 2011 season to recover from surgery.
In his return back to the game, Houser assumed the role of reliever this season for York. Still, his plan all along has been to eventually build himself back up to being a starter.
The Florida native won’t get that chance with York. The Revs released the lefty on Sunday, a day after the club cut right-hander Omar Javier. Houser leaves York with a 2-1 record and 5.51 ERA in two starts and 31 relief appearances. Javier gathered a 5.67 ERA and 1-6 record in nine starts and 13 relief appearances.
Second chance: Houser might not be done pitching in the Atlantic League this season, though. Chatting in the Revs’ clubhouse Sunday night following York’s 6-2 over Lancaster, Houser said he plans to sign with the Camden Riversharks so long as he passes a physical.
When asked if he plans to start for Camden, Houser said his “plan all along is to eventually be a starter again.”
Revs’ pitching coach Mark Mason has said previously that Houser will be challenged in his return to be a starter, mainly because there are limitations on how much he can strain his heart as a result of the surgery. Mason described Sunday night how starting pitchers need to do various conditioning drills between starts to keep up the body’s endurance for starts. Some of those drills, such as running vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, might be too hard on Houser’s heart.
“My advice to him was basically go home and build yourself back up. So that way next season you’ll give yourself a chance to come in ready to be a starter,” Mason said.
Memorable moment: The most memorable moment Houser had in his time with the Revs this season came back on June 12, when he started against Southern Maryland in place of Shawn Hill. You see, it appeared as though rain would come early in that game, and Revs’ skipper Andy Etchebarren thought there would be a good chance the contest would be rained out. As a result, he didn’t want to throw Hill out there and have him go a few innings only to see the game delayed and later called due to rain – essentially wasting a start from Hill. So, Houser stood in. And the rain never came.
In his first start for York and first start overall since 2010, Houser lived up to the task by tossing 2.2 innings of scoreless ball, giving up four hits while striking out two and walking one. The Revs collected just enough runs and seven pitchers combined to hold the Blue Crabs to just two runs in a 3-2 victory.
Roster: The Revs’ now have 23 players on their active roster, two below the maximum allowed by the Atlantic League. York is expected to bring a relief pitcher on board later this week. Other than that, it seems like the club is comfortable with its current roster. Third baseman Ramon Castro sat out Sunday’s game due to an undisclosed illness, but he’s not expected to miss significant time. Outfielder Michael Hernandez has also been out of action the last few weeks while recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered when diving for a flyball. Still, York collected 13 hits on Sunday with both of them out of the lineup, so the Revs’ offense is stacked at this point.
The starting rotation of right-hander Corey Thurman and left-handers Chris Waters, Chris Cody, Derrick Gordon and Ryan Feierabend looks pretty good at this point, too.
Deep-tissue: All but Waters had an impressive performances in their last outings. Waters was shelled by Lancaster on Friday to the count of eight runs on nine hits in 2.1 innings. The lefty had been dealing with tightness in the left side of his neck earlier this season, but Mason said he isn’t concerned about Waters health. Rather, (and I have to admit I learned something here because I have never before heard of this playing a role) Mason cited that Waters had a deep-tissue massage to his legs hours before his start Friday. As a result, Waters didn’t have his legs under him, Mason said.
“Shawn Hill missed a start earlier this year because he got a deep-tissue massage before a game,” Mason said.
Recap: With their win Sunday, the Revs (45-42 overall, 9-8 second half) have now won three straight for the first time since winning four in a row from June 23 to June 26. Meanwhile, York handed the Barnstormers (53-33, 8-8) their first three-game losing streak since late May. York is also 9-4 in its last 13 games while Lancaster has gone 5-8 in its last 13. The Revs lead the Community Cup series 9-to-8 with a three-game set remaining in Lancaster in August. The first team to 11 wins claims the Community Cup, which has alternated cities since 2007.
York is now tied for first place in the Freedom Division second-half race with Sugar Land. York will have off Monday before hosting Bridgeport (39-47, 8-8) on Tuesday in the first game of a three-game set. York right-hander Corey Thurman (9-2, 4.20 ERA) will face lefty Dan Serafini (3-2, 3.25). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.