Thurman returns, Revs ink ex-big league outfielder
Unlike last year, the York Revolution wasted little time in announcing the return of the most tenured player in franchise history.
The team revealed early Friday that starting pitcher Corey Thurman will return to the club for the sixth straight year. York also announced the signing of former big league outfielder Tyler Graham.
Thurman: Last season, the Revs didn’t announce the signing of Thurman, 34, until March 19. But there were other parameters surrounding that deal, including Thurman launching his Healthy Kids Club with the help of the Revs.
“His contract was a little more involved the past couple years,” Revs manager Mark Mason said. “And the combination of that and his timing … he was playing winter ball and he was out of the country. This year we were around each other a bit more during
the offseason, giving instruction (lessons). So it made things easier.”
Thurman, who lives in York with his wife and 16-month-old daughter, went 14-3 with a 3.82 ERA in 27 starts in 2012. He tied for the Atlantic League lead in wins, while topping his own club record for wins in a season after he had 13 victories in 2011.
The Revs won 22 of Thurman’s 27 starts last year and are 41-11 in games started by the right-hander the last two years.
Thurman was originally signed as the Kansas City Royals’ fourth-round draft choice in 1996, and appeared in a combined 49 major league games, four as a starter, during the 2002 and 2003 seasons with Toronto. The ace righty will enter the 2013 season topping
York’s all-time charts with 52 wins, 122 starts, 473 strikeouts and 671 innings.
Graham: Graham, 29, will enter his eighth season playing professionally and first in the Atlantic League. He comes to York on the heels of debuting in the big leagues at the end of the 2012 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, going 0-2 at the plate in 10 games.
Graham was a 19th-round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2006 after he helped Oregon State University win the national championship earlier that year (albeit in limited action because of injuries) . The Montana native slowly worked his way up through the Giants’ farm system over the next few seasons. His best year came in 2010 when he batted .343 with two homers, 34 RBIs, 60 runs scored and 35 stolen bases in 109 games at Class AAA Fresno.
He bumped around a bit in 2012, going from the Giants’ rookie ball club to Class AAA Reno before being released in early May. The D’Backs signed him a week later and Graham played five games at Class AAA Fresno before later going up to the big league club when rosters expanded towards the end of the season.
Graham will bring speed (check out this Youtube video of an inside-the-park home run by Graham) a solid glove (see this video of a diving grab in center field with the Giants in a spring training game last year) to the Revs’ outfield. Mason said he envisions using him near the top of the batting order. Although Graham has battled nagging injuries throughout his career, Revs’ baseball operations manager Andrew Ball said he isn’t worried about Graham’s health.
“Any injury is a concern but from what we’ve heard and talking to Tyler, he is a lot like (outfielder) Scott Grimes, where he gets banged up just by going after balls so hard and stealing a lot of bases,” Ball said. “It’s more of a tough, gritty nature, which Mason and
Graham does have some things to work on, though. Here’s a bit from a scouting report on Graham last April from scout.com:
He is a one-dimensional player, not offering much more than speed and strong defense. Also, because he is not overly patient at the plate — his career-high in walks is only 31 — Graham does not fit the mold of a top-of-the-order hitter. At this stage in his career, his major league value appears to be as a fourth outfielder, specializing as a defensive replacement and a pinch runner.
While having low numbers in homers and extra-base hits isn’t a huge drawback, having those traits especially helps for a top-of-the-order guy (see Grimes, Scott), since getting on base is obviously of much importance. And having patience at the plate is something Mason plans to work on with Graham.
“I think on-base percentage for a guy who can run like that is very important so we’re gonna talk about approaches at the plate and being a little more patient,” Mason said. “I think for some guys it’s just a matter of being more patient and being more selective and having an idea of what you want to do.”
Martinez: Former Revs’ catcher Octavio Martinez has been hired as the Washington Nationals’ full-time bullpen catcher for the upcoming season, according to a news release from the Sugar Land Skeeters. Sugar Land also announced their first player signings of 2013 on Thursday (right-handed pitchers Julian Tavarez and Greg Aquino and infielders Josh Pressley and Ofilio Castro).
No player-coach: With former Revs’ infielder Liu Rodriguez heading overseas to play in Italy in 2013, Revs manager Mark Mason confirmed this week that he doesn’t have any plans for a player-coach this season. Rodriguez served in the player-coach role last year for York.
Haveman retires: In case you haven’t checked out the post below, former Revs outfielder Brandon Haveman, 26, has retired. Click here to read more.