Schumacher, Limonta return, Revs add ex-MLB reliever
As much as the York Revolution wanted Nick Schumacher back for the 2012 season, they couldn’t do much about it. The Revs had acquired Schumacher from American Association club Sioux City (Iowa) near the end of the 2011 season in exchange for a player to be named later. As is often the case in the Atlantic League, that deal really meant Schumacher would be the player to be named later. The Revs had to send him back to Sioux City when the 2011 season finished.
In the meantime, Schumacher went 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in seven starts for York, including a 1-1 mark and 1.31 ERA in two playoff starts, including a complete game eight-inning one-run performance at Long Island in Game One of the Atlantic League Championship Series in a 1-0 loss to the Ducks.
Sioux City owned Schumacher’s rights the following season, too. So, the Revs naturally jumped on Schumacher, 27, when the former San Diego Padres prospect cleared waivers in the American Association this off-season.
“He sent me an email and gave (Revs’ manager Mark) Mason a call,” Revs baseball operations manager Andrew Ball said. “He said ‘I’m on waivers would you guys be interested in signing me?’ He’s actually leaving soon to go down to pitch for Team Spain in the WBC (World Baseball Classic).”
(Schumacher is actually from California. But it’s hard to make sense of the WBC selection, especially considering he’ll join a Spain roster that includes former Revs’ catcher Salomon Manriquez (who’s from Venezuela) and former Atlantic Leaguers Paco Figueroa (Florida), Yunesky Sanchez (Cuba) and Gabe Suarez (Florida))
Schumacher is one of three players York announced Friday it has signed for the 2013 season. The team is also bringing back infielder Johan Limonta while welcoming former big league reliever Josh Judy. York now has 14 players under contract — seven pitchers and seven position players.
Schumacher’s addition bolsters an already solid starting rotation that includes right-handers Corey Thurman and Matt Fox and left-hander Chris Cody. Lefty reliever Kris Regas will also get a shot at starting this season.
“I was happy to get Nick for sure,” Mason said. “I know they put him on waivers and he cleared waivers in the American Association. As soon as he cleared waivers I called him. He’s a guy who was a big part of why we won (the Atlantic League championship) in 2011.”
Although he went 5-8 with a 5.57 ERA in just 17 starts for Sioux City, Schumacher apparently battled nagging injuries throughout the 2012 season, according to Ball.
“But he must be pretty healthy if he’s going to pitch in the WBC,” Ball said. “He should be ready to go by the time camp opens (April 8).”
Judy: At 27 years old and less than two years removed from pitching in the big leagues, Judy has a good shot at being picked up by a major league organization should he perform well.
Judy went from a 34th round pick of the Indians in the 2007 draft to being one of the club’s prized prospects the next few seasons. The 6-foot, 4-inch right-handed reliever went 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA and 23 saves in 50 appearances at the Cleveland Indians’ Class AAA Columbus affiliate in 2011 in his fifth year as a pro. The performance led to Judy’s big league debut that season with Cleveland, where the West Virginia native collected a 7.07 ERA in 12 appearances. Mason isn’t sure yet where Judy will fit in the bullpen.
“I’d say seventh inning and beyond,” Mason said. “It’s hard for me to look into one thing. I have to see all the guys once they get here. I know he’s a big, power thrower. I’m a big fan of guys who throw hard in the bullpen.”
Judy pitched for the Cincinnati Reds’ Class AAA Louisville club in 2012 but struggled with a 2-2 record and 6.99 ERA in 40 appearances (56.2 innings), striking out 56 and walking 30.
“If you would look at his numbers he was really good up through 2011,” Ball said. “Last year he struggled at Cincinnati. But he was always a one-inning reliever in the Cleveland Indians’ system. Last year they tried to stretch him out a little bit as a multiple-inning guy. He told us ‘It wasn’t the right thing for me to do.’ So, we’ll get him back to be a short-inning guy.”
A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in January 2010 had Judy throwing a “mid-90s fastball with late life and a plus-slider.”
Limonta: Limonta, 29, comes back to York after batting .284 with one homer and 14 RBIs in just 35 games for the Revs in the final month or so of the 2012 season.
Limonta, if you remember, played with the Mexican League’s Mexico City ballclub last season after leaving Tacoma. When rosters had to be paired down, Mexico City opted to keep Limonta over Chris Nowak, the former Revs’ slugger. Of course Nowak and Limonta ended up playing alongside eachother in York anyway.
“When he was talking to us it was about coming back to this league or going back to Mexico,” Ball said. “He didn’t really like Mexico and the experience he had there.”
The Cuban defector spent his first six pro seasons in the Seattle Mariners’ organization. His best season came in 2011 when he hit .319 with 14 homers and 84 RBIs in 109 games at Class AAA Tacoma. The Mariners released him from Tacoma in 2012 after 41 games.
Mason said he envisions Limonta mostly playing first base while also seeing some action in right field and at designated hitter. Where he’ll bat in the lineup is another question.
“It’s hard for me to say right now,” Mason said. “The lineup will play itself out once (the season) gets here.”
Limonta spent his winter months playing ball in Venezuela for the Lara Cardinals, where he was teammates with former Revs’ teammates Ryan Feierabend and Joe Thurston. Limonta batted just .240 with one homer and seven RBIs in 29 games with Lara.
Roster: Of the seven position players the Revs have signed, Limonta’s signing gives York two left-handed batters – joining outfielder Jeff Fiorentino. Outfielder Tyler Graham, third baseman Andy Marte, second baseman Andres Perez and catchers Salvador Paniagua and Patrick Arlis are all right-handed batters. Below is York’s roster to this point in the off-season with the 14 players signed:
YORK INFIELD (Position Name, Age, Bats L/R):
C Patrick Arlis, 32, R
C Salvador Paniagua, 29, R
3B Andy Marte, 29, R
2B Andres Perez, 28, R
1B Johan Limonta, 29, L
CF Tyler Graham, 29, R
RF Jeff Fiorentino, 29, L
YORK STARTING PITCHERS
LHP Chris Cody, 29
RHP Corey Thurman, 34
RHP Matt Fox, 30
RHP Nick Schumacher, 27
LHP Kris Regas, 27
LHP Yunior Novoa, 28
RHP Josh Judy, 27