Revs add two more former big leaguers
The York Revolution roster for the 2013 season grew again Friday when the club announced the signings of two more former big leaguers.
One, Mike Wuertz, is a relief pitcher. The other, Eric Patterson, is a versatile position player who can play both infield and outfield.
The Revs now have 28 players under contract, including 13 former major leaguers. With York’s first day of spring training, scheduled for April 8, less than two weeks away, the Revs’ roster appears to be set.
At least that’s the assumption considering Atlantic League rules allow teams to carry 27 players on the active roster until June 1, when rosters have to be paired down to 25 players. However, manager Mark Mason isn’t ruling out bringing in another talented player.
“I think we’re pretty happy where we are, but if there’s a player out there who we think can improve our ball club, we’ll think about bringing him in,” he said.
The Revs have 11 position players — two catchers, three outfielders, four infielders and two others in Patterson and Brian Burgamy who can play multiple positions. York will likely begin the season with six starting pitchers with the intentions of eventually pairing the rotation down to five starters, Mason said.
“The pitchers are gonna need time to build up,” Mason said. “We’ll probably schedule two pitchers for the first six innings anyway. The starting pitching will take care of itself in the fact that guys will rise and some guys won’t.”
The bullpen appears to be the most likely place where York will make cuts to reach the 27-man limit, but Mason isn’t sure how his Opening Day roster will shake out.
“I’d like to break camp with what I know I’m gonna use,” Mason said. “If I’m gonna use 25 players then I’ll go with 25. If I need 27 I’ll go with 27.”
Wuertz: Wuertz, 34, comes to York and the Atlantic League for the first time in what will be his 15th pro season. A 6-foot, 3-inch right-hander, Wuertz has a career 21-11 record and 3.70 ERA in 426 big league games split between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics.
Once considered to have the best slider in the game, the former A’s set-up man last pitched in the majors in 2011 before taking last year off from baseball for personal reasons, according to Revs’ baseball operations manager Andrew Ball.
According to an article from the South Florida Sun Sentinel earlier this month, Wuertz missed the 2012 season because of shoulder tendinitis, which developed in extended spring training with the Cincinnati Reds last spring:
The Reds ultimately signed Wuertz in May and sent him to extended spring training, where he developed shoulder tendinitis. Released in July, Wuertz returned to his Scottsdale, Ariz., home and began rehabbing.
“That was a blessing in disguise,” Wuertz said. “I got a lot of range of motion back. This is the first time I’ve been able to do all the work in spring training for a long time. It’s a good start. … It was hard last year having that uncertainty of not knowing what was going on, especially coming off a couple of years of struggles with some freaky injuries.”
The Miami Marlins signed Wuertz over the off-season to a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training, according to Revs’ baseball operations manager Andrew Ball. But the Marlins released Wuertz on March 8. He made just one appearance in spring training, tossing a scoreless inning with a walk against the New York Mets on Feb. 26.
Patterson: Patterson, 29, will also make his debut in the Atlantic League with the Revs. He has 229 games of major league experience with four different clubs. A left-handed batter, he owns a career .217 average in the big leagues, last playing there in 2011 with the San Diego Padres.
Last season, he played in 64 games with the Detroit Tigers’ Class AAA Toledo affiliate, batting .244 with two homers and 23 RBIs before asking for his release in June. Ball said he contacted Wuertz shortly after that release.
“Eric was released by the Tigers last year about the same time we lost Chris Nowak to Mexico,” Ball said. “At that time we were looking for any good, able-bodied player at that position. His response is the kind of ‘We’re looking at some other clubs and I don’t know if Eric would be interested in playing in the Atlantic League.’ He finally got back in touch with us this off-season and asked if we would be interested in him.”
Tryout: Ball said he has a little over 20 players signed up for the Revs’ open tryout, scheduled for April 6 at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
“But most of the guys show up the day of and sign up,” he said. “So I’m expecting more than that.”
One of the players scheduled to participate in the tryout is 53-year-old Tony Phillips, an 18-year major league veteran who made his pro debut in 1978. Click here to read the full story from Revs’ media guru Paul Braverman on the Revolution’s blog – the news also got the Revs mentioned by CBSsports.com.
Phillips was drafted 10th overall in 1978 by the Montreal Expos and made his major league debut five seasons later in 1982. He has played in a total of 2,161 big league games from 1982 to 1999 with seven different clubs. He owns a career .266 average in the big leagues, collecting 160 homers, 819 RBIs and 1,300 runs scored.
The switch-hitter returned to the game in 2011. He has played in the independent North American League the last two seasons, batting a combined .254 (33-for-130) in 40 total games split between Yuma and Edinburg. While Patterson can play multiple positions, Mason said he plans to try him at short stop, a position Patterson has rarely played in his career.