Could Shanks return to York?

Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Adam Thomas, James Shanks, York Revolution

Revs' outfielder James Shanks is one of a handful of players swinging a hot bat. Shanks has gone 8-for-17 (.470) at the plate in the last four games, with three runs and a home run.

Revolution manager Mark Mason is leaving the door open on possibly bring back outfielder James Shanks this season. File photo.

There are a number of guys not returning to York after playing for the Revs at some point last season. Among that large group, slugger Chris Nowak, infielder Ramon Castro and outfielder James Shanks arguably had the biggest impacts during their career in York.

We already know Nowak has retired. And Revs’ manager Mark Mason has said previously he is not going to be welcoming back Castro. Shanks, however, is a different story.

“I talked to James,” Mason said Thursday night. “I told him at the time what he had signed and things of that nature. We have talked to James and for right now we weren’t gonna bring him into camp. But if we get two or three outfielders signed here right away, you know what can happen.”

It’s a real possibility York could have a couple of their outfielders signed early in the season. Jeff Fiorentino, Tyler Graham and Jason Repko all have big league experience. Graham, 29, made his major league debut at the end of last season. And Repko has seen time in the big leagues each of the last seven seasons.

Still, should York need a fill-in for the outfield, it could always turn to position players like Johan Limonta and Andres Perez – both of whom have seen time in the outfield in their careers despite playing the infield in recent seasons – and utility men Brian Burgamy and Eric Patterson.

But Shanks, 34, did rack up impressive numbers during his time in York before a significant drop-off in production in an injury-plagued 2012 season that eventually led to his release.

James Shanks grimaces as he is tended to by the trainer after he was hit by a pitch during game one of the Freedom Division Championship Series against Lancaster at Sovereign Bank Stadium Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. He left the game. The Revs took the win 3-2 with a Bryant Nelson walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. Bill Kalina photo

Shanks battled many nagging injuries last season. Bill Kalina file photo

The Revs acquired the veteran outfielder in 2010 and he went on to help the club win back-to-back Atlantic League titles.  n 2010, Shanks hit .325 with 19 homers and 86 RBIs in 131 games. He followed that up by batting .314 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs for the Revs in 2011.

Battling tendonitis in his knee in one leg and a hamstring injury in the other leg in 2012, Shanks struggled with a .249 average to go along with just nine homers in 77 games.

Shanks soon found work in Southern Maryland, but not much changed there, as he held a .225 average in 25 games with the Blue Crabs.

Mason said Southern Maryland did not have Shanks on its protective list of players after the 2012 season – had he been on the list, the Blue Crabs would own his negotiation rights if he opted to come back to the Atlantic League in 2013.

“Jimmy really wanted to retire as a York Revolution player,” Mason said. “He won two champiohships here. I never close any doors. You never know.”

Right-hander Adam Thomas has retired. File photo.

Right-hander Adam Thomas has retired. File photo.

Thomas retires: Mason said reliever Adam Thomas, 33, has retired. Thomas first pitched for York in 2007, putting together a 1.50 ERA with five saves in 11 games before being picked up by the Oakland Athletics. Later that year he made it to Class AA Midland, but struggled there with an 8.31 ERA in 12 appearances.

He decided to retire following that season and dedicate all of his team with the Heroes Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Dallas, Texas, that provides opportunities for children and teenagers to participate in baseball and basketball programs to prepare them for competition at the college level. Thomas had been working with Heroes Foundation in a small role since 2005, often giving baseball lessons to youngsters during the offseason.

He opted to return to baseball in 2011 and scored a minor league spring training tryout with the New York Mets, but was released in March. With most Atlantic League rosters full at the time, he eventually found a spot on the league’s all-travel Road Warriors. In his first full season back on the mound, he ended up posting a 1.73 ERA with 17 saves in 56 games.

Last season with York, he went 8-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 67 games.

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