Two Revs alums pitch in MLB Opening Day
Left-handers Ian Thomas and Scott Rice both saw action Monday afternoon for their respective big league clubs in Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.
Making his major league debut, Thomas relieved Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran to begin the seventh inning. The 26-year-old southpaw needed four pitches – an 89 mph four-seam fastball, 72-mph curveball, 92-mph four-seam fastball and 73-mph curveball – to get Milwaukee Brewers’ batter Lyle Overbay to ground out to first baseman Freddie Freeman. Thomas ran over to the first base bag on the play to get the toss from Freeman and put his toe on the first base bag before Overbay, a big league vet who has been playing in the majors since 2001.
Thomas then gave up a single to right field to a guy named Scooter Gennett, a 23-year-old second baseman who made his big league debut in the last half of the 2013 season.
After seven pitches – six of them for strikes – Thomas’s day was done as Braves’ skipper Fredi Gonzalez pulled him for Gus Schlosser, who ended the frame by getting the next batter, Rickie Weeks, to ground into a double-play. The Braves went on to lose, 2-0.
Rice: Rice became the first Revs alum to pitch in the big leagues in back-to-back seasons, although he saw even less action than Thomas. With the New York Mets up 4-3 to the visiting Washington Nationals, Rice replaced reliever Carlos Torres in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Facing left-handed batter Denard Span, Rice walked him on four pitches – all sliders, with three them at 88 mph and the last at 89 mph – to allow Anthony Rendon to walk home from third and tie the game, 4-4. Rice was then pulled for Jose Valverde. The Nats went on to win in 10 innings, 9-7.
Released: Former York Revolution infielder Joe Thurston, who signed a minor league with the Brewers over the off-season, was released by the Brewers recently. He’s among more than 300 players listed among the releases in the latest minor league transactions post by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. I counted at least five other former Atlantic Leaguers among the releases as well: outfielder Greg Golson (Lancaster) released by Brewers, left-hander Zach Braddock (Lancaster) released by the San Diego Padres, infielder Gabe Suarez (Long Island, Road Warriors, Camden, Long Island again, Newark, Long Island a third time, Road Warriors again and Long Island a fourth time) released by the Padres, outfielder Kalian Sams (Camden) released by the Texas Rangers and outfielder Eric Patterson (York) released by the White Sox (which is old news since he re-signed with the Revs last week).
On the roster: As a result, that should mean former Revs Brett Tomko (Royals), Ryan Feierabend (Rangers) and Matt Fox (Mets), Josh Judy (Los Angeles Dodgers), Andy Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks), Chad Tracy (Baltimore Orioles), Tyler Graham (Giants) and Brian Burgamy (Mets) still remain with their clubs on minor league contracts. Last I checked, Tomko is on the Royals’ Class AAA Omaha roster, Feierabend is with Class AAA Round Rock, Marte is at Class AAA Reno and Graham is at Class AA Richmond. A quick check Monday night has Judy listed on the Dodgers’ Class AAA Albuquerque roster.
As of Monday night, neither Burgamy, Fox nor Tracy were listed among any of the rosters among the minor league affiliates of their respective clubs. That could mean one of two things: either they have been released or they’re still under contract and their clubs are just figuring out where to put them in the minors.
Guerrero retiring: Well, former big league all-star Vladimir Guerrero won’t be coming to the Atlantic League, after all. News broke Monday that Guerrero is retiring with Angels on a one-day contract. A year ago, the Ducks had signed Guerrero to a contract near the start of the 2013 season. But Guerrero never showed as obligations back in his native Dominican Republic kept him from playing.
WOYK in CPBJ: The Central Penn Business Journal did a nice story about the York Revolution officially becoming owners of the local WOYK sports radio station. Click here to check it out. It features quotes from Revs’ play-by-play and WOYK general manager Darrell Henry and Nate Tile, the Revs’ vice president of business development. Tile, a 2000 York College grad, had previously worked as the sales manager for the Central Penn Business Journal before being hired by York mid-way through last season to take over for Neil Fortier, who left York to take a sales position with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fo real or fo fake?: Not sure if this is an April Fool’s Day joke or not, but the Frontier League is apparently mulling over a possible rules change that will have every batter start with a 1-1 count in an effort to speed up the completion times of games. Click here for the article on the league’s website.
Player signings: Below are the player signings across the Atlantic League since last Friday, March 28 through Monday, March 31:
Bridgeport: The Bluefish signed outfielder Denny Almonte, infielder Michael Gilmartin, and pitcher Kyle Winters. All three players will make their Atlantic League debuts. Almonte is a 25-year-old switch-hitter who reached the Mariners’ Class AAA Tacoma affiliate last season. Gilmartin is a 26-year-old switch-hitter who reached the Reds’ Class AA Pensacola affiliate in 2013. Winters is a 26-year-old starting pitcher who reached the Marlins’ Class AA Jacksonville affiliate in 2009 before missing all of the 2010 season to recover from Tommy John surgery. Bridgeport now has 20 players signed for the 2014 campaign. Click here for info on the signings on The Fish Pen blog, operated by Bluefish superfan Vivianna Velazquez.
Southern Maryland: The Blue Crabs signed right-handers Ian Marshall and Peter Parise. Marshall, 27, is a former Atlanta Braves’ prospect who returns to the Crabs for the second year in a row after going 12-8 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 starts last year in his Atlantic League debut. Parise, 29, is a reliever who spent the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Cardinals’ Class AAA Memphis affiliate before playing in the independent American Association the last two years. He’ll make his Atlantic League with the Crabs. Southern Maryland now has 22 players under contract. Click here for the team’s press release on the signings.
Camden: The Riversharks signed right-hander Mike MacDougal, a 37-year-old former big leaguer who has put up solid big league numbers over the years with the Royals, White Sox, Nationals and Dodgers. He last pitched in the majors in 2011 for the Dodgers. He’ll make his Atlantic League debut with Camden. The ‘Sharks now have 21 players signed, including an Atlantic League-low two former big leaguers. Click here for the team’s press release on the signings.
Long Island: The Ducks signed left-hander Steve Garrison, a 27-year-old pitcher who tossed two-thirds of an inning for the New York Yankees in his only big league appearance. Long Island now has 19 players signed, including three former big leaguers. Click here for the team’s press release.