Atlantic League signings, transactions Feb. 20-24
YORK REVOLUTION: Signed OF James Shanks
The Revs announced the signing of the Atlantic All-Star on Friday afternon, Feb. 24. Shanks, 33, is one of a few players returning to York after helping the club win back-to-back league titles. In 2010, he batted .325 with a career-high and club-record 172 hits. He also drove in 86 runs that season. In 2011, he batted .314 with 61 RBIs. A former Kansas City Royals and Miami Marlins prospect, Shanks has been named an Atlantic League All-Star each of the last two seasons. Shanks missed the majority of the last few weeks of the 2011 season after being hit by a pitch in the knee on Sept. 8 at Camden. He returned for the Revs’ regular season finale. Then, in Game 1 of the Atlantic League Freedom Division Series against Lancaster, Shanks’ season was ended when he was hit by a pitch in his right hand and suffered a broken thumb. York now has 10 players under contract for the 2012 campaign, including seven from last season. To view the Revs’ roster, click here.
BRIDGEPORT BLUEFISH: Signed C Luis Rodriguez, RHP Matt Pike, RHP Kyle Zaleski
Rodriguez, 38, returns to Bluefish for his first year as a player/coach. In 90 games with the Bluefish in 2011, Rodriguez batted .244 with 43 RBIs, 10 homers, 15 doubles and 39 runs scored.
Pike, 31, returns for his fourth season with the Bluefish and fifth in the Atlantic League. In 25 starts with Bridgeport last season, Pike posted a 8-8 record with a 4.32 ERA. The former Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees prospect had 77 strikeouts in 150 innings. His best outing came on June 23 against Somerset, when he came two outs shy of a no-hitter.
Zaleski, 30, split time with the York Revolution, Bridgeport Bluefish and St. Paul (American Association) in 2011. He began the season with St. Paul, totaling a 1-1 record with a 1.88 ERA in three starts. He then made one relief appearance for the Revs, allowing two runs on three hits in ⅔ of an inning against Long Island on July 4. York then released Zaleski and Bridgeport picked him up. With the Bluefish, Zaleski went 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 22 appearances. Bridgeport now has eight players under contract for 2012. To view the Bluefish roster, click here.
LANCASTER BARNSTORMERS: Signed LHP Yunior Novoa, RHP Dwayne Pollok and INF Joe Spiers
Novoa, 27, was 5-5 with a 5.33 ERA in a variety of roles for the Barnstormers in 2011. The former Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals prospect from the Dominican Republic made 13 starts along with 20 relief appearances and posted a ratio of 76 strikeouts to just 24 walks in his 82 2/3 innings of work.
Pollok, 31, is a former Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers prospect who started out as a reliever but has spent the last two years as a starter. Last year, he began the season with Yucatan (Mexican League), going 0-4 with a 6.56 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance. He then joined Forth Worth (American Association), going 3-5 wtih a 4.95 ERA in 11 starts. Barnstormers manager Butch Hobson said Pollok will start the season in the bullpen, but gives Lancaster an option when the team needs a spot start.
Spiers, 26, batted .323 with five homers and 40 RBIs in 73 games with the Evansville Otters (Frontier League) in 2011. In a trade made on Feb. 17, the Barnstormers had acquired the rights to Spiers from Evansville for a player to be named later. Lancaster now has eight players inked for the 2012 campaign. To view the Barnstormers roster, click here.
LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Signed INF Dan Lyons, OF Lew Few Ford, OF Reid Gorecki
Gorecki, 31, reached the major leagues for one season in 2009 with the Atlanta Braves, where he batted .200 with three RBIs in 31 games. He has a career .266 minor league average over nine pro seasons. This will mark his first time playing independent ball.
Ford, 35, is a veteran infielder and former big leaguer who spent the entire 2011 season with the Ducks, compiling a .318 batting average, 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 72 games. He was named to the second-team Atlantic League All-Star squad following the season.
Lyons, 27, is a former Washington Nationals prospect who batted .283 with two homers and 40 RBIs in 86 games with Long Island in 2011. Long Island now has seven players signed on for the 2012 season. To check out the Ducks’ roster, click here.
SOMERSET PATRIOTS: Signed RHP T.J. Hose, RHP Mike Solbach
Hose, 25, is a former prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. In 2011, Hose started the year pitching for the Newark Bears (Can-Am League) where he accumulated a 3.00 ERA in 28 relief appearances. The Red Sox picked him up in August and assigned him to Class Low-A Salem, where he went 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in six games.
Solbach, 26, is a former New York Yankees prospect who topped out last season at Class High-A Tampa, where he went 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 28 relief appearances. The Patriots have signed eight players so far for the 2012 season. To view the Somerset roster, click here.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND BLUE CRABS: Signed INF David Espinosa and OF Mike Daniel
Daniel, 27, is a speedy outfielder with a good glove but has struggled to produce at the plate in his seven years in the minors. The left-handed batter topped out at Class AAA with the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010. A career .257 hitter, Daniel batted .258 with a homer and eight RBIs in 26 games with the Colorado Rockies’ Class AA affiliate Tulsa in 2011.
Southern Maryland had acquired the rights to switch-hitter Espinosa, 30, on Feb. 6 in a trade with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs (American Association) for a player to be named before May 1. A former first round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds, Espinosa batted .324 in 100 games for Grand Prairie last season before the Blue Crabs acquired him in mid-September. He went on to bat a collective .333 in seven regular season games and four playoff games for Southern Maryland, going 15-for-45 at the plate with 10 RBIs. The Blue Crabs have signed 14 players so far for the 2012 season. To view the Southern Maryland roster, click here.