Saturday, March 13, 2010

Michael Ryan's Two-Run Homer Earns More Praise from Mike Scioscia

Atlantic League credibility is getting another positive run through the all-around talents of former Somerset outfielder Michael Ryan, who is making a determined bid to earn a spot on the 25-man roster of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Ryan's latest success was a two-run home run with two out in the ninth inning at Goodyear, AZ Friday as an Angels' split squad rallied for three runs to tie Cleveland, 7-7.

"He's certainly fighting for a spot on our club," Angels skipper Mike Scioscia told The Los Angeles Times after the game, in which the 32-year-old played the entire game in leftfield and batted sixth. Ryan's Cactus League batting average actually took a hit, dropping to a still-great .545 (6-for-11) after the 1-for-4 performance. He has six runs batted in in five games.

"I knew he was a good player, but he's been a pleasant surprise how much he's brought this spring," added Scioscia, who also has lauded Ryan's defensive skills.

Centerfielder Torii Hunter added his own praise, telling The Times: "He can flat-out hit, but he never had a chance to play every day (in the majors) and show what he could do."

Ryan, a left-handed hitter who also can play some first and third base, hit .282 with 20 doubles, 15 homers and 44 RBI in 65 games for the Patriots in 2008. He has 127 major league games to his credit--all with Minnesota, which selected him in the fifth round of the 1996 draft--but they came in spurts between 2002 and 2005. His longest stint was for 57 games in '05. Ryan has been a .265 hitter in the majors with seven homers and 33 RBI.


Jay Gibbons is the most recent former Atlantic League player to show up in a major league camp. The longtime big-leaguer, who was in 27 games for Long Island in 2008 and 40 with Newark last season, is in the minor league camp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but logged some time at first base and went 0-for-1 in a major league game on Thursday.

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