Saturday, March 20, 2010

MOST ATLANTIC LEAGUERS STILL IN BIG LEAGUE CAMPS; RYAN AND ALDRIDGE LIKELY AFTER SAME JOB

Two weeks from now everyone will be emptying out their spring training lockers to start the regular major league season. The shakedown process of who will be on the 25-man rosters will be all but complete. Many decisions have to be made in the interim, but it seems noteworthy that only two of the 15 Atlantic League vets who were officially in major league camps are still there.

The two now on the outside came as surprises, at least for this early. Milwaukee gave John Halama (Southern Maryland and Long Island) his outright release while Vince Perkins (Camden) was reassigned to the Chicago Cubs' minor league camp.

TWO MAY BE VYING FOR SAME JOB

It appears 2008 Atlantic League vets Michael Ryan (Somerset) and Cory Aldridge (Newark) may well be battling for the same reserve outfield job with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Both players are enjoying a wonderful spring with the 32-year-old Ryan hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a homer, seven runs batted in and a lofty .480 on-base percentage. Aldridge, two years younger, is at .333 (7-for-21) with two homers, three RBI and a .417 on-base mark.

Aldridge has only had five major league at-bats in his 13 professional seasons and they came with Atlanta way back in 2001. Ryan has been in 127 major league games with Minnesota, but he has not been at that level since 2005. Both are left-handed hitters

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ARIZONA GIVING '09 BRIDGEPORT SHORTSTOP A GOOD LOOK

Another Atlantic League position player getting into a number of spring training contests is Ed Rogers, who was Bridgeport's shortstop for 32 games just last summer. He has been used in 12 of Arizona’s Cactus League contests so far. The Dominican gloveman, whose 30 major league games came between 2002 and 2006 for Baltimore, has gone 2-for-13 (.133) with three runs scored and one run batted in. Fans know the Diamondbacks’ regular shortstop is Stephen Drew, who started his pro career in Camden.

PLAYING THE NAME GAME

Slugging outfielder Joe Gaetti, the son of 20-year major league third baseman Gary, has taken his potent bat to Lancaster, where he will play this season under one of his dad’s former teammates, Tommy Herr. Gaetti has displayed power at every level below the major leagues, including nine homers and 25 runs batted in in only 89 at-bats late last season for Joliet, IL of the independent Northern League.

The Barnstormers also have signed a fascinating player who has won four gold gloves (second base) and hit 143 home runs in Japan. While Toshihisa Nishi is getting up in age (38), this longtime Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars player will be trying his hand in an American league for the first time.

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