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February 25, 2006

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Patriots acquire Zallie: The Lancaster New Era is reporting that the Somerset Patriots have traded the rights to P Scott Sobkowiak for P Chris Zallie. Zallie appeared in 55 games for the Barnstormers last year, seven of them starts. He finished the sesason with a 4-7 record and 4.88 ERA. In just over 90 innings of work, Zallie struck out 48 batters and walked 27.

Assuming Zallie sticks with the squad, the 31 year old reliever would provide a much needed left-handed presence coming out of the bullpen for the Patriots. It should be noted that Zallie is an instructor for the Jack Cust Baseball Academy, as are fellow Patriots employees Ben Fonseca, Tony Gsell and Liam Healy. The team’s manager, Sparky Lyle, also serves on the advisory board. A move to the Patriots will make Zallie’s work situation much easier and let him bond with some of his new teammates before the team heads off to Spring Training next month.

As for Sobkowiak, you might recall that the former Atlanta Braves pitcher left the Patriots to accept a lucrative offer in Taiwan. As a result, the Patriots placed him on the suspended list, meaning that his Atlantic League rights were the property of the Patriots until a settlement could be reached. With the team now having traded his rights, Sobko is now eligible to pitch for the Barnstormers and will likely be a huge presence in their starting rotation…just as he was with the Patriots last season.

Harriger to Mexico: Jason Guarente of the Lancaster New Era also reports that recently signed P Denny Harriger is likely to sign with a club in Mexico.

“My understanding is if he doesn’t like it there, he’ll come back and pitch for us,” manager Tom Herr told the paper. “They were able to give him more money than he can make in this league.” – Mike Ashmore

Surf Moves: The Atlantic City Surf are going to hold their Spring Training in Atlantic City this year — a money saving move. How’s this work out with games in Florida? Also, the team signed RHP Mark Persails; RHP Rob Corrado; RHP Greg Burke; RHP Ryan Schurman; RHP Blair Lang; RHP Thomas Incaviglia; LHP Gary Bell; INF Jeff Brooks; INF Joe Jiannetti; INF David Housel; INF Raul Marval; OF Ozzie Timmons; and OF Al Benjamin. – Scott Stanchak.

Ashmore’s Notes: The Surf, who will open their 2006 season in Somerset against the Patriots, signed a handful of players without prior experience in the Atlantic League so far. Those players include…

RHP Blair Lang, who spent his 2005 season with the El Paso Diablos of the Central League. Lang, who will turn 24 in June, is a six foot, two inch tall 200 pounder out of Canfield, Ohio. He’s a right-hander who’s previously been used as a reliever.

RHP Thomas Incaviglia, the nephew of former big leaguer Pete Incaviglia, who also played in the Atlantic League as well. The younger Incaviglia is listed as an RHP in the Surf’s press release, but played first base in college with both Oklahoma State and Texas. Incaviglia played his 2005 season with the Alaska Goldpanners, a member of the National Baseball Congress. Inky also won the College World Series as a member of the Texas Longhorns.

INF Jeff Brooks was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1997 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s a 25 year old Pennsylvania native that stands 6′ 5″ tall and weighs in at 240 pounds. Assuming I’ve got the right guy, it would appear that the Surf are trying to catch lightning in a bottle the same way the Nashua Pride did with Brian Becker.

Finally, INF Joe Jiannetti is a 24 year old middle infielder who has some experience in the Mets system. He appears to be a contact hitter, bringing a .253 average in affiliated ball into the 2005 season with just 23 HR in over 1,000 career at-bats.

Jianetti, who spent his 2005 season in the Can-Am League with the New Jersey Jackals and Elmira Grays, would likely be a good fit in the first, second, eighth or ninth slots in the batting order. Depending on what other players the team acquires, they may be looking at Jiannetti to play a reserve role for the beginning of the year. It should, however, be noted that Jiannetti is also currently listed on the 2006 roster of the Can-Am League’s North Shore Spirit.

In regards to the team staying in AC for spring training, it’s no surprise, but it does directly contradict a previous report that all eight Atlantic League teams would be heading down to the team’s new spring training site in Florida. No word on why the team decided to stay home, as they usually do, this time around.

Related Materials: For interviews with Denny Harriger, Scott Sobkowiak and Ozzie Timmons, just click on each player’s name and you can learn more about them. – Mike Ashmore

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