February 22, 2007 February 23, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Patriots Bringing Back Core Group: In keeping in touch with a lot of players from last year’s Somerset Patriots team, it seems like anywhere from eight to ten members of last year’s club could be returning.
A lot of guys haven’t officially signed contracts yet, so I can’t write anything right now, but I can tell you the team appears to have three starting pitchers close to re-joining the club.
Brandt Talks Spring Training: I spoke to Newark Bears GM John Brandt yesterday about the team’s decision to stay in Newark for Spring Training.
“We did this when we were in Camden,” said the former Riversharks GM of staying north. “Atlantic City stayed north as well, so it was a little bit easier.”
Financial considerations aside, Brandt listed many benefits of having Spring Training in Newark. Players no longer to have adjust from the warm weather to the cold May weather of New Jersey, and also get a chance to get acclimated to the city since most of them will be staying in the team hotel.
The Bears will likely play a variety of college teams, including NJIT and Seton Hall, but will not have the benefit of playing AL competition like the rest of the teams.
“When the Surf stayed back, it didn’t hurt them on the field,” he said.
Brandt feels that having their players available for marketing and media purposes will also benefit the team, giving them a better chance to make an impact with the community, potential clients, and the media.
And, best of all to Bears fans, Spring Training will come to them, instead of them having to travel down to Florida to watch their team.
Brandt also mentioned that the team’s hitting coach should be named in “a week and a half” or so.
Ducks Sign Five: Pitchers Pat Ahearne and Tim Cain, infielder/pitcher Rob Cafiero, outfielder Kevin Haverbusch, and left-handed pitcher Randy Leek are the first five Ducks to sign for the 2007 season. We broke the Cafiero signing yesterday, so let’s talk about the other four.
Ahearne reached the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1995, appearing in four games with the club.
This is his sixth Atlantic League season, and his second with the Ducks. He’d spent his previous four AL seasons in Bridgeport. Ahearne pitched very well for Long Island last season, going 12-4 with a 3.47 ERA.
This will be Cain’s tenth season in the Atlantic League, and his second with the Ducks. He pitched for Newark from 1998-2001 and Bridgeport from 2002-2005.
He has a career AL record of 70-60, but hasn’t posted the numbers fans of his would expect over the past two seasons. Since 2005, he’s 7-16 with an ERA over six and a batting average against of over .300
Haverbusch is also in his second season as a Duck after playing for the Nashua Pride in 2004 and 2005. The Massapequa resident and, sadly, Islanders fan has 47 Atlantic League longballs to his name.
He hit .252 with nine home runs and 55 RBI last season.
Leek is new to the Atlantic League and independent baseball. He’ll be 30 on opening day and is left-handed. He’s spent time in the Tigers, Dodgers and Cardinals farm systems. With Double-A Springfield in 2005, he went 15-7 with a 3.83 ERA. His career K/BB ratio is around 3.5/1.
More Ducks News: INF Ray Navarrete is likely headed back to the Ducks for the 2007 season. That is if he doesn’t sign an affiliated deal first, of course. The 28-year-old infielder and entrepreneur is coming off a strong performance in Winter Ball, where he played in the Caribbean World Series.
He hit .284 with two home runs and 21 RBI for Long Island last season after being released by the Mets organization, and would be a solid bat in their lineup.
Cafiero Q&A: Don’t forget to send in questions for the Rob Cafiero Q&A. Cafiero is set to stop by on March 5th at 7PM to talk about his time with the Ducks and Road Warriors. – Mike Ashmore, email@example.com