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March 21, 2007 March 21, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Lancaster Signs Seven (Updated): Former St. Louis Cardinals 2B Bo Hart headlines a group of seven signings announced by the Lancaster Barnstormers today.

Hart, who you can only hope comes out to a “Heart” song at the Clip, turned 30 in September and reached the show with the Cardinals in 2003 and 2004.

He split his 2006 campaign between Triple-A Memphis and Colorado Springs.

He can play second, shortstop and third, although second base is his primary position and likely where he’ll be at in Lancaster.

He also ensures that despite the departure of Tom Herr, there will still be a Cardinals second baseman in the dugout at Lancaster.

P Josh Stevens, OF Clyde Williams, P Jason Norderum, P Gustavo Martinez, P Manny Vazquez Santiago and INF Michael Woods round out the group.

The return of Stevens was made possible thanks to a “trade” with the Nashua Pride a few days ago that sent his rights back to Lancaster. Stevens won both of his regular season starts with the ‘Stormers, and a lot of people think he has a chance to get picked up this season.

The signing of Williams is a great job by the Barnstormers. He hit .266 with 20 HR and 67 RBI last season with the Atlantic City Surf. Lancaster fans might remember him from his August 24th two home run game at the Barn.

(Update: I spoke to Long Island Ducks owner Frank Boulton today regarding the rights to Williams. You may remember that Jason Guarente listed the names of players that the Ducks had claimed from the Surf, and Williams’ was on it. I was told that the Ducks simply gave up his rights, and that there are 5-6 players that the team is still interested in from the Surf’s 2006 roster. For the record, Boulton was also very complimentary of Jeff Ball, who you can read more about a little later)

Norderum has spent his entire seven-year career in the Expos/Nationals organization. He reached Triple-A New Orleans last year and pitched well, but overall is 25-40 with 5.15 ERA in 188 career appearances. He has started earlier in his career, but only 12 of his 84 career starts have come in the past three seasons.

Martinez will turn 19 just a few days before Opening Day. He has two years of experience in the Dominican Summer League with the St. Louis Cardinals, which essentially amounts to rookie ball. While he pitched well there, I think this is a recipe for a guy to get lit up. He’s never faced experienced hitters, and there has to be a reason that the Cardinals gave up on an 18-year-old kid. This will be a story to watch.

(Update: Guarente reports that the Barnstormers got the wrong Gustavo Martinez. The one they actually signed is 26 and spent seven seasons in the Seattle farm system. His career numbers (42-36, 3.32 ERA) are actually pretty good, but he did not pitch in 2006)

Vazquez-Santiago was originally picked by the Tigers and most recently pitched overseas in Puerto Rico.

(Update: He was drafted under the name “Emmanuel Vazquez” by Detroit in the 40th round of the 2003 draft. He’s 22 years old, stands six feet two inches tall and weighs in at 220 pounds. To the best of my knowledge, he has never played in affiliated baseball and was most likely the product of BASA’s Puerto Rican tryout)

Woods had an illustrious college career, winning numerous awards while at Southern University. He spent five seasons in the Tigers organization, reaching Double-A Erie in 2005. It seems to be he profiles kind of similarly to the Bears new infielder, Josh Arteaga…although Woods did play a lot of outfield in his last season, 2005.

Clayton Was Close In 2005: As of right now, it would seem that Stevens and P Clayton Andrews are Frank Klebe’s top two choices for Opening Day starter.

But after speaking to Andrews yesterday, it sounds like he had a chance to take the ball for Lancaster’s first game back in 2005, an honor that ultimately went to Brent Hoard in Somerset.

Andrews spoke to Keith Lupton back in 2005, and threw for the team in a tryout. It looked like he was going to be a Lancaster Barnstormer. But a week later, he threw for the Angels and ended up signing with them.

So how did he end up with Lancaster this year? After taking a season off to spend time with his family (especially his two kids) he still had Lupton’s number in his phone. He gave him a call, and here we are today, talking about Andrews possibly getting the nod on Opening Day, an honor he’s had previously during his time in the Blue Jays organization.

“I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing? I’m healthy, I’m left-handed,'” Andrews said of his year off in 2006. “Every time I turned on the TV, there was one of my buddies on the field.”

For more from Andrews and others, make sure you check out my Opening Day coverage on atlanticleaguebaseball.com and the Hunterdon County Democrat on May 3rd.

Delvis Has Entered The Building: The Newark Bears have signed former Camden P Delvis Pacheco to a contract. Not sure if he pitched in winter ball or overseas or anything, but that 2003 season in Camden are the last stats that can be found on him.

They also announced the signing of INF Josh Arteaga as well. Arteaga has played in the Cubs and Braves systems over the past six seasons. Looking at his stats (.243 career hitter, 18 HR in 1,504 career AB’s, average of 15 errors over the past two seasons) I’m assuming that Arteaga will be used as a reserve infielder.

Jeff Ball Update: I spoke to Atlantic City Surf manag…ummm, Assistant GM Jeff Ball this afternoon. Despite not being on the field for the first time in a long time, the former San Francisco Giant indicated that he was looking forward to a new experience and that he was going to do the best he could in his new role.

Ball also indicated that he’d be interested if any positions were to open for the 2008 season, so he’s clearly not gotten coaching or managing out of his system just yet.

Schuster Speaks: I also spoke to Atlantic City Surf owner Mark Schuster today. Before I get into that, let me clarify a few things. To initially attempt to contact Schuster, I went through the Surf. I did not have his contact info at that time, I only obtained that today. I was “promised” that I would receive a call from Schuster and I never did. It would appear that he never got that information, as he reiterated several times that he prides himself on calling people back and returning e-mails and so forth.

“This was not a calculated move, this was something that evolved,” Schuster said, answering a question regarding months of rumors about the move.

“Jeff has been elevated to Assistant General Manager, where he’ll oversee a number of areas. He’ll still have his hand in baseball operations,” he said.

This was an interesting phone call to say the least, considering he was aware of the comments made here yesterday. I think, however, he was perceiving that I was calling him a liar, which was never the case.

SomerStuff: The Patriots announced their Spring Training schedule today, and also sent along a press release regarding a new mascot for the team.

Somerset’s Spring Training schedule is as follows:

Thursday, April 26th vs. the Bridgeport Bluefish at 10:00 am
Friday, April 27th vs. the Long Island Ducks at 1:00 pm
Saturday, April 28th vs. vs. the York Revolution at 10:00 am
Sunday, April 29th vs. the Camden Riversharks at 10:00 am
Monday, April 30th vs. the Lancaster Barnstormers at 10:00 am

The Patriots will travel back to New Jersey by Tuesday, May 1st for pre-season events for the team and community beginning on Wednesday, May 2nd.

The Patriots will host an Open Workout and Season Ticket Holder Barbecue on Wednesday, May 2nd at Commerce Bank Ballpark beginning at 5:30 pm.

On Thursday, May 3rd, the Patriots will host the “Meet The Patriots” luncheon for Patriots’ marketing partners to welcome the team to the area. Also on May 3rd will be the Patriots 10th Season Anniversary Parade down Main Street in Somerville.

MASCOT: The Three-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced that the team will introduce a new mascot for the 2007 season, the team’s Tenth Season Celebration.
The new mascot will be a cat, designed to compliment the Patriots’ popular mascot Sparkee, who is a gray dog.

Fans will be able to send in name suggestions for the new cat mascot through the Somerset Patriots website, www.somersetpatriots.com, from now until Saturday, April 7th.

The top five names selected will be voted on by fans atthe Somerset Patriots Fan Fest scheduled for Saturday, April 14th at Commerce Bank Ballpark. The Patriots are looking for creative, unique, and fan-friendly names for the cat mascot.

Sparkee was named through a similar program with the team in 1998 and was given his name in honor of Patriots manager Sparky Lyle.

The new mascot will be unveiled at the Friday, May 18th game against the Long Island Ducks at Commerce Bank Ballpark. – Mike Ashmore



1. Skools - March 22, 2007

Does anyone know where Ray Navarette will be playing this season?

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 22, 2007

I haven’t spoken to Ray in about three weeks. At the time, he was still holding out hope for an affiliated job.

With that said, I do expect him to suit up for the Ducks in 2007.

3. Josh - March 22, 2007

you are wrong, Bo did not finish with the Colorado organization last year. He came BACK to the Redbirds. I know him personally and went to all the Memphis games. You guys are getting a great player and an even better guy….

4. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 22, 2007

Fixed. Hart’s statistics were always listed with Memphis first and Colorado Springs last, so I’d always assumed he started with the Cardinals since he’d been there previously.

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