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April 7, 2007 April 7, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Chad Bentz!!!: Congratulations Camden, you just made my favorite signing so far this year.

In an announcement exclusive to AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com, the Camden Riversharks have signed P Chad Bentz; as well as OF Jamal Strong and OF Justin Singleton.

A lot of people would gloss over Bentz; considering Strong is a former Seattle Mariner once suspended for steroid use and Singleton is the son of long-time big leaguer Ken Singleton.

But how can you not love Chad Bentz? If it’s true that everyone in the Atlantic League has a story, Bentz’ has to be one of the best.

An Alaska native who’ll turn 27 the day after the season starts, Bentz reached the big leagues with Montreal in 2004 and Florida in 2005.

He spent last season in the Reds and White Sox organizations.

And, oh yeah, he was born with a deformed right hand and models his game after Jim Abbott, his mentor. How the hell do you not root for a guy like that?

This is a guy that gets me excited about the season starting. I can’t wait to talk to him, and I can’t wait to see him pitch. A former big leaguer and an inspiration all in one. I followed Bentz very closely when he came up in 2004, so I’m really looking forward to interviewing him.

From a baseball perspective, he does walk more than his fair share of batters. But he’s also a lefty and an effective one at that. Left-handed pitching is always a hot commodity, so I genuinely believe he’s got a real shot at getting picked up pretty quickly.

Sharks Sign Dicken: As recently as Friday, Patriots officials have said they haven’t heard back from P Tim Bausher, who attended their open tryout.

But Camden acted quickly, signing P Randy Dicken from their tryout.

Dicken was drafted in the seventh round in 2004 by Toronto, and had arm surgery last season.

Sandel Speaks: I did talk to now former Patriots infielder George Sandel last night, and I’ll have those quotes for you on Monday. I want to speak to team officials first so I can have both sides of the story before I just go with it…

The Replacements: I also spoke to Sandel’s replacement, Danny Garcia, this afternoon. I’ll have a semi-feature on him in the 4/12 Democrat, but here are some snippets from what he said…

Charles Poe (yes, the former Patriot and now hitting coach in the Blue jays organization), a friend of Garcia’s agent, got him set up with Somerset.

– Garcia admitted he doesn’t know too much about the Atlantic League, but said that he heard Somerset was a good place to play and there was a “winning environment” there.

– “It’s been a little bit of a frustrating winter,” he said, noting that his agent got interest from numerous teams, but that he was the second choice for a lot of jobs.

– “I was a big leaguer for two years, I got to the big leagues in two years. I want people to remember that I’m that guy,” he said, talking about his lackluster 2006 season. Garcia had labrum surgery in 2005, and said he “stunk it up” in the first half last year, but put together a pretty decent second half.

Again, I’ll have more from Garcia on Thursday.

Insert Brian Adams Lyric Here: The Patriots made some more news in what turned out to be a busy week for them, signing P Brian Adams and C Brian Peterson.

Adams was in camp with the Surf in 2005, but the 29-year-old lefty didn’t make the team and ended up spending the year with Fargo-Moorhead of the Northern League, where he pitched last year as well.

Those thinking Adams is a lock to make the team need only to look back to last season, when fellow veteran lefty Chris Zallie didn’t break camp with the club.

Peterson might have Patriots fans dancing in the streets of Hyannis (hello there, Boston lyric), where the 28-year-old backstop is from, if he can show that he’s getting pretty good at the game. People would stand in line, and not even seem to mind…you know everyone would know his name.

Anyway…he’s a career .272 hitter in six minor league seasons, reaching Triple-A last year with Detroit. Not much power — he seems to average five or six home runs a season — but he does hit for average. I’d say he’ll be competing with Travis Anderson for the starting job, I don’t see it getting handed to him.

Maestro: I caught up with former Bears and Surf INF Pete Maestrales tonight. Maestrales is a reserve on the Double-A Bowie Baysox, in Trenton to open their 2007 season.

Stay tuned for my Opening Day coverage for the full feature, but Maestrales did say he’d return to the Atlantic League if it ever came down to it, and also said he’s pointed numerous friends who’ve been released to the league, telling them it’s a great place to play.

Stanchak Stepping Up: Thanks to Scott Stanchak for holding down the fort over the past few days. I’ve been exceptionally busy working on stuff for Opening Day and covering the Trenton Thunder, so it’s good to see that Scott’s doing a great job keeping everyone posted here. – MA

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