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April 18, 2007 April 18, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Here Come The Big Names: Danny Graves is the biggest name among three the Ducks agreed to terms with today. Graves, former Rockies OF Jorge Piedra and Atlantic League All-Star P Ben Grezlovski were all announced by Long Island today.

Graves was a Major League All-Star in 2000 and 2004 with Cincinnati and also has time with the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets. I’d have to think he’s the first Atlantic Leaguer born in Vietnam, and was the subject of a fascinating piece on HBO’s Real Sports about his heritage about a year ago. He was rumored to be coming to the league last season, but there was never really much to those rumors. Cool signing, looking forward to talking to him.

Piedra has spent the past three seasons with the Colorado Rockies, but joins a growing list of Atlantic Leaguers suspended under Major League Baseball’s steroid policy. In fact, Piedra was the second player caught under the new policy, suspended in early April 2005 right after Alex Sanchez.

Grezlovski has been a reliever in Atlantic City for the past two seasons, and had 21 saves back in 2005.

Pats Sign Two Yankees; Kids In The Hall: P Jason Anderson and C Michel Hernandez both have big league time with the New York Yankees. Now, both are teammates with the Patriots.

Anderson has also played for the Mets and Indians, while Hernandez has his five games of big league time exclusively with the Yankees. Interesting that Somerset can just go out and replace Brian Peterson with a big leaguer like Hernandez.

The Somerset Patriots have also signed OF Noah Hall to a contract. Hall has experience in the Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles organizations and has reached Triple-A. Somerset still needs at least two more outfielders, and I expect those announcements to be made this week.

Bears Sign Two Big Leaguers: P Travis Phelps and P Gary Knotts are the latest Major Leaguers to sign with the Newark Bears. Phelps played briefly for the Riversharks last season before getting picked up, and Knotts has MLB time with the Detroit Tigers and Florida Marlins.

I’ve seen Knotts pitch in Portland and in the big leagues for Florida, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in the AL. For all you autograph collectors out there, back when I could still ask for autographs, I got Knotts on a Phillies scorecard before a game at the Vet. He wrote a bible verse after his signature back then, I wonder if he still does now.

Back to things that you actually care about, I spoke to Bears Assistant GM Jim Cerny for a few stories I’m working on, and he was very high on an outfielder that hasn’t been announced, as well as a player from the Surf who was very successful for them last season. I also asked him about Erick Almonte, who was recently released from the Rockies, and his arrival in Newark certainly isn’t out of the question either.

UPDATE: Bears add three more

Newark has signed OF Keith Reed (the mystery outfielder) and P R.J. Swindle. Swindle is another former Boston Red Sox draft pick (R14, ’04) who has made his way to the Atlantic League, but Reed’s the guy you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

A former first round draft pick of the Orioles in 1999, he reached the big leagues with them in 2005. Multiple Bears officials are very high on him, and legitimately feel fortunate to be able to have a player like him on their team.

Bluefish Ink Ex-Sox Prospect: Once drafted in the 12th round by the Boston Red Sox, P Justin Sturge now finds himself in the Atlantic League. He appeared in Spring Training with the team this season, but was canned in March. Read up about him here and here.

Revs Sign Three More: Jim Seip of the York Daily Record reports (since the Revolution apparently choose not to) that the team has signed P Ryan Baerlocher, P Adam Thomas and C Russ Cleveland. As Seip notes, the signing of Cleveland gives York four catchers.

Baerlocher was close to getting to the big leagues via the Rule 5 draft, when he was selected by the Padres, but he was returned to the Royals before the 2002 season. He spent eight fairly successful years in the Kansas City organization without ever getting a chance. He signed with Boston this off-season, but was axed last month.

Thomas appeared in four games for the Road Warriors in 2003, and has pitched in the Central, Northeast, Golden and Northern Leagues since. In 2005 and 2006, he was with the Dodgers organization and also pitched in Taiwan. Safe to say he’s well traveled.

Russ Cleveland sounds more like an offensive lineman than a baseball player, but alas, he’s been in the Tigers and Nationals systems as a backstop. No power to speak of, not the greatest hitter for average either. Seems like both Fleming Baez and Cleveland were brought in as insurance and you might see one or both on the Road Warriors – although Sandy Aracena is already there and is more than adequate. – Mike Ashmore



1. JNTODD25 - April 18, 2007

i know who jim cerny was talking about with the surf last year…surprised he ended up there though.

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