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July 23, 2007 July 23, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Spelling Klebe: Jason Guarente is reporting that the Lancaster Barnstormers have fired manager Frank Klebe.

Rick Wise has been named as the team’s interim manager.

Klebe, the first manager or coach to be let go mid-season since John Montefusco in 2005, finishes with a 32-41 record.

Ex-Bluefish Player Involved In Tragedy: Former Major Leaguer Mike Coolbaugh had just joined the coaching staff of the Tulsa Drillers, and was in his third week of service with the club when he was killed by a line drive last night.

Former Bluefish C Tino Sanchez was the batter, and the ball struck Coolbaugh in the left temple. Coolbaugh reportedly went unconscious and stopped breathing, and CPR had to be administered on the field, but there was nothing that could be done.

Supplementing Scott’s Piece: If you were on ALB yesterday, then you read the first part of Scott Stanchak’s piece on players leaving for greener pastures in other countries.

At the All-Star Game, the league provided a list of players sold so far in 2007.

35 players are listed, which includes Brian Peterson and Jamal Strong (who were signed before Spring Training), Travis Phelps (signed during Spring Training) and Luther Hackman (who was re-signed by Milwaukee fairly early in the year).

OK, so that kicks it down to 31 players who have been sold during the season. How many of them went to affiliated ball? How many went to Mexico or Taiwan?

12 left to play outside of the U.S., while the other 19 have signed to play at various levels of the minors. Here’s the entire list, sans the previously excluded four.

Noah Hall – SOM – Yankees
Jason Anderson – SOM – Phillies
Clyde Williams – LAN – Mexico
Tike Redman – YORK – Orioles
Eric Junge – BPT – Yankees
Wayne Franklin – YORK – Taiwan
Jeremy Hill – NWK – Taiwan
Luis Figueroa – BPT – Mexico
Anton French – SOM – Mexico
Luis Lopez – CAM – Mexico
R.J. Swindle – NWK – Phillies
J.J. Trujillo – NWK – Phillies
Adam Thomas – YORK – Athletics
Ryan Baerlocher – YORK – Braves
Pat Ahearne – BPT – Taiwan
Chris Rojas – SOM – Phillies
Randy Leek – LI- Taiwan
Kevin Tolar – LI – Taiwan
Jorge Piedra – LI – Athletics
Kevin Walker – CAM – Rockies
Bo Hart – LAN – Cubs
Michel Hernandez – SOM – Devil Rays
Derek Wathan – LI – Royals
Brian Reith – SOM – Taiwan
Ben Davis – CAM – Dodgers
Chris Fussell – CAM – Dodgers
Quincy Foster – LAN – Mexico
Luis Figueroa (again!) – BPT – Mexico
Shaun Boyd – BPT – Phillies
Jeriome Robertson – NWK – Mexico
Matt Sweeney – NWK – Astros
Jeff Nettles – SOM – Royals

Note: As one of our readers has pointed out, Jon Cannon can be added to the list. Cannon left for Taiwan just after the All-Star Break, and would not have been included on the league’s list as a result.

Solveson’s The Solution: My feature in the Democrat this week will be on Somerset’s Saul Solveson, the team’s resident expert in getting out of jams.

Here’s a look at an early cut — make sure you check out the paper on Thursday for all the fun things that’ll get edited…

He’s heard it all before.

That he isn’t good enough, that he isn’t big enough, that he doesn’t throw hard enough.

But at every stop of his professional career, a funny thing has happened.

Saul Solveson constantly turns heads as one of the best pitchers on whatever team he’s on, and his stay with the Somerset Patriots has been no exception.

The 27-year-old Emporium, Pa. native almost never got his shot in the Atlantic League, leaving manager Sparky Lyle unimpressed after the Somerset skipper saw him throw in the bullpen midway through the 2005 season.

“When I first came here, the very first day, I threw a bullpen and he took me in his office and said, ‘I don’t think you have what it takes to pitch in this league,'” recalled Solveson.

After a tumultuous stint with Elmira of the Can-Am League, Solveson thought he’d signed with the Patriots. Instead, it was more like a tryout, and he left the stadium thinking he was a pitcher without a job.

Thankfully, then-director of player or procurement Adam Gladstone called Solveson while he was eating at the Applebee’s across the street.

He told Solveson to come back.

He told Solveson they needed a body.

But he proved to be more than just someone to fill up a roster spot, quickly establishing himself as a key component on a team that went on to sweep Nashua to win the championship.

After the celebration, Lyle and Solveson were in the hotel lobby in Nashua, and Lyle seemed to have changed his opinion of his young reliever, who had recorded a save in the championship series.

“Sparky goes, ‘When I first saw you out there, I said you’d never pitch in this league,’ and then he did his signature laugh,” said Solveson with a smile.

“And he said, ‘I was a little wrong on that one. If you don’t get picked up and you need a place to pitch, you’re welcomed back here,’”

In the two seasons since then, Solveson has gone from a “body” to one of the most reliable relievers in the Atlantic League, used almost exclusively by Lyle to get the team out of jams.

Entering Sunday’s series against the Long Island Ducks, Solveson had appeared in 92 games in his Patriots career, and he rarely comes on with the bases empty.

“When you bring him in with guys on base, and the hitters have to swing the bat, he’s going to get them out,” Lyle said.

“I couldn’t even tell you the amount of times that he’s come in there into tough situations and gotten out of it with no runs.”

But without a defined role, Solveson’s accomplishments have been overlooked, and he’s found himself on the outside looking in at affiliated ball for his entire five-year career.

“It‘s nice that I‘m getting guys out in this league and I have Sparky‘s confidence, but at the same time, that‘s when I think, ‘Why haven‘t I been signed?’” Solveson said.

“I’ve had scouts tell me that I should have been signed or that I should have been drafted, but we’re currently full, so you don’t know what that line really means.”

Solveson comes at hitters with a two-seam fastball with some sink that touches 90 to 91 miles per hour on the gun, a curveball and a changeup, with the latter serving as his best offering.

“He’s very aggressive, he can throw any pitch any time,” said catcher Travis Anderson, who has caught Solveson for the past two seasons.

“I’m surprised Saul hasn’t gotten a chance, I’m always confident when he’s on the mound.”

His teammates jokingly refer to him as “The Quiet Assassin,” but once you give him the chance, Saul Solveson lets his pitching do the talking.

And right now, his arm is saying all the right things. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98@gmail.com


1. SharkGirl - July 23, 2007

So sad…you never know when it’s your time but this is just so tragic for the coach & his family and the player that hit the ball (former Bluefish catcher-Tino Sanchez)

Minor League Coach Dies After Being Struck by Line Drive During Game
Jul 23, 4:45 AM (ET)

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh died Sunday night after being struck in the head by a line drive as he stood in the first-base coach’s box during a Texas League game with the Arkansas Travelers, police said.
The game was suspended in the ninth inning after the 35-year-old Coolbaugh was struck by a hard-hit foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez and taken to Baptist Medical Center-North Little Rock.

“It’s a tragedy for all of baseball,” Drillers president Chuck Lamson told the Tulsa World in a story posted on the newspaper’s Web site early Monday. “He just joined the staff and was a former Driller player. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
(The following is from the Tulsa Driller’s website)
Tino Sanchez-
Signed by Colorado as a non-drafted free agent on December 11, 2006. 2006: After spending three seasons with the Bridgeport Bluefish, an Independent team in the Atlantic League, Sanchez returned to the Rockies in 2006 after making his pro debut with the Rox in 1999…split the season between Bridgeport and Double-A Tulsa and combined to hit .325 (74-for-223) in 65 games.

My condolences to all…

2. jcb811 - July 23, 2007

Re: Brian Reith – SOM – Patriots (sic)

Where did he end up?

3. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - July 23, 2007


4. www.BrickCityBruins.com - July 23, 2007

Jeriome Robertson went to Mexico, not Taiwan. No big deal, but that’s where he went.

5. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - July 23, 2007

Wow, multiple screw-ups from me today. Bad job.

Since I feel like I owe you a comment exclusive story, I’ll let you know that the Ducks have re-signed Randy Leek, who left the team for…uhhh, wherever I say he left for up top.

6. BoosterBabe - July 23, 2007

Shocking news about Tino Sanchez hitting the line drive that caused someone to die. I can’t even imagine what that feels like. How does that man pick up a bat again? Time will tell.

As for the big news outta Lancaster….some interesting thoughts about BASA over on the Lancaster blog. Can’t help but wonder what effect, if any, that has had on the BLuefish’s less than spectacular performance on the field these past few weeks.

7. Roadwarriorfan - July 24, 2007

Road Warriors have picked up C Fleming Baez.

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