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August 12, 2007 August 12, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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AL Alumni Fun: If you like hearing from players from the Atlantic League’s past, you’re not going to want to miss today’s stuff. I’ve got quotes from Mike Kinkade, Chris Rojas, Jason Anderson, Shaun Boyd, Charlie Weatherby and Gary Knotts.

Patriot for a day, Jason Anderson (Ashmore photo)

Anderson on his Patriots experience: “It was great. It was a situation where you go into it and you don’t really know what to expect — going to independent ball. But once you get there and you see the quality of the talent and the type of guys that are there, you really get an understanding of how tough it is there and how good the baseball is.”

Anderson on how he became a Patriot: “I knew Brett (Jodie) from the Yankee days, and he called me a couple days after I got released. Just from talking to him, I could tell that it was going to be a real comfortable place to be and my mind was made up that this it was a good place to go.”

Anderson on keeping up with the Atlantic League: “I usually check in just about every day to see how everyone’s doing and to see what kind of transactions they make, who gets picked up and that kind of thing.”

Anderson on getting signed by the Phillies: “I found out the third day I was there. I threw the first game, or maybe it was the second game, and they told me right before the day game that the Phillies were wanting to pick me up. But they were wanting me to go as a starter, which I hadn’t done in years. So I went and I did a couple starts in Ottawa, pitched there for two months, and I threw the ball really well. They sent a bunch of guys down from the big leagues after the trades, so that’s how I ended up here. Things here are pretty good too.”

Anderson on being in Double-A: “It’s disappointing because of the season I had last year. And it was disappointing because of things that happened in spring camp with the Cubs. That’s really what threw me off track. It’s not really frustrating with the Phillies, because I’m coming to an organization where I have to start over and prove to them what I can do. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. They’ve brought me here, and they’ve treated me well.”

Anderson on the chances of a Somerset return: “I wouldn’t mind it at all, but I talked to the Phillies and they expressed interest in signing me back, so I don’t think that opportunity is going to come up. But I wouldn’t have any doubts about going back there and playing if the opportunity ever came back up.”

Bridgeport’s Shaun Boyd (Ashmore photo)

Boyd on his experience with Bridgeport: “I thought it was awesome. There was a bunch of good guys and a great coaching staff over there. I thought the league was run well. That’s what it was for, to get guys back into affiliated ball. It was a good league.”

Boyd on how he ended up in the Atlantic League: “I just didn’t get picked up. I was with the Cardinals for six years, and I was a free agent. I didn’t get any phone calls. Some way or the other, they had heard of me and called me. It sounded like a good thing, so I went there and it worked out.”

Boyd on if there’s pressure from being picked in the first round: “Not really. People seem to ask me that all the time. I just tried to go out and play my game and play hard. It’s kind of led me to here, so I’ll just keep trekking along.”

Boyd on being signed by the Phillies: “It was awesome. A lot of guys, it seems like that’s all they think about at night. I thought about it a lot at first, for probably about the first month. And then as soon as I started playing in the moment and playing for them, I got a phone call. It was a good deal. I went out there and I worked hard, and it paid off.”

Boyd on if he likes his chances of progressing in the organization: “Definitely. I haven’t been getting a whole lot of playing time here, but I’ve talked to some guys and hopefully, by what they say, I should be back here next year. Just getting an opportunity is all I can ask for.”

Somerset player for a week Mike Kinkade (Ashmore photo)

Kinkade on how he ended up on Somerset: “Through my agent. He knew somebody, and they had a spot open, so…”

Kinkade on what happened with the Cubs, who released him despite very good numbers: “That would be a question for somebody else. I don’t know, it kind of came as a surprise to me. That’s baseball sometimes.”

Kinkade on if he was hesitant to go to independent baseball: “No, I wanted to keep playing. Nobody was really knocking on my door, people were waiting for the trade deadline and some other things. I just wanted to keep playing.”

Kinkade on his experience with the Patriots: “It was good. I wasn’t there that long, but it was good competition and they had good ballparks. You don’t know what to expect going to independent ball, but there’s a lot of good players there.”

Kinkade on if he has big league hopes with the Yankees, considering the Cubs reportedly considered him for a call-up: “No, I don’t feel that way here. It’s a new organization and the year’s almost over. I just wanted to keep playing. I knew (Trenton hitting coach) Tom Wilson, and I just wanted to come over here and help this team win.”

Kinkade on being in Double-A: “For where I was, being in independent ball or being released, I just wanted to keep playing, whether it was in Double-A or Triple-A or the big leagues. I’m still going to go out with nine guys and try to help the team win that day.”

Newark All-Star Gary Knotts (Ashmore photo)

Knotts on the difficulties of having nine days between starts: “Having a couple extra days will make you just a tad bit off as far as how smooth you are in your mechanics, which resulted in the four walks or whatever it was. But anyway, you try not to let it affect you, but it does when you get in a routine of throwing every five days. I don’t blame anything on that, but it can have a little bit of an affect on you.”

Knotts on his first stint in affiliated ball since 2004: “It’s been good so far to be back. I kind of have to get used to the organizational policies, which you don’t deal with in independent ball. You can just kind of do what you want in independent ball. It seems like it’s a good organization, there’s good opportunities here.”

Knotts on his experience with Newark: “I enjoyed it very much. We had a great staff there with Wayne Krenchicki, Steve Foucault and Lipso Nava. It seemed to be a pretty good, congealed staff. My teammates were good, we had some good team camaraderie, and we all played hard. Everybody had the same goal there, which was to get out of there. But at the same time, we realized we gotta win, and that’s what we were doing. It was good to be on a team that was winning and has an opportunity in the playoffs, with winning the first half.”

Knotts on if it was difficult to leave considering the Bears made the playoffs: “I love to win, first and foremost. I don’t care if it’s Little League or the Major Leagues. I enjoyed being on a winning team, but I understand that when you get back to affiliated ball, there’s development that has to happen. You’ve got some young guys on the team, so that’s understandable. But I love to win, and I haven’t been on a winning team hardly in my whole career. I hadn’t had the opportunity to play in the playoffs, so it was exciting to at least have the opportunity.”

Knotts on if he’d return to Newark: “I’m not sure how that works, I think they’d have to completely release you at the end of the season to be able to go back. But if that were to happen, I’d love to go back and pitch for them. I told them when I left that if it doesn’t work out with the Phillies, I’d love to come back and pitch for you in the playoffs. I think it would be fun.”

Knotts on why he chose to sign with the Phillies after the Red Sox made a similar offer: “Mainly because of the pitching situation in the big leagues and Triple-A. The Red Sox seem to have a pretty good five man staff up there, not that the Phillies don’t, but it just seems like there may be a few more opportunities here in this organization, that’s really what made me choose the Phillies.”

Somerset’s Chris Rojas (Ashmore photo)

Rojas on how things have been going with the Phillies: “Not bad, it’s good to be back over here. I haven’t thrown as well as I’d like, but over the past month things have gotten a lot better. So I’m pretty pleased with that, and I’m trying to finish up strong.”

Rojas on being taken out of the rotation to come out of the bullpen: “It’s a bit of an adjustment, but it’s just like anything, you have to do the best you can with it. Just work hard and focus on the situation that you’re put it.”

Rojas on the possibility of a Patriots return: “If the opportunity is there, I would absolutely consider it. If they come to me and say, ‘Hey Chris, we’d love to have you back,’ then it’s something I’d definitely consider. I’ll wait for them to let me know what’s going on as far as that’s concerned. Meanwhile, I’ll just finish out the season as best I can.”

Lancaster’s Charlie Weatherby (Ashmore Photo)

Weatherby on his experience in Lancaster last year: “It was good. I always tell anyone that ever asks me about it that it was one of the best years I ever had playing the game. It was real laid back. The only problem with organized ball is that there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the front office that dictates stuff, and in that league, you just play. It was cool, it was a great group of guys. I got to win a championship, it was the first one I ever won in my career and I cherish it. I still talk to those guys a lot. I’m in Reading now, so I’m only 15 minutes down the road, so I spend a lot of time with them still.”

Weatherby on the passionate Lancaster fans: “A lot of people still come to the games. I had people when I was in Ottawa, in Triple-A, that came up to Canada to watch me play. They’re devoted. I would say they’re second to when I was with Boston’s organization, those fans are unbelievable. When I was with Portland, and other places, (like) Lowell, they know your family and they know everything about you. It’s pretty crazy, they’re real devoted. There’s a good group of guys there that run the team, there was just great support from everybody that was there all the time.”

Weatherby on being signed by the Phillies: “It’s been a journey this year. I’m really satisfied that I’m back to where I was at after not playing in ’05 and the end of ’04. Taking a year off I think allowed me to get where I am now, knock on wood that I’m getting better with my shoulder and everything. It was tough though, I didn’t really want to go to A-Ball. I’m 28 years old, I’ve done my time, and I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there. They told me it was going to be for a little while, and it was longer than I wanted it to be, but they stuck to their word. They told me they’d get me out of there, and they moved me. I was in Ottawa, and I had really good numbers there, and I definitely didn’t want to come back down. But that’s the situation. In this game, you’ve got people that have to come down from the big leagues, and me not being a 40-man guy, I had to come down here. The manager’s great here. It’s a good group of guys, he looks after everyone here. It’s not that bad.”

Weatherby on if it’s a blessing to be in Double-A considering where he was last year, or if it’s still frustrating: “It’s frustrating. Everybody’s goal is to get to the big leagues, and being as close as I was this year, and throwing the ball as well as I was, I was really disappointed in it. But at the same time, I could easily make the jump from here. I’m right down the road from Philly. You just have to take it in stride and just go out every day and try to do your best. Hopefully, when I get back from this injury, we’ll see what happens.”

Weatherby on how realistic his Major League dreams are: “Right now, it’s not that realistic because I’ve been hurt for three weeks. But when I was throwing the ball real well, I felt that I had a great chance at it. I’m not going to (dismiss anything), you never know until the season’s over with. In September, they expand the rosters, and if something happens and I get hot right at the end, there’s no telling what could happen.” – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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