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December 17, 2007 December 18, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Smith Signs With Angels: Newark Bears INF Corey Smith, who proved that his defense was not a concern during the championship series, has inked a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Here’s the team release…

NEWARK, NJ, Dec. 17- (PR) The Newark Bears Professional Baseball Club announced today that third baseman Corey Smith, who played a key role in the team’s 2007 Atlantic League Championship, has been signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Smith will report to minor league spring training camp in early March and is likely targeted to play at Double-A Arkansas this season.

The 25 year-old Smith batted a career-high .274 with Newark in 2007. He established a new franchise single-season record by stroking a career-best 37 doubles, which was also the second highest total in the Atlantic League last year. Smith belted 18 home runs, had three triples, and drove in 72 runs a year ago.

During the Bears march to the ’07 Atlantic League Crown, Smith batted .435 in six playoff games, 3rd best of all players. The Piscataway, NJ native also was tied for the most doubles (4) and extra-base hits (5), and was second in hits (10), while playing an outstanding, error-free third base.

“The entire Bears organization is very happy for Corey, and also very appreciative for what he did in helping make us champions last season,” said Bears Assistant General Manager of baseball Operations Jim Cerny. “Corey delivered his best play at the absolute most important time of the year, in the playoffs, and was a major reason the Bears won the 2007 title. We wish him all the best in his goal of reaching the Major Leagues with the Angels.”

Smith, an eight-year pro, was originally drafted out of Piscataway High School in the first round of the 2000 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. He briefly reached the Triple-A level in 2004 with the Indians; and he has also played in the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox organizations.

Other AL Alums Signing Elsewhere: P Fernando De La Cruz, who inexplicably moonlighted as Fernando Desque during a 2005 stint with the Atlantic City Surf, has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was familiar with De La Cruz from his days in a Thunder uniform, and not much had changed when I saw him with AC. He throws really hard, but doesn’t always seem to have a real good idea of where it’s headed.

De La Cruz joins P Chris Fussell as having signed with the Dodgers, but the ex-Rivershark finished his season in that organization last year.

P Jason Shiell has inked a deal with the Brewers organization, while another former Somerset standout, OF Jeremy Owens, has re-signed with the Devil Rays. – Mike Ashmore

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