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February 5, 2008 February 5, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Getting Woods: Although the press release announces two signings, Jason Guarente already wrote about the team bringing in P Derek Forbes.

Well, they also announced today that OF Mike Woods is coming back. Woods hit .294 last season, hitting 11 home runs and stealing 13 bases.

“Michael is one of the fastest players in the Atlantic League,” said Lancaster VP of Baseball Operations Keith Lupton in the release.

“This year we’re going to give him more of an opportunity to use that speed.”

Meet Juan Gone In St. Louis: World famous TV star (I kid because I care) and ALB.com’s Scott Stanchak reported this here first, and it’s now been confirmed that former Long Island Ducks slugger Juan Gonzalez has signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here’s a handy-dandy excerpt from our 2006 interview:

Whether it’s fair or unfair, your name has been associated with the steroids scandal…

“Since Canseco’s been talking about me…I never used steroids when I played this game. Canseco never gave it to me, steroids. I don’t know why he talked about my name in the steroids situation. I’m clean.”

Well, with your name being associated with that, and you say it is unfair, do you feel like it’s going to affect your chances of getting picked up by an affiliated team?

“Not necessarily, because I’m clean.”

As far as I know, that’s one of only a handful of on the record steroid denials that Gonzalez has made, perhaps the only one.

He did, however, make countless on the record claims that he came to the Atlantic League to prove he was healthy. Unfortunately, here’s how most fans remember him…

That’s Gonzalez on the bench, as he so frequently was in 2006. For what it’s worth, his numbers were pretty good when he did play: .323, 6 HR and 23 RBI in 36 games played.

As for my personal experience with him…well, it was interesting — I’m sure Scott can add to this as well.

At the insistence of a league official, Gonzalez granted me a sit-down interview in the stands of Commerce Bank Ballpark prior to batting practice. It lasted for about ten minutes, and he didn’t seem upset that I asked him about the steroid accusations that had been made against him. He also gave me the memorable and oft-repeated “I go here, I go there, and I talk to the people” quote.

However, when I went to speak to him a subsequent time without that league official present…to ask him about the home run he hit the previous day, no less, he didn’t want to talk.

I’ll be very interested to see what kind of reaction this move gets in the St. Louis media, and also to see what he has to say about his name continually being associated with the steroid scandal.

UPDATED: Here’s an article in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that talks about the move. According to the piece, Gonzalez is set to make $750,000 if he makes the big league roster.

If you look at the quotes from several of the people involved, it’s almost as if they don’t acknowledge that he played professionally in 2006. You see stuff like how he hasn’t played in a while and has had two years of rest and so on, and it literally makes me wonder if they even know he played for Long Island. – Mike Ashmore

Stanchak’s Take: I had a similar experience as Mike with Gonzalez.

It was before a game in 2006 and the former – and soon-to-be current — big leaguer big-timed me.

Gonzalez retreated to the visiting clubhouse after warm-ups and I followed him — not in a creepy way. I asked him for an interview, telling him I was friends with a certain A.L. official — the same one Mike’s talking about — and he said he didn’t know of him. I knew it was a lie and repeated the name to him. This time he said he didn’t owe him anything.

Didn’t owe him anything? This certain official had a big hand in getting Juan Gone out of retirement and back into uniform. This certain official can now say he had a hand in getting him back to the majors. I wonder if he remembers him now.

By the way: Why does Gonzalez’ Baseball Cube profile – a web site that has both major and minor league stats for every player, including Atlantic Leaguers – not have his stats from when he was with the Long Island Ducks? – Scott Stanchak

Doetsch To Nationals: In the Washington Nationals never-ending quest to put together a farm system comprised entirely of Atlantic Leaguers, they’ve now signed former Road Warriors OF Steven Doetsch.

It was believed that Doetsch and Ian Bladergroen would be some of the first members of the expansion Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, but at least half of that is no longer true…

Just 24 years old, Doetsch had somewhat of a breakout season last year, hitting 22 home runs after connecting a grand total of zero times in 282 at-bats the year before.

However, he still strikes out a ton — he has 517 career strikeouts in 1,910 at-bats.

Washington has previously signed former Bears standout Bobby Brownlie and ex-Patriot Sam Marsonek this off-season.

At 24, Doetsch still has some upside. For the same reasons, I liked the Brownlie move as well…he’s still a young guy who actually did what Gonzalez couldn’t, and that’s prove he was healthy.

This isn’t the first time the Nationals have signed an outfielder after a season with the Road Warriors, as they inked Sheldon Fulse last season.

Figueroa To Mets: P Nelson Figueroa, who pitched for the Ducks during the 2006 season, has signed a deal with the New York Mets. He appeared in just two games for Long Island, going 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA.

Remember Matt Imwalle?: Better yet, remember the Atlantic City Surf? Imwalle, who played for the Surf in 2006, has been dealt to the Traverse City Beach Bums of the Frontier League. Last year, he played for Sioux Falls Canaries and made the American Association All-Star team.

Signings Not Over Yet: There’s a pretty widely known rumor going around of another player who has apparently signed in affiliated baseball, and once that becomes official — which is expected to happen sometime this week — you can check back here for that.

Also, in a recent MLB.com mailbag, it was reported that the White Sox and Angels expressed interest in another Ducks slugger. Playing the role of the former Duck outfielder for this story will be Carl Everett. – Mike Ashmore



1. barnstormer1 - February 5, 2008

Interesting comments about Gonzalez as you pointed out. It does seem like they don’t even realize he played for the Ducks….of course he didnt really PLAY much for them..haha.

2. KenD - February 5, 2008

Nice update guys. Thanks

3. barnstormer1 - February 5, 2008

Maybe that WAS NOT really Juan gone that we saw…haha.

4. barnstormer1 - February 5, 2008

Oh and I checked two former Barnstormers on that site….Reggie Taylor and Bo Hart…Reggies did mention his Lancaster stint….Harts did not. Maybe the site is just inconsistant on their stuff?

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