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March 2, 2008 March 3, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Bears Bring Back Two More Players: (PR) The defending Atlantic League Champion Newark Bears announced today that the club has re-signed both right-handed pitcher Jose Garcia and infielder Vic Gutierrez to contracts for the 2008 season. Both Garcia and Gutierrez joined the Bears during the 2007 season and were part of the club’s run to its second league title.

Garcia, the Venezuelan native, is entering his 9th season in professional baseball, after originally being signed as a non-drafted free agent in 1999 by the New York Yankees. In 2003, he set career highs with 9 wins, 21 starts, 136.1 innings pitched, and four complete games while playing for Battle Creek of the Midwest League. In that season he finished fourth in the league in complete games and ninth with a 2.64 ERA. In 2005, with Palm Beach of the Florida State League, Garcia set a career high with 122 strikeouts while posting a 7-5 record in 30 appearances. In his career, he has compiled a 43-32 record in 96 appearances with a 4.09 ERA and 549 strikeouts.

Last season, Garcia began the year with the Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League where he appeared in 18 games while posting a 2-2 record with 22 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. He signed with the Bears as a free agent in July and appeared in 13 games, posting a 5-0 record with 57 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched.

The 26 year-old Garcia starred for the Bears in the 2007 post-season, earning the victory in the clinching game of Newark’s first round playoff sweep over the Long Island Ducks. He also made the start, and received a no-decision, in Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series against the Somerset Patriots.

Gutierrez, who is entering his 13th season in professional baseball, joined the Bears last season when he was brought over in a trade from the York Revolution in June. With the Bears he appeared in 41 games and batted .329 with 24 runs scored.

The 30 year-old Gutierrez was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1994. He reached the Triple-A level during the 2004 season, appearing in 22 games for Salt Lake of the Pacific Coast League. No stranger to the Atlantic League, the PA resident has previously played for the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds, Atlantic City Surf, Camden Riversharks, and York Revolution before joining the Newark Bears. With Camden in 2005, Gutierrez batted .307 with 9 home runs, 35 extra-base hits, 58 RBI, and 42 stolen bases.

Hileman Back In The Barn, Add Mendible: (PR) The Lancaster Barnstormers have re-signed another Atlantic League All-Star. Center fielder Jutt Hileman will return to the team in 2008, Barnstormers vice president of baseball operations Keith Lupton announced today. It will be the fourth season in Lancaster for the Palmyra High School product, the only player who has been on the Barnstormers active roster since the inception of the franchise in 2005.

Hileman, 26, leads the Barnstormers in several career categories, including games (359), runs (214), hits (385), doubles (76), and RBIs (214). Originally signed as an infielder, the former PIAA state champ made a home in the outfield and spent all of last season as a defensive stalwart in center. Playing in all but six games in 2007, Hileman hit .287 with a career-high 17 homers and a team-best 82 RBIs.

“Many baseball people think Jutt is the best center fielder in the Atlantic League,” Lupton said. “He’s very consistent at the plate, and we feel center field is anchored solidly with Jutt coming back.”

Hileman joins catcher Lance Burkhart and left-hander Ross Peeples as players entering their fourth season with the Barnstormers.

In addition, the Barnstormers signed right-handed pitcher Franklin Mendible, a former Minnesota and Pittsburgh farmhand, following an Atlantic League tryout in Lakeland, Fla.

“We felt he was the pitcher with the best arm at the tryout,” Lupton said. “He was throwing in the 90s when we saw him again at a tryout with the Phillies. He impressed everyone who saw him.”

Mendible, 28, originally signed with the Pirates in 1996 and spent four years in their organization before being picked up by the Twins in 2000. The Venezuela native pitched for Atlantic City in 2005 but never faced the Barnstormers. Mendible last pitched in the independent American Association in 2006.

The signings give the Barnstormers 10 players under contract for 2008.

Blue Crabs Officially Announce Three More: Either I don’t get Blue Crabs press releases or they don’t make it to my inbox…but either way, a few days back the team officially announced that P Bradley Beck, P Adam Johnson and INF Ian Bladergroen have signed with the team.

Bladergroen spent his 2007 season with the Road Warriors, hitting .275 with nine home runs and 51 RBI.

Beck has three seasons of experience in the Angels farm system. A 23 year-old lefty, he’s 5-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 89 minor league games, all in relief.

Johnson is the big name here, the second overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He appeared in just nine big leagues for Minnesota between 2001 and 2003, and has bounced around the minors ever since. He did not pitch last year, and also has time in the Golden Baseball League.

Cancel On The Tube: If you put on SNY, you might be able to catch a glimpse of former Somerset Patriots and Road Warriors C Robinson Cancel. In fact, as I write this, the game is in the third inning and Jose Reyes just drove him in to give the Mets a 2-0 lead over the Braves.

Bridgeport Expected To Announce Signing Tomorrow: Word out of Bridgeport is that the team is set to announce their first signing tomorrow. I can’t divulge any more details, but I think Bluefish fans should be pretty happy with this one.

Who’s Playing Where: I think we did this last season, but I wanted to have a section of the site devoted to which players have signed with what Atlantic League teams this year. I know some players keep track of who they’ll be playing with and against through this site, so hopefully it’s a helpful service.

BRIDGEPORT – (Announcement expected tomorrow)
CAMDEN – INF Brett Bonvechio, P Jeremy Lewis, P Robert Romero, P Judd Songster
LANCASTER – OF Dominick Ambrosini, C Lance Burkhart, P Derek Forbes, OF Jutt Hileman, P Tim McClaskey, P Franklin Mendible, P Mike Nannini, P Ross Peeples, UTIL Lloyd Turner, OF Michael Woods
LONG ISLAND – INF Dennis Donovan, P Ben Grezlovski, OF Estee Harris, OF Kevin Haverbusch, C Jamie Pogue, P John Searles
NEWARK – INF Ramon Castro, INF Bobby Hill
SOMERSET – INF Vito Chiaravalloti, P David Humen, P Bret Prinz, P Scott Wiggins
SOUTHERN MARYLAND – INF Ian Bladergroen, P Bradley Beck, INF Chad Ehrnsberger, OF Rich Giannotti, LHP Beau Hintz, P Adam Johnson, OF John Ramistella, C Adam Shorsher
YORK – OF Jason Aspito, INF Keoni De Renne, INF Matt Dryer, OF Matt Esquivel, OF Travis Ezi, P Wayne Franklin, C Kevin Kotch, P Aaron Myette, P Reid Price, OF Kaz Tanaka, P Corey Thurman, P Dave Veres

It’s very possible I missed a few guys, so please feel free to fill in the blanks in the comments. – Mike Ashmore


1. Kevin - March 3, 2008

On the Blue Crabs official site they’ve announced the signings of pitchers Bradley Beck and Adam Johnson. Along with Bladergoen, these are the first three official signings in team history.

Also, I love this “Who’s Playing Where” section. Very helpful to the aspiring Atlantic League fan, such as myself.

2. Jim Seip - March 3, 2008

Hey Mike,

Add INF Keoni De Renne to York. He was one of those Feb. 16 signees. BTW, the new-and-improved site looks great.

3. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - March 4, 2008

Thanks for the reminder, Jim. Thanks for the compliment, too. Hope to see you at some point this season. – Scott

4. BoosterBabe - March 4, 2008

Ok, I won’t steal your thunder–but I just got the email from the Bluefish and I am PSYCHED at who will be back this season! Yesssss!
The first glimmer of excitement has entered my heart for the 2008 Bluefish season!!!

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