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March 13, 2007 – Dave Veres Talks March 12, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Dave Veres Talks: When you call Dave Veres ‘ cell phone, the ring-back tone you get to listen to is Montgomery Gentry’s “Lucky Man.” That’s exactly how he feels.

“Everyone assumes you have 10 years in the big leagues and you were a phenom, a High School All-Star,” The newest York Revolution pitcher said. “My whole life and career has been just the opposite.”

Veres is right. You’d think he was a stud pitcher in his youth. The best little league arm for miles around. After all, that’s the impression you get after learning he’s pitched in 605 big league games and struck out the likes of Barry Bonds (3 times), Alex Rodriguez (1 time) and Ryne Sandberg (1 time).

“Nothing’s ever been handed to me,” Veres said. “People who know me, know I put a lot of hard work in. Three hours in the gym each day, constantly trying to get better.”

Veres was drafted in the fourth round of the 1986 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics. Eight years later, after a trade and release, Veres got the call-up by the Houston Astros.

That was one of his most memorable games. The other, “…getting Darryl Kile his 20th win. We were best friends since ’88, spent time on three teams together and I was so nervous. I didn’t want to blow it.”

Between 1999 and 2001, Veres netted 75 of his 95 career saves. He pitched for the Astros, Expos, Cardinals and Cubs. But it was an accidental injury in 1991 that built up over the next decade and eventually had him hanging it all up.

“I originally hurt my hip in ’91 after tripping on carpet,” Veres said. “Over the years it was just tight and got worse and worse.”

The pain was too much for a guy who twice finished among the league-leading pitchers in games finished. Twenty-nine games into the 2004 season, one year after pitching in the NLCS, Veres retired.

“I thought I would just come home and work out, but it just kept getting worse. I was tired of not being able to walk, sleep or do anything else.”

Veres decided to undergo a hip replacement surgery. The procedure was a success and after playing in some Colorado softball leagues, the 41-year-old started to get the itch to play again.

In 2007, the Colorado Rockies signed Veres and invited him to Spring Training. No player’s ever returned to the game after getting a prosthetic hip implanted into their body. He wanted to be the first. But that spring, Veres had another setback.

“The next thing you know, my elbow starts hurting,” Veres said. “I just kept pushing it though and overdid it.”

The elbow injury forced Veres’ season to end five games into his return campaign. When the elbow got better though, the Major League season was winding down. He tried to play Winter Ball, but all the rosters were full. So Veres called Rockies G.M. Dan O’Dowd, who recommended the Atlantic League.

“I spoke with Joe Klein, who gave me a list of the available teams. I heard York and thought it would be a perfect fit since my sister lives near Gettysburg.”

York was the only team Veres reached out to. They signed him instantly.

Veres talked with a bunch of friends who were Atlantic League alumni about playing here, including former Long Island Ducks’ pitcher Danny Graves, who gave the league high remarks.

Veres now needs to prove he’s healthy. There’s no other reason that he’s pitching in the Atlantic League this season. But with all the setbacks, one thing he never could envision himself doing is taking steroids.

“To me, it wasn’t an issue of using steroids. I see how it could be tempting to some, but I’m a firm believer, if it’s illegal by law, you should test for it in baseball.”

The former big leaguer has accepted that he may be here for a few months. He doesn’t mind. He has his health now and just wants to ball.

Barnstormers Add To Roster: Jason Guarente of the Lancaster New Era is reporting that the Lancaster Barnstormers have re-signed pitchers Zach Parker and Erik Ackerman. They also inked catcher Manny Mejia, who played for the Road Warriors last season, and pitcher Ricardo Gomez.

Parker was 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA for the Barnstormers last season, while Ackerman is back for his third season. He was 5-2 with a 4.35 ERA last year.

Gomez spent time in the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees organization, reaching only Single-A. Mejia will serve as catcher Lance Burkhart’s backup after batting .287 with five home runs and 41 RBI for the league’s traveling team last year.

Bluefish Rumblings: Don’t think the Bluefish aren’t hard at work putting together this year’s club. Despite having only announced two signings so far, the team has a bunch of contracts out and hope to announce some more players next week. – Scott Stanchak

Sharks “Trade” For One: The Camden Riversharks have acquired INF Rob Gandolfo from the Sussex Skyhawks of the Can-Am League for future considerations.

Gandolfo is a 30-year-old second baseman who peaked at Triple-A in the Mariners organization. With four home runs in 2,306 career at-bats, it’s safe to say he doesn’t have a lot of pop in his bat. He’s a career .245 hitter, and set a career high in RBI with 46 under the direction of then Sussex hitting coach Jeremy Booth, now a scout with the Twins.

Veres Gets Some Teammates: (PR) The York Revolution continued to strengthen its battery combination, adding former major-league right-handed pitcher Pete Munro and returning catcher Sandy Aracena to the list of signed players for 2008. Revs director of baseball operations Adam Gladstone announced the signings today, which increased the current roster to 16 players, including eight returning from last season.

Munro is the fifth former big-leaguer to join the pitching staff, bringing 120 games (40 starts) of major-league experience to the Revs. The 32-year-old compiled 13 wins and a 4.88 ERA during parts of five seasons in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.

His best season came in 2002 with Houston when he went 5-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 19 appearances and 14 starts. The following year, Munro was part of a group of six Astros pitchers that combined to no-hit the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2003. The Flushing, NY native was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 1993 draft by the Boston Red Sox, and is 80-69 with a 4.02 ERA in his minor-league career.

He spent 2007 pitching professionally in Taiwan where he was a teammate of Revs pitcher Wayne Franklin on a Uni Lions squad that captured the Chinese Professional Baseball League championship. As a starter overseas, Munro led the league with a 2.03 ERA, and finished second in wins with 14. He fired seven complete games, and struck out 107 while walking only 22.

Aracena split his 2007 season in the Atlantic League between the Road Warriors, Bridgeport Bluefish, and York Revolution. The Dominican Republic native combined to bat .300 with four homeruns and 29 RBI. Aracena finished his season with York after being acquired in a trade with Bridgeport for pitcher Matt Ford. The 27-year-old batted .368 in 18 games and had five multi-hit games for the Revolution. Aracena first joined the Atlantic League in 2006 with the Road Warriors, after spending three years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and two seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system.

“Pete was recommended by Wayne Franklin, and anytime you can get a starting pitcher with major league service, coupled with his 2007 season in Taiwan, our organization will benefit from his experience,” said Gladstone. “We’re also excited to have Sandy back. I think he showed that he deserves the opportunity again. He’s excited too, and it gives us another option behind the plate of someone who has experience and has shown success.”

Pats Add Two: (PR) The Three-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Steve Kelly and the re-signing of right-handed pitcher Jason Richardson.

Kelly has three seasons of Triple-A experience with the Cincinnati Reds organization, where he spent his entire career before joining the Somerset Patriots.

Kelly spent most of the 2007 season at the Triple-A level in Louisville, where he pitched in 20 games.

He has a minor league career 56-45 record with a 3.71 ERA and 606 strikeouts in 836 innings pitched in 162 games.

Richardson spent the 2007 season with the Patriots and finished with a 4.37 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 57.2 innings pitched in 40 games.

Richardson has experience in the Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, and Boston Red Sox organizations, including a season at the Triple-A level.

Richardson had time in Pawtucket, the Triple-A affiliate for the Red Sox during the 2006 season and appeared in two games and had a 1-0 record.

He has a minor league career ERA of 4.10 with 526 strikeouts in 608.2 innings pitched over 251 games.

Aric LeClair Tomorrow: I’ll be on vacation starting tonight, but I will have an interview with Camden’s Aric Leclair up tomorrow… – Mike Ashmore

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - March 13, 2008

Has Glenn Murray been hired as Bridgeports hitting coach?

2. Anonymous - March 13, 2008

idk if it was mentioned yesterday but sussex of the can am league traded IF rob gandolfo to the riversharks for the good ‘ol future considerations

3. BoosterBabe - March 14, 2008

Didn’t Glenn Murray used to play for Nashua?
And didn’t our new GM run things in Nashua before they went Can Am?
Glenn Murray as Hitting Coach wouldn’t surprise me.
Neither would my friend DJ Boston.
Anyone know what DJ is up to these days?

4. Anonymous - March 14, 2008

boosterbabe…yes true on all accounts. but what happened to Mc Griff? DJ will be coaching in the minors…I think its in the Astros organization if I remember correctly. Friend of mine knows both guys…she told me this recently about both. amy

5. Anonymous - March 14, 2008

boosterbabe…Dj Boston is hitting coach for the Greenville Astros according to my friend…amy

6. BoosterBabe - March 14, 2008

Good for DJ! I would have liked to see him in BPt but Greenville is a better career move for him. I’ll miss him. I always enjoyed talking to him when the RW were in town last year.

Don’t now where McGriff will end up…


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