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March 26, 2008 – Michael Ryan Talks March 26, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Interview Schedule: The Bears have set me up with their “Jersey Boys” trio. Patrick Stanley’s going to be featured tomorrow, while some combination of Tim Sweeney and Scott Knazek will follow.

Additionally, I’ve got a few other calls out to players and teams, so hopefully we can have as many player features as possible before spring training gets underway in a few weeks.

Ryan Happy To Be In Somerset: Michael Ryan wants to win. So do the Somerset Patriots. For both sides, the signing seemed like a no-brainer.

“It almost seems like it’s too good to be true,” Ryan said.

“It’s all about winning in the Atlantic League. In the minors, a lot of times you have to be a certain guy, or make a certain amount of money or be on the 40-man roster to get a call-up. Here, the only thing you have to worry about is winning.”

Ryan says he’s already turned down several affiliated offers “because it just didn’t feel right” and doesn’t expect to be going anywhere anytime soon.

“I expect to be there the whole year, it would take a lot to get me to go,” he said.

Ryan’s agent had been in touch with Brett Jodie about possibly coming to Somerset, and after Ryan spoke to Jodie, the decision was easy.

“When I got off the phone with Brett, I made my mind up right away,” he said.

“He really sold Somerset well, and I liked a lot of the things he was saying about what they expect of you off the field. I just wanted to play for him.”

Ryan said he also had the opportunity to play for Dave LaPoint, who was a pitching coach on a team he played for in Venezuela, but that while he enjoyed his time with LaPoint, that he’d already committed to Somerset.

Another factor in his decision was his new friendship with new Patriots closer Bret Prinz.

“We played together last year in the Pirates organization,” Ryan told me.

“He’s a great friend of mine. We have a lot of the same interests, whether it be talking about fantasy football stuff or whatever, and we agreed that if we didn’t sign in affiliated ball this year, that we’d play for the same team in the Atlantic League. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Bears Bring Back Two More: I’m still working on talking to at least one member of the Jersey trio that the Bears signed, but until then, they’ve brought back two more players from last year’s championship team.

(PR) The defending Atlantic League Champion Newark Bears announced today that the club has re-signed right-handed pitchers Edwin Almonte and Matt Sweeney to contracts for the 2008 season. Almonte and Sweeney will report to the club when the Bears open spring training in Newark on April 12th.

Almonte will be entering his 10th season in professional baseball, his second season with the Bears. The former Major Leaguer posted a 2-5 record, 58.1 innings pitched, and 2.62 ERA while appearing in 44 games, with 9 saves in 2007 for Newark. The veteran Almonte ranked second on the club in games pitched and in games saved.

The 30 year-old Almonte was originally selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 26th round of the 1998 draft, and he has spent time in both the Major League and Triple-A levels. After being traded to the New York Mets in July of 2003 in the Roberto Alomar deal, Almonte reached the big leagues, appearing in 12 games for the Mets that same season.

Almonte’s best year was in 2001 while playing for Birmingham of the Southern League where he posted a 1.49 ERA, and led the league in saves with 36 and was 4th in games pitched (54), and was also selected to the Southern League All-Star team as a reliever. In his career, he has compiled a 30-46 record in 387 appearances as both a starter and reliever with a 3.48 ERA and 508 strikeouts.

Sweeney returns to the Bears this season after a brief stint with the club in 2007. The right-hander from Yardville, NJ began the ’07 campaign with the Bears before his contract sold to the Houston Astros organization. He ended the year with the Salem Avalanche of the Carolina
League in the Single-A level. While with Salem, he posted a 2-1 record in 20 appearances with 39.1 innings pitched while having 19 strikeouts during his tenure with the team.

The 24 year-old Sweeney is entering his 8th season in professional baseball and 2nd with the Newark Bears. He was originally selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 11th round of the 2001 draft. While spending half the year with the Bears in 2007, Sweeney posted a 5-3 record with a 4.35 ERA while making 10 starts. He was selected as the Atlantic League’s Pitcher of the Month in the month of May a year ago.

Olson Back With The Revs: (PR) The return of right-handed relief pitcher Jason Olson to the York Revolution was officially announced today by Revs director of baseball operations Adam Gladstone and manager Chris Hoiles. The signing gives York 17 players on its 2008 preseason roster, including seven pitchers. Olson is the ninth member of last year’s team to sign a contract to return this season, and was one of eight players to spend the entire 2007 season on the York roster.

Olson led the Revolution bullpen with five wins in relief last season. Overall, he went 6-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 42 games and one start. The 29-year-old was the winning pitcher in the Revs’ first victory at Sovereign Bank Stadium on June 16, 2007. It was part of a stellar month of June for Olson, as he led all York pitchers with a 0.69 ERA during the season’s second month.

One of the most solid options in the bullpen for Hoiles all season, Olson showed versatility by making his third career start, in a spot-start at Newark on August 25. He allowed just one earned run over six innings in that game to pick up the win.

The Prescott Valley, AZ native was often dominating in relief, allowing only three out of 14 inherited runners to score, and holding right-handed hitters to a .186 average.

“When Jason is on, he has the tendency to be un-hittable in this league,” said Gladstone. “The last couple of years, he has spot-started and been successful in that role, and he also brings a veteran presence to the bullpen. He has learned to enjoy the York area, and is excited to return this season.”

Olson embarks on his third Atlantic League season, having also pitched for the Somerset Patriots in 2006. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2000 draft, and has also spent time in the Los Angeles Angels organization, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake in 2005.

Somerset Signs Two Infielders: (PR) The Three-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced the signings of infielders Frank Moore and Gerardo Alvarez.

Moore has two seasons of Triple-A experience with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Florida Marlins organizations.

He finished the 2007 season in Triple-A for the Marlins in Albuquerque and had a .358 batting average, eight runs, 19 hits, four doubles, and six RBI in 28 games played.

Moore is a career .276 hitter with 394 runs, 835 hits, 143 doubles, 34 triples, 34 home runs, and 307 RBI in 870 games.

Alvarez has spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles organization before coming to Somerset.

He spent time at the Triple-A level during the 2007 season. Alvarez has 243 runs, 398 hits, 85 doubles, two triples, 32 home runs, and 199 RBI in 539 career games.

Spiehs Not Coming Back: With Bret Prinz serving as Somerset’s new closer, R.D. Spiehs was looking for a new home. And he found it closer to home, signing with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association.

Spiehs was 2-3 with a 3.17 ERA and 23 saves for the Patriots last year.

It was initially believed that Spiehs would be returning to the club, perhaps as an insurance policy if/when Prinz is signed.

Looking at the team’s roster, and knowing what I know about who’s coming in, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious replacement if Prinz does leave. Maybe Brandon Knight could slide out of the rotation and take over…but I think the organization doesn’t share my view that Knight’s best shot to get back to affiliated ball would be as a closer.

Knotts Sent Down: After a long look this spring, the Philadelphia Phillies have sent Gary Knotts down to their minor league camp. Knotts spent most of the year with the Newark Bears last season. -MA

Redman Still In O’s Mix: Spring Training is winding down and former York Revolution outfielder Tike Redman is still fighting for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day roster. The former Pittsburgh Pirate survived the team’s latest round of cuts today.

A spot is open with Jay Gibbons having to serve a 15-day drug suspension. Redman is battling infielder Scott Moore for the final spot. – Scott Stanchak

Camden’s Fanfest Set:The Camden Riversharks, South Jersey’s Home Team, will host
Free Family Fanfest on April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Campbell’s Field. The day’s events will include all day raffles and prizes, inflatable games and fun for all ages.

Fans can enter to win a Nintendo Wii, a three-day trip from Apple Vacations, chance to be manager for a day and various other Riversharks prizes. The team will also hold a silent auction, giving fans a chance to bid for sports memorabilia from the Atlantic League and other area sports teams. Staff members will film entries for the “Why are You the Riversharks #1 Fan?” video contest. Selected segments will be used in a fan montage for Opening Night. The winner of the contest will receive a Riversharks prize pack and throw the first pitch on April 25.

Team tryouts will take place throughout the day, but players won’t be the only ones vying for a place on the field this season. The team is also holding open tryouts for anthem singers and performers from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

Individual tickets will also be on sale throughout the day at the stadium box office. Kids will be able to enjoy the carousel, scavenger hunts, inflatables and Acme Kids Fun Zone. The Riversharks mascots, Finley and Blueper, will be on hand to join in the fun. There will also be a chance to sign up for the 2008 Finley’s Fun Bunch kids club presented by New York Life. Concession and merchandise stands will be open, so Fanfest will be the perfect chance to try some of the new food and beverage options or get a hold of this year’s newest Riversharks


1. Dave - March 26, 2008

It’s starting to sound like Danny Garcia won’t be back with the Patriots this year?

2. Mike - March 26, 2008

And you’d be absolutely correct.

I had heard that Garcia had re-injured himself this off-season, but I’m not entirely sure…regardless, it doesn’t sound like he’s coming back.

Don’t take that as that he wouldn’t be welcomed back…team officials liked him a lot, and liked his attitude.

3. Anonymous - March 27, 2008

I’d like to see Saul Solveson come back as set up man and move into the closer role if/when needed.

4. Paul - March 27, 2008

I’m looking forward to seeing Jason Olson again this year. He was my favorite non-Somerset player last year.

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