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March 28, 2008 – Scott Knazek Talks March 27, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Interview Schedule: Just spent a half hour on the phone with Newark Bears P Tim Sweeney, and we’ll have his interview up this weekend. Gotta say, I loved talking to this kid. He’s got an interest in journalism once his career is over, and he seems like a natural. Should be a great representative for the Bears.

Knazek Trying To Capitalize On Opportunity: Merry Christmas, Scott Knazek. We’ve decided to release you. Signed, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

OK, so it didn’t exactly go down like that. But after the 23-year-old catcher was let go by the Angels right around Christmas, he knew he’d need to find another job for the 2008 season.

“After I got released, I called a few scouts, and they told me about a Phillies tryout down in Clearwater, Florida,” Knazek said.

The Bears approached the Rider College grad afterwards, but Knazek didn’t sign right away.

“I had some other opportunities with other independent leagues, like in the Frontier League and American Association,” he said.

“But I talked it over with my father, and we kind of came to the conclusion that if I can do well in this league, it would be better than doing well in some of the other leagues. The Atlantic League is one of the best indy leagues in the country.”

But Knazek, who now lives in East Hampton, New Jersey, admits he hadn’t really heard too much about his new team before signing there.

“I didn’t really know that much about independent ball, to be honest,” he said.

“I’d heard about the Somerset Patriots, and I’d heard about the Camden Riversharks, but I hadn’t really heard anything about the Newark Bears.”

Knazek’s crash course starts on April 12th, when the team opens camp. But fans might need a crash course of their own on Knazek.

He described himself as a hard-nosed player who gives 100 percent every day and likes to be a leader on the field. Knazek is looking forward to working with his new pitching staff, saying he’s looking to keep it honest with them and build up their trust.

And although Knazek has been working on strengthening up his wrists to improve bat speed, and working on his foot speed to help improve his pop times to second base, he has no illusions about unseating incumbent John Pachot as the starter.

“I’m going in there hoping I can learn from him, and hoping I can learn from the other guys on the team,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can play two or three days a week when he needs a rest.”

Ducks Sign Four: The Ducks have signed infielder Rob Cafiero, outfielder Jamal Strong, pitcher Jim Magrane and catcher Robert Sandora.

Cafiero is an AL vet who started out with the Road Warriors back in 2003. I managed to accidentally sit in his chair during an interview with Julian Heredia, and wrote about his early struggles as well…but I’ve gotten to know Rob pretty well, and he’s one of the best guys in the league. A valuable player for the Ducks and a local guy as well, Cafiero can play first and DH…and maybe he’ll even return to the mound this season.

Strong is a guy who’s played for the Seattle Mariners, and was also a few days away from suiting up for the Camden Riversharks as well. Instead, the Yankees picked him up and he split last year between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton.

Of course, almost anything written about him has to reference that he became the fourth big leaguer to be suspended as a part of MLB’s new performance enhancing drug policy back in 2005.

Magrane has extensive experience in the Devil Rays system, and split last year bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A in the Nationals system. He has a 68-74 career minor league record with a 3.94 ERA. Might be a sleeper to get picked up, as he’s shown a propensity to strike out quite a few guys…

Sandora…apparently the Atlantic League was offered a special on former Nationals catchers. First Erick San Pedro, now this guy. Sandora’s a local guy, born in West Islip. 26 years old, he topped out at Single-A for the Nats, and is a career .222 hitter with 1 home run and 22 RBI.

Alfonzo Axed: The Texas Rangers have released former Long Island and Bridgeport INF Edgardo Alfonzo. Likely destinations? Retirement, Long Island or Mexico.

Dicken returns to Bridgeport (Photo: Ashmore)

Bluefish Bring Back Three: The Bluefish have re-signed pitchers Franklin Perez, Randy Dicken and Garrett Berger.

Perez appeared in 52 games for the Bluefish last season, going 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA and six saves.

Dicken was involved in that somewhat ridiculous trade for Matt Beech last season, and played for the Riversharks and Road Warriors as well. He struggled quite a bit last year, allowing 66 earned runs in 91 innings of work over his three teams.

Berger struggled too in his reutrn from injury, going 0-5 with a 6.72 ERA in 28 games. He’s had a rough go of it the past couple years, but it’s good to see him get another chance.

Riversharks Sign Rabe: According to The Quincy Herald Whig (nope, that’s really what it’s called) the Camden Riversharks have signed former Twins OF Josh Rabe. Rabe (pronounced Ray-Bee) collected 80 big league at-bats in Minnesota over the past two seasons, hitting .250 with three home runs and nine RBI.

He once reached base in 67 straight games, falling just four short of Kevin Millar’s record of 71. Rabe was Somerset Patriots OF Michael Ryan’s roommate in Triple-A.

Zinter Coaching: Former Somerset Patriot Alan Zinter is going to be the hitting coach for the Missoula Osprey in the Pioneer League.

Jason Olson Interview: Revs beat writer Jeff Johnson’s got it here.

Coach Arteaga: Good catch by one of our readers, who pointed out that former Bears and Road Warriors INF Josh Arteaga has been named a coach of the Northwest League’s Boise Hawks.

Dunleavy’s Take: For another take on the Somerset Patriots roster, check out my friend and colleague Ryan Dunleavy’s blog.

Comment Reply: Someone asked about Jose Morban, Victor Rodriguez, Jose Herrera, Matt Beech and John Halama yesterday. V-Rod’s in Mexico, Halama’s apparently in Florida pitching with a traveling team against some affiliated minor league teams. Couldn’t tell you much about the other guys. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Redman Saga Over: Former York Revolution outfielder Tike Redman was optioned to Triple-A by the Baltimore Orioles today. Redman was one of the final guys in camp with the birds and deserved a shot on the bench this season, especially with his speed.

The reason for the move was because Major League Baseball decided to wait on the 15-day drug suspension for Jay Gibbons. The Orioles would love to rid themselves of Gibbons, but he has a big contract and that’s keeping him on the big-league roster.

Redman cleared waivers and now has 72 hours to accept the assignment or ask for his release. I suspect he’ll take the Triple-A job as he’d be one of the first call-ups if an injury happens. – Scott Stanchak

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - March 28, 2008

Ducks also have RHP Jon Asahina on their roster.

2. Anonymous - March 28, 2008

Mike,
I was hoping you could breakdown each time a little bit every once in a while. Starting now. You know. The kind of thing that’s like “in the field….”, “at bat…”, “on the mound….”. All these new names don’t really mean anything to us. Maybe if you gave us some projections of how you see these teams shaping up in the three major areas of baseball, that would help. Just an idea.

—PJ

3. BoosterBabe - March 28, 2008

I heard from a very reliable source close to the man himself about a month or so ago that Matt Beech will be playing in Italy this season. Found a story here: (and my apologies for the long link). It takes a minute or so load so just be patient.

http://www.mister-baseball.com/former-major-leaguer-matt-beech-new-starter-for-telemarket-rimini

4. Anonymous - March 29, 2008

With the Ducks having 11 returning players of the 19 signed so far, is that an average number of returning players for an Atlantic League team?
I know the hardest part of rooting for a team in this league is the turning over of faces from year to year and sometimes week to week. For this fan, this is a good thing.

5. Anonymous - March 29, 2008

Also, 8 of the 19 signed for the Ducks are from Long Island.


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