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April 14, 2008 – Aaron Rakers Talks April 14, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Breaking News: OF Val Majewski going to spring training with Newark. See below…

Aaron Rakers Talks: Jogging out of the bullpen on September 8, 2004, Aaron Rakers wasn’t nervous to take the mound.

As he puts it: “I’ve thrown a ball almost my whole life, pitched in front of decent crowds, so I was just happy to be there.”

But, this wasn’t just any mound. It was the hill at Camden Yards.

Rakers appeared in three games for the Baltimore Orioles that year. The third game was against a Boston Red Sox team that would go on to win the World Series.

In the top of the seventh, Rakers struck out Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and caught first baseman Kevin Youkilis looking. With a strong showing like that, you’d think Rakers assured himself a spot in the Baltimore bullpen in 2005, but that didn’t happen.

“I was a little satisfied that I made it there,” The newest York Revolution reliever said. “Now I wanted to prove that I could stay there.”

Rakers spent most of the next season in Triple-A, where he struck out 92 in 77 innings. Even with the stellar numbers, his next call-up didn’t come until early August.

“The Orioles had a lot of veteran guys that year so it was hard to find a spot for me,” Rakers said. “They were tired of finishing in fourth and I hardly had any (major league) experience.”

In 10 games for the Birds in 2005, Rakers posted a 3.29 ERA with 11 strikeouts and just three walks. He also picked up his first big-league win, a 2.1 inning appearance against the New York Yankees.

Also during that 2005 season, Rakers arm started to hurt. He thought it was tendonitis and figured it was nothing serious. That off-season it was discovered that Rakers had a torn labrum. That meant pitching at all in 2006 was out of the question.

The Orioles let Rakers go and he eventually landed with the San Diego Padres last year. Same situation – no room for him in the major – and they only called him up for one game.

“The Padres had a lot of extra-inning games and so they brought me up to just throw an inning to give some of their guys rest. They also had a bullpen of all right-handers so I kind of was the odd man out when they wanted a lefty.”

This spring, Rakers went to camp with the Houston Astros, but again got released. Working out at Camden Yards this off-season, the Orioles recommended he try the Atlantic League.

“I’ve heard good things about the league and that it’s a good stepping stone back to the majors,” Rakers said. “I feel a lot better and felt I pitched well this spring, so I’m ready to go.”

The 31-year-old knows York manager Chris Hoiles, as well as pitching coach Tippy Martinez, both former Orioles, and is looking forward to working under the two men this year.

Unlike some teams, the Revolution have plenty of room for Rakers. As long as he pitches well, you can bet they won’t be sending him anywhere but back to the majors. – Scott Stanchak

Majewski In Camp With Newark: AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com has learned that former Baltimore Orioles OF Val Majewski has agreed to attend spring training with the Newark Bears.

The Rutgers grad and New Brunswick, NJ native is friends with several Bears past and present, including Bobby Brownlie, Matt Sweeney and Tim Sweeney and all spoke highly of him. An indication of how stacked the Bears are right now is that there may be no room for the former big leaguer, who hit .154 in nine games with the Orioles in 2004.

I’m anticipating heading to Newark on Friday, so hopefully I’ll have more on this story then.

Camden Signs Two, So Do Blue Crabs: Camden has signed P Alec Zumwalt and INF Gary Cates. They also added INF Gabe Suarez, a former Road Warrior, to the roster.

Zumwalt, literally the last person alphabetically in the Howe database, is a 27-year-old righty with experience in the Braves, Brewers and A’s farm systems. A reliever with extensive Triple-A time, he has a 14-24 career record and 4.45 ERA in 253 games.

Cates is 26, and has advanced as high as Double-A. A middle infielder, the former Orioles draft pick is a .271 career hitter with 19 home runs and 301 RBI in 917 games.

Southern Maryland has signed P Jeff Farnsworth and INF Chris Maples.

Farnsworth is a former big leaguer and AL vet. Having pitched for Atlantic City, Newark and York in the league, this is his fourth team. The 32-year-old righty also made 44 appearances for the Tigers in the big leagues in 2002.

Maples is a former Tigers farmhand who has spent parts of the last two years at Triple-A. 28 years old, he can play many infield positions and some spots in the outfield as well. Just two seasons ago, he hit 22 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A. – Mike Ashmore

UPDATE – Also looks like Camden has signed P Chris Young. A 6′ 4″ righty, Young turns 27 in five days, and has time in the Rockies, Pirates and Marlins systems under his belt.

He’s got a career 24-23 record with a 3.54 ERA and is a reliever.

Morrissey Leaves Fish: I’ve taken infielder Adam Morrissey off the Bridgeport Bluefish’s signing list, thanks to a reader. It appears the 26-year-old has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and will be playing in Double-A with the Arkansas Travelers.

Could he be the one taking the place of another former Bluefish (Jesse Hoorelbeke) that was released from the Travelers last week? – Scott Stanchak

Bears Add Three: From the press release…

The defending Atlantic League Champion Newark Bears Professional Baseball Club announced today that the club has signed former Major League right-handed pitchers JJ Trujillo and Al Levine, along with outfielder Brian Burgamy, to contracts for the 2008 season.

The 32 year-old Trujillo was a member of the Bears’ championship-winning team of a year ago. He appeared in 10 games, tossing scoreless ball in each contest, at the beginning of the season before having his contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies organization. In the Phillies chain, Trujillo combined to appear in 24 games at Double-A Reading and Single-A Clearwater, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.13 ERA. He returned to the Bears after helping Clearwater win the Florida State League championship, pitched in 2 more scoreless regular season games with Newark, and then helped the Bears capture the Atlantic League crown.

A veteran of nine professional seasons, Trujillo appeared in 4 games at the Major League level with the San Diego Padres in 2002. He has saved 110 games in his career, including 42 for Fort Wayne in the Midwest League in 2000.

Levine, who has spent all-or-part of ten seasons in the Major Leagues, has not pitched since the end of the 2005 campaign when he appeared in 9 games for the San Francisco Giants. The 39 year-old right-hander has 416 games of big league experience with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, and the Giants.

Levine has a lifetime mark of 24-33 with 10 saves and a 3.96 ERA in the Major Leagues.
Five times in his career Levine has appeared in 50 or more games in a single season, including a career-high 65 with the Tigers in 2004. Perhaps his best body of work took place in 2001 when, with the Angels, Levine posted 8 wins, 2 saves, and a 2.38 ERA in 64 appearances.

The 26 year-old Burgamy comes to the Bears after spending last year in the Phillies organization, splitting the season as a teammate of Trujillo’s at both Double-A Reading and Single-A Clearwater. The switch-hitting outfielder equaled his career-high by hitting 13 home runs in 2007, and he drove in 51 runs, surpassing 50 RBI for the 3rd time in his six-year career. Originally a 9th round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2002 draft out of Wichita State University, Burgamy led the Florida State League in runs scored with 110 and was 3rd in the league with a .397 on-base percentage while playing for Clearwater in 2006.

Pats Sign Two: The Three-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots have announced the signings of former Major League pitcher Frank Brooks and right-handed pitcher D.J. Mattox.

Brooks, a left-hander, has Major League experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves. He has a Major League career 0-1 record with a 4.58 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17.2 innings over 12 games.

Brooks also has five seasons of Triple-A experience with the Philadelphia Philles, Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Braves, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres organizations.

Brooks most recently played for Portland, the Triple-A affiliate for the Padres last season. He finished his time there with a 1-0 record and a 1.00 ERA in eight games, all in relief.

He has a minor league career 49-47 record with a 3.51 ERA and 669 strikeouts in 801.2 innings pitched in 341 games.

Mattox has experience in the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, and Kansas City Royals organizations, reaching as high as Double-A.

He last played at Wichita, the Double-A affiliate for the Royals during the 2007 season.
Mattox has a minor league career 3.96 ERA and 471 strikeouts in 555 innings pitched in 111 games pitched.


1. Anonymous - April 14, 2008

Did you miss the Al Levine signing with Newark? What will his role be? Closer? Won a ring with Angels in 02′!

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - April 14, 2008

Just came out a short time ago… I posted the P.R.

3. Kevin - April 14, 2008

Will Hoorelbeke be coming back to the Atlantic League?

4. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - April 14, 2008

Haven’t heard anything concrete on that just yet…

5. Anonymous - April 14, 2008

camden has former road warrior gabe suarez on the roster

6. Anonymous - April 14, 2008

FYI the pitcher is Alec Zumwalt.

7. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - April 15, 2008

Thanks for both. I added and made changes.

8. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - April 15, 2008

I used his given first name, which evidently isn’t what he goes by. Kind of like Chase Wright in Trenton…his first name is Sebern and his middle name is Chase.


9. Anonymous - April 15, 2008

john halama is on maryland roster

10. Anonymous - April 15, 2008

can anyone seriously beat the Bears this year? it seems like their roster will have just as much “pop” and we all saw what that could do last season.

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