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April 21, 2008 – Tim Drew Talks April 21, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Not How He Drew It Up: What is your definition of hanging out?

For many ballplayers, it could be sitting around in the hotel room.

Maybe it’s going to the local bar or restaurant after the game and having a cold one.

Could be playing cards with some teammates.

But when I spoke to Bridgeport’s Tim Drew a few days ago, he said he was “hanging out at a Christian bookstore” when I originally called.

That may start to explain how while some players loathe the Atlantic League experience, the former big leaguer said he’s taken this opportunity as a blessing.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with guys who might not have the amount of experience I do,” he said.

This is the 10th professional season for the 29-year-old righty, and he’s made three different stops at the big league level: Atlanta, Cleveland and Montreal.

Somewhat unfortunately, independent baseball has become a family affair for the Drew brothers. J.D. elected to play in the Northern League after being drafted, and Stephen did something similar with the Camden Riversharks before eventually signing with the Diamondbacks.

But for Tim Drew, a January 2006 surgery to repair a torn labrum made the indy circuit a necessity, not a convenient option as it had been for his brothers.

Out of affiliated baseball for the first time in his career, Drew signed on with Aiken of the now-defunct South Coast League last season and made 13 starts, going 4-5 with a 5.10 ERA.

“The game doesn’t really change too much from one stop to another,” said Drew of playing in the league.

“My shoulder was around 80 percent, I was still trying to gain some arm strength then.”

After speaking to his brother Stephen about the Atlantic League, he got in touch with Bluefish manager Tommy John, whom he had gotten to know while in the Expos organization.

With the Georgia native no longer having a “hometown league” to play in, he decided to head up north and sign a contract to play with Bridgeport. The strength of his surgically repaired shoulder will play a large role in how successful the choice was.

“I feel a little better than I did last year,” he said.

“If I get picked up, great. If I don’t, I think I’ll probably retire.”

Drew told me that he faced live hitters for the first time since last season on Friday, saying he “wasn’t that great, wasn’t that bad.”

“Mechanically, there’s some things that need to be ironed out,” he said.

Drew hopes to provide a veteran presence to a team that was one game away from making the Atlantic League playoffs last season. So far, he likes their chances of a trip to the postseason.

“I think our team’s pretty solid,” Drew said.

“We’ve got a good group of younger guys, and a good mix of older guys as well.”

Now at the lowest rung of the baseball ladder, and four years removed from wearing a big league uniform, the closest he may get to putting on another one may be memories from games past.

“My most memorable (big league moment) would have to be being in Atlanta with my brother (J.D.),” he said.

“It was just a phenomenal time for both of us, and something I’ll never forget. Now, I hope I can get back up there with Stephen, too.”

Independent baseball served its purpose for both J.D and Stephen Drew.

The story of whether Tim can follow in their footsteps and make memories a reality will start to unfold this Friday.

He’s Just Good: Newark’s Mike Just went 5-for-5 in the Bears 7-2 win over the Somerset Patriots yesterday. Spring training or not, that’s impressive.

But that was the score after the game ended after the teams played into the top of the 11th.

After the top of the 9th, when the game should have ended, the Patriots had shut out the Bears, 2-0.

Technically, Casey Cahill, who actually threw the first pitch at Healthquest Park as a high schooler, would have been credited with the save.

But the teams played on, and Bo Donaldson probably wished they hadn’t. The former Padres farmhand was knocked around in the 10th inning, allowing six runs on six hits and a walk.

Bobby Hill hit a home run to right center field, and then Cory Aldridge hit a bomb that would have been out of any ballpark to right field later in the inning. He knew he got it — he watched it quickly depart the stadium for a brief second — but so did everybody else. There was some audible “oohing and ahing” from the crowd.

Donaldson faced nine batters in the inning, before it was ended with only two outs. Sitting about 10-15 feet away from home plate, it looked like his pitches didn’t have a lot of velocity, and he started trying to overthrow his fastball once he got into trouble.

BOX SCORE (Includes all 10 1/2 innings)

Bears

Just: 5-5, R, RBI, SB
Hill: 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
Reed: 1-3, R, 2 BB
Majewski: 1-5, R, H
Aldridge: 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, K
Burgamy: 1-4, BB
Haran: 1-4, K
Pachot: 0-5
Gutierrez: 0-3, K

T. Sweeney: 2-3, R, HR, K
Knazek: 0-3, 2 K

Baez: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
M. Sweeney: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
Pellegrine: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Rubio: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

Patriots

Duncan: 0-4, 2 K
F. Moore: 2-4
Alvarez: 0-4, K
Hagen: 1-4, 2B
Larson: 1-3
Pressley: 3-4, BB, K
Chiaravalloti: 0-3, 2 BB, 2 K
Olivares: 0-2
Belcher: 2-2, R, HR
Ayala: 1-3, BB, K

P. Moore: 0-3, R, 3 K
Anderson: 1-1, 2B, BB
Housel: 0-2, 2 K
Muscato: 0-2

Kelly: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Knight: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Welsh: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
Cahill: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Donaldson: 0.2 IP*, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HR
Minix: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

We got some bad info in Newark. The starter for the game in Newark on Saturday was Michael Bumstead, not Matt Sweeney. So just credit Sweeney’s stats I listed to Bumstead.

Rather embarassing when you go to the manager and ask why Sweeney is pitching again, only to find that out.

Chris Rubio isn’t listed on Newark’s spring training roster, but he pitched rather well in the late innings. The 23-year-old righty pitched for Slippery Rock of the Frontier League last year, and struck out four batters in two innings of work yesterday.

The Bears — well, more specifically Jim Cerny — have shown a knack for bringing in guys that next to nobody has ever heard of and getting the best out of them.

My educated guess is that the Patriots cut two pitchers and two position players. I have my guesses, but there doesn’t seem to be any sort of consensus just yet.

Brandon Knight took a line drive off of his palm during his third inning of work, but came out for a fourth and pitched well. Brett Jodie told me Knight was OK after the game.

Seems pretty clear that Knight will be the team’s opening day starter.

Michael Ryan was not with Somerset, staying back at the hotel because he was sick.

Pete Moore served as the Patriots pinch runner a minimum of five times in the game.

Patriots staffer Mike Desmond made his professional P.A. debut after two years of doing games at Stockton.

Real nice turnout for the game…maybe 150-200 people were there. Seems like a lot of the kids there really took to Elliott Ayala.

Contrary to popular belief, noted country music enthusiast Travis Anderson did not provide the music for the game…instead, the honor went to Immaculata coach Tom Gambino, who went with a wide array of country music, including Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and Josh Turner.

Outside of some Trace Adkins being mixed in there, I was OK with all the choices…

Blame/thank Scott Stanchak for getting me into country music, by the way. All his fault.

Ashmore Photo Gallery:

Joe Welsh

Matt Sweeney

Chris Rubio

Keith Reed

David Pellegrine

John Pachot

Val Majewski

Brandon Larson

Scott Knazek

Steve Kelly

David Housel

Bobby Hill

Casey Cahill

Jason Belcher

Benito Baez

Elliott Ayala and Gerard Haran

Jodie Happy With Pitching Staff: Here’s some quotes from Patriots pitching coach and director of player procurement Brett Jodie:

Thoughts on the pitching staff…

“I thought (the pitching staff) looked pretty good. They stayed ahead of hitters, all around it was pretty good. Knight looked really good, Steve Kelly I thought looked better than last time. Relievers did well. Bo didn’t have a real sharp outing, but the first time he pitched in a long time was the other day, so there might have been some lingering effects from the other day. I kind of expected that, but other than that, I thought it went well.”

On if he has an idea of what the roster will look like…

“Every day you’re evaluating. Things become a little bit more clear the more you play. Obviously if you had another week, it becomes easier. We’ve got an idea right now. We talk about it pretty much every day, and we’re going to have to make a decision probably Tuesday.”

On what a position player on the bubble can do at this point in camp…

“Look at what that Just kid did for them. Something like that, you do that…look at Elliott (Ayala), it’s not like he was on the bubble last year or anything, but he had a heck of a spring, and if he would have been on the bubble, he would have made the team. You’ve just got to show yourself. (Matt) Hagen’s been taking some great swings out there, I think. It looks like he’s on the baseball, and it looks like he can play some different positions and has been showing some things. That’s what you look for.”

On what a pitcher on the bubble can do…

“For a pitcher, the number one thing for me is throwing strikes. The fact that we can put you in and you can throw strikes and have a chance to get somebody out. I don’t care if you get hit or give up a few runs, I’d rather see people throwing strikes. If they had a bad outing, but then they adjust and have a good one, I look for that too.”

Somer-Stats: I may literally be the only person on Earth with all the box scores from the Patriots intra-squad games and exhibition games against the Bears from the past few days. There’s a certain mixture of pride and sadness that comes with that distinction.

Anyway, sarcasm aside, let’s move to the semi-serious matter of posting the Patriots combined stats from those past four games. As I said, I have my guesses as to who stays and who goes — if there are cuts, see the news item a few blurbs below — and perhaps this will help you formulate your own opinions if you haven’t been fortunate enough to stop by and see the team.

These stats do not include the innings played after the regulation part of the game had ended on Saturday in Newark.

Duncan: 3-11, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K
F. Moore: 3-11, BB
Ryan: 1-6, 2 BB
Alvarez: 1-10, 2B, 3 K
Hagen: 2-7, R, 2B
Larson: 2-11, HR, RBI, 3 K
Pressley: 4-11, BB, 2 K
Chiaravalloti: 3-9, HR, RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
Olivares: 0-7, R, BB
Belcher: 5-7, R, 2B, HR, RBI
Ayala: 3-10, BB, 4 K
P. Moore: 0-5, R, BB, 4 K, SB
Anderson: 2-7, 2B, BB
Housel: 0-7, 4 K
Muscato: 1-4, BB, K

Kelly: 4.2 IP*, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Knight: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
Welsh: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
Cahill: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Donaldson: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR
Minix: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
Mattox: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Wiggins: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Reith: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Richardson: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Humen: 2.1 IP*, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Brooks: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Van Hekken: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 3 K
Prinz: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Blosser’s A Blue Crab: The buzz around the Jack Cust Baseball Academy yesterday was that former Somerset Patriots OF Greg Blosser had signed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

Blosser has not played since 2003, when he was released retired about a month into the season. He became a private investigator, and made headlines in 2005 for his arrest for allegedly firing a gun in a fight.

The former Red Sox draft pick had some great moments in a Patriots uniform, and I’ll be curious to see if he breaks camp with the team after five years away from the game.

Mateo To Mexico: With INF Randall Simon expected to join the team by today, it’s worth noting that the Bears have also lost a player. Bears manager Wayne Krenchicki told me yesterday that OF Ruben Mateo informed the team on Saturday that he would be leaving to play in Mexico.

In all likelihood, that opens up a starting spot for Val Majewski. In talking to several Bears players about this, they agreed with my assessment that it says a lot about their team and the league that a spot needed to open for someone of Majewski’s caliber to find a spot.

27-28 Player Rosters?: Jason Guarente is reporting that the Atlantic League may allow teams to carry 27-28 players for evaluation purposes early in the season.

I had heard some rumblings about this just yesterday, but didn’t expect it to be implemented as quickly as it may be. For some teams, this may be a welcomed change. For others, paying 23-24 guys was enough of a challenge.

My opinion? Why even have spring training if you’re going to use the beginning of the year to evaluate guys? Isn’t that what spring training is for?

Guarente also writes that former Patriots P Robert Averette, who — like many of his teammates during that 2006 season — left Somerset due to “personal reasons,” was offered a tryout by the Barnstormers.

Myette To Start Opening Day: Jim Seip reports that Aaron Myette is York’s likely Opening Day starter.

In another post, he writes that Tyler Von Schell has joined the team after all…

Bobby Darula, Actor: I was having a conversation with friend and Patriots radio broadcaster Brian Bender about a week ago, and he mentioned that he saw a commercial starring Bridgeport’s Bobby Darula, clad in a Bluefish uniform.

So I checked up on it with Bridgeport’s excellent PR man Nick Razzette, and it turns out it’s true. Darula, along with teammates Sean Fesh and Angel Espada, did a spot for “Certain Dri Feet,” which is apparently some sort of foot powder.

If anyone can throw this or any of Sparky Lyle’s old Miller Lite ads on YouTube, I’d love to see it…

Bonds Update: The guys over at Minor League Dugout — the guy who runs the site is actually the brother of former Atlantic Leaguer Brad King, believe it or not — have a paragraph about how Joe Klein offered Barry Bonds the opportunity to work out at Atlantic League spring training.

I wrote this thing into the ground a few weeks back, but it’s interesting that Klein did actually get in touch with Bonds and a seemingly formal offer was made.

There was some buzz around the ballpark yesterday about Frank Thomas being released.

Maybe him, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa and Bonds can all get together and turn the Ducks into a big league All-Star team.

Abreu In Nashua: This was mentioned in the comments a few days back, but I was catching up on some reading and wanted to point you towards Tom King’s article in The Nashua Telegraph about long-time Camden OF Denny Abreu signing with the Nashua Pride.

Interview Schedule: Scott’s got York’s Corey Thurman for you Tuesday, while I’ve got Southern Maryland’s Adam Johnson later this week. – Mike Ashmore

Changes In The Barn: The Lancaster Barnstormers have released P Derek Forbes today. Not surprising considering he gave up 10 runs in less than two innings on Friday.

Also, the club acquired P Judd Songster from the Camden Riversharks for future consideration. – Scott Stanchak

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Comments»

1. IslanderFan77 - April 21, 2008

Thanks for all the great photos!!

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - April 21, 2008

Glad you enjoyed them, I certainly like taking them…

M

3. playballnyy - April 21, 2008

Hi there, wasn’t sure the best way to send this suggestion…thought it would be fine to post it here. How about a “Where are they now?” post. I know I have my bluefish favorites that I miss or will miss (Rolo Avila, Hector Kuilan, Angel Espada, Marrero), I’m sure all the fans have some former team favorites that they wouldn’t mind reading about. What does everyone think? Who would YOU like an update on?

4. RW Fan - April 21, 2008

JD Drew played in the Northern League, not the Frontier League.

5. www.BrickCityBruins.com - April 21, 2008

Mike, Scott … Wow! Thanks for all the stuff. When do you have time to … well … breathe? Your efforts are very much appreciated.

6. Anonymous - April 21, 2008

How can the AL let great players like Dwight Maness, Joe Jiannetti, Denny Abreau and formet patriot “Radman” leave the Atlantic League. These guys have dominated over the years and they are playing in other leagues. How can this happen. -Mike Jennings

7. Anonymous - April 21, 2008

I, for one, am glad to see the influx of new players into the league this year. Now thats nothing against any of the players mentioned above but really at some point teams have to bring in newer names etc. Seems like the league got a little “stale” over the last year or so with teams bringing back the same old smae old. Again nothing aginst the guys mentioned…at his point those guys were not moving any closer towards affiliated ball and there are other names out there who would possibly use the exposure. Just an opinion from a fan of this league from the beggininng days.

Lancaster released p Derek Forbes and acquired p Judd Songster (I love that name) from Camden for “future considerations”. Now Lancaster has the Judd and Jutt connection…

8. Anonymous - April 21, 2008

Yeah those four guys really made this league stale with their hustle and playing the game the right way. I sure hope we can get some new talent in this league that has a chance to make it to affiliated ball. People who can do it better than Rad’s 30 homers and .300 average or Maness 20 homers .275 average and 30 steals a year. Jianetti was really stale too in his 2 years of Atlantic League time. Good point.

9. barnstormer1 - April 21, 2008

GEEZ…thats JUST AN OPINION! Why get on my case about that? Like I said previously TWICE…Nothing against those guys and their stats and their “good guyness” factor..I liked them all as ballplayers and guys and opponents…so I have nothing against them. Repeat nothing aginast them at all. I am just saying eventually these guys have to move on…and playing year after year in the same league probably gets old to them as well. I am not saying they don’t deserve to play in this league…they are all proven players. Its just that sometimes moving on is a good thing. To whatever league they go to or whatever. There are younger players that also deserve to play here…and possibly have a better chance ..is all I am saying. We’ll see soon enough. I just don’t understand why you jump on me anonymously for an opinion. Its a good point I made and others will agree.

10. barnstormer1 - April 21, 2008

Oh and yes I changed my user name..I stand behind my comments…respect my opinion.

11. Anonymous - April 21, 2008

Well go tell Jutt Hileman he has run his course in Lancaster. Tell him he is stale and you are bored seeing him play.

12. barnstormer1 - April 21, 2008

Right…will do so.

13. barnstormer1 - April 21, 2008

And thanks for the advice.

14. Roadwarriorfan - April 21, 2008

Mike, was Benito Baez’s start indication that he is in the running for a spot in the Newark rotation? Sweeney relieved him so his start was probably just to get work in.

15. BoosterBabe - April 22, 2008

Im confused by all the anoymous posts…it looks like he’s arguing with himself.
Whatever happened to having to sign in to post? I liked that better.. just my 2 cents.

16. Anonymous - April 22, 2008

Whatever happened to your planned interview of Walter Young (now with the Sussex Skyhawks?) You’re right. That’s the kind of guy the Atlantic League (preferably Patriots) should sign.

17. barnstormer1 - April 22, 2008

hey boosterbabe…that was my initial post..the one that has Judd and Jutt connection…then I added my user name…I agree with you on the confusion..thats why I changed it! Appropriate behavior and respecting OPINIONS is what I miss! LOL!

18. Anonymous - April 22, 2008

Yeah Jiannetti was stale with his 20 plus homers and his league reacord hitting streak…you’re right…what is wrong with these people…well I hope the new players are as talented… Bob (Atlantic City’s #1 fan)signed and sealed!!!

19. barnstormer1 - April 22, 2008

Are you the same anonymous as the first guy or someone else? Thanks for respecting my opinion as well Bob. Mike and Scott…I think we need to go back to identifying posters.


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