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June 30, 2008 June 29, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Aldridge Inked By Royals: NEWARK, NJ (PR) – The 2007 Atlantic League Champion Newark Bears announced today that the contract of outfielder Cory Aldridge was purchased by the Kansas City Royals organization.

With the Bears, Aldridge appeared in 62 games and played a vital role in the lineup. He led the Atlantic League in hits with 84, and his .365 batting average was third in the league. He was also among league leaders in RBI with 54, doubles (17), extra-base hits (28), and a .440 on-base percentage. His impressive numbers during the month of May earned him the title of Atlantic League Player of the Month. Although primarily an outfielder, Aldridge made one appearance on the pitcher’s mound for the Bears, tossing a scoreless two innings against the Bridgeport Bluefish on June 4th.

“We are very happy for Cory,” said Assistant General Manager of Baseball Operations Jim Cerny. “In my opinion, he’s been the best player in the Atlantic League since the start of the season and he is very much deserves this opportunity.”

Aldridge will be reporting to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

Van Hekken Signs With Astros: Somerset Patriots P Andy Van Hekken has apparently signed a contract to pitch in the Houston Astros organization. He’ll report to Double-A Corpus Christi.

This marks the fourth time he’s left the Patriots in the middle of a season. The former Tigers starter was picked up by the Royals in 2006, left for Taiwan in 2007, left for Mexico earlier this year before returning, and now has been picked up again.

He was 3-2 with a 4.64 ERA in seven starts at the time of the move. Oddly, the year he didn’t get picked up was by far his best. Go figure.

Van Hekken becomes the third player picked up by the Astros in a very short amount of time, joining Newark’s Val Majewski and Lancaster’s Jarred Ball…curiously, Ball is listed as a pitcher on the Hooks official website.

As for Van Hekken, he was also the subject of this somewhat odd column, sort of comparing him to Barry Zito.

Where’s The Beef?: Ask someone in charge of putting together an Atlantic League roster, and depending on who it is, they’ll usually tell you this.

“Well, there’s not a lot out there.”

Yes, that’s an actual quote.

But so is this…

“We got a list the other day that there are 20 Major League guys without jobs.”

“If you’re willing to go out and get them, and you’re willing to take the chance that they’re better than what you have, they’re definitely for the taking. There’s definitely good players out there that are looking to play.”

Again, those are actual quotes from two different people who put teams together. Who said what doesn’t matter. It’s that one thing’s being said that evidently is incredibly false that’s the problem.

Is it that teams don’t want to pay these guys? Is that they know they can’t compete with the Mexican League in terms of money? Perhaps teams just don’t have access to the same information that others do?

Shea Hillenbrand’s name has been kicked around for a while — first with a Freedom Division team, then a Liberty Division club — I’d heard stuff about Preston Wilson and Rodrigo Lopez a while ago, and Jeff Weaver was recently asked about by one team. Perhaps Eric Milton resurfaces after his elbow injury?

There are so-called “name” players available. It’s just a matter of actually signing them.

Camden Adds Collet: The Camden Riversharks have signed C Cody Collet to backup Randy McGarvey.

Collet, 23, was a sixth round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2003. He signed out of high school, and drew comparisons to Jason Kendall.

He also has time in the Angels system, and advanced as high as Double-A with them.

Collet entered the year as a career .197 hitter with one home run and 17 RBI in 76 professional games. He has a career OPS of .520.

Released by the Angels on June 2nd, he was hitting .091 for Single-A Cedar Rapids.

Fulse Back Too: Some teams in the Atlantic League like to play a game. It’s called “Let’s see if we can put someone on our roster without anyone noticing.”

OF Sheldon Fulse was added by the Riversharks a few days ago. Fulse, who I caught up with last year, is a solid player who provides some speed for the Camden lineup. He also told me he probably wouldn’t play in this league again.

At some point, perhaps I’ll start telling people I won’t be covering this league for that much longer, and we’ll see how that pans out…

Franklin Released In Mexico: Jeff Johnson, who apparently is fluent in Spanish, is reporting that former York P Wayne Franklin was released by his Mexican League team, opening the door for a return to the Atlantic League.

Before the former big leaguer left for Mexico, there were rumors circulating that he might be on the trading block — yes, the Atlantic League kind of sort of has such a thing.

It will be interesting to see if he returns to the Atlantic League, and if he does…which uniform he’ll be putting on.

Bluefish Deactivate Bentz, Add Hesseltine: The Bridgeport Bluefish have placed P Chad Bentz on the inactive list and activated P Charlie Hesseltine from the DL. – MA


1. Anonymous - June 30, 2008

Andy Van Hekken signed with Houston’s AA affiliate Corpus Christi on Sunday

2. Mike - June 30, 2008

It’s not like Andy to leave like that in a middle of a season. Seriously, someone needs to do a feature on this guy’s frequent flyer miles. But hey, good for him…I think he’ll do well in Double-A.

And it would appear Houston is getting some serious mileage out of their Atlantic League scouting. Val Majewski, Jarred Ball…now Van Hekken.

3. Anonymous - June 30, 2008

maybe Freddy Garcia.. for a week before he would be signed

4. Francis Rose - June 30, 2008

I love the Atlantic League, but really, why would the Shea Hillenbrands of the world play here? What do they possibly have to gain, letting bush league umpiring and the chance that Low-Single-A talent might get them out, stand in the way of a trip back to the bigs?

If the Atlantic League REALLY wanted to be the premiere independent league, they would do away with the phony salary cap and let the league be what it should be–a place for the Hillenbrands and Rodrigos and Preston Wilsons of the world to play, make some money, and then move on. I bet you’d find some guys stay, just because it’s more low-key. But $3K a month or whatever it is–if these guys are REAL big leaguers (and not the one-day variety) they make that much in interest on what they’ve stashed from their playing days.

There’s PLENTY of big league talent out there. They just don’t want to play in the ALB. Sad but true.

5. Anonymous - June 30, 2008

Great break for Cory! Would have been even better had KC waited until after the upcoming Bears/Pats showdown. He has been playing great this season.


6. Anonymous - July 1, 2008

Rumor has it that Alex Sanchez packed his things and left the Ducks today.

7. Anonymous - July 1, 2008

Shea turned down AAA deals, he retired just like most of the people that have been listed. A guy who made 10 million has no need to go to the Al – he can retire. Guys who are in the big leagues and have been average need the atlantic league for mlb pension reasons. If they have no shot at pension, korea, japan, mexico, etc. pays 10-20k+. Tell me how Newark, Bridgeport, CAmden, etc can afford that. Guys come here to get picked up. Atlantic League salery has nothing at all to do with it. Most of the “expensive” guys you think are in this league – the ex big leaguers are not the heighest paid players at all. Do you think an extra $500 a month is a deciding factor? A 10 year MLB vet can make 200K+ after he hangs them up

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