07/28/2005 9:32 PM - The Kansas City T-Bones bid farewell to a fan favorite in righthander Caleb Balbuena. Balbuena, out of Tuolumne, Cal., was signed by the T-Bones out of open tryouts in 2004, but left the team before the season was over due to soreness in his right elbow. Balbuena was back for 2005, showing the mid-90's fastball that impressed in tryouts; the fastball influenced scouts for the Colorado Rockies to sign Balbuena on Thursday. He'll report to Class A Modesto of the California League.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound reliever was originally drafted in the sixth round in 1997 out of Cuesta (Calif.) JC by the Baltimore Orioles, but did not sign. Instead, he signed with Long Beach State and played on the College World Series team that became known as the "Dirtbags". After the season, Balbuena was the 26th round pick of Seattle and signed with the Mariners.
In four years in the Mariners system, Balbuena advanced as far as the Class A California League before moving on to the independent Northeast League in 2002. In his seven-year pro career, Balbuena has amassed a 13-17 won-lost record while posting a 5.09 ERA. In 2005, Balbuena started off slowly with the T-Bones, but completed his tenure in Kansas City by allowing just one run in his final six appearances, covering 8.2 innings.
Balbuena is the third T-Bone to sign with another organization this season, joining closer Derek Forbes, who is now in the Baltimore system, and slugger Eddie Pearson, who is playing in the Mexican League for Potros de Tijuana.
The T-Bones made two other roster moves, releasing righthanded pitcher Drew Garner, who appeared in two games this season with an 0-1 record, and signing rookie righthander Ron Arostegui. Arostegui pitched most recently in Belgium and has pitched in the Mexican minor leagues, the now-defunct Arizona-Mexico League and in a Nicaraguan league.