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40 Players with Independent Experience in Major League Camps

02/26/2010 9:25 AM -

by Bob Wirz

The magic number is 40. That is the Independent Baseball Insider’s exclusive count of players who have been active in Independent Baseball and have reported—or will over the next few days—to major league spring training camps in Florida and Arizona.
The Northern League can claim the most graduates with 14, one more than the Atlantic League, with the Frontier League able to have nine and the American Association six. Three other present day circuits and five previous ones are represented. Some players were in multiple leagues. Twenty-one players are on 40-man rosters with the other as 19 non-roster invitees.

Scott Richmond, one of the brightest names out of the Indy ranks last season, is going to be slowed in his quest to retain a spot in Toronto’s rotation by what the team has described as a shoulder impingement. The Canadian, 8-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances (24 starts) in ’09, will be “monitored closely throughout his revised throwing program”, the Blue Jays said.

The players in major league camps, including their team and Independent cities. Non-roster players are designated with an “n”.

PITCHERS (25)—Craig Breslow, Oakland (#New Jersey, Northeast League); Tim Byrdak, Houston (Gary, IN and Joliet, IL, Northern League); Alberto Castillo, Baltimore (Schaumburg, IL, Northern, and Newark and Camden, NJ, and Road Warriors, Atlantic League); *Aaron Crow, Kansas City, Fort Worth, TX (American Association); Brendan Donnelly, Pittsburgh (Ohio Valley, Frontier League, and Nashua, NH, Atlantic); Nelson Figueroa, New York-NL (Long Island, NY, Atlantic); nJohn Halama, Milwaukee (Southern Maryland and Long Island, Atlantic); *Luke Hochevar, Kansas City (Fort Worth); *Chris Jakubauskas, Pittsburgh (Lincoln, NE, American Association; Orange County, Golden League; Florence, KY and Ohio Valley, Frontier); *Josh Kinney, St. Louis (River City, Frontier); n*Pete Parise, St. Louis (Slippery Rock, Frontier); nOneli Perez, St. Louis (Newark); nVince Perkins, Chicago-NL (Camden and Joliet); Edwar Ramirez, New York-AL (Edinburg, TX, United League, and Pensacola, FL, American Association); *Scott Richmond, Toronto (#Edmonton, Alberta, Northern); *Max Scherzer, Detroit (Fort Worth); n*Tanner Scheppers, Texas (St. Paul, MN, American Association); Travis Schlichting, Los Angeles-NL (Kansas City, KS, Northern); *George Sherrill, Los Angeles-NL (Evansville, IN, Frontier, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, and #Sioux Falls, SD, Northern); nR. J. Swindle, Tampa Bay (Schaumburg, and Newark); *Joe Thatcher, San Diego (River City); Randy Williams, Chicago-AL (#Edinburg, Central League); Clay Zavada, Arizona (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Brad Ziegler, Oakland (Schaumburg); n*Charlie Zink, St. Louis (#Yuma, AZ, Western League).

CATCHERS (5)—nEliezer Alfonzo, Seattle (#St. Paul, Northern); nCody Clark, Kansas City (San Diego, Golden); *Chris Coste, New York-NL (Fargo, ND, Northern; Brainerd, MN, North Central League; Brandon, Manitoba, Prairie League); nMichel Hernandez, Baltimore (Somerset, NJ, Atlantic); nMike Rivera, New York-AL (Atlantic City, NJ, Atlantic).

INFIELDERS (5)--n*1B-3B Mike Cervenak, New York-NL (Chillicothe, OH, Frontier); *SS Stephen Drew, Arizona (Camden); n1B John Lindsey, Los Angeles-NL (New Jersey, Can-Am League); n*1B Kevin Millar, Chicago-NL (#St. Paul, Northern); n*1B Brian Myrow, Pittsburgh (Winnipeg).

OUTFIELDERS (5)—nCory Aldridge, Los Angeles-AL (Newark); *J. D. Drew, Boston (#St. Paul, Northern); nJacque Jones, Minnesota (Newark); nMichael Ryan, Los Angeles-AL (Somerset); nJon Weber, New York-AL (Canton, OH, Frontier, and Fargo).

*Started career in Independent Baseball
#New Jersey now plays in Can-Am League, St. Paul and Sioux Falls in American Association, Edmonton and Yuma in Golden League and Edinburg in United League

(The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and runs his own sports consulting company in Stratford, CT. He also is the author of a blog, Subscriptions to this Independent Baseball Insider column are available at