Archive for March, 2012

Your BlueClaws Opening Day Roster

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

One of the more exciting days on the calendar, when we get to announce the Opening Day roster, has arrived. These 25 players will take the field in Greenville on Thursday to officially start the 2012 season.

Click here to download a pdf version of the Opening Day roster.

We’ll have more later but the official press release is below the fold.

Among the players you’ll see: 3B Maikel Franco, 1B Kelly Dugan, OFs Gauntlett Eldemire, Aaron Altherr, Brian Pointer, and Kyrell Hudson, and SS Tyler Greene.

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Matt Rizzotti Traded to Twins

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

2008 BlueClaws first baseman Matt Rizzotti was traded to Twins yesterday for cash considerations.

Blocked in this organization by Ryan Howard and in the big picture by Chub Feeney*, he’s a better fit with Minnesota.

* Pat your self on the back if you know Chub Feeney – he was the National League president from 1969-1986 who was one of the main reasons there is no DH in the National League.

Rizzotti, a 6th round pick in 2007 from Manhattan College, has a career .870 OPS in the minors, .903 last year with Reading, and figures to go to Triple-A Rochester this year. He could always hit and now has a better chance to reach the big leagues with Minnesota in the American League.

We wish him the best.

The photo shown above is one of our favorites from the archives and actually hangs on the wall outside BlueClaws GM Geoff Brown’s office.

Friday Game Reports

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Below the fold as per usual, the minor league spring training game reports from Friday.

(Note – as for the roster, haven’t seen it yet but when we are allowed to release it, you’ll be able to see it right here)

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Stop! Thief!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Every year, when the players arrive they fill out a little survey. Some of the questions are basic – who is the best player you’ve ever played with and against? What would you like to be called (as in Matt or Matthew)?

One of those questions is “Who is your favorite player?’ Gose answered Willie Mays Hayes.

There is more in this interview.

“Obviously, Willie Mays Hayes is a fictional character, but that’s my favorite baseball player. I just really like Willie Mays Hayes, he’s a great guy.”

We bring this up today because yesterday Gose, now with the Blue Jays, stole second, third, and home in the 8th inning of a game against the Red Sox.

“I never saw anybody steal second, third and home in the same inning in my career,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “He is obviously exciting. He can take over on the basepaths. He has a combination of pure speed, plus the ability to read some things. You just turn him loose. He’s a pure basestealer.”

Here’s what Bobby Valentine said, via the Boston Herald:

“Real fast runner being a young daring guy,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said, adding that catch Jarrod Saltalamacchia “checked him four times. The fifth time he didn’t check him. He lobbed it and Justin got it stuck in his glove, I guess. If he gets the ball out. He’s out. … He’s a fast runner that kid.”

Gose and Travis d’Arnaud, both teammates with Lakewood in 2009 and New Hampshire last year, winning titles both years, will probably open in Triple-A Las Vegas and we’d expect to see both make their big league debuts this year.

Thursday Game Reports

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Below, the minor league game reports for Thursday, including a sparkling pitching performance from the guy that could be Lakewood’s Opening Day starter.

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Notes on Two Former Claws

Friday, March 30th, 2012

We neglected to post this the other day but it’s such a good quote that it’s still worth it. This is Rich Dubee, Phillies pitching coach, on former BlueClaws Jake Diekman (via Philly.com):

“I asked him first if he had an agent,” Dubee said. “He told me he did. I said, ‘Fire him. Because I’ll jump on and be your agent and hopefully I’ll be able to retire soon.’ I think he’s got tremendous upside. Seriously. That’s what I told him. I expect to see him this year. If the call comes, I expect him to be ready.”

While Diekman did not make the Phillies roster (he’ll open with Lehigh Valley), he should make his big league debut at some point this year, maybe soon.

Another former BlueClaw who might make his debut in April is Cubs Rule-5 pick RHP Lendy Castillo. According to this, from the Chicago Sun-Times, he’s not in the bullpen just yet, but still could make it. In fact, we’d expect he will make the team. If he’s not on the 25-man roster all year, he’d be offered back to the Phillies, who would certainly accept him. The Cubs, who won’t compete for a playoff spot, can easily carry a young rookie in the bullpen.

Castillo has 11 strikeouts in 10.2 spring innings, but nine walks.

ClawCast: Groundskeeper Ryan Radcliffe

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

While all of you have been thrilled with the weather we’ve had this winter (if you can call it that), perhaps nobody has been more excited than BlueClaws groundskeeper Ryan Radcliffe. Radcliffe, of course, is in charge of making sure the field is all set and ready to go when Opening Day arrives on April 12th.

“It’s been amazing, just looking at the soil temperatures from years past, we’re up about ten degrees from where we usually are at this time.” Apparently, I did not know this, the grass kicks in growing and greening at about 50 degrees and we’ve been at 60 at spots already (this is a soil temperature, not the actual temperature).

You can listen to the podcast below or pop it on you iPod (right click this link, save link as, drop it in your iTunes).

Thanks for listening.

The podcast plan is essentially to do a couple each week, one with manager Mickey Morandini, which we’ll on Thursdays. We will also have a podcast with BlueClaws GM Geoff Brown in the days leading up to the home opener and we’ll solicit questions from fans for that one – stay tuned.

APP on Potential BlueClaw Perci Garner

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Continuing with the profiles of potential 2012 BlueClaws, Tony Graham of the Asbury Park Press on potential BlueClaws RHP Perci Garner, a 2nd round pick in 2010 from Ball State. Here is the full story.

In 2011 the right-hander went 1-1 with one  save and struck out 30 in 30 innings for Williamsport, Pa. in the New-York Penn League while posting a 1.20 ERA.

Garner had made  two appearances for Williamsport in 2010 before being shutdown with discomfort in his pitching arm.
“It’s s  nice to see his velocity is back from when  he signed,” said Steve Noworyta, Philadelphia’s assistant minor league director.

“Any time you have a young kid like that, with the wear and tear of a college season,  you just wait to see he rebounds from it.

“His velocity is up to the low to mid 90′s, (he has) a really good breaking ball, and he’s working on his changeup. So he’s really starting to get those secondary pitches to where he’s going to be a pretty good starter for us.”

Garner, a high school QB, went to Ball State as a football recruit before switching to baseball.

It is possible that he skips Lakewood and heads to Clearwater as he has been with their group most of the spring, including starting for the Clearwater club yesterday – giving up one run over five innings in his final tune-up.

Wednesday Game Report

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Below find the minor league game report from Wednesday. Remember, there are just three days of games left – today, tomorrow, and Saturday.

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Dave Schofield: On the Way Home From Spring Training

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

We’ve had several Dave Schofield blog posts up here over the last few weeks (here, here, and here) that originated from Florida. This one originates from the Jersey Shore, talking about one of the best and worst parts of spring training – coming home.

After a month of beautiful weather and brilliant sunshine, my time in Florida was drawing to a close. I had photographed college baseball and college softball and Major League and minor league games and headshots.  Twenty college baseball and sortball games, seven major league games and 9 minor league games. I shot over 250 headshots for the Yankees, over 200 for the Philies and  65 for the New Hampshire FisherCats. It has been a busy spring and I was tired.

Before rest though I had to drive the nearly 1500 miles from  Clearwater to Belmar. I had done it many times and knew the way.

As I looked at the map, I realized that this drive would take me through many of the towns I have worked in during my 40+ years of photographing Major and Minor league baseball. I found this exciting and thought provoking.

The road from Clearwater to Loganville, GA where I would visit with my daughter for a few days before resuming my journey home, is I-75 North.

Throughout Florida, I was  impressed  by the way the terrain changes as the road goes north.  Leaving Florida and entering Georgia the land becomes more fertile and the pine trees  higher.

The first old stomping ground I passed was Albany, GA. The home of the Albany Polecats in 1994. I passed through there to photograph them for their baseball cards for the Fleer Company. It was in Albany that I met lefty pitcher Shane Hale. I saw and photographed Shane throughout his rise through the Baltimore Orioles farm system. Sadly Albany no longer has a minor league team.

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BlueClaws, Townsquare Extend Agreement

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

We’re very excited to announce that the BlueClaws and Townsquare Media have extended their agreement and all BlueClaws games will be now be carried on WOBM-AM 1160/1310 as well as ShoreSportsNetwork.com through 2015.

The BlueClaws have been on these stations since 2002 and this agreement ensures 14 straight years on the same stations, which is tremendous.

Here are the quotes:

BlueClaws GM Geoff Brown: Townsquare Media has been a tremendous partner of ours for the last 10 years. This agreement ensures that our fans can continue to hear BlueClaws games on the same stations for more than a decade. We’re ecstatic to be in a situation like this.

Townsquare Director of the Shore Sports Network Kevin Williams: We put such an emphasis on our local, Jersey Shore community, and the BlueClaws are obviously an extension of that. They’re a big part of our programming and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership.

On a side note, Adam Giardino and I will be blogging on that site as well as this one during the season, with the first one going up later this week. We’ll share those blogs here as well.

BlueClaws games begin with the BlueClaws Beat Pre-Game Show 15 minutes before the first pitch. The first broadcast begins at 6:45 pm on April 5th, a week from tomorrow.

Here is the full release.

Media Guide Now Posted

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

We’ve posted the BlueClaws media guide on BlueClaws.com for you to read.

Basically, we’ve embedded it at this link, under the roster tab. Feel free to read that throughout the season. It has player bios (a lot of them), coaches bios, BlueClaws history, team records (single-season, all-time, and single game), year-by-year records, famous moments in team history, and tons of other stuff.

Enjoy.

Additional media-style notes will be on the way later this week when we get the roster, etc.

One thing I do know, the BlueClaws are 1-10 all-time in home openers, picking up their only win last year over Kannapolis 2-0.

Opening Day, home version, is April 12th and you can get tickets here.

Tuesday Game Report

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Minor league game report for Tuesday is below. Enjoy.

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Two From the APP

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Asbury Park Press BlueClaws beat writer Tony Graham was in Clearwater last week and is unveiling some of his season preview articles on APP.com. There are two new ones up there we wanted to share:

First – on potential BlueClaws shortstop Tyler Greene, an 11th round pick last year, grew up in Maryland and moved to Florida with his family, including a brother who is in the Mets organization, so both could better pursue a baseball career.

On line where he gained his high school diploma  or between the lines on the baseball field where he expects to be this summer for the Lakewood BlueClaws, 19-year old  Tyler Greene has launched what he hopes is an early jump on his bid to some day play shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Greene, an 11th  round pick in the 2011 June Amateur Draft, played 17 games  in 2011 rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League.

“That was my goal in the off season, to make the Lakewood club, just so I can get a step ahead of everybody,”  Greene said.

Read the full story.

The next article is on a familiar face to BlueClaws fans, outfielder Aaron Altherr. Altherr, a 9th round pick in 2009, started last year with the BlueClaws and then was sent to Williamsport. He’s still a top-15 Phillies prospect and will get another shot at Lakewood this year.

Whenever he stepped to the plate early last season for Lakewood Altherr said he couldn’t help taking a glance at his batting average which was displayed on the FirstEnergy Park  scoreboard. The numbers did not provide a pretty sight.

“I got into trouble with that last year,”  Altherr said.   “I was like 0-for-11 my first at bats and I just kept on looking at my stats and the scorerboard every time I got up to bat.

“I’d see my average at .000. It got me down every time I saw that. I’ve got to learn to stop looking at that.”

And read this full story here.