More player signings to pass along
The Revs announced four more player signings today, bringing the preseason total to seven (five returning). Today’s news brings us the return of LHP Kris Regas and RHP Dumas Garcia, along with the confirmation that Liubiemithz Rodriguez returns to the team, this time as a player-coach. York also added RHP Omar Javier, who was impressive when he faced the Revs as a member of the Road Warriors last season.
Regas enjoyed a charmed 2011 season to say the least, one that fans of bubbly would likely be jealous of. Regas had the rare opportunity to pop the corks on four separate occasions… he was a member of the Barnstormers’ first half division champions team, then joined York in September, in time to contribute to, and celebrate a second half title with York. Regas never allowed a run with York in the regular season or postseason, and helped his new team beat his former team in the Division Series, before going on to win it all with York. Not only is he a winner, he’s also a scholar – one of the more interesting background stories, Regas has spent time as a college math professor during offseasons.
Regas rebounded from a lost 2010 season (injury) to post a 3.57 ERA between York and Lancaster in 33 games last season. He also held the opposition to a .212 batting average. He was outstanding in the American Association from 2007-2009, combining on a 1.33 ERA and earning All-Star status before signing with the Detroit Tigers and reaching Triple-A Toledo in ’09. Regas saved a league-high 30 games with Sioux City in 2008. He was also a Northern League All-Star in 2006, and spent time in the New York Mets organization early in his career as well. It will be interesting to see how many lefty relievers the Revs end up breaking camp with, but Regas is a good start.
Garcia is one of the more versatile arms the Revs have had. Mostly a career reliever, he was willing to transition to starter when he first signed with York, which came at the recommendation of Ricardo Gomez when he was still on the team. Garcia got better as a starter the more he got stretched out, but also pitched well in relief. Garcia was front and center for one of the great moments in Revs history. With a one-run lead in the 10th inning of Game 5 in Lancaster, Etch called on Garcia who promptly struck out Travis Metcalf on three pitches sending the Revs back to the Championship Series. It was the only save of the season for Garcia who has just 11 saves in his career, but it spoke to his versatility, and ability to perform in a big moment and potentially pitch near the back end of the bullpen. The Colombia native has reached Triple-A with the Cubs and Blue Jays organizations, and is 25-19 with a 3.45 ERA in his pro career.
Javier, just 24 years old, made eight starts for the Road Warriors last season. The Dominican native had two of his best performances against York, including a start in August where he held the Revs to just one hit in 5.1 innings, but ended up losing to Lorenzo Barcelo 2-1. Javier should be given a look for the fifth starting spot in spring training. He began his career in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system.
Etch first told the York Daily Record’s Jim Seip over the weekend that Liubiemithz Rodriguez would return as a player-coach, and the club today confirmed as much. It’s a perfect role for Liu who’s still got game left in the tank, but is clearly starting to think about the next step in his baseball life and doesn’t necessarily want to be an everyday guy any longer. He started to take a step in that direction last season, often coaching first base and becoming a backup infielder, a role which he performed admirably. He was a great defensive replacement, and still gave the team big hits, including a leadoff single in the 10th inning of Game 5 in Lancaster starting a four-run rally, and scoring the first of those runs to break what was a 1-1 tie at the time. Liu has started a Revs record 172 games at second base during his time in York. He appeared in 39 major league games with the White Sox in 1999.
It’s the second player-coach that the Revs have had in their history. Enohel Polanco opened the 2010 season as a player-coach before retiring as a player and moving into his coach’s role on a full-time basis. The Revs now have a four-man coaching staff, more than most teams in the Atlantic League have.
And as a coach in this league, any contributions made toward player procurement are invaluable to the cause. Liu helped the Revs land Lorenzo Barcelo last season, his former White Sox teammate, after making the team’s coaching staff aware of his availability.
Liu quickly became a fan-favorite upon joining the team in 2009. Little did we know at the time, but it was one of the key acquisitions that would help take the club from worst to first in just one season, and championships in each of the next two years with Rodriguez being a major contributor. Liuuuuuuu… it’s still a few months away, but I can hear the chants now.