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Archive for June, 2012

Former Revolution reliever Hampson called up to Mets

For the second time in franchise history, an alum of the York Revolution has reached the Major Leagues.

Monday morning, left-handed reliever Justin Hampson was promoted from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the International League to the New York Mets, one of a few roster moves resulting from Mets closer Frank Francisco landing on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain.

Hampson was a member of the 2010 Atlantic League Champion Revolution, appearing in 11 games out of the bullpen.  The following season he joined the Mets organization, pitching all of 2011 in Buffalo, posting a 3.41 ERA in 52 games and 58 innings of relief.

Hampson pitched even better for Buffalo this season.  Upon his promotion he had appeared in 28 games, tossing 42 and a third innings, with an ERA over a run better than last season, 2.13.  In both seasons with Buffalo combined, Hampson’s strikeout to walk ratio has been better than three to one, with 98 punch outs and only 31 walks since the beginning of 2011.

The Mets are Hampson’s third big league team, and this will be the fourth MLB season he’s pitched in.  He appeared in five games for the Colorado Rockies in 2006, 39 games for the San Diego Padres in 2007, and 35 more for San Diego in 2008.  Four seasons later, Hampson will make his Major League comeback two seasons removed from playing in York, as the Mets begin a three-game series on Monday at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.

For his career Hampson holds an impressive 3.38 ERA in the big leagues, in 79 career games.  He has 62 strikeouts in 96 Major League innings pitched.  Hampson, 32, was originally drafted in 1999 by Colorado.

In the inaugural York Revolution season of 2007, outfielder Tike Redman played the first seven games of the season with the club, before his contract was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles. After going to Triple-A Norfolk, he ended the season in the Majors with Baltimore.  While Hampson is the second Revs alum to reach the Majors, the organization currently has a slew of former pitchers in Triple-A.  Relievers Scott Rice (Albuquerque, Dodgers), Mike DeMark (Reno, Diamondbacks), and starters Ryan Feierabend (Lousiville, Reds) and Shawn Hill (Las Vegas, Blue Jays) are all a phone call away from a Major League Roster.

-Paul Braverman

Revs lose Hill to Blue Jays, sign his former teammate with Nationals Matt Chico

(Read the official release from the team after the jump):

During the last home stand, word was out Shawn Hill was recovered from injury and pitching well for the Revolution…so well that he didn’t allow a run in the final 27 and two-thirds innings pitched over his final five starts with the club.  The Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox each had personnel in town to see him pitch.  The Seattle Mariners were also asking when his next start would be.  But as it turns out, Hill will head back to familiar surroundings for a team in dire need.

It was a gruesome week for the Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff, as they lost three starters long-term from June 12 to June 16, shelving Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison on the 15-Day DL.  Morrow has an oblique strain, while Drabek and Hutchison have more serious elbow sprains.  There’s a great chance any or all of the injuries are more serious and will require a longer DL stint.

So in a flash, Toronto was in sore need of organizational pitching depth, having to recall players from Triple-A in a hurry.  As players shuttle from Triple-A Las Vegas to Toronto, Hill will go from York to Las Vegas, one step away from the Major Leagues with an injury riddled pitching staff.  I always say this when the Revs have a guy promoted to Triple-A; but if Hill continues like he has been, a promotion to the Majors and a return to Toronto may not be out of the question.  It would be quite  a story for Hill, who after missing all of the 2011 season due to injury, last pitched in the big leagues with the Jays in 2010 making four starts, and also made five starts for Las Vegas that season as well.  And of course, not only is Hill a native Canadian, but from Ontario as well. 

Lefty Matt Chico will take Hill’s spot in the rotation, and as coincidence would have it, those two were big league teammates in 2008, each starting for the Washington Nationals.

-Paul Braverman


Vote Revs 2012!

It’s an election year.  Then again, if you’re a baseball fan every year is an election year, because there’s always an All-Star Game.

The online fan ballot is live for the 2012 Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will take place at Campbell’s Field in Camden, NJ on July 11, home of the Camden Riversharks.  Please vote early and often for the Revolution.  At the bottom of the ballot, there is a write-in option, should a player who was a recent addition and not on the ballot come on strong in the weeks leading up to the All-Star Game. (Brandon *cough* Haveman *cough*)

Ultimately, the Freedom and Liberty Division All-Star Teams are decided in a combination of the fan vote, field managers and league office.  The pitching staffs for the game are decided solely by the managers and league.

Once again, click here for the online ballot.

It’s tough to beat the setting at Campbell’s Field in Camden.  The Philadelphia skyline shines brightly along the third base side, as the ballpark sits right underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

West York Bulldogs: PA Class AAA Champions!

West York High School captured their first ever state championship in baseball last night in State College, and beat a school from Lancaster County to boot. Guess the War of The Roses started a week early! The Revolution extend our congratulations…that’s three championships for York in 20 months!  York has truly become “Pennsylvania Baseball Town.”

The title game was held at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, across the street from Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus.  It’s home to Penn State Baseball in the spring, as well as the State College Spikes during the summer, the Short Season Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the New York-Penn League.

Feel free to use the hashtags #CityofChampions and #PABaseballTown on twitter this week to talk about York’s latest champions.

Some Saturday shutout facts…Waters to make first start

Hope you die-hard fans are enjoying your weekend away from Sovereign Bank Stadium.  If that’s even possible.  There’s a World Series preview happening in Washington between the Yankees and Nationals to tide you over until the team returns on Monday.  Yeah, I said it.

As the Revolution play in Somerset this weekend, here we are on Saturday, and the Revs haven’t allowed a run since the 7th inning on TUESDAY at home against Southern Maryland.  The 29-inning scoreless streak is a franchise record and counting, and the three consecutive shutouts are also a franchise first, 10-0 vs. Southern Maryland on Wednesday, and the back-to-back 1-0 blankings of Somerset the last two nights.  The lone run in each game was driven in by Ramon Castro, and last night his solo home run in the top of the ninth was the game winner.

With Friday’s win, the Revolution climbed over .500 at 24-23 for the first time since opening day at Sugar Land, when they were 1-0.

How long will this amazing scoreless streak last?  It was announced this morning that former Oriole Chris Waters will make his first start and debut for York this evening at Somerset.  So much for the thought that he’d need a couple bullpen outings before he started.  We’ll see how deep into the game he can go.

-Paul Braverman

Garceau picked up by Kansas City T-Bones, pitched well in first start

Garceau in the gear of his new club, the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association.

It didn’t take recently released pitcher Shaun Garceau long to find work. The Revolution parted ways with Garceau on June 9, but he was quickly picked up by the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association. That’s Kansas City, Kansas, not Missouri.

As always, there is Atlantic League connection. The American Association is anchored in “Big 12” country, but has an odd number of teams. The Can-Am Association is anchored in the Northeast, and also has an odd number of teams. The separate leagues are governed by the same office, so to rectify the scheduling issues that come with having an odd number, the two-leagues actually have interleague play. Somewhere throughout the season, an American Association team is always playing a Can-Am team in a series.

As it would happen, the Newark Bears were making one of those interleague trips to Kansas City, KS. You may remember the Bears being in the Atlantic League, before opting to leave for the shorter-season Can-Am following the 2010 season. They were the 2002 and 2007 Atalntic League Champions, and defeted the Revolution in the first-ever game at Sovereign Bank Stadium in 2007.

Garceau was promptly thrown into the fire, making his first start for his new club against Newark on June 12. The results were excellent, as in an 8-1 Kansas City victory the righty tossed six scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits and struck out five.

There were plenty of fans on hand to enjoy Garceau’s first start as well:  I’m not sure what the promotion was last night but the T-Bones announced a crowd of 10,002 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Kansas City and the Winnipeg Goldeyes – a former team of former Revs Vince Harrison and Ian Thomas – are the top two draws in that league.

-Paul Braverman

Newest Revolution addition has cool claim to fame

Chris Waters, pitching for the Orioles during the final game at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008.

The latest Revolution signing of lefty starting pitcher Chris Waters jogged my memory a bit…back to the 2008 season.

It was Waters who started the final game at the original Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008 for the Orioles. Opposite of Waters that day was Andy Pettitte, who pitched five innings and got the win for the Yankees in a 7-3 triumph. Waters tossed five and two-thirds innings, and took the losing decision for the O’s. Waters also surrendured the final two home runs at “The House That (Baltimore native) Ruth” built; a three-run shot to Johnny Damon in the third, and a two-run shot to Jose Molina in the fourth.

So although things didn’t go Waters’ way that day, it’s a nice trivia question that will live on with a member of the Revs. As it would happen, Waters and Pettitte are each returning to professional baseball this season; Pettitte out of retirement with the Yankees, and Waters from Tommy John surgery.

Waters, 16 months removed from the surgery, last pitched for the Nashville Sounds in 2010, the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, making 21 starts. His MLB time was all with Baltimore, making 11 starts (64.2 IP) in 2008, and one start and four relief appearances in 2009 (11.2 IP) before his release and hooking on with Milwaukee.

Entering his 12th professional season, Waters, 31, was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the 2000 draft, out of high school in his native Lakeland, Florida. He was with the Braves up to Double-A through 2006, joining the Orioles organization at Double-A the following season. Waters will likely have at least a couple outings out of the Revs bullpen just to get going, before joining the rotation.

-Paul Braverman

Watch Ian Thomas’ current manager go nuts

Found this video checking up on lefty Ian Thomas, who was signed by the Atlanta Braves off the Revolution roster on May 17 and assigned to the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League.

The manager for Rome is Randy Ingle, who’s been there a few years.  Here’s a great video of him absolutely losing it on an umpire and putting on a great show during the 2009 season.  Since umpire tirades/meltdowns never get old, enjoy this one.  I laughed, it’s definitely a good one.

Etch too has always put on a good show as well during/after umpire dust-ups, so I’d bet Ian Thomas has a good appreciation for playing for colorful managers.  It just makes the game more fun.

-Paul Braverman

Thomas, Feierabend will try to help AWFUL teams

There’s always a nuanced baseball stat/coincidence to pour over if you look hard enough.  But this one is truly amazing.

The Revolution have now had two player contracts purchased by MLB organizations so far this season.  Lefty reliever Ian Thomas went to the Atlanta Braves on May 17 and southpaw starter Ryan Feierabend to the Cincinnati Reds on June 5.

Kudos to both, as Thomas tries to reach the Major Leagues, and Feierabend tries to make it back…he last played in the bigs in ’08 with Seattle and pitched in 25 career MLB games beginning in 2006.  Such promotions are met with well deserved congratulations, but these two also have an element of sympathy.

Amazingly, the first two Revs players this season to be picked up by MLB organizations were assigned to the two WORST teams in professional baseball so far.  Major Leagues, minor leagues, Mexico…whatever, ALL of baseball.  

Feierabend is with the Triple-A Louisville Bats of the International League, who sport an 18-40 record as of June 5, by far the worst in their league and of the 30 Triple-A clubs, a .310 winning percentage.  Feierabend may have left a better team in the Atlantic League with York.

But Louisville’s start is only the second worst in the game.  The Class A Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League, to which Ian Thomas was assigned, are a robust 14-43 as of June 5, for a sultry winning percentage of .246!  Ouch.

While the dream lives on of one day seeing Feierabend and Thomas pitch in the same Reds vs. Braves game as York Revolution alums, all we can say is best of luck to them now…with the clubs they’ve been assigned to, luck may be all they can go on even when they pitch well.  They’re both still young, so those big league aspirations are realistic.  At worst, two very bad teams each picked up a good pitcher to at least try and salvage their seasons.

-Paul Braverman

Feierabend picked up by Reds, roster move(s) coming – UPDATE BELOW: Roster moves made

Check out the official press release after the jump.

Darrell Henry groans:  “It always happens when you’re hot,” in reference to the Revolution losing their best starting pitcher during a stretch that has seen them take three of four games in three consecutive four-game series.  Winners of nine of 12 and 11 of 17, the Revs have shaken off their 6-13 start (low point), and have rebounded to climb just 3.5 games out of first in the Freedom Division just past the quarter-pole of the season.  They have 34 games left this half to chase down Lancaster, with 20 of those games coming at home.  Seven head-to-head meetings with the Barnstormers remain in the first half as well, including the 100th regular season meeting between the two clubs, when Lancaster makes their first “War of The Roses” visit to Sovereign Bank Stadium June 22-24.

I say:  “That’s what we’re here for.”  So although losing Feierabend hurts, things are still looking up for the suddenly hot and surging Revolution.  Darrell’s anguish over losing our best starter is short-term, he’s secretly happy for him.  (Take it as a compliment Ryan, if Darrell is freaking out because someone is leaving, it probably means they did a pretty bang-up job.)  Feierabend, who was in Phillies big league spring training as a reliever, has a chance to pitch in the big leagues this season for Cincinnati if things go well at Triple-A Louisville, where they plan on starting him this Friday at Syracuse.  A solid showing in their rotation and who knows, a call to Cincinnati could be in order for a spot start, or a September call-up to pitch out the bullpen.  So don’t order your customized Ryan Feierabend Cincinnati Reds jersey just yet, just start saving for it now.  I’ve taken the liberty of pulling the mock-up off MLB Shop just for giggles:

What will the corresponding roster move be?  We’re not sure yet, but rumor has it Shaun Garceau and Ricardo Gomez are both feeling good and ready to return from injury.  Garceau will begin as a reliever, but could start again for the Revs once he builds up his innings. While nothing is certain yet, lefty Jake Stevens, who signed with York but ended up in Mexico in April, was released from his Mexican League club and could return to the Revolution.  At this point, that’s a big “could” though.  In any event, the Revolution are looking for another starting pitcher, as Garceau won’t be ready for that yet.  Look for Omar Javier, who has been impressive lately as a long guy out of the pen, to maybe catch a spot start in the meantime.

UPDATE:  The anticipated roster moves have been made in advance of tonight’s game, quicker than we thought.  Shaun Garceau has indeed been removed from the Inactive List, and is ready to pitch out of the Revs bullpen.  Lefty Kris Regas, who originally opted to return to York, but also ended up starting the season south of the border, has also departed from Mexico and has re-joined the team.  He too has been removed from the Inactive List, joining Garceau in the Revolution bullpen.  Reliever Andy Wells has been released after three appearances with the team, after signing on May 21.

-Paul Braverman