York Revolution alum Scott Rice (’11) has earned the final spot in the Mets bullpen out of spring training, his first Major League roster spot in 15 professional seasons. While he becomes the fourth Revolution alum to reach the Majors, he will become the very first to make his MLB debut after wearing a Revs uniform.
A season ago, Rice was the final cut from Dodgers big league spring training. As he headed to Triple-A Albuquerque, it was assumed he was a lock to get called up to L.A. during the season. That call never came and he signed with the Mets as a free agent during this offseason. It was an ironic move, as the Mets medical staff may have saved Rice’s career; he struggled with an elbow injury that prevented this sure-fire prospect from reaching the big leagues much sooner than 2013, and it was the Mets medical staff who properly diagnosed it after others failed to, despite Rice not being with the Mets at the time.
At 31, Rice will likely be the oldest rookie on any MLB Opening Day roster. After he appeared on the roster of Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this week, it looked like he would start another season in the minors, but at long last his big league dream is realized. Here is the full press release from the Revolution after the jump:
With players due to report for spring training in just over a week, the York Revolution added two more names to the preseason roster, both with significant Major League experience. The Revs have come to terms with reliever Mike Wuertz and utility man Eric Patterson on contracts for the 2013 season. Both signings were announced today by manager Mark Mason. (more…)
April 1 isn’t until Monday, and I assure you we are not fooling anybody. Revolution Baseball Operations Manager Andrew Ball has received confirmation that infielder Tony Phillips, who played in 18 Major League seasons between 1982 (!) and 1999 predominately with the A’s and Tigers will attend the open tryout on Friday, April 5 with hopes to earn a spot on the spring camp roster.
While Phillips retired in ’99 at the age of 40 after 106 games with Oakland, apparently he is in pretty good shape. He began this post-50s comeback in 2011 when he played in 24 games for Yuma in the North American League (hit .269 with an RBI), and then played in 16 more games in the same league with Edinburg last season. (Hit .231 with eight RBI.)
In his Major League career, Phillips played in 2,161 games and has over 2,000 hits. He was a career .266 hitter with 160 home runs and 819 RBI. Anyone remember another player on the other side of 50 that played in the Atlantic League last season?
If you’d like to see this story unfold in person, fans are welcome at the tryout, which begins at 5:45 p.m. on the 5th.
Hampson and Rice were each competing for spots in the Mets bullpen, and both have been assigned to come out of the ‘pen for the Las Vegas 51s in the Pacific Coast League. Hampson was called up to the Mets from Buffalo, their Triple-A affiliate last year, on two occasions; once in June and then again when rosters expanded in September. Rice, who we’ve written about extensively, continues to be a close call in almost every situation he’s in. Last spring, he was the last player cut from the Dodgers big league club in camp, and was assumed as a lock for a call-up from Triple-A Albuquerque during the season. That call never came as he spent the duration in the PCL. He signed with New York as a free agent following that disappointment. Rice is still striving to make his MLB debut – although he did get to pitch at Dodger Stadium last year against the Angels in the last exhibition game before the season started. However close, Rice has yet to appear in a Major League regular season game.
Shawn Hill will head to Triple-A Toledo of the International League in the Tigers organization, a year after becoming the second Rev to go from York to the Majors in the same season. Hill also became the first Revolution alum to earn a MLB winning decision, when he and the Blue Jays bested Andy Pettitte and the Yankees last September in Toronto. He signed with Detroit as a free agent following his return to the bigs.
Our speculation has been confirmed: Rather than return to the Revolution, franchise home run leader Chris Nowak has elected to retire. After signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to spring training, Nowak was released from their camp last week. He and his wife recently welcomed their first born, which you would assume factored heavily into his decision.
Nowak launched 59 home runs in his two seasons with York. His 25 in 2011 surpassed Jason Aspito’s single season mark of 24 set in 2008. Last season, Nowak obliterated his own record by smashing 34.
Nowak joins a growing list of recent Revs that are moving on. This offseason alone Scott Grimes, Brandon Haveman, Val Majewski and Adam Thomas have concluded their playing days.
The Revolution have added four relief pitchers to the growing roster for preseason camp; right-handers Pedro Liriano and Julio DePaula, and lefties Joe Torres and Joe Testa. The acquisitions bring York’s preseason roster to 26, including 16 pitchers. Competition should be fierce. The Revs plan to add at least one more position player, perhaps two. More news on that may be coming later in the week. And who knows what the open tryout might yield on April 5, but depth will not be an issue for the Revolution when they break camp with their final 25-man roster, and the team should be able to weather any early-season signings by MLB organizations. Although Atlantic League rules do permit teams to carry 27 players until June 1, when rosters must be trimmed to 25 for the remainder of the season, Manager Mark Mason has indicated that he will not carry extra players and go with 25 on Opening Day. More on the bullpen guys:
Each spring, the Long Island Storm puts together a group largely made up of Atlantic Leaguers that competes in a series of spring training games against minor league squads in Florida. This year, the team includes a Revs flavor with righty Nick Green, lefty Kris Regas and second baseman Andres Perez on the club, along with former York righty Jason Richardson who continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Here’s an update on the Storm’s success: (more…)