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Alumni spring training update

MLB Spring Training has reached its final week, and plenty of former Revs are still vying for roster spots, in either the Majors or Triple-A.  A veteran player who played in York last season, who shall remain nameless, told me when he reported “the reputation is that if you want to get signed and get back to the big leagues, the place to go is either York or Long Island in the Atlantic League.”  THAT is not a statement to take lightly.  The update:

1B/OF Brian Burgamy (’13), Mets:  Burgamy is still in Mets camp, and reported on a minor league deal.  However, he has had a sniff of big league spring training games, and had a pinch-hitting appearance against the Cardinals toward the end of the game on Monday, March 24.  Should Burgamy not make the Triple-A Las Vegas roster, it’s unclear where his next potential landing spot would be.  After departing the Revolution for the Mexican League last season, he finished out the American Association season with the St. Paul Saints.

LHP Ryan Feierabend (’12), Rangers:  Last season Feierabend made 24 appearances and 16 starts at Triple-A Round Rock with the Rangers, posting a 3.66 ERA in 120 innings. He’s likely ticketed for a return to Triple-A, but he did start Texas’s MLB spring training game against Oakland Monday the 24th, and tossed four scoreless innings, scattering just four hits.  While there may not be a spot in the Rangers rotation for Feierabend at this point, a call-up isn’t out of the question considering he is performing well, and has been with the organization multiple years.  He could reach Arlington this season, especially if they have him come out of the bullpen as a left-handed specialist.  Feierabend, who established the single-season Revolution ERA record in his 17 starts with the team in 2012 (2.91), had 25 Major League appearances (19 starts) with Seattle from 2006 to 2008, but no big league time since.

3B Andy Marte (’13), Diamondbacks:  The highlight of Marte’s spring was a home run against Zack Greinke of the Dodgers on March 12, but was assigned to minor league camp on March 16 and will be starting the season at Triple-A Reno.  It’s encouraging that Marte has found a home with the Dbacks however after the Angels signed him away from the Revolution last season.  He appeared to be in very good shape for a September call-up to Anaheim before his season ended on a shoulder injury when he won a playoff game for Triple-A Salt Lake by scoring the winning run with a head first dive into home after a 4-for-5 night including a homer.  Marte raked in Triple-A last season, batting .362 in 29 games with six home runs and 18 RBI, an even better showing than his impressive stint in York, where he went .301/19/74 in 96 games.  Should he continue to perform, a call-up to Arizona could come at any time.  Marte’s 301 Major League games played came between 2005 and 2010, mostly with Cleveland.

LHP Scott Rice (’11), Mets:  At this time last year, Scott Rice’s cracking of the Mets Major League roster out of spring training was the most pleasant of surprises at age 31 after 14 minor league seasons.  He became the fourth Revolution alum to reach the Majors, but the first to make his MLB debut.  Not only did Rice reach the show, but became a significant part of the Mets staff.  He appeared in 71 games and posted a 3.71 ERA, and would’ve led the Majors in appearances had a hernia injury not cut his season short in September.  This year however, Rice is a lock to be back in the Mets bullpen, and when he pitches in his first game, he’ll become the first Revolution alum to appear in the Major Leagues  in back to back seasons.

LHP Ian Thomas (’12), Braves:  Just getting invited to Major League camp is an accomplishment with no Triple-A time.  Making the MLB roster out of spring training when it looked like Triple-A was a forgone conclusion for Thomas would see him be the second Revs alum to make his MLB debut, after Rice.  There are several reports out there that Thomas is a better than 50/50 chance to be with Atlanta on Opening Day, but starting the season at Triple-A Gwinett is still a possibility.  The fact a non-roster invitee has lasted until the final week of spring training certainly suggests the Braves are serious about Thomas helping them in the Majors this season, if not Opening Day, than soon.  We saw a similar story play out last season with Rice, when he was among the last non 40-man players at Mets camp, and appeared destined to begin the season at Triple-A.  That didn’t happen and he nailed down the final bullpen spot and did not return to the minors; hopefully Thomas does the same.  We’ll know soon.  In his first 10 appearances (10 innings) this spring, Thomas has allowed just seven hits and three runs.  He has 13 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting just .200 against him.

1B Chad Tracy (’13), Orioles:  Originally signed by the Orioles to a minor league deal back in late January, Tracy is still in camp and has nosed his way into the big league side of things.  On March 20 he pinch-hit in a game against  Pittsburgh, and drove in a run on a sac-fly to aid Baltimore’s 4-2 victory.  With Tracy there are pretty much two options:  Make the Triple-A Norfolk club or be released.  Should he be released, a return to York is likely to become the team’s everyday first baseman to begin 2014.  Stay tuned.

To wrap things up, oft-written about pitchers Shawn Hill and Brett Tomko are battling for spots in Triple-A with the Blue Jays and Royals, respectively.  Hill would likely return to York if Toronto doesn’t keep him, Tomko, not so much.  IF/OF Eric Patterson was also released out of White Sox camp earlier this month, and a return to York is likely.  His versatility to play either middle-infield position or outfield is quite valuable in the fast and furious world of Atlantic League roster shuffling, with his natural position at second base.  Patterson’s .275, 13 HR, 38 RBI effort last year in 62 games for the Revolution earned him Atlantic League All-Star Game accolades, before signing with the Brewers.  Patterson played in 226 MLB games between 2007 and 2011 with the Cubs, A’s, Red Sox and Padres.  Mark Teahen was also released, by the Giants, but it’s doubtful the 7-year MLB veteran would return to York to play.  Teahen hit .270 in 78 games with York last season after joining the team in June.

-Paul Braverman

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