Gibbons Makes Another Statement for Indy Leagues
Jay Gibbons has struck another harmonious chord for Independent Baseball with his splashy re-entrance into the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers.Â
A longtime Baltimore Orioles outfielder (2001-2007), the left-handed Gibbons erged from a brush with being named in the infamous Mitchell Report to start cleansing his reputation with the Long Island (NY) Ducks in the Atlantic League in â€™08, and did all of his playing in â€™09 with the Newark (NJ) Bears.
Â Then, after auditioning his still-potent batting skills in winter ball and at Triple-A Albuquerque (.347-19-83), he made an impressive National League debut with a run-scoring pinch single on Sunday, the day he joined the Dodgers.Â After a day off and a cross-country flight, the 33-year-old broke out with a three-RBI game (homer and two singles in four at-bats plus an outstanding catch) as LA swamped Philadelphia, 15-9.Â He only played the first 5 Â½ innings.Â
â€œRight now, itâ€™s all about winning games,â€ Dodgers Manager Joe Torre told MLB.com when he kept Gibbons in the lineup the next night over regular Matt Kemp.Â â€œTo have the game he (Gibbons) had last night, weâ€™ll ride that as far as we can.â€Â Gibbons went 0-for-4, but the entire team was blanked by Roy Oswalt and the Philsâ€™ bullpen.Â He is 4-for-9 for his first three games.
Â Six Indy Alums Get to Majors This Season
Jay Gibbons is the sixth player to take the Independent Baseball route who has gotten back to the major leagues this season, and the 144th overall since the Indy startup in â€™93, according to the exclusive records maintained by the Independent Baseball Insider.
Â Mark Prior Fans Five in a Row
It is way too early to start predicting former National League all-star Mark Prior is on his way back to the majors, but there seems reason for encouragement after two appearances in the Golden League.Â Prior got into a bases loaded, one-out jam in his first relief inning for Orange County (Fullerton, CA) Wednesday night, then struck out the last five Tijuana hitters he faced.Â Still only 29, the right-hander has allowed only one hit (no runs) while fanning six in his three innings.
Pena, Swindle Could Get Into Pennant Races
Two Independent grads it would not be shocking to see in major league pennant races yet this season are R. J. Swindle, who Tampa Bay could call on to get key left-handed hitters out, and Wily Mo Pena, who may become at least an extra bat for San Diego.
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Pecos League Plans to Launch Next Season
I guess it was even before the Continental League closed up shop when another low cost Independent league started taking form.Â Now, the Pecos League says it has six teams ready to play next summer although some probably will not have a permanent home.
â€œIt is a rookie league for players not drafted,â€ said Founder Andrew Dunn, who is in the real estate world in Houston and has had various amateur baseball involvements.Â
Dunn identified the first six teams as former Continental members Las Cruces, NM, which he owns, and Alpine (TX) County (formerly called Big Bend) along with Del Rio, TX, Roswell, NM and El Paso, TX, where the American Association is established with the Diablos.Â He indicated El Paso probably will not have a full home schedule, and a road team called Coastal Kingfish may play.Â The other possibilities at this time, he said, are Pueblo, CO, Bisbee, AZ and Abilene, TX.
(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes on Independent Baseball.Â Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blogs, www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com.Â The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)