November 18, 2018

After Years of Fighting Injuries, Randy Williams Is Having an Unblemished Spring

March 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

If Randy Williams turns out to be so fortunate as to spend all of 2010 with the Chicago White Sox, it will be his first such major league campaign, and he will turn 35 before fall.

Williams certainly is off to a great start in following up on the second half of last season when he got into 25 games as a southpaw specialist for the Chisox, working 18 innings and posting a 4.58 ERA to go with an 0-1 record.  Williams has been scoreless in 9.1 innings during seven exhibition games, allowing six hits, fanning five and not issuing a single walk.

The amazing part of Williams’s story is this native of Harlingen, TX only pitched 56 innings between the time the Chicago Cubs drafted him in 1997 until they released him five years later.  He had both shoulder and elbow surgery in that span, pitching in only two seasons.

The former Lamar College hurler (the same school that produced Kevin Millar) got back on track when he worked 42 games (5-2, 10 saves, 1.20, 1.93 opponent batting average) for Edinburg, TX, now of the United League, in 2002.

It is just one more impressive Independent reclamation project.

Injuries and Cuts

Not only has the injury bug taken Toronto’s Scott Richmond (Edmonton) and R. J. Swindle of Tampa Bay (Newark, NJ, Atlantic League, and Schaumburg, IL, Northern League) out of the start-of-season picture, but now Michel Hernandez’s hopes of being the backup for catcher Matt Wieters at Baltimore have been stopped by a fractured right index finger that will sideline him for a month to six weeks.  Hernandez played his Indy baseball for Somerset, NJ (Atlantic).

Recent cuts from major league camps have included Josh Kinney, Pete Parise and Oneli Perez by St. Louis, Brian Myrow by Pittsburgh and Eric Gagne by the Dodgers. Gagne was released in a mutual decision.  Kinney and Parise started in the Frontier League at River City (O’Fallon, MO) and Slippery Rock, PA, respectively, Myrow in the Northern League (Winnipeg) while Perez pitched in the Atlantic League (Newark, NJ) and Gagne the Can-Am League (Quebec).

Weber’s Still The Man

While his major league fate remains in question—doubt may be a better description since the New York Yankees say any extra bat should come from the right side—32-year-old rookie Jon Weber continues to be the most talked about former Independent player in either Florida or Arizona.

The pesky left-handed-hitting outfielder, who spent all or part of three different seasons in the Northern League (Fargo, ND) and one full year in the Frontier League (Canton, OH), went into play Friday hitting .545 (12-for-22) in 13 games.  We were fortunate enough to talk in this space about his 10 championship rings from minor league and international competition before spring exhibitions started, and now he has become one of the media centerpieces, with stories from many points including Gannett and The New York Times.

“I’d probably cry like a little kid,” he told USA Toda,y if he made the 25-man roster.  His story is so reminiscent of another Fargo product, catcher Chris Coste, who challenged the .500 mark with his batting average in 2006, yet still did not get his first major league at-bat until Philadelphia recalled him later that year.

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www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com ADDED TO www.IndyBaseballChatter.com

FOR ADDITIONAL INDEPENDENT BASEBALL COVERAGE?

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Mike Marshall’s Tenure With Indies Rivals Dodgers Career

Some day it would be nice to sit down with a yellow pad—it probably would require legal-sized pages—to list the number of people who have been involved with Independent Baseball for a decade or more.

Mike Marshall will always be remembered for his 11 major league seasons as a player, primarily as a solid hitter with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the 1988 World Championship. Marshall now qualifies for his “decade” pin in Independent circles, either as a field manager or a front office executive, if not both at the same time.  Marshall, 49, has a new undertaking in the Golden League.  After years in Yuma, AZ, this rangy outfielder has just become the president and general manager of the Chico (CA) Outlaws, one of only two franchises (Orange County) around since the league started.

(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blogs, www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com.  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.)

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