November 20, 2017

Gibbons Homers Off Fellow Indy Leaguer in Major League Game

September 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

While concentrating on the finalizing of playoff pairings, one cannot help but wonder how many Atlantic League fans took notice of the special moment that took place Sunday when two of the league’s current major leaguers squared off against each other.

On this occasion, two onetime Long Island Ducks were standing 60 feet, six inches apart.  Jay Gibbons, who played for the Ducks for part of 2008 and Newark a year later and is making a determined bid to establish himself on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ radar beyond this season, launched what was described as a monstrous three-run home run, and he did it at the expense of Nelson Figueroa, who pitched for Long Island briefly in 2006.

In other words, it was a Duck vs. a Duck or an Atlantic Leaguer against an Atlantic Leaguer, although. not in Long Island or Newark, but rather on the major league stage at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

Figueroa may have finally found a home in Houston at age 36, where he has started in rotation since August 17, allowing no more than three earned runs in any of the six outings except when he ran into Gibbons and he was charged with four runs.  The right-hander is 5-2 in 27 appearances for the New York Mets, Philadelphia and the Astros this season, posting a nifty 3.34 earned run average in 70 innings.

Gibbons, 33, has shaken things up since his overdue recall from Triple-A Albuquerque August 8 to the point Manager Joe Torre is openly questioning himself why it was so long in coming and suggesting the lefty hitter could well figure in the Dodgers’ plans next season.  Gibbons also helped the Dodgers break a six-game skid with a two-run, game-winning home run in the 11th earlier in the Houston series, and now is hitting .349 (15-for-43) with five homers and 15 RBI over 26 games in his first major league action since his 779 games in Baltimore ended in ’07 and the native Californian was targeted in the Mitchell Report.

Called up mainly to pinch hit, Torre told The Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise “right now he’s going to play left field a good portion of the time.  With what Gibby has shown us, he certainly deserves more time out there.”  Albuquerque Manager Tim Wallach is among those happy for Gibbons, “because he can hit.  He can really hit.”

* * * *WANT MORE INDEPENDENT BASEBALL COVERAGE?  Check out                  www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com * * * *

Scott Williamson Forecasts Return to Majors in ‘11

It is common for players to be cautious when talking about getting back to the major leagues.  Not so for Somerset closer Scott Williamson, one of the second-half stars who have gotten the five-time champion Patriots back to the Atlantic League playoffs for a record ninth time in the circuit’s 13-year history.

“The way I’m throwing now, there is no reason I can’t be with a (major league) team next year,” Williamson said when interrupted from his laptop crossword puzzle, adding that a number of teams have wanted “to see if I was healthy.  Everything came back so fast”, the 1999 National League Rookie of the Year said, while describing the shoulder cleanup surgery performed by Cincinnati Medical Director Dr. Timothy Kremchek last March 2.  Williamson has saved 11 games and won another in 14 appearances while putting up a 1.80 ERA and allowing only seven hits in 15 innings.

Patriots Will Start Bid for Three-Peat on Road

Second-half Freedom Division titlist Somerset will start its quest for a third consecutive—sixth overall—Atlantic League championship at York September 22-23 while Southern Maryland, the Patriots’ finals foe last season, will host Bridgeport the same dates to start the best-of-five set in the Liberty Division.

(These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook.  Subscriptions to the full Notebook are available via www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com or www.WirzandAssociates.com.  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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