August 10, 2022

Half of ’09 All-Stars Return, Some in New Uniforms; As Incentive, Former Players Setting a Hot Pace

April 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Fans anxiously awaiting Thursday night’s season openers in the Atlantic League can look forward to the return of half of last season’s 14-man All-Star team although seven of the eight managers may not be quite so happy that three of them will be wearing the uniform of the back-to-back championship Somerset Patriots.

In addition to having Matt Hagen returning at second base and Jeff Nettles at third, Somerset offers all-star outfielder Wayne Lydon, who pilfered 72 bases at Camden.  York boasts two of the All-Star unit, catcher Salomon Manriquez, who was at Newark, and outfielder James Shanks, who played at Southern Maryland.

Long Island returns Player of the Year Ray Navarrete, who had the utility position on the team, and Travis Garcia will once again man the shortstop position for Southern Maryland.

Jay Gibbons on Terrific Run in PCL

Since many Atlantic League players are hoping to move along to greater financial rewards in major league organizations, they can find encouragement in how well some of the league’s former players are fairing.  For that matter, the success helps the entire league sell itself to both the public and to players they are courting.

The most dazzling performance—and this is no understatement—is being put up by onetime Long Island and Newark outfielder Jay Gibbons for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top farm club in Albuquerque. The 33-year-old Gibbons has 15 hits in his last six games, including back-to-back four-hit contests, to elevate his average to .471 (16-for-34).  The left-handed hitter leads the Pacific Coast League with an incredible .941 slugging percentage since 10 of his hits have been for extra bases with seven doubles and three home runs.  His 14 RBI rank second in the PCL.

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Camden’s Nate Bump Solid for Phils

Nate Bump, who ran up an 8-2 record with a 2.49 ERA in 12 starts for Camden early last season, is making the most of a new life in the Philadelphia chain.  He had to convince the Phillies in spring training that at 33 he still had some of the ability that got him to the majors for most of 2003-05 with Florida, where he was in 113 games, all but two in relief.

The onetime San Francisco first round draftee has turned in strong back to back starts for Lehigh Valley (Allentown, PA), with the most recent one seven innings against Rochester in which the only run was unearned.  The former Penn State all-American got his first decision of the season by allowing only six hits and three walks.  Combined with a no-decision start five days earlier, Bump stands at 1-0, 2.08.

(Subscriptions to the Atlantic League Notebook are available on a monthly or full season basis via or  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, 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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