March 2, 2021

Two-Time Batting Champ Victor Rodriguez, Wily Mo Pena Could Add Substantially for Bridgeport

June 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

York’s worst-to-first dash can only encourage others to keep striving to improve, and that certainly seems to be the case for Bridgeport.

The Bluefish, eager to return to the upper ranks of the Atlantic League since 1999 championship Manager Willie Upshaw was available from Day One (he took over in mid-season last year), were stung a few times with ace Esteban Yan going to Mexico, hard-hitting first baseman Josh Phelps signing with Cleveland and a new winning starter, Paul Oseguera (3-2, 2.36), part of Oakland’s purge of the league.

Upshaw and General Manager Bob Goughan keep adding intriguing names to the mix, and have managed to keep Bridgeport within two games of .500 (18-20) and only 3 ½ games behind the division-leading Long Island Ducks in the Liberty Division.

Recent moves, which could pay offensive dividends, have included the signing of onetime major league slugger Wily Mo Pena to play first base and two-time Atlantic League batting champion Victor Rodriguez.  Another longtime league fixture, 36-year-old lefty Luis Arroyo, was added Friday and was expected to start Friday night at Camden. He has been at Bridgeport three times previously, and has pitched for Somerset, Long Island and the Road Warriors during recent parts of his 19-year career.

Pena is gradually warming up through his first five games, including his first homer Thursday at Lancaster.  Pena has gone 5-for-19 (.263) so far.

Rodriguez has joined the Bluefish but still is getting into game shape before playing.  The 33-year-old hit .301 in 97 games at Long Island last season while also spending some time in Mexico, but that paled in comparison to his .371 Most Valuable Player season at Somerset in 2004 and the .365 performance at Newark in 2007, when he was co-Player of the Year and helped the Bears win the championship.

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Watson a Top Producer Among Recent Players Sold

Among all the players sold out of the Atlantic League this season, Lancaster outfielder Matt Watson may be making the most impact.  The lefty hitter has three homers in his last four games, and has drive in nine runs by going 11-for-29 (.379) in only seven games with Oakland’s top farm club in Sacramento. He also has four doubles.

Bridgeport’s Paul Oseguera allowed only two runs and five hits over seven innings in his first start for Class A Stockton, CA although he did take the loss.  First baseman Valentino Pascucci (Camden) has had mixed results for the New York Mets’ top club in Buffalo, hitting four homers, but only batting .179 in 13 games.  Josh Phelps (Bridgeport) started 0-for-14 for Triple-A Columbus although he has had three doubles while going 4-for-7 in his last two appearances to climb to .190.  Phelps seems to be primarily playing the outfield (instead of first base), and is not playing every day.

(These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook. Subscriptions to the 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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