May 22, 2024

Coste Adds Phils TV Job While Elbow Heals

March 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     One of Independent Baseball’s favorite sons, so designated because of the dogged determination in which he did not debut in the major leagues until his was 33, has a new job in broadcasting, but at the same time is continuing his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery with hopes, at 38, of landing a catching job in the majors once his throwing is back to normal a little later in the year.

      Media savvy as the author of two books, Coste has been hired by Comcast to provide pre and postgame analysis on several Philadelphia Phillies games a month. 

      Coste told Jeff Kolpack of The Forum in Fargo, ND he had about 90 per cent of his arm strength back several weeks ago only to wake up one morning with more than the usual soreness.  Doctors advised he take 2-3 weeks off before resuming his throwing regimen.

      The catcher and I traded phone calls without connecting Thursday in an effort to see if there was anything to the indication he might play some Independent Baseball while getting back to normal.  He could potentially play first base or DH until fully ready to catch, and his .272 batting average in 299 major league games would surely be attractive to an Independent team.  One convenient location would seem to be Camden, NJ (Atlantic League) since its stadium faces Philadelphia and onetime Phillies star Von Hayes is the manager.

       Coste broke into professional baseball in the old Prairie League in 1995, and he spent the next four seasons, including the transition from the infield to catching, with Fargo, which enters the American Association this season.

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Corey Smith on Fire in Brief Appearances With Dodgers

       The parade of minor leaguers on one-day excursions to suit up for major league exhibition games has been abundant this spring.  Fans may not enjoy the search to identify these players wearing numbers well into the 80s and 90s when they go out for the day to see major leaguers, but it must be a hoot for the couple dozen former Independent players included, especially if they have never worn a major league uniform.

      One such player who surely has made an impression on the top-tier brass is 28-year-old Corey Smith, who new Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has called on numerous times.  Smith, the third baseman when Newark, NJ won the Atlantic League crown in 2007 and an all-star in the Class AA Southern League last season, has appeared in six games.  What the right-handed hitter has done is collect a double and two home runs and drive in six runs in only six at-bats while also walking three times for an unrealistic .778 on-base percentage.

Bridgeport’s Pena Sent Out After Hitting .341

       The biggest shock among former Independent players sent to minor league camps in recent days has to be Wily Mo Pena (Bridgeport, CT, Atlantic League in 2010) because the big first baseman-outfielder had drawn praise from Arizona Manager Kirk Gibson only days earlier.  This former major league slugger still was hitting .341 (14-for-41) with three homers in 18 games when the last place Diamondbacks sent him out.

       (This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at, enjoy his blogs, and, or comment to  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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