Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Helping out

Please come out to tomorrow's Defenders game. All but $2 of every ticket sold will be donated to the Norwich Red Cross Family Fund to help those displaced by the fire at the Peachtree Apartments early Saturday morning.

I know three people who lost their homes, including Defenders groundskeeper Mike Cannistra. Come out and be part of the community effort to help the 160-plus people in need.


Brooks McNiven and Dayton Buller were called up to Triple-A Fresno today. The Grizzlies are in dire need of arms after injuries and Barry Zito's awful pitching has created a trickle down need for arms.

Buller's call-up was needed after former Defender Eliezer Alfonzo was suspended 50-games for using a performance-enhancing substance. Alfonzo is on San Francisco's 40-man roster and there is no word as to who will be the backup catcher here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Olmo Rosario

I was recently asked about Rosario, and what role he plays in the Giants organization. Truth is, I don't think they know for sure. This is a kid who came over from the Indy leagues and they like what he can do with the stick but expect a lot of bumps along the way. He's flashed some nice leather but has gotten a bit crossed on the routine plays. If I had to guess, they'll move him around a little between both middle infield spots and in the outfield to utilize his speed.

That's something he has plenty of, speed. He's no Eugenio Velez, but the guy could steal 20 bases if he gets on regularly.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Maybe I'm missing something...

But with Adam Witter being intentionally walked in the bottom of the ninth, how much sense did it make to pinch run for the trail runner AND potentially lose your best power bat/catcher if the game went into extra innings?

Of course, it doesn't matter now because Bien Figueroa looks like a genius since he pinch hit Olmo Rosario for Carlos Sosa and it worked out perfectly.

Rotating door

Guess who's back from extended spring training? Justin Hedrick and Trey Webb. Guess who's gone -- for now? Daryl Maday and yesterday's starter Garrett Broshuis. Broshuis will be back this weekend when the teams heads to New Hampshire.

Also, a couple names worth noting: One is Jeff Nettles, as Greg mentioned in a previous post, and th eother is former Mariners and White Sox catcher Ben Davis. Also, Michael Garciaparra, the younger brother of "Nomah," is with Bowie but on the DL.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


No, that's not some tribute to a former Defender/Navigator. That's how long the game was delayed because of lighting malfunctions, most notably the towers in the right-center and left-center field areas.

Everything is up and running, so hopefully it stays that way and there are no further delays tonight forward.

Throwback unis

If you attended tonight's game or had the chance to see some photos, be sure to check out Reading's uniforms. They are straight out of the 1970s and 1980s Philadelphia Phillies uniforms. I'm waiting for Mike Schmidt and Lara Bowa to take the field.

Roster move

It looks like Trey Webb is heading to extended spring training. Whether this is due to injury or just a case of the team needing to make a move to get another pitcher after last night's marathon remains to be seen.

My Opening Day

Granted, I am about two weeks behind schedule, but for all intents and purposes, today is my Opening Day. From the last day of the 2007 season, I began looking forward to the first game at Dodd Stadium in 2008. Prior commitments kept me away until today, and I am giddy to be back at the stadium.

The weather is nice and the team has been competitive thus far. The slew of one-run losses tells you the Defenders are close to putting everything together. This is the minors, so they get the luxury of working on things.

It was good getting back into the swing of things, chatting with GM Charlie Dowd or catching with the gang in the pressbox or shooting the breeze with Simon Klink and Trey Webb.

Hopefully you, the fan, will have as much fun this season as I have covering this team.

New addition

A minor league season is always filled with its fair share of comings and goings, and today is no different. The Defenders added pitcher Daryl Maday from Augusta. The righty reliever was 1-1 with a 2.13 in five games (12.2 innings) at Single-A Augusta.

No word just yet as to who he is replacing. I'll have that for you by first pitch.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Way to go, John

John Bowker, who had an all-star season a year ago with the Defenders, has been called up to San Francisco. The guy is one of the nicest guys I have come across in my time covering the team, he is a great teammate by all accounts and is a heck of a ball player. Bowker is one of the few outfielders in the organization who has power. I don't suspect he will be a 30 home run kind of guy in the Bigs, but he could one day be a .300 hitter because he hits to all fields and may clobber 20-25. That's not to say he won't do better, but I think .300 and 20 homers a year wouldn't bother the guy too much.

I suspect the Giants won't waste time getting him into the middle of the lineup, probably in the six spot to start.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New addition

The Defenders have added infielder Kyle Haines from extended Spring Training. Haines was a first-round pick in 2004. Last season with San Jose, he hit .250 in 60 games with three homers, 17 RBIs and six steals.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

2008 roster announced

It's make or break of TI and EME. Here is the team's release:

The Connecticut Defenders released their Opening Day roster today, which features a mix of young prospects and savvy veterans. The roster includes several big league camp invitees and a myriad of players with promising potential.

Osiris Matos re-joins the Defenders’ bullpen for the 2008 season after posting an impressive 5-0 record in Connecticut coupled with a stingy 2.89 ERA in 35 appearances. Kelvin Pichardo also comes back to Connecticut in 2008 after putting together a remarkable 2007 season, splitting his time between High-A San Jose and Connecticut. Pichardo struck out 87 in just 67 innings of work in 2007.

Making his 2008 debut in Connecticut is newly acquired second baseman Travis Denker who spent his 2007 in the California League first with the Inland Empire 66ers (Dodgers), then with the San Jose Giants. Denker’s .400 (10-for-25) average in seven games with the High-A Giants earned him a spot with the big league camp in 2008. Denker’s teammate in San Jose, outfielder Ben Copeland comes to Connecticut for the first time in his career in 2008. Copeland’s plate discipline and patience was well recorded in 2007 as he walked a team-high 70 times.

Fourteen 2008 Defenders’ spent time on the 2007 roster and will return to Norwich to improve their skills. They include utility infielder Mark Minicozzi, hot corner glove Simon Klink, backstopper Dayton Buller, middle infielder Trey Webb, outfield gunners Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Carlos Sosa and first base slugger Travis Ishikawa who made his Major League debut in 2006 where he hit .292 (7-for-24) in twelve games of action in San Francisco.

Also returning to the “Rose of New England” are right handed starter Dave McKae, spot starter and bullpen specialist Ryan Sadowski, wiry Canadian Brooks McNiven, composed starter Garret Broshuis and April 2007 Giants Player of the Month Justin Hedrick whose 2.14 ERA was among the best in the Eastern League in 2007.

Newcomers to Connecticut include power hitting catcher Adam Witter, Antoan Richardson who is regarded as the best outfield arm in the system, Olmo Rosario who spent 2007 winning a batting title in the Canadian-American Independent League, 2005 College World Series standout third baseman Dave Maroul, and slick-fielding catcher Barry Gunther who spanned from the Rookie Arizona League all the way to Triple-A Fresno in 2007.

New pitchers coming to Connecticut include left-handed veteran Jason Waddell, Augusta GreenJacket ace Adam Cowart who put together a 14-7 record in 2007, right-handed starter Joey Martinez, Missouri-native Ronnie Ray, Sergio Romo, whose 1.36 ERA anchored San Jose’s bullpen and the massive 6’10” righty Steve Palazzolo.