Independent Baseball Chatter – By Bob Wirz
While it is still about six weeks until spring training camps open, American Association fans can start thinking about the news that will be coming out of Florida and Arizona because no less than a dozen of the league’s former players will be in major league camps.
Ten of those players are on 40-man major league rosters, and non-roster invitations are starting to be announced with pitchers Brandon Kintzler (pictured, St. Paul 2009) and Tim Adleman (El Paso 2012, Lincoln 2012) among the early invitees.
Adleman, who worked out of the bullpen for both of his American Association teams in 2012, will be getting his first fulltime exposure to a major league camp although he did make one brief appearance with Cincinnati last spring. The Reds moved him back to a starting role at Class AA Pensacola last season, and he posted the third best earned run average (2.64) in the entire Southern League.
“As a starter, I was able to get some more repetitions with the offspeed stuff,” the four-year starter for Georgetown University said in an interview with GUHoyas.com.
Kintzler (pictured) already has proven he can pitch in the majors when healthy. His best year was with Milwaukee in ’13 when over the entire year he had a 2.69 ERA for 77 innings. Injuries limited him to seven major league innings last season.
Detroit has given former Wichita infielder Alberto Gonzalez a new contract (Toledo, Class AAA), and it seems likely he will get some major league exhibition time since the 32-year-old has played in 426 games at that level. The Tigers signed him after 30 games with the Wingnuts last season in which he hit .296, stole 12 bases in as many attempts and only struck out six times in 125 at-bats. He is hitting .297 for 54 games in Venezuela.
Lincoln Catcher Becomes a Manager
At the age of 31, Lincoln catcher Mitch Canham has taken a managerial job, inking with Seattle to lead the Mariners’ Midwest League team in Clinton, Iowa. He played in six major league organizations, reaching Triple-A on several occasions and getting into some major league spring training games with Philadelphia and San Diego. The onetime Oregon State star played 74 games for the Saltdogs last season, hitting .282 with five homers.
Free agent Mark Hamburger (St. Paul) has started pitching in Venezuela, winning once and saving another game in three appearances (2.45 ERA). Outfielder Brian Burgamy (St. Paul) is having another productive winter season, hitting .307 with eight homers (tied for third in the Venezuelan League) and 33 RBI (tied for fifth).
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his own blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.