Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

Onetime Winnipeg star Chris Roberson put up MVP-like numbers although the effort went for naught Tuesday night when the outfielder and his Mexican League teammates were edged out in the finale of the Caribbean Series in a 1-0, 10-inning battle against Puerto Rico, which lost its first three games in the windup to the winter league season before rebounding for three consecutive victories.

Roberson, an American Association all-star in 2012 when he went .317-11-59 while helping Winnipeg to the postseason championship, had a 2-for-5 game to finish the week-long competition with a .409 batting average (9-for-22) and a .480 on-base percentage.  The 37-year-old switch-hitter had a homer and drove in three runs in the series.

Current Fargo-Moorhead lefty Tyler Alexander will have something to tell his RedHawks teammates when he reports for spring training in a couple of months because he pitched four scoreless innings for Mexico, which won four of six games.  Former Fargo third baseman C. J. Retherford hit .261 with a homer and four RBI.

Pitchers John Brownell (two earned runs in 4.2 innings) and Jarrett Leverett (four runs in 2.1) were part of the winning Puerto Rican team.  Brownell went a combined 16-12 in two seasons at Grand Prairie while Leverett was with Wichita briefly.

Adleman Hopes to Make Reds’ Rotation

Tim Adleman was a relief pitcher when he spent 2012 in the American Association and became a true feel-good story last season when he broke through to the major leagues with 13 starts (4-4, 4.00) for the Cincinnati Reds.

Fast forward to spring training starting in another week and while Cincinnati seems to be pretty certain of three or four of its starting pitchers and has several more hard-throwing candidates, the 6-foot-5 right-hander likes his chances of winning a job as the fifth starter. “If I didn’t feel like I had a good chance to win that spot, then it’s maybe time to hang them up and do something (else),” Adleman told

The North Carolina-born pitcher, 29,  just finished taking part in the Reds’ annual goodwill caravan where he had a chance to reminisce about another of his Independent Baseball experiences when he was in training camp with Florence, Ky., five years ago before nailing down an American Association job.

“I just texted a buddy who was on that team with me for a brief period, and I was like, ‘I’m in the Florence Mall right now, right across from the theater that we used to go check out a couple movies at,’” Adleman told  “It’s funny how some things come full circle.  I guess I’m glad to be back here in this capacity (as a major leaguer).”

Adleman spent most of that 2012 season in El Paso, posting a pedestrian 5.94 earned run average for 29 bullpen appearances.  He also worked in five games for Lincoln.

Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball 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, has a blog,, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, was introduced in October.


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