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Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

The count of former American Association players with coveted invitations to major league spring training camps has climbed by two more to 15 with about one-third of the 30 teams yet to announce additions beyond their 40-man roster.

Right-handed pitchers Chris Smith and Angel Castro, both with some major league experience, are the latest additions.  Both will be with the Oakland Athletics in Arizona.

Smith is trying to get back to the majors for the first time since 2010 (Milwaukee), with a strong showing at Wichita three years ago his springboard back to success.  He was 8-4, 3.55 in 20 starts for the Wingnuts and is coming off a ’15 season in which he made 24 starts in the San Diego farm system, mostly at Triple-A El Paso where he went 5-7, 3.60.

Castro got into his first five major league games with the A’s last season, losing one decision and producing a 2.25 earned run average for four relief innings.  He started six times (3-3, 3.16) for Lincoln in 2010.

From Joplin to Mets Farm System

Luis Chirinos, also a right-handed pitcher, has spent considerable time in the American Association between stints in affiliated organizations and his native Venezuela, and the 25-year-old is being given a new opportunity in the New York Mets farm system.

Chirinos, who has been playing professionally since he was 17, was at El Paso when it was in the AA in 2012 and 2013, played at Lincoln in ’13 and again last season and he finished up the regular ’15 season with Joplin.  He has split 26 decisions in the league, and was perhaps his best at Joplin when he won three of five decisions and posted a 2.78 ERA in nine appearances (six starts) while striking out a batter per inning.

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,


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