March 2011

Isn’t it ironic …

by Ben Catley

To show you how something can go awry … read this tale of information going around in circles.

Now, as we wrote about on Bird Droppings on Tuesday, Adam Eaton was apparently headed back to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Major League camp to possibly fill in for a split-squad game. Wouldn’t have been the first time it happened.

Which is where all of this gets messed up.

Have to thank Scott Zerkle, whom is a big fan of Eaton, and now the Osprey, for helping bring things to light. You see, he was reading Monday’s entry about Adam’s visit into MLB camp this past week, and was reading it to him.

Well – as things would have it – the impression left was that he was getting called up again. Eaton then posted that on his Facebook status, where I caught a glimpse of it, and posted it on Tuesday’s blog.

Turned out Eaton was posting on Facebook based on Monday’s blog entry. Which only had him in camp – because, at the time of posting, he was still on the non-roster invitee list on the D-backs roster. Which usually doesn’t update until closer to game time that day.

Hence, the confusion. So, as far as we know, Eaton, like several other former Osprey, may or may not get called up to big-league camp. There are a handful of split-squad dates left, and as Major League camp continues to thin out, there may be some others who get to fill in for a day with the big boys.

You can also read about the recent roster moves made by the D-backs involving former Osprey here.

It’s hard to write about those moves, or to keep up with them, just for the simple fact that they are usually one-day moves. In Eaton’s case, it only appeared longer. However, before a player is used in a game, he’s placed on a roster – usually added to the non-roster invitees to camp. Both the free-agent invitees and the minor-league invitees end up on the same list.

OK, I just wanted to make it a straight line of information rather than a circle. More coming your way on Thursday. Until then, just know there’s 98 days before Opening Night, and 96 days before the season opener at Helena.

Update note: Strange thing happened a couple of days later – Eaton was back playing a Cactus League game. Both he and Paul Goldschmidt will probably get at least one more look before Spring Training ends.

Talkin’ with the bat … and arm

Time for some rumblings and grumblings …

– In the category of “really?”, we find a piece from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic on Arizona Diamondback outfielder Gerardo Parra (2006 Osprey) and a “stare-down” he had apparently with Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen following a home run Parra hit against White Sox prized lefty Chris Sale. The stare may very well have been in jest (both Parra and Guillen are from Venezuela), but let’s say that Parra got the last laugh. There’s more on Parra here as well, as he continues to impress this spring.

– While ace-to-be Jarrod Parker (2007) was sent back down to minor-league camp, he left quite an impression after Zach Duke broke his hand on Saturday against the Colorado Rockies. His last outing in Major League camp was his best, but he’ll still start the season at Double-A Mobile.

– Adam Eaton – who was sent back to minor-league camp, only to find out last night that he would be back in Major League camp for a brief period – isn’t the only former Osprey to be on the D-Backs Shuttle. Players who have spent a bit of time in Major League camp and are former Osprey include infielders David Nick (2009) and Taylor Harbin (2007), pitchers Tom Layne (2007) and Charles Brewer (2009), and outfielders Ender Inciarte (2009), Keon Broxton (2009) and Ollie Linton (2008). It’s not the first time that those players have been in big-league camp to fill in where needed, with Harbin having the most experience of the group.

– Evan Scribner (2007), who is on the San Diego Padres’ 40-man roster, has pitched 5 1/3 innings in two springs – and has yet to allow an earned run. He’s gone 4 1/3 this spring, allowed two hits and an unearned run, and fanned two batters. Scribner will more than likely open the season either back at Double-A San Antonio or Triple-A Tucson.

– Jorge De La Rosa (1999-2000) had to skip a start this weekend, but it’s nothing serious. Apparently, the Colorado Rockies didn’t want to risk making a minor thing worse, especially with their No. 2 starter.

Bracket Monday

OK, so this entry, coming on what is known as “Bracket Monday” will have nothing to do with a bracket of any sort, unless you were creating one to see whom Paul Goldschmidt would outlast in camp for the D-backs first base job. In which case, you bracket officially became busted on Sunday.

– The Arizona Diamondbacks made a bunch of roster moves over the weekend. The good news first – everyone on the 40-man roster now is under contract, including a handful of former Osprey. Those players who signed their one-year deals were right-handed pitchers Yonata Ortega, Daniel Stange and Esmerling Vasquez; left-handed pitcher Jordan Norberto; catcher John Hester; and outfielder Gerardo Parra.

– The inevitable news … the beginning of trimming the roster. Read about the former Osprey who were sent back to minor-league camp here.

– The D-backs’ now have 40 players in Major League camp, 32 on the 40-man roster and 8 non-roster players. One of those non-roster players – 2010 Osprey alum Adam Eaton, whom apparently reported to minor-league camp in great shape after working out with his former Miami University teammates in the off-season. Here’s a story from his hometown newspaper getting into more on his off-season.

– Here’s a story that ran in Sunday’s Arizona Republic on former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. What might have been …

– Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro blogs about the minors, including the potential rotations in both Mobile and Visalia. A number of former Osprey are included in those rotations, and could see more, since the fifth spots are still up for grabs. They’ll start playing minor-league spring games on Tuesday.

– Another nugget that Piecoro sharea is that 17-year-old prospect Wanger Mateo would start his stateside pro career with a short-season club – which means Yakima, Missoula or in the Arizona Rookie League. Mateo – who was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, but concerns about his vision caused the Cards to void his deal – hit .257 with four home runs and 45 RBIs in 67 Dominican Summer League games in 2010. And if you haven’t seen the video … this was done about two years ago, but it shows a bit of Mateo’s ability.

– By the way, a big thank you to all of those who visited the Osprey booth at the 2011 Kids Fair, and who participated in the Kids National Anthem tryouts.

– The Missoula Osprey’s biggest and most successful community program is the Hit the Books Reading Program, which begins today in 31 Missoula-area elementary schools. The 2010 Osprey Hit the Books Reading Program encouraged over 4,000 area students to read over 50,000 books, and over $100,000 of prizes were awarded to students by the Osprey.

Midweek Madness

– To start with a reminder about the Osprey, including Ollie Osprey, attending the Kids Fair this weekend at Southgate Mall. In addition, there will be a Kids National Anthem Tryout during the Kids Fair. Read on for details.

– Paul Goldschmidt continues to open eyes at Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring camp. The former Osprey (2009 edition) has a hit in his last two games, is hitting .533 (8-for-15) with 14 total bases, three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. The RBI total is tied for the team lead at the moment. Goldy even has a stolen base. The problem is – there are now four candidates ahead of him in the first-base platoon, including Xavier Nady, who is being moved from the outfield temporarily to first. So the time that Goldy has in Major League camp could be cut short.

– Other Osprey-related news from the D-backs’ 16-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday – Gerardo Parra stole a pair of bases in the victory. They were the first two thefts on the basepaths for the 2006 Osprey alum this spring, who is now hitting .286 in eight Cactus Laegue games.

– Charles Brewer (2009) made his Cactus League debut on Friday against San Diego, getting the last out of the fifth inning in a 3-2 loss to the Padres. Oddly enough, he was due up in the home half of the fifth, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter on a double-switch. That pinch-hitter was Bobby Borchering (2009).

– And speaking of Borchering, he will see a little more time at third base during the spring, before he is sent back to minor-league camp. Read an interview with Borchering in The D-Blog.

– You get the feeling that the Toronto Blue Jays may come to miss former Osprey Lyle Overbay (1999)? The Toronto Sun ran a story about how the former Pioneer League Player of the Year could be the free-agent steal of the season. Overbay signed a one-year deal to play in Pittsburgh.

– There’s nothing like a peaceful negotiation. There’s also nothing like stability. Both exist in minor league baseball these days. Despite being four years away from needing to do it, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (the governing body of minor league baseball) and Major League Baseball agreed to extend their current Professional Baseball Agreement through the 2020 season.

Weekend ramblings

– It must be getting close to spring – Ollie Osprey was spotted about this weekend. In fact, there’s photo evidence of such. And, yes, Ollie has a lot of friends on Facebook, close to 3,500! He’s closing in on the single-game attendance record now …

– There’s some thought that D-backs’ outfielder, and former Osprey, Gerardo Parra (2006) could see more time in left field than planned originally. A lot has to do with Xavier Nady’s arm, which could also complicate the situation at first base.

– Chris Owings finally made his spring debut this weekend. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (quickly becoming a favorite among the Osprey staff) caught up with him and got the low-down on the debut through Owings’ eyes.

– Close to 80 former Osprey have rolled into the Salt River Fields complex and have reported for minor-league Spring Training camp. Four weeks from now, they’ll be either on their way to play on a full-season squad, or preparing for the grind of Extended Spring Training.

– Here’s some other information on Rusty Ryal (2005) heading to Japan. He’s not the only former Osprey in Japan, as Tony Barnette (2006) has headed back for a second season. The piece that includes Ryal does not include Barnette, although Tony did pitch as high as Triple-A in 2009.

– Speaking of Barnette, he is looking to improve on a 4-5, 5.99 ERA season in 2010. The Yakult Swallows play in Japan’s Central League. If you dare, or if you can read Japanese, here’s Barnette’s player page on the team’s website. Also, check out the beard … well-done, in our opinion.

Friday’s Nesting

It’s a little too quiet on the news front today, so we’ll start the Friday edition off with a video. This is of former Osprey relief pitcher Evan Scribner, making a whale of a catch with the San Antonio Missions in 2009.

Scribner (2007 Osprey) is now up with the San Diego Padres at Major League camp as a minor-league, non-roster invitee. In two appearances, the right-hander has allowed an unearned run on two hits, and has a strikeout. Scribner was traded to the Padres back in July of 2008 for Tony Clark.

– Jarrod Parker managed to go out and give the Arizona Diamondbacks two more scoreless innings in his latest outing on Thursday. It was the second time Parker has been on the mound since recovering from Tommy John surgery.

– Former Osprey pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (1999-2000) was touched up for two home runs – including a tape-measure job by Buster Posey – in Colorado’s loss to San Francisco on Thursday.

– If you are a true baseball nut, can write and handle yourself on camera, and don’t mind living in New York City for a while, then you could have the baseball fans’ dream job. Watch EVERY baseball game played this season, talk or blog about it, and live the life you’ve always wanted – for a few months, anyway. Click on the link for details and hurry, because applications close on March 7, better known as Monday.

Have a great weekend, and Go Osprey!

Keepin’ on the beat …

The Osprey will be hosting a Kids Tryour to sing the National Anthem and ‘America The Beautiful’ during the Kid Fair on March 12 at Southgate Mall. Full details on the tryout can be found here, and more information about the Osprey at the kids fair – including an Ollie appearance – can be found here.

Now on to the alumnus of your Missoula Osprey …

– Carlos Gonzalez talked to the MLB Network as part of their “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series, and is excited about not only the 2011 season, but being a long-term Colorado Rockie.

– Before you pen Paul Goldschmidt into the Active Roster for the Arizona Diamondbacks come April, well … read what manager Kirk Gibson told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com on Wednesday. Goldy is making it hard to not be “in the mix” though, with a two-run pinch-hit single yesterday. Arizona Republic reporter Nick Piecoro added some other thoughts to the situation.

– Also from Piecoro, video of two former Osprey taking batting practice: 2009 alums Chris Owings and Bobby Borchering. Both are in big league camp as minor league invitees.

– You can add Charles Brewer and Bryan Shaw to the list of minor-league players with Missoula ties invited to big league camp. Brewer and Shaw were both listed as backups for the Cactus League game last night with the San Francisco Giants.

– Minor-league camp opens this weekend, and there are some players who have already reported to the complex and started their preparations for the 2011 season. Most of those players are a month away from reporting to their full-season destinations, while others will begin the grind of Extended Spring Training.

What’s happening …

Today brings us a mixed bag of things to check out, and know about, when it comes to the Missoula Osprey … just remember, it’s 111 days until the Osprey season opener, and 113 days before the Osprey home opener. It’s also 13 days before you begin to call the Osprey office and hear the countdown …

– If Gerardo Parra (2006 Osprey) wants to see some significant playing time this season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hard work will have to come beforehand. So far, so good, according to this story.

– Another mixed-bag day for Osprey fans at Salt River Fields, with no Goldy, the return of CarGo and Mr. Smith getting touched up a bit by his former organization. Check out the box score here.

– Hector Ambriz (2006) will begin the season, by all indications, at Triple-A Columbus. The right-handed pitcher was outrighted to Columbus by the Cleveland Indians in late October, this after he was shut down in September with a sore elbow – a problem that Ambriz experienced during Spring Training. Ambriz was selected by Cleveland in the Rule V Draft in 2009, and stayed on the Active (25-man) Roster for the Tribe the entire season (DL time included). Ambriz was 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in 2010, his first in the Major Leagues.

– Nothing like impressing your new teammates. Scott Hairston (2001 Osprey) did just that in a New York Mets intrasquad game last week. Hairston is off to a solid start this spring, going 2-for-5 in three Grapefruit League games (thru Tuesday’s games) with a double and two runs scored.

– Look for more information soon on a Kids National Anthem Tryout. It will take place during the Kids Fair on March 12, which means that Ollie Osprey will be flying by and making an appearance. The Kids Fair is the typical first weekend that Ollie gets to stretch his wings and fly back home to Missoula, although he has been spotted around town a little more frequently this winter. Details are coming soon.

– Lastly today, when looking for Osprey alumni stuff, we stumbled across this video of former Osprey, and Pioneer League Triple-Crown winner, Jesus Cota (2001), who has spent the past four seasons playing for Saltillo of the Mexican League. Cota was doing one of those “Get to know your Sarapellos” pieces. The audio, by the way, is in Spanish, although we’re pretty sure Denzel Washington translates the same in both English and Spanish.

Watching that swing, it’s not hard to see him winning a Triple Crown. He’s also hit over .330 the past two seasons for Saltillo, inlcuding when they won the Mexican League championship in 2009.

Notes for March 1

More notes from former Missoula Osprey players currently at Spring Training …

– MLB.com has released its Top 10 Prospects list for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it should be no surprise that half of the list are former Missoula Osprey. Jarrod Parker, who pitched out of trouble in his Spring Training debut on Monday, is tops on the list. Read about the others, and the “under the radar” players, here.

– Guys who tend to struggle with controlling the strike zone have been put on notice … it’s time to throw strikes. One of those arms who is hoping to do just that is on the left side of former Osprey pitcher Jordan Norberto. A very telling quote from D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, from The Tao of Steve blog, written by MLB.com D-backs’ beat writer Steve Gilbert.

– Details from Monday’s rough one against the Rockies are here. At the bottom of the entry contains today’s pitching schedule. By the way, they will play the Rockies, again. It should be noted that when the play games in Extended Spring Training and Instructional League, they also play the Rockies, over and over again.

– Lyle Overbay is in a new camp this season, after signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Good piece from the Globe and Mail in his old stomping grounds in Toronto on his fresh start.

– Word has it that Sergio Santos could go from setup man to closer for the Chicago White Sox this season. He’s one of four under consideration for the role, one that he would welcome having sooner or later.

– Last but not least, it’s hard not to be a fan of D-backs’ lefty, and former Osprey, Clay Zavada (2006). As he comes back from Tommy John surgery to his left elbow, apparently there’s more than that making a comeback.

Notes for February 28

It’s Spring Training, the schedule of games is well underway, and with 28 former Missoula Osprey in 12 different Major League camps, it makes for a lot of information to talk about. With that in mind, it means it’s time for a new feature from the Missoula Osprey.

 

Here’s your Bird Droppings entry for Monday, February 28:

 

– Paul Goldschmidt (2009 Osprey) has created quite the buzz around Arizona Diamondbacks’ camp already, leading the team in RBIs and total bases through Sunday’s games. A three-run home run he hit on Saturday and a pinch-hit double on Sunday brought about some interesting words from D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, according to Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro.

 

– Speaking of 2009 Osprey alumni, IF Chris Owings has been dealing with a minor injury to his oblique. Owings, who along with Parker, made ESPN’s list of Top 100 prospects, hopes to get in a game by the end of the week.

 

– Former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (2002) was banged up a little after a collision with teammate Ian Stewart chasing a pop-up in Saturday’s game with Arizona. The good news, according to the story from the Rockies’ website, is that it could have been worse, for both CarGo and the Rox.

 

– Former Osprey pitcher Jarrod Parker (2007) made his debut today for the D-backs against the Rockies, pitching around three walks and not surrendering a run in his only inning of work. Piecoro managed to snap the photo of the pitching list, before he was asked not to take pictures in the clubhouse area. Check out the pitching schedule for the D-backs here, including Tuesday’s two former Osprey on the list – Yonata Ortega (2007) and Jordan Norberto (2006).

 

– Jose Valverde (2000) may have worn down after an extended outing last season, something the Detroit Tigers are looking to prevent this season. And speaking of former Osprey pitchers in Tigers’ camp, they’re expecting former No. 1 pick Daniel Schlereth (2008) to be an ace against lefties this season. Both stories are from the Detroit Tigers’ website.

 

Bird Droppings is a new feature which will come out several times a week. For more information, visit the club’s website at www.missoulaosprey.com.

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