Saturday, February 27, 2010

Riley willing to throw out Biscuits' first pitch

Just talked to Gov. Bob Riley at the state high school basketball tournament at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

Of course, I asked him what any astute reader of Biscuit Crumbs wants to know: Since Florida Gov. Charlie Crist makes a regular habit of throwing out the first pitch at Tampa Bay's Opening Day, would Riley be willing to do the same at the Biscuits'?

"Absolutely, I'd love to," Riley said. "I've never been asked."

Of course, we're eager to see him (link and link).

This year -- April 8 -- is his last chance. He's term-limited and there's an election in November. Riley said he has no fears that he would not be able to accomplish the necessary task.

"I'll probably get myself in trouble for saying this," Riley said, "but every time I've ever thrown one, I've gotten it across the plate."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Singleton shipped from RailCats to AirHogs

Pitcher Nick Singleton, a Lee graduate, has been traded from one independent team to another. The Gary SouthShore RailCats packaged Singleton to Texas and the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Singleton fetched two players and some cash. The right-hander was an American Association All-Star last year for the Sioux City Explorers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bankston signs with homestate Rangers

Former Biscuits infielder Wes Bankston, a native Texan who played in the Cincinnati system last year, has signed with the Texas Rangers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Maybe 2 of minors' top 100 with Biscuits ...

... by the end of the season.

Baseball America's list of the top 100 prospects includes seven from the Tampa Bay system.

6. Desmond Jennings
18. Jeremy Hellickson
34. Wade Davis
35. Matt Moore
54. Reid Brignac
67. Tim Beckham
68. Alex Colome

The list came out today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Willie Glen returns to independent RailCats

Pitcher Willie Glen, an Original Biscuit who spent the last two seasons in the Florida organization, has re-signed with the independent Gary SouthShore RailCats. Glen was 32-9 with a 3.23 ERA with the RailCats from 2005-07.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rays, company call off spring stadium name

The Rays and The Mosaic Company are calling off a stadium naming rights deal for Tampa Bay's spring training home in Port Charlotte.

The deal brought controversy because of environmental concerns surrounding the company, which is "the world's leading producer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients." It would have brought more than $1.4 million to Charlotte County over the next 15 years, according to a Rays release.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Open auditions set for Biscuit Bunch

The Biscuit Bunch will have open auditions from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Andalusia's Wilson headed to Red Sox

Andalusia's Tyler Wilson is headed to the Boston Red Sox after the team bought his contract from the independent Pensacola Pelicans today. Wilson was released last summer by the Atlanta Braves and hooked on with the Pelicans. The left-handed pitcher was at high-Class A Myrtle Beach when the Braves released him.

Albernaz, Ashley, Rollins invited to spring

Catchers Craig Albernaz and Nevin Ashley and pitcher Heath Rollins, each with Biscuits credentials, are going to major-league spring training.

Those three and shortstop Tim Beckham are among a group named today by the Rays.

Infielders Angel Chavez and J.J. Furmaniak have signed minor-league contract that include a major-league spring invitation. Both were in Triple-A last year with the Boston and Philadelphia organizations, respectively.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pridie moves to Mets; Washington turns to T-Bones

Two former Biscuits found new teams Tuesday when the New York Mets claimed outfielder Jason Pridie off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and infielder Rico Washington signed with the independent Kansas City T-Bones.

Pridie went from the Rays to the Twins in the Delmon Young-Jason Barlett-Matt Garza trade and hit .265 last year for Triple-A Rochester. He made his major-league debut in 2008.

Washington had said last year that he was retiring after starting the season in Taiwan. He reached the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Montoyo top sports person in Triangle

Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo, formerly of the Biscuits, has been named the sports person of the year by the Greater Raleigh Sports Council.

Eight of Rays' top 30 projected for Biscuits

Baseball America's Prospect Handbook -- its removal from the mailbox a Punxsutawney Phil-like sign of spring -- projects that eight of Tampa Bay's top 30 prospects will start the season with the Biscuits.

Three are expected to open the season in the majors, two with Durham, six in Charlotte (not including a 31st prospect BA gives to those who order directly from them) and five in Bowling Green.

1. CF Desmond Jennings, Durham
2. RHP Jeremy Hellickson, Durham
3. RHP Wade Davis, Tampa Bay
4. LHP Matt Moore, Charlotte
5. SS Reid Brignac, Tampa Bay

6. SS Tim Beckham, Charlotte
7. RHP Alex Colome, Bowling Green
8. LHP Jake McGee, Fungumree
9. LHP Alex Torres, Fungumree
10. RHP Nick Barnese, Charlotte

11. LHP Kyle Lobstein, Bowling Green
12. C Luke Bailey, short-season
13. RHP Joe Cruz, Charlotte
14. OF Ty Morrison, Bowling Green
15. OF Fernando Perez, Tampa Bay

16. OF Todd Glaesmann, Princeton
17. RHP Wilking Rodriguez, maybe Bowling Green
18. SS Shawn O'Malley, Fungumree
19. 1B Jeff Malm, short-season
20. RHP Albert Suarez, recovering from Tommy John

21. RHP Alex Cobb, Fungumree
22. OF Cody Rogers, Hudson Valley with Bowling Green possible
23. LHP David Newmann, Fungumree
24. 3B Matt Sweeney, Fungumree
25. RHP Jason McEachern, Bowling Green

26. LHP Frank De Los Santos, Charlotte
27. RHP Aneury Rodriguez, Fungumree
28. RHP Matt Gorgen, Fungumree
29. C Jake Jefferies, Charlotte
30. LHP Kevin James, Princeton/GCL Rays
31. OF K.D. Kang, Charlotte

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rays snag Ekstrom off waiver wire

Pitcher Mike Ekstrom has been claimed by the Rays off waivers from the San Diego Padres and added to Tampa Bay's 40-man roster. (I believe they had room, but with today's state holiday, I don't have time to check.) Ekstrom was San Diego's minor-league pitcher of the year in 2006, made 20 appearances in the majors last year and was 4-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 42 games with the Triple-A Portland Beavers.

The Rays also announced signing catcher Alvin Colina, who was with Atlanta's Triple-A Gwinnett team last year, and left-handed pitcher Heath Phillips, formerly with the Rays who played for Kansas City's Triple-A Omaha team in 2009.

Happy holiday, everyone

Let me take a moment to wish you and yours a very merry National Signing Day.

May your team's stocking be filled with five-star, can't-miss recruits -- some of whom may actually not miss -- and may all the players who've said they're going to sign with your team over the last few months actually sign.

Townsend turns up with Toronto

Wade Townsend, the hard-luck pitcher who was with the Biscuits in 2008, has signed with Toronto. He's a former first-round draft pick who was plagued with injuries and was released by Tampa Bay last year.

Baseball America also has that Oakland has released outfielder J.D. Pruitt, a G.W. Long graduate who starred at Montevallo.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rays to fete, meet fans Feb. 20

If anyone's in the Tampa-St. Pete area Feb. 20, the Rays will have their annual Fan Fest at Tropicana Field that day. The team's charity golf tournament will be March 1 in Bradenton.

Monday, February 01, 2010

First glimmer that winter dwindling, spring near

Just to give you hope that it won't stay cold forever and that spring is coming. Hit a local bookstore today and there are two baseball preview magazines out. I chose Lindy's over Beckett's because it appeared to have more depth and fewer baseball cards stories. Atlanta outfielder Nate McLouth is on the cover.