Tag Archives: LaTroy Hawkins

Fort Fragments: Wizards, TinCaps, Daisies, Local Ties

Been a while since I’ve done a Fort Fragments post, so ths one may get a bit long. Here’s some news and info tidbits related to Fort Wayne:

Former Wizard and Major League, Cory Doyne has signed with the Long Island Ducks.

Doyne joins the Ducks for his first season in the Atlantic League . . . Prior to last season, the Florida native spent eight years in the minors toiling in the Astros, Padres, Cardinals and Orioles organizations, earning a call up to the Major Leagues on June 16, 2007. The former eighth round draft selection appeared in five games for the Orioles that season, pitching three and two-thirds innings, while striking out three. He has 29 career minor league victories with a 3.32 ERA in 586 innings pitched.

Norwell native and current Arizona Diamondbacks’ farmhand, Jarrod Parker is ranked number twevle on Baseball America’s top 25 Prospects list. He’ll also pitch in the Baseball Future’s Game.

After a quick whip through the high Class A California League, Parker moved up to Double-A Mobile, where he has shown a fastball that can sit 92-96 mph with a plus slider and the makings of a potentially above-average changeup. A line drive off his wrist slowed the 20-year-old Parker down a bit, but he’s on pace to be one of the youngest pitchers in the big leagues by 2010 [Baseball America].

TinCaps in Full Motion: If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, take a look here (John King of Metta Audio).

Former (and recently retired) Wizard, Shawn Garrett is helping to develop players on an American League League roster.

I didn’t get to cover any of his visits to Parkview Field, but like Kyle Day, Justin Parker was wowed by the park when he visited with his South Bend Silverhawks.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Parker said Sunday. “I heard a lot of nice things about it, but I had no idea it was going to be this nice. It’s a really nice place.”

Former Fort Wayne Daisies player, Dr. Lois Youngen has endowed a baseball scholarship in honor of her father (Elden “Ty” Youngen) at Kent State University.

Baseball was quite prominent among the Youngen household. “Ty” Youngen was a member of the Kent State baseball team from 1924-26, earning three varsity letters and was a captain for his final season. Lois would follow in her father’s footsteps of playing baseball as she was a pitcher and catcher in the All-American Girls Professional League for the Fort Wayne Daisies and the South Bend Blue Sox.

In a game that involved many former Wizards/TinCaps, the Lake Elsinore Storm scored a 33-18 win over High Desert in Adelanto during late June. The Storm set league marks for RBIs, time of game (four hours, 10 minutes) and hits. Former TinCap Matt Clark went 5-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, two walks and scored a record-tying seven runs. Former Wizard, Felix Carrasco was 4-for-7 with two doubles, a triple, six RBIs and four runs. 

Left fielder Brad Chalk (4-for-9, two doubles, three RBI) . . . right fielder Sawyer Carroll (4-for-7, double, homer, three RBI, four runs scored) . . . third baseman James Darnell (4-for-7, two doubles, homer, three RBI, five runs scored). Center fielder Dan Payne (4-for-6, double, homer, three RBI, four runs scored). Second baseman Andy Parrino (2-for-6, two doubles, two RBI) . . . Left-handed reliever Matt Teague picked up the win allowing three runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings. Storm starter Jeremy McBryde allowed 11 runs on 13 hits over 4 2/3 innings. But he departed with a 22-11 lead.

Last season, after being released from the Yankees, former Wizard LaTroy Hawkins didn’t go home. He quitely came back to Fort Wayne. While back in town, he reconnected with agent, Matt Kinzer:

Kinzer is more than an agent. He’s a former major league pitcher and scout, and through the years has become the person who knows Hawkins as well as anyone . . Together, they studied video, did some bullpen sessions and attempted to rediscover the command of a fastball that has helped keep Hawkins in the big leagues for 15 years.

Memorial Stadium is pretty much long gone. Just some rubble left. The auction brought in about $20,000.

About 200 people attended the auction Saturday. Stadium general manager Randy Brown says the grand total for the day was $210,588. Aluminum bleachers along the third-base line brought the most money, selling for $65,000.

Former Wizard, Todd Donovan collected two hits off of future Hall of Famer, John Smoltz while the pitcher was rehabbing before making his season MLB debut with the Red Sox.

The TinCaps’ Blake Tekotte was the Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week for the week eneded June 29, 2009:

.538 (7-13), 2 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB, 1.154 SLG
Currently on a 10-game hitting streak, Padres prospect Blake Tekotte put together another week of impressive plate appearances. The center fielder homered in consecutive games on June 25 and 26, amassing six RBIs in those two contests. He also recorded three multiple-hit games this week.

A couple transactions you might have missed. The Padres released Josh Alley and Derek McDaid while the Blue Jays called up Dirk Hayhurst. Alley was hitting .192 with Triple-A Portland at the time and has since signed with the St. Paul Saints. McDaid was 0-2 with a 7.42 ERA with Double-A San Antonio. He has since signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League. Brockton (also of the Can-Am League) has released former Wizard Stevie Delabar. Hayhurst has quietly been productive with Toronto. In eleven appearances, he has a 1.84 ERA with nine strikeouts over 14.2 innings.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Bush, Hawkins, Headley

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any news on former Wizard Matt Bush since he ended up in Tornoto. Then comes this – with a hat tip to Friar John:

J.P. Ricciardi and player development director Dickie Scott could not have been any clearer with Matt Bush, the former first-overall pick of the San Diego Padres whose checkered past now has him with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“We’re big on second chances,” Ricciardi, the Blue Jays general manager said. “Third chances? We’re not so big on that.”

There are people in uniform who will tell you Bush has the best slider in camp. Roy Halladay, for one, might make the case after watching one of Bush’s bullpen sessions with reliever B.J. Ryan. “Some kinda arm,” Halladay said.

Add former Wizard, LaTroy Hawkins to the USA WBC roster. In a bit of an ironic twist, he replaces the Twins’ closer, Joe Nathan. Hawkins was a dominant set-up man for the Twins way back in the day.

Former Wizards catcher, Chad Moeller is hoping to win a spot with Baltimore even as uber-prospect Matt Weiters breathes down his neck:

But you won’t find Moeller, a nine-year veteran, obsessing over his lot in life. Instead, you’ll find a player whose perspective has gotten better with age, a backstop who knows he has more to give a big league team. Moeller, who has bounced through five teams since 2006, is hoping to stick with the Orioles as long as he can.

Corey Brock has spring trianing video of Chase Headley demonstrating how he has to throw differently in making the conversion from third base to left field.

LaTroy Hawkins Going to Obama Inauguration

Former Wizards pitcher, LaTroy Hawkins will be in attendance with Barack Obama is installed as our news President of the United States of America:

“Jackie Robinson showed my grandfather and my uncles and my father that anything is possible,” Hawkins said. “You can do it. Obama is showing my kids — my kids who have seen that their dad has been successful — that you can do anything. In my household, it’s important, because it shows you can be successful in something other than sports.

LaTroy Hawkins Staying in Houston

Houston has been bandied about as a possible destination for former Wizards pitcher, Jake Peavy. However, today, Houston came to terms with another former Wizards pitcher; LaTroy Hawkins.

The Astros singed the 35-year-old right-hander to a one-year contract for $3.5 million plus incentives. He finished 2008 with a 3-1 record, one save and a 3.92 ERA over 57 relief appearances with the Astros and Yankees. After being traded from the Yanks to Houston, Hawkins went 2-0 with one save and a 0.43 ERA in 24 appearances. He allowed no earned runs over his first 22 games with Houston after practically being forced out of New York (an unfortunate reality circumstance that has followed him to pretty much every stop since he left Minnesota).

In 688 career games, including 98 starts, Hawkins is 59-77 with 76 saves and a 4.64 ERA. He has also played for the Twins (1995-2003), Cubs (2004-05), Giants (2005), Orioles (2006) and Rockies (2007) during parts of 14 Major League seasons.

LaTroy Hawkins made his Major League debut with the Minnesota Twins on April 29, 1995 after risign through the Twins’ farm system that included one of the most dominant seasons of any pitcher in Fort Wayne Wizards history. On that date, he becamse the first former Wizards player to debut at the MLB level.

More Hawkins’ Posts:

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Headley, Carroll, Geer, Ekstrom, LeBlanc, Hawkins

Chase Headly Has Bright Future

First off, Duh! With that said, Cory Brock put together a really nice piece on the Padres’ rookie outfielder who played third base for the Wizards. Its really good at pointing out how Chase Headley has doen everything right within the organization and consistently strived to improve himself while taking his game to higher levels. Take his recent four-hit performance (in a game former Wizard Dirk Hayhurst spot started for another former Wizard in Jake Peavy and former Wizard Luke Carlin was the only bench player not used) and combine that with the fact that the Padres MASH unit is filled with outfielders, and one might rightfully speculate that we’ll see him with the big league squad out of Spring Training.

MadFriars Interview Sawyer Carroll

Sawyer Carroll appeared in a handful of games with Fort Wayne at the end of the season, capping what can be considered a successful pro debut. Denis Savage of MadFriars caught up with the prospect. (subscription required).

Ekstrom & Geer Come Through

Savage also put together a solid article that details the rise of the two former Wizards pitchers, who were teammates on the 2007 Champtionship San Antonio squzad. (Subscription Required).

LeBlanc Gets Win, Leg Up on 2009 Competition

SanDiego Spotlight details Wade LeBlanc’s first MLB win a week ago Monday:

The victory for Wade comes in his third major league start and gives a glimpse of what may come next season.  The Padres are actively auditioning young talent for next years roster and Wade LeBlanc would love to break camp with the big league club next year.

LaTroy Hawkins May Return to Houston

There’s speculation that the LaTroy Hawkins, who put together one of the most dominant pitching performances in Wizards’ history, may be resigned by the Houston Astros for 2009.

Hawkins has pitched so well the Astros would like to bring the right-hander back for another season if the price is right. Hawkins, 2-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA in 20 games, has struck out 22 and walked just four in 17.0 innings.

LaTroy Hawkins Traded to Astros

Add another former Wizards player to the Astros organization. Despite speculation that Hawkins would be traded back to the Twins, LaTroy Hawkins has been traded to the Houston Astros for minor league infielder Matt Cusick who was playing at Class A Lexington. The Yankees also sent cash to the Astros as part of the deal.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with the Yankees on a couple different occasions about LaTroy over the course of the season,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “And he was on our list over the off-season. We made an offer to him and had had discussions. He ended up signing with the Yankees, but he was somebody that we had on our radar screen back during the off-season. So the flurry of conversations that led to this deal basically took place within the last 24 hours” [Source: Houston Chronicle].

The Astros also have former Wizards, pitcher Jack Cassel and outfielder Yordany Ramirez in their organizations. Cassel has been up and down between Triple-A Roundrock and the parent club most of the season, while Ramirez has struggled at Triple-A Roundrock.

LaTroy Hawkins DFA’ed; Twins May Bring Him Back

LaTroy Hawkins was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees following the trade that brought in Xavier Nady from Pittsburgh. Hawkins signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract last winter and had hoped to resurrect his career in New York following a handfull of rather disappointing seasons. Now, his DFA status means the Yanks must trade, release or send him to the minors within ten days of the move. On the season, Hawkins was 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA in 33 games.

“I’m fine,” Hawkins said as he left Fenway before Saturday’s game. “I’m disappointed in the way I pitched. That’s about the only thing I’m disappointed in.”

But if there is a silver lining to the story, it’s that Hawkins may receive yet another chance to turn things around. Several teams throughout Major League Baseball are seeking middle relief help.

LaTroy HawkinsOne of his former teams, the Minnesota Twins, are interested in bringing him back. He pitched with the Twins from 1995 to 2003 and had been one of the team’s many “homegrown” talents over the years; having risen through the ranks of the team’s farm system.

With the Twins, he was a reliable and sometimes dominant set-up man. Now, with Pat Neshek down, the Twins are looking for help bridging the starters to closer gap. Hawkins just might be the answer.

While multiple teams are said to have interest, one of his other former  teams, the Rockies, aren’t among them. Colorado’s GM, Dan O’Dowd said bringing Hawkins back is not in his current plans.

With the Wizards in their inaugural season of 1993, Hawkins put together what may be the best individual season performance in the team’s history. Hawkins still holds Wizards records in ERA (2.06), wins (15), complete games (4), shutouts (2), strikeouts in a season (179) and strikeouts in a game (15). Even more impressive is the fact that Hawkins accomplished these totals during the first Wizards season and they still stand more than a decade later.

Photo courtesy of the Fort Wayne Wizards

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Bonine, Hawkins, Valentin, Headley,

  • Eddie Bonine Works Quick, Might Stick Around: Last night, former Wizard and current Detroit Tigers pitcher posted the best outing of his short career and made quick work of the Colorado Rockies. “Colorado put the ball in play on Bonine 27 times. Eleven of the 27 came on the first or second pitch of the at-bat. Eighteen of the 27 were ground balls, and 17 of those were outs”. Tigers’ left fielder called it “classic Eddie Bonine right there.”
  • LaTroy Hawkins Disappointed with Mop-Up Duty: Latroy Hawkins thought he would be the late inning reliever to set-up Mariano Rivera when he signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Yankees last winter. Instead, he’s trudging out of the bullpen to pitch in mop-up game situations. “Is it eating me up? Yeah . . . You like competing and you like to be at your best all of the time. You want to succeed. When you go out there and you don’t have the success that you’re looking for, it eats you up. This is the big leagues, and you’ve got to keep fighting.”
  • Javiar Valentin Makes First Career Appearance at Third Base: Typically a back-up catcher, former Wizard, Javier Valentin made his first career appearance at third base late in Sunday’s game at New York and made a similar cameo there on Tuesday vs. the Blue Jays. Reds manager Dusty Baker informed Valentin on Tuesday he would be starting on Thursday. Valentin thought Baker was joking. He wasn’t.
  • Chase Headley Doesn’t Walk This Way: The rookie Padre’s slugger is still looking for his first walk of the season, having not drawn one in 24 at-bats. In 2005, between his junior year at the University of Tennessee, short-season Eugene and Class A Fort Wayne, Headley walked 98 times in 128 games.

Interesting. Four former Wizards headlines. Four different Big League clubs.

Yankees Should Make Hawkins Their Set-up Man

Note: This article also appears at DugoutCentral.

In my fantasy draft, I selected Yankees’ pitcher Joba Chamberlain knowing that he might or might not split time between reliever and starter this season. I am in a league that has a holds category, so I was delighted when he started the season in the bullpen. But now that the Yankees have announced he is joining the starting rotation, I am scrambling to figure out who will fill the very large void that it creates in the set-up spot.

The current depth chart in the bullpen boasts of the youthful Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, the recently recalled Chris Britton, the unpredictable Kyle Farnsworth and the experienced LaTroy Hawkins. Most of what I have read and heard suggests that Farnsworth will get first crack at the spot because of his supposed resurgent season (and possibly his personal relationship with skipper Joe Girardi). I’ve also heard one analyst suggest that Ramirez will ultimately win the role. But of all the relievers, only Latroy Hawkins has a valid case. Sure, he has had some struggles over the last couple years but that should not disqualify his earlier track record and experience.

He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2004 as a free agent and was coming off an impressive stint with the Minnesota Twins that saw him dominate as one of the most reliable set-up men in all of Major League Baseball. At the time, it was no secret that Hawkins’ preference was to remain a setup man. The Cubs obliged and put him in that role where he did quite well as the eighth inning bridge to then-closer Joe Borowski.

“Joe is the closer here in Chicago,” Hawkins said at the time of his signing. “I came in to help him accomplish that. I came in to get the ball to Joe. That’s my job. “

With the Cubs in 2004, Hawkins was 5-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 25 saves over 82 innings pitched. That year, he gave up 24 runs and struck out 69. The year before, with the Twins, he had a 9-3 record and a 1.86 ERA while giving up just 16 earned runs over 77.1 innings pitched.

But, when Borowski went down, Hawkins was the in-house option to take over. He was converted to a closer late in 2004 and began 2005 as the Cubs’ only option. Hawkins struggled and the Cubs faithful turned on him – as they have on so many quality players. The right hander has never been quite the same. Hawkins was traded to the Baltimore Orioles where he played the 2006 season before signing with Colorado.

With the Rockies, he went 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA. He had five post-season appearances in which he allowed just one run and one hit over five innings. After Colorado declined their 2008 option, Hawkins signed with the Yankees where he is off to a rough start. In the 2008 campaign, Hawkins is 1-1 with a 6.75 earned run average over 24 innings in 20 games. He’s given up 18 runs on 25 hits and 11 walks while striking out 15. He also blew his only save opportunity.

In addition to his gruesome stats, he’s experienced other on-field drama. He was suspended for three games and fined $2,000 by Major League Baseball, who claims that he intentionally threw at Baltimore’s Luke Scott in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on May 20th. He is currently appealing it through the MLB Players Association.

However, what most fans see is the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately?” statistics. Hawkins is an experienced set-up man who has shown he is capable of dominating hitters. He’s just never been given the chance to truly return to the spot where he is most comfortable.

LaTroy Hawkings (1993)Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1991, he played all of the 1993 season in Fort Wayne of the Midwest League and compiled a dominant season that saw him post crazy numbers. With the Wizards, Hawkins went 15-5 with a 2.06 ERA and 179 strikeouts (including 15 in one game) over 157.1 innings pitched. He also tossed 2 shutouts and 4 complete games. The ERA, wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts in a season and game are all still Fort Wayne Wizards’ records to this day.

In route to his MLB debut season in 1995, Hawkins continued to produce solid numbers. But it was with the Twins that he earned recognition as one of the best set-up men in the game. By the time he earned free agency and joined the Cubs, he was highly sought by several teams – including the Yankess.

In 2002 and 2003, he went 15-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 139 with the twins. 2003 saw him tie for third in the majors with 28 holds and didn’t allow a run from July 31 to Sept. 14, which spanned 20 games.

Sure, he’s had a few bumps in the road as of late, but Hawkins has a proven track record that he is capable of being the type of pitcher who can step into the eighth and get the ball to Mariano Rivera for the Yankees. Since he left Minnesota and the Cubs set him up to fail, he really has not been given a chance to return to his comfort zone as the set-up guy. Will he get the chance with the Yankees this season?

If not, it may be closing time for a career that has gone largely unappreciated and undervalued.

LaTroy Hawkins Changes Numbers . . . Again

When LaTroy Hawkins came to the New York Yankees, he reported to Spring Training and wore number 22. Then, Morgan Ensberg – who was randomly given number 21 as a non-roster invitee – willingly forfeited number 21. Hawkins saw an opportunity to honor an international hero; Yankees fans saw an opportunity to be idiots (IMHO):

Hawkins eagerly accepted No. 21 as a tribute to Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente but quickly learned that a pinstriped No. 21 has other meanings for Yankees fans. Unaware he was donning a number that had not been worn since O’Neill retired following the 2001 World Series, Hawkins was booed when introduced on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Fans chanted “Paul O’Neill” during one of his appearances in the Bronx [source: MLB.com].

Hawkins was urged by Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and other Yankees players to forget the number because of the “headaches” it caused.

Hawkins will wear No. 22, last worn by Roger Clemens, when the Yankees take the field on Wednesday. He had said that he would be interested in wearing No. 42 on Tuesday as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, but declined to change his number for the game against the Rays.

Hawkins also has a yellow “Retire 21” sticker from retire21.org on the side of his locker [source: ESPN.com].