Tag Archives: Wizards

Cedric Hunter Scores in MLB Debut

After a hot spring, Cedric Hunter made the Padres Opening Day roster. Then, Cameron Maybin made Hunter’s debut possible. After hitting a game-tying two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth, the game went into extra innings in St. Louis. 

In the top half of the 11th, Maybin left after singling in the go-ahead run. Hunter replaced him as a pinch runner and later scored. He stayed in the game and played center as the Padres pulled out a 5-3 victory.

Hunter becomes the 94th former Fort Wayne Wizards or TinCaps player to make his Major League debut.

Hunter was selected by San Diego Padres in 3rd round (93rd overall) of 2006 draft. He played in 129 games with the Wizards in Fort Wayne during the 2007 season, hitting .282 with 7 home runs and 58 RBI.

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Travis Chick Signs Minor League Deal with Bucs

Several sources on the Internet are reporting that former Fort Wayne Wizards pitcher, Travis Chick has signed a Minor League deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates have signed 26-year old righty reliever/starter Travis Chick to a minor league deal. Chick has not pitched yet this season. He has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) in his major league career and he is 0-0 with a 12.60 ERA and a 3.40 WHIP. Chick has also pitched in 189 games (142 starts) in his 8 years in the minors and he is 48-45 with 1 save, a 4.26 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. It will be interesting to see if Chick can work his way to Pittsburgh before the 2010 season is over.

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Padres Moves Include Fort Wayne Alumni

The San Diego Padres have made some moves that include three former Fort Wayne players. The first TinCap to hit the Majors, Mat Latos has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Latos has a strained muscle on his left side, and the move was retroactive to July 9. He’s expected back  for his July 24th start in Pittsburgh. Let’s hope he has a short stint on the DL. His outstanding season has him currently at 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA.

The Padres recalled right-hander Ernesto Frieri and outfielder Luis Durango from Triple-A Portland. Frieri made his MLB debut  last season. On the year, with Triple-A Portland, he is 3-1 with 17 saves and a 1.43 ERA. Durango also debuted late last season and has appeared in six big league games this year, going 5 for 13 with a .385 with two RBI and three runs scored.

WizCaps Where R They? – Paul McAnulty

Paul McAnulty was selected in round twelve (355th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2002. In 2005, he made his Major League Debut with the Padres and saw Big League action in each of the next three seasons. In 2009, he played at the Triple-A level for both the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.

With the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2003, McAnulty appeared in 133 games. He hit .273 with 7 homers and 73 RBI while mostly manning the first base and designated hitter roles.

McAnulty is one of five position players from the 2003 squad to reach the Majors. Shortstop Luis Cruz, catchers Colt Morton and Luke Carlin and outfielder Drew Macias being the others. Pitchers, Dale Thayer, David Pauley (who recently made it back with the Mariners) and Jon Huber also made the Majors, for a total of eight from the 2003 Wizards team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.

In 90 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .233 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 48 RBI. In 20 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs, he hit .182 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

In the offseason, McAnulty signed with the LAA Angels. He’s appeared in 29 games for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, hitting .360 with eight doubles, four dingers and 26 RBI. In 44 games with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, he hit .331 with three doubles, a triple, 14 home runs and 27 RBI.

Today, McAnulty was recalled by the Angels, seeing Big League action for the first time since 2008:

“These guys have been around,” Scioscia said. “They have a little Major League experience, they’ve been playing in Triple-A for a long time. They’re really veteran-type players. Both can swing the bat and that’s something that we need a little depth in right now.”

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An Open Letter to Matt Bush – I’m Rooting For You

Every year, it never fails. Draft time appraoches and bloggers, columnists, and self-reightous sports pundits are quick to point to the San Deigeo Padres when they selected you number one overall.

They don’t remember that Matt Bush is a person.

They only mention Matt Bush the prospect. They like to use you as the example for draft day busts. They like to remind us that just because it’s a number one pick, success is no promise. They like to tell us how your lack of success all but ruined the Padres. They like to tell us that your personal indiscretions ruined the potential of a great career.

They forget you are human just because someone took a chance.

They don’t like to talk about how you’ve struggled personally. They don’t mention that maybe – just maybe – you’ve faced undying regret.

Padres fans, get over it.

Last I looked, you were in first place with some promising young talent coming up. Truth be told, the years that Matt Bush played in Fort Wayne as a position player were not exactly great squads. Maybe there’s more than one poor decision to blame.

Matt Bush with the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2005
Matt Bush with the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2005. Photo by Chad Gramling.

Matt, I truly and sincerely hope you succeed. But not just on the field. In life.

You were thrown a lot of cash with massive expectations at a young and impressionable age. I hope you’ve discovered peace and overcome the grips of addiction.

Now, I’m not making any attempt to get religious and make it my life mission to make sure you are saved. But Mr. Bush, I hope you’ve found God. That way, whether you throw another pitch or not, you’ve at least got faith on your side and have the rest of your life to make good on His purpose for you.

Finally, Matt, I hope you are aiming to make the comparisons to Ryan Leaf end – and ready to make comparisons to Josh Hamilton begin. I’m rooting for you Matt.



Wizards Where R They?: Michael Restovich

In late 1998, a young Michael Restovich joined the Fort Wayne Wizards. He batted .444 in 11 games. Had the Wizards remained an affiliate of the Twins in 1999, Fort Wayne would have seen him back at the Castle, where he probably would have posted a great extended encore.

That year, Baseball America ranked Restovich highly among top prospects – an honor he claimed through 2003. As the Padres moved into Fort Wayne, the Twins shifted to Quad Cities. The outfielder opened the season with a 10-game hitting streak and ended it ranked second in the Midwest League in RBIs, fourth in homers, fifth in on-base percentage (.412) and total bases (253) and seventh in average. Along the way, he was named Midwest League Player of the Week for April 8-17, put together another 10-game hitting streak in June, and drove in seven runs in one game on May 25th. Following that season’s performance, Baseball America said he was the fourth-best prospect in the Midwest League.

By 2002, Michael Restovich had made it to Minnesota to play for the Twins, who had drafted him in the second round of the 1997 Draft (number 61 overall). He saw eight games of MLB action that year.

Restovich saw a combined 55 games of Big League action over the next two seasons as the Twins continued to develop their prospect at the Triple-A level. Indeed, he had the power stroke, hitting 16 and 20 home runs while at Triple-A Rochester in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

Since that time, he’s also played for Colorado, Pittsburgh, the Cubs, Washington and even played the 2008 season in Japan for Fukuoka in the Japanese Pacific League.

His peculiar sojourn began in 2005 following an off-season injury, breaking his collar bone after slipping on ice. Not only did it slow his progress and development, the packed outfield in Minnesota at the time made things difficult for the former Wizard.

He attended Spring Training with the Twins, but found himself placed on waivers and claimed by Tampa Bay. He was in that organization for all of a week before he was again a waiver claim – this time by the Colorado Rockies. He saw 14 big leage games with them, hitting .290 with a home run in that span.

He was then traded to Pittsburgh for a player to be named (which I believe turned out to be cash considerations). He appeared in 52 games with the Pirates, but his offensive production didn’t seem to come with him. He hit just .214 with 24 strikeouts in 84 at-bats. They released him following the season. The Cubs signed him to a Minor League deal, though he did see 10 games of Big League action. However, despite putting up respectable numbers at Triple-A Iowa, his offense remained AWOL, hitting .167 with no runs and one RBI.

Restovich signed with the Nationals for the 2007 season. Much like 2006, most of the year was spent at Triple-A. In his 15 big league games, he hit .143. Again, no runs and one lone RBI. 2008 was spent in Japan despite an opportunity to play in the Phillies organization, before returning in 2009 with the White Sox as a non-roster invitee. He spent all of 2009 with Triple-A Charlotte, but his offense seemed to return. He hit .290 with 21 home runs and 61 RBI.

In January of this year, Restoivich signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers and was assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque. He’s batting .278 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI over 38 games. Somewhat intersting is the fact that he is a teammate of Jon Link (2006) – another former Wizard. The fact that they are both former Wizards is not all that interesting.Former Wizards end up as teammates – even outside the parent club – quite often.

Here’s the interesting part…

On the one hand, you have Link… an up and coming hurler who traces his Fort Wayne roots to a Single-A Padres affiliate. And then there is Restovich. He cut his Single-A teeth with 11 brief games as part of a team that was the last of the Minnesta era in Fort Wayne.

On the one hand, you have Link… a guy that was traded to bring Rob Mackowiak to San Diego in 2007. About that same time, Restovich looked to be playing the part of a talented slugger who had an unfortunate injury that might end his Major League hopes.

On the one hand, you have Link… a former Wizard brought to the Dodgers in a trade for Juan Pierre. Shortly after, he makes his Major League debut but still spends most of his time in the minors. And on the other hand, you have Restovich… a talented former up and comer who has refused to give up.

It’s an interesting crossroad that makes baseball great. Two men sharing a common bond of Fort Wayne baseball roots – but at different points in their careers. The dream is the same for each. The path from here is the same for each. And the opportunity is there for them both.

Here’s to hoping they get what they’re pursuing.

Looking for more WizCaps Where R They? Look Here.

Former Wizards in Recent Minor Moves

Was just checking on Minor League transactions via Baseball America. Here’s some WizCaps notes I thought I would mention:

  • The Yankees have added former Wizards and veteran MLB catcher, Chad Moeller to their 40-man roster.
  • For the Padres, Second baseman Josh Barfield and lefty pitcher Cory Luebke are off the disabled list. Drew Miller has retired.
  • The Mariners have reinstated pitcher, David Pauley from the inactive list.

Luis Durango Called up by Padres

Luis DurangoFormer Fort Wayne Wizards speedster, Luis Durango has been called up by the San Diego Padres.

Durango made his MLB debut last season as a September call up. He’s got virtually no power threat, but is capable of swiping mor ethan a couple bags because he does a solid job of getting on base. Friar Forecast has a great analysis if you’re interested.

And as Denis Savage of MadFriars points out

Only once has he hit under .300 – hitting .281 across 129 games in the Double-A Texas League during the 2009 season.

There’s also a ton of other info and coverage on that page – which is not subscriber-only. So check it out.

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Lance Zawadzki Makes MLB Debut

After waiting a couple days since being called up, former Fort Wayne Wizard, Lance Zawadzki made his MLB Debut. Slotted for eighth in the starting lineup, Zawadzki came to the plate in the bottom have of the third inning and singled to shallow right in his first Major League at-bat. A garland bunt sacrifice moved the former Wizard to second. He then scored on a Tony Gwynn Jr. triple.

He grounded out to third in his second at-bat, which came in the next inning. In the fifth, Zawadzki was intentionally walked with two outs to get to the pitcher, Garland, who promptly ended the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Zawadski popped out to right center to end the inning with fellow former Wizard, Will Venable on second.

Joining Zawadzki in the Padres lineup, in addition to Venable, were former Wizards Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks and Chase Headley. From the visitors’ dugout, the Brewers lineup included former Wizards catcher, George Kottaras, and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins.

Yeah. That’s a game that included seven who played A-ball in Fort Wayne. Not too shabby.

Photo by Chad Gramling, autograph obtained in person at Memorial Stadium on June 29, 2008.

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Rockies DFA Former Wizard, Juan Rincon

Former Fort Wayne Wizards pitcher, Juan Rincon was designated for assignment Saturday by the Colorado Rockies to make room for right-hander Esmil Rogers.

Rincon is a 10-year MLB veteran.

“He was still here in the organization because of the way he was treated last year,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. “He gained respect as a player, as a man who poured his heart and soul into it the way he did last year. I’m a firm believer that the truth never hurt anybody. When I called him into the office, I just told him the truth.”

Rincon was in his second season with the Rockies and 10th as a Major Leaguer. He’s appeared in 443 games during stints with the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Rockies. He has a career 4.04 ERA with 466 strikeouts over 506 innings.

Rincon, was once among the top setup men in the game. He signed with the Twins organization as a 17-year-old from Venezuela in 1996 and joined the Wizards in 1998. With the ‘zards that year, he went 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 96.1 innings pitched.

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