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redshark63

2008 Erie Seawolves Diary

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o.K..........

I do KNOW I read this. But, tell me this--

He's NOT on the 40-man and he was NOT one of the 21 non-rostered spring training invitees.

So, where is he?

I promise you, he's with another team, but, I can't find out which.

What can we find out?

Possibly one of the 100 or so in the minor league system not invited to camp?

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I really do NOT think so..............

Wasn't he on the 40-man when we got him and heck, he was brought in to play AAA for Toledo instead of promoting Joyce or Thomas during the season..after they promoted Torres.

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WAS in the media guide or IS in the media guide?

Is there one out for the beginning of this season?

thx

I believe I remember reading that this year's media guide was out (online for downloading or something like that)

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could you point me to him, at the risk of spending hours looking I'd appreciate the reference.

I swear I saw where he signed with some other team, but, it will NOT be the first time I've been wrong....................

Thx in advance for the reference

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Click on the link:

http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/fa...edia_guide.jsp

Click on Player Development and Scouting

Go to page 461 (type in 60 in the page box in the pdf (it is page 36 of 42)

And you get this (with much better formatting):

PERRY, JASON K. OUTFIELDER
HEIGHT: 6-0 BATS: L BORN: August 18, 1980 - Fremont, NE
WEIGHT: 216 THROWS: R RESIDENCE: Sharpsburg, GA
RECOMMENDED/SIGNED BY: (Tigers)
SCHOOL: Georgia Tech University
HOW OBTAINED: Acquired by the Tigers from Oakland, in exchange for Jack Hannahan on August 14, 2007.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
2007: Saw action in nine games with Escogido in the Dominican Winter League following the season, hitting .130 (3x23).
2006: Named the Texas League Player of the Week for April 24-30 after batting .545 (12x22) with eight runs scored, two doubles and three
RBI in six games.
2005: Selected to the Texas League’s post-season all-star squad...tied for third in the Texas League with 22 home runs, while he finished
fourth with a home run once every 19.77 at-bats...tabbed the Texas League Player of the Week for May 9-15 after hitting .444 (8x18) with
seven runs scored, a double, triple, four home runs and 10 RBI in five games.
2004: Led the California League with 64 extra-base hits, a .431 on-base percentage and .686 slugging percentage, while he finished second
with a .338 batting average and 24 home runs and tied for second with 39 doubles...homered once every 13.54 at-bats, tops in the California
League...named the 26th-best prospect in the Athletics organization following the season by Baseball America.
2003: Acquired by Oakland from Toronto on June 23 as the player to be named later to complete a trade from January 27.
2002: Selected by Toronto in the sixth round of the June draft...tied for second in the Pioneer League with 10 home runs...earned Pioneer
League Player of the Week honors twice, July 8-14 and July 29-August 4...in six games July 8-14, he hit .556 (10x18) with seven runs scored,
three doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI...batted .571 (8x14) with six runs scored, a double, three home runs and eight RBI in five games
July 29-August 4...named the 25th-best prospect in the Blue Jays organization following the season by Baseball America...hit .325 (77x237)
with 49 runs scored, 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 60 RBI as a junior at Georgia Tech University.
2001: As a sophomore at Georgia Tech University, he batted .337 (63x187) with 59 runs scored, nine doubles, 14 home runs and 57 RBI...
named to the Cape Cod League all-star squad after hitting .287 (41x143) with 22 runs scored, six doubles, three triples, eight home runs and
25 RBI for Hyannis during the summer.
2000: Hit .291 (25x86) with 20 runs scored, four doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI as a freshman at Georgia Tech University.
Year Club AVG G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI SH SF HB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG E
2002 Medicine Hat .425 30 106 25 45 85 6 2 10 36 0 0 6 12 19 0 2 .508 .802 4
Dunedin .289 13 45 7 13 19 3 0 1 5 0 1 3 5 11 0 0 .389 .422 0
2003 Dunedin .304 39 135 17 41 57 11 1 1 17 2 2 2 10 32 1 0 .356 .422 0
Modesto .305 50 190 28 58 81 9 1 4 26 0 1 7 21 46 0 1 .393 .426 4
2004 Modesto .338 83 325 81 110 223 39 1 24 80 1 3 21 34 87 4 4 .431 .686 5
Midland .198 28 81 11 16 26 5 1 1 11 1 1 5 4 23 3 1 .275 .321 0
2005 Midland .257 124 435 68 112 207 21 4 22 77 0 4 13 45 126 1 4 .342 .476 3
2006 Midland .402 28 107 28 43 67 8 2 4 17 0 1 4 12 23 2 1 .476 .626 0
Sacramento .252 90 318 36 80 123 15 2 8 47 2 3 4 23 84 3 2 .307 .387 7
2007 Midland .256 21 78 15 20 42 7 0 5 17 0 0 6 11 20 0 0 .389 .538 1
Sacramento .268 78 284 59 76 148 16 1 18 58 1 2 5 41 89 4 0 .367 .521 1
Toledo .184 16 49 10 9 18 3 0 2 3 0 0 1 8 16 0 0 .310 .367 1
MINOR LEAGUE TOTALS .289 600 2153 385 623 1096 143 15 100 394 7 18 77 226 576 18 15 .374 .509 26

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I stand corrected and my apologies go out to all those who were telling me the whole time I was wrong!

My bad................

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Probably meant Roberson, and there weren't many other options to play 1B there this season.

Helen, your roster seems to be missing two players position players. Based on the Erie Times article, I'm assuming it's Nick McIntyre and Jeff Frazier.

Also, Boesch has no business in Erie and frankly would have earned a repeat trip to West Michigan had there been a bit more competition at the lower levels.

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How about?

Guzman CF

Scram RF

Ramirez LF

Roberson 1B

Kirkland 3B

Worth SS

Frazier DH

Ryan C

Leon/Rhymes 2B

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'Wolves' roster rounds into shape

Ex-major leaguer Guzman to start in center field for Erie

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: March 29. 2008 6:00AM

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Outfielder Freddy Guzman was contending for a major league roster spot with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

Now it appears his ninth professional season will begin in Double-A with the Erie SeaWolves.

Guzman worked out with the SeaWolves on Friday, one day after he cleared waivers and had his contract outrighted to Erie by the Tigers.

Guzman's assignment to Erie was a surprise to many in the organization, including SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens.

"He was vying for a big league camp job and to come to Double-A is a little bit of a change, but that's not the first time I've seen that happen in these scenarios," Brookens said. "I'm happy to have him down here. I had a talk with him (Friday) morning and he's fine with coming here and he's going to continue to play hard like he has his whole career."

Brookens said Guzman probably would hit leadoff and see the bulk of time in center field. Brookens plans to move Double-A rookie Deik Scram, the team's projected starter in center before Guzman's arrival, to right field.

Guzman, 27, is a switch-hitter with outstanding speed. He hit .343 (12-for-35) with one homer, six RBIs and four steals in 23 games with the Tigers this spring.

Last season, he led the Pacific Coast League with 56 steals playing at Triple-A Oklahoma in the Texas Rangers' organization.

Erie's roster was close to being finalized Friday morning as the SeaWolves worked out at their Tigertown Complex before playing an afternoon game against the Akron Aeros in Winter Haven.

Brookens had 26 players in his camp Friday, two above the 24-man roster he'll head north with Sunday when the team breaks camp.

The SeaWolves had 13 pitchers in camp Friday but will carry 12 on their opening-day roster.

Brookens said Friday his starting rotation likely would consist of right-handers Andrew Kown and Ben Fritz, and lefties Jon Connolly, Lucas French and Dan Christiansen.

Right-handers Freddy Dolsi and Brett Jensen will share the closer role, Brookens said.

Erie's bullpen includes right-hander Anthony Tomey and lefty Danny Zell, each of whom was assigned to the SeaWolves on Friday from Triple-A Toledo.

"Tomey and Zell are solid guys to have on our club," Brookens said. "There is not that spot for them in Triple-A right now, but they will be guys who can move up."

Tomey spent the entire spring with Toledo after splitting his 2007 season between Toledo and Erie. He was one of Erie's most consistent relievers last season, going 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 32 outings and allowing just 10 earned runs in 45 2/3 innings.

"I definitely was striving to be in Toledo and I guess it didn't work out with the numbers," Tomey said. "I threw well and I didn't give up any runs all spring. I'm happy to have a spot here."

The three other relief spots on Erie's staff will likely be filled from a group including right-handers Casey Fien, Josh Rainwater and Marcelo Perez and lefty Juan Cedeno.

Brookens said he appears set on the six infielders he'll bring to Erie: first baseman Ryan Roberson, second basemen Will Rhymes and Max Leon, shortstop Danny Worth, utility man Nick McIntyre and third baseman Kody Kirkland.

The catching duties will be handled by Max St. Pierre and Dusty Ryan. St. Pierre was reassigned to the SeaWolves on Friday from Triple-A Toledo.

There were five outfielders in Erie's camp Friday competing for four spots. Guzman, Scram and left fielder Wilkin Ramirez are locks, with Pedro Cotto and Jeff Frazier battling for the last spot.

Cotto also can play first base, enhancing his chances of making the club.

"I feel good about our personnel and what we accomplished in the spring," Brookens said. "We should be very competitive. I see no reason why not. As far as our style, when you get a little better feel for your team, that will dictate what you do."

Detroit's minor league officials are expected to announce final rosters today or Sunday.

The SeaWolves play their final spring training game today at 10 a.m. against the Akron Aeros in Lakeland.

On Sunday, the club will play a morning intersquad game against Triple-A Toledo, then break camp. Players are scheduled to report to Erie on Sunday. Brookens will fly to Erie on Monday.

The SeaWolves open their season Thursday at Bowie.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080329/BASEBALL01/803290422/-1/SPORTS

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Wow...that's some rotation. Reminds me a bit of the Randy Smith era...we could see a cumulative ERA over 5.00 from that groupl. Thankfully the major league team doesn't.

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It'll be interesting to see how the rotation plays out...that's a group that will eat innings without a doubt....but with the strength of the bullpen, they may not need to.

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'Wolves' roster includes 3 top prospects

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: March 31. 2008 6:00AM

Three players ranked by Baseball America among the Detroit Tigers' top 30 minor league prospects will begin the season with the Erie SeaWolves.

Erie's opening day roster, which was finalized Sunday, includes shortstop Danny Worth (the Tigers' No. 8-ranked prospect), left fielder Wilkin Ramirez (14th) and center fielder Freddy Guzman (15th).

Worth, 22, known for his outstanding defense, was selected by the Tigers in the second round of last year's June draft. He spent most of last season with high Single-A Lakeland before he was promoted to the SeaWolves late in August.

Worth went 6-for-14 with four runs batted in in Erie's past five regular-season games and played in all four of the SeaWolves' first-round playoff games against Akron. He hit .251 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 51 games at Lakeland.

Ramirez, 22, received a Double-A promotion to Erie in July of last season after opening the year at high Single-A Lakeland. He batted .215 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 34 games with Erie. With Lakeland, he hit .273 in 88 games, with 10 homers and 41 RBIs.

Ramirez suffered a separated left shoulder in early March in major league camp, but he is playing again and ready to begin his second tour of duty with the SeaWolves. He was hitting .438 (7-of-16) with two homers and eight RBIs in eight games with Detroit at the time of his injury.

Guzman, 27, is entering his ninth season of pro ball. Guzman was competing for a roster spot with the Tigers until Thursday, when he cleared waivers and the parent club outrighted his contract to Erie.

He will be the SeaWolves' everyday center fielder and likely hit leadoff, Erie manager Tom Brookens said.

At Triple-A Oklahoma (Texas Rangers) last season, Guzman led the Pacific Coast League with 56 steals.

Twelve players on Erie's roster spent all or part of the 2007 season with Erie: third baseman Kody Kirkland, utility infielder Nick McIntyre, Worth, second basemen Will Rhymes and Max Leon, Ramirez, and pitchers Andrew Kown, Jon Connolly, Anthony Tomey, Danny Zell and Matt Rusch.

Outfielder Pedro Cotto, who was with Erie a year ago, will open the season on Erie's inactive list.

The SeaWolves are scheduled to work out at Jerry Uht Park on Tuesday in preparation for their season opener Thursday at Bowie.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

Erie SeaWolves roster

Infielders

Player, B-T, Height, Weight, Age, 2007 team

Danny Worth, R-R, 6-1, 185, 22, Lakeland, Erie

Nick McIntyre, S-R, 5-10, 195, 27, Erie

Ryan Roberson, R-R, 6-5, 240, 24, GCL Tigers, Lakeland

Max Leon, S-R, 5-11, 190, 23, Lakeland, Toledo

Will Rhymes, L-R, 5-9, 155, 24, Lakeland, Erie

Kody Kirkland, R-R, 6-4, 200, 24, Erie

Outfielders

Wilkin Ramirez, R-R, 6-2, 190, 22, Lakeland, Erie

Deik Scram, L-R, 6-2, 180, 24, West Michigan, Lakeland

Freddy Guzman, S-R, 5-10, 165, 27, Oklahoma, Texas Rangers

Jeff Frazier, R-R, 6-3, 195, 25, High Desert, West Tennessee

Catchers

Max St. Pierre, R-R, 6-0, 175, 27, Huntsville

Dusty Ryan, R-R, 6-4, 220, 23, GCL Tigers, Lakeland

Pitchers

Starters

Andrew Kown, L-R, 6-7, 210, 25, Lakeland, Erie

Jon Connolly, R-L, 6-0, 205, 24, Erie, Toledo

Lucas French, L-L, 6-3, 220, 22, Lakeland

Dan Christiansen, L-L, 6-1, 210, 24, Wichita

Ben Fritz, R-R, 6-4, 225, 27, Midland

Relievers

Anthony Tomey R-R, 6-4, 245, 26, Lakeland, Erie, Toledo

Danny Zell, L-L, 6-5, 210, 26, Erie

Matt Rusch, R-R, 5-11, 180, 24, Erie

Casey Fien, R-R, 6-2, 195, 24, West Michigan

Brett Jensen, R-R, 6-7, 190, 24, West Michigan

Juan Cedeno, L-L, 6-1, 175, 24, Wichita

Josh Rainwater, R-R, 6-2, 220, 22, West Michigan, Lakeland

Field staff

Manager: Tom Brookens

Hitting coach: Glenn Adams

Pitching coach: Ray Burris

Trainer: Chris McDonald

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080331/BASEBALL01/803310416/-1/SPORTS

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Wow....pretty much all the LFT guys are gone. Was kinda hoping Scram would be down here for a while before heading to Erie, good for him though. Didnt think Rainwater would be up that quick either.

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I thought Rainwater would have started the season in Lakeland too, but not suprised he's starting in Erie, he did pitch rather well last year when he was promoted to Lakeland. I just can't wait till we see what Lakeland's roster looks like.

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Brookens provides Spark

In new manager, 'Wolves have skipper from Anderson's mold

Published: April 02. 2008 6:00AM

bilde?Site=GE&Date=20080402&Category=SPORTS0509&ArtNo=804020442&Ref=AR&MaxW=240

Erie SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens learned much of what he knows about managing from watching the legendary Sparky Anderson. (CHUCK PORA/Contributed photo New)

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Maybe the best thing you can say about a Double-A baseball manager is that he seems more interested in getting his players to the big leagues than getting there himself.

For someone carrying the label of rising major league managerial prospect, Tom Brookens appears to be in no particular hurry.

He is, however, eager to pass on to this year's Erie SeaWolves what he learned from a decade in dugouts and clubhouses with former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson.

An important part of that is baseball, the mechanical part of the game. An equally important part is the stuff that more often shows up in the box score of life.

"He was very big on teaching his guys the respect of the game itself," Brookens said of Anderson, who won three World Series titles, including one with the 1984 Tigers with Brookens as a key reserve.

"He was big on teaching guys how to become professionals. Maybe not so much how to bunt or hit-and-run, but how to live the lifestyle, how to carry yourself, how to approach the game. I think I tend to manage that way, too."

Brookens begins his first season with the SeaWolves on Thursday in Bowie, Md. When former SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck was hired by the Texas Rangers to coach third base, the Tigers turned to Brookens.

He skipped a minor league level after winning the Midwest League title last season in low Class A West Michigan. It's unusual for a minor-league manager to make that jump - Walbeck made it, too - but Brookens' managerial career hasn't followed the blueprint.

Brookens returned to the game in 2005, at age 53, to manage the Tigers' short-season team in Oneonta, N.Y.

At the time he wasn't sure that's what he wanted to do. A southeast Pennsylvania native who lives in Fayetteville, Franklin County, Brookens had been at home with his wife and three daughters.

But he won in Oneonta and kept winning at West Michigan, and along the way he developed a taste for managing.

He is, by admission, a tinkerer. He doesn't believe in fielding the same lineup every day. He doesn't believe players are locked into the batting order. He's more interested in how a guy goes about his business, whether he shows up every day.

If Brookens has a particular style that might rub off on the SeaWolves this summer, it's fairly simple: play hard, play the right way.

"I had the reputation of being a dirt dog," Brookens said. "I wasn't one of the big guys or the stars. I was one of the guys that was showing up ready to give 100 percent every day. To me, that's the only way to play the game."

That should fit well in a Tigers' system that probably has more dirt dogs than stars right now. The front office dealt away some of the farm system's trophies last winter to bring in guys like Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

Gone are high-octane prospects like pitchers Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern, outfielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Mike Rabelo.

As a result, some young talent will move more quickly than usual. Some of it already has.

On the heels of a playoff appearance in 2007, it could be more of a learning season in Erie. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially with a manager who's up to the task.

"I think a good manager thinks of everything and sees everything," Brookens said. "I think he tries to find out what every guy's strengths are and help him play to them, and find out what every guy's weaknesses are and try to use that to get better."

And if that gets a guy out of Erie before Brookens, well, he's fine with that, too.

JOHN DUDLEY can be reached at 870-1677 or john.dudley@timesnews.com.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080402/SPORTS0509/804020442/-1/SPORTS

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'Wolves open today behind experience of lefty Connolly

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 03. 2008 6:00AM

bilde?Site=GE&Date=20080403&Category=BASEBALL01&ArtNo=804030489&Ref=AR&MaxW=240

Erie SeaWolves pitcher Jon Connolly works out with the team April 1. (Greg Wohlford / Erie Times-News)

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Left-hander Jon Connolly spent most of spring training with the Toledo Mud Hens.

When he reported to work Friday morning at the Tigertown Complex in Bradenton, Fla., he found himself reassigned to the Erie SeaWolves, his hopes of breaking camp with a Triple-A promotion dashed for the time being.

"It's one of those things that's happened the last two years late in spring training, but that's fine," Connolly said. "As long as you're playing baseball somewhere, that's all that really matters."

Tonight, Connolly, 24, embarks on his eighth professional season, highlighted by his first opening-day start when the SeaWolves take on the Bowie Baysox at 7:05 at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, Md.

"Being back here is fine," said Connolly, who went 7-7 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 appearances for Erie last season. "It's a good place to play. I think we have a pretty good team to put out there and, hopefully, make another run at a championship."

A year ago, with Matt Walbeck as manager, the SeaWolves won the Eastern League Southern Division regular-season title - the franchise's first since 2001 - with an 81-59 record before losing to Akron in the opening round of the playoffs.

Erie's 24-man opening-day roster includes 13 new players, new manager Tom Brookens and new pitching coach Ray Burris.

Brookens and Burris worked together last year in guiding the low Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps to a Midwest League championship. Both were promoted to Erie in November, shortly after Walbeck was hired as the Texas Rangers' third-base coach.

Burris, entering his third season of coaching in the Tigers' organization, is working on developing a staff that combines experience and youth.

Returnees Andrew Kown, a right-hander, and Connolly anchor the starting rotation, which includes right-hander Ben Fritz and left-handers Lucas French and Dan Christensen

"We like the pitching staff that we have," Burris said. "It's not often you get a staff with three left-handed starters. That's a luxury. What we're going to try to do is show up each day and perform to our maximum and allow ourselves to be successful. That entails knowing what you believe in when you go out on the mound and believing you have the wherewithal to get hitters out. If you can get hitters out, you can win, no matter what league it's in."

Some of Erie's newcomers are looking to rebound from poor 2007 seasons.

At Lakeland last season, French went 5-14 with a 4.05 ERA in 27 starts. This is his fifth season as a Detroit farmhand.

Christensen was acquired by the Tigers on Nov. 13 from the Kansas City Royals as the player to be named later in exchange for former SeaWolves pitcher Roman Colon.

Pitching for Double-A Wichita last season, Christensen went 3-15 with a 6.21 ERA in 27 appearances and led the Texas League in losses. He has a six-year career minor-league record of 16-44 and a 4.79 ERA.

The Tigers selected Fritz, a 6-foot 4-inch, 238-pound starter, from Oakland on Dec. 6 in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. A seven-year pro, Fritz was 11-11 with a 5.67 ERA in 28 starts with Double-A Midland last season.

Erie's bullpen received an influx of experience late last week when right-handers Anthony Tomey and Matt Rusch and southpaw Danny Zell were reassigned from Toledo. All three spent all or part of their 2007 season with Erie.

They're joined in the bullpen by right-handers Brett Jensen, Casey Fien and Josh Rainwater, and left-hander Juan Cedeno.

"Our bullpen is on the younger side," Tomey said, "but it will be a good deal for us. Fien and Jensen both had great years last year and are both really talented guys. They should do well. We have to come together and figure it out. They have to learn basically that throwing hard doesn't get it done all the time. You have to be able to keep the ball low and get people out."

Jensen, who is 6 feet 7 inches and 190 pounds, will be the primary closer to start the season, a role he held last year at West Michigan, where he was 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 23 saves in 56 relief appearances. He ranked second in the Midwest League in appearances and third in saves.

"He's basically a sinker, slider, changeup pitcher," Burris said. "He's getting better on all his pitches as far as knowing what to do and reading what the hitter is showing him. The one thing we've seen in the last two years we've had him is the ability to take any situation and have the demeanor on the mound that you look for in a closer. He still comes at hitters with intensity, but you look at his demeanor and you don't know if he is winning or losing."

Fien pitched in a set-up role with West Michigan last season and was 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 39 games. Fien exhibited outstanding control, striking out 77 and walking just 10 in 61 innings.

"Casey will be a good set-up man and I look for him to close some games," Brookens said. "Casey had a tremendous year for us last season, and he threw the ball well in Oneonta the year before. I like his makeup. He really comes right at you. Last year, he came into his own with command better than he had before, and he's throwing a little harder. He has a good, hard slider and a good, live fastball. Last year, he was spotting both of them extremely well. He's working on a third pitch -- a change-up."

Rainwater was 7-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 16 games at West Michigan last season. He earned a promotion to high Single-A Lakeland and was 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 19 games.

"He can start, close, be long or short relief," Burris said. "He has a lot of dimension and variety to his game."

Cedeno, a 6-1, 165-pound southpaw, was selected by the Tigers from Washington in the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 6. He pitched at Double-A Wichita in the Royals' organization last season and signed a minor-league, free-agent contract with Washington on Nov. 16.

"Rush, Fien, Zell, Rainwater, Cedeno, Tomey can all close a game, and I don't have a problem putting them in a closing situation because in my mind they can get people out, and if you can get people out, you can bring us a W," Burris said. "They will probably be used in that regard. You still have your primary closer at times, and there will be some times when your closer is not available because maybe he's pitched three days in a row, so you have to revert to plan B."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080403/BASEBALL01/804030489/-1/SPORTS

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A sobering look at life

Catcher St. Pierre battles alcoholism, returns to 'Wolves

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: April 03. 2008 6:00AM

Erie SeaWolves catcher Max St. Pierre works out with the team April 1. (Greg Wohlford / Erie Times-News)

bilde?Site=GE&Date=20080403&Category=BASEBALL01&ArtNo=804030515&Ref=AR&MaxW=240

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Max St. Pierre knew he was an alcoholic last year and seemed content that his life and baseball career had bottomed out.

"I was drinking and getting hung over all the time and spending all my money on drinking, just not caring about anything and wanting to get away from that real world," said St. Pierre, 27, a catcher who is trying to jump-start his career this season in his fifth stint with the Erie SeaWolves.

St. Pierre's drinking problem also was exacting a heavy toll on his game. Baseball - his lifeblood since the Detroit Tigers drafted him in 1997 when he was 16 - no longer was his focus.

"I was just taking the easy route," St. Pierre said. "I had been drinking heavily since I was 21 and things were going downhill, and it was like all I wanted to do was drink and have a good time. You reach a point where enough is enough."

St. Pierre was forced to do some soul-searching and make some drastic changes, beginning with five months of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which ended in January.

Gradually, he's turned his life around. He's been sober for more than eight months, and he and his fiancee are expecting their first child in three months.

"Knowing that we're having a child has given me an extra fire," he said. "That's kept me going."

So has his return to the Detroit organization. He signed with the Tigers as a minor league free agent Dec. 17 after spending last season as a Milwaukee Brewers farmhand.

St. Pierre spent all of spring training with Triple-A Toledo before he was reassigned to the SeaWolves on Friday.

Known for his strong arm and outstanding defensive skills, St. Pierre played with SeaWolves for parts of four seasons from 2002-05.

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http://www.goerie.com/blogs/extrainnings

"I'm not disappointed to be here," St. Pierre said. "I'm just happy to have a job and have a uniform back on, because last year I kind of quit. (The Tigers) gave me an opportunity to play, and it's big for me. Maybe this is a second chance, but I see it as more of a chance to shine again because for the last several years I've been more occupied with things off the field."

St. Pierre will share catching duties with Double-A rookie Dusty Ryan.

"Max is here and I'm glad to have him," SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said. "He had a good spring. He's a tremendous receiver with a great arm. Coming back to the organization, he's shown us a lot of positive things this spring."

There was little if anything positive about St. Pierre's experience in the Brewers' minor-league system.

After a disappointing 2006 season in which he hit .202 with three homers and 31 RBIs in 78 games, St. Pierre left the Tigers' organization and was signed by the Kansas City Royals as a minor league free agent.

The Brewers acquired St. Pierre in a two-player deal on March 27, 2007, and assigned him to Double-A Huntsville.

After he played 10 games there early last season, the Brewers attempted to convert him to a pitcher.

"It took me a while to make a decision, but I said I would give it a shot," St. Pierre said. "I didn't think anything about it because baseball was second in my life at that time. I said I would pitch."

The Brewers sent him to extended spring training in Florida to learn how to pitch. St. Pierre said he threw 10 innings in a closing role, allowing one hit and no runs.

"I was around 93 (mph) on almost every pitch and topped out at 95," St. Pierre said. "After that, they told me they were going to send me to high A and instead they sent me to short A. I said that wasn't going to work out for me. They signed me for two years and I didn't want to wait a year to know how good I could be against good hitters. They wanted to take their time with me, so it didn't work out too well."

The Brewers released him June 22.

St. Pierre is happy to be with a different organization and back on the receiving end of pitches.

"As long as my arm is strong, I'll keep going," St. Pierre said. "I feel good. My knees feel good and my hitting got much better. I feel like I have to prove myself again because I had a great spring and I've been changing some things in my hitting.

"I want to start somewhere where they're going to give me a chance to play. I don't want to be somewhere where I'm going to back up and play once a week and not know what I'm going to do. Things are going well for me. I just hope I have a great season and go from there."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080403/BASEBALL01/804030515/-1/BASEBALL

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