Independent Baseball Insider by Bob Wirz
Different Fates for Serna, Court
Two of the American Association’s more prominent recent infield graduates climbing the professional baseball ranks saw important swings in their fate in recent days.
K. C. Serna (Amarillo, 2013, pictured) has been promoted to Miami’s top farm club in New Orleans, replacing veteran Steve Lombardozzi, who was promoted to the parent Marlins.
Serna, 27, has positional versatility, and flashed considerable offense when he played in all 100 games for Amarillo, hitting .304 with 26 doubles, eight triples, a homer, 17 thefts and 45 RBI. He was only hitting .176 in 16 games for Double-A Jacksonville this season when he was needed at New Orleans where he had a two-run double, then scored in his debut plate appearance Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ryan Court, who hit .331 at Sioux City two years ago and is all the way up to Triple-A Pawtucket for the Boston Red Sox, has been silenced for now with a fracture of his right foot which figures to keep him sidelined for some time. Court, 29, has the ability to play several positions including second base where the American Association placed him on its postseason all-star team after his big season with the powerhouse Explorers of two years ago. The Red Sox were so impressed they brought him up from their minor league camp to play in five Grapefruit League exhibitions this spring. He was hitting .286 in 18 games at Pawtucket with two homers and eight runs batted in and had hit safely in eight of his last nine games when injured.
Gary’s Preseason Regimen Gets Its Annual Test When Season Starts May 18
Ever wonder how an American Association player gets ready to start the season with less than two weeks of training camp when major leaguers get well over a month?
Every team has its own program, with Gary manager Greg Tagert among the most organized.
“We send a program every year for them to follow of what we need and we bump them up a month if they were attending spring training (with a major league organization)–instead of starting on January 1, we have them start on February 1,” the veteran manager told The Northwest Indiana Times. “When they get here they’re ready.”
Tagert, starting his 13th year with the SouthShore RailCats and his 23rd in a row in Independent Baseball when Gary visits St. Paul on Thursday (May 18), realizes it is especially tough to get ready for players with offseason jobs: “We ask that each player be as creative as they can” and then fill him (Tagert) in so he can help.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, came out in October and is available at traditional book-buying sites, or at www.WirzandAssociates.com.