Independent Baseball Insider by Bob Wirz, Vol. 12, No. 13, May 29, 2014
Not quite so fast on Nate Robertson’s retirement.
“I plan to stay in throwing shape a little longer,” the onetime Detroit Tigers star (pictured) told me from his Wichita, KS home about a week after the Tigers released him from their top farm club in Toledo to make room for a younger pitcher even though he had a 3.43 ERA and was leading the team in mound appearances. “Texas is well aware of my situation,” the 36-year-old said, while explaining he had not asked his agent to reach out to other major league teams. “I had such a good year with them (Triple-A Round Rock, TX last year). I love to compete.”
Robertson has some reasons for enjoying being in Wichita, too. He got to attend his son’s kindergarten graduation, and younger brother Matt is a rookie pitcher with the Wingnuts (American Association), where Nate is in the ownership ranks while other brothers Josh and Luke are general manager and pitching coach, respectively.
“He (Matt) is a competitor,” Nate Robertson praised. “He is a smart guy; he’ll be fine in whatever he does.” Matt has relieved in four games, being charged with one loss and posting a 3.60 earned run average.
Lincoln Sells 22 in Last Four Seasons
An Independent team that has been a frequent target of major league organizations are the Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs, who have sold three players this month. (Lincoln) has sold 22 players to MLB systems since 2011, which it says is nine more than any other American Association franchise in the same span.
Two of the signees from Lincoln helped make up an interesting 7-8-9 Independent combo for the Los Angeles Angels’ Class AA Arkansas (North Little Rock) when the Travelers blanked host Corpus Christi, TX 2-0 Wednesday night. Catcher Zach Zaneski (Frontier League), recently obtained in a trade from Texas, hit his first home run from the seventh slot, and he was followed by shortstop Vance Albitz and DH Maikol Gonzalez, both Lincoln products.
Albitz has had five multi-hit games in his last 10, hitting .313 in that time to lift his season average in 22 contests to .253. Gonzalez, purchased out of the American Association only days ago, has been on base 50 per cent of his plate appearances in his first four games while going 4-for-10.
Another recent American Association product who has gotten out of the gate well in the Angels system is Amarillo, TX outfielder Joe Weik, hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a double, homer, two RBI and .500 on-base percentage in the California League.
Fans may subscribe to this Independent Baseball Insider column, which will be published 36 times in 2014, at www.WirzandAssociates.com. Bob Wirz provides supplemental stories about Independent Baseball on his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners, and lives in Stratford, CT.