Nomar's Arizona League Adventure
The Arizona League got national attention when Nomar Garciaparra played for the Mesa Cubs while rehabbing from his torn groan muscle. The Cubsí all-star shortstop appeared in two Arizona League games on July 22 and July 24.
Being on the same field with one of Major League Baseballís most recognizable stars was exciting for Nomarís teammates and for opposing players. Athletics pitcher Scott Deal did not learn that he would be facing Garciaparra on July 24 until he arrived in Mesa about 30 minutes before game time. But the 18-year-old Deal will undoubtedly tell his friends during the off-season that he twice retired Garciaparra--on a long fly ball to right field in the first inning and a fly out to the centerfielder in the third frame.
While mustering only one hit in his two Arizona League games (going one-for-five), Garciaparra passed the first test on his rehab climb back to the big leaguesóhe convinced himself and Cubs brass that he was healthy enough to move up to Single-A Peoria with Wrigley Field on the near horizon.
Although Garicaparra is biggest name to play in the Arizona League this season, he is by no means the only Major Leaguer to see action here this summer. Here are some of the others:
w Cubs reliever Scott Williamson, a former National League rookie of the year, appeared in four games with the Mesa Cubs (0-2, 2.45 ERA, 9 SOs in 7.1 IP).
w Veteran outfielder Alex Sanchez, acquired by San Francisco off waivers from Tampa Bay in June 2005, made the most of his brief Arizona League stint. In four games, Sanchez went 6-for-10 with one double and one stolen base. Earlier this year, Sanchez was the first player suspended for ten games for violating baseballís new tougher drug rules.
w Chad Bradford, best known for his submarine delivery, pitched in three games with the Phoenix Athletics (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP).
w Third baseman Dallas McPherson, one of the top young prospects in baseball, played three games with the Mesa Angels.
w Right-hander Tim Crabtree, a six-year Major League veteran with Toronto and Texas, started several games for the Surprise Rangers.
w Right-handed pitcher Lou Pote, who pitched in the majors for four seasons, appeared in one game with the Surprise Rangers this summer.
w Former Diamondback Bret Prinz is rehabbing with the Mesa Angels. He made his first AzL appearance on August 6.
w Seattle right-handed pitcher Clint Nageotte pitched on opening day for the Peoria Mariners (3 IP, no hits) as part of his rehab assignment. Nageotte started his pro career in the Arizona League in 2000 and was the winning pitcher in the Arizona League Championship Game that season.
w Southpaw George Sherrill, who pitched in 21 games for the Seattle Mariners in his rookie season in 2004, appeared in three Arizona League games earlier this summer (0-0. 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 0 hits, 5 SOs).
w Lefty Matt Riley, who pitched parts of three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and appeared in 14 big league games in 2004, struck out both batters he faced in his only appearance with the Surprise Rangers.