02/12/2008 8:56 AM
Former Cape Leaguers
Sean Casey, Bobby Kielty, Kevin Youkilis and David Aardsma
Signed By Boston Red Sox
CAPE COD, Mass. – Four more former performers in the Cape Cod Baseball League have been recently signed by the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
David Aardsma, who hurled for the Falmouth Commodores in 2002, hard-hitting infielder Sean Casey, who performed for the 1994 Brewster Whitecaps, Gold Glove Award winning infielder Kevin Youkilis, who played for the Bourne Braves in 2000 and 2007 World Series hero Bobby Kielty, who played for Brewster in 1998, will all report to the Red Sox at their spring training headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., during the next week.
Casey, a left-handed hitting first baseman/DH, was a standout in the 2006 World Series for the Detroit Tigers and before that played for the Cincinnati Reds. Now he will provide bench strength for former Cape Leaguers Youkilis and third baseman Mike Lowell (Chatham ’94), MVP of last fall’s World Series.
A starting first baseman the last nine years, Casey signed a one-year contract with Boston, which needed an experienced player to give Youkilis and Lowell an occasional breather.
The Red Sox were seeking a left-handed bat after letting another former Cape Leaguer Eric Hinske (Hyannis ’97) become a free agent. Last year with the Tigers, Casey hit .296 with four homers, 30 doubles and 54 RBIs in 143 games. A superb contact hitter, he struck out only 42 times in 2007.
In 11 seasons, including eight with the Reds, he’s batting .301 with 130 homers and 718 RBIs. Detroit decided to shift shortstop Carlos Guillen to first base for the 2008 season and told Casey he would not be re-signed.
Casey enjoyed a stellar season for the Brewster Whitecaps in 1994, hitting .338 with one home run and a league-leading 40 RBI, 12 doubles and 19 runs. He led CCBL first basemen in fielding percentage (.993), putouts (384) and total chances (415), while being named Cape League Player of the Week twice and to the All-League team.
The Red Sox obtained Aardsma from the Chicago White Sox for Willy Mota and Miguel Socolovich in a trade involving three right-handed pitchers.
Aardsma started last season with Chicago and went 2-1 with a 6.40 ERA, with 36 strikeouts in 32 1-3 innings in 25 relief outings. In the second half of the season at Triple-A Charlotte, Aardsma was 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA with 15 saves in 18 appearances.
During his major league career, he’s made 81 relief appearances with the White Sox, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, compiling a 6-1 record with a 5.16 ERA.
During his season in the CCBL, Aardsma was 3-0 with a sparkling 0.38 ERA and seven saves for the Commodores.
Kielty, a switch-hitting outfielder, was acquired by the Red Sox last season and hit the game-clinching home run in the fourth game of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies.
During his season with the Whitecaps on Cape Cod, Kielty won the CCBL batting title with a .384 average and also clubbed six home runs with 45 RBI and a .629 slugging pct. A three-time CCBL Player of the Week, the Ole Miss product was named the league’s MVP that summer.
Youkilus enjoyed a breakout season in 2007 for the Red Sox, batting .288 with 16 home runs and 83 RBI, while winning the Gold Glove at first base. While playing with Bourne in 2000, he batted .309 with three homers and 14 RBI on the Cape.
ABOUT THE CAPE COD BASEBALL LEAGUE
Beginning its 124th season in 2008, the 10-team Cape Cod Baseball League originated in 1885 with individual town teams, was reorganized into the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1923 with teams in Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis and Osterville and is now the premier collegiate baseball summer league in the country.
A total of 210 former Cape Leaguers populated major league rosters in 2007, including Lowell, Youkilis and captain Jason Varitek (Hyannis ’91 & ’93) of the Boston Red Sox, AL Manager of the Year Eric Wedge (Yarmouth-Dennis ’88), AL Comeback Player of the Year Carlos Pena (Harwich ‘96 / Wareham ’97) former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito (Wareham ’97 & ’98), former AL MVP Frank Thomas (Orleans ’88), former AL batting champion Nomar Garciaparra (Orleans ’93), former NL Fireman of the Year Billy Wagner (Brewster ‘92) and New York Yankees manager Joe Giardi (Cotuit '84).
Cape League alumni of yesteryear include Baseball Hall of Famer Harold “Pie” Traynor (Falmouth ’19), New York Yankee greats “Jumpin” Joe Dugan, Robert “Red” Rolfe (Orleans ’30) and Thurman Munson (Chatham ’67), former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine (Yarmouth ’67), Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan (Falmouth ’72), Firemen-of-the-Year Wayne Granger (Sagamore ’62) and Jeff Reardon (Cotuit ’74-76), long-time major league scouts Len Merullo (Barnstable ’35) and Bill Enos (Orleans ’36) and Major League Manager of the Year Nat “Buck” Showalter (Hyannis ’76).