06/30/2008 10:23 AM
30 June 2008
Cape League’s Temporary Players
Get Chance to Shine Like Stars
HARWICH—The Cape Cod Baseball League is an ideal place for college players to showcase their talents while improving their play, but for those with temporary spots, time is of the essence.
Temporary players fill roster spots for players still involved in the College World Series, tryout out for Team USA or even major league draft choices yet to sign professional contracts.
Now that the College World Series is over and players are coming back to the Cape, many temp players will be going back home.
“They’re good kids,” said Harwich Mariners assistant coach Mike Sarno. “They’re up here working hard; it’s hard to send them home. You feel bad, but that’s the nature of the beast.”
Some players with temporary spots, like Mike Bianucci (Auburn) of the Cotuit Kettleers, played with the Cape League last year.
The hard-hitting Bianucci, who leads the league with four home runs and 16 RBI while pacing the Kettleers to a league-best 8-4 record, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the eighth
“I wasn’t happy with the offer they made me, so I came back here,” said Bianucci, who has almost assured himself of securing a permanent contract with Coach Mike Roberts’ Kettleers.
Other players find a temporary spot through the Frank Finn official league tryouts in Wareham. Still others have their college coaches call managers for Cape League teams in hopes of finding their star players a roster spot.
“They know they’ll be on temp, but we keep some,” said Sarno. “We tell them you can play 10 games.” Those ten games are a chance to shine in front of the eyes of the scouts who come to the games, and possibly a chance to impress the coaches enough to earn a full spot that opens when other players chose to go to Team USA or to the draft.
Mariners’ Field Manager Steve Englert agreed with Sarno. “The next few decisions [on who goes home] are going to be very difficult. It’s hard, the kids are out playing, you develop relationships with them, it’s a really difficult decision.”
Englert tries his best to give temp players plenty of playing time on the field in hopes that if they don’t stay, scouts will at least see them play a few times.
All of the players coming out are talented, but unfortunately, as Englert said, “You have to make room” for the contract players coming in.
On the other side of the Cape, Kettleers pitcher Nick Hernandez (Tennessee), another temp, is looking to keep his spot on the team, just like all the other temp players.
“Coach Roberts called at the end of the year and asked me to come up as a temp,” Hernandez said. “I just hope I get a permanent contract. That was my goal for the summer when coach told me I had to earn my way.”
With an impressive start to his season, Hernandez could get his wish. He is the ninth ranked pitcher in the CCBL with an impressive 0.98 ERA in 18 innings, to go along with a perfect 3-0 record.
Final decisions on who goes home and who stays must be made by July 2. Until then, players will continue to work hard, showcase their talents and learn what they can from their coaches and teammates.
Ashley Crosby, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen