Injuries are the undoing of many a ball player and Hayden Beard has had his fair share of injury setbacks. He has not taken the field this season due to a continuing injury to his arm and today the inevitable happened when he was released by the San Diego Padres.
Originally signed by the Mets in July 2005 whilst at the MLBAAP on the Gold Coast he missed the 2007 season following right elbow surgery and then missed much of the 2008/2009 seasons due to further injury.
He was then selected by the Padres in the Minor League phase of the 2009 Rule V draft following good performances with the Canberra Cavalry. However, he never really achieved pitching success in the US with his best year being in 2010 with a 5.30ERA.
Canberra Cavalry player Adam Buschini became the first player to win the triple crown last season. Photo: Jay Cronan
By David Polkinghorne/Canberra Times
The Canberra Cavalry are confident of discovering the next Adam Buschini to ensure they don’t suffer a championship hangover after winning their first Australian Baseball League title last season.
Buschini was a clear winner of the Helms Award as the ABL’s most valuable player on the weekend.
He became the first player to win the triple crown, after leading the league in batting average (.363), home runs (15) and runs batted in (50), as the Cavs stormed to their first Claxton Shield victory in its 78-year existence.
Buschini was one of a number of US-born players looking for a second shot at playing Major League Baseball. He was signed by the San Diego Padres towards the end of the ABL season and is playing for their AA-class side in the minor leagues.
Cavalry general manager Thom Carter said they would again look to offer a ‘‘second chance’’ to US imports.
He said the successful relationship with the Toronto Blue Jays would continue and there was a chance catcher Jack Murphy could return after Christmas for a second stint in the ABL.
Murphy was credited for the dominance of the Cavalry pitching roster and earned a call-up to MLB spring training as a result.
‘‘There are a lot of guys like Adam out there … who are looking for another chance to get signed,’’ Carter said.
‘‘That’s really our bread and butter in who we’re looking for … who are these players that have either been hurt or are doing well in [independent baseball leagues] and want a chance.
‘‘Adam’s a great example of that. He came out here, played fantastically and got a new life in the game. Ryan Stovall was similar.’’
Carter was confident manager Michael Collins would return to defend his and he said former Cavalry manager Steve Schrenk was continuing to scout players for his old club.
Canberra has also earned the right to represent the ABL in the Asia series against the champions of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.
Their season begins against the Melbourne Aces at Narrabundah Ballpark on October 31.
GOLD COAST, 4 May – Canberra Cavalry second baseman Adam Buschini was named the winner of the prestigious Helms Award, honoured as the 2012/13 Most Valuable Player of the Australian Baseball League during the 2013 Baseball Australia Diamond Awards Saturday night on the Gold Coast. Buschini’s remarkable 2012/13 season included the league’s first triple crown as the now San Diego Padres prospect led the ABL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in, helping to lead the Cavalry to their first ever Claxton Shield. Buschini beat out a pair of Sydney Blue Sox for the accolade: pitcher Craig Anderson and outfielder Mitch Dening.
A former fourth-round draft selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, Buschini found himself out of affiliated baseball after just two injury-plagued seasons and some struggles at the plate. In the spring of 2012, he arrived in the nation’s capital, ready to take another shot at resuscitating his career.
Buschini surpassed the .300-mark in batting average on 21 December and never looked back. The right-handed hitter batted .363 for the season, blasting 15 home runs to tie a league record, and driving in 50 runs to obliterate the previous ABL best. In addition to being honoured with the Helms Award, Buschini was also tabbed winner of the 2012/13 SAM BAT Champion Crusher award.
As Buschini went, so did the Cavalry. Canberra’s .295 team batting average was 28 points better than any other team in the league. The Claxton Shield champions blasted 56 home runs as a club, 17 more than second-place Adelaide, and Canberra’s 264 runs scored paced the circuit, as well. The Cavalry clinched the ABL’s top postseason seed at the end of the regular season, earning a direct trip through to host the ABL Championship Series. There, Canberra swept two-time reigning champions Perth for the first Claxton Shield crown in ACT history.
California native Buschini capitalised on his outstanding campaign, signing a new contract with the San Diego Padres at the conclusion of the 2012/13 ABL season. Currently, the 25-year-old is plying his trade at Double-A San Antonio where he has played in 13 games for the Missions.
Another Cavalry slugger starred in the league’s Play of the Year. Veteran Michael Wells’s tiebreaking solo home run late in game two of the 2013 ABL Championship Series tipped the scales of the title set and led Canberra to victory.
Anderson and Dening were the league’s other Helms Award finalists. Veteran pitcher Anderson led the ABL in ERA and set a new league record with eight victories while Dening finished second to Buschini in the batting race, hitting .347 as Sydney made their third consecutive ABL Postseason.
Anderson did not go away empty-handed from the BADAs. The left-hander claimed ABL Pitcher of the Year while his staff’s closer, Matt Williams, took home Reliever of the Year accolades. Perth catcher and first baseman Allan de San Miguel and Adelaide third baseman Stefan Welch shared Golden Glove honours after fantastic defensive campaigns. Welch’s Adelaide teammate Ben Lodge was named ABL Rookie of the Year.
Perth claimed the award for Team Administration of the Year as the Heat participated in their third straight ABLCS while leading the way in attendance, sponsorship, and memberships. The league also honoured the Victorian state government with this year’s Chairman’s Award for their commitment to the future of the Melbourne Aces with substantial support for the renovation of Melbourne Ballpark which hosted the 2012 ABL All-Star Game and has established itself as one of the league’s top venues.
Source:ABL Media release
Former Cavalry man Donald Lutz played for his native Germany in the 2013 WBC. (SMP Images)
ST. LOUIS, 2 May – Monday night, outfielder Donald Lutz pinch-hit for the Cincinnati Reds to become the first German-developed player to play in Major League Baseball. Lutz was also a member of the German National Team that competed in the Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and is the second graduate of the Major League Baseball International European Academy to play in the Major Leagues.
Lutz played in the inaugural season of the Australian Baseball League, suiting up for the Canberra Cavalry in 2010/11. The then-21-year-old batted .260 over 29 games while playing at first base and in right field. Lutz was teammates that season with fellow Cavalry import Didi Gregorius. At the time, both were minor leaguers in the Reds organisation. In December of 2012, Gregorius was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Promoted to the big leagues in mid-April, Gregorius is batting .407 through his first seven games with the D-Backs.
The Major League Baseball International European Academy is designed to provide promising junior players with both the environment and the instruction to reach their full potential. Each summer, the European Academy brings together the brightest young playing talent in Europe and Africa with the best in Major League coaching and instruction. The Academy seeks to provide a path for elite players from this region to improve their skills in preparation for the rigors of professional and international baseball. The first graduate of the European Academy to play in Major League Baseball was Alex Liddi of the Seattle Mariners who made his Major League debut in 2011.
In addition to helping these bright young stars develop their skills, the Academy enables MLB Clubs to scout the best future talent. As a result, 57 Academy graduates from 12 countries to date have signed professional contracts with 21 different MLB organizations. Of the 57 European Academy players who have been signed, 28 are still Active Players with their organizations.
Born in New York, Lutz and his family moved to Germany when he was a year old. He began playing baseball at 15 and attended the MLB supported training academy in Regensburg, Germany before attending the European Academy. Previous Major Leaguers born in Germany have been children of American military personal who were stationed in Germany.
By David Polkinghorne/Canberra Times
The Australian Baseball League has denied sacking Canberra Cavalry general manager Peter Bishell (right), who will part ways with the club at the end of the week by ”mutual” consent.
While Bishell declined to comment, it is understood he wanted to remain with the club that he helped lead to Canberra’s first ever Claxton Shield after winning the ABL championship in February.
The Cavalry wasn’t just strong on the field under Bishell. It also exceeded all budgetary requirements – unlike some rivals.
The ABL oversees all teams in the league, and the competition and clubs are backed financially by Major League Baseball.
MLB gave the league, which will enter its fourth season later this year, five years to stand on its own without its help.
The Cavalry was well on the way to achieving that under Bishell.
He was one of just two permanent staff members at the club, along with co-general manager Thom Carter.
Bishell wasn’t afraid to question the ABL’s decisions during his two seasons at the helm, especially when he felt the Cavalry was being harshly treated.
He did exactly that leading into the championship series against Perth Heat, which was allowed to be play more imports than the rules specified.
In a statement, the ABL said a need to ”re-align the staffing structure in Canberra” ultimately led to Bishell’s departure.
”The ABL is indebted to Peter for his service and stewardship of the Cavalry which saw the team solidify its place in the Canberra sporting landscape and bring the city its first Claxton Shield championship in 79 years,” the statement said.
The ABL is looking to restructure the Cavalry and combine it with the ACT Baseball Association – something it will replicate in every state.
ACTBA commissioner Theo Vassalakis didn’t want to comment on Bishell’s departure, but said he supported the restructure.
”ACT Baseball and the Canberra Cavalry are looking at better utilising the dollars that it spends administratively and in the promotion of the sport,” he said.
”And better utilising our resources that way so we can get better access to kids and growing the sport, and providing a better product to our younger players.”
The Canberra Cavalry and the Australian Baseball League, brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking, is pleased to announce that the 2013 ABL Champion Cavalry will be participating in the 2013 Asia Series this November. The prestigious tournament will be played over five days in Taichung, Taiwan.
The Asia Series will feature the champions of Nippon Professional Baseball League (Japan), the Korean Baseball Organisation (South Korea), Chinese Professional Baseball League (Taiwan), and the Chinese Baseball Association (China) will join the Cavalry in the six team-five country tournament. As host nation, Taiwan will have two representatives with the runner-up of the CPBL participating as well.
“We are very excited to be representing the Australian Baseball League in Asia Series,” Cavalry General Manager Thom Carter said. “The 12-13 season was amazing and we hope to start the 13-14 season on the right foot heading to Taiwan. We want to continue to show the world how great Cavalry baseball and the city of Canberra are.”
The tournament takes place the 15th – 20th of November. While the ABL schedule has not yet been finalised, this will fall during the early part of the season.
“If you have ever watched a game that has been televised out of Japan or Taiwan you know that there is a great baseball following and tradition in that region of the world,” Cavalry General Manager Peter Bishell said. “Our players will be playing in sold out stadiums of 40,000 people. This will be great for them as they defend the Claxton Shield.”
Perth’s Luke Hughes is one of Canberra’s main recruiting targets in the off-season.
By David Polkinghorne/Canberra Times
Not satisfied with a clean-sweep win over the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League championships series, now the Canberra Cavalry wants the team’s star player as well.
Former major leaguer and Heat second baseman Luke Hughes might have been public enemy No.1 a week ago, but the Cavalry has identified him as one of its main recruiting targets in the off-season.
With Australian Baseball League championship celebrations still fresh in the minds of the fans, the Cavs have already started planning for their title defence and they’ve set their sights on a high-quality Australian recruit.
Winning the Claxton Shield means the Cavalry will represent Australia at the Asia Baseball Series, which is played between the champions of Australia, China, Japan and Korea.
Canberra general manager Peter Bishell said the exposure on that stage would make the Cavs an exciting proposition for out-of-contract players.
Hughes is out of contract and if he doesn’t find a Major League club during the US summer, the Cavs could become a tempting team to join.
The former Minnesota Twin already has a link to the capital through his girlfriend Anna Flanagan, a Canberra-born Hockeyroo.
Hughes isn’t the only person Cavalry management might have to sell the idea to – they might have to convince their fans as well.
The 28-year-old didn’t take the championship loss well and won no fans with some of his comments on social network Twitter.
”Haha another clown. I hope your 22 followers listen to you,” he tweeted to one Canberra fan.
”I heard Alex [Pellerano], the GM of Perth saying Luke’s one of the most competitive guys he’s ever come across and maybe that’s an aspect of Luke we were seeing in some of the things he said,” Bishell told Fairfax Media.
Hughes wasn’t the only one on Bishell’s radar.
Canberra manager Michael Collins left a shopping list before leaving to take up his job as San Diego Padres Arizona League manager.
Sydney Blue Sox outfielder Mitch Dening spent five seasons signed with the Boston Red Sox, but was released in 2011.
Bishell said the heavy reliance on 40-year-old Michael Wells this season meant they needed to raise their Australian player numbers.
Wells played 43 of a possible 48 games and is considering retirement.
At present the Cavalry is allowed 16 imports on its 22-man roster – twice as many as every other team due to Canberra’s small population. That will decrease annually until the Cavs are on a par with the other teams.
The concession led to Perth labelling the Cavalry ”Team USA”. Bishell said that gibe played no part in deciding to recruit an Australian.
”Michael Wells played well over 50 per cent of our games as either a [designated hitter] or third base and, without wanting to pre-empt Wells’ decision, if he’s 40 years old, we’ve got to be getting ready for the day he’s not there,” he said.
”That’s all it is.”
Bishell didn’t have any concerns about the development of local talent, with Canberra product Aaron Sloan enjoying a breakout season.
The Canberra Cavalry celebrate their ABL championship win on the lawns of Parliament House. Photo: Jay Cronan
By David Polkinghorne/Canberra Times
His first season managing in the Australian Baseball League has the Canberra Cavalry convinced Michael Collins could find his way to ”the show”.
While a group of his players proudly paraded the Claxton Shield on Monday, Collins was already on a plane back to the US to take up his role as manager of the San Diego Padres’ Arizona League team. But he’s pledged to be back to defend the ABL title he helped win on Saturday night.
Canberra general manager Peter Bishell said Collins could have the management job for as long as he wanted, after taking the Cavalry from consecutive wooden spoons to champions in the space of just one season.
Bishell thought if Collins had been coaching the Perth Heat in the championship series then there would be a different name on the Claxton Shield.
”I wonder how Perth would have gone if they had Michael Collins as a manager? I think he made a difference in this year’s competition,” Bishell said. ”I think he was by far the outstanding manager of this year’s competition and that’s not taking away from the management of any other team – they’re all great managers in their own right – but I just think ‘Tubby’ is a step above.
”He’s a guy who could easily have a significant management role in a big league team over in the US.”
With spring training fast approaching, Collins has had no time to reflect on the ACT’s historic first win of the national title since the Shield was introduced in 1934.
But before he left, Collins vowed to be back in a season where the Cavalry will represent Australia in the Asia Baseball Series.
Not even his marriage in Hawaii on November 8 could stop the 28-year-old from wanting to come back.
”I sure hope so. I spoke to [the Cavalry], they’d like to have me back and I want to come back, it’s just a matter of waiting until it’s a little bit closer to the point and making sure that I don’t have other commitments that I have to fulfil,” Collins told The Canberra Times.
Collins said he’d already received an email from the Cavalry’s three Japanese imports – Kohei Shibata, Hirokazu Shiranita and Masanori Fujihara – who left before Christmas, congratulating the team on winning the ABL championship.
He said it showed the tight-knit nature of this season’s Cavalry and believed that was the difference that got Canberra over the line – everyone was playing for their mates.
Meanwhile, relief pitcher Brodie Downs has been invited to spring training by the Padres. Downs spent three seasons with the Seattle Mariners, climbing to their AAA-class team before he was released in 2009.
The 33-year-old has rebuilt himself as a side-arm slinger in an attempt to renew his career and was encouraged by the Padres to play for the Cavalry this season.
Downs left the nation’s capital for the US on Monday, while Canberran Robbie Perkins will report for spring training with the Colorado Rockies next month.
Canberra Cavalry catcher Jack Murphy. Photo: Jay Cronan
By David Polkinghorne/Canberra Times
Life couldn’t get much better for Jack Murphy. The Canberra Cavalry catcher was a crucial cog in the nation’s capital winning the Claxton Shield for the first time in the trophy’s 79 years, with a 2-0 series sweep of Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League championships series at Narrabundah Ballpark on Saturday.
Plus Murphy will fly home to report for Major League spring training with his affiliated club, the Toronto Blue Jays, which starts on Tuesday.
It’s a huge step up for the 24-year-old who has played just 11 games at AA class – two levels below the Majors – in his short career.
A good camp could have him become just the second Cavalry player to make it to ”the show”.
Foundation shortstop Didi Gregorius played eight Major League games for the Cincinnati Reds last year before getting traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who see him as their long-term starting shortstop.
”I didn’t find out [about spring training] until about two weeks ago,” Murphy told The Canberra Times.
”Initially it looked like I wasn’t going and then it turned out I was, but I couldn’t be more thankful to the Blue Jays for the opportunity.
”It’s incredible, I can’t even explain it, I went from backing up for a long time and being someone who really wasn’t a big part of the organisation to finally getting an opportunity and playing really well … I’ll feel great when I get there, but I’ll probably be pretty exhausted, too.”
He was one of eight Cavalrymen who averaged more than .300 this season – he hit .304, smashed five home runs, had 24 runs batted in and the switch-hitter’s ability to bat left-handed gave a crucial point of difference in a right-hand-dominated batting line-up.
But it wasn’t just his hitting. His work behind the plate directing Canberra’s pitchers was a big factor in their championship success.
Murphy was drafted by Toronto in 2009 from Princeton University.
He’ll go into spring training full of confidence with a championship ring on his finger and an outstanding season under his belt.
The Florida native said his time in the ABL was a big factor in getting his opportunity. ”It’s been a big part of it,” he said. ”They saw that I was doing well out here and a spot opened up in camp and I think it had a lot to do with what happened out here.”
Cavalry manager Michael Collins said Murphy had the tools needed to take his game to the next level. Collins was also a catcher in his playing days and the two have worked together closely all season.
”Not much of a break for him, but that’s what it takes,” Collins said. ”If you want to get to that next level you need to sacrifice time.”
Murphy wasn’t the only Cavs player making moves. Outfielder Antonio Callaway and starting pitcher Chris Motta will have trials with the Philadelphia Phillies in the hope of getting signed.
ABL triple-crown winner Adam Buschini has signed with the San Diego Padres, Ryan Stovall will join the Diamondbacks and Kody Hightower will play in the independent Atlantic League.
Collins will also move up from managing the Padres’ Dominican Summer League team to their Arizona League one.
Dedicated Canberra Cavalry supporters on Saturday night. Photo: Jay Cronan
By Lee Gaskin/Canberra Times
America’s pastime is officially the shining light of the Canberra sporting landscape.
What better way for the Canberra Cavalry, Australian Baseball League underdogs, to cap a magnificent resurgence than beat the back-to-back champions at a sold-out Narrabundah Ballpark.
Sean Tolar’s flick to first baseman Aaron Sloan sealed the nailbiting 7-6 victory against the star-studded Perth Heat on Saturday night and sparked wild celebrations among the crowd of 2043.
The players were just as jubilant, dispelling the theory they merely treat their time Down Under as practice before heading back to the US for spring training.
One by one they were swamped by fans as they left the field. Pitcher Brian Grening, the backbone of Friday’s series-opening 6-4 win, had high-fives and pats on the back coming from all directions.
As did lead-off hitter Cody Hightower, adopted as a favourite son among the Cavalry faithful over the past two seasons.
But the biggest greeting was undoubtedly reserved for catcher Jack Murphy, sporting one of the best mullets since the 1970s and a trademark moustache, leading to fans wearing T-shirts screenprinted with his image. Capitalising on that popularity is the next challenge facing the Cavalry, and the ABL. Many fans would readily admit they were jumping on the bandwagon, eager to be a part of history.
The Cavalry had transformed from strugglers in its past two seasons to collecting the minor premiership and earning home-ground advantage for the championship series. Those who had been there from the beginning understood how tough it was merely for the Cavalry to gain inclusion in the ABL’s second-coming.
Petitions with thousands of signatures, generous donations and a groundswell of community support ensured Canberra would be part of the six-team competition.
Accusations of gaining an unfair advantage due to having extra American imports are ridiculous, given Canberra’s smaller population compared to the other five teams.
Yet it was all the sweeter that two local products were the keys in bringing the Claxton Shield to the national capital.
Not in the squad at the start of the season, 19-year-old Sloan stood up when it counted to rightly be named the most valuable player of the championship series.
The youngest player in the ABL is set to return to work as a landscaper this week, but that may change after his outstanding hitting was broadcast to 40 countries on the Major League Baseball network.
Just as crucial was the go-ahead home run from veteran Michael Wells.
The 40-year-old, the only survivor from the days of the ill-fated Canberra Bushrangers, cleared the fence in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two to give the Cavalry a vital one-run lead that it never surrendered.
A $5 million improvement to the boutique venue over three years will enhance the enjoyment for fans.
The upgrade work, funded by the ACT government, will provide a new 1000-seat grandstand, which is estimated to be completed in 2016-17.
Next season can’t come around quick enough.