Outfielder Jim Rushford, who spent the last two seasons with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, signed with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association.
Rushford, making a stateside return after spending the winter in the Dominican Republic, finished with the fourth-best average in the International League last season, hitting .312 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI in 117 games. He finished three of the last four seasons as one of the top ten hitters in the International League and was named an all-star in 2004.
The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 23 games with the Brewers as a September call-up in 2002. He never appeared in any games with the Phillies.
This will be Rushford’s third stop in the independent leagues. He became a minor league free agent after the 2005 season.
Braulio Castillo resurfaces
The El Paso Diablos, also of the American Association, signed 37-year-old former Phillies outfielder Braulio Castillo to a one-year contract earlier this winter. Castillo played two seasons with the Phils between 1991 and 1992, hitting .188 in 56 games. Castillo has since played in Mexico and in the Dominican Republic. He originally signed an amateur contract with the Dodgers in 1985.
Fun with non-roster invitees!
In addition to Rushford and Castillo, a number of former Phillies and Phillies farmhands have new destinations this spring as non-roster invitees. Keep your fingers crossed for the following hopefuls … for time is running out on their big-league careers:
RP Ricky Bottalico, Orioles
RP Felix Rodriguez, Nationals
RP Valerio de los Santos, Nationals
RP Terry Mulholland, Diamondbacks
RP Hector Mercado, Tigers
RP Pedro Liriano, Giants
RP Jose Santiago, Mets
RP Terry Adams, Pirates
P Brandon Duckworth, Pirates
P Michael Bacsik, Nationals
P Jim Crowell, Nationals
P Eric Junge, Padres
P Andy Ashby, Padres
P Joe Roa, Pirates
P Josh Hancock, Reds
OF Eric Valent, Padres
OF Reggie Taylor, Tigers
C Bobby Estallela, Mets
C Andy Dominique, Mariners
INF Desi Relaford, Orioles
INF Shawn Wooten, Twins
SS Anderson Machado, Reds
Recent minor league signings:
1B Nate Espy, Athletics
C/OF John Castellano, Reds
RP Francisco Butto, Yankees
Local product invited to Red Sox Camp
Boyertown-native and Kutztown University product Tim Bausher will be in Red Sox camp this spring as a non-roster invitee. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched in 44 games with Triple-A Pawtucket last season, going 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA.
And because everyone else has reported this footnote …
The Phillies announced that catcher John Vanden Berg will join spring training as a non-roster invitee. He will replace catcher Tim Gradoville, who will miss camp because of a medical issue.
Vanden Berg was selected in the Triple-A phase of the 2005 Rule 5 draft. The 26-year-old catcher hit .252 with a .742 OPS in 81 games with Double-A Huntsville (Brewers).