Chestnut Hill product Mike Koplove, former Astro reliever Dave Borkowski and Pacific Coast League batting champion Terry Tiffee top the list of players washing ashore this spring. (From a news release, via Inquirer)
Dave Borkowski, RHP: Borkowski, 31, split last season between the Houston Astros and triple-A Round Rock. In his 26 appearances with Houston , he was 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA, while with Round Rock he posted a 2-2 record with two saves and a 2.43 ERA in 27 games (1 start). Borkowski has appeared in 181 major league games, going 13-20 with a 5.87 ERA between Detroit (1999-2001), Baltimore (2004) and Houston (2006-08).
Mike Cervenak, 3B/1B: Cervenak, 32, played for triple-A Lehigh Valley this past season where he finished fifth in the International League in batting average (.311) and tied for seventh in doubles (30). On the year, he hit 10 home runs, recorded 66 RBI and was named to the IL All-Star team. Cervenak also made his major league debut in 2008 with the Phillies, hitting .154 (2-13) in 10 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter.
Ozzie Chavez, SS: Chavez, 25,
combined to hit .232 (63-271) with four home runs, 33 RBI and 23 runs
scored in 94 games between triple-A Nashville and double-A Huntsville
in the Milwaukee organization. For his career, Chavez is hitting .250
with 22 home runs and 297 RBI in 889 games. He is currently playing for
Azucareros del Este in the Dominican Winter League.
J.J. Furmaniak, INF/OF: Furmaniak, 29, who was originally selected by San Diego in the 22nd round of the 2000 draft, did not play last season. He has appeared in 29 career major league games between Pittsburgh (2005) and Oakland (2007) and is hitting .186 (8-43) with two RBI. For his minor league career he is hitting .270 with 84 home runs and 408 RBI in 889 games.
Mike Koplove, RHP: Last season with triple-A Las Vegas, Koplove, a Philadelphia native, went 2-1 with nine saves and a 3.46 ERA in 41 games. Over his seven major league seasons, Koplove, 32, has posted a 15-7 record with a 3.82 ERA in 222 games for Arizona (2001-06) and Cleveland (2007).
Justin Lehr, RHP: Lehr, 31, spent last season with triple-A Louisville, where he went 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA in 16 games (8 starts). He is currently pitching for Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Winter League. Lehr has pitched in 66 career major league games, posting a 4-3 record with a 5.31 ERA between Oakland (2004) and Milwaukee (2005-06).
Blaine Neal, RHP: Neal, 30, finished tied for 2nd for the IL lead in saves (26) while pitching for triple-A Toledo in 2008. Overall, he went 1-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 38 appearances and began the season converting his first 17 save opportunities. The native of Marlton, N.J., has appeared in 133 major league games, all in relief, going 5-4 with a 5.08 ERA between Florida (2001-03), San Diego (2004), Boston (2005) and Colorado (2005).
Terry Tiffee, 3B: Tiffee, 29, spent last season with triple-A Las Vegas, where he led the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.378), finished 3rd in doubles (39), 4th in on-base percentage (.416), 8th in hits (148) and 10th in slugging percentage (.561). Tiffee also appeared with the Dodgers in 2008 playing in six games, mostly as a pinch-hitter. He is currently playing for Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Winter League.
Andy Tracy, 1B: Last season, Tracy, 35, played for Lehigh Valley , where he hit .288 with 22 home runs and 85 RBI in 124 games. He led all IL first basemen in fielding percentage (.997), finished 2nd in the league in doubles (34) and tied for fifth in RBI (85). Tracy also made four pinch-hit appearances (0-2, RBI) for the Phillies in 2008.
Chris Walker, OF: Walker , 28, hit .257 with one home run and 27 RBI in 78 games for triple-A Salt Lake this past season. Originally selected by the Cubs in the sixth round of the 2002 draft, Walker is hitting .270 with 16 home runs and 217 RBI in 685 career minor league games. He is currently playing for Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League.