AAArlis

Catcher Pat Arlis is off to Triple-A!  The Pacific Coast League’s Nashville Sounds, affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, are now a better team.  Arlis was signed to the Sounds via the Brewers on April 17.  Our future Pat Arlis Watches will start retroactive from that date.

There’s some history in the making here.  Arlis is the first Viper for move up to AAA baseball.  Arlis has aspirations to get into coaching some time down the road, so this presents a terrific opportunity for him.  I’m sure my fellow Vipers fans, on a selfish level, will be sad to see the workhorse go – but we understand it’s for the best.

Since Arlis started over 92% of the Vipers games behind the plate last season, obviously someone has to pick up the slack.  As we’ve already discussed, Kevin “Pcondolleeza” Price is currently out with surgical woes, and  Yuki “Hey Matsumoto” Matsumoto has been signed to compete with Dillon “L-M-N” O’Krane for a catcher/utility spot.  The loss of Arlis leaves a bigger hole, however, than the aforementioned may be able to fill.  Acting fast as they have all off-season, Peter Young and the Calgary Vipers signed catcher Rick Guarno.

Rick Guarno card

Purple Row, a Colorado Rockies blog on the SB Nation Network, had this to say on Guarno:

Guarno is a defensive-minded catcher with a questionable bat.  He owns a very accurate throwing arm and is very athletic for a catcher.  He has battled various injuries over the last two seasons, including a broken ankle which cost him most of the 2006 season.  His weak, inconsistent bat probably won’t allow him to make it past Double-A.

I’m not going to worry too much about the alleged offensive shortcomings right now (Guarno batted .290/.342/.470 in AA and .237/.240/.381 in AAA last season), a defensive-minded catcher is, in my opinion, more valuable to a team in the Golden League than an offensive-minded catcher.  Let’s face it, the Vipers have a lot of players on the roster right now who can swing a mean stick.  If Guarno can handle the pitching staff, prevent passed balls, and put the fear of god into baserunners hoping to steal second, then he’ll be a more-than welcome member of the 2009 Vipers.

Guarno has been a part of the Colorado Rockies organization since 2003, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to life on the independent circuit.  

IN OTHER NEWS

I was driving down Crowchild last night, around 6:45 PM, and I could see baseball players on the field of Foothills Stadium (for the record, my wife saw it first).  I don’t know what or why, but it was a nice sight to see.

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