Jeff Schuler is reporting that Rich Thompson has resigned with the Phillies. The Reading native has been, as Schuler calls him, the spark plug in the line up. In 2011 Thompson lead the team in runs, triples, stolen bases, sacrifices and times hit by pitch. Besides excelling at the "small ball" aspects of the game, Thompson has been wildly popular. His free agency status has been the major topic of conversation among IronPigs fans. Richhit .265 and averaged a hit and a stolen base per game through 9 games in the Dominican League for Estrellas de Oriente.
Reading fans will get Michael Spidale back. Spidale paced the team, hitting .326. He struck out only 51 times in 133 games, had a .375 OPS and stole 20 bases.
Newark returns the favor, hosting the Lincoln Saltdogs for 6 games, including the regular season finale on the first weekend of September. There is no All-Star game on the sched, but I would imagine if this interleague play goes well, Miles Wolff would consider a Can-Am vs American Association exhibition game for the lucky 2013 season.
Manager Tony Franklin will helm the Trenton Thunder for his sixth season, the team announced today. The Thunder are also bringing back pitching coach Tommy Phelps while adding Tom Slater as the squad's hitting coach. Luis Durante was announced as the bench coach for 2012.
Franklin is sitting on 997 career wins as a minor league skipper and is 405-323 (including postseason play) in Trenton. He pulled the strings on the team's back to back Championships in 2007 & 08 and a division title in 2010. He lead teams to championship berths in the MidWest, Florida State and Southern Leagues, all while managing for the Chicago WhiteSox organization.
Phelps is entering his 4th year as the Thunder's pitching coach. He spent parts of three seasons in the majors, earning a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2005. He posted a 77-68 career record as a minor leaguer over 14 seasons for 5 organizations.
Tom Slater is transitioning to hitting coach after managing the Staten Island and Gulf Coast Yankees over the last three years. Prior to joining the Yankees system, Phelps was head coach at Auburn, with 15 players getting drafted across his four years there with a 115-113 record for the Tigers.
If you need some last minute gifts for the baseball fan in your life, the R-Phils are donating 10% of their team store profits this week to the Hawk Mountain Boy Scout Council and the Literacy Council of Reading.
It's all about outdoor hockey these days. Citizen's Bank Park is hosting the 2012 Winter Classic, which includes an AHL game, a Rangers vs Flyers old timer's game, and then the demount of the Flyers vs the Rangers on January 2nd. A week later, the Barnstormers will be hosting their own outdoor hockey game.
Lancaster Online's David O'Connor filed a story just before midnight last night announcing that Clipper Magazine Stadium will host a midget edition of the Lancaster vs York War of the Roses. The 8U game between the Lancaster Regency Panthers and the York Devils will take place at 9:00 AM and will be the first official hockey game contested on the rink at CMS.
Cost is $5, and the game will not interfere with the afternoon skate session. the Barnstormers plan on opening the rink on December 22nd, and will operate open skate sessions through mid-February.