For Legends, all roads lead to Rome

July 19, 2010


South Atlantic League

Lexington Legends
vs. Rome Braves

What: Four-game series

Where: State Mutual Stadium (Rome, Ga.)

When: Tuesday through Friday (7 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights; 1 Wednesday afternoon)

Major League affiliates: Houston Astros (Legends), Atlanta Braves

Tanner Bushue

Tanner Bushue

Juan Minaya

Juan Minaya

Jose Cisnero

Jose Cisnero

Luis Cruz

Luis Cruz

Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Tuesday, RH Tanner Bushue (4-5, 4.95) vs. RH Cory Rasmus (6-5, 3.16); Wednesday, RH Juan Minaya (4-8, 5.35) vs. LH Brett DeVall (5-6, 4.23); Thursday, RH Jose Cisnero (4-5, 4.14) vs. RH Caleb Brewer (3-1, 4.30); Friday, LH Luis Cruz (4-2, 3.04) vs. LH Chris Masters (1-5, 3.27).

Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg

Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg

Brave to watch: 1B/DH Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (6-foot-2, 235 pounds, from Pretoria, South Africa) was a 16th round draft pick last year out of Nova Southeastern in Florida, the same alma mater as Legends recent callup J.D. Martinez. He went 2-for-7 in two games with the Gulf Coast League Braves this season and is 32-for-109 (.294) with 10 RBI and 14 runs over 29 games with Rome. Spanjer-Furstenburg came into this season ranked by Baseball America as the 29th-best prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ system. At Coral Glades (Fla.) High School, he also played football. Last season, Spanjer-Furstenburg was Player of the Year and battinig champion in the Appalachian League, hitting .359 with eight homers 53 RBI and 36 runs over 62 games for Danville. He was on his native South Africa’s provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic.

Juan Minaya

Juan Minaya

Legend to watch: Wednesday starter Juan Minaya (6-4, 192, from Maimon, Dominican Republic) lost his first seven decisions of the season but is 4-1 over his last seven starts. Over 17 starts this season, Minaya has 62 strikeouts, 47 walks and 17 hit batsmen, but has surrendered only three home runs. Over his last seven starts, he has struck out 29 and beaned six, with an ERA of 4.06. Throw out his one bad showing during that stretch — six runs and three walks over two-third of an inning — and Minaya’s recent ERA drops to 2.37. However, that one bad start came against Rome. By month this season, Minaya’s ERA has dropped from 6.75 in April to 5.93 in May, 5.40 in June and 2.51 thus far in July. Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in September of 2008, Minaya made 12 starts for the Gulf Coast League Astros in 2009. Over 52 2/3 innings, he was 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA, issuing 18 walks while striking out 30.  

Radio: WLXG AM-1300

As Legends have it, baseball season beckons

February 4, 2009
Fernando Nieve

Fernando Nieve

Hard to tell in snowy Central Kentucky, but baseball season soon will be here. (Not soon enough, though!)

The Houston Astros, parent club of the Lexington Legends, open spring training at Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 14, when pitchers and catchers are due to report. Position players report for the first full-squad workout on Feb. 17.

Eleven Astros are on provisional rosters for the World Baseball Classic, including former Legends pitchers Wandy Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) and Fernando Nieve (Venezuela). Rodriguez, known as Eny Cabreja during his time in Lexington, recently signed a one-year deal worth $2.6 million, plus incentives.

Spring training invitees include past Legends Sergio Perez, Chris Johnson, Lou Santangelo and Bud Norris.

Watch out for camels

Meanwhile, the Legends annual radio caravan will visit Cynthiana, Somerset, Richmond, Danville and Lexington, Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 10-12.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Josh Anderson, a former Legend and Eastern Kentucky University standout, will join the Caravan for its visit to Somerset. Anderson is a native of nearby Eubank.

Another former EKU Colonel, Legends pitching coach Charley Taylor, will be along for Caravan stops at Somerset and Richmond.

Doug Flynn's 1978 Topps card


The final stop, at Applebee’s Park, will feature Lexington’s Michael Bertram, Doug Flynn, Ben Revere and John Shelby.

Bertram, a third baseman, hit .285 with eight homers, 55 RBI and 51 runs over 102 games last year with the Detroit Tigers’ Class A Lakeland, Fla., team. Bertram has risen through the minors with Ryan Strieby, a teammate on Kentucky’s 2006 Southeastern Conference co-championship team.

Flynn won World Series titles with Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” in 1975 and ’76. He also won a Gold Glove in 1980 as second baseman for the New York Mets.

Minnesota Twins prospect Revere earned MVP honors in the Midwest League last season, leading all of minor-league ball with a .379 average for the Class A Beloit Snappers. He also had a homer, 43 RBI, 51 runs and 44 stolen bases (57 attempts) over 83 games. He had nearly as many walks (27) as strikeouts (31).

Shelby, a Chicago White Sox prospect, was a teammate of Bertram on UK’s SEC co-championship team. He hit .295 with 15 homers, 80 RBI and 81 runs over 114 games for High-A Winston-Salem last season. In addition, he stole 33 bases in 38 attempts. His father, a former big-league outfielder of the same name, is first-base coach for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Legends note that other guests may be added, and that the schedule of guests is subject to change.

The schduled stops:

Tuesday, Feb. 10 – Live broadcast (8-9 a.m.) of Coffee Break with Rick Chasteen on WCYN-AM 1400, Biancke’s Restaurant, 102 South Main, Cynthiana. Harrison County High School coach Mac Whitaker will be a special guest.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 – Backyard Burgers (3-4 p.m.), Highway 27, Somerset; and

Powell Building (5:15-6:15 p.m.), Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.

Thursday, Feb. 12 — Danville (details incomplete); and

Maker’s Mark Club (5:30-6:30 p.m.), Applebee’s Park, Lexington.

Talking Legends baseball

Keith Elkins hosts a weekly radio show, Legends Inside Scoop, on WLXG-AM 1300, Tuesdays from 7:20-8 p.m.

Recent guests include Manager Tom Lawless, pitching coach Charley Taylor and Astros “Scout of the Year” Nick Venuto.

* The Legends will host their annual national anthem tryouts Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14-15, at Lexington’s Fayette Mall.

The auditons will take place in the mall wing nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods, noon-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

For details, or to reserve an audition time, call the Legends at   (859) 252-4487  . Walk-up entrants also are welcome.

* You say you’ll save the fans from your vocals, but you’d still like to be at the park?

Well, senior slugger, the Legends have a pitch to make to you about the Silver Sluggers Club.

SSC membership, for fans 55 and over, costs $30. That will get you “a special package of gifts,” as well as Sunday tickets for half price, meal vouchers for Sunday games and “exclusive sale opportunities at the Legends Locker merchandise store.” Those registering before April 1 will receive a free box seat to the April 13 home opener.

Club members who attend six Sunday home games will receive a dinner for two in the Maker’s Mark Club. Those who attend all 10 Sunday home games will receive an autographed set of team cards. More details are available from the Legends:   (859) 252-4487  .

4 ex-Legends on World Classic rosters

January 20, 2009
Four former Lexington Legends are included on the 45-man provisional rosters for the World Baseball Classic.

Provisional rosters were released Monday. Final 28-man rosters will be revealed Feb. 24. The 16-team event begins March 5 at Tokyo, Toronto and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and on March 6 at Mexico City. The second round will start March 14 at Miami and March 15 at San Diego. Semifinals, March 21-22, and finals, March 23, will be at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

As for the Legends connections, pitchers Wandy Rodriguez, Phil Barzilla and Fernando Nieve, as well as second baseman Stubby Clapp are on provisional rosters. Rodriguez, who was known as Eny Cabreja during his days as a Legend, is on the Dominican roster; Barzilla is on the Italian roster; Nieve, Venezuela; and Clapp, Lexington’s hitting coach last summer, Canada.

Infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., son of the former Legends manager of the same name, is on Puerto Rico’s roster.

Full rosters and ticket information are available online at:

Louisville, Billings staffs will return in 2009

November 13, 2008

The Louisville Bats, Class AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, will keep its coaching staff in tact another season.

Rick Sweet will return as manager, along with pitching coach Ted Power and hitting coach Adrian Garrett.

The Bats won a franchise-record 88 games in 2008, going 88-56 to earn a berth in the International League playoffs. Sweet was named IL Manager of the Year and became Louisville’s all-time winningest manager (303-272).

* Also returning is the staff for the Reds’ rookie Pioneer League affiliate, the Billings Mustangs: Julio Garcia, the league’s manager of the year; Tom Browning, pitching coach; and Tony Jaramillo, hitting coach. Billings went 42-32 in 2008, winning North Division titles in both halves of the season.

* With Joey Votto runner-up to Cubs catcher Geovany Soto in Rookie of the Year voting, and Jay Bruce fifth, the Reds put two players in the top five for the first time since 1970. That year, Bernie Carbo finished second in the voting, while Wayne Simpson tied for fourth.

* Tickets for the 2009 World Baseball Classic go on sale Monday. A schedule and ticket information are available at