The Return of Goggles Paisano
Earlier this week, we speculated on whether the exploits of Indy League pitcher Aaron Ledbetter would be enough to garner him attention from a major league organization.
Well, lest you think that kind of thing never happens, the Braves have signed catcher/1B Jason Phillips (aka, Goggles Paisano) to a minor league deal, adding him to the roster of their Richmond Triple-A team.
The 31-year-old Phillips, a veteran of 465 major league games with the Mets, Dodgers and Jays, was batting .302 with five dingers and 38 RBI in 42 games for the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League.
When last seen in the bigs in 2007, Phillips flamed out with just a .208 BA for Toronto.
But the trade of Sal Fasano last week opened a spot on Richmond so Phillips finds himself back in organized ball. He didn’t exactly burst onto the scene, taking an 0-fer in his first game on Friday. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of injuries for Phillips to actually make his way back to the bigs this season.
This isn’t the first time Atlanta has reached down to the Indies to add a body. Earlier this season, the Braves signed righty Brian Lawrence, who was also toiling with the Riversharks. Unfortunately, in three starts for Richmond, the 32-year-old Lawrence has been absolutely tattooed, so don’t look for a happy ending to this tale.
Having said that, remember Kerry Ligtenberg? The Braves plucked him from the Indies back in 1996, and he wound up having a brilliant rookie season in 1998, saving 30 games.
So hey, it can happen, but I’m not sure a similar triumphant return is in store for the goggled one.