By early afternoon, Revs director of player procurement Michael Kirk had learned more bad news. Right-hander Vince Perkins had left the Revs. Kirk and York manager Andy Etchebarren said Perkins retired.
Used mostly as a relief pitcher with Newark and York this season, Perkins (0-8) can throw in the high-90s, but he lacked command. In his last outing with the Revs, he threw 110 pitches. But he threw more balls than strikes, and he lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a spot start.
“That was probably the final outing for him,” Etchebarren said in the WOYK pregame show about the apparent end of Perkins’ career.
The Revs have lost nine pitchers during the last 26 days, not including longtime York County amateur Shawn Hedrick — who made an emergency spot start for York Saturday. The Revs had nine healthy pitchers on their roster Tuesday morning, a lower number than the 10 healthy pitchers Bridgeport carried during a trying first half.
But a few hours later, Kirk and the Revs coaching staff made a series of moves. York signed RHP starter Tim Harikkala, who pitched briefly for York in 2009 before leaving for Taiwan. Harikkala (pictured above) will start Thursday. The Revs also signed former Camden LHP Jeremy Lewis — who will start Friday — and former Newark LHP Corey Willey — who will join York’s bullpen Saturday.
The three signings were first announced by the Revolution on the teams Twitter account.
So York will survive the week. But let’s take a moment to look back at the defections, injuries and retirements have depleted one of the best pitching staffs in the league.
During the last five days York has struggled just to complete games.
July 30: LHP Matt Riley (family reasons)
Aug. 9: LHP Damian Moss (retired-family reasons)
Aug. 10: LHP Jesus Sanchez (Taiwan)
Aug. 14: LHP A.J. Murray (retired-family reasons)
Aug. 15: RHP Jarod Plummer (left team, family reasons)
Aug. 22: LHP Jim Heuser (traded to Long Island, but quit for personal reasons)
Aug. 22: RHP Corey Thurman (injured, hamstring)
Aug. 23: RHP Joselo Diaz (league rules Diaz under control of L.I.)
Aug. 24: RHP Vince Perkins (retired)
“I wish I would have known those guys were thinking (about retirement), but they just came in and did it,” Etchebarren told WOYK about the string of retirements by Revs pitchers.
And Etchebarren also addressed fans who have been asking why the Revs ever traded away starters Derell McCall, Shane Youman and Bob Zimmermann on July 18 and July 28.
“At that time, the guys I got rid of, they were causing our bullpen to get blown out,” Etchebarren said. “Nothing would have came up about (York’s three former starters) if our starters wouldn’t have quit.”
The biggest distraction during this stretch has been the changing status of Joselo Diaz Although Kirk has not commented on the situation publicly, it’s obvious that York believed Diaz was a free agent. His signing was announced Aug. 18 and he was originally scheduled to start Aug. 21. Only after his signing was announced did the league enter into the equation.
The league ruled that Long Island controlled the rights to Diaz even though he left the Ducks to pitch in Mexico earlier this summer. Atlantic League executive director Joe Klein explained it this way. If Jesus Sanchez returned from Taiwan, no other team in the league other than York could sign him. York would own his Atlantic League rights, and apparently that window lasts for the entire 2010 season.
York thought it had a trade worked out with Long Island, sending reliever Jim Heuser to the Ducks in exchange for Diaz Sunday. But Heuser did not report to Central Islip, N.Y., causing the deal to fall apart.
Klein said York will retain the rights to Heuser. But then Heuser would need to return to a team that publicly announced it had traded him. Will he return to York? That remains to be seen. He decided not to join Long Island for family reasons.
Klein remained positive a deal could still be worked out between the two clubs, but he admitted he hadn’t heard any recent talk. And Diaz came on in relief for Long Island Tuesday night, pitching against the Revs — a team he expected to start for on Monday night.
Etchebarren admitted his team will continue to “struggle” while Kirk and the coaching staff attempt to sign players. The staff hopes to sign at least one of three pitchers now pitching in other independent leagues. But they will need to sign pitchers before Sept. 13, the date when postseason rosters must be completed.