Aspito and Thurman headline four signings

revs crabs

Jason Aspito is York’s very own version of Benjamin Button.

The birthdays continue to pile up for the man who turned 30 early last month. But somehow as he ages, Aspito finds himself feeling younger and healthier — a la Brad Pitt’s character in one of the most popular films of 2008 — than he did as a 23-year-old fresh out of Loyola Marymount (Ca.).

He no longer has to deal with the lingering effects from microfracture surgery on his left knee (the same operation that threatened the careers of Amar’e Stoudemire and Greg Oden). The two other knee operations he had subsequently are in the rearview mirror.

Life as a healthy man is grand.

And it will continue in a York Revolution uniform.

The Revs announced Aspito’s return on Friday along with starting pitcher Corey Thurman. The club also announced the addition of newcomers Steve Andrade, a former major league relief pitcher, and outfielder Tommy Collaro.

Aspito pieced together the best year of his nine-year career last year (.294 average/24 home runs/105 RBIs) and emerged as one of the best all-around players in the Atlantic League.

That performance proved to Aspito, who considered retirement last winter, that he still has plenty of baseball left in him. Now only one other question remains: Can he convince an organization in Major League Baseball of the same thing?

“I’m healthy and I’m playing well but the age factor comes into play,” said Aspito, who didn’t receive a single phone call from any organization this off-season. “But you’ve got Kurt Warner who’s 42 and he just started in the Super Bowl. That would be my comeback (to the doubters).”

Aspito did try to find himself a new opportunity this winter. He called a scout with the Chicago White Sox who knew him from his younger days and he thought at one point that the contact would lead to a potential spring training invite. But that idea never panned out.

Instead, Aspito was left to offer hitting lessons to youngsters at Sovereign Bank Stadium over the winter. He has about nine regular customers and said he would enjoy working with young kids in a coaching capacity after his playing career.

That prospect could arrive after this season but Aspito seems fine with that reality. He understands the current market for veterans in minor league baseball is the worst it’s been in years.

“This will probably be my last year but we’ll see how it plays out,” said Aspito, who was coaxed into playing last year after the off-season death of his father, Gerald. “You have to start earning a living.”

rev gameThurman, 30, who was the Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month last June, bought a house in York over the winter and has stayed in town to work out, bypassing winter ball for the first time in years.

The right-hander, who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays as recently as 2004, is also feeling better than he has in quite some time. He’ll try to improve on last year’s campaign that included an 11-9 record and a 5.39 ERA in a team-high 165.1 innings.

“Teams saw that I was durable (last year),” Thurman said. “So hopefully they know he’s a durable guy if they need help in Triple-A or at the big leagues.”

Andrade, 31, has played eight seasons of professional baseball and made it to the big leagues with Kansas City in 2006. He was in the Tampa Bay organization last year and pitched well at Double-A (1.18 ERA in 31 games) but he didn’t have the same success at Triple-A. Andrade had a 7.80 ERA in 10 outings there. The rest of his career stats are here.

Collaro, 25, has Triple-A and Double-A experience and spent last season in three different organizations (White Sox, Reds, Rockies). He is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound designated hitter/outfielder type and has 104 home runs and a .245 average in 2,302 career at-bats. The rest of his career numbers are here.

Note: Look for posts in the coming days dissecting the acquisitions of Andrade and Collaro. I’ll also have full Q & A’s with Aspito and Thurman.

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One Response

  1. It is too bad that Aspito and Thurman didn’t find the affiliated opportunities that they were looking for over the winter- but the big league’s loss is the Revs gain. Those guys are the backbone of the team and it will be great to watch them again this summer.

    Collaro looks like he’s an all-or-nothing kind of hitter. I did notice that he’s roughly the same age as Matt Esquivel and put up roughly the same numbers as Esquivel in the Southern League is ’07, so maybe he’ll be that kind of player.

    Andrade was pretty darned good in AA last year (except for a high BB rate) with a .150 BA against. He wasn’t good in AAA last year, but you can’t gather much from 15 innings. For his career, it looks like he doesn’t give up many hits, but he has control problems.

    I’m excited by these signings, old and new.

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