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"Now I'm healthy," says the 38-year-old, "and it's clear I can get major league hitters out. I just need a chance."He should not be here. It's obvious, right? So what if Damian Rolls batted .162 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004, his final major league season? He wasn't getting enough at-bats to prove his worth. "I can contribute to any major league club as at least a utility player immediately," says the 29-year-old. "I have no doubt about it." He should not be here. It's obvious, right? So what if Jose Offerman batted .229 with two home runs for the Phillies and Mets in 2005, his farewell tour of the majors? He wasn't being used correctly. "A baseball player knows when his time is up," says the 38-year-old. "And I still have three years left in me." He should not be here. It's obvious, right? So what if Edgardo Alfonzo hit -- egad! -- .126 with Toronto and the Angels last year? He needed a better opportunity. "When you're used to playing as much as I have," says the 33-year-old, "it's hard to adjust to anything less. But I am still the player I used to be with the Mets."
|Edgardo Alfonzo, 33 years old and a year removed from the major leagues, says "I am still the player I used to be with the Mets."|
Thirteen former major leaguers are on the roster of the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League:
• Edgardo Alfonzo
(12 MLB seasons: 1,532 hits, 146 HR, 744 RBI, .284 avg., one-time All-Star)
• Lance Davis
• Todd Erdos
• Carl Everett
• Danny Graves
• John Halama
• Jose Offerman
• Donovan Osborne
• John Riedling
• Damian Rolls
• Pete Rose Jr.
• Mark Watson
• Ed Yarnall
|Jose Offerman, at age 38, says he still has three years of productive baseball left in him.|
One day, Alfonzo was among the game's elite second basemen. The next, he was Rick Schu. "There are a lot of factors," he says, speaking quietly in a clubhouse corner. Inches away is the fly, swarming above Alfonzo's head. He eyes it away. Eyes it again. Then continues. "Last year, I had trouble with playing time and began developing some bad habits. I still need to get my timing and confidence back. But I think it's coming around."
|Damian Rolls has played six positions for the Ducks this season, and he's confident he could contribute immediately to a major league team.|