Traverse City Record-Eagle

Beach Bums

May 2, 2014

Camp begins for Bums

TRAVERSE CITY — Alex Gillingham was not ready to call it quits.

After he was released by the Houston Astros organization this spring, the 24-year-old righthander started looking for a fresh start.

He’s getting it in Traverse City.

“I wanted to keep my career going,” the California resident said. “Luckily, I was family friends with a professional scout who knew Dan Rohn. He (scout) got me in contact.”

Soon after talking with Rohn, the new Beach Bums manager, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Gillingham signed a contract and was back in the game.

On Thursday, Gillingham was one of several new faces that took part in Traverse City’s media day at Wuerfel Park. He’ll contend for the No. 1 spot in the starting rotation, a spot occupied by Scott Dunn a year ago.

“He (Gillingham) throws 93 to 95 miles-an-hour — a sinker, slider, change-up guy,” Rohn said. “He had great numbers in A ball.”

The starting rotation and bullpen received complete makeovers during the off-season. Of the 15 pitchers listed on the training camp roster, only Mike Devine saw extensive action here last season.

The rest of the roster, however, looks to be a little more settled with third baseman Jose Vargas, shortstop Taylor Wrenn, utility player Sean Gusrang, designated hitter Zach Kometani, centerfielder Scott Woodward and catcher Chris Cowell back in the fold.

Catcher/infielder Jovan Rosa is among the key additions. Rosa, a Frontier League All-Star, came over from Washington in the Dunn trade.

Replacing Dunn and first baseman Chase Burch will be among the tasks facing Rohn, who was the bench coach for manager Gregg Langbehn last season. Dunn was 15-1 with a 2.60 ERA last season while Burch hit .264 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs. The two own several team records.

“It got to a point where Chase needed to move on,” Rohn said. “He wanted to play somewhere else so we accommodated him.

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