Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Former Seals pitcher sent to minors by Nationals

Austin Bibens-Dirkx had three solid appearances this spring, but it wasn't enough to keep him from being included in the first round of cuts made by the Washington Nationals on Monday.

The former Victoria Seals pitcher started off with a bang on the opening day of the spring by striking out all three Georgetown Hoyas he faced on March 2nd. In his second appearance, he struck out Justin Heyward of the Atlanta Braves and in his final outing he faced the Detroit Tigers and struck out Jhonny Peralta and Miguel Cabrera. In that final appearance, he also retired Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. Not bad for a guy who was out of baseball as recently as 2008.

Although his outing against the Hoyas isn't recorded as an MLB spring training game, Bibens-Dirkx still finished the spring camp with the Nationals with a 3.86 ERA, no walks and three strikeouts. He also only allowed two hitters to reach base in his 2 1/3 innings of work. Given that this success comes on the heels of an impressive showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, I'm a bit surprised that the Nationals didn't give him a longer look. Austin will now report to the Nationals' minor-league camp and I'd expect him to be assigned to play AAA ball this season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. Don't be surprised to see Bibens-Dirkx get the call-up to the big club sometime during the 2012 season and become the second ex-Seal to appear in the major leagues.