Happy Birthday–October 22

Kid Carsey (1870)
Bill Carrigan (1883)
Johnny Morrison (1895)
Jumbo Elliott (1900)
Jimmie Foxx (1907)
Harry Walker (1916)
Wilbur Wood (1941)
Jamie Quirk (1954)
Frank DiPino (1956)
Keith Osik (1968)
Hector Carrasco (1969)
Ichiro Suzuki (1973)
Michael Barrett (1976)
Brad Thomas (1977)
Eli Whiteside (1979)
Robinson Cano (1982)

We would like to wish Big Mak a very happy anniversary.

Right-hander Hector (Pacheco) Carrasco pitched for the Twins from 1998-2000 and again in 2001. Born and raised in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, he was signed by the Mets as a free agent in 1988. After four seasons in their minor-league system, three of them in rookie ball, Carrasco was released. He signed with Houston and had a good year for Class A Asheville in 1972. He was then traded to the Marlins, and after spending 1993 in Class A was traded to the Reds. After six years in the minors, three in rookie leagues and three in Class A, Cincinnati decided Carrasco was ready for the big leagues. He made the most of the opportunity. Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, he pitched in 45 games, posting an ERA of 2.24, a WHIP of 1.28, and an ERA+ of 187. Carrasco would remain in the Cincinnati bullpen for three and a half years, performing well in a middle relief/setup role. In July of 1997, he was traded to the Royals. After the season, he was chosen by Arizona in the expansion draft, but was placed on waivers at the end of spring training. Carrasco was selected by the Twins and spent nearly three seasons in the Twins' bullpen. He remained in the middle relief/setup role, and did a decent job for the Twins over that time. In September of 2000, he was traded to Boston for Lew Ford. A free agent after the season, Carrasco signed with the Blue Jays, but was released near the end of spring training and returned to Minnesota. His pitching in 2001 was about the same as it had been. A free agent again after the season, he was signed by Texas, but did not play for them, and was out of baseball in 2002. He signed with Baltimore for 2003 and appeared in 40 games for the Orioles, but was let go after the season and again was out of baseball in 2004. The Nationals took a chance on him in 2005, and Carrasco turned in what may have been his best season at age 35: a 2.04 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 199 ERA+ in 64 games, 5 of them starts. Once again a free agent, he signed with the Angels, for whom he had a good season in 2006. He did not do well in a half season in 2007, however, and was released. Since then, he has pitched in the minors for Washington, Pittsburgh, the Cubs, and three teams in the Atlantic League.  He has been pitching in the Mexican League since then, and didn’t do too badly as a reliever last year:  0-1, 2.53, 15 strikeouts in 21.1 innings (20 appearances)  He turns 42 today, so one assumes we’ve seen the last of him, at least in American baseball.  On the other hand, we’ve assumed that before.

Left-hander Bradley Richard Thomas pitched for the Twins in 2001 and again in 2003-2004. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, he was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent in 1995. The Dodgers quickly soured on him, releasing him in May of 1997 after only one year of rookie ball. Minnesota signed him three days later, and he slowly worked his way up the Twins' system. In 2001, at AA New Britain, Thomas went 10-3 with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He had a couple of brief trials with the Twins that year, making five starts. Thomas spent the next two years at AAA. He pitched poorly in 2002 and was hurt part of 2003, but did better when he came back. Thomas received a September call-up in 2003, working 4.2 innings over three games. He started 2004 in Minnesota, but after three ineffective relief appearances was sold to Boston. As a Twin, he appeared in 11 games, five of them starts, and went 0-3, 9.89 in 23.2 innings. He pitched briefly in AAA for the Red Sox and then went to Japan. He tried to come back to the United States in 2007, signing with the Mariners, but after a mediocre season in AAA he was released and it appeared his chances for a big league career had ended. He then went to Korea, where he became a star closer in the Korean league, setting a record for saves. He also pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Australia. After the 2009 campaign, he signed with Detroit and surprisingly enough made the team in 2010. Even more surprisingly, he didn’t do too badly, going 6-2, 3.89 in 49 appearances, two of them starts. He was injured for most of 2011 and did not pitch well in the majors whne he did pitch, although he did not do too badly in eight AAA appearances.  He’s 34 today, so the future does not look all that bright for him.  Still, he’s been written off at least twice before, and he’s left-handed, so who knows what may happen next for him?

Catcher Dustin Eli Whiteside never played for the Twins, but he was in their farm system for a time. Born in New Albany, Mississippi, he attended Delta State University, and then was drafted by the Orioles in the sixth round in 2001. Whiteside never hit much in the minors, although he did hit 18 homers with AA Bowie in 2004. He reached AAA in 2005, and played in nine games for the Orioles that year, going 3-for-12. He went back to the Orioles' minor-league system for the next two years, becoming a free agent after the 2007 season. The Twins signed him and sent him to Rochester for 2008, but he was released at the end of April. Signed by the Giants, he came back to the majors with them at the end of May, and was their reserve catcher the rest of the season. As such, he caught a no-hitter by Jonathan Sanchez and hit his first major league home run, a grand slam. He has been with the Giants ever since, and in 2010 he played his first full season in the majors at age 30.  He slumped to .197 as a part-time catcher in 2011, however.  He is now 32.  The Giants seem to like him, but he’s probably going to have to do better than that if he’s going to stick around much longer.