The Lincoln Saltdogs on Monday re-signed three more members of their 2008 squad, including two key players from last year’s 50-win team and a promising rookie. Pitcher Vince Davis, outfielder Matt Maloney and infielder Ernesto Gonzalez will all return to Haymarket Park in 2009.
Davis, the 6-foot-6 lefty from Chicago, pitched well as both a starter and a reliever last season. He started the year in the bullpen, winning three games and at one point compiling a streak of eight straight scoreless outings. In his final relied outing, he tossed 4.2 innings without allowing a hit in Wichita, earning both the win and a spot in the rotation. Vince went on to post a 2.64 ERA in seven starts, and allowed just one earned run total in his final three starts. Davis finished his first Saltdogs season with a 6-4 record and a 3.47 ERA. Vince also pitched in winter ball in Mexico this offseason, along with teammates Jarrett Gardner and Brian Campbell. 2009 marks his sixth season overall in professional baseball.
Maloney signed with the Saltdogs as a free agent in June last year, and posted some impressive power numbers in the second half of the season. He finished the year tied for the active team lead with nine home runs, and posted a .521 slugging percentage. Matt showed a tendency to hit home runs in bunches, as he homered in three straight games against St. Paul in July. Overall, he hit .279 and drove in 26 runs in half a season’s worth of games. Maloney played all three outfield positions for Lincoln last season, and could be asked to play any or all of them again in 2009, his fourth season as a professional.
Gonzalez ended the 2008 season on the Lincoln roster, although he did not appear in a game for the Saltdogs. The middle infielder from Puerto Rico was drafted by the New York Mets organization in 2007. When current Saltdogs manager Marty Scott was hired by the Mets in 2008, he worked with Gonzalez’s rookie-league team until Scott was moved up to manage the Mets’ triple-A franchise. Gonzalez, a shortstop by trade with a very strong throwing arm, did not appear in any games in 2008, so 2009 will officially be his second in professional baseball. He also will maintain his status as a rookie in the American Association.
Lincoln now has four players officially under contract for the 2009 season. The Saltdogs plan to announce more signings in the near future, including the return of several more players from the 2008 squad. The players will report to Lincoln for the start of spring training on May 1st.