LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs on Friday signed infielder Albenis Machado to a contract for the 2009 season. The veteran shortstop, who first played for the Saltdogs in 2004 and 2005, returned to Lincoln last July after stints in El Paso and the Mexican League.
2009 marks Machado’s 13th season in professional baseball, including two different shots at the AAA level. He was Lincoln’s starting shortstop in 2004 and 2005, appearing in all 96 games in both seasons and playing a key role n the Saltdogs’ 2005 playoff run. Albenis spent parts of the last three seasons in the American Association with El Paso, and an amazing start last season prompted a call from Oaxaca in the Mexican League, who signed him to play third base. During Machado’s time in Mexico, Lincoln traded pitcher Josh Kauten to El Paso in exchange for Machado’s rights, and he rejoined the Saltdogs on July 31st when the Mexican League season ended.
“Albenis gives us a veteran presence in the lineup and on the field,” said Lincoln manager Marty Scott. “He’s a great contact hitter who can get on base in a lot of different ways. He’s also willing to lay down bunts, move runners over, and do whatever we need to manufacture runs. Defensively, he’s a solid shortstop, and he’s good enough to play just about anywhere in the infield if we ever needed him. I know our fans were excited to see him return to Lincoln last year, and we’re thrilled to be able to keep him at Haymarket Park in 2009.”
The switch-hitting Machado hit .292 in 44 American Association games last season, with two home runs and 17 RBI. Both of his homers came while wearing a Saltdogs uniform. He posted an impressive .379 on-base percentage, and showed a good eye at the plate, drawing 25 walks while striking out just 24 times. In addition, Albenis laid down five sacrifice bunts for Lincoln in 2008, increasing his team career record to 23. Machado also ranks fifth in Saltdogs history with 100 walks, and only needs five more walks this season to move into third place on the list.
Machado, who turned 30 years old this month, made several places for himself in the Saltdogs record book during his first stint with the team. He’s one of only five players who have appeared in 96 games for Lincoln in one season, and is one of just two players to accomplish the feat twice. Machado’s 77 runs scored in 2005 place him fourth on the single-season record list. His 29 doubles that season are good for the fifth-best season total, and the 47 walks he drew in 2005 place him fourth on that list. In addition, Albenis tied a team record with ten sacrifice bunts in 2004, and hit seven sacrifice flies in 2005 to tie for third in that ranking.
Courtesy: Saltdogs Media Info