Thursday, January 07, 2010


Avon — Lake Erie Crushers’ starting center fielder Tyler Johnson will be join former teammate Paul Fagan in the independent Atlantic League next season as a Southern Maryland Blue Crab. Also traded this week is right-handed relief pitcher Jacinto Gonell, who was dealt to the Florence Freedom for a 2010 Frontier League first round pick.

Johnson joined the Crushers after the All-Star break and finished the regular season appearing in 39 games. Johnson ended his 2009 regular season campaign with six home runs, 29 RBIs, and a .277 batting average. He provided the team with solid power in the middle of the line-up as his six home runs in only 137 at bats placed him second on the team in home runs per at bats.

“We approach every season looking to put the best talent possible on the field, but we also want to provide the best opportunities for our players to reach their goals,” explained Field Manager John Massarelli. “This trade provides Tyler a chance to prove himself in what is considered to be the top independent league, talent wise.”

Gonell began the 2009 campaign as the team’s closer and ended the season with 36 appearances out of the bullpen. Gonell posted a 3-4 record and a 4.63 ERA in 44.2 innings of work. Prior to joining the Crushers, Gonell pitched four seasons in the Yankees organization after signing as an undrafted free agent.

“This trade benefits both the team and the player,” said Massarelli. “It gives us a little more flexibility to work within the League’s roster restrictions, which limit us to carrying only a certain number of veteran players. It also gives Jacinto the opportunity to fill the closer role with another competitive team within the League.”


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