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Austin Romine among seven headed to AFL

Baby Bombers to send four pitchers and three position players
09/19/2012 1:43 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Austin Romine will continue his 2012 season in the Arizona Fall League.(AP)
Three members of the New York Yankees' 40-man roster are among the seven players the Bombers organization will send to the Arizona Fall League this autumn.

The Bombers will send four pitchers and three position players to Arizona to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions, with righty Dellin Betances and catcher Austin Romine the most notable names. RHPs Mark Montgomery, Zach Nuding, and Dan Burawa will join Betances on the Scorpions’ staff, while infielder David Adams and outfielder Slade Heathcott join Romine among the position players.

Betances split the season between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton, and went 6-9 with a 6.44 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 27 games (26 starts). The 6-foot-8 righty struggled with his control, allowing 99 walks in his 131.1 innings pitched, and was shut down after his August 22 start for the Thunder due to shoulder tendinitis; he was actually called up to the Major League roster and placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday to accommodate Andy Pettitte’s return to the Bombers, but the organization expects him to be ready to go in Arizona.

He’ll be joined by another fireballer in Montgomery, who began the year at Class-A Tampa and was promoted to Trenton mid-season. Montgomery was a Florida State League All-Star, going 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA, 14 saves, and 61 strikeouts in 40.1 IP for the T-Yanks, and was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 38 K in 24 innings after moving up to Trenton.

Nuding, a 22-year-old righty who was the team’s 30th-round pick in 2010, went 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) for Tampa this season, and also threw 14.1 innings in four appearances for the GCL Yankees while rehabbing a shoulder injury in July. He was with Trenton for their post-season run, and likely would’ve started the deciding Game 5 of the Eastern League Championship Series if necessary.

Rounding out the foursome of 2012 Thunder is Adams, who missed more than a month due to neck stiffness but still hit .307 with eight home runs and 48 RBI in 86 games for the Thunder. A second baseman throughout his career, Adams worked out and played 23 games at third in the second half of Trenton’s season, and will likely get regular work there in Arizona.

As for the other position players, Romine, who made his Major League debut last season, was out through mid-July with a back injury and hit .243-4-15 in 31 games between the GCL, Tampa, and Scranton, while Heathcott posted a .302-5-29 line in 65 games for the GCL and T-Yanks after missing the first 2 ½ months rehabbing from 2011 shoulder surgery.

Burawa, who was slated to pitch for Trenton, missed the entire season after tearing an oblique muscle in Spring Training.

The Arizona Fall League contains six teams, each of which is affiliated with five Major League organizations. MLB clubs send seven players each to the AFL to make up a 35-man roster, and the Yankees join the Angels, Giants, Indians, and Pirates in affiliation with the Scorpions.

The AFL schedule begins Tuesday, October 9, with the “Rising Stars Game” set for November 3 and the season-concluding Championship Game to be played on Nov. 17.

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