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Bite in the Big Leagues: Spring training in full swing
02/19/2019 12:09 AM ET
Several years after leading the Bite to the ABLCS, Brandon Dixon is off to spring training with the Detroit Tigers.
Several years after leading the Bite to the ABLCS, Brandon Dixon is off to spring training with the Detroit Tigers. (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images / ABL Media )

Adelaide has had plenty of success with past imports moving on the Big Leagues, but where do they sit for 2019?

With team moves and changes in the pecking order, spring training offers great chances for all, player or coach.

BRANDON DIXON - Detroit Tigers

The season after making his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds, Brandon Dixon will be fighting for a starting spot at the Detroit Tigers. They claimed him off waivers last November and the 27-year-old is in his prime.

Dixon played 74 games for the Reds last season and a .178 average would have been below expectations but with five homers he offered glimpses of power. He hit .346 over 49 games at the Triple-A level and that is the form he is after for the Tigers.

This is his third organisation after being drafted by the LA Dodgers in 2013. Dixon was a key cog for Adelaide as they made it to the 2014/15 ABLCS.

BRANDON MAURER - Pittsburgh Pirates

A six-year MLB player, Brandon Maurer is potentially on the outer with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have signed him to a Minor League deal and have assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis Indians after two difficult seasons with Kansas City.

A 7.90 ERA is not how Maurer would have wanted his time with the Royals to end, the reliever never found his groove after he began to show real promise as a closer with San Diego over 2016/17.

The Pirates have invited Maurer to spring training. This is the 28-year-old's fourth organisation after he was drafted by Seattle in 2008. Maurer pitched for Adelaide in 2010/11.

ANDREW KITTREDGE - Tampa Bay Rays

In 2017 a career-best season launched Andrew Kittredge into the Rays' MLB roster where he starred in relief, before a 2018 dip in MLB form saw him optioned outright back to Triple-A Durham.

Over two seasons and 62 games for the Bulls he went 12-1 with a 1.97 ERA, primarily as a reliever. That form set him up for his MLB debut in 2017, while the Rays have held the faith and invited him to spring training.

Kittredge pitched for Adelaide in 2012/13 - coincidentally the same year as his Tampa Bay teammate Ji-Man Choi.

JI-MAN CHOI - Tampa Bay Rays

Korean slugger Ji-Man Choi had become a journeyman in recent years but after slotting nicely into Tampa Bay's main roster in 2018 it looks like he has a new home. The 27-year-old had some bad luck as he tried to nail a starting spot, with his power often leaving him as DH.

Last year he hit .269 over 49 games with eight homers and 12 doubles. He slugged at .506. For a fun fact, he hit homers at the LA Angels, NY Yankees and Milwaukee, despite playing as few as six and 12 games with the Yankees and Brewers, respectively.

Choi has been with six organisations since he was signed in 2010. He was a Bite player in 2012/13.

Guess who's arrived?

A post shared by Tampa Bay Rays (@raysbaseball) on

KEEP AN EYE ON…

KEVIN COMER - Minnesota Twins

Over the past two seasons Kevin Comer has quickly become a handy reliever with a real shot at making his MLB debut.

The 26-year-old late-inning arm has gone 8-5 with a 3.76 ERA over the past two seasons in Triple-A. In 2017 he had a career-high 74 strikeouts and with Detroit's Toledo in 2018 lowered his WHIP to a three-year best 1.39.

Minnesota signed Comer as a free agent in February, and now he is a chance to move past their Triple-A side, Rochester. While there has been no official word, rumour had it his signing including a spring training invitation.

After being drafted in 2011 by Toronto, this is Comer's fifth organisation. He only made four appearances for Adelaide in 2015/16 as injury ended his season early.

COACHES/GIANTS

STEVE MINTZ - Texas Rangers

One of Adelaide's favourite coaches, Steve Mintz will return to the Down East Wood Ducks as the Class-A side's pitching coach for 2019, a role he has held for two seasons already.

During the 2017 season, the first for the Wood Ducks, they claimed the Carolina League crown. More recently, the Rangers sent some affiliated talents to the Auckland Tuatara where Mintz made his ABL return as manager.

Mintz previously played in Adelaide for the Giants in 1992/93 when he was affiliated with the LA Dodgers. He had brief MLB careers with the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels in the 1990s.

DINO EBEL - LA Dodgers

From a player/coach role in 1991, Dino Ebel has maintained a steady coaching career for nearly three decades and in November 28, 2018, was named as the Dodger's third base coach.

The role is not a new one for him, he joined the LA Angels in 2005 and eventually was named as third base coach. However, that job came after seventeen years in the Dodgers organisation, both as player, coach and manager, and this is a homecoming for Ebel with the cross-town rivals.

Ebel was an Adelaide Giant from 1989-1991 during his formative years as a Dodger.

MATTHEW HERGES - San Francisco Giants

A journeyman pitcher during his MLB career - he is just one of two players to have played for all five NL West teams - Herges is the current bullpen coach for the San Francisco Giants.

Following a career that began in 1992 and ended in 2010, Herges was signed by the Dodgers as a Minor League pitching instructor. The Dodgers were the organisation which initially signed him. He quickly rose through the ranks to become their Triple-A pitching coach before he made the switch to the Giants, and a MLB return.

Herges pitched for eight MLB teams from 1999-2009, and all up moved through 10 organisations. He was with the Adelaide Giants during 1999.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.