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Team gets new GM; pitcher Vasquez signed by Twins organization

By DALLAS COGLE

Staff writer

If the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs’ selection as the Atlantic League’s host team for the 2013 all-star festivities in July did not already have the rest of the circuit green with envy, their hiring of a new general manager just might. Literally.

Six days before Christmas, the Blue Crabs announced the appointment of Patrick Day as the club’s fourth different general manager in as many years. This could be a lucky hiring given the new general manager’s name is almost a perfect match with the popular day every March 17 that is celebrated by wearing green.

The 37-year-old Day replaces Joel Seiden, 30, who was the Blue Crabs general manager for one season and is transitioning into a business development leadership role with the franchise as it enters a sixth year of existence in 2013.

Day’s duties will involve providing strategic direction and assisting the Blue Crabs in maintaining their status as a community leader, according to the team’s Dec. 19 press release, while fulfilling the usual role of heading the day-to-day operations of the ballclub off the field.

“I look forward to meeting many in the community and working with the existing staff to build on the momentum that has already been created in the previous five seasons,” Day said in the team’s press release.

Day has a vast resume when it comes to working on the administrative side of minor league baseball. He spent the last six seasons as the general manager of the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League. The Lugnuts are the Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Day successfully oversaw the entire team operation in Lansing from 2007 to 2012 as the Lugnuts ranked among the attendance leaders in minor league baseball and established themselves as a valued part of their Michigan community, the Blue Crabs press release noted.

“We are thrilled to introduce and welcome Patrick as the leader of our team,” Opening Day Partners President Jon Danos said in the press release. OPD is the ownership group of the Blue Crabs. “We deeply value Patrick’s operating experience with minor league teams that are among the most successful in the country. He will pick up on the great job Joel has done and their combined skills will lead to lots of fun and value for Blue Crabs fans beginning with opening day on April 24 and highlighted by our 2013 All-Star Game celebration on July 9 and 10.”

Day began his career as the assistant general manager of the Charleston Alley Cats where he headed sales and marketing. The Alley Cats, of the South Atlantic League, changed their name to the West Virginia Power in 2005, and the team has been the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2009.

After his stint in West Virginia, Day performed a similar role as assistant general manager of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays) in the Southern League.

The Alabama franchise twice claimed Baseball America’s Double-A Franchise-of-the-Year award during Day’s tenure with the team.

“I’ve heard great things about Patrick Day,” Blue Crabs manager Patrick Osborn said, as he plans for a third season leading the team on the field. “I’m looking forward to working with him as we both hope to continue the growth of the Blue Crabs.”

Day most recently was chief operating officer of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League.

“Coming back to baseball is a true welcome home for me, and I’m hugely excited about the fact that our organization has the honor of hosting this year’s Atlantic League All-Star Game,” said Day, a Western Massachusetts native who attended Concord University in West Virginia where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communications with a focus in public relations and advertising.

Day and his wife, Erica, have a 20-month-old daughter named Emerson.

Vasquez joins Twins organization

Just because the Blue Crabs are in the midst of their offseason does not mean their players are not being coveted by major league organizations.

On Dec. 17, the Blue Crabs announced that right-handed pitcher Matthew Vasquez signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins, likely beginning his 2013 campaign with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

The right-hander, who spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons as a staple in the Blue Crabs rotation, has already pitched in the majors on two separate occasions in the past and is confident he can return to the lofty level.

Vasquez posted a 10-9 record with a 4.44 ERA in 29 starts with the Blue Crabs during the 2012 season, which saw him boast the league’s fourth-most strikeouts with 120. Only fellow starter Nick Green recorded a lower ERA at 3.58 for the Blue Crabs last year.

Vasquez arrived to the Blue Crabs in 2011 when he constructed an 8-6 tab and 4.25 ERA in 21 starts.

“Matthew deserves this opportunity,” the Blue Crabs skipper said. “For the past two seasons, he has been a workhorse in our starting rotation. I’ve truly enjoyed Matthew both as a person and a player. He will be missed, but he’s back where he belongs.”

The 30-year-old Vasquez, a seventh-round draft selection of the Detroit Tigers in 2003, made his major league debut with the Tigers in May 2007 and then returned to the big leagues in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The California native experienced a solid season at the Triple-A Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) in 2010 with a 6-2 tab and 4.88 ERA in 12 starts. By winter 2010, he was signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before getting released the following spring training, leading to his Blue Crabs arrival in 2011.

Vasquez went by his first name, Virgil, until preferring to be referred to by his middle name going into the 2012 season. The 2013 season will mark his 11th year in the professional ranks.

dcogle@somdnews.com