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Jan '08 28

Daniel Hayes and Raef Hobbs-Brown strengthen Mainz Athletics

The Mainz Athletics, German champion in 2007, nearly have accomplished their off-season plans. They confirmed the signings of Daniel HAYES and Raef HOBBS-BROWN. They also extended contracts for Mike LARSON, Sascha LUTZ and Nils HARTKOPF. Keiko MIYAGI (USA), Flavio RINALDI (unknown), Ulli WERMUTH (retired), Julian AUFENANGER (personal reasons) and Janusz RADICKE (retired) will leave the team.

HAYES is supposed to replace MIYAGI at shortstop and as the pitcher in the second game of the weekly doubleheaders. He pitched for the Oklahoma Baptist University team with an 8-2 record and an ERA of 2.82. As a shortstop he hit .384 with 26 doubles and 89 RBI. He went on to play in the Canadian Intercounty league for the London Majors in 2007.

Journeyman HOBBS-BROWN returns to Mainz after playing there in 2006. He was the starting third baseman with a .256 batting average (OBP .364, SLG .300) with 18 runs scored and 17 RBI. The 22-year-old Australian was at the British final four in 2005 with the Brighton Buccaneers and played for the Templiers Senart (France) in 2007. He hit .301 with 31 runs scored and 14 RBI last season.

The 24-year-old LARSON hit .337 (OBP .380, SLG .576) with five home runs, 20 runs scored and 25 RBI in 2007. He split time in left and right field. Fellow outfielder LUTZ hit .456 (OBP .556, SLG .595) with 24 runs scored and 17 RBI. HARTKOPF who switched between third base and pitcher extended his contract as well. He had a 5-1 record with two saves and an ERA of 3.40 in 17 games. He struck out 53 in 53 innings pitched. He hit .220 (OBP .319, SLG .317) with twelve runs scored and twelve RBI.

MIYAGI, who will try his luck in the United States, impressed during last years playoffs with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.89. He had started pitching not until a few weeks before the postseason began.

The Athletics will also miss both of their starting catchers. The Italian RINALDI hit .318 (OBP .384, SLG .420) with 14 runs scored and 13 RBI. He threw out 23% of the runners, trying to steal a base. There are some rumors that he stays in the German Baseball-Bundesliga, but with a different team. The other backstop RANICKE retired after the 2007 season. He hit .313 (OBP .418, SLG .482) with eleven runs scored and 13 RBI.

They are in contact with an unknown catcher of a northern conference team. However the Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg are also considering signing him. Some rumors identified Markus GIENGER of the Cologne Cardinals as the anonymous player. He hit .364 (OBP .490, SLG .403) with 19 runs scored and 18 RBI.

The A’s will play their first game on April 6th at the Mannheim Tornados.

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