A recap of last weekend’s transactions and rumors in the Italian Baseball League:
Parma has signed shortstop Marco Yepez. The 28-year-old is from Caracas, Venezuela and a former minor leaguer. He is the fourth and last foreign player on the Parma roster for 2010 besides Gustavo Martinez, Orlando Munoz and Juan Camilo. In 1999 he signed with the Florida Marlins as an amateur free agent.
After one season with their Gulf Coast League affiliate Yepez moved on to the Washington Nationals organization, where he stayed until last year, playing as high as AAA. In 649 games over eight seasons he batted a combined .268 (OBP .347/SLG .356) with 14 homeruns, 288 runs and 227 RBI. During the winter he played for Tribunes de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Nettuno brings right-handed pitcher Michael Jared Natale back into the IBL. The 30-year-old Californian had a 5-7 record and a save with an ERA of 3.46 in 15 games for Cariparma in 2008, his only season in Italy so far. He struck out 78 in 93 2/3 innings, walking 30. Before that he spent his career in the American minor and independent leagues. Between 2000 and 2004 he played for affiliated teams of the Kansas City Royals organization. Afterwards Natale was part of teams in the Northern and Golden Baseball Leagues.
This is much more a rumor then an official signing. Baseball.it links them to the 32-year-old right-handed pitcher Harold Eckert. He is a former minor leaguer and would take over as the foreign starting pitcher in game one each week. Between 2001 and 2007 he split time with the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations. With the Dodgers he played in AAA, but never got promoted into the big leagues.
After his release by the Dodgers in 2007 Eckert joined the Newark Bears of the Independent Atlantic League for the reminder of the season. In 2008 and 2009 he pitched for Mexican League teams. Overall he had a combined 64-50 record with an ERA of 4.82 in 220 appearances (147 starts) during his professional career. He collected 859 strikeouts in 945 innings, walking 406. Update 2/22 8.30pm: Rimini made the signing official on Monday