When Chris Nowak signed a contract to play baseball in Mexico last month, all he wanted was to be treated just like any other person would in his situation.
According to the first baseman, he was guaranteed a roster spot with the Puebla Parrots of the Mexican League. The guarantee also meant he would be paid for his work.
So, it's understandable now if he has some ill feelings toward the Mexican League, which is officially classified at Class AAA by Major League Baseball.
"Long story short, they told me I had a spot on the team guaranteed and then on the last day of spring training the (general manager) comes to me and tells me they can't keep me on the team," Nowak said by phone on Monday.
Frustrated with Puebla, Nowak has opted to come back to the York Revolution. The Revs made the announcement of Nowak's return on Monday. York also announced the return of starting pitcher Chris Cody and reliever Shaun Garceau.
Nowak: Back in January, it was pretty much a sure bet that Nowak wouldn't start the year with York, and possibly not return at all in 2012.
He was expected to play in either Japan or Mexico. That left York looking for a suitable power hitter to fill his shoes.
Joining York in mid-June last season, Nowak went on to hit a club-record 25 homers to go along with 66 RBIs in 84 games. His .330 year-end batting average ranked second in the Atlantic League. His performance landed him on Baseball America's All-Independent Team, while he shared the team's Player of the Year award with starting pitcher Corey Thurman.
Nowak, 29, had an unsuccessful tryout in February with the Yokohama Baystars in Japan before he turned to Puebla in March. He wanted to play in a foreign country mainly for the money. He likely would have earned much more playing in Mexico or Japan than he will in the independent Atlantic League.
"I wanted to get some extra cash for my wife and I so we can start a family," Nowak said. "And I'm going back to school."
He's still looking to get money from Puebla. Still, the former Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays prospect said he believes York might be the right place for him after all. And Revs' baseball operations manager Andrew Ball agrees.
"As frustrated as he is, if he comes here and plays even close to that level (that he did last year), this may be better for his career in terms of getting back to affiliated ball," Ball said.
Cody: Cody, 28, set a Revs' record for wins in a first half (seven) and led the Atlantic League in starts (18) and innings pitched (1042/3) while ranking second in wins (nine), third in strikeouts (78) and 10th in ERA (4.39) when he was picked up by the Atlanta Braves on July 31 of last year. At the Braves' Class AA affiliate, Mississippi, the left-hander went 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts, which included a complete-game victory.
Cody earned an invitation to the Braves' minor league spring training camp but was released about two weeks ago, according to Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren.
Garceau: Garceau, 24, went 4-9 with a 5.45 ERA for York a year ago.
Splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation, the former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand came to within two outs of a complete-game shutout on Aug. 10 at Camden and later tossed a complete-game shutout against the Road Warriors on Aug. 20.
York now has 21 players under contract for the 2012 season, including 13 returning from last year's league championship team.
-- Reach John Walk at 505-5406 or jwalk@york dispatch.com or follow on Twitter @JohnKWalk.