Former York Revolution closer Mike DeMark will likely get to pitch against some of the world's top baseball players in a few weeks.
DeMark has been selected as a member of Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
DeMark, who has played three seasons over a five-year span for York, was part of Italy's final roster for the upcoming event, that's held every four years. The 2017 World Baseball Classic will begin on March 6 and run through March 22.
DeMark, who has a grandfather from Italy, was lights out for the Revs in 2016, setting season and career records. He posted a staggering 0.76 ERA last season in 47 2/3 innings, making 47 appearances. His 35 saves were a season-high for York closers and the 39 career saves that he's racked up in his three stints with the Revs are also a club record. DeMark was voted an Atlantic League All-Star last year.
DeMark, 33, spoke candidly last season about holding out hope that he'd get a shot at making the big leagues at some point in his career, and the WBC could offer him his final golden shot.
Team Italy was one of the major surprises at the 2013 WBC, upsetting Team Mexico in Mexico to advance out of the group stage and into the second round, coming out of a group that featured Team USA, Mexico and Canada. In the second round, Italy lost a pair of one-run games to the Domincan Republic, 5-4, and Puerto Rico, 4-3, to be eliminated from the competition. Still, by making it out of the group stage, it assured Italy a spot in the 2017 WBC.
This year, DeMark and Italy will again be in a group with Mexico, as well as Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Italy's first game is on March 9 against Mexico in Mexico.
Through Monday night, York had announced its first six signings for the 2017 season. Thus far, DeMark was not one of them.
Revs announce three more signings: One by one, and week by week, the initial roster for the 2017 York Revolution is coming together.
Over a 10-week period, a few player signings will be announced each week during the weekly radio show, "Revs Hot Stove Weekly," on 1350 WOYK. After the first three players — Chris Cody, Bryan Pounds and Brandon Thomas — were revealed during last week's first show, the next three players were announced on Monday night's edition.
The first name to be revealed is another familiar face for York fans. Frank Gailey will return for a third stint with the Revs, after playing for the team the last two seasons. Gailey worked his way into a starter's role over the course of last season, going 6-5 overall with a 3.14 ERA. In his first year with the team, Gailey posted a 3.21 ERA, so he's shown some success within the Atlantic League. York manager Mark Mason said on the broadcast he hopes to use Gailey as a starting pitcher right out of the gates in 2017 and views Gailey as a potential option to be the team's Opening Day starter this year.
The second name to be announced Monday night was Michael Burgess, another player returning from last year's squad. Burgess joined the 2016 club in May, before having his contract purchased by a Mexican League team. That Mexican team later released him and he returned to the Revs, playing 43 games. He belted eight homers and had 31 RBIs during his time with the Revs, while hitting .275 in 167 at-bats. He dealt with a knee injury toward the end of the season, limiting his playing time and production down the stretch and into the playoffs. Mason said because of the knee injury, he intends to use Burgess primarily as a designated hitter or first baseman, but will try to keep him out of the outfield as much as possible to limit the wear and tear on his legs.
"He's very excited about coming back," Mason told Darrell Henry during the show. "He was hungry to come back and we know what kind of damage he can do."
The final player to be announced was reliever Joe Van Meter. He's the second new face to sign with the team this year, along with Thomas last week. Van Meter played in the Atlantic League for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016, posting a 5.73 ERA in nine games before suffering an injury. Van Meter spent time in the farm systems of the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, making it as high as Class AA.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org