Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Former Vipers Defenceman Morgan 'On A Mission' To Impress Cleveland Indians:

Here is a article I found on former Vernon Vipers defenceman
Nyjer Morgan.

The Cleveland Indians signed former Vernon Vipers defenceman Nyjer Morgan to a Minor League contract on January 16th 2014. Morgan returns to the Majors after playing last season in Japan where he spent the 2013-14 season with the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Yokohama DeNa BayStars. Morgan & the Indians open the 2014-15 MLB Spring Training season Wednesday vs the Cincinnati Reds.

Morgan signed with the BayStars on January 23rd 2013 after spending the previous two seasons with the MLB Milwaukee Brewers before electing free agency, a day after the Brewers hastened his departure by outrighting him from the 40-man roster.

Morgan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. On September 1st 2007 Morgan made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Brewers as a late-season call-up. On June 30 2009 Morgan was traded to the Washington Nationals along with pitcher Sean Burnett in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and pitcher Joel Hanrahan. On March 27 2011 Morgan was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for prospect Cutter Dykstra (son of baseball player Lenny Dykstra). Morgan played for three MLB teams, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington before heading to Japan.
Morgan attended the Vernon Vipers Training camp in 1996-97. Morgan played as an "AP" as a 16 year old with the Vipers during the (1996-1997) season while playing with the KIJHL North Okanagan Kings.

Nyjer Morgan's Player Profile:'R'&sectionType=career&statType=1&season=2014&level='ALL'

This is posted on the website:

With alter ego Tony Plush absent from camp, Nyjer Morgan 'on a mission' to impress Cleveland Indians

By Zack Meisel, Northeast Ohio Media Group

March 02, 2014

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Tony Plush has yet to arrive at Indians' spring camp. Nyjer Morgan is all alone in Goodyear.

While fighting for a roster spot, there isn't time or energy to devote to an alter ego. As such, manager Terry Francona has only met Morgan, not his trusty second self.

"And I'm OK with that, too," Francona said. "I'm OK with Nyjer."

Francona hasn't masked his affinity for the 33-year-old outfielder. After Thursday's 12-3 win against the Reds, the skipper raved about Morgan dashing from his outfield position to back up third base. Francona also lauded a diving catch Morgan made in the fourth inning of Friday's 4-0 triumph against Cincinnati.

"When you're competing, you have to come to show what it's going to take to make the ball club," said Morgan, who inked a minor league contract with the Indians in January. "This is the player I've always been, this type of guy. Always hungry, always wanting to show my teammates, the organization that I'm with that I come to win."

Those are qualities any teammate would appreciate. Morgan's -- err, Plush's -- sideshow antics, however, have rubbed others the wrong way in the past.

Morgan spent last year in Japan with the Yokohama BayStars. When he signed with the Indians, he decided to ditch the gimmicks and focus on the challenge before him. Francona described him as being "on a mission," a declaration with which Morgan agreed.

"He's a great kid," Francona said. "I don't care what he did before. That would be totally unfair to him. He's been exemplary every day. He shows up, he's enthusiastic."

In three spring training games, Morgan has tallied two hits and two walks in 10 plate appearances, with two RBIs and two runs scored.

I'm very vocal and I like rooting on my guys and just showing that I'm in here to fight with you guys no matter what.

Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, David Murphy and Ryan Raburn have roster spots clinched. Whether another outfielder will make the team might depend on how the third-base competition shakes out. That could create a ripple effect that leaves an extra opening on the bench for Morgan, Jeff Francoeur or Matt Carson.

"It's so early to start dissecting who's going to make the club and things like that," Francona said. "It's why every day I like when guys do good things and we can talk about them because that's basically why they're here. I love to brag about all of them."

Francona has certainly done his share of boasting about Morgan's effort and output.

"This kid is motivated," Francona said. "He is enthusiastic. That doesn't mean he's
going to make the club, but it doesn't mean that our first initial thoughts aren't really positive with him. I think he's been outstanding. He's fun to have around."

And to do that, he hasn't needed the company of his alter ego. Of course, should Morgan make the team, one would think Plush would find his way to Cleveland at some point.

For now, though, Morgan just wants his teammates in camp to get to know and appreciate his true identity.

"A lot of them know me from playing against me, so they don't know the other side of who I am," Morgan said. "Just being able to show who I am makes me feel good as a person and as a ballplayer. Instead of going by the heresy of what people are saying about me and this and that through the past -- now they get to see the other side.

"If I'm on your ball club, I'm coming with it and I'm going to do everything possible to help out the team. It could be any role: coming off the bench, making a defensive play, anything, backing up when you have to back up.

"I'm very vocal and I like rooting on my guys and just showing that I'm in here to fight with you guys no matter what."

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