Oilers rosters continues to fill up

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2003

The Oilers roster continues to grow with the signing of Grayson County College shortstop Cameron Blair. The sophomore recently transferred from the University of Houston. Blair is from Dallas and is studying business prelaw.

Oral Roberts University outfielder-catcher Josh Lex also has signed. The junior transferred from Sacramento City College and was a 27th-round pick by the Cleveland Indians in the 2001 draft. Lex is from Elk Grove, Calif., and is studying business management.

M.J. Mariani (Oilers 1993) has reunited with Oral Roberts head coach Sonny Golloway (Oilers 1993-95). This is Mariani's second stint with the Golden Eagles, having served as director of baseball operations from 1995 through 1997. Mariani spent the past three seasons as the assistant head coach at the Community College of Southern Nevada.

A shake-up in the New York Yankees front office has former Oilers head coach Mark Newman (Oilers 1976-79 and 1981) trading positions with Gordon Blakely (Oilers 1974-75). Blakely will now serve as senior vice president of baseball operations while Newman will be vice president of player development. Newman's former position on the Yankees organizational ladder was generally regarded to be on the same level as the team's general manager. Newman led the Oilers to the team's first World Series title in 1977. The 1977 team is considered one of the most productive teams in collegiate summer league history as it sent 11 players and coaches on to major league teams. Blakely is one of the Oilers top hitters and still occupies 10 spots on the Oilers all-time single season and career records list.

2001 Yankees first-round draft pick Jon Skaggs (Oilers 1999) is expected to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in time for the 2003 season. Skaggs' career, to date, shows only five innings before going down with injuries.

The San Francisco Giants have re-signed free agent pitcher Luis Estrella (Oilers 1995). Estrella pitched for the Giants Pacific Coast League Triple A team in Fresno this past season.

For more information regarding the Alaska Baseball League and the Peninsula Oilers, see the team's Web site at www.oilersbaseball.com or visit the team's office on the corner of Cook Avenue and Main Street in Kenai.

Oilers Corner is provided during the off-season by Mike Baxter, the baseball operations manager for the Alaska Baseball League team.

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