The Rapids JAL 15 season just keeps on spiraling downward..
Face of the franchise pitcher (and team General Manager) Ty Johnson is done for the season. For one, because his re-injured knee (surgery last May) sustained on Nov. 12th vs the Bison has not healed as hoped - and two, because he is simply no longer on the roster.
Earlier today Ty released himself from the Rapids in order to clear space for the signing of a new rookie, Grant McEwen from Toledo. Per JAL rules, a team is not allowed to re-sign a player they cut until after the season... So even if Ty wanted to come back, he can't.
"I can't play for the rest of the season, so it didn't make sense to keep myself on the roster taking up our final 5th spot."
As for McEwen, the rookie is 20 and about 6'0 - 190. He was singed to a minimum deal.
"He was a good athlete in high school and is very competitive, so I think he could be good," Ty said.
For the last several weeks Ty and the Rapids acknowledged that he would probably not be able to pitch because of his injury, but would bat the lineup for the team for the rest of the season. After a recent evaluation of his knee it has been found that neither would be wise and the damage to his knee could get even worse.
The injury of Ty's knee is now becoming a significant nightmare to the franchise. In JAL 13 he missed the entire season to recover from surgery which ended up leaving the pre-season "contender" labeled Rapids to fall early in the playoffs. This time he will miss half the season and it could end up costing the once again pre-season "contenders" even a trip to the playoffs period.
"Let's just say things have been frustrating for the Rapids for a few seasons because of all this," says Ty.
Always managing to find optimism in tough situations though, Ty says this is at least a great opportunity for the 4 rookies on the team (Troy Flanagan, Levi Poole, Evan Troy, and Grant McEwen) to gain experience.
"We've now brought on 4 rookies this season that could develop into key contributors in time. Flanagan already is. We'll see about the others on Friday night," said Ty.