Hope Still Alive for John Lindsey

You may have seen the stories that both Max Schertzer and Danny Almonte have signed with independent league teams. Scherzer was the first-round draft choice of the Diamondbacks last summer and is the lone player taken in that round who hasn't come to terms.

The righthander from Missouri is represented by Scott Boras - naturally - who is pulling another Luke Hochevar with his client. Schertzer has even signed with Fort Worth, the same team that Hochevar joined last spring. The ploy is to try to get the D'backs to ratchet up the price or he'll go back into the draft. Worked for Luke, didn't it?

Almonte is the onetime boy wonder who pitched his Bronx mates to the Little League World Series championship a few years ago only to be found not so boyish and disqualified. Even though he's gone on to some high school success, nobody drafted him at all. He's in the Frontier League hoping to show he's capable enough so that some organization will offer him a job.

Those two are guest celebrities in independent ball. They'll drop in for awhile, make some money for themselves and their teams and then leave for places where the big bucks are located. The average independent leaguer, though, is a guy trying to gain some notice after he's been released in organized ball.

Like John Lindsey was. He'd been drafted 13th by the Rockies back in 1995. They kept him around for a few years, then cast him aside. The Mariners signed him and he got up to the Texas League with them. Seattle first let him go, then re-signed him, only to drop him once more. Nothing to do then but either give up the game or find an independent team.

Lindsey had signed out of high school, though, and didn't have any real occupational options available. He went the independent route, and for the past two seasons has played for New Jersey in the Can-Am League. That's a team located in Little Falls in the Garden State where, if nothing else, they get to play in Yogi Berra Stadium.

John showed he could still hit in that league, compiling marks of. 321 and. 311. Enough to convince the Dodgers, looking for some first base help at the higher levels to give him a chance.

He's with Jacksonville now. He'll play some first although they want Cory Dunlap to occupy that spot for the most part so Lindsey's mostly been DH'ing or coming off the bench. He's shown a penchant for the latter including a dramatic three-run shot that won a game.

Hitting homers, in fact, is what he's been rather good at so far. Has six already. He hasn't been much in the consistency department, batting only. 208 at last count.

Since he packs 230 pounds on his 6-2 frame, you might suspect that the native of Hattiesburg, Miss., doesn't move all that well. No, he doesn't nor at age 30 does anybody seriously consider him a prospect.

Still, he's gainfully employed in the game and, what's more, he's not scuffling in independent ball, either. Helping the team too. An example to those guys still back in the indy leagues that there's hope out there yet even if you aren't a Schertzer or even an Almonte.