PRO BASEBALL

E.C. native Repko retires after 15 seasons

2013-08-04T18:00:00Z 2013-08-05T18:07:14Z E.C. native Repko retires after 15 seasonsGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 04, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Jason Repko wasn’t going to stick around one at-bat too long.

That’s why the East Chicago native pulled the plug on his outfield career at age 32 with a little gas left in the tank in May. He retired from the York (Pa.) Revolution of the Atlantic League, going out the same way he came in as a Dodgers farmhand in 1999.

Repko tripled in his final at-bat, part of a 4-for-5 day. His first pro hit also was a three-bagger for rookie-level Great Falls. He batted .253 in 25 York games after a 360-game big-league career with 16 homers and a .224 average for the Dodgers, Twins and Red Sox.

“I reached out (in May) to those (big-league) teams that had showed interest, but did not get feedback,” Repko saiod. “I didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a good time to step out to see my family, see the kids playing soccer and flag football.

“I had strains in my hamstrings and quad. I played through them, but it was not easy. You’re pushing through, pushing through.”

Repko’s grandmother in Lowell was his most devoted fan, coming to U.S. Cellular Field to see him play. Now, he might help out a friend coaching high school in southeast Washington state.

“Just making it to the big leagues at 24,” he said of his top highlight. “I went into the last day (of spring training), and (Dodgers manager) Jim Tracy said I made the team. It was cool walking up the stairs to see my family and said I made the team.”

Almora patient about patience: As Theo Epstein’s first No. 1 draft pick as Cubs' president of baseball operations in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora wasn’t exactly the prototypical count-working, patient hitter Epstein desires.

The athletic Almora drew two walks in his first 33 games as a pro in 2012. With the west-suburban Kane County Cougars this season, Almora had 17 walks in his first 60 games. He batted .332 with a .379 on-base percentage.

“That’s something that I’ve been working hard since I signed as a pro,” Almora said. “It’s getting better, but it’s not where I want to be.”

Said Cougars manager Mark Johnson, a former White Sox catcher: “I think guys like Albert can tone it back and learn to be patient, understand situations, pitchers’ tendencies. ... Albert was swinging at balls over his head, or in the dirt (in 2012). He can shrink the zone.”

Big Hurt not fond of big Garcia in center: The White Sox organization could react this week to Frank Thomas’ post-game TV analysis of top trade-deadline acquisition Avisail Garcia.

Thomas said Garcia should not be playing center at Triple-A Charlotte because of the strain on his 6-foot-4, 240-pound body from the necessary running and diving. The Big Hurt said Garcia should play a corner outfield spot to concentrate on hitting with power.

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