Area baseball beat: 10-foot alligator was unexpected guest in dugout

No one can blame Charlotte (Fla.) Stone Crabs catcher Mike Marjama (Granite Bay High School, Sacramento City College) for cautiously inspecting the dugout before taking a seat.

The Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays had an unexpected visitor before its Florida State League game July 24 against the Daytona Tortugas at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte.

A 10-foot alligator found the dugout a nice place to rest and shade itself.

“As you can imagine, it was shocking to see a massive gator in the dugout,” Marjama said Friday, “and the main thing was wondering how in the world it got there. … I was in the clubhouse going through my pregame workout and treatments and heard of a gator in the dugout. I thought it was a prank.

“When I went out and saw a group of people in front of the dugout, I guess reality set in.”

Right-hander Brent Honeywell, who was scheduled to start for the Stone Crabs that night, talked to about his conversation with Marjama.

“Marjama was like, ‘Somebody get down here and take a selfie!’” Honeywell said. “It would be freaking awesome. I thought, ‘I’ll try it,’ and someone came over and said, ‘You gotta get out of there.’ I was like, ‘Boo, whatever.’”

Honeywell told MiLB animal control personnel removed the alligator from the stadium and returned it to a pond beyond the outfield wall in left field. Officials later postponed the game because of wet grounds – or so they said.

Entering the weekend, Marjama was hitting .303 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 66 games.

Catching up

▪ Right-hander Preston Guilmet (Oakmont) has been traded, designated for assignment, claimed or sent from the majors to the minors 14 times in 2015. He went through 20 such moves last year.

▪ Right-hander Jordan Johnson (Franklin) has moved through the Giants’ minor-league system from rookie ball to short-season Class-A Salem-Keizer to Advanced Class-A San Jose this season, throwing a 93- to 95-mph fastball and proving he has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in college (Cal State Northridge). In his first start with San Jose on Tuesday, he allowed just four hits and two earned runs in six innings to earn the victory in a 3-2 win over Modesto.

▪ Pittsburgh designated right-hander Vance Worley (McClatchy) for assignment.

▪  Right-hander Tanner Dodson (Jesuit), shortstop Nick Madrigal (Elk Grove) and third baseman Caden Goldby (Yuba City) didn’t sign by the deadline for 2015 draftees. Dodson will attend Cal, and Madrigal will go to Oregon State. Right-hander Chandler Eden (Yuba City) also didn’t sign with a team and tweeted he signed with Texas Tech.

▪ Outfielder Derek Hill (Elk Grove), Detroit’s first-round draft pick in 2014, has been on the disabled list three times with Low Class-A West Michigan (Midwest League) this season. He is hitting .238 in 53 games.

▪ Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia (Woodland) is on the disabled list for the second time this season because of a hamstring injury. He also battled injuries last season and underwent thumb and wrist surgery.

▪ Thunder Bay (Ontario) outfielder Jared James (McClatchy, Sacramento City) played in the Northwoods League All-Star Game on July 21 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. James, who was on the North squad, was second in the summer college league in batting with a .370 average.

Independent leagues update

▪ In the Frontier League, catcher Toby DeMello (Roseville) is with the Southern Illinois Miners (Marion, Ill.), whose pitching coach is Preston Vancil (West Campus, American River). Infielder Josh Silver (Franklin, Cosumnes River) is playing for the River City Rascals (O’Fallon, Mo.). Right-hander Pete Perez (River City, American River) is with the Gateway Grizzlies (Sauget, Ill.).

▪ Left-hander Dylan Chavez (Pleasant Grove, American River) is with the St. Paul (Minn.) Saints of the American Association.

▪ Catcher Todd Jennings (Casa Roble) and right-hander Andrew Carpenter (Vacaville, Sacramento City) are playing for the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters of the Atlantic League.

▪ Right-handers David Dinelli (Folsom, Sierra) and Ian Gray (Folsom) and first baseman Lydell Moseby (Granite Bay, American River) are with the Vallejo Admirals in the Pacific Association.

▪ Outfielder Chris Hopkins (Sierra), infielder Will Soto (Elk Grove, Sacramento State) and Moseby were set to play in the Mount Rainier Pro League in the Pacific Northwest. However, the league folded for financial reasons shortly after the start of its second season.

▪ The Marysville Gold Sox of the Horizon Air Summer Series (college wood-bat league) is loaded will local talent: right-handers Stuart Bradley (River Valley), Chad Perry (Marysville, Sacramento State), Branden Nunn (Sacramento City), Kea Vierra (Sierra) and Aaron Herr (Bella Vista, Sierra); infielders Louis Mejia (Jesuit), Michael Frantz (El Camino), Alex Larivee (Jesuit) and Kyle Lewis (Sierra); outfielder Ryan Glazner (Colfax) and catchers Spencer Lininger (Bella Vista) and Cooper Goldby (Yuba City). Jim Stassi (Yuba City) is back for his fifth season as a coach.

Mark McDermott is a freelance writer specializing in Sacramento-area baseball. Contact him at

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