NEWARK – The Newark Bears announced today the signing of pitcher Armando Benitez and infielder Edgardo Alfonzo for the 2010 season. Benitez and Alfonzo were teammates for the 2000 National League champion New York Mets.
“I am excited to add to the Bears tradition. Two more established Major Leaguers, Edgardo and Armando were both key components to the Mets success in 2000,” said manager Tim Raines. “They are both proven talents on the field and their leadership in the clubhouse is the perfect fit for our 2010 team.”
Alfonzo enters his third season in the Atlantic League, having spent time with the Long Island Ducks and Bridgeport Bluefish. He played last season in Japan as a member of the Yomiuri Giants. The 36-year-old and former Mets star returns to New York after spending eight seasons in Flushing.
The Venezuelan native has a career major league average of .284 with 1,532 hits and 744 RBI. His best season came in 1999 with the Mets, when he hit .304 with 191 hits, 41 doubles, and 108 RBI. In addition, Alfonzo was the starting third baseman for Venezuela in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He batted .313 in five games played. His other accolades include winning the Silver Slugger Award in 1999 and being voted to the MLB All-Star game in 2000.
Benitez enters his second season in the Atlantic League as he spent 2009 with the Bears. He recorded a 1-0 record with a 2.86 ERA and 16 saves, which was third best in the league. The 37-year-old former Met was signed by the Houston Astros’ AAA affiliate in Round Rock late in the season and went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA and a save in seven games.
The Dominican native has appeared in 762 major league games with 289 saves, which puts him 23rd on the all-time saves list. His best season came in 2004 with the Marlins, when he went 2-2 with a 1.29 ERA and recorded a league-best 47 saves in 51 chances. In addition, he played nine seasons of minor league baseball, amassing a 27-11 record with a 2.63 ERA and 64 saves. His other accolades include winning the National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 2001 and being named to the MLB All-Star game in 2003 and 2004.
The Newark Bears are a member of the eight-team Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium. For ticket information, call 1-973-848-1000, or visit www.newarkbears.com.
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