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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Former Dirtbag Jeff Liefer Featured... this Knight Ridder piece (from the San Jose Mercury News):
Liefer takes circuitous route to the Indians


Knight Ridder Newspapers

CLEVELAND - (KRT) - Nothing has ever been certain for Indians utility man Jeff Liefer - except the need to track the baseball page.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound player has called numerous stadiums home in 10 years as a professional. Thirteen teams and five organizations to be exact.

Cleveland became his most recent stop two weeks ago when he was called up from Triple-A Buffalo after Travis Hafner went on the disabled list. The move marked his eighth major-league stint.

Liefer, who bats left and throws right, has bounced between the major and minor leagues for the past six years.

"It hasn't been easy, not being settled in one spot, but it's a lot better than being in the minors for all those years," Liefer said. "I'm definitely happy with the way things have gone."

He has posted strong numbers in the minors but never quite developed into the hot prospect the Chicago White Sox thought he'd be when they selected him 25th overall in the first round of the 1995 draft. Liefer had been a second-team All-American at Long Beach State and earned All-Tournament honors in the 1993 College World Series.

Liefer, 30, also had stints with Montreal, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee. In 723 major-league at-bats before arriving in Cleveland, Liefer had 208 strikeouts, not quite the 1-5 ratio managers search for.

But he's hung around, and the uncertainty has turned Liefer into a more disciplined hitter.

"He's not afraid of anything," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "I think that he's experienced so much and I think when he comes up here, he just comes up here and relaxes and lets it go."

Liefer joined the Tribe in Oakland on July 26 as the designated hitter in the No. 8 spot.

"I was happy obviously," Liefer said. "During my situation where you start the season out in Triple-A and then you get called up, that's all you can ask for."

And the veteran wasted no time taking advantage of the opportunity. In his first at-bat with the Indians, he drove in the first run of a 2-0 victory against the Athletics.

He came through again in his first start in Cleveland with two hits against the New York Yankees last Wednesday. He kept the fifth inning alive, driving in the third of the Tribe's six fifth-inning runs with two outs. The Indians won 7-4.

"That's probably my favorite hit so far since I've been up this year," Liefer said. "It kept going after that so that made it even sweeter."

Liefer thrived in Buffalo, with a .363 batting average since May 1. He had 27 doubles, 19 home runs and 68 RBI in 89 games. He ranked in the top five in five International League offensive categories, including second in on-base percentage (.595) and third in batting average (.321).

"He's had an impact on a couple of wins that we've had here in a short period of time," Wedge said. "When he goes up to the plate, he's ready to hit."

The Indians signed Liefer as a minor-league free agent last November after he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers. But that wasn't his first interaction with Cleveland. The Indians selected Liefer in the sixth round of the 1992 June draft but didn't sign him.

Hafner has returned to the lineup, but Liefer survived the roster move. Outfielder Jason Dubois was optioned to Buffalo.

Wedge said Liefer could play first base, right or left field.

"We'll take it day by day," Wedge said. "But we'll look and see what our best lineup is and I'm sure that he's going to factor into that."

As for Liefer, he said he's willing to do whatever it takes to remain in Cleveland.

"I want to stay up here as long as I possibly can, hopefully I'll be here through the playoffs," Liefer said. "Every time they make a move I know I'm one of the guys that could possibly be cut and I'm just happy I survived this one."

posted on 8/10/2005 by Jeff Agnew

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